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BIG Q4: What Would You Do?

By Jackie Burrell
Sunday, February 10th, 2008 at 8:30 am in Advice.

?! by Dhiegaum/StockXchng It’s your turn to play advice columnist! Here’s this week’s question: “My son’s kindergarten teacher is urging me to get my son checked for ADHD. He’s wiggly, I’ll grant you that, but I think that’s reasonable behavior for a 5-year-old, and I don’t want to medicate my child. What would you do?”

Click “comments” and offer your advice! (Have a question? E-mail us here. To see previous Q&As, check our advice archives.)

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No Responses to “BIG Q4: What Would You Do?”

  1. Susan Says:

    We often joke that we should install seat belts on our kitchen chairs to keep our 6.5 year old grounded long enough to eat dinner or do his homework. His teachers accommodate a wide range of learning styles — a lot of the kids move to the hallway or the rug to do work — and have never expressed any concern that my kid has ADHD.

    That said, is there some reason your son’s teacher raises the possibility that he needs medication? Some behavior that perhaps comes out at school and not at home? Is he disturbing his class or unable to follow directions? I would be loath to medicate my son based on his squirmy behavior, but I would also take his teacher’s concerns to heart — and more importantly, to my pediatrician.

  2. Rona Renner Says:

    Well, I think Susan has it right. It’s essential that we accommodate a wide range of temperaments and learning styles in our schools. There is too much pressure being put on young children to “sit still” and learn academics.
    Children are being robbed of their childhood when they don’t have time for unstructured play, a key way that they learn about their world and how to get along with others.
    There are so many factors that can influence a child’s wiggly behavior. Any parent who is being asked to have their child evaluated needs to talk with the teacher about the specific behaviors they are concerned about, including time of day it happens, and if the behavior interferes with learning. And, I suggest parents spend some time in the classroom to see if it’s a good “fit” with the child’s needs. If an assessment is needed, it should be done by someone who is experienced with learning and behavioral issues, takes a good history to look at other possible causes, and discusses treatment options. Just because someone gets a diagnosis, doesn’t mean that medication is the first line of treatment.
    There are times when medication is needed, but don’t let anyone push you until you’ve understood the issues. The question I find helpful to ask parents and teachers is “How much impairment is there?”
    Best of luck.
    “Nurse Rona”….a high functioning successful wiggly person.

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