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Do you think ADHD is real?

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
Or is it the way public schools deal with kids they cant deal with otherwise? Acitve, energetic, hands on kinestiec learner? Oh hell no, give that kid some ritlin so he'll sit down and shut up and ....learn?

Ok, now I realize some kids probally DO have it but its waaaaaaay over used and diagnosised. Just thinking becuase whenI describe my sons behavior to others, thats what I get, "oh no...he may be add"..."better watch him, he's probally got add" etc and so on...but......

ok, its not fun for me when he throws all the clothes out of the dresser drawers then empties a small toy box and uses it to import water to pour on the bedroom floor...still, he IS learning from that, he experimental. Seriously.

He took my vaccum apart, inserted stuffed dog, the reassembled correctly, plugged it in and turned it on. I came running when I heard the vaccum and there he was crouced down watching through the clear plastic to see what would happen to the dog. He wasnt being "bad", his face was full of wonder and curiosity and even though I dont want him plugging things in, still, that he even thought to do something like that is ingenius to me!

Hes going to be one of those kids who takes everything apart to learn how it works, reading how it works in a book will never do for him. Never. School would label him, he's three and I can see it already, "ADHD" , "A behavior problem", "troubledchild", "troublemaker", "hyperactive", "uncooperative", "doesnt follow directions", "doesnt listen", "Learning disabled" (because he cant sit still and learn from a book or overhead projector) I see detention and angry teachers in his future if we were to do school, public or private. Dont you? Not to mention the possibility of special ed because he doesnt fit the mold. My mother once had a teacher tell her she didnt like my brother becuase he didnt conform and she didnt like nonconformist. He was seven.

My point is, are most ADHD kids really just high energy/high intelligence kids who learn diffrently? But since the shcool cant/wont deal with thier diffrences, medicate. Its easeir than changing the school to fit the child, right? My nepehw is ADHD, very smart child, always in trouble at school. Always. I just wonder how diffrent his life would be if he were unschooled. HIs "education" is destroying his self esteem, his creativity, his desire to learn and his relationship with is parents. I suppose the argument could be made that ps does that to ALL kids, but it seems more pronounced here.

Just my musings.......I watched my son bouncing on the trampoline...he just turned three...and I am amazed at the way his body moves and balances so easily and naturally. I fall all over the place on the thing, not him though, its like he was made to do it. He reminds me so much of a rabbit, seriously, I did not know a human body could move with such grace and agility and balance, not at age three!! He is amazing, it would be so, so wrong to coop him up in a classroom and make him sit still. It would defy nature, his nature and I wont do it, I cant.
post #2 of 68
Don't have too much to add. I've just had many many similar thoughts but was never brave enough to voice it.

I really have no clue and I don't think we ever will. I hope that the popularity starts to wane and that kids will be left to be kids. I mean, I don't think they are putting some kind of massive hyperactive drug in our drinking water. So what happened in the last 30 years that so many kids are diagnosed and medicated?
post #3 of 68
Thread Starter 
Exactly!

If you beleive that compulsory education is just a form of state controll of the masses...then what do you do with those who just won't comply? Easy answer? Medicate them.

Im directing this at the schools, not the parents. It seems to be the SCHOOL that diagnosis or pushes parents to get the dx and the SCHOOL that pushes the drugs. When my sister stopped medicating dn because they didnt like what it did to him, she was told that if he stopped the meds, he would be expelled. And he makes all A's and B's, so it's obviously not about his grades, education or ability to do the work. So what other motivation does a teacher with thirty kids to control have? Ah, yes, there it is, control.

eta: not necesarily blaming individual teachers. They should not have thirty kids to one adult, its the system, I know this. I was also told my oldest was ADHD and to medicate him and I never did, not for one day. He went to ps, made good grades, was president of the honor society. NOw, though, hes in detention a lot because he actually tries to discuss things with his teachers. When he doesnt agree with them, hes causing problems....
post #4 of 68
I definitely believe in adhd, but do think it is overdosed. FWIW, your son's behaviour does not sound like adhd to me.
post #5 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_lissa View Post
I definitely believe in adhd, but do think it is overdosed. FWIW, your son's behaviour does not sound like adhd to me.
I agree - he sounds quite focused and grounded.

MY dd, otoh . . . well, I wouldn't be surprised if she was ever diagnosed (not that I can see a reason to have her tested, mind you) because she (literally!) bounces off the walls and has a lot of difficulty focusing. Actually, it's one of the reasons I've gravitated so strongly toward HS'ing.
post #6 of 68
Thread Starter 
Which brings up another question, if your child is truly adhd, is medication the answer? Or is it just easier for the school and therefore, most adhd kids would be better served to be taught at home?

