No child that I know of at age two is in a public school classroom, so you can't blame that on teachers. You have homeschooled your child for many, many years to protect him from the public schools. I commend you. That takes a very dedicated person. Most parents have to earn a living and do not have either the time or the money to do what you have done. What they can do is learn what ADHD is and how it can affect their child and teach their child how to cope with this in the real world because it does not magically stop at age 18. Its there for life.
First and foremost, my comment was in response to a post that a parent of a 2 year old posted about the possibility of her son having ADHD. Also, I am not blaming teachers, and I apologize for making it sound that way I know they do not make the decisions, but I am blaming the public school systems for thinking that the answer to the problem is lets just throw all these kids with a label into a seperate classroom, away from the non-labeled kids. How do you think that affects a childs self esteem when they know they do not belong in there, and do not understand why they would have to be in a room with kids that have to be restrained and have major pyschiatric issues when his only issues is that he may need a little more stimulation in how he is taught not because he is incapable of achieving the same goal as his classmates, but achieves it in a different way. There is no middle ground for kids like my son, there is just black and white. More should be done about this instead of everyone taking the easy way out, except for the child involved, who has to pay the price.
And I do have to work to earn a living, and have only homeschooled for 2 years because of years and years of frustration and disappointment with the sysytem. And I understand that not all parents can homeschool, I never said that was the answer, but labeling and medicating kids that do not need to be is not either. Also there is no test to prove ADHD or many of the other labels out there, which it seems there is a label for everything now and a drug to go with it. Drugs do not teach and do not solve everything, like you said yourself, teaching your children about life and the real world is a parents job, and pills will not teach life lessons.
I am proud of standing by my beliefs and fighting for years against a system that thought they knew what was better for my son than I did. My son had one person in his corner and it was me the "dedicated parent" as you referred to me as, which I was, still am, and always will be. And speaking from experience, some parents are pressured into putting their kids on medication, made to think that it is the only way for their child to succeed, which I was naive and young when he was in 1st grade and knew nothing about ADHD.
Now I try to in any way I can to reach as many parents as possible with this information so they can be better prepared than I was. I do agree that there are some that truely need to be on meds, but many kids like my son who are slapped with a label and treated as though he is not like his classmates, not directly of course, suffer the consequences.
Regarding your comment on parents learning more about ADHD, have you yourself done any research on this? Do you have children that have been on Adderall or Ritalin, and do you know the long term effects of taking a stimulant and how it changes your childs entire personality and turns them into a zombie, especially if he does not need them.
Data from the U.S. National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey suggest a 250 percent increase between 1990 and 1998 in the number of children receiving a diagnosis of ADHD? Why all of a sudden the huge increase? Can you answer that?
Good question on the large increase of ADHD. Part of the increase is probably due to coverage of ADHD under the Individual Disability Education Act of 1990 (ADHD was not included in the list of covered services until 1991). This made a huge difference for parents who were struggling to get help for their kids. My guess is that since insurance could now pay for the medicine, the pharmcy companies started a lot of advertising which increased public awareness (and lined the companies pockets with money) and thus the increase in diagnosis. And I am sure there are other factors involved. And yes, I have done a lot of research on ADHD. If you read some of the 300 posts that I have added over the past 3 years, I think you would get that feeling.
I agree with your feelings completely about how your son was handled by the system. I just don't like the generalization to all public schools. The schools are getting better. In the 70's, the children were often in school entirely for them and never stepped into a normal classroom. With the "full inclusion laws", this thankfully now is changing. Probably much more so in middle schools and high schools, and it probably varies by state.
I really agree with your comment about taking the easy way out. It happens way to many times. ADHD and treating it is a very complicated matter. A lot of what goes on in this forum is about providing information to help people deal it. My posts almost always say that the best way to help your child is to become an expert on ADHD. Your experiences with helping your child are important. Its those generalizations that get in the way of the really good advice that you may have to offer.
I totally agree with you on this subject of overdiagnosis. It is pretty much a way for the public school systems to separate certain children into categories or separate classrooms in order for the state testing and requirements are met and the only way they can do this is to label the children. I have been dealing with this since my son has been in Kindergarten. He is now in 6th Grade and we are taking him out of the public school system in January so that I can Homeschool him. My issues have to do with the extreme frustration with the teachers and school district who continue to hold my child back from the learning that he deserves. My son is totally bored and understimulated in the classroom. But, since he is not at all an athlete, he really gets pushed to the side. My son is very intelligent but not allowed to show any of his intelligence and instead is learning the same subjects and curriculum as he learned in 3rd grade. He comes home extremely frustrated and totally upset with the way he is always treated. He continues to have no friends at school and the teachers treat him like he is an outcast. It is ridiculous and it seems to just get worse and worse year after year. I am fed up and the system just isn't working any longer. I totally understand where you are coming from. Thank you for you post, and this will help many other parents so that they are aware of what truely happens in the public school system.
