Overcoming Myths and Mistrust About ADHD in the Black Community
Featuring Nekeshia Hammond, PsyD
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African American parents often question the validity of their child’s ADHD diagnosis. Nekeshia Hammond, PsyD, explains what parents need to know about the elements of a comprehensive evaluation for ADHD. She discusses common myths about ADHD in the Black community and explains why healthcare professionals and educators need culturally competent training.
“I really feel that, if possible, parents should think about getting a comprehensive psychological evaluation,” Dr. Hammond tells Attention magazine. “Ideally, a comprehensive evaluation should take a couple of hours. Sometimes children are gifted and they’re so bored in the classroom that they look really inattentive. Or sometimes at the opposite end, children’s IQs are lower so they may just be struggling with learning. Looking at that, and looking at ADHD measures and depression, anxiety, and trauma measures—all of these things that impact—it takes a couple of hours to do that type of assessment versus a five-minute appointment where a parent says to a physician, ‘My child’s struggling with attention.’”
“There’s this unfortunate aspect, particularly with African American youth, that for some families ADHD may be underdiagnosed because of the stigma of mental health, the worry and concern about the label ’ADHD’,” she continues. “But then on the other end, sometimes it’s too quickly diagnosed. I’ve had children that have come into my office and literally have said that they are afraid of the racism they’re experiencing at school from other students. These are real concerns and affect attention and concentration. But I’ve seen it go both ways. It’s definitely a real concern to properly evaluate for ADHD in Black youth.”
Nekeshia Hammond, PsyD, is the founder and owner of Hammond Psychology and Associates, PA. She is an author, speaker, and authority on child psychology, with a specific mission to support parents of children coping with ADHD.