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How Medication Can Help a Child Enjoy School
Ann and David's son Charlie, who is now 18, was diagnosed as ADD when he was in elementary school but his parents tried to work it out without medication because they didn't believe in it. School was a terrible problem and he really suffered. Finally, after his younger brother was diagnosed and put on meds, Charlie was put on medication too. His improvement was immediate. But he was angry with his parents because they hadn't helped him sooner.
When a parent has their child take medication they often have a feeling of guilt, a sense of failure and anxiety about the medication. But medication can do a lot of good, and the purpose of this NewsNote is to outline the benefits an ADD child can receive by using medication.
Let's quickly review the common symptoms of ADD. One is hyperactivity. A second is distractibility. Other symptoms include impulsive behavior, which often interferes with good peer relationships, and homework problems.
If a child is hyper, school problems will start in kindergarten as he moves around the room without listening or sitting still. This often leads to the child being singled out and criticized or sent from the room in embarrassment. Impulsive and aggressive behavior will create problems for the child with both his teachers and his peers. The distractible child doesn't listen, fails to get assignments, and doesn't bring home needed books. As he grows up and enters middle school and can't focus or complete homework assignments, his entire school world will begin to collapse.
But medication can turn this entire experience around. Here's how:
If he/she is not hyper, the ADD child can sit still, fit in better, and be easier to teach.
If a child can listen, he can learn, pay attention to assignments, and stay focused to do homework.
If the child is less impulsive or aggressive, peer relationships will improve.
Certainly the student who improves in the above mentioned areas will be happier, more successful and will learn more. And if there are other problems, these may also improve. This can include removing or reducing depression and improving self-esteem.
An example is Judy, a 15-year-old girl who managed to get through middle school. In high school everything fell apart. Her grades plummeted, and she was failing most of her subjects. The school recognized that something was wrong and did what they could to help. But things were going downhill, and she was not only failing but also getting depressed. School testing suggested ADD and treatment with stimulant medication was started in April. Her marks improved immediately and her average came up to B for the remainder of the year. Her confidence improved as did her mood. Judy starts this year with confidence and optimism.
My point in this Note should be clear. I feel that medication can be not only helpful but also life-altering. When medication is appropriate and indicated, I urge parents to accept the idea and go ahead and try the treatment.