There are a few factors to explore when you are told that your child is ADD/HD.
First, understand all you can. List what it means for your child, as a unique individual, to be ADD/HD.
This diagnosis is observational in nature. People are born with ADD/HD.
Track when your child went from high energy, curious, creative, and bright to “disabled.” Start a journal about your child; ask for observations, especially from the people who are around your child when you are not.
Ask questions like: Are there certain times, days of the weeks, or certain situations which seem to trigger the child? Keep a log of what your child is eating. Are their certain foods that cause spikes and crashes? Or certain foods that lead to acting out or melting down?
How about certain situations or people? Did the child have a year at school or at camp where their behavior seemed to go to unmanageable? Were there shifts in your child’s world such as living situations or the acquiring or loss of a close friend or family member?
Talk with your child and have them tell you as much about their day as possible and compare it with how other people experienced them. See where they may be making incorrect assumptions or didn’t understand the larger picture of what was going on in the situation.
All very bright children will have a great deal going on in their head with an impatience to learn and understand and will disconnect when bored.
If someone is pushing the ADD/HD diagnosis get them to be as specific as possible about why, enlist them in getting the answers to the questions you are tracking. See what they think the solutions are if your child is ADD/HD? If they do want to medicate be clear if there are benefits for them to have your child on medication.
As you draw the picture of your child start shifting things and see how they shift the issues. Begin with diet, then look at what shifts can be made in the environment. Would smaller classrooms, more interactive educational methods, and more challenging curriculum keep your child more focused and better serve your child’s learning, growth, and development?
A few things to keep in mind: first there are many factors that are going on in your child’s life which could lead to the request to medicate, and that in medicating those factors will easily get lost because the medication seems to solve all the problems.
Maybe your child is gifted with ADD/HD, what you want to stay clear on is when did that gift become an unmanageable problem and will medication solve problems or mask them?
Issues maybe caused or exacerbated by diet, environmental, emotional, mental, and even undetected physiological factors.
Second, if medicating, what are the short and long term side effects to the mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing of your child. Will this label serve them or hold them back?
Third, is the child being held responsible for adults or situations where the failure is not theirs? Is the failure the educational system that doesn’t know how to work with these children or teachers or other providers who are ill equipped to provide what your child needs to fly and to flourish?
Are the primary adults involved ill-suited or that the situation which they are forced to function in is incapable of providing the needed environment. If we are medicating your child or any child because of the failure to properly provide the teachers, the classrooms, and the resources needed so that child would not have to be medicated then it is morally reprehensible and we must examine our priorities in this country.
Or is the need to medicate them because we do not offer the support, education, and resources to the family unit?
Are we medicating them because the family cannot or does not know what a bad diet is, or how to give these children the support that is needed? Or because the information is controlled by groups, institutions, and business who do not have the best interest of your child at hand?
Do parents make the choices because of the one-sided information that they are given or are they coerced or manipulated into feeling that this is the only course of action when in fact it is not? Is it made too easy in this chaotic, sped up, crazy world to be convinced that the quick fix is the right one?
Lastly, dig past the top layer of information. There is plenty of information on the internet. What you will often find first is the controlled information. There is evidence and studies that on the surface support ADD/HD as a disability diagnosis and medication as the primary option.
There are large non-profit groups who serve this issue that are underwritten by the drug companies that make it. But when you dig deeper the evidence is not so clear or conclusive.
The parts of the studies that question medicating as a viable option are left out. We hear about the brain scans but we only here half a story and we don’t hear at all about the studies that have discovered alarming concerns about medicating these children.
Along the way you will also find any number of all natural wonders that cures ADD/HD as well, be just as wary of that.
You need to have a whole child understanding, create whole child solutions, and make sure that they represent your unique child. No quick fixes, no one size fits all. I don’t see it as a disability.
It’s part of an evolutionary process. These children and adults have a diff-ability, not a disability, they learn and process differently, they are not less able, and In fact many times they are more able when they are set-up to succeed. The question is how do you want to best support your child? To fit in, or be who they are and be all they can be.
Dr. Kevin Rossemery is the author of Managing The Gift: Alternatives Approaches For Attentions Deficit Disorder. He introduced the idea of ADD/ADHD as an evolutionary process not a disability. Dr. Kevin has and continues to speak around the world and you can learning more on his website at www.kevinrossemery.com