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written by Mira Cassidy
1 out of 5 people in America have a learning disability of some kind according to the Center for Parent Information and Resources. Is your child included? Students across the classrooms every day are either being misdiagnosed with the wrong learning disability, or over looked all together for having a disability and labeled as a behavior problem. He doesn’t pay attention. He doesn’t focus. He doesn’t sit still. He’s unorganized. She never knows what page we’re on. She drifts off during class. She keeps losing her homework. These are just some of the complaints parents have heard from their child’s teachers. What should parents do? Remember, you are your child’s advocate, so it’s up to you to guarantee that they are receiving a proper education.
Many children are diagnosed with a learning disability by the second or third grade. However, some diagnoses are applied to too many children and careless educators are grouping them in the wrong categories. Although a physician is required to give an official diagnosis, they are not needed to implement an education plan in some states. Moreover, the schools receive funding for each child that has an education plan in place. According to Child Adolescent Clinical Psychopharmacology Made Simple Third Edition many childhood diagnoses mimic each other such as ADHD, anxiety disorders, situational stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar mania, and boredom. ADHD seems to be the most popular diagnosis for children over the past decade. The reason why, based off the mentioned book, “too many physicians go for the quick-fix solution and reach for the prescription pad based off of our society’s attitude to get well fast.” With this in mind, children are being medicated with drugs that for some can lead to dependency or other side effects such as ticks, headaches, sluggish or sedated like behavior. Also, there are drugs for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder that can cause breast enlargement in girls and boys.
Each parent should make an informed decision about the treatment of their child. However, an informed decision is based on a clear understanding of what the medication is for, what it will do, and what the side effects are. If you choose to medicate, ask questions, understand the clinical trials, know how this medication will affect your son or daughter after long term use. Be an expert through research! Keep in mind, there are children who require not only medication, but a shift in their home environment as well to be successful. As the parent, you know your child the best, and the best choice may be to medicate, not medicate, get a second opinion, have your child re-evaluated through the school system, have your child evaluated independently, provide more structure, create a challenging education, or perhaps a simple change in their diet.
Ensuring the health and well-being of your child can drain you emotionally at times and making the right decision may be difficult. Nevertheless, you will succeed. There is a wealth of knowledge and resources for parents to understand childhood diagnoses. It’s up to the parent to investigate. The most important thing is to guarantee that your child is being identified properly.