ABOUT The ADD/HD All-Expert Consensus Statement


ADD History and Education

from Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

“Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it”

~ George Santayana (1863-1952)
from “Life of Reason

ADD Consensus Statement

Even as they struggle, desperate for information, help and understanding, MOST ADDers remain blissfully ignorant of the existence of the document reproduced below, much less the information that is contained within it.

Far too many ADD Professionals across several fields are unaware of it as well.

MOST will probably remain so.

‘Sup with that?

I truly can’t understand why even one single ADDer would NOT take the time to make sure they printed out a personal copy of this document and make it their business to distribute it widely.

Not MY Community, right?

I would like to KNOW that every one of my current or former clients and students, each of the readers of this blog, and anyone who has ever benefited from even ten minutes of my personal efforts on your behalf will not be among those who are are unfamiliar with the information this document contains.


I’m hoping that you will each make it a point to take a brief bit of your time – in return for a great deal of my time on your behalf — to leave a comment telling me that you have read the following Consensus Statement.

  • It would go a l-o-n-g way toward helping me decide to continue to put my shoulder to your wheel to know that you have taken the time to read this post all the way to the bottom – and that you have downloaded and printed the pdf with the references, along with names and contacts of all 75 signatories — to make SURE that sharing with family, friends and each of your ADD treatment professionals is more likely to actually happen.
  • It would, as they say, “make my life” to see The Consensus Statement go viral – something that the sound-bite press would finally be eager to pick up and publicize, initiating a cascade of interviews of these worthy experts, out-shouting the nay-sayers and changing the face of ADD forever.

As of July 3, 2013, the original pdf version was available HERE,
hosted by ADD Expert Russell Barkley

I cross ALL my fingers and toes, despite the dull ache of a fear that, yet again, too few of you will be willing to dedicate even a few moments of your lives to advocacy — that too few will attempt to understand the import and implication of this document, both to your own lives and treatment AS WELL AS to the lives and treatment of the rest of the Attentional Spectrum universe.

I pray that I will return in mid-to-late September (at the end of a prolonged, long-overdue and much needed break from my attempts to rally troops who seem to believe that advocacy is always somebody else’s job), to a TON of comments that obliterate all fears that, perhaps, *I* care more about the quality of the lives of other ADDers than they care about it themselves — and that maybe I would be wise to spend the rest of the minutes of my own life doing something else.

THAT is the issue I will be (and am) grappling with while I am away
(click to read why I am away, if you missed See you in September?)

Consensus Statement Background


Heartbreakingly overlooked by the sound-bite popular press for years, despite the fact that

  • signatory contacts were included as part of the original document
  • ADD Expert Russell Barkley has made himself easily available for questions and comments, and
  • 14 pages of double-columned, small-print, scientifically-credible sources were appended at its end

Even locating a web-published copy of this Consensus Statement or its contents continues to be a bit of a challenge.

Websites get updated and hosting companies change, obliterating former links with the dreaded 404-error (page not found), as ADD Resource sites seem to deem it no longer worthy of the space it would take for it to remain easily available.

CLEARLY, probably naively, I do not agree that its usefulness has passed

Even so, I have decided that I have searched for it for the LAST time, whether to update links here on ADDandSoMuchMore or any other site I might develop or maintain.

I have also made the decision, despite it’s copyright, to reproduce the body of the Consensus Statement as a blog post here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com, before this important piece of ADD history disappears entirely and forever.

You may have to use a search engine to find it elsewhere if I am requested to remove it or if I decide to take down this site, say goodbye and find a more involved community with whom to play.

Overlooked and Undervalued for over a decade

signatoryThe Consensus Statement was initially drafted and signed OVER TEN YEARS AGO, in 2002, by 75 TOP ADD experts in many related fields, each working tirelessly throughout their lives, hoping to solve the riddle of ADD.

They are, no doubt, as disheartened as I when they continue to read the utter nonsense printed in supposedly credible papers and magazines, reported on television and radio, and repeated on ill-informed blog-sites around the web.

It was “officially” published in the Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, Vol. 5, No. 2, June 2002.

