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By John M Grohol PsyD

It’s one of those “unintended consequences” of a government program started with the best of intentions — help the poorest of the poor families in our society get adequate treatment for their severely disabled child.

Yes, I’m talking about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and The Boston Globe ran an in-depth investigative piece yesterday about some of those consequences, including rampant diagnosing of very young children and the over-prescribing of medication for them. “Many cash-strapped parents have come to believe that if only they can muster the necessary array of medical records, their children have a good shot at this benefit, even if it means carrying the stigma of the word “disabled.’’”

A program that was supposed to help only a small minority of children — those with serious health or mental health disabilities — is now serving 53 percent of the 1.2 million children who qualify for SSI benefits, according to the article.

The number one “disabled” diagnosis? Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is a good program that indeed does serve the needs of many poor families with severely disabled children. But because of losing a legal case in 1990, the program now has expanded to include things that aren’t automatically “disabilities” in any traditional definition of the term.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/12/13/ssi-encourages-families-to-label-healthy-children-with-adhd-as-disabled/



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