Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cure ADHD without Drugs with These Resources from Doctors, Educators, and Parents

Do you think these children need ADHD Meds?
From the Che Dee Books blog
I’ve written several posts about the non prescription cure to ADHD which in short involves “Fixing Boring Schools, Rather than Kids Who Are Bored.”  If you look at the comments in the posts you will find many agree, but others are from upset adults who share that they or their child have ADHD and the drugs have helped or that THE CONDITION IS REAL and they question how someone like me without a medical degree could state otherwise.  They also are insistent that it really helps their children focus in the classroom.  Interestingly, many of these children do not need meds on weekends and summer.  

I do not dispute the fact that these meds help their students conform to a traditional school setting that put an emphasis on shutting up and paying attention while their teachers lecture about things in which they are uninterested.  What I dispute is that many people were not made to sit in seats all day taking classes they never signed up for about subjects they have no interest in.  I’ve written how spending my days like this was torturous for me, and I also shared how Google’s recent multi-millionaire Aaron Iba felt the same way which I wrote about here. I’ve also spoken to many other children and adults who share that they were bored in school.  In fact recently at a education conference, the keynote speaker said to an audience of educators, please share one word that describes your high school experience.  Together, in unison, as if well-rehearsed, the audience said, “BORED!” Is it any wonder, some of our more active, social, children, who desire stimulation, do better if provided drugs when subjected to conditions that don’t allow them to thrive?  

Still, I’m only an educator. It was only my personal experience.  And, heck, I’m only an observer.  What do I know?  Those who disagree with me may think, “Not much.” As a result, I’ve put together a collection of materials from doctors, educators, and parents (who have no connection to the pharma companies) that believe ADD/ADHD is a myth, a sham, a fraud.  If you are a parent or educator who has children being drugged,  I ask if you’ve considered the plethora of alternatives to drugging children to enable them to conform to the industrial model of schooling.  I also ask if you’ve reviewed the evidence that  suggests these drug-addicted children will suffer serious negative consequences as a result of your choices for them. Providing pills for children to pop should not be taking lightly.  For parents, educators, and children grappling with this decision, I offer this collection of resources I’ve gathered as recommended reading. 

Resources to consider by those administering/contemplating ADHD meds for children

  1. Does ADHD Even Exist? The Ritalin Sham by John Breeding, Ph.D. - Featuring lies your doctors told you.
  2. ADHD: The Emperor's New Clothes: Why I Believe Attention Deficit Disorder is a Myth, by Thomas Armstrong, PhD
  3. The ADHD Fraud - How Psychiatry Makes “Patients” Out of Normal Children by Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD - Explains how the entire country, including all 5-7 million with the ADHD diagnosis today, have been deceived and victimized; deprived of their informed consent rights and drugged--for profit!
  4. Powerful proponent of psychiatric drugs for children primed for a fall - Explains how big Pharma money is a powerful force funding medical research and point of view over competing models.
  5. The ADHD Report - A stay-at-home father who has observed hundreds of children at close range on a regular basis’s puts together this report after spending six months pouring through research, data, resources, and studies on the topic.  All of which he compiles for readers.  His summary: ADHD is a delusion.  
  6. Psychiatric Drug Facts - Peter R. Breggin, MD, has been called "the conscience of psychiatry" for his efforts to reform the mental health field, including his promotion of caring psychotherapeutic approaches and his opposition to the escalating overuse of psychiatric medications, the oppressive diagnosing and drugging of children, and false biological theories. Read: “Psychiatric Drugs and Your Child.”
  7. ADHD: Rid-a-Him, by Chris Mercogliano, Introduction, taken from a forthcoming book on ADHD. You may read the first four chapters from this book by ordering volume IV of Challenging the Giant from our bookstore.
  8. ADHD: Teaching the Restless, One School's Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed, by Chris Mercogliano
  9. Dr. Bunni Tobias' website, devoted to her research and counseling for children diagnosed as ADHD
  10. ADHD medication page - an actual advertisement, two full pages in length, in a well-known children's magazine which offers virtually nothing but warnings, counter-indications and possible side effects.
  11. The Wildest Colts Make the Best Horses, by John Breeding, Ph.D.
  12. Wildest Colts review by Chris Mercogliano, from SKOLE, the Journal of Alternative Education.
  13. Relentless and Tragic Marketing: Psychiatric Drugs from Before the Cradle to the Grave by John Breeding, PhD and Amy Philo
  14. The Psych Report - Provides information about patterns of abuse by pharmaceutical companies, psychiatrists,  and governments in the name of identifying and healing the mentally ill. 
  15. Instead of Medicating and Punishing by Laurie A. Couture, 2008 | parenting and homeschooling coach
    Find great resources at
    Listen to this radio interview by Laurette Lynn, The Unplugged Mom
    Listen to internet radio with The Unplugged Mom on Blog Talk Radio
These are just a few of the many resources available from passionate professionals, parents, and educators who care about the effects psychiatric drugs have on our children such as anesthetizing of youth, compliance-driven instruction, interference with normal brain development, heart-related problems, exacerbation of psychiatric problems, potential for addiction or abuse.  This is my attempt to scratch the surface on this topic in hopes of exposing adults to options that drug companies spend big bucks to keep in the shadows.  You can read other articles I’ve written addressing this subject here.  

