To date, there remains to be no known
underlying medical, neurological or biological cause for these
disorders. Your child does not have a chemical imbalance or crossed
wires. The fact is these so-called disorders are simply a set of
behaviors which are based upon arbitrary and subjective criteria.
So how does your child end up with this
diagnosis? Interestingly, there are no medical or psychological tests
to diagnose these disorders. Instead, professionals rely on checklists,
questionnaires, observation or other useless measures (such as the
Gordon Diagnostic System) that are presented as if they had some
scientific validity. You may not have known that in order for mental
health professionals and agencies to be financially reimbursed for
their services, they must provide a diagnosis for your child, even if
they don’t meet the basic criteria for that disorder.
A diagnosis does not provide any useful
information nor does it contribute to meaningful treatment. Most
children diagnosed with these disorders are simply treated with
medication. Again, parents are often not provided with accurate
information about these drugs. Pediatricians, nurse practitioners and
psychiatrists routinely prescribe drugs that are not even approved or
recommended for children. There is a lack of long-term studies on the
effects of these medications, so our children are routinely used as
guinea pigs. They are often tried on many different medications or
combinations of them.
Children are given a variety of
medications (stimulants, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics) as an
attempt to simply control their behavior, not to address some
underlying disorder. After a while, it is difficult to determine if the
child’s behaviors are a reflection of the their true personality or a
result of the drugs they have been given. Families need to be better
educated about these issues and learn about alternatives that offer
real solutions for their child’s success.
Director, It’s About Childhood & Family, Inc.