I got a new fourth grader on Wednesday, Peter. Like when Gram joined my class last year, I noticed something was off right away. He couldn't sit still, he refused to follow the simplest direction, he shouted and said things like, "I don't know what a book is, how does it work?" (Which wasn't true because we found out later that he's reading at grade level.) Suffice to say, it was a hard day. I had to be constantly near him, keeping him from putting his hand on other kids.
Come to find out he doesn't like women in general and as ADD. I spoke to his mother after school and asked her what works for her at home when he doesn't follow any directions. She said, "Nothing, nothing works, I wish I could help." She went on to say that she took him off of his adderall over summer because he wasn't in school and was bringing him the doctor the next afternoon to have the prescription renewed. Thursday was another hard day with him and I started to get really nervous about how I was going to make the class work with Kismet and Peter, two really high needs kids and still have time to teach.
On Friday, I was anxious to see how he was, that being the first day he was back on his meds. He was like a zombie. It was weird. He was quiet and honestly, looked kind of high. I mean, it was much easier. For the most part, he did what I told him to do and worked well with the other kids. But by the end of the day he looked so whigged out I sort of wished for the first Peter I met.
I'm not sure what I think about putting kids on these kinds of meds this young. I know one person about my age who has been on ritalin since he was in grade school and this kids is so scattered, hard to talk to and nuts now that I wonder if it did and is continuing to do serious damage. Obviously, helps Peter cope in school, but to what cost? We're the adults, shouldn't we be the ones manipulating the environment to suit his needs? I know there is therapy out there that can teach kids the skills they need to harness ADD and ADHD without meds but perhaps for parents that's the harder choice because of the time and money. Or perhaps, the doctors aren't explaining this to the parents. It just doesn't seem right. But I don't know what the answer is.
4 years ago