Kate Silverton says being too quick to diagnose children with ADHD can be ‘debilitating’ for them

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • The former BBC journalist said children may just be struggling with emotions¬†

We shouldn’t be so quick to diagnose children with ADHD as such ‘labels’ can be ‘debilitating’, Kate Silverton has said.

The newsreader-turned-child therapist has warned against prematurely putting children on ADHD medication as they may simply be struggling to deal with difficult emotions.

Dealing with the cause of their behaviour and emotional distress is more helpful than simply grouping them under the ‘umbrella’ term to explain it, she has said.

The former BBC journalist, 53, who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2018, has changed careers after getting a degree in child psychology and is now a qualified child counsellor.

‘I know for parents it is terribly distressing when their children are behaving in ways which they just don’t understand,’ she said on Ferne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast.

We shouldn’t be so quick to diagnose children with ADHD as such ‘labels’ can be ‘debilitating’, Kate Silverton (pictured) has said

The newsreader-turned-child therapist has warned against prematurely putting children on ADHD medication as they may simply be struggling to deal with difficult emotions (stock photo)

The newsreader-turned-child therapist has warned against prematurely putting children on ADHD medication as they may simply be struggling to deal with difficult emotions (stock photo)

‘Let’s not look at children as having a problem, but there is something that’s distressing them, and once we can get into that – a lot of these big behaviours they will disappear.’

She added: ‘My message is, really, let’s try to lose the labels if we can.’

Ms Silverton said, while it can be reassuring for parents to have a solid diagnosis for their child, it can be ‘debilitating for children’ and as a consequence, ‘people either over expect or don’t expect so much of them’.

She said: ‘Let’s work with our children with what they’re brilliant at for starters.

‘If children are behaving in a disregulated way, let’s not look at it like that it’s a symptom of ADHD, let’s look at it as a symptom of emotional disregulation – we can work with that.’

Ms Silverton, who is mother to Clemency, 12, and Wilbur, ten, with husband Mike Heron, said we are doing our children a ‘great disservice’ if we’re not ‘stopping to look at the reasons why’ they are behaving a certain way.

‘Until science becomes more advanced, we cannot definitively say that anyone definitively has something called ADHD, it’s not even a medical… It’s a description, an umbrella term,’ she said.

She added: ‘I want to know these children are being seen and being heard and not just being put on medication.’

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