Reading the feature story this month, Rethinking Ritalin, stopped me cold.
Do I share our family’s story? Do I remain silent?
For decades, we’ve been debating the reasons why so many children today experience behavioral and emotional problems. Why is the diagnosis of ADHD five times more prevalent in the United States than in Britain and France?
It is truly painful to read the startling statistics that flood the media: 1 in 10 children in our country are diagnosed with ADHD.
Why is this disorder so prevalent — and what causes it? I, too, was like “Judy,” the mom who felt “we’re drugging a whole generation of children.” The even more disturbing reality, however, is that so many kids go undiagnosed. Our child, 18-years-old, was quickly approaching adulthood when she was finally diagnosed.
Like Judy, I have come to appreciate that an accurate diagnosis, along with proper treatment and behavior modifications, can provide a child the best opportunity to be successful.
Our family suffered what could be described as the “shattering impact of undiagnosed and untreated ADHD” and our child unquestionably paid a very high price.
If you have concerns about your child and ADHD, keep an open mind. He is suffering and you’re confused. I have seen that medication can work — and I understand that a less fettered path exists. As one expert reports, “It is like flipping a switch on for a number of kids.”
There are so many unique ways that we can use our brains. Our kids, like us, become stronger with every muscle we exercise. Author Lauren Braden’s son could distinguish granite from diorite before speaking in complete sentences. “It’s up to us as parents to open up the natural world” to our kids’ innate curiosity, she says.
Building literacy beyond the spoken word for our children is paramount to opening the world of possibility to their talents and interests. Learn how to nurture the musical brainpower in your children by first “speaking music” yourself.
I intend to have a lot of fun myself this summer (while possibly frightening a few loved ones). So I will make it a point to sing more, play music and shake a tambourine or two.