Should AOPA work on creating, streamlining, and simplifying the special issuance process for ADHD?

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by N918KT, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. N918KT

    N918KT Line Up and Wait

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    Is ADHD still common among children and adults in the U.S.? If so, do you think AOPA should work with the FAA on creating, streamlining, and simplifying the special issuance process for a medical for pilots and prospective pilots who have ADHD, including simplifying and streamlining the process for those who were misdiagnosed with ADHD?

    If ADHD is that common in the U.S., I think we are turning away a good chunk of pilots and would-be pilots if they have ADHD. If AOPA is really concerned with increasing the pilot population they should help simplify the process for those who have ADHD and especially those who think they were misdiagnosed with ADHD.
     
  2. Sam D

    Sam D Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I understand they've been working on it but keep getting distracted by other things.
     
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  3. N918KT

    N918KT Line Up and Wait

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    LOL!!!
     
  4. KA550

    KA550 Pre-takeoff checklist

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  5. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Those peeps with ADHD don't like to wait for the SI's.
     
  6. midcap

    midcap Cleared for Takeoff

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    LoL...good luck
     
  7. John221us

    John221us En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Maybe I am reading the OP's post wrong, but there is no issuance for ADHD. The only course is to get the diagnosis reversed (i.e. HIMS psych exam). Certainly mis-diagnosis is the main issue, but I am not sure how you would shortcut that. A Dr. is going to have to contradict the diagnosis of another Dr.
     
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  8. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm sure it's a troll. Nobody wants truly ADHD afflicted to drive an airplane. Not even the ADHD afflicted.

    Incorrect diagnosis is a whole 'nuther topic....
     
  9. MassPilot

    MassPilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    Someone with true ADD/ADHD has no business piloting a plane. That said, there are lots of people that were prescribed adderall/ritalin when they were kids because they were bored in school and acting out and their teachers/parents just wanted to drug them up so they were easier to deal with. Now they're adults and have been off the drugs for years and are fine because they never really had ADD/ADHD, but they have to jump through all kinds of hoops to get their medical. I definitely think the FAA should streamline the process for them.
     
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  10. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not sure that anyone knows how common ADHD actually is. I think the general feeling is that it's over/mis-diagnosed, though. Because of that, it may be hard to tell just how "real" it is.
     
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  11. tspear

    tspear Line Up and Wait

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    ADD/ADHD are a sliding scale.
    Everything from minor to extreme.
    There is only one diagnosis level last I looked.

    Never considered it from the FAA perspective. But why in the world ADD/ADHD matter for the FAA?

    Tim
     
  12. Mason

    Mason Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Kevin is not troll.
     
  13. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Okay I'll rephrase. l agree that ADHD folks should not drive airplanes and no effort should be expended to change the status quo. There are sound reasons for the current regulations.
     
  14. Lachlan

    Lachlan Line Up and Wait

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    Ever notice how ADD/ADHD popped up right after it became a crime to spank kids? Now get off my lawn.

    SI for ADD/ADHD? What's next? Concealed carry permits for convicted felons upon release from the psychiatric hospital? Felonies have a sliding scale, too. ;)
     
  15. midcap

    midcap Cleared for Takeoff

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    That's probably where scoring to the airman's standards comes into play.
     
  16. tspear

    tspear Line Up and Wait

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    Exactly, I know people who have rather server ADHD. The two I am thinking of are friends of my kids. They were both taking 60+ mg of Ritalin to get through school. Now, out in the work force doing what they enjoy? Neither takes anything.

    Tim
     
  17. Clip4

    Clip4 Pattern Altitude

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    Less that 3% of the US adult population are pilots. About 5% of children have been diagnosed with ADHA. Net result is less than 1000 pilots.
     
  18. Clip4

    Clip4 Pattern Altitude

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    I noticed it after they banned Lawn Darts, but it took a long time for the medical world to document it.
     
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  19. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route PoA Supporter

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    The problem with changing the current situation for past ADHD diagnosis with the FAA is it requires a doctor to admit they were wrong. Either the original doc or the FAA docs. The only thing harder to do than that is to get a pilot to admit they were wrong. Well, ok, getting an engineer to admit they were wrong is pretty hard too.
     
  20. Rushie

    Rushie Line Up and Wait

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    How about a pilot and an engineer AND a firstborn? Married to each other.
     
  21. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Best of luck to you! :D
     
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  22. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    It's a LOT less than 3%.

    When I was a kid, no one had ADHD, no one was "allergic" to peanuts, and there was one fat kid in a class of 35.
     
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  23. Rushie

    Rushie Line Up and Wait

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    When I was a kid, I don't recall anyone being ADHD in class. Playground equipment was like this:

    http://tstbob.blogspot.com/2009/12/walk-down-memory-lane-to-dangerous.html

    Everyone got their wiggles out during recess, and besides, if they didn't sit still in class, they'd be whacked by Sister Brenda Marie (or a regular teacher in public school).

    And yes I remember there being only one fat kid, on average, per classroom. If you were fat it was completely genetic, not diet and lack of exercise, because everyone walked to school, rain, shine, or snow. I walked alone to my first grade class when I was six years old. It was unheard of for a parent to drive you, and only a few outliers rode in on a bus. Everybody else walked, and we walked home for lunch, without any checking in or out with the front office.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  24. tspear

    tspear Line Up and Wait

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    yeah, I know life was really hard. You had to walk ten miles uphill BOTH ways....

    Tim (could not resist, old geezers always had it harder....)
     
  25. Rushie

    Rushie Line Up and Wait

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    I guess I've achieved geezerhood, or since I'm female, old biddie hood? :D I think life was far more fun. I can remember carving out tunnels through the piles of snow that the plows had pushed up beside the street and crawling through them on the way to school and having to yank off wet boots and snow suits and hang them in the gym to dry. As compared to today, riding to school strapped into your booster seat with a harried mom or dad dropping you off on the way to work. I feel sorry for kids these days, they have no clue what they're missing.
     