  • It was also once available on the ADDitude Magazine site, forwarded to them for publication on Feb 1, 2002, but I have been unable to locate it there for years now (and received no response to numerous requests to explain what happened or to help me find a copy I could post).
  • In any case, the Consensus Statement only can be found below, formatted to make it easier to get through for many of you who struggle with reading.
  • The text below will conclude with the names of only a handful of the 75 signatories, at least some of whose names I’m hoping that some of you will recognize immediately.

If you also take the time to download and print the pdf before it disappears entirely and forever, you will have the names and contacts of all 75 signatories, as well as the amazing references at the end of this document.

If you spend a bit of time reading what these experts signed (reproduced below), perhaps some of you will be inspired to find out who else agrees with them.

There is no better way to silence “the opinionated uninformed” than to slap a copy of the Consensus Statement in front of them and firmly request that they keep their personal opinions to themselves until they are able to refute the cited resources with credible research!

The Experts put it right out there – pulling no punches & mincing no words. 

Help me demonstrate to all 75 of them that they did not waste their time putting it together, acknowledging their ongoing efforts on behalf of each and every one of us — which can only happen with wide distribution leading to an improvement in the way that ADD is understood, worked with, and treated in the press (paving the way for a better understanding and fairer treatment for ALL neurodiverse populations)

The ball is now firmly in your court – EACH of you.


The International Consensus Statement on ADHD

January 2002

We, the undersigned consortium of 75 international scientists, are deeply concerned about the periodic inaccurate portrayal of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in media reports. This is a disorder with which we are all very familiar and toward which many of us have dedicated scientific studies if not entire careers.

We fear that inaccurate stories rendering ADHD as myth, fraud, or benign condition may cause thousands of sufferers not to seek treatment for their disorder. It also leaves the public with a general sense that this disorder is not valid or real or consists of a rather trivial affliction.

We have created this consensus statement on ADHD as a reference on the status of the scientific findings concerning this disorder, its validity, and its adverse impact on the lives of those diagnosed with the disorder as of this writing (January 2002).

Occasional coverage of the disorder casts the story in the form of a sporting event with evenly matched competitors.

The views of a handful of non-expert doctors that ADHD does not exist are contrasted against mainstream scientific views that it does, as if both views had equal merit.

Such attempts at balance give the public the impression that there is substantial scientific disagreement over whether ADHD is a real medical condition.

In fact, there is no such disagreement – at least no more so than there is over whether smoking causes cancer,
for example, or whether a virus causes HIV/AIDS.

The U.S. Surgeon General, the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), among others, all recognize ADHD as a valid disorder.

While some of these organizations have issued guidelines for evaluation and management of the disorder for their membership, this is the first consensus statement issued by an independent consortium of leading scientists concerning the status of the disorder.

Among scientists who have devoted years, if not entire careers,
to the study of this disorder
there is no controversy regarding its existence.

ADHD and Science

We cannot over emphasize the point that, as a matter of science, the notion that ADHD does not exist is simply wrong.

All of the major medical associations and government health agencies
recognize ADHD as a genuine disorder
because the scientific evidence indicating it is so is overwhelming.

Various approaches have been used to establish whether a condition rises to the level of a valid medical or psychiatric disorder.

A very useful one stipulates that there must be scientifically established evidence that those suffering the condition have a serious deficiency in or failure of a physical or psychological mechanism that is universal to humans. That is, all humans normally would be expected, regardless of culture, to have developed that mental ability.

And there must be equally incontrovertible scientific evidence that this serious deficiency leads to harm to the individual.

  • Harm is established through evidence of increased mortality, morbidity, or impairment in the major life activities required of one’s developmental stage in life.
  • Major life activities are those domains of functioning such as education, social relationships, family functioning, independence and self-sufficiency, and occupational functioning that all humans of that developmental level are expected to perform.

As attested to by the numerous scientists signing this document, there is no question among the world’s leading clinical researchers that ADHD involves a serious deficiency in a set of psychological abilities and that these deficiencies pose serious harm to most individuals possessing the disorder.

Current evidence indicates that deficits in behavioral inhibition and sustained attention are central to this disorder –  facts demonstrated through hundreds of scientific studies.

