Thanks, this is how I have always felt about the whole subject, maybe in ignorance of all the psychological, developmental and medical factors - but I do know by own experience that a child can easily feel odd and worthless by being dragged from one specialist and diagnosis to another. Decades ago as a toddler I had my tonsils removed under general anaesthesia and resurfaced as a sleepy listless child. It must have been so bad that my parents sent me to numerous tests and finally administered some LCD laced prescription drugs to "spice me up", just the opposite of ritalin. This mood altering drug apparently sent me over the edge to the point I was terrified of my own parents and it was discontinued. The memory that remains to date is how hurt and lonely I felt that my parents felt something was wrong with me. Heck, maybe it is...:)
My own son happens to be a lively and sometimes high-strung "spirited" child who in some situations could easily be diagnosed as "something in the hyper-active spectrum".
Yet I know his behavior is just the joy of life or the intensity of emotions.
As for the reason of ADD/ADHD being diagnosed as often, I only have two thoughts: if this disorder is indeed on the rise, it may go hand in hand with the feeling of many adolescents and teenagers that life is overloaded with choices of all kinds, leaving them confused, seemingly bored and restless. Dietary factors may contribute to this with the large amounts of sugar that is often consumed. Secondly, if the disorder is over-diagnosed, it only makes sense: a magic pill feeds the industry that makes it and it saves parents the burden of having to eliminate the cause. It is a crazy commercialized world but as parents we still have some options to let natural instincts and common sense reign for our kids.
Here's another thought - Could NOT diagnosing a child with ADD/ADHD, have long term effects on their self-esteem?? It must be devastating for a child to never fit in at school or on the playground or in sports or .....
They are trying to slap my 11 year old daughter with the ADHD label. I did as they said and had her evaluated, filled out a questionnaire and sent it in, then met with a social worker. She cried during the visit and I didn't feel comfortable with it. We did not go back and I am not about to slap her with some label. This is WHO SHE IS. The school system needs to deal with it! So she is busy, finishes her work faster than others and gets bored easily. She does not pay attention to detail at times and gets fidgety. THAT is who ALEXA is. I hate labels and I refuse to give in to their wish to medicate her to make THEIR JOB easier. I agree with all of what you have said. I do not believe giving a label is beneficial to these kids. They need understanding and patience. They need a fast paced environment. Their brains are wired differently but doesn't mean that it is wrong. They are most often very creative, expressive individuals with a huge imagination. They should be allowed to express their indiviuality and the teachers should learn how to COPE and adjust to a student like this.
You are quite right this is what is happening in huge proportions, and these children are given Horrendous Drugs with side effects and long term behavior problems, Stick to your feelings about this look up Peter Breggin.com and see the enormity of the problem., it will shock you.
I am a teacher. I agree that there is an overwhelming number of children being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Most don't have it. They are typical children. Every child tested for this has some symptoms. The key is in the degree and severity of it. Some children do have ADD/ADHD and need help. As a teacher, I have seen children medicated that did not need it and children NOT medicated that did need it. Teachers are certainly not doctors, but neither are mothers. Teachers are educated professionals capable of dealing with an active, spirited child on a daily basis. No teacher wants to see a lifeless child medicated beyond interaction. What learning can take place there? If a child is experiencing this, the dosage is too high or the type medication is not correct for that child. On the other hand, I have seen children whom without medication cannot function on a daily basis. It is such a disservice to these children to allow them to go untreated. What learning can take place there either? I disagree however that the school should just deal with it! If a child cannot function at school, consider those long term effects. Will they be able to function in the workplace? Will they be able to hold down a job? Think about the future. Also, think about having 26 to 30 students in a classroom who are trying to learn. Are you willing to sacrifice their education b/c you don't want a child who NEEDS meds to take them? I'm not saying every active, spirited child needs meds. I'm saying there are truely children who need meds in order to function. I don't believe teachers promote putting children on meds to make their lives easier. If they do, they need to change jobs. Teachers want what's best for your child the same as you do.
I have a 12 yo son and I very strongly suspect (and have for years) that he has ADHD. We have viewed him as simply "spirited", but I have read books on the subject, worked on behavior modification, tried biofeedback, herbal supplements, vitamins, diet change, Ayurvedic remedies, etc. I did not do these things one after another, but one at a time, when my son would reach a point where he has told me he feels bad or thinks something is wrong with him, I have tried to do various things to help without going for a diagnosis, label, and medication.
I am now at the point where I'm thinking what jdtm said. My son's self-esteem is really suffering--he has no impulse control, struggles with schoolwork, feels like a "bad kid" because he seems to upset everyone all the time. He's cried and asked me to take him to the doctor to see what's "wrong" with him. I'm convinced that his self-esteem couldn't be any worse had he been diagnosed years ago. Actually, if he had been diagnosed and had gained some control over himself and had more positive interactions with people, perhaps his self-esteem would be better.
