View Full Version : Help Children with ADD: Boycott the Council for Exceptional Children

12-07-16, 10:26 PM
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is one of the world's largest special education advocacy groups. Each year, they hold a very large conference - the 2017 conference is being held in Boston and will be attended by parents, teachers, university faculty, researchers, and many, many others.

Each year, CEC offers very few, if any presentations on ADD/ADHD at their conference. While their 2017 Convention and Expo will have more than 500 sessions (!!!), essentially none are devoted exclusively to all children with ADD/ADHD. This is astonishing, especially given the size a scope of their conference.

Please consider signing the Petition to Help Children with ADHD: Boycott the Council for Exceptional Children 2017 Convention & Expo (

Thank you.

12-09-16, 08:55 PM
I'd like to thank the moderators of this forum for their work. It's important for all of us to advocate for those with ADD/ADHD. I urge all forum readers to join the boycott. If you are not familiar with CEC, it's the largest special education advocacy organization and, therefore, it is extremely important to let them know that they're persistent failures to give ADD/ADHD the attention it deserves prevent teachers, educators, and many others from obtaining important information about the disorder.

12-09-16, 10:05 PM
They have 4 sessions about ADHD, and a few more about executive function, which really is pretty lacking, given the size of the convention.

That said, I'm not sure how effective it would be to "boycott" a meeting that most of us (who aren't special ed teachers) weren't planning to attend anyway.

Have you communicated with the organizers about the paucity of ADHD-focused talks? If so, how did they respond? I am curious to know why they seem to neglect ADHD.

12-10-16, 10:00 AM
You raise some very good questions. I'll address the last one, first. Yes, I have spent the last two months trying to obtain the reason why CEC ignores ADD/ADHD at their conferences. Not only have I contacted their Executive Director, President, the person in charge of conferences, and had communications with their membership director but not one has responded to the question. In addition, I was invited to serve as a reviewer for the 2017 Convention (it's rather odd that CEC refers to their meetings as "conventions" - which generally suggests it's a commercial event, unlike other organizations which refer to their meetings as "conferences"). I agreed to be a reviewer as I was curious as to the procedures CEC uses that have consistently resulted in few or no sessions on ADHD. I was appalled to find that the manner in which sessions are selected is biased and not based on the quality of the proposals.

With regard to your second question, why should people who are not special educators join in the boycott, the answer is a bit more complex but here are some of the arguments:

1. CEC is a huge organization that claims (as noted by the link on the petition) to represent ALL teachers to help ALL children.

2. Many people who are not special ed teachers attend the CEC Convention every year; these include: parents, gen ed teachers, school administrators, college professors and their students, government officials, researchers, members of agencies that fund research, and many others. These people all have great influence over what happens to children in schools. Given that 11% of all children (not just special education children) have been diagnosed with ADHD, there is at least one child with ADHD in every classroom in this country.

3. While great progress has been made to help kids with ADHD in schools, we have a very long way to go. Many teachers and administrators still don't "believe" that ADHD exists (really), and many/most have inadequate training; what they do know is often filled with misconceptions. Many still believe that only kids who are hyperactive can have ADHD, while others see these kids as merely being lazy or immature. As someone who has trained teachers for a very long time, I'm still amazed at how many teachers think that the only thing we need to do with ADHD kids is to let them run around to "get rid of excess energy." These misconceptions are transmitted to student teachers as they are being trained. I recently had a couple of students come to me because they were told during their placement in schools that to help children with ADHD do better in schools, they should "do art" because "all ADHD kids like art."

4. I personally know professors (not at my institution) who also "do not believe" that ADHD exists and believe it's just something that "kids grow out of."

5. There many misconceptions and frequent fads that pop up about how to help kids with ADHD. Merchants who serve to make money off of these fads attend conferences such as CEC. When people attend these conferences and see glitzy things in the exhibit halls, and don't have any opportunities to learn about what works and what does not in regular conference presentations, more misinformation is transmitted and millions of dollars are wasted on useless strategies.

5. As CEC is so big, it is often the only event that many stakeholders attend. With essentially no presentations on accommodations, modifications, and interventions to help ADHD kids in schools, stakeholders will have to wait another year (or many more years) before having another opportunity to find out about the latest research to help our students.

6. Given their size, CEC has tremendous influence over policy and funding - by ignoring children with ADHD, decision makers lack opportunities to learn about it.

7. Presumably, many people on this board have ADHD. The likelihood that they have, or will have, children with ADHD is extremely high - the evidence is solid that ADHD is a genetically-based disorder. Also, the likelihood that your child (or you) will be impacted by someone who attends CEC is also very high - even if every teacher does not attend, someone who makes decisions that affects you child's education is likely to be there - a principal, special education director, county or state elected official, etc.

There are many other reasons but it is important to let CEC know that their ongoing refusal to address the needs of children has now caught the attention of those who make a difference - parents, teachers, and others.

12-10-16, 02:31 PM
I signed it. Thank you. They have nothing to lose from me but staying silent does not help. Send a message

12-10-16, 05:14 PM
Thank you so much! Positive changes for exceptional students have always been brought about by concerned people wishing to make a difference. Again, thank you!

12-10-16, 05:59 PM
I signed it. Got lost in the letter thing trying to understand it so didn't finish reading it (having trouble understanding some of it) but I'm sure someone knows what the letter means :o

02-22-17, 01:30 AM
Thank you very much! Please spread the word.