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Advocacy: Your Best Defense Method To Help Your Child With ADHD

Posted Mar 13 2012 10:11am

In my role as a child and family advocate for those facing the challenges of ADHD, I am asked a lot of different questions.  Sometimes, these questions get very detailed and very specific.  And that’s a good thing.  Because the more information and details I get, the more tailored a response I can provide.

Yet at the same time, most of my answers can often be summed up with one word.


Question: Will My Child Ever Get Better?

Simple answer, YES, advocate!

Detailed answer: What is better?  What does better look like?  How do you want your child to be?  More importantly, does your child have a clue about how he (or she) wants to be?

Question: Will my child change on his medication?  Will he lose his unique talents, spirit, creativity, etc…?

Simple answer: Advocate

Detailed answer:  It all depends on you, and your goals for treatment.  ADVOCATE!  If you decide to treat ADHD with medication, you need to ask yourself an important question: What are my goals for treatment?  What will I consider a successful outcome to be?

I know there are some who argue that an ADHD diagnosis = ADHD medication for treatment.  Some even compare the idea of being diabetic to the need for insulin, and the need for glasses if you have difficulty with eyesight.

Ok…decent argument.  I get it.

But, some diabetics choose to watch their blood sugar level with diet and exercise.  Some people refuse to get glasses and instead wear contact lenses (same principle…), some opt for elective surgery, while still others learn different ways to compensate (be in holding the book further away…sitting closer or further from the computer screen, and still others, opting for BIG PRINT BOOKS).

That’s a matter of personal choice…  And quite possibly a debate for another post, at another time.

Now, before we get too distracted and off topic, let’s re-center ourselves.  Let’s FOCUS!

Question: Will my child have to be on medication for the rest of his (or her) life?

Simple answer: Advocate!

Detailed answer: It all depends, again, on your goals for treatment and the outcomes you want for your child.  Not many doctors discuss this.  So…you have to advocate.  You have to take the lead and be your child’s best defense, offense, and referee.

Aren’t getting the answers you want…? Ask the question a different way.  OR…ask someone the question.

Not getting the support you want…?  Find the right people.  Ditch the bad.  Go over their head.

We can go round and round with the advice I can offer, and the detailed step-by-step instructions I can lay out for your treatment plan.

But the bottom line is, you’ve got to be on board.  You’ve go to have a plan.  You’ve got to agree with how I see thing.  And if you don’t, you have to be able to STAND UP and advocate for what you want.

At the bottom of all of this, it boils down to your support structure.  Who are the people in your corner…?  Better yet, who do you CHOOSE to allow to be in your corner…advocating with you?

I don’t have the answer about whether or not your child will have to be on medication for the rest of his (or her life).  In this current moment, there’s no way to tell.

A good treatment plan considers the following:

Where are you now?

Where do you want to be X (days / months / years) from now?

What’s in your way?

In a lot of cases, we start off in crisis.  Medication can be a good way to get a grip on a life that seems out of control.

But you must NOT stop there.  Medication can and does work.  But it doesn’t cure ADHD.  There is NO cure for ADHD.

If you are hesitant that your child’s ADHD medications might change who your child is, then we need to evaluate what the right medication is or is NOT.

If you want ADHD medication to be a short term treatment plan, then we need to map out other strategies and treatment approaches to put in place.

It’s like setting a strong foundation.

It’s having a place to start.

It’s up to YOU where you want to go from there.

It’s NOT up to the teachers.  It’s NOT up to the doctors.

It’s NOT up to your extended family.

It’s up to YOU!  It’s to you and your spouse / partner and your child.

This is why you must advocate!  Parenting a child with ADHD is a contact sport.  And as they say in baseball, grab a glove and get in the game!  Kick a little dirt at the umpire if you’re not getting your point across.  Don’t be afraid of getting thrown out of the game…  After all, you are the parent.  You take the game outside and play street yard rules!

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