Friday, October 2, 2009

another perspective

The other book I checked out at the library is entitled The ADD Answer, How To Help Your Child Now, by Dr. Frank Lawlis.  I've just read sixty pages of it.  It is much different from the other book--featured in yesterday's post--in that it is anti-medication, pro-psychology, and pro whole-child/whole-family care.  Much is included regarding the psychological ramifications of labels (ADD/ADHD, etc), including their affect on the whole family.  After reading these sixty pages, I'm ready to give up on the medication route, at least for a time.  This author presents a very convincing case against medication.  

Needless to say, my mind is full, and my spirit is troubled.

It's easy to say that medication should only be used in the worst of cases, when learning is affected, and then only for short periods of time.  But inattentiveness isn't the only problem.  The impulsivity of AD/HD makes Daniel a danger to himself and to his siblings. For example, I only allow him to be alone with the baby when she's in her playpen.  If she is playing in the living room, I allow Daniel around her only if we are there to supervise.  This isn't because he is mean or aggressive.  Rather, it is because he is too physical, with frenzied, uncontrolled movements.  While medicated, his physical movements are more controlled and predictable.  I can walk away and not worry about what he might do.  And, he receives far less negative feedback while medicated, because we're not having to harp on the multitude of things he needs to stop doing.

Incidentally, Emily Rose received her forehead scar and stitches earlier this year because Daniel was carrying her and impulsively dropped her, even though he had the strength to set her down gently.  He never picked her up again after the accident, thank God.  I'm relieved that he received this wake up call before something more serious happened.

I think the outcome for AD/HD children depends more on the feedback they receive from their families than anything else--including what their report cards say.  We know that for every one negative interaction, they need ten positives to overcome the pervasive feeling of failure.   But the tricky part is that it's nearly impossible to come up with that many positives, due to the annoying characteristics they display.  Perhaps if the AD/HD child were the only child in the home, meeting their weighty emotional needs would be a relative breeze.

Right now, I feel very human--flawed, powerless, and defeated.  I'm not a relaxed or good enough parent to give him what he needs.  The anti-medication crowd gives compelling arguments--I'll give them that.  When I read their writings, I desperately want to throw out everything in my medicine cupboard.  Their modifications and interventions all sound very good on paper, but implementing them consistently in daily life, in moment-to-moment interactions, is another matter altogether.

I hate medication. I just hate it.  It scares me that the safety testing for AD/HD drugs has been done on rats and on adult humans.  It's a huge gamble to assume they're safe for most children.

Tonight, all I know for certain is one thing--the outcomes for Daniel's life are up to God.  The more I try to make them up to me, the greater my disservice to my son.