Read Special Education teacher Mr. Glassner's blog response to this post over at his blog at Medicine and ADHD


  1. While I do agree with much of what you are saying about drugs and boredom, and a probable over-diagnosis of ADD and ADHD, I was given a very interesting description of ADHD by a Special Education teacher last semester. She described ADHD as an impulsive disorder, in which the child has an impulse to do an action, and although they recognize the consequences and know they should not perform the behavior, they often cannot control themselves. I have seen this exemplified in one of my students--we are an independent study school, and he is able to focus often on his assignments and work quietly, but there are many times when he has a behavior that he cannot control. I have seen him struggle with this when he is working, or when he is having an engaging conversation, even with his friends. We have an excellent rapport, and he is often eager to please, but there are just some times when he cannot help himself. Seeing ADHD in this light made it much more real to me, but he is really the only student that I have had that truly seemed to fit this description. I think there are plenty of cases of boredom, or developmentally inappropriate expectations, or even a lack of play or activity, that cause kids to be drugged for school, and I think that is a tragedy. However, I do think that ADHD does have real symptoms that cannot be ignored, although it probably occurs in far fewer cases than are diagnosed.

  2. People have been telling me I'm an ADD my whole life. I wholeheartedly agreed. It's made me who I am. I'm able to synthesize information from many sources simultaneously to create lessons and projects. I never liked school much, but I did love summer. So, I became a teacher. I utilize my own ADD to guide my instruction. For the past 4 years it's worked out wonderfully.

    This year has been different. I have 25 students, 8 of which are both academically needy as well as behaviorally challenging. and 4 who are far beyond grade level. Many of my students exhibit extreme impulsivity that gets in their way of thinking critically. They display characteristics of attentional difficulties far more severe than my own. The class is a challenge that I spent a good deal of the year failing at.

    My experience with school drives me to make sure every student is getting what they need. The problem was I had so much to do that planning was taking much more energy than I've ever encountered.

    Instead of working on my usual 6 things at once and slowly putting them all together by the end of the night, I had 12 things still undone while too exhausted to continue.

    The next day in school, lessons would deteriorate.

    And just to reiterate, I mean lessons. Not lectures. Lessons with kinesthetic pieces, manipulatives, multimedia components, written and oral reflection, peer-to-peer conversations (both face to face and online), creativity, student choice, project based inquiries, and the list goes on.

    Because of many student's impuslivities and off task behavior class functionality a failure and many of the students have become frustrated with those students and the amount of my attention they were requiring. I needed help. I needed a way to focus my energies in the classroom and in planning for such a diverse and challenged group.

    So, after 28 years of dealing effectively, I gave meds a go.

    It's helped me become a better scheduler, stay calmer in the face of severe adversities in the classroom, and most importantly, aided in changed my sleep schedule.

    At the beginning of the year I spent night after night working until 12-1am trying to plan out innovative lessons, differentiate, and keep on top of my neediest students. From my experience, teaching the student instead of the class is an ongoing planning process that takes an inordinate amount of time. And this class was taking more time than there was in the day.

    Now, I set the alarm for 4:30, take the pill, wake at 5 ready to go. By the time it wears off, I'm ready for bed.

    Will I take these meds every year? I tend to doubt it. I'm using them to train myself better. The wiring I was born with wasn't allowing me to meet the demands I've placed on myself.

    Instead of the adults deciding what's the best solution in broad, sweeping, general terms, why can't we pose it to the individual in question?

    I'm sure it is over-diagnosed but if the individual feels like it helps them feel more successful, what's wrong with it?

