Stop Labeling our kids..
I so agree that it's easier to slap a label than deal with behavior issues. We need more parenting, not more drugs.
Not having read the article (because the link didn't work for me)...
Originally Posted by BonnieV
I have just had the most amazing weekend.
I have two children DD(8) and DS(6). We are strict parents and our kids "get away with" almost nothing. DD rarely, if ever, does anything wrong. DS however is in trouble constantly. He can ruin the most perfect day. We plan something fun and within 2 and a half seconds he turns it into a chore. We like to eat out but its exhausting. We like to eat in but a trip to the grocery store takes the patience of Job. Life was truly miserable - for me, for DH and for DD (who often wishes DS "wasn't like he is").
DS has been this way since we adopted him at 12 months of age. He used to scream in anger for hours if he didn't get what he wanted. Literally hours. He was willfully destructive. He was NEVER EVER EVER still. We couldn't do any activity that was focused on him because he would make it focused on him. I used to look at other children in playgroup, at pre-school, in the neighbourhood so enviously. He couldn't play appropriately with other children. When they didn't want to play with him they would push him away and he wouldn't even understand that, he would just push back and laugh as if it were a game. I was worried to send him to school because I knew that without me there so point out was was inappropriate; how he shouldn't hit other children; how he needed to wait his turn; how he needed to listen quietly there would be problems. And problems there were right from the start. Everything came to a head this fall when his teacher called us in to show us how his desk had to be placed in a seperate section of the classroom (seperated from the other students by a cinder block wall) for him (and the other students in the class) to get any work accomplished. Academically he was doing fine but socially things were completely out of control.
In the fall we had him evaluated by a psychologist. He was put through a battery of testing over three days. She noted many things: his extremely high IQ; his ability to grasp concepts quickly; his extremely poor memory skills (he can't remember the beginning of an equation like 2 + 2 long enough to provide the answer); his inability to read non-verbal cues in others (because he can't concentrate long enough to see them). His disappointment in himself because he is ALWAYS in trouble and really wants to please. he was diagnosed with "ADHD Combined type". That wasn't a surprise but the deficits it caused in his abilities was eye-openning. It never occured to me that it could affect him so broadly. Things I previously thought were willfull were more fully explained and I could see how they would be impossible for him to help.
Last Thursday we started him on Ritalin but he was at school and I couldn't see the effects. I really wasn't expecting miracles. Saturday I thought it was just may imagination how 'normal' he seemed. He wasn't the perfect boy (at one point he scratched his sister in the face in a fight over a Pokemon card) but he was different. One fallout from the Pokemon incident - he got a serious talking to (and lost his Pokemon cards) and when he left the room DH said to me "did you see, he was looking at you when you were speaking to him?" (something DS normally can't do) He's not even on a full dose yet but I can tell you almost precisely when the medication wears off and old DS emerges. It's actually kind of sad watching his mind move too fast for him to handle.
We had a wonderful weekend. We went to the grocery store and he held DH's hand willingly and listened when cautioned not to touch anything. He didn't run through the aisles and handle all the buns in the bakery. He didn't poke holes in the meat packages. We didn't have to put our LARGE 6 year old in the cart in exasperation. We went out for breakfast and he patiently waited for his order and we chatted happily like a family. He didn't fight over crayons with his sister and CONSTANTLY drop them on the floor. He didn't shout or sing or comment on the other patrons in a loud and disruptive manner. He stopped talking long enough to actually eat without being cajoled. He listened to his coaches at soccer and actually got something out of soccer practice. Ditto hockey practice. He was a normal boy; something I've never experienced with him.
So ya. Before DS I too would roll my eyes whenever I heard ADHD. But what I've learned over the last 6 years (or maybe even 3 months) is that yes, labels are passed out willy-nilly and excuses are made for everything but wow within all those over-diagnosis are some children really getting the help they need to function in society. That's more important to me than whether the kid accross the street really needs drugs or just has terrible parents (cause what business is it of mine anyways).
