Sluggish Cognitive Tempo: The Latest Attention Disorder That Could Negatively Impact Your Child’s Development
Back in the day, when kids were not paying attention in class it was considered daydreaming. Now, our children are facing more serious diagnoses such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sluggish cognitive tempo – the latest controversial attention disorder.
According to the New York Times, about two million American kids could be suffering from sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT). About half of the children with this disorder are currently diagnosed with having ADHD. These children could potentially be also classified as having a different disorder because they are non-hyperactive. Additionally, another million children that are not being treated for ADHD may fall under the sluggish cognitive tempo classification.
Some characteristics of SCT include mind-wandering, lethargy and difficulty processing certain things. This characterization has been around since the 1980s however, the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology covered the topic within more than 136 pages of their journal. Although daydreaming can seem like a typical child-like behavior, with SCT it can affect the child’s school performance and home life.
Experts are pushing for more research, including pharmacological treatment which has raised a few red flags. Currently about 6 million children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the Centers to Disease Control the percentage of children under 17 years of age taking ADHD medications has increased by 1.3 percent since 2007.
Additionally, the average ADHD diagnosis age was 7 years old. When parents hear of disorders listing mind-wandering and inattentiveness as symptoms, they’ll often connect with it as many children are prone to escape into their imaginations. So, the question(s) is, does a child need medication to control this? Will they outgrow it? The number of children diagnosed with ADHD has increased by more than 3 percent since 2003; about 4 percent of adults in America have ADHD as well.
Sluggish cognitive tempo is not mentioned in the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, the manual does note that there are three subtypes of ADHD, one predominately hyperactive, another inattentive and one that is a combination of the two.
Until further research is completed, including just where sluggish cognitive tempo will fall in the attention disorder spectrum, parents will have to wait and see what can be done if their child’s daydreaming is interfering with their life.