It seems like the increase in poverty amongst children in Belgium creates problems in schools, but is this just paving the way for ADHD* drugs for them?

More frequent requests to suspend primary school pupils


Pupil support agencies in Flanders are getting an increasing number of requests from primary schools to suspend unruly students.

Behavioural problems

Pupil support agencies (CLBs) are receiving more and more requests from primary schools to start suspension procedures against pupils. The number of requests has nearly doubled over the last four years, from 56 in the 2010-2011 year to 109 in the last full school year.

The increased figure can be partly explained by a change in procedure that requires schools to involve CLBs when they are considering suspending a pupil. The procedure doesn’t always lead to a suspension. There are not yet figures available on the number of actual suspensions.

“But we are noticing more behavioural problems among children,” said Stefan Grielens, general director of the VCLB. More pupils are risking suspension because of bullying, constantly interrupting lessons and vandalism, he said, adding that he thinks more children are growing up in poverty. “You also see this trend in the youth welfare sector, where the waiting lists are getting longer and longer,” he said.

Flanders’ children’s rights commissioner, Bruno Vanobbergen, is concerned about the evolution, particularly if the educators want the student to find another school. “A suspension can seriously hinder a child’s course of education,” said Vanobbergen. “It’s very difficult for these children to find a new school.”

According to an article in De Standaard, some pre-schools cannot even deal with the behaviour of certain toddlers anymore. There is no policy to suspend pre-schoolers, but there have been cases in which a CLB had to intervene and assist parents in finding a new school.

ADHD*: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a psychiatric disorder usually diagnosed during childhood. Children with ADHD are often hyperactive (overactive) and have difficulty paying attention and staying focused on tasks. They may interrupt other people’s conversations or be impulsive and impatient. ADHD symptoms can cause problems at home and at school, and often will last into adulthood.

According to The American Psychiatric Association, 5% of children in the US have ADHD. However, studies have shown that 11% of children aged between 4 and 17 years had ADHD in 2011. The prevalence of ADHD is increasing, from 7.8% in 2003 to 11% in 2011. ADHD is more common in boys compared to girls (13.2% and 5.6% respectively).

Treatment options for ADHD in children include stimulant and non-stimulant medications and behavioral therapy.

List of ADHD medication for children

Many medications are available for the treatment of ADHD in children.

ADHD medications for children under the age of 3

  • Adderall (dextroamphetamine/amphetamine)
  • Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine)
  • Dextrostat (dextroamphetamine)
  • ProCentra (dextroamphetamine) oral solution


ADHD Drug Warnings:

There have been warnings from eight countries (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France and Singapore) that ADHD drugs/stimulants cause harmful side effects. These include the following (in order of frequency):

  • heart problems
  • mania/psychosis
  • cardiovascular problems
  • death
  • hallucinations
  • depression
  • violence, hostility or aggression
  • causing seizures
  • agitation or irritability
  • cusing anxiety
  • suicide risk/attempts
  • addiction or dependence





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