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Understanding the consequences of uncontrolled ADHD is vital for parents, educators, and authority figures. In her article for the Atlanta Black Star, Nareissa Smith describes how the consequences of uncontrolled ADHD disproportionately impact Black youth, especially in the educational and professional settings. 

Two explanations are provided for how ADHD is currently handled in the Black community. First, there is research that suggests that African Americans are less familiar with ADHD as a whole. This lack of information results in a situation where Black children with ADHD are less likely to be supported in addressing their symptoms and seeking adequate medical care. 

Second, Black students with ADHD are perceived differently than their white counterparts. They are much more likely to be misdiagnosed with conduct disorder, subjecting them to further stigmatization and marginalization. In contrast, white students exhibiting ADHD symptoms are more likely to be appropriately diagnosed and treated.  

Understanding these realities is crucial to treating ADHD in the Black community. Black students already face the risks of unjust disciplinary action and the school-to-prison pipeline. These risks are even higher for Black students with ADHD, who can suffer severe, lifelong consequences when their condition is mismanaged in their childhood years. 

To better support Black youth with ADHD and to ensure that they are appropriately diagnosed and treated, it is essential that we increase ADHD education and screening in the Black community and diversify the teaching and health professions. With this kind of understanding, support, and representation, Black children and their families may be able to receive equitable care [1].

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[1] Smith, N. (2017, November 5). Are Black People Giving ADHD Enough Attention? Atlanta Black Star. https://atlantablackstar.com/2017/11/05/black-people-giving-adhd-enough-attention/

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