Friday, February 18, 2011


This seems to be one of the most controversial topics when it comes to medication for a child who is diagnosed with ADHD.  It seems that anyone I encounter with a negative opinion has not researched the issue.  They base their opinions on hear-say, old trends and sometimes even religious convictions.

This is not an effort to bash those with a negative opinion.  However, it segues quite easily into my first point; RESEARCH.  Just as you need to be well versed on laws pertaining to your child's diagnosis, you need to be up-to-date on information pertaining to current ADHD treatments.  The days of the zombie child on Ritalin are long gone.  There are many different kinds of medication and side effects for each one.  Do not become Dr. Google and rely on information you have found on Wikipedia, message boards, or even blogs.  Yes, even mind. Instead, go to reliable sources of information on the internet.  Here is a link to over 200 articles on the Mayo Clinic website on ADHD. The Mayo Clinic is a fabulous site on which to do your research on medical issues. It is much more reliable than message boards or anything that can be edited by regular folks and not medical professionals.  You can also go on Google Scholar and search Journal Articles on any topic.  These are articles published in scholarly journals.  That means that they are research based articles and not based on opinion.  You can research from the comfort of your own home.  You can also go to the library and check out books or read articles on your topic of research.  You really don't have to spend any money to become educated, just take the time to read.

Now on to why we chose to put our child on medication.  There are several reasons...

First, I am a teacher.  I've seen children from many different backgrounds with many different issues.  In my eleven years of experience, I have seen more children than I can count who benefit from medication for ADHD.  These same children who are on medication are usually completely different people on a day that a pill is forgotten.  I can well remember one particular child that I could just look at in the morning and his whole demeanor told me if he was on meds or not.  I have seen children who are failing everything go on medication and begin to excel in school.  I have also seen children who have parents who for whatever reason have chosen to not medicate their child.  I respect parents for their choices, but I've also watched their child suffer through trying to keep up with the pace of the class, be on the same page in the book as us, complete assignments, etc.  I have even seen a student who's parents took him or her off medication and then the student became impulsive.  What was once a trustworthy dependable child became a child who was lying and stealing every time I turned around.  Clearly, I have seen quite more benefit than harm in medication for children with ADHD.  In all of my years, I think I've seen maybe one student who was "zombie-fied" by the medication, but a change in meds fixed that problem.  I have seen decreased appetites.  However, medication can be adjusted for that issue as well.  Again, research is key.

Have a conversation with your doctor.  If your pediatrician doesn't answer all of your questions they way you want, then spend the money to see a child Psychiatrist.  We have not gone this route yet, but it remains an open option if we start experiencing changes with medication.

We wanted our son to have the best opportunity possible to reach his full potential.  We want him to be able to do whatever he wants in life and we don't want a low attention-span to hold him back.  We felt that with careful consideration and monitoring of medication our son could be helped tremendously.  I am proud to say that now after taking over a week to finish this post, our son has been on medication for 2 weeks now.  There will be a post to come on that as well, but so far so good.

Our journey is just beginning.  Don't rush to judgement on an option for ADHD medication.  Do your homework and base your conclusion on real research and not hear-say.

1 comment:

  1. Punishing a child for something he or she cannot control is cruel. Alecia is absolutely right. ADHD meds level the playing field, nothing more. It worked wonders for my son and it worked for me. Austin is a lucky kid and we are all lucky Alecia is sharing her story with us.Thanks, Alecia.