I have been adamantly opposed to getting a "label' and medicating--too worried about the potential long-term effects of the meds and having the label follow him through life when perhaps it was something he would grow out of as he matured. But now that he's older and seems to be struggling more (maybe because hormones are coming into play along with the impulse control and attention issues), I've decided to talk to his doctor about it. We home school, but I'm certain that he would have been diagnosed (and likely medicated) had he been in school.
I think there likely is an over-diagnosis of it--I think that typical spiritedness can be viewed as ADHD when the disruption in class is too much and there is a need to make the teacher's and fellow students' lives easier (and in a group setting like that, I can see where it would be difficult to have rambunctious children running around), but it is a really a sad, unfortunate thing for the kids who are struggling in that environment and may really not have ADHD.
Parents should do what they feel is right after doing research and finding out as much as they can. You weigh the odds and do what you feel is right for your child.
I agree that there have been alot of children who have been diagnosed,
when the need was not neccesary. That is why, further research on the
subject should be taken into consideration.
Although, I believe that EVERY possibility must be ruled out before
taking the step of diagnosing a child. Because when you think about it,
there are so many factors that should be taken into thought.
So much of the following could have an impact on their education:
educational material, environment, study habits, teachers, etc.
So many people are quick to overlook these possibilities.
If there is one thing that I would want people to understand,
is that ADD/ADHD is NOT a handicap. If anything these people
are much more eccentric, and smarter than we are!! There are
plenty of successful athletes, doctors, CEO's, movie stars, artists, etc,
who have this and continue to be completely successful in life.
These are all really interesting comments from a broad range of experience.
If teachers were to suggest my spirited son had ADD/ ADHD, I would definitely avoid the meds but take it as an opportunity to find out when and why things went wrong, find solutions together, not shoving the whole burden into the teachers` lap.
After working for 12 years, I once had the opportunity to teach my area of expertise to students who were barely one generation younger than myself. I quit after one year after I realized they all expected to be entertained every minute of the day, like a bunch of preschoolers who can only learn in a fun environment. When it was time to apply focus, endurance and brains, most of them moaned and complained. A teacher now has to be a show master for kids of whom the majority never learned to focus.
I truly believe it starts long prior to school. When my son was born 6 years ago and probably a decade before that, the trend was that toddlers up to students best learn in a playful environment - and to keep it playful, a lot of pressures and expectations were reduced or eliminated. The times when certain skills were simply trained by repetition and endless practice were gone. It is an instand gratification world.
For numerous reasons a lot of today`s parents, including myself, missed out on letting their toddlers and preschoolers experience the frustration of having to work on their goals but also the joy of achieving them. There are great exceptions of course but overall I see a lot of restless kids and young adults who just lack the ability of delayed gratification. I believe that the bulk of misdiagnosed ADD/ ADHD may stem from this early derailed development and the rest may truly be ADD/ADHD. Sorry this got so long...
Had you asked me this a year ago, I would have felt differently than I do now. Let me explain. I believe that diagnosis and medication for AD/HD is over used. Have believed that for many years and still believe that today. But see, now I have a horse in the race so to speak. I have a wonderful, beautiful, funny, sensitive, and intelligent little girl who just turned 7 and I suspect has AD/HD-inattentive. She is not hyper, she is actually very well behaved and conscientious about doing the right thing and behaving the right way.
Recently I have noticed more and more of a struggle with organization, attention, and follow through. At home she is always misplacing her items, she seems to forget things I ask her to do (example: "honey go to your room and get dressed and bring your backpack" she will be gone 5-6 minutes and not dressed with a backpack or even nothing, after reminding her she leaves again takes another 5-6 minutes and has maybe gotten dressed but most likely not and has brought something else, or started another project, or just doesn't remember what I asked her to do!).
At school she is not completing some daily assignments. When I asked the teacher the reason for this, she says that my daughter is usually the last to turn in work. She says she will get a good start, but then she loses her. She says my daughter will just stare into space for long periods of time, and she has to ask her to get back on task repeatedly during the day. She is also very easily distracted by a conversation that is taking place on the opposite side of the room.
I am worried about her. I have scheduled an appointment with her pediatrician, where we will rule out the possibility of petit-mal seizures. Then we are running a gammot of tests to see what is going on. If she is ADHD-inattentive, we don't have to run to medication, we can learn coping skills that will help and simplify her life some.
I think we would be doing children who could benefit from medication a huge disservice by not giving them medication if they need it to cope and live a more normal life. But the decision to medicate is not one that should be taken easily, or lightly and if my child is diagnosed with ADHD--we will try all roads before we go medication, but let me say that I will not rule medications out. It would be like saying I was afraid of getting her glasses. We get them what they need, but we study, research, and figure out what is best for that child.