Allegro - I saw MB reference this post on PNO, so I came to take a look and I wanted to add my "yay!" to MB's. As a mom of a child w/ combined ADHD, I feel like finding the right medication brought us out of the depths of hell (OK, that's a little dramatic, but any mom of an ADHD child knows what I mean!). I can completely relate to the sense of relief after finding the right medication. I get that the anti-medication crowd is well-intentioned, but until you've walked in my shoes and observed the immense difference between my child before and after medication, your opinion is honestly worthless to me ("you" and "your" meaning the universal anti-med crowd). I don't like that my son needs to be on Adderall as it affects his appetite and sleep, but there's a greater good being served here. I resisted the meds for years due to my own stubbornness wrt not wanting to medicate my child. It was only through educating myself that I began to understand the true physiological nature of ADHD and that I was doing a disservice to my son and basically setting him up for failure. I hope the Ritalin continues to work and you continue to see improvement. Good luck!
Thanks so much Ally. You know I worry about the medication and its affect on him. So far we're not experiencing any side-effects but he's only on 10 mg a day (the doctor thinks he will need 20 mg a day. It's wearing off much earlier than it should so I know his dosage isn't high enough). I've watched his appetite like a hawk since he started and haven't seen a shift (he eats like a full grown man). I'm also worried about his growth as I've read that methylphenidate can stunt growth (although it doesn't seem the changes are all that big). And I worry about his sleep patterns because the one reprieve we've always had is that he has ALWAYS been a good sleeper.
But he's just a different kid on the meds. A child I never thought I would ever see. All the good parts about him that I love are there to enjoy and the awfulness that made him very hard to like sometimes were just gone. Even when the medication had obviously worn off he was better. He wasn't exhausted from working so hard all day to control his impulses so he was better able to deal. He was feeling better abouthimself because he hadn't spent the entire day being constantly corrected and redirected. Further I was more patient because it hadn't been a full day slog. I hadn't even realized the extent it was negatively affecting our family as a whole until the medication. It didn't just help DS; it helped us all.
Yesterday I signed him up for a hockey camp over his March break. I never would have done that pre-meds. It would have been a waste of money for me and just unfair to the rest of the kids in the group that would have had to deal with DS. Now he can have fun like a regular kid.
I am so glad it's working for you.
My dd (10) just started on Concerta (ritalin) and the next day she thanked me for putting her on the medication. She said she felt like she could focus for the first time ever in school. I was blown away, and a little sad that we hadn't persued it in K, when we first noticed the trend.
Allegro, I also saw your post on PNO. I'm so glad
life is getting better. I've made an appointment for my ds to get checked for ADD and our appointment is in April. I've delayed this since the first of the school year because I couldn't imagine giving my child drugs. But he is having such a hard time with school and paying attention. He is not stupid but he thinks he is and it's starting to affect his self esteem. He has a great teacher and we've been working together to help him. I don't want to do him a disservice by not getting him checked. I also recently found out that his 40 something cousin was medicated as a child for ADD. He discontinued the drugs while in high school and is doing fine and he's the most stable of DH's nephews.
Thanks for sharing your experience.
My ds is also adopted and was exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero. He has ADHD too. The difference between him on Vyvanse and not on it is incredible. You get to see the kid inside the kid. It is often hidden. Is it a cure all. No. We still have a lot of behavioral issues but at least we can work on them now because he is receptive. His body needs this drug. He knows he needs it too. Another advantage of the "label" is he is able to get classroom support and social skill lessons at school. He has some language issues that are also being addressed in the classrom. He would have nothing to help him without the label. So I'm perfectly fine with it.
I would bet you my breakfast that this is a Scientology-sponsored site.
Originally Posted by BonnieV
You won't lose your breakfast on that bet. The group behind the video is CCHR, an anti-psychiatry group founded by Scientologists.
Originally Posted by AmyB
for the record..
I am not a scientologist. I think medications are very useful when truly indicated. I also believe they are handed out to both children and adults much more often than indicated. I'm not a big fan of pharmaceuticals.