Thursday, November 8, 2012
What Kids Teach Us
On the one hand:
The way we treat our kids tells us at least as much about ourselves as it does about them.
So what does this story tell us:
New York Times, Oct. 9, 2012:
Attention Disorder or Not, Pills to Help in School
Drugs that are normally used to increase focus are in some cases being prescribed simply to improve struggling, low-income students’ academic performance at school.
Although A.D.H.D is the diagnosis Dr. Anderson makes, he calls the disorder “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools.
“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”
It is not yet clear whether Dr. Anderson is representative of a widening trend. But some experts note that as wealthy students abuse stimulants to raise already-good grades in colleges and high schools, the medications are being used on low-income elementary school children with faltering grades and parents eager to see them succeed.
“We as a society have been unwilling to invest in very effective nonpharmaceutical interventions for these children and their families,” said Dr. Ramesh Raghavan, a child mental-health services researcher at Washington University in St. Louis and an expert in prescription drug use among low-income children. “We are effectively forcing local community psychiatrists to use the only tool at their disposal, which is psychotropic medications.”
On the Rocafort family’s kitchen shelf in Ball Ground, Ga., next to the peanut butter and chicken broth, sits a wire basket brimming with bottles of the children’s medications, prescribed by Dr. Anderson: Adderall for Alexis, 12; and Ethan, 9; Risperdal (an antipsychotic for mood stabilization) for Quintn and Perry, both 11; and Clonidine (a sleep aid to counteract the other medications) for all four, taken nightly.
This barely touches on the disturbing info presented in this article. As usual it is left to us to wonder and research for ourselves the roots of what is evidently a trend. How is it that prescribing stimulants, anit-psychotics and sleep aids, some if which are known to be addictive and have serious side effects, has become an acceptable thing for doctors to do to children? The government fosters the idea by providing complete prescription coverage through Medicaid. A school system may end up approving the use of such drugs because even though they may be ripped by funding cuts, they are still expected to get their students to perform better and get better grades.
Frankly this makes me ill.
But on the other hand:
The honesty, sincerity and simplicity of a child has a huge amount to teach us about what kind of people we could be:
September 7, 2012
8-Year-Old Starts Lemonade Stand for Freedom; Raises $50K in Two Months
Vivie was inspired to take a stand against slavery after seeing an installation on slavery by Lisa Kristine, a photographer who captured these authentic, haunting, gut-wrenching snapshots of modern-day slaves around the world....
Vivie was inspired to take action. Watch how she quickly garnered tens of thousands of supporters from the local and worldwide community and raised more than $50,000 dollars in just under two months.
Certainly the parents probably helped with logistical matters, but it was the child who had the idea, and the simple belief, based on the simple principle of compassion, that she should do what she could, and that it would be worth doing. It was her motivation and persistence that inspired others to help her and spread the word, turning her dream into a plan into reality. What we can learn from this child is much more powerful and positive for our lives than the disturbing news presented above.