Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's all in the brain

Mister C & I met with our son's teacher and vice principal today after school to discuss where Master J is at, behavior wise. According to his teacher he is "maintaining, but not getting better", which kind of sucks. Here's the thing, I honestly think we did him such a disservice by moving him up to the Midwest before the start of first grade. He improved in kindergarten down here from the beginning of the school year to the end. He started first grade up there on a good note, and then went downhill. It got substantially worse at the beginning of second grade until we finally moved back down here. It sounds like we are back to where we started. I don't think he's worse than when he started kindergarten. And I do think he's better than when he was up there. In fact, the one thing that his teacher said that I thought was really interesting was that the kid his previous school described in all their copious files and reports, and the kid she met and knows aren't even the same kid. She would never even connect the reports with Master J, that's how harshly they described him. So I know we're in a better place for him, for sure. And she has patience beyond belief. She always mentions how much she likes him and how brilliant (her word, not mine) he is. But his behavior is getting in the way of his learning. So now we're going to look into a few different options.

If you know me, you know where I stand on medicating kids. If you want to medicate your child, that's fine for you. I think way too many parents and teachers reach for the drugs first because it's the fastest and easiest method to make their day easier. And yes, I am judging. I've seen it too many times. Kids living in homes with no consistency, watching way too much tv and fed a steady diet of processed crap. Gee, wonder why he acts like a maniac? Guess he needs meds. I also do believe that some small percentage of kids actually benefit greatly from medication. I believe that some kids lives are literally saved by being medicated. Honestly, kids like Master J have the potential to drive parents insane and if I were the beatin' kind he probably would have been abused by now. So yes, medication is sometimes the best thing for everyone involved. But it isn't my first choice.

My first choice has been watching his diet, having rules and not allowing excessive tv viewing. In fact, he has to "pay" for what television he does watch with poker chips he earns for doing the right things (his chores) and making good choices (offering help without being asked, for instance). And, at almost eight years old, he can tell you what would make a good meal. He knows that he needs proteins, good carbs, fruits, vegetables and healthy beverages like milk or water. He rarely drinks juice, even when offered.

My second choice is to take him to a "brain center" and have them give us a plan for some sort of neurofeedback training to re train his brain. There's a place nearby that's been recommended that I'm going to contact after this week is over. I believe this could make a huge difference. But I have to see what they say first.

My next choice would be natural medication. There is evidence abounding about the connection between caffeine and kids with ADHD. Given in proper doses, caffeine has an effect similar to Ritalin. There are naysayers out there regarding the connection. Mostly pharmaceutical companies. For what that's worth. There are also people who believe strongly in the vitamin/mineral therapy. We used to have next door neighbors that used this with their son. They described the way he was before and it sounded like a different kid from the one we saw.

My last choice is the man-made medications. My own belief, is that a whole lot of these aren't much better than a medical lobotomy. The results are similar in the change of personality of the child, and I believe the long-term results are still unknown. I don't want to dope my kid up. He's too smart, too sweet and with a personality that is bigger than life. I don't want to medicate the good with the bad. But that's usually what happens. It's kind of like trying to "spot reduce" your body. As much as I'd love to lose my stomach fat by running on a treadmill, we all know it's my breasts that will go away first. Which in turn will put more attention on my problem area. It just never works out the way you want it do.