I have spoke to you many times in the past and understand that you are or were a great teacher and Principal. But, unfortunately, not all teachers are like you and not all care about the students like you may or do. The problem is you say that the public schools are getting better by letting ADHD kids in the regular classrom, but this is definitely not the case. They are actually singled out more than ever especially since most children with ADHD do not do well on long test and timed testing. The public schools say that they give them extra time but in reality they do not and continue to put pressure on these children. Their State testing scores are more important and achieving the District funding they need is priority over the students needs. I have read so many journals on this site that have major issues with their public schools and it continues to get to be more and more frequent. It is not always the teachers, it is mainly the restrictions that the State and district officials put on the teachers and unfortunately teachers hands are tied.
The substantial increase of children diagnosed with ADHD is ridiculous and is all a way for the pharmaceutical companies, physchiatrists, psychologists and Public school systems to make more money. It is just out of hand. The long term effects of the meds is not known and many children have issues with their heart and growth due to these meds. Some may certainly need the meds but most of the time, they need a stable home, parents willing to have patience, behavior modification, and teachers that understand that not all children are exactly the same. Most children that need the meds have other major problems that go along with ADHD. ADHD meds are used to make our children into societies mold. I mean look on Tuesday every single child will hear about how the President expects each child to learn and what they want them to learn. So, it is the state and Governments that set these requirements and if you want to have a job or be a teacher you must do what they say or don't teach. It is just becoming more of a problem. I totally respect your opinion and feelings on this matter but do you actually have a child that has been put through any of this? If you have then I would think that you would understand where we are coming from. Our children are our life and we want them to be raised to be the best they can be by trying their best not by being told they have to be a certain way or they will not do anything in Life.
Your post was very well written and it is so nice to hear from someone that knows exactly how I feel, I felt like I was reading a chapter from my life 6 years ago and the battle continued until I pulled him out to homeschool in 10th grade. I am so happy that you are going to homeschool your son, it is the best decision I have ever made and believe me changing schools many times only ended with the same result because the iep says he is ADHD then right back into special ed. class, and the nightmare starts again.
My son did not have alot of friends at that age either, how are they supposed to make friends at school when they cannot socially interact with their other classmates from other rooms because the special ed classes do not intermingle with the "regular classes", and people wonder why our kids have self esteem issues. I just don't understand how they think that it is ok to put all the "labeled kids in one room, some of the kids in there are violent and have major psychiatric issues and they think my son should be in the same room because he talks too much, cannot sit still for long, and learns better interactively than by reading a book.. I don't get that at all, do they not see how damaging that is to their spirit and confidence.
Anytime you need to talk I'm here. I wish I had someone to talk to back then that knew what I was going through. I have seriously considered a career as an advocate or do something that will make a change. I wish these schools could see the damage they are doing to kids like ours that do not fit their cookie cutter mold, but they absolutely do not fit the other end either, there needs to be more than just black and white. Take care and hopefully talk to you soon.
Just so you know when I say "they" in my comments or posts. it is not directed at the teachers and I have never blamed any teacher for what happened, I blame the system and its lack of options for parents like Melissa, myself, and many others. Not all teachers are the same, just like not all students are the same. Also, I need to apologize for getting so upset with you but you did comment on things I never said that made it looks at though I am a teacher hater and you also said in a post that not all parents have the luxury of homeschooling like me, because they have to earn a living, well not once did I say whether I had a job or not. So I hope you can understand my defensiveness.
Its nice to hear from you again. And thanks for a wake up call. I sometimes forget that not all schools, school districts, and states are the same. I over generalized. I agree with virtually everything you said. It is sad that in the rush for test score competency some (many, most ?) schools are completely forgetting the human side of the equation. I do blame the state and federal government for a lot of this.
I am sorry to hear that your own school is doing such a poor job. Do keep in mind that (mainly because of size and thus more choice), middle schools and high schools can do a more acceptable job helping kids (without shoving them into a corner) then elementary schools. So do check up on those choices as they become available. The curriculum does get tougher (mainly math) as your child ages. If I can be of any help to you either in curriculum or getting the schools to listen to you, please let me know.