  26. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Final Approach

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    Sort of like I remember school life in the 60s and 70s. Things are so different now and I'm not sure why it is so. ADHD, autism, aspergers, etc. were all unheard of to my recollection. Allergies seemed to be more rare as well. We were pretty much free range as long as we did our chores and were home for dinner. Most of us boys carried pocket knives to school but there were no stabbings and certainly no shootings though most had guns at home. A large percentage rode the bus as it was a rural school system. Those in town mostly walked. Few had mommy or daddy drive them. So different.
     
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  27. N918KT

    N918KT Line Up and Wait

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    Just wondering guys, but if you are a parent and the school let you know that they want their child to be tested to see if they have ADHD, Autism, etc what would you do? Would you go to the extent to refuse evaluation to your child, to the point if its obvious or likely they have it, just so they won't have trouble getting a pilot medical down the road in case they want to learn to fly? Would you try to figure out other ways to treat your child besides a label and medications?
     
  28. Rushie

    Rushie Line Up and Wait

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    I would absolutely refuse to allow anyone other than a professional chosen by myself to do any evaluation. That actually happened to us, when our daughter's teachers suggested we have her tested, so I picked a psychology practice and got her tested. No ADHD, autism, etc. just a very high IQ and she was bored into a coma at school. So they switched around her classes, got her into the gifted program and she was fine after that.

    I truly believe a majority of these "problem" children are in reality problem schools. They teach to the middle of the bell curve. Children more than one standard deviation on either side are going to be miserable all the way through. The gifted programs and "special" programs (for the other end) only partly address the problem. There is a terrible lack of crafts for kids who will always be more physically inclined. On top of that is the lack of exercise and terrible diet we've been talking about. I feel you have to peel away all these factors before considering whether a child might have true ADHD.

    Knowing everything I know now I would have handled it differently with our daughter. Knowing now that every visit to a professional gets permanently inked into her records for life, I would not have taken her to a psychologist but would have embarked on sleuthing on my own. I probably would have come to the same conclusion. If all else failed I would have pulled her out of school and homeschooled her which we did in fact do with our second child who had even worse problems and who I believe is off the chart intelligent although I never got her formally tested.

    I think ADHD is real and in rare cases should be managed with pharmaceuticals but I would rule out all other possibilities before I took my child down that road, including removing all sugar and processed foods from their diet. When we pulled our second child out of school in the middle of tenth grade, the turnaround was immediate and profound. She became a very happy and normally behaved child and went on to do excellently in college. The very worst thing we could have done would have been to take her to a general doctor with a complaint of "can't pay attention in school" and have him put her on a drug and force her to stay in public school.

    But to your question, "if it's obvious" they have ADHD, would I refuse to get them evaluated just to avoid problems getting a pilot's license? No I would not. But first of all no lay person can diagnose "obvious" ADHD. The kid will need a thorough checkup to rule out physical disorders such as asthma, allergies, hypoglycemia, thyroid problems, hearing or vision problems, etc. etc. there's a ton of stuff that can mimic behavioral disorders. The trouble is, when you take them for this checkup, and the general doctor concludes ADHD, you then have to say, "No thank you, I'm taking her to a psychiatrist to confirm this," and at that point you have the dreaded diagnosis in the record anyway.

    So at that point, then yes, I would then take the kid to the pediatric mental health professional of my choosing and if ADHD were confirmed with testing, consider treatment up to and including pharmaceuticals. At that point I would sadly accept they may not be safe to be a pilot. Just like if they were an alcoholic or drug addict. I'm not about denying reality, I am about a correct diagnosis, and about not hanging someone with a diagnosis until it is correct.
     
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  29. N918KT

    N918KT Line Up and Wait

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    Great post and thanks for answering my question!
     
  30. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I've been down that road. My kids don't take any meds. Their behavior is managed in other ways. The school doesn't get to decide what's best for your child.
     
  31. tspear

    tspear Line Up and Wait

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    lol, well played. I agree.

    Tim
     
  32. bbchien

    bbchien Final Approach

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    Kevin, this isn't changing.....
     
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  33. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  34. SaltH2OHokie

    SaltH2OHokie Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If that's the case, it seems it's unnecessarily writing off potential pilots at no fault of their own.

    Our flying club has had two potential members have trouble with medical because of childhood adhd treatment, having not taken an adhd drug in a decade or more. One gave up on flying because of the daunting road ahead to prove he didn't have something that he hasn't been treated for since the early 90's.

    I understand the argument that someone who truly has adhd might not be fit to fly, but there has to be some acknowledgement that a chunk of those with a treatment history for adhd, don't have it, and never did. The only way out of that trap accidentally set by their parents many years prior is $$$$ and multiple doctor visits?
     
  35. bbchien

    bbchien Final Approach

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    It doesn't. See, ADD is a spectrum form normal comprehension and cognition to the far extreme as portrayed by the cartoon dogs in the movie "UP!". The agency only requires that you show that you can beat the bottom 15th-percentiles.
    In the case noted, the fault of the parent for not insisting on a qualified opinion before allowing the school district to pill their kid unnecessarily- well that's not on the FAA......their view is "show us.... with a treatment history for adhd, don't have it, and never did" is so.

    There is a waiver pathway, you just have to do it. there is no way in our culture to get the qualified evaluator except to pay what it takes to get the proper evaluation. Kevin had been refusing to do this for over six years, IIRC. Not it's not "cheap", but do really want "Frank's Neurosurgery" (storefront from the Far Side) evaluating your brain?

    B
     
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