A little while ago, I met with the parent of a child who has recently been diagnosed with ADHD. For them it has been a long journey to confirm what she had long suspected, that her child struggles in a classroom environment and also at home because he has ADHD.
The treatment prescribed was medication but here is the thing she told me that I found fascinating. Her child chooses or not whether he takes his medication outside of school days.
Having been diagnosed with ADHD when I was ten and prescribed Ritalin, I found this concept alien but empowering. She explained it was something the doctor had suggested but she’d heard of it being done for other children.
Out of curiosity I asked her how often her child chooses to take the medication and she said “it depends on how he’s feeling. Sometimes if he wants a chill day then he might take a tablet.” This whole conversation actually made me start to wonder, if I’d had a choice when I was a child about whether I could have medication free days, would I still be taking medication now? I know in all honesty the reality is ‘it would be unlikely!’ but the idea sounds so empowering.
His parent elaborated further by saying “if he has something important to get done, he takes his medication, or if he fancies a play day of just being himself he doesn’t take it.” To me her comments strongly suggested she was aware of her child’s needs and just as important he was also aware of them.
However, she was quick to point out that with an agile family member it was a different story, admiring he wouldn’t let his children do that because he believed they needed to get used to the medication and be built up with it.
I guess I can see both sides of the argument. The thing I remember most about my ADHD medication was how numb it made me feel; I didn’t get excited or passionate about anything was on it. How can you be productive without passion? Maybe you can but to me it seems rather pointless.
I must be clear to point out though that just because I felt that way on Ritalin; doesn’t mean every child will? Perhaps the importance lies in a balance of choice? Don’t just take my word for it though! Has medication changed your life? Does your kid have a choice? Let me know your thoughts below.