Monday, October 28, 2013

High Definition: To Have or Not to Have ADHD, and Does It Matter?

"I have ADHD HD. I've got it in High Definition" (Matt Walsh).

The following is a response to this blogpost written by Matt Walsh.

Here is his POST.

First off: I need to acknowledge that I think ADD and ADHD are real and that many people have benefited by being able to have modern day medication to help them function more normally and live happier, more meaningful, and productive lives. This goes for both children an adults. I also think that it was a catch-all 20 years ago, and has been over-diagnosed. I hope that you can read my response with a grain of salt, because I do not want to belittle your own situation. We all need to follow our hearts and our heads and do what we consider to be the best for our children. Then we need to evaluate and reevaluate over and over again as we put their best interests at the forefront of our lives.

Following is my response to Matt's post:

I like it. While I think that ADHD and ADD exist, I think they are over-diagnosed, and over-treated with drugs. I’ve read many good books on this subject, and exercise and diet are actually the best things that both children and adults should use to help them concentrate better. Many who have to sit at desks, walk or run on their lunch breaks.

I really liked the book The Edison Trait. Because if you think you have ADD or ADHD, but you are still capable of getting A’s and B’s, even if your teacher gets upset because of your exuberance, you don’t have it, and you don’t need medication. When something becomes debilitating, then parents should be concerned about finding out how to best help their child.

Also, parents need to be teaching their children responsibility and accountability, and not letting them think that they don’t need to learn these things, because somehow they are different or exempt; and they also need to let their children know that not having medication is no excuse for bad behavior. Parents should also help teachers know that they support their children being children.

We have had exceptionally bright children. And public school is not always the best place for bright children. "No one left behind" also means, "no one moves ahead." (Even though three of our children skipped grades, this really isn't the same as moving ahead according to one's real talents and interests. Plus, it really isn't dealing with their needs, just passing the challenge on to somebody else.) Yes, smart children will get bored. Finally, we decided to homeschool our last one. Best move ever. She could enjoy learning in a comfortable environment that suited her, and I was blessed to be involved in her education and see her flourish.

We actually did medicate our two sons for a time. Again, in most cases there is no way of knowing if it helps or not, unless you have a child that will chart how they feel from day to day to tell you. It might subdue them to make a teacher’s life more comfortable. But a child should only be medicated if its for his best good, not for his teacher, not for his parents. Exercise, diet, dealing with allergies, and allowing each child to be his unique self is by far more important. In some cases, it is apparent right away that medication is helpful. But it needs to be monitored, the child needs to have medication holidays, and the situation needs to be reassessed again and again.

If medication is even considered, the child should have part in the choice. Our oldest son was very angry about being medicated. And you know what, he had a right to be. It's his body. And he is smart, and creative, and delightful. And he didn't appreciate being told something was wrong with him. So if you choose to medicate, be educated about it, and also help your children be educated. Don't just do so because a teacher thinks your child needs it and passes that information on to your child's doctor.

Thanks, Matt Walsh, for your creative style in High Definition. I am one of those people who could be classified as ADD (probably not ADHD), but I’d rather keep my creativity than always have perfect order. Some days I am on top of it all, and other days, I have to let things go and get in touch with me again. I think the thing that makes us as people least like God is that we are not consistent yet. And maybe we don’t need to be quite yet. Maybe developing our own talents and our own style is what will bring us to our own consistency in due time. And shouldn't parents be supportive of each child becoming his or her best self?

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