Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Weekly Geeks 2009-08: Rewind - Political & Social Issues
Here is how to play:
1. Choose a political or social issue that matters to you. If you were a Weekly Geek last May and already did this theme, pick a different theme than the one you did at that time.
2. Educate readers about your topic by telling us a little about it and any involvement you've had in this issue.
3. Find books addressing your issue; they do not necessarily have to be books you’ve read. They can be non fiction, fiction, poetry, etc...Give a little synopsis of the book or a link to the description.
4. Use images which you feel illustrate your topic.
I seriously considered not doing anything this week since I have strong and not mainstream political views which I tend to avoid on my blogs. But I came up with a "social" issue!
I have a son with ADHD who is on medication and I will readily announce it from the rooftops. It is nothing to hide or be ashamed of. My son knows what is "wrong" with him, he swallows his pills like a little man, and is learning that self-control is something you work on every moment of the day. (Something many adults have yet to accept.)
I know this approach is far from normal, and before my experiences I bought into the media frenzy that ADHD was over diagnosed and exaggerated. I know that many people, from celebrities to talk-show hosts, will deny the existence of ADHD entirely. And I will stand up to any of them (all 5'3" of me while I shake from the confrontation which I hate) and fight it out. ADHD is real.
ADHD is the impaired executive fuctioning skills related to abnormal dopamine levels in the frontal lobe of the brain with well-documented diagnostic and treatment guidelines. ADHD has been recognized as an impairing disorder by: US Department of Education, National Institutes of Health, US Congress, US Cneters of Disease Control and Prevention, US Surgeon General, and all major medical, psychiatric, psychological and educational associations. And then there is the appeal to logic - if we acknowledge the existence of such conditions as down syndrome or severe autism all the way down to seasonal depression, there is obviously room for other mental disorders in between.
It would be hard to accurately describe life with my son before his diagnosis: how I thought I was going crazy and it was all my fault since everyone else seemed to be doing just fine with their children, the pain from watching him alienate all potential friends, living moment by moment repairing the drastic and often disgusting damage to our home, and even saving his life from his own hyperactivity and impulsivity. The understanding I have now brings such peace to our home and has changed the outlook for my son's life.
While searching out education opportunities, I found the wonderful organization of CHADD - Children and Adults with Attnetion-Feficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. This is an international organization with local chapters for easy access. I was able to find a seven week course to take in just the next city over. It changed my life! This is a picture of the course manual. The course went through everything from diagnosis and medical intervention to education laws and behavior strategies. I'll never forget the slide that read, "We MUST see the individual as IN trouble, not the CAUSE of trouble." After learning what was really going on in his brain and what the "evil medication" was really doing, all my fears evaporated. Medicine was the right decision for my son and he has blossomed at home and at school because of it. It gives him a few more moments to think before he acts.
His ADHD is an explanation, NOT an excuse. He will have to learn to control himself and function in society. But he WILL. Being open with him about his own disability is the first step. He knows he has to work harder on the things that come so easy to most people. He knows I am here to help and support. He knows his meds help him. He know he can do it because God made him this way because God knew he could do it.
Is our path with ADHD smooth now? Of course not. We have daily struggles with getting his shoes on, behaving in school, and adjusting his meds according to his growing/changing metabolism. But life is 100% better. Are there ever cases of misdiagnosis by, among other things, parents who don't discipline their children? Of course. The occurence just isn't as common as the media argues. I know from experience - from HOURS and DAYS of tests and questionaires and interviews - that diagnosises are NOT just handed out.
I googled ADHD images and quit pretty quick since the first few pages contained only comics negating ADHD. I have not read many books outside of my manual, but Amazon turned up 12,365 results. Here are a few that looked fun to me:
ADHD & Me: What I Learned from Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table by Blake E. S. Taylor and Lara, Ph.D. Honos-Webb
How To Reach And Teach Children with ADD/ADHD: Practical Techniques, Strategies, and Interventions by Sandra F. Rief M.A.
Learning To Slow Down & Pay Attention: A Book for Kids About Adhd by Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ellen B. Dixon, and Charles Beyl
But the second option on Amazon was, Dr. Bob's Guide to Stop ADHD in 18 Days by Robert DeMaria. *Sigh* ADHD isn't curable. This book would only help for one of those misdiagnosed cases. It does make me wonder what would happen if the media decided to dismiss depression, post-partum, or autism.... Would everyone just take it and start shoving their real problems under the bed?
Well, my 7 year old boy is as beautiful, inelligent, loving, and fun as any boy you'll ever meet. And he has ADHD. And I'm so proud of him.