When it comes to medicating children with ADHD, I’m completely neutral. I don’t endorse it and I don’t condemn it. Over the years of conversing with hundreds of kids and parents, as well as trying a variety of treatments including meds myself, and keeping up with the controversy, I’ve determined that the only way to find out if giving your child ADHD medication is going to help them is to try it. I do think that medication should be one of the last things on your list of interventions. Cognitive therapy, behavioral modifications, accommodations at home and school, education for everyone in your family as well as your child’s teachers should all be implemented in varying degrees before you ask for that prescription.
Keep in mind that each child is different. What works for one, will not work for another. And to make things even more complex, don’t forget about the possibility that your child might have more than ADHD going on – she might have ADHD, Dyslexia and ODD for example. Doctors call that “comorbidity” – a word that I actively dislike…something about that word “morbid”. By the way “comorbidity” means that there is more than one disorder present in your child and that these disorders co-exist together. All that to say is that it’s important to have an experienced mental health professional who ideally specializes in kids in your court. This person should be able to give you all the facts and all your options. And there are a LOT of options! As always, the key to navigating your child’s treatment successfully, is YOUR education. You need to become an expert. Thankfully, there are a ton of resources – books, videos, conferences, parent support groups – available to you, so please take advantage!