Allow me if I may to venture outside of my usual domain for a minute.
I keep reading articles/websites/tweets about the supposed over diagnoses and treatment of ADHD, particularly in little boys. The argument goes that little boys are supposed to be energetic, rowdy, full of life, and that parents, unable or unwilling to manage them, are quick to jump on the ADHD bandwagon, and eager to medicate, in order to bring their boys under control.
I have no doubt that children are wrongly diagnosed with ADHD, as people of all ages are regularly misdiagnosed with all sorts of things. ADHD symptoms can also be attributed to any number of other issues, and ADHD often appears co morbidly with issues like ASD, or SPD. It's complicated. I'm no doctor.
I have to say though, that I resent the tone of these statements.
My son has ADHD. He's not merely an energetic, lively little boy, and I'm not taking the lazy way out, medicating him into submission so I can have more energy for watching talk shows and eating bon bons.
Before seeking treatment for my son, he was virtually unable to carry on sustained play, unable to carry on a normal conversation. Words and activity seemed to come exploding out of him, like water from a fire hose. He was helpless to control it, even if he wanted to.
After waiting several years for him to outgrow some of his issues, a period in which things got worse instead of better, we finally resigned ourselves to the idea that something was really going on. We had him evaluated, and found that among other things, he has ADHD. After discussing treatment options,we consented to trying him on a low dose of medication, and were frankly amazed when he showed an almost unbelievable level of improvement.
Contrary to what what these articles would imply, he's not a little zombie, vegging out in front of the tube, drinking soda and eating ding dongs. He's still an incredibly active little boy.
The fire hose is more like a water hose now. Manageable.
He's able to play now, able to listen, able to learn, able to take advantage of all the God given smarts he already had, but wasn't able to access before. Now other people are able to see what we already knew: how funny, and smart, and sweet he is.
I hope that some day he'll be able to discontinue the use of his medication. It has known, and probably unknown side effects, it's expensive, it carries a stigma. My hope is that as he grows older, he may be able to learn some behavioral strategies to help him be able to overcome his challenges. This may or may not actually be realistic.
Until then, we'll keep doing what we think is the best thing for our son, in a world that isn't willing to accommodate the differently abled, and yet is full of suggestions about how we should parent them. (How many times have I heard that "what he really needs is a spanking," or "what he really needs as an organic, GFCF diet," or "what he really needs is more time outside." And on and on. What he really needs is for his loving parents to do the best they can with the information, and medical advice that's available, depending on God for the rest. And that's what he's going to get.)
By the way, if you're wondering what inspired this post, it was this article at the Huffington Post, and this flippant Tweet by the National Wildlife Federation, (whose Tweets I usually enjoy.) There have been many others along this same vein.