Oh, Behave: Get a second opinion before putting your child on ritalin


Question:

I’m concerned that schools are too quick to decide that a difficult child has attention deficit disorder. The school has suggested we look into Ritalin so our son’s behaviour can be regulated. I want them to arrange for an independent assessment. Have you an opinion about this?

Answer:

If the school is talking about attention deficit disorder (ADD) I would head off to the family doctor or the paediatrician and have a medical opinion in place regardless of the assessment process or its outcomes and suggestions. As parents, we will be faced with loads of new ideas that require decisions on behalf of our children. It is key to make sure you are an informed member of any team of professionals or trusted advisors that makes decisions on your child’s behalf. Make sure, if you are considering medication, that you are aware of all of the medication options (beyond Ritalin); their side effects; and the other, less intrusive, treatment options (naturopathy, behaviour modification programs, parenting courses for parents of children with ADD, diet, etc.) that would impact life at home and in the classroom.

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