    I certainly don't feel like a different person. I even trusted a few colleagues to keep an eye on me for difference. If anything, they even say it's an improvement.

    This may not be the case for everyone, but the individual should at least be considered.

  3. Thanks for the comment, Mike! I am a teacher in an alternative h.s. teacher and over the years a majority of my students have been kids who were diagnosed with ADHD/ADD, hated the side effects of meds and refused to take them. They didn't receive any accommodations in their traditional high school setting and so they fell behind or quit going.

    I heard so many stories about meds and how terrible they were that I became a snob, looking down my nose at those who decide to medicate their children. Obviously, there were problems in those classrooms, with those traditional teachers--they didn't know how to adapt their lessons. All those kids really needed were accommodations or changes in diet. With the right mix of accommodations, any kid with ADHD could succeed without meds. I was sure of it.

    And then...

    Four years ago son was diagnosed with ADHD. I was dead set against medication. We tried changing his diet. We tried squeeze balls and other manipulatives. We tried therapy. We tried behavioral charts and strategies. We tried so many different things. None of them worked.

    My son tried so hard to concentrate in class that he twirled a bald spot on his head. He came home one day crying because he wanted so badly to be able to participate in class, but he couldn't. His brain just wandered. He told me that one second he was in class, knowing what was happening around him; and then before he knew it he was gone at a football game watching Brian Urlacher intercept the ball; and then he was at his own game starting at quarterback and then he was...back in class while his classmates were working on something that he didn't even hear the teacher say to do. He couldn't handle it anymore. He asked to see a doctor because he wanted to try meds.

    He started on meds only after HE decided it was something he wanted to try. He noticed an immediate difference and LOVED how he felt. He was successful and gained confidence; he was happy!

    Last year he decided to try going to school without them. He talked to his doctor about it and they decided it would be an experiment. Both agreed that it was a good idea to see what he could do without them. After two months, he decided that he needed the meds again.

    I can't get in his head to know what he is feeling, but I trust him. I know that it hurt him immensely when he couldn't focus on tasks that he really enjoyed. His pain affected me deeply. But I really and truly trust him to know how he feels and what helps him. I talk to his doctor about side effects and do lots of research on the Internet about his meds. I talk to him daily and to his teachers weekly, and I am very confident that they are not to blame for his wandering thoughts. They work with us and even supported us when my son decided to try a break from his meds.

    I still believe that there are kids who can succeed with alternative therapies for ADHD, but I know for a fact that there are kids who feel they cannot. Instead of judging them or the parents who want so desperately to help them, why don't we let the kids decide?

  4. Standardized education will not work because of its reliance upon a consensus of what is "normal" that is erroneous at best and subversive at worst. It punishes children with failure if they don't meet the measurement of success that has been set out for them, and offers them limited alternatives. Its faulty measurements of success make it impossible to really teach to the child's strengths. We have been duped by the government, doctors and researchers into thinking there is something wrong with our kids if they are unable or unwilling to tolerate public education. And parents think that if they program their kids hard and long that the kids will be exhausted enough to relieve them of their burden to parent. (Okay - that may be going a bit over the edge!) That's not to say activities do not yield a gain for kids, but this urge to program is a sign of our anxiety. As for Big Pharma, well, it is market driven. When did parents lose confidence in their ability to model, parent and teach? How did we come to this place where we no longer trust ourselves? The anxiety instilled in us by "experts" has further eroded our ability to parent. Add to all of this the widespread effects of technologically driven media which has slowly replaced the authority of parents. Maybe we should start by blaming Dr. Spock. I know I am writing in generalities and in doing so, only scratch the surface.

    But don't listen to me. I'm a child of the 60's - amphetamines were called "uppers". That's why we took 'em. They energized us, made us happy and focused our attention. Go figure.

  5. Mindy,

    Why can't we let a child, or person, act on an impulse. Why is being impulsive considered a disorder that must be treated with medication. Why must we label such a wide range of behaviors with the same label? Why aren't we trying to figure out the root of the issue for the student you describe and empowering students like him/her to be responsible for their actions rather than drug their actions away? I had the good fortune to go to one of the schools where students behaviors are honored, not drugged, and where the students are held responsible for their actions and consequences. These students were lively, passionate, engaged and some were impulsive. Sometimes there was even, god-forbid, disorder. Yep, can you believe that disorder could be tolerated in a learning environment? The students had themselves developed structures and consequences for their environment and took ownership of themselves, their learning and their drugs required.

