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Diagnoses are important on many levels

Another annual milestone has come and gone for area schoolchildren, their parents and their teachers.

Summer break is upon us, a school year has ended and everyone knows another one is just around the corner.

For some area students, the vacation will be more than a break from books and homework, though. It also means a break from the medication.

In Mississippi, 5.8 percent of children ages 4 to 17 take medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — ADHD.

Some parents opt to only administer the medication on school days since its purpose is to help children focus when they need to most.

Annually, though, more Mississippi children are medicated for the disorder than the national average, but understanding why requires case-by-case review. Only a thorough doctor’s examination based on information provided by parents and teachers can lead to a true ADHD diagnosis, area medical professional say.

And, even then, it is often difficult to know whether or not the child’s symptoms are a result of outside pressures or disorders inside.

One child’s medical history is the business and responsibility of his parents and doctors, but collectively, diagnoses that affect large percentages of our community’s children are a concern for us all.

Understanding the disorder and its symptoms is the first step. Making a commitment to do whatever it takes for our children to have not only a fun summer break today, but a great new school year tomorrow should be top priority for us all.