CBC radio was playing a phone call from parent with a child diagnosed with ADHD yesterday afternoon and I’m having a knee jerk reaction to it. The responses were based on THIS story.
The parent described her child as “energetic, creative and wonderful” but then said, “but he was falling behind in writing and maths, so we had to medicate him”.
I’m a parent in the process of going through a psych assessment on my own child because he didn’t get stellar grades in grade one. He is a shy, active, thoughtful, sensitive, creative boy who loves to dance and can solve puzzle games designed for kids three grades ahead of him. He can use a computer like a pro and loves media, especially if it has music in it. He gets perfect on his spelling tests, but still has trouble writing and staying on-task in the classroom. He almost failed music last year (stern parental intervention deflected the well-meaning but paralytic school system into passing him). They seemed to confuse lack of participation by a chronically shy boy in a Christmas Concert in front of a thousand people with the subject of ‘music’.
When we went to see the psychiatrist, I was adamant about him not getting labelled. The psychiatrist said a label, if properly applied, will help him. I was adamant about him not getting medicated, they seemed more willing to accept that, though, of course, whole industries revolve around making these diagnoses, applying labels and following up with expensive, brand named drugs.
Oh how we love to systematize our children. Achievement in that limited, disciplined, standardized setting is just so easy to assess and statiscize. We can set them up in rows, itemize them and then compare them, all in a spreadsheet! Oh, the convenience.
And that poor woman on the radio? She, in a panic over how an incredibly myopic education system determine writing and math skills in a specific instance, is now paying a multi-national to drug her child so that it can enjoy ‘success’.
Great job everybody.