    In short, BEFORE you change the child with meds, it makes sense to look at the root causes and consider changing the environment.

  6. Mike an Jen,

    First I want to point out that there is a HUGE difference between an adult choosing to place themselves in a situation that s/he feels requires meds and an adult placing a child in a situation that requires meds then asking them what they want. That is one reason your “Let the children decide” mantra is flawed.

    I implore you both to read the resources I shared. Right now your narrow minds in regards to this issue (and I mean no disrespect) see only the choice of traditional school with meds and traditional school without meds. These are not the only options.

    I wrote this post specifically for people like you. I encourage you to go beyond what you know, choice A (traditional school with drugs) or B (traditional school without drugs), expand your minds and read what I've shared in this post.

    Jen, what if your son had another choice of going to a school where no children are drugged and no children chose to be anesthetized because all different types of children are honored and the environment is designed to empower each student to self-regulate and drive their learning. I don’t know what you or others in your family do for a living, but what if you could figure out a way to take your son out of school all together and provide him with a life that honored who he was, what he loved, and supported him in directing his learning.

    Mike, what if you had an opportunity to work at a school where you didn't need to be on meds to get by because you didn't have to be responsible for the learning of each child. Instead, children were empowered to own their learning.

    Take a look at my post "The War on Kids: Zero Tolerance" ( where you'll discover the difference between the conformity of prison and the conformity of school is virtually imperceptible. Some very interesting things happen when children are not forced into an environment of compulsory education. They come alive. They discover passions. They become independent learners, and they can end the addiction that was necessary to succeed in the front and center, dependency learning environment from which they came.

    Mike and Jen, neither of you went past the option of school with drugs and school without drugs. When you expand your minds and explore other options, you’ll find what’s best for you and your children involves neither option.

  7. @Anonymous,

    Thank you for your spot on insights. It is must-read advice for any parent or teacher. As I mentioned in this and other posts folks like Aaron Iba and I were consider multiple problem children, who today’s educational system would have drugged in an instant if they could. We railed against the norm that had us quietly sitting in rows memorizing useless facts in boring textbooks to regurgitate later. We were both literally losing our minds to the boredom, control, and drudgery of the class. I wish I or my parents were aware of better options. In hindsight, at least by high school, I would have been better off taking my GED in 9th or 10th grade and then spending the rest of my time discovering and developing my passions and attending college part time. There are so many alternatives to standardized education. Now we just need to empower parents to feel it is alright to choose them.

  8. " .... the difference between the conformity of prison and the conformity of school is virtually imperceptible. Some very interesting things happen when children are not forced into an environment of compulsory education. They come alive. They discover passions. They become independent learners ..."

    Well said, Innovative Educator. For many children, our educational system quashes the natural impulse to learn. This impulse alone may give a child the tools needed to stand against whatever social/economic pressures she faces at home. This is a generalization of course. The problem you speak of is in part created by educational mandates, imposed by the government and measured by the government (in a "standardized" test environment that includes WAY too many uncontrolled variables that, as you know, would never be accepted as a scientific method and is bound to fail). We should stop sending tax dollars to the federal government for education and begin by empowering the state to fund/drive education. Until this happens, further empowerment of schools (teachers parents and children) is just a dream. There is a massive power struggle going on right now, and our children are stuck in the middle of it. We have got to find a way to move beyond this paralysis. Any suggestions?

  9. Innovative Educator,

    I posted that I am an ALTERNATIVE EDUCATOR. I teach in an alternative learning environment where my students direct their learning. I facilitate their journey and provide a safe environment.

    My son has been provided "with a life that honored who he was, what he loved, and supported him in directing his learning"!!!! It is because he has that background that I TRUST HIM when he tells me that HE WANTS to try meds. Our family nurtures him to think for himself and to choose his passions.

    Believe me, I have looked at your resources. I have weighed the issues heavily. I am telling you about one of my children--one the most valuable and precious beings in the world. He is a future earth-shaker and I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize his well-being.

    Would I consider other schooling options? If I was independently wealthy and didn't have to worry about how to feed and clothe my children I might. Instead I choose to send my son to our neighborhood school, which is actually FABULOUS!

    My children are immersed in a culture that represents a microcosm of what the U.S. might look like in 2050--64% of the students are not white. My son interacts with peers from all over the world and learns cross-cultural skills that I could never teach him at home (because I am limited to my experience as a European/white woman). He could also never learn those skills in the private experimental learning school near us (because those teachers/students are all white and wealthy.)

