Over 15 years ago, I was advised to take my youngest son to see a psychiatrist/psychologist for an evaluation. Worried that there might truly be something wrong, I made the appointment. When we arrived, we entered a small room with a desk and a couple of chairs. Along one wall were several colorful bins with different toys in them. My son, who was 5 at the time, immediately went to explore the bins. During my conversation with the psychiatrist/psychologist, I asked what it was about my son's behavior that made her think there was something wrong. She said she had never actually observed my son but the lead teacher at the Head Start had pointed him out while she was there for some of the other children. The confusion I felt at that point turned to disbelief when she handed me a prescription and told me my son definitely had ADHD. I asked why she thought so and she said because he had failed to select one toy from all the multi-colored bins along the wall. Like I said, it had been about 15 minutes and honestly, there were quite a few toys to choose from. I asked her how a 5 year old was supposed to pick one toy from all those provided without checking them all out first. She said a child without ADHD would have walked over to the bins and picked out a single toy and sat down to play. I was pretty sure she was crazy at that point and called my son to leave. The prescription went in the trash. Unfortunately, her recommendation was forwarded to Head Start, a federally-funded program, and that label - true or not - became a permanent part of his educational file.
That was the beginning of the battle, which lasted for 10 years, and the pressure to medicate my son. I saw the toll this battle had on him, on his self-esteem, his ability to be successful and I knew there had to be a better way. That's why I returned to school. I learned so much about this disorder and the alternative therapies that most parents are unaware of. That is why I have to do this. No other parent, or child, should have to go through what we did. They have a right to know. Please support my efforts to share this information.
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