Monday, December 30, 2013

 

UGG Boots, Skinny Jeans, and ADHD


By Kate LeFebvre, OTR
A Communication in Motion
         
                    I’m sure you've heard about the increasing rate of ADHD diagnosis over the past decade or so.  I’m equally certain you've heard references to it as a trendy disorder, over-diagnosed by doctors that cater to yuppie parents.  Perhaps the motivation ascribed to these parents was to explain behavior problems created by lack of discipline, to get medication to sedate the kids and make parenting easier, or to obtain accommodations to give their children a leg up in school.  I won’t argue that ADHD is never misdiagnosed, or that there aren’t parents out there who have shopped around for a doctor who would label their child with something – anything.  ADHD, however, isn't just another chevron or moustache*.  Trendy or not, this condition is a real neurological disorder that causes major difficulties in the day-to-day lives of those it affects.
                I recently spoke with a woman who discovered as an adult that she has ADHD herself, as does one of her children.  She described her fears that, had they not been diagnosed, she would believe she was a bad mother, her child wouldn't have learned to slow down enough to speak and read, she could have been prescribed ineffective and potentially dangerous medications, and her children would have been considered “the behavior kids.”  Learning about ADHD allowed her and her family to develop coping strategies so that they can be successful, independent, and, most importantly, happy and fulfilled.
                This family’s lives were changed – at home, at school, at work – because of being appropriately diagnosed with ADHD.  Armed with this knowledge about how their brains function, she was able to seek therapies that made a world of difference.  She and her child now have the tools to manage the symptoms of their disorder and prevent it from interfering with the things they want and need to do.  So the next time you hear of another child who’s been diagnosed with ADHD consider that, although it may seem  as ubiquitous as a fleece North Face jacket on a college campus, this is a legitimate medical condition.  ADHD calls for compassion, accommodation, and coaching – not derision and dismissiveness.


* Moustaches?  Who comes up with these things?


Edited, Posted, and Recorded by Noah Morse

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