    My three children are biracial. We live in Iowa and there aren't many places where they can interact with peers who look like them. Their school allows them to feel like they belong to a community. In fact, their school is not just any school, it is an amazing community of learners and educators who care deeply about each other.

    I guess what I am trying to say, again, is that like everything in life this issue is not quite as cut and dry as you make it out to be.

    From your response to my previous comment I gather that you don't believe I have weighed all the options or given my son the enough freedom or nurturing. So maybe you should come visit Iowa and talk to him. Visit his school. See what his life is like. Then tell me again if you think I've messed up by allowing him to choose for himself how he wants to live his life.

  10. @Anonymous, thank you for sharing your thoughts. As far as suggestions, I think it has to do with empowering parents to have choice for their child's learning and having the funds follow the child to whatever learning environment they choose or create.

    I have a number of concerns with funds being streamed through the government, state or federal. The first being that states are given control of granting graduation and the requirements. This then requires that education always be place-based and I see such opportunity for online learning with non-place-based granting of completion/certification/graduation.

    I think/hope eventually proof of learning/knowledge will move from pieces of paper and tests to authentic artifacts and evidence.

  11. @Jen, first I appreciate you participating in this conversation and while it positioned as a conversation between you and I, it’s not really what it is to me. It’s a push/pull and stretching of thinking. Both mine and yours. When I challenge you, I’m also challenging myself and other readers. I push you to become stronger or lessen grip on your convictions and I do the same for myself. It is hard to put oneself out there and I admire you doing so. I also think whether it’s your initial intent or not, you are testing your thinking to see if given the facts, others might feel differently. I thank you for doing that.

    So, with all that, I’m going to push further. The first thing I want to point out is the assumption that terms we bandy about mean the same to everyone. For instance, where I teach an “Alternative Educator” or “Alternative School” means one for currently or formerly incarcerated children. From the context, I can tell it means student directed in your instance, but I wonder how directed it really is? Are all kids in classes given by adults at the same time or do students choose what classes they will take? Does a student get to work on something all day if they choose or not work at all? Can they talk and socialize on their terms? Are they taking tests imposed on them by teachers and the state? There is obviously a lot to think about when using terms such as that, and without a deeper understanding of what actually happens at the school it’s hard to know what you are really talking about. Also, while you are an alternative educator, it didn’t seem your son went to the school where you teach.

    I’m convinced that you have honored what your son wants and to choose his passions at least during your time together. What I question is that you have really provided all options to him. Right now I still see community school with drugs and community school without drugs.

    You believe you need to be independently wealthy to consider other options for your child. You do not. First, there are drug-free schools (meaning schools where no students take ADHD meds) that provide financial aid. Additionally if you get creative, insurance companies will contribute if an alternative setting is seen as a treatment. Many schools will help you through this. So…you should consider these options even though you are not independently wealthy.

    Next, I believe your child goes to a good school, but is he doing school like everyone else? Perhaps if you and he worked together to determine how he focuses best, a schedule can be modified to accommodate his needs. For instance, a woman I met had a son who was failing miserably in school-taught science and math. She figured out a way where he could independently study MITs online classes. This was a kid who was failing in a traditional middle school setting in these subjects, but given the right environment he soared in these areas with MIT college courses and interestingly no teacher required.

    The no teacher required point is an important one. You are fearful that you could never teach your child at home because of your limited experience. This is a common fear that homeschooling parents and parents in general have. You do not need to teach or know everything. Just provide the setting for your child to connect with others who do which is incredibly easy to do in the 21st century. I know parents and educators who are doing amazing things by finding experts through places like Twitter or discussion boards and then having their children skype with these experts…many of whom are also children.

    I want to clarify, I don’t think it is cut and dry. I think exactly the opposite is true. There are many options which parents never realized exist and they are never encouraged to consider. I certainly think children should have a say in how they want to live their lives, but it must be an informed decision with choices that extend beyond school with meds or school without meds.

  12. @IE - I would take Jen's last comment at face value and I am tempted to say you are reading it too broadly, i.e., you are continuing to apply the broader topic of this conversation on her particular situation as she describes it as if there is still something wrong in her scenario. From appearances, she's done everything right for her personal situation and seems to be comfortable with it. You are pressing her to talk about the other children and their experiences in order to redirect the conversation to those children, instead of her own. Am I reading this right?