Kinda realized that I overgeneralized and definitely got defensive myself. I'm sorry. I found it interesting that you mentioned a career as an advocate. I have sat in meetings in our kinda small district here in California where the parents brought in a child advocate. It really made everybody sit up and pay attention to what was being said. Most parents that go to special ed. meetings really have no clue about the process (or even how they or the schools could help their child). I think that advocates could have a very useful function in schools. In many ways, that is what we are doing here. I look forward to more of your posts.
Thank you very much for putting this out there,hope and pray people read this.
I myself have seen what the medicines can do to a child and how it changes them.
The side effects to these medicines are not worth it,and the school and teachers need to realize these things.
My son has been in a school where the teacher should not be teaching ,would call and ask me to come get him if he did things she couldn't handle and would call my son a liar er. And also pushed for us to put him on medicine so she could handle him.
The thing now is that after putting him on two different medicine adderall and then concerta,back in 2006 he started having seizures,witch can be a side effect from both medicines.Witch he was taken off of right away.And never put back on anything.Ans still having seiuzres every even thou on medicines and the VNS put in June 24th this year.
My son is now being home school because he needs it and is best for him at this time,and seem to be doing better with the one on one with a teacher from the school coming to our home for 2 hours a day Monday threw Friday.
Obviously the system must be very different in the US to the UK. Here in the UK we have severe UNDER recognition of ADHD and the trauma it causes to children and parents.
Even so, there will be very few pre school children who are given medication in the UK. It is amazing how differently the problems that children with ADHD have are viewed.
How people choose to manage their child with ADHD is a personal matter and I think it is wrong to suggest that all medication is wrong. For some, along with good behaviour management, medication is an excellent, and in some places vital, tool in the toolbox.
Cheers. I came to the same conclusion vis-a-vis one of my daughters. She is a highly unique and intelligent individual and I never let anyone dumb her down. Every day she surprises me. Imagine what she would have been like if I had drugged her!
I am a special education teacher and we have many wonderful parents who do everything to help their child, awesome teachers who accommodate the child, but they are still not successful. The people who say ADHD is not real or medication is rediculous have obviously never worked with a child with ADHD (maybe the child they did work with or their own child had something else...many mental health or behavioral disorders have similar symptoms of ADHD). .
With that being said, both of my children are diagnosed with ADHD and they have a strong family history on my husbands side of the family (all the men, including their father). My oldest son was diagnosed at 5 and we tried medication (meditate, focalin, concerta) and all of them caused mild seizures (screaming uncontrollably for 20+ minutes when the medication left his system). I gave up on medication and homeschooled him for the remainder of kindergarten. During that time I worked with a behavioral specialist and in first grade he returned to school. We worked very closely with the teachers and did everything research suggested was effective. For 2 years my son never develop friendships, never went a day without getting into trouble (impulsiveness) and failed all tests (but could answer the questions if asked orally). In third grade we drove 100 miles to see a pediatric pshcologist who partnered with a neurologist. The neurologist suggested Vyvance and the psychiatrist said it was obvious medication was the only choice left to help him. The neurologist did a few brain scans when he took each medication and Vyvance was the only stimulant medication that did not cause seizures. Both of my boys have been on Vyvance for 2 years. They have NO side effects. They eat, no belly aches, no neurological problems and they both are making straight A's!
To answe your question, yes in some cases medication is needed but I think general doctors should not be able to prescribe ADHD medication. Just like you wouldnt go to your general doctor if you had a heart attack, because a heart doctor knows the heart inside and out. A pediatric psychologist can make sure the child is properly diagnosed and medication is monitored more closely (and how it responds to the body). Every child is different and every child has their own needs. One medication may be aweful for one child but a blessing for the other.
If you look at the Notes section of the Nurse’s Edition of the psychiatric Diagnostics and Statistics Manual IV under both ADD and ADHD you will see that they both start with, and I quote:
“Cannot be proven to exist in laboratory conditions.”
And yet millions of children are drugged every day with US FDA Class II drugs (this is the same classification as cocaine and heroine) and millions more are treated as if they have this invented “disease “.
What fantastic job those snake-oil salesmen have done…
Before diagnoses are made, a thorough evaluation of the home is in order. Abnormal behavior may not be abnormal if it is engendered by the child's home upbringing. On this forum, when speaking of children with ADD, very little attention is given to its home life.