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Jan 10, 2012
I understand what a challenge ADHD can be (I used to work for a boss who was seriously ADHD, and my nephew also has been diagnosed). While my boss did not take any medication for his condition, my nephew takes meds daily. And yes, there is a huge difference.
The once vivacious, lively and chatty little boy vanishes. In his place is a sullen, unengaged student who has no appetite or opinion.
Is this really best? I can empathize with teachers who need to maintain order in a classroom. It just seems to me there should be some sort of alternative than pushing medication on our children, especially in a culture that seems to think everything can be cured with a pill.
Do we really want to teach our children that all problems can be solved with a pill? While I fully understand the difference between legally-prescribed medication and illegal substances, will our children understand the subtle difference? It seems to me, the legally prescribed meds alter ones personality as much as the illegal kind.
How are our students suppose to grow up to be responsible, mature, contributing members of society when we tell them it’s OK to pop pills, even if they are legal?
In a recently published paper appearing in Pediatrics magazine, written by J. Gordon Millichap, M.D., and Michelle Yee, CPNP, the two review diet and how it affects children with ADHD.
The article focuses on providing an improved diet when “pharmacotherapy has proven unsatisfactory.” For the dietary adjustments, click here.
I think this is one valid alternative to drugging our students.
But my question is, why isn’t this the first approach to ADHD? Why don’t doctors recommend that parents and teachers try behavioral therapy and dietary adjustments before prescribing medication that will so severely alter one’s personality, that they are nearly unrecognizable?
This type of psychosocial treatment will require an experienced therapist and/or educator to teach specific techniques for both the student and family. According to Dr. Rob Danoff, these methods are aimed at improved the child’s behavior, which in turn, could improve the symptoms. This process is time-intensive, though. Setting small, achievable goals is key and will require consistency throughout the day (whether the student is at school, home, church or at a friend’s house), Danoff says.
Some tips for parents dealing with ADHD, include: communicate expectations vocally and in the written word; set up routines for homework, playtime, meals with family and bedtime; choose battles wisely (ignoring a little fidgeting); use the “when-and-then” method (consequences); use a color-coded chart to track progress at home; and praise the child for desired behavior.