My 16 year old daughter was diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder and then, at the age of 57, so was I. A lifetime of struggle was placed into a context that made sense of a lot of failure and frustration. This blog documents and celebrates what has happened to me since.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

..easier than parenting...

A friends sent me a collection of satirical billboards and in them was one that said "So much easier than parenting...Ritalin."

My first response to that was negative, as I am sure that most people feel when the problems they face in life are discounted by satire.

Ritalin, or any of the drugs used to even the playing field for people who are afflicted by the cluster of conditions grouped under ADD or ADHD, is indeed easier that parenting--as swimming is easier when an intervention removes the rocks from one's pockets. It's makes parenting easier in the same sense that a splint for a broken arm makes parenting a child who has one makes parenting that child easier, in the sense that an anti-biotic or an immunization makes parenting a child easier.

There are children who should not be medicated, who do not suffer from the maladies for which they are medicated, and so a drug regimen is not appropriate or helpful. But two points need to be made:

1. Ritalin is not a drug that "chills" a kid out and makes her easier to deal with, and

2. Ritalin, alone, is rarely effective even with kids suffering ADD or ADHD. In fact, behavioral therapy is the other half of the equation and, if not included, the course if treatment may well not work.

My daughter ran into a classmate this last week who, not knowing her condition, starting spouting what he no doubt heard his parents say over the dinner table--that there is no such thing as ADD or ADHD. And my wife heard a psychologist who works with children "riffing" about how middle class parents are unwilling to accept their children as they are, that they want some of diagnosis and treatment to make their children "better."

I went through about 57 years of my life untreated for ADD, pulling together various behavioral strategies to cope with the condition from self help and time organization books. When I was diagnosed, and given medication, things fell into place.

My daughters, both diagnosed but not having the better part of a life time of experience trying to figure out how to stay on task, how to transition, how to organize and move successfully through this culture, are now on medication and developing those behavioral strategies through a course of therapy, not "hit and miss" as I did. Their school performance, their life in general, is much more productive and happy than it was before the diagnosis and treatment.

"Placebo" said my daughter's class mate, the one who "knows" that there is no such thing as ADD or ADHD.



All you can do is tell the truth, manifest the truth, and wait for everyone else--mostly people who don't have any understanding of the situation except what they might have picked up from a two column inch story in a newspaper or from a professional nay-sayer--to catch up.

And, you know, an inoculation for chicken pox? Yeah--from cows, cow pox. It'll make you grow horns.

1 comment:

Adam Howell said...

I was drugged with the meth-like medications that you are feeding to your kids for many of my childhood years in grade school. They are dangerous in the ways that they cause apnea (sleep deprivation), and destroy a normal appetite throughout the course of a day. Plus they have many other dangerous effects. You are truly abusing your children with stimulant medication, as I once was by my mother. You have a sick way of getting your kids to do well in school. You should try parenting and mentoring them instead.

About Me

My photo
I am a convinced Beanite Friend, a member of Bridge City Friends Meeting, Willamette Quarterly Meeting and North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Notwithstanding the doubts of some who claim the name, I am a Christian who does a Buddhist practice and believes that God talks to everyone, all the time. I have worked in the judicial branch of government, as well as being a trial lawyer, a public school teacher (counselor and coach), a kite merchant, and a Marine Corp Sergeant. I am currently working as a consultant to public and private agencies on issues of child welfare, juvenile justice, and substance abuse treatment courts.