And there is no doubt that ADHD leads to impairments in major life activities, including

  • social relations
  • education
  • family functioning
  • occupational functioning
  • self-sufficiency
  • and adherence to social rules, norms, and laws.

Evidence also indicates that those with ADHD are more prone to physical injury and accidental poisonings.

This is why no professional medical, psychological, or scientific organization doubts the existence of ADHD as a legitimate disorder.

The central psychological deficits in those with ADHD have now been linked through numerous studies using various scientific methods to several specific brain regions

  • the frontal lobe
  • its connections to the basal ganglia, and
  • their relationship to the central aspects of the cerebellum

Most neurological studies find that as a group those with ADHD have less brain electrical activity and show less reactivity to stimulation in one or more of these regions.

And neuro-imaging studies of groups of those with ADHD also demonstrate relatively smaller areas of brain matter and less metabolic activity of this brain matter than is the case in control groups used in these studies.

These same psychological deficits in inhibition and attention have been found in numerous studies of identical and fraternal twins conducted across various countries (US, Great Britain, Norway, Australia, etc.) to be primarily inherited.

The genetic contribution to these traits is routinely found to be among the highest for any psychiatric disorder (70-95% of trait variation in the population), nearly approaching the genetic contribution to human height.

  • One gene has recently been reliably demonstrated to be associated with this disorder and the search for more is underway by more than 12 different scientific teams worldwide at this time.
  • Numerous studies of twins demonstrate that family environment makes no significant separate contribution to these traits.

This is not to say that the home environment, parental management abilities, stressful life events, or deviant peer relationships are unimportant or have no influence on individuals having this disorder, as they certainly do.

Genetic tendencies are expressed in interaction with the environment. Also, those having ADHD often have other associated disorders and problems, some of which are clearly related to their social environments.

  • But it is to say that the underlying psychological deficits that comprise ADHD itself are not solely or primarily the result of these environmental factors.

This is why leading international scientists, such as the signers below, recognize the mounting evidence of neurological and genetic contributions to this disorder.

This evidence, coupled with countless studies on the harm posed by the disorder and hundreds of studies on the effectiveness of medication, buttresses the need in many, though by no means all, cases for management of the disorder with multiple therapies. These include medication combined with educational, family, and other social accommodations.

This is in striking contrast to the wholly unscientific views of some social critics in periodic media accounts that ADHD constitutes a fraud, that medicating those afflicted is questionable if not reprehensible, and that any behavior problems associated with ADHD are merely the result of problems in the home, excessive viewing of TV or playing of video games, diet, lack of love and attention, or teacher/school intolerance.

ADHD is not a benign disorder.

For those it afflicts, ADHD can cause devastating problems. Follow-up studies of clinical samples suggest that sufferers are far more likely than normal people

  • to drop out of school (32-40%)
  • to rarely complete college (5-10%)
  • to have few or no friends (50-70%)
  • to under perform at work (70-80%)
  • to engage in antisocial activities (40-50%)
  • and to use tobacco or illicit drugs more than normal.

Moreover, children growing up with ADHD are more likely to experience

  • teen pregnancy (40%) and
  • sexually transmitted diseases (16%)
  • to speed excessively and have
  • multiple car accidents
  • to experience depression (20-30%) and
  • personality disorders (18-25%) as adults,
  • and in hundreds of other ways mismanage and endanger their lives.

Yet despite these serious consequences, studies indicate that less than half of those with the disorder are receiving treatment.

The media can help substantially to improve these circumstances.

It can do so by portraying ADHD and the science about it as accurately and responsibly as possible while not purveying the propaganda of some social critics and fringe doctors whose political agenda would have you and the public believe there is no real disorder here.

To publish stories that ADHD is a fictitious disorder or merely a conflict between today’s Huckleberry Finns and their caregivers is tantamount to declaring the earth flat, the laws of gravity debatable, and the periodic table in chemistry a fraud.

ADHD should be depicted in the media as realistically and accurately as it is depicted in science – as a valid disorder having varied and substantial adverse impact on those who may suffer from it through no fault of their own or their parents and teachers.


