This blog is not FDA approved
As I’ve mentioned before I have AD[H]D. My son does as well.
Nonetheless, my husband (at the time) and I chose not to put our son on medication. For several reasons.
First, both of us being medical doctors, we knew very well that sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. We evaluated the situation and decided that we were willing to do the extra work, for the sake of our son.
Second, our son is off the chart smart. He taught himself how to read and write by the age of three. As it is normal for these kids, school was, more often than not, a disaster. This was despite being enrolled in one of the top ten schools in the country, one whose alumni were very sought after by the best universities. No amount of AD[H]D medication was going to change the fact that he was simply bored in class. That boredom only made his hyperactivity all the more evident.
Eventually, one of his teachers asked for an evaluation feeling that she was not in the position to give my son the special education she felt he deserved. The results came back, recommending my son was transferred to a school for the gifted.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) at that time, there were only a handful of those in Colombia and none in our city. The only option was to send our son alone since we didn’t have the means to move the whole family. That, obviously wasn’t really an option. Our son stayed with us and continued to attend the same school.
We knew the road ahead of us was going to be hard. Both on our son and on us.
We knew there would be times when we would be physically exhausted. When we would wish for a break. When we would not know what to do.
We knew we didn’t have all the answers. But we were willing to try our best, for our son’s sake.
Our son had a few good teachers, the kind that understood his case and went the extra mile to keep his mind challenged and occupied. Those teachers would give him different assignments from the rest of the class. That -of course, meant extra work for them but the results were remarkable.
Then there were the other kind of teachers, the kind that couldn’t be bothered or didn’t have the tools/training to deal with a hyperactive kid that outsmarted them. It was easier to label him as trouble and fail him.
He failed many courses and he aced some. By 5th grade, he was granted permission to join the physics club along with grade 10 and 11 students.
By grade 9, he managed to get himself expelled without finishing the school year. I was already in Canada at that point so sadly he didn’t have my support during that year. Those were hard times for all of us but that’s a story to be told some other time.
A year later, the sponsorship application was approved and my son -along with his sister, finally got to come to Canada. He took the necessary tests and was placed in grade ten.
He decided to take a year off after he was done with high school and worked instead at a coffee shop. Then finally decided to go back to Colombia to attend university there. He took the mandatory national test and got one of the highest scores in the country which earned him the right to admission to the university of his choice.
He chose my Alma Mater.
Is our story a successful one? I think so.
If I had the chance to do it all over again, would I change anything? Absolutely not.
I still believe medication in his case would not have made any significant improvement in the quality of his life and most likely, it would have lowered it.
He had and still has, trouble keeping deadlines. He’s constantly fidgeting. He’s also a procrastinator. He always has a million projects going at the same time. Most of them will never be finished. And yet, he’s got a couple of his poems and short stories published, both in Canada and in Colombia.
His creative genius was never thwarted. He paint and he writes.
His poetry is dark and poignant but beautiful nonetheless.
He is doing well at school and he’s already looking into options for graduate school.
Sure, he still faces challenges, that hasn’t changed. But as an adult, he has the tools to decide on his own.
Will he eventually decide to take medication for his AD[H]D?
I don’t know. But I trust that if he does, it will be after careful evaluation of the pros and the cons of it, just like we did years ago, when he was a child, unable to sit still for more than 90 seconds.