As noted by the numerous articles that I have written on a multitude of topics I will be devoting a significant number of articles on the topic of ADHD, a subject very close to my heart and to my family. I have been presented with so many questions, concerns and urgent requests for information and advice on the issues associated with the sweet angels of these distraught parents. It should be noted that I frequently refer to children as “angels” because they are God’s gift to all of us. It should also be noted that, as a clinician, I never refer to any learning difficulty as a “disability” but as a learning DIFFERENCE. The term disability defines such learning styles as a negative, a handicap, a deficit not a different approach or strategy in seeing and coping with the world.
I will attempt to respond to the many topics presented to me on an abbreviated level and in future, consistent articles, provide a more comprehensive discussion of each topic. Parents have questioned the diagnosis of ADHD, the need for medication, usefulness of special diets, acquiring school support in the form of 504 programs and IEPs, early diagnosis and the predisposition for this condition.
I will be providing a more in depth definition of ADHD but the Mayo Clinic description describes this disorder as a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often continues into adulthood. This condition is exhibited by a combination of persistent problems such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. These children also struggle with low self esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. I would like to comment that this renown medical establishment does, indeed, document the existence of this condition while a few doctors believe that this condition does not really exist. I will be responding this this conflictual view in later articles.
On the topic of school/classroom management by teachers, unfortunately so many of our teacher preparation programs of study do not provide adequate training and information on learning differences as represented by at least ten percent of the children in their classrooms. Therefore, academic interventions such as 504 and IEPs are crucial for children with learning differences. The 504 program that many parents have referred to is not a mandated learning commitment on the part of the school but it does provide a child with academic but temporary support. An IEP is a long term, legal, binding contract between the parent, school district and the federal government with consequences if the specific intervention programs are not followed. I will expand on this topic in future articles.
As noted in the Mayo Clinic definition of ADHD, this condition does persist into adulthood and , yes, there are ADHD parents as well as children. This neurological condition is a genetic predisposition and is passed on throughout generations. Early detection, observation and intervention is crucial in order to help those little angels to learn and make friends before they experience long term peer rejection and academic failure. More to come on this profound topic!
On the topic of medication, I do not advocate any specific mediation nor force parents to choose this method of intervention. However, since this is a neurological condition, only medication can address and facilitate those neurons that do not fire appropriately, the cause of ADHD. It should be considered that if a child had diabetes or epilepsy, there would be no question in the prescription of medication. It is always recommended that a healthy diet filled with fruits and veggies with minimal sweets will benefit any child but nutrition does not completely facilitate neuro-electrical brain activity. More to come on this extensive subject.
It does take a most loving, persistent and warrior parents to nurture and protect those little angels of ADHD. I must be honest and reveal that this learning and behavioral difference is not curable nor will a child ,who is accurately diagnosed, will out grow this condition. In future articles, I will provide more information, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER,( a personal motto )and supportive strategies to manage and love your angels so much more.
Please do provide your feedback and suggestions for future discussions.