75 International Scientists including, but by no means limited to the following names
(locations and credentials at the time of signing)

A FEW to represent the United States

Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D. – Professor, Depts. Of Psychiatry and Neurology; University of Massachusetts Medical School; Worcester, MA
Kevin R. Murphy, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry; University of Massachusetts Medical School;Worcester
Joseph Biederman, M.D. – Professor and Chief, Joint Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology; Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Boston
Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D. – Asst. Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry; Yale University School of Medicine; New Haven, CT
Stephen V. Faraone, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Psychology; Harvard University; South Easton, MA
Alan Zametkin, M.D. – Child Psychiatrist, Kensington, MD
Steven R. Pliszka, M.D. – Associate Professor and Chief, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; University of Texas Health Sciences Center; San Antonio, TX
Jose J. Bauermeister, Ph.D. – Professor, Department of Psychology; University of Puerto Rico; San Juan, PUERTO RICO

A FEW to represent CANADA

Rosemary Tannock, Ph.D. – Professor of Psychiatry, Brain and Behavior Research; Hospital for Sick Children; Toronto, Ontario
Lily Hechtman M.D. F.R.C.P.  – Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Dir. of Research; Division of Child Psychiatry; McGill University & Montreal Childrens Hospital.; Montreal, Quebec
Charlotte Johnston, Ph.D. – Professor, Department of Psychology; University of British Columbia; Vancouver, BC

A FEW from “Down Under”

Margot Prior, Ph.D. – Professor, Department of Psychology; Royal Children’s Hospital; VIC; AUSTRALIA
Florence Levy, M.D. – Associate Professor, School of Psychiatry; University of New South Wales; Avoca Clinic; Zetland, AUSTRALIA
John S. Werry, M.D. – Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychiatry; University of Auckland, NEW ZEALAND

A FEW to represent the rest of the world

Anita Thapar MB BCh, MRCPsych, Ph.D. – Professor, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Section; Dept. of Psychological Medicine; University of Wales College of Medicine; UK
Eric Taylor – Professor of Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry; London, ENGLAND
Avi Sadeh, D.Sc – Director, Clinical Child Psychology Graduate Program, Director; The Laboratory for Children’s Sleep Disorders; Dept. of Psychology; Tel-Aviv University; ISRAEL
Terje Sagvolden, Ph.D. – Professor, Dept. of Physiology; University of Oslo; NORWAY
Joseph Sergeant, Ph.D. – Chair of Clinical NeuroPsychology; Free University; Amsterdam; THE NETHERLANDS
Christopher Gillberg, M.D. – Professor, Dept. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; University of Gothenberg; SWEDEN

Related References Here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com

Don’t Forget that I am on sabbatical from July 10, 2013 until the second week of September.
Click on See You In September? for why.

ADD Advocacy Posts:
Making a Difference for ADDers & the neurodiverse

Only SOME of what we’re fighting

About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

8 Responses to ABOUT The ADD/HD All-Expert Consensus Statement

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  5. Roxanne Fouche says:

    Great timing with this post, Madelyn! Perhaps the International Consensus Statement can be highlighted during October, ADHD Awareness Month. Thanks for sharing it again.


    • Thanks for your comment, Roxanne.

      I KNOW the International Consensus Statement is not new to many of us (including you and me), but I *also* know that FAR too many of us are unaware it even exists (including the press, apparently ::groan::)

      I would LOVE to see it highlighted during October, ADHD Awareness Month. I’ll be linking to it in the articles I write and the activities I take part in (just as soon as I make a dent in a 10-week backlog in SOME manner that doesn’t leave me needing a hiatus to recover from my sabbatical!!)



  6. Deshawn Wert says:

    I’ve read this the other time it was highlighted on a post. Like you I’m shocked people still think its not real! Thanks for this.


    • Yeah Deshawn!! YOU, however, have better follow-through skills than many of us (or, like me, a greater fascination with the topic than the average ADDer).

      Thanks for taking the time to let me know you are aware of the Consensus Statement (and that you, too, are shocked that many too many people still think ADD is not a real disorder – and get PRESS coverage to say same, more’s the pity.)

      I’m looking forward to getting to know you in ASCT 2014 — yes, given all that’s happened re: Peggy, etc., we’re beginning on January 22 – which makes it 2014, not 2013 (more edits to be made ::groan::)

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.



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