In February of 2011, I wrote a post about making the decision to place my son on medication for ADHD. It was funny, because back then the drastic change in him was so great that I thought it would be the end of our problems. Little did I know that the next year and a half would be a struggle to regulate the times and doses of medication, we would see him diagnosed with ODD in addition to ADHD and that he would continue to struggle in school with both his behavior and his grades.
However, after a long time of working with him to understand his actions, their consequences and to help him realize he always has a choice in how he acts, we are seeing amazing progress. Joshua entered 6th grade this year and was placed in all advanced classes because of his grade on the FCAT, but in spite of his grades last year. I was devastated because I was not sure how we were going to get through it. Even last year he had had 5 referrals and a suspension.
This year though, we have really worked together from the beginning and he is doing amazing! He has all A’s and B’s and those B’s are mighty close to A’s. His behavior has been perfect in school and he has even been able to cut his 4PM dose of medicine that he would normally get when it was time to come home. Does this mean everything is perfect? No. He still has outbursts from time to time, but it is nothing like before and nothing outside of the realm of normal tweenhood.
My point to all this is, that often others will judge you as a parent for medicating your child. I do agree that ADHD is an often misdiagnosed and over-diagnosed condition, but medicine does have a place for those who truly need it and who truly are affected by this disorder. It may not be the answer for everyone and I agree that you should try natural methods of management first, but for some, medication is the solution. It may not be perfect, but it sure has worked for us. Our plan is to further wean him off the medicine in the coming years as he learns the skills needed to make the right choices in life.