Now, please understand my ideas aren't based on the fact that my profession has given me some input, and experience in this whole thing. No, it is mainly because if what is happening to our kids now with over diagnosis, and treatment, and all the medicine show remedies out there were to have occurred forty years ago I would not be the person I am today. I feel very strongly that my creative / abstract side would have been stunted beyond repair.
I would be someone else.
Today, everything from children being subjected to hours of TV from an early age, to pesticides, and genetics are being blamed for the increase in diagnosis. Understanding how this whole diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment thing works can help us to figure things out a bit easier.
Keep in mind that there are absolutely genuine, definitive assessments, diagnosis, and appropriate treatments given daily by those that we entrust our children to, and those diagnosis, and treatments should be followed up on regularly. If you have questions about hour child's diagnosis, and treatment address it with the practitioner that made the diagnosis, and prescribed the treatment. Don't ever stop a treatment, or medicine on your own.
There is also a lot of BS out there as well.
First, very rarely does a parent bring a child to the pediatrician with the complaint that the child is too active, and doesn't pay attention at home, although it may be true, and some parents may do just that. This is something that the child's teacher will usually suggest to the parents based on their observations in the class room. The parents will then take their child to the pediatrician, and give the teachers observations to the doctor. The doctor will interview the parents, and the child, and based on what the doctor learns from all sources, he will then either choose to observe the child further, or to initiate treatment.
And, here lies part of the problem: the teachers referral.
The teacher, although in an excellent position to observe behaviors, is making referrals based on behaviors witnessed in a closed, confined environment, for six hours out of twenty four. The younger children seldom leave the classroom except for lunch, and if the school still allows it, recess. Otherwise, children are kept in the classroom for too many hours without a release. Recess is the release that is needed most. A totally free recess without grownup intervention to "make it better", or more meaningful. Or more refined, precise, timely, and well spent. Depending on the child's age, recess should be twice a day, especially for the younger ones.
Cripes. Just open the door, and let the kids fly outside, and just be kids.
Yep, they will act nutty, run in circles without a purpose, raise their voices, and play tag. Yes, kids will touch each other, pull ponytails, and give nuggies. They will invade each others personal space. It happens. They're kids, let them be. Let them get tired. And, along the way teach them about boundaries.
Repeat as needed.
To a majority of teachers that are teaching today this behavior is not what they are used to in the classroom either when they were students themselves, or as teachers today, and when it is observed, it is reported to the parent as something that needs to be addressed. It is then hoped that the child will see a pediatrician, and maybe placed on medication to help them to conform.
It's a bit Brave New World-ish.
Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, Strattera have all become as commonplace in the morning as Flintstone Chewables. Think about it, will it become commonplace, when we get to be older, that our children will have us medicated so we are easier to get along with.
Wait. Scratch that. Some already do.
If the schools would just let kids vent. Get the morning out of their system. Their little sister hogging the bathroom, the bus driver that was a bit late, the lunch that mom made that spilled from the bag on the way into school. Kid stress.
Kids are affected by everyday things, too. Stress affects them, as it does us, and if they don't have "water cooler" time to let it go, then they will let it go in class.
I know, I did, but without recess when I was in the the early grades I would have dealt with things a lot worse than I did.
This is so simple. Why have we subjected so many of our kids to medicines in order to make them more docile, controllable, and more like the kid sitting beside them? If our bosses insisted on medicating us in order to comply with corporate policy, would we stand for it?
Recently, in East Providence, Rhode Island the school district decided to end recess.
If they do you can be sure there will be a big spike in notes home to parents about their children acting out, more trips to the pediatrician, more prescriptions written, and more children placed in control mode for the school day, but allowed to be kids after school and on weekends.
Ever wonder about that? Why they prescribe medication for the school day only? Sort of confirms what I have been preaching for some time, the medication is used for control during school, and somehow control translates to better learning, and understanding, but kids can just be kids at home.
Well, since children learn best by example you can be sure that some time from now they will be booking appointments for their parents with the family doctor as soon their parents AARP invitations arrive in the mail.
What goes around...
The article below is from CBS.com
R.I. School Eliminates Recess for Elementary Kids
NEW YORK (CBS/AP) A Rhode Island school district is doing away with the time-honored tradition of recess.
Beginning in the fall, East Providence Elementary School students will not be given 10 minutes before or after lunch to play. Instead of the traditional free-play, schools will be partnering with the YMCA to design a more comprehensive physical education program that will keep students active, even without recess.
As you can imagine, parents can be found falling on both sides of this conversation.
On one side, seeing a school district focusing on the challenge of childhood obesity and inactivity with creative structured activity via physical education reform is refreshing to see. Left of their own accord, not all children choose activity -- even in play time like recess -- and many of them need to be motivated to make the choice to move. A program like this could be very positive for parents facing some of these issues.
At the same time, it's not like all the facets of recess will be taken from these students unilaterally. Teachers in the district will be taught how to both recognize the need for and facilitate in class breaks that include some free-form play and other stress relieving "down time" for the class, allaying some of the fears parents have about the removal of the current notion of recess.
On the other side, you have parents worrying about how taking away the ten minutes of "kid time" from elementary school kids will negatively impact their children. Recess is not only play-time, but for children being pushed harder and more explicitly earlier in elementary schools than ever before, it is a source of release from stress, rejuvenation within the day and a constant lesson in self-guided social interaction.
For my daughter who will be approaching elementary school age soon, the free time at her pre-school is where most of the stories of the friendships she is making or the questions about social interactions are born. Critical learning about how children interact together -- both individually and in larger groups -- can happen in these small pockets of time on the playground. While it can certainly be argued that the playground is not the only place that social skills are acquired, my stronger memories of times -- both challenging and positive -- interacting with peers happened in this free time.
As a parent, I would be very nervous about my 6- to 8-year-old spending too much time in a completely structured school experience. There is certainly a place for the traditional notion of recess in my kids' experience. Whether it be learning new games or interacting directly with friends as peers. While I very much appreciate the inspiration for the increased importance in physical education by the Rhode Island school system, recess may not be the proper time to be replaced to accommodate it. -- CBS News.com