I saw a Twitter post today that lead to a video which threw me into a righteous rage.
Three years ago, our oldest was diagnosed with ADHD. The diagnosis was hard enough to swallow, much less all that followed. Research had to be done, decisions made, a process gone through. After numerous discussions, it was our decision to use medications to help our child. Since the day that decision was made, I’ve felt I’ve had to justify our choice, and my standing as a “good mom.” ADHD kids carry enough stigma. So do their mothers. I see that look on some people’s faces when I tell them he has ADHD……the “Oh, really?” look, and/or the look that says, “You just can’t control your kid so you choose to medicate instead of becoming a better parent.”
First of all, ADHD is a real condition. There is medical science that proves the brain of an ADHD child is wired differently, somehow works differently. There is medical science which proves the medications help that brain settle so it can focus on tasks upon which it must focus for that child to be successful in so many ways. Do you know how painful it is to watch your six, seven, eight year old come home from school devastated because he’s gotten in trouble (again) for some impulse he simply cannot control? Or how painful it is to watch that same boy lose all confidence in his academic abilities because he cannot focus long enough to complete the tests and tasks which show how brilliant he is? I spoke with his second grade teacher yesterday afternoon. She told me something she never had before…..that after he started taking the medications, he looked at her with a stunned and very pleased look on his face and said, “I can hear you now.” That second grader who struggled to stay at grade-level for reading, math, and just about everything else took flight. He’s now a successful fifth grader at the top of his class across the board. He is NOT a zombie. We still see his silly side. He acts a normal 11-year-old boy. There is no hiding his light in a fog of medication because that simply isn’t how it is. And yet, I still have to, almost daily, justify our decision to medicate.
This Twitter post and video basically said the pharmaceutical companies are getting the doctors to diagnose more and more kids with ADD/ADHD so they can get more kids on these drugs, and that those kids’ lights are being hidden, snuffed out by medication. You know, maybe some doctors don’t take the same kind of approach ours takes, or maybe there are parents who push for a diagnosis and get their kids over medicated because they can’t control them. That is so not the case for us. And I am beyond tired of being thrown into that, or any similar, category. We have the blessing of being a well-educated set of parents who research and ask questions. We also are aware that once a decision is made, it does not have to be the final decision when dealing with ADHD. This was our starting point, a decision we revisit every six months with the help of teachers and our pediatrician. Our son is allowed to ask questions and give his own input into the discussion.
So don’t judge, please, especially if you, Mr. Know-it-all who tweeted this video basically bashing every parent who chooses to medicate her child, have never dealt with your own ADHD child nor had children of your own.