If you are a parent of a child who has been diagnosed or suspected as having ADHD and you are considering putting them on Ritalin, this post is for you! I have written about ADHD in this blog before, hoping to empower parents to take control over the health and wellbeing of their children and making sure their kids do not become a label. I hope today's story and video will help you make more informed choices about ADHD and Ritalin.
I have been working in the special education field for 25 years. My amazing mentors and teachers warned me that one day, the inflation in the use of drugs to solve academic or behavioral problems like ADD, ADHD, emotional struggles and even tiredness will be so high that my job would be to stay on guard and offer parents alternatives and hope. I took this job description very seriously, but never in my darkest and most pessimistic dreams have I seen it becoming as big or as scary as this.
I am angry and I want to cry from frustration, because we have lost one more child to a form of organized crime. I am writing this post to recover, to remind myself of my job description, to try and save other children from a horrible fate and to offer hope, only this time I need that hope myself.
Luke was a highly auditory child I worked with after he had been diagnosed with ADHD. I tried to convince his mom to give him coffee to calm him down, because coffee has a calming effect on children with ADHD. She told a friend of hers about this tip and her friend's child relaxed and "became a new child", but Luke's mom never tried it.
I worked with Luke for about 3 months. The increase in his ability to concentration was amazing. Luke was in Prep (the year before First Grade) and through our sessions together, he started reading faster than any of his classmates. He was a lot of fun and we had amazing conversations that you would not expect to have with a 6 year old.
During those three months, despite his progress, every time his mom entered the room to pick him up, he looked worried as if he could sense something bad was happening to her. From time to time, he would ask in an anxious tone, "Mom, what happened?" she would say, "Nothing", but later on, she would cry and tell me she was confused. I did not dig any deeper into her personal life, but it was obvious something had happen during the time she had been away and Luke could sense it in a flash.
I admired Luke's mom, because all through the previous year she had refused to give him medication and had tried different diets, although she had not been consistent or selective in her approach to these diets (she weighed over 140kg and huffed and puffed from shortness of breath). She had taken off many things at once, had not eliminated them from Luke's diet for long enough and had not stopped using some techniques even when they had not worked.
The refusal to medicate Luke ended one day when him mom had a nervous breakdown and the doctor prescribed her antidepressants. This was the day she said, "I can't do this anymore", and handed her power over to the psychologist. The psychologist came to observe Luke in class for half an hour (which is more than some others do), then talked to his parents for an hour and prescribed Ritalin.
One day, Luke did not come to his session with me. I called his mom and she did not answer the phone. I emailed her and she did not reply. I SMSed her and she did not respond. I waited for the following week and Luke still did not show up. I tried all the communication channels again. Nothing. I contacted the school, which had been very helpful during the time I worked with Luke, and found out Luke had stopped coming to school. They thought his family had moved to a different town and said his mom had not replied to any of their communication efforts either.
This week, I went to Luke's school for a project I am running there. I talked to his special education teacher and wanted to cry. I was so angry and wanted to scream out loud. This is my scream. I hope you will be able to read it in between the lines.
Luke was given Ritalin for about 4 months. When his behavior got out of control, he was admitted into a mental institute several times after trying to commit suicide and having incidents of psychotic hallucinations. He went in and out of the mental ward until they concluded he had Schizophrenia and he was given a different medication for that.
For crying out loud, he is 6 years old!
How many kids are victims of this crime?!
I came home devastated. I had lost one more child to the organized crime of drugging kids to death. Luke was just 6 years old and could have killed himself because someone did not bother telling his parents about the risks of taking Ritalin.
I have decided to remind myself of the job description and use this story to warn every parent about treating this dangerous drug as an easy solution for ADHD.
Emergency room visits by kids aged 10 to 14 involving Ritalin intoxication or overdoses have now reached the same level of those visiting for use of cocaine
- Citizen's Commission on Human Rights
The government classifies Cocaine, Morphine and Ritalin in the same category of "highly addictive drugs". No one would give their child Cocaine. Why would you give your child Ritalin?
If you ever consider giving your child Ritalin, do yourself a favor and watch this video first.