Just thinking about this a lot lately...

and yeah, haha, he IS very focused on whatever disaster he is creating at the time! And thats just it, Ive seen lots of focused kids get this dx, so in thier cases I dont believe its accurate.
post #7 of 68
Well, I don't believe in allopathic medicine except in extreme, life-saving cases (will not take or give abx unless at death's door), so . . . I'm gonna have to go with "no, medicine is not the answer"
But I'm a little biased
post #8 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anglyn View Post
Exactly!

If you beleive that compulsory education is just a form of state controll of the masses...then what do you do with those who just won't comply? Easy answer? Medicate them.

Im directing this at the schools, not the parents. It seems to be the SCHOOL that diagnosis or pushes parents to get the dx and the SCHOOL that pushes the drugs. When my sister stopped medicating dn because they didnt like what it did to him, she was told that if he stopped the meds, he would be expelled. And he makes all A's and B's, so it's obviously not about his grades, education or ability to do the work. So what other motivation does a teacher with thirty kids to control have? Ah, yes, there it is, control.

eta: not necesarily blaming individual teachers. They should not have thirty kids to one adult, its the system, I know this. I was also told my oldest was ADHD and to medicate him and I never did, not for one day. He went to ps, made good grades, was president of the honor society. NOw, though, hes in detention a lot because he actually tries to discuss things with his teachers. When he doesnt agree with them, hes causing problems....
: I noticed a totally different child when I took my son out of school!
post #9 of 68
My almost 5 yr old would certainly be diagnosed and medicated. I like to think that if we lived on a farm, he would be my best worker. Never runs out of energy, wants to be outside running and digging, can't stand still for 1 second.
I asked my ped what she thought when we saw her recently, she said he was a normal 5 yr old. She said if he acted like that at age 10, it might be a chemical imbalance but that elementary aged boys are just like that. I was impressed. She hadn't seen him since he was about 11 months old. I really like her because of this type of attitude.
Anyway, I think it's mostly misdiagnosed but I imagine there are some kids who truly have ADHD (or whatever it's called this week). In most cases in the public schools, I think it's just a case of normal boy behavior because they don't belong at desks all day.
post #10 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_lissa View Post
I definitely believe in adhd, but do think it is overdosed. FWIW, your son's behaviour does not sound like adhd to me.

:

Even unschooled children can struggle with ADHD, and need some help.
post #11 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by HerthElde View Post
I agree - he sounds quite focused and grounded.

MY dd, otoh . . . well, I wouldn't be surprised if she was ever diagnosed (not that I can see a reason to have her tested, mind you) because she (literally!) bounces off the walls and has a lot of difficulty focusing. Actually, it's one of the reasons I've gravitated so strongly toward HS'ing.
Yeah my siblings and my mother have it and i suspect my daughter might have it. I was contemplating home school, but I found a public school program that (I think) will be a good fit for her.
post #12 of 68
I do think ADHD is overdiagnosed. I feel strongly that my 5yo would definitely be diagnosed with it. I also feel like what we feed our children contributes a lot to it. When I step back to more natural less processed foods, he is a much calmer child. I think the additives contribute to a lot of that . . . I can say this but it is VERY difficult to live it (when dh doesn't agree . . .)
post #13 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
:

Even unschooled children can struggle with ADHD, and need some help.
Yeah, my five year old is a prime example. His behavior is often disorganized and unproductive. We don't medicate him, but we have to work very hard to live with him.

dm
post #14 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicLadyToo View Post
I do think ADHD is overdiagnosed. I feel strongly that my 5yo would definitely be diagnosed with it. I also feel like what we feed our children contributes a lot to it. When I step back to more natural less processed foods, he is a much calmer child. I think the additives contribute to a lot of that . . . I can say this but it is VERY difficult to live it (when dh doesn't agree . . .)
Yep, even with whole foods, I have to cut back on the grains quite a bit and make sure she gets lots of fat or it's like her whole brain unwires . . .
Electronic media is awful for her as well, especially later in the day.

I've found that focusing on sensory integration in a circle time way (because she LOVES music, singing, dancing) has helped tremendously though!
post #15 of 68
ADHD is very real, but I agree that it is also overused in the educational establishment as a way for teachers to try to drag everyone into compliance.

I do have to address the focus issue: Having ADD / ADHD doesn't mean you can't focus. In fact, hyperfocus is a symptom of ADD. Being forcibly distracted from an activity in which one is engrossed is painful for someone with ADD. Someone's ability to focus on a task for days at a time is not proof that they don't have ADD; I'd be more likely to think they had it.

http://user.cybrzn.com/~kenyonck/add/hyperfocus_paradox.html

http://add.about.com/od/adhdthebasics/a/Hyperfocus.htm



With regards to medication, I take concerta for my own ADD but I have chosen not to medicate my 7yo. It is very important for me to have her understand how to work with her differently-wired brain, well before drugs come into the situation. It serves for me as a kind of gentle nudge... I get that split second of impulse control everyone else seems to have naturally. It also enables me to not feel / hear / see / smell everything ALL AT ONCE. When the world starts to overwhelm her, she can still retreat to her room. As a Mom, I need the meds to parent my children the way I want because I don't get down time. Someone owns my attention, all the time.
post #16 of 68
Hello from ADHD land here. As a child I was exactly like the OP's son. Boundless energy, intense focus, thinking outside the box was the norm instead of the exception - drove my mother over the edge daily. I sawed the legs off the dining room table, took electronics apart, painted my sister from head to toe, "baked" endless "dinners" in the kitchen ruining groceries (I had two younger sisters and Mom's attention was frequently distracted), climbed on the roof to experiment with dropping things, taught myself to read, write and do math at a high level, etc., all this before entering kindergarten. I've battled insomnia since I was a young child and had major sensory issues. I think the biggest problem was the intense focus coupled with lack of fear led me to 'disappearing' for hours at a time and taking risks - at least I now recognize them as such - climbing the aforementioned roofs and such. I set my bed on fire and "escaped" by breaking through the window, practicing what had been taught by the fire marshal at that days' assembly. In school I was fortunately handled as gifted in the early grades, so the daily monotony of sitting was broken-up by time in the enrichments classroom, but by the end of elementary school I had become adept at 'daydreaming' for much of the school day. When the teachers saw my lack of focus on their work and came to admonish me, only to find the work completed in a fraction of the time allotted, they tended to choose to leave me alone - I guess they figured it would be more work for them to keep me challenged.

Anyway, because I was "good' at school my parents were never offered medication, though I'm quite sure they would have given it to me had they been told about it. I, for one, never understood why I was 'different' but developed coping mechanisms to see me through high school and college. As an adult ADD caused/allowed me to study intensely, but for short bursts - one read of the text was all I needed, lectures that I was interested in were imprinted, but those I was not were a huge trial often requiring major motivation. I would tape every lecture (daydream or do other work during the class, or convince a friend to tape it for me is attendance was not a prerequisite) and then listen to them one after another the night before a test, often while writing much of it down in a notebook - only to throw it away the next afternoon. Essays/papers were a huge burden because writing only 1000 words was painful (my writing style is still prolific as you can tell by this post). I could sit in a restaurant holding a conversation with friends, but at the same time follow in detail the conversations happening at every table around me. Small tasks irritated me, but large ones were met with intense determination and often worked on for days without sleep. I carried a 21 credit course load while working 3 jobs. Long walks in the middle of the night were needed to remain calm and centered. Restlessness was always an issue, during the past 20 yr duration of my adult life I have moved more than 15 times. Still, I have been extremely successful in my occupations (yes, multiple).

Several years ago I was researching ADHD because of some children I was working with and had an epiphany. I walked into the room where my now dh was and asked him to listen as I read the list of criteria set forth by the american pysch. assoc. for diagnosing ADHD. The conversation went something like this, "#1 - that's you, #2 - that's you, #3 - that's you, #4 - that's you....." 19 out of 21 not only applied, but defined me.

I do believe that sometimes medication is helpful. I believe such prescriptions should only follow 'failed' attempts at more natural/holistic therapies and then detailed medical testing for structural and chemical imbalances, and not just anecdotal evidence. I will never forget the son of a good friend, after years of difficulty and finally diagnosis and medication, saying so happily after a week on the meds, "My brain is working the way I keep wanting it to!" I do not understand the current idea of only medicating during the school year - if my child truly needed glasses to see properly I wouldn't take them away for intervals just because I felt he didn't need to see as well in certain environments.

All this being said, I believe that ADHD is way over diagnosed and concur with much of what pps have stated here. I would not ever want to have been medicated and feel that organic and natural therapies need to become much more mainstream and available. I have found diet, sensory integration techniques and other natural modalities to work wonders for me and others. Pregnancy was difficult and wreaked havoc with me mentally, sensorially, etc. and I have had to rework many of the coping mechanisms I had earlier established. I subscribe to much of the research/philosophy of Thom Hartmann and those like him linking our genetic past to present day diagnosis of ADHD, and just understanding this has made a huge difference for me. I encourage any parent who believes their child might fall into the ADHD category to read more about this and investigate the holistic avenues available, including 'tutoring' in techniques which help the child to integrate the way they experience the world with the way they are expected to integrate into it. I would have greatly benefitted as a child from such help, instead of having to plow through on my own, and I think my family life/relationship with my parents would have been much better had they understood why I saw life the way I did and what techniques they could use to cope with the differences. The biggest thing I would want parents to understand is that this is not something a truly ADHD child will "grow out of", so techniques for 'coping' (I really wish I could come up with a better word but one escapes me for now) need to begin early, be frequently re-evaluated, and be viewed in the context of the lifetime.
post #17 of 68
Another ADHD mom voting for real. But one on one, child focused learning can help a child cope without medication.

Folks with ADHD can and will thrive if we find our thing and do it. We have a harder time putting ourselves in someone else's box, though. I've had troubles, not just with school, but in jobs I'm not suited to, especially anything that requires more speed than attention to detail.

I've been off meds for 16 years. I have mostly good days, I have some bad days, and then I have days like yesterday, where I can't even get dressed without getting side tracked.

Insomnia, mild OCD and hyperfocusing are things I deal with in my day to day life.
post #18 of 68
I don't feel qualified to say if ADHD is real or not.
post #19 of 68
Well my dd's 2nd grade teacher told me dd most likely had ADHD - and "oh, the medications they have now are wonderful, my daughter takes this one particular..." I eventually took her to see a pediatric neurologist who spoke to dd for um, a minute and a half, had her leave the room, then proceded to tell me that based on the teacher's questionnaire, dd definitely has ADHD. :.

When I questioned her about not even looking at my questionnaire, input from other health professionals, and speaking with and maybe even testing my dd, she said I obviously wasn't ready to accept this diagnosis.

We started homeschooling halfway through 3rd grade and ever since, there's been NO signs of ADHD (which by 3rd grade, the teachers changed what they thought she had to "ADD inattentive"). My dd is on a competitive dance team, is 2-3 grade levels ahead (she's 11 now), and is the most focused, creative, and driven person I know.

Oh, and my friend, who's son was on Ritalin (having an ADHD diagnosis for years) started homeschooling him and yes, he has come off his medication and shows no signs of ADHD anymore.

So, while I don't dispute the fact that ADHD exists, I definitely do think schools will use it as an excuse to keep kids in line so they can teach everyone the same thing at the same time no matter what.
post #20 of 68
I've also been dx'ed with ADHD, and did medication and therapy for about 6 years. It was a huge life saver for me. I couldn't function, couldn't make any decisions. Basically, I needed someone to teach me how to think about basic stuff (I'm great with abstract stuff, not so great with paying bills or doing the dishes )

I do think that if I had been accepted for being the way I am, and taught how to function with my own neurology when I was younger, I wouldn't have needed the therapy and meds. Meds alone don't really help a whole lot, either, I think. I had a psychiatrist who specialized in adult ADD who did very practical therapy with me, how to figure out a system that would work for me, how to learn to remember "trivial" stuff like paying the phone bill , and worked very slowly and patiently with me.

I've been off meds for, oh, 5 or 6 years now. I got to the point that I didn't function any better on meds than off, that's the goal of therapy.

I've seen too many kids in ps here, though, who just get medicated and are given no extra support or direction. One of the things that drove me nuts when I worked in a public school was hearing teachers say things to kids like "I know you can do it because you took your pill today", like medication is a cure (you can't really "cure" something that isn't a disease, kwim?) and punish the kid even more for "deliberately" not focusing.

I'm in Canada, where pharmaceuticals are much more tightly controlled than in the US, so I haven't seen the sort of push to diagnose and medicate that I hear about in the US (I don't think teachers here in MB are allowed to suggest medication at all), but I think ADD is still used as a catch-all to write off problem students, any kids who don't fit into a convenient mold. Not every kid who is excitable or hyper or destructive or dreamy is ADD. For me, before meds and therapy, I couldn't focus on anything for longer than about 15 seconds unless I was really interested in it. When I was in college and had to write long papers, I would literally tie myself into my chair because I'd drift off and get up and do something else before I realized I wasn't on task anymore. That ain't normal , it's not just being unfocused or high energy, it's being completely incapable of focusing when you really need to.

A hypothesis I found really interesting about ADD is Thom Hartmann's ADD: A Different Perspective, that basically posits that ADD characteristics were things that helped humans survive evolutionarily (being easily distracted by movement, highly curious about possible dangers, unwillingness to conform to authority, etc.) but are now not useful in the modern world, especially in crowded classrooms where pliability is more valued in children. I'm not sure about the evidence for this hypothesis,and whether it's valid or not (anything to do with ADD is always controvertial ), but I really do like to think of my own brain differences as just that, differences, not disorders, and I just have to learn to exploit my brain the way it is. While being ADD has caused me a lot of problems, but I also have a lot of unique strengths that I've learned to value.
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