  13. @Anonymous, you may very well be reading that right. Jen has likely done what is right for her personal situation. I suppose what I'm pushing to understand is that other options beyond the obvious/traditional are often not explored and implemented. She also shares that if she were wealthy she would consider other options which means she is open to alternatives if money is not a factor. There are alternatives that I suggest be considered where money is not, or it is less, of a factor.

  14. I do appreciate this conversation and your push for me to think and reconsider (that push is proof that you are a true facilitator of learning!)

    My son is where he wants to be and is doing what he wants to do. And that is what my dilemma has always been: do I impose my wishes and my ideas on him because "I am the parent and what I say goes!" or do I let him choose his own path? More self-disclosure: I was raised by a hippie, was a punk rocker in high school and am a vegetarian/new age/bleeding heart liberal who married a black man and teaches kids who don't fit into the traditional education system. Somehow I gave birth to a boy who is in love with mainstream culture and wants to be a professional athlete. I can force him to be like me or I can let him be himself. Whichever road I choose will be a difficult path for ME. But if I choose to let him direct himself, then it will be an easier path for HIM.

    About my alternative school: it is a high school program for students who don't fit into the traditional system. Students come from several rural school districts and work to earn a diploma from their home school district. We do not offer our own diploma and therefore do not have to report test scores to the state. However the districts that send the kids (and pay the bills) must report test scores. I definitely think the program is valuable for kids, and I'd like to keep it around. To that end, I follow state mandates and have 9th and 11th graders complete the required standardized test each year. Some students have issues like those you listed; but most just didn't like traditional school and stopped going. They come to my program by choice after being self-referred or referred by a parent, counselor or community member . Students choose what to work on, how they work on it and how long they want to work on it. There is a framework outlining our classroom's open hours and stating what requirements each student must meet to earn a diploma; but they choose how to go about completing those requirements. I offer individualized self-paced study courses in print and online, group and individualized project-based learning, small and large group teacher-led instruction and community-based learning experiences. All students choose how they want to learn. They can work on math all day or they can switch subjects every minute. They can work, sleep, or send texts on their phones--it's up to them--but I make sure they understand that each of those choices leads to a different consequence as far as how soon they will graduate. I ask students to complete tests in their individualized courses so that I can assess their level of learning, but the tests can be completed verbally, typed, hand-written, etc. and they really don't count for much. I hate grades and would abolish them, but they are a necessary evil in order for my students to earn diplomas from the schools that send them to me. I am the only teacher in the program (but I have an aide who is a former student!) and have a lot of administrative support from the principals who send me students and agree to pay for the program. I am very, very lucky to work where I do!

    I would love for my son to come to school with me, but there are many reasons why he will not: first, he is not old enough; second, we do not live in district where I teach; and third (most importantly) he doesn't want to be the kind of kid who goes to an alternative school. I think the mother's curse is in effect here--I've got a kid who causes me to worry as much as I caused my mom to worry :)

    Some of my students are blogging now. If you are interested in meeting them through their blogs, let me know and I will connect you. They can tell you about our classroom much better than I can!

    Thanks much for this conversation. Keep pushing us to think and learn!

  15. Oooh, great point about stepping outside of what you know. I work in a traditional school setting, so that is what I know. I also agree that our quest to leave no children behind has some serious ramifications with regards to placing limitations on work styles in the classroom. And I do understand that you’re calling for a deeper rooted change than a teaching approach could provide.

    With that said, I reiterate that I’m killing myself to create an environment that doesn’t replicate the negative experiences yourself, Aaron Iba and I had. The educators that I work with don’t fit your stereotypical “shut up and pay attention while I lecture,” characterization either. We’re doing amazing things to meet the needs of learners as individuals. (I’ll share a video as soon as it’s finished this week that we’ve put together.)

    I’ve had a number of hyperactive or impulsive kids who’ve sat down with their parents while we put together plans to help them find what will intrinsically motivate them to own their learning.

    Do you agree that broad, sweeping, one-size-fits-all approaches don’t work, no matter what side you’re on? And if so, could you step outside your own perspective to examine the possibility that for some, medications can assist in helping some students, some, achieve the clarity of mind they need to reach their full potential?

    For years I was able to optimize my brain’s style to work in a way that many others simply couldn’t. But when I felt myself slipping, and spent months trying alternatives, I watched valuable time slip away where I felt I could have been more productive. So, I’m trying medication and I don’t feel “changed.” I feel clear. I feel that I’m back to working to my full potential.

    What’s wrong with having a 10 year old try alternