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THE USE OF MEDICATION DURING SUMMER VACATION
Every few years I write on the subject of my recommendations for medication
use during the summer. This is because I have found that very few parents are
going back into my NewsNote Library, so that for most this is a fresh discussion.
If not, I apologize, but do read it anyway.
There is no doubt that ADD is a full time problem, and the use of medication
on a regular basis helps stabilize the patient, improve peer relationships and
make life easier for the family. Therefore, I think it is in the child’s
best interest to continue to take medication during vacation.
This is especially true if they are going to camp. In camp they sleep in close
quarters, need to be a member of many teams and are involved in activities that
need focus. Without medication there can be distractibility, impulsiveness,
a low frustration tolerance and a more difficult camp season for the child.
I think most parents understand the need for their child to use medication.
However, some tell me it is only needed for school and they, therefore, reject
the idea of medication for camp. I’m sure this is true for a few, but
when I speak to many of the children they are often aware of other benefits
beyond the academic.
There is a new situation that I would like to address because I think it has
potential problems. That is allowing the camp to make medication decisions.
Rich is one case. Rich is a 10 year old boy with ADD. He will be going to camp
and his mother’s plan was to allow the camp to give him his medication
if they thought it was necessary. Mom was going to send the medication up with
Rich and the nurse would then make the decision.
Ed is also 10. He is very bright but given to explosive outburst. These are
well controlled with Risperdol 0.5 mg. three times a day. This is a small but
Ed’s mom’s thought was that she would tell the nurse to give him
an extra dose if it seemed he needed it. I wasn’t comfortable with the
idea because, without our knowing what was going on, the boy would get an extra
pill. While that might be the correct treatment, I asked Mom to have the nurse
call her or me if there was a problem severe enough to require extra medication.
I feel it is far better for those who know the ins and outs of a problem to
make decisions, and not a well-meaning nurse. For this same reason, I also asked
Rich’s mom to continue his medication rather than letting the nurse decide
when he needed it.
There may be an occasional reason to discontinue or reduce medication during
the summer. Most often it would be a low weight child who needs to gain ten
pounds over the summer.
But my experience is that most kids do better during the summer on their medication
and I strongly recommend it. However, as always, this is something you should
discuss with the prescribing physician.
By the way, my original on this subject and be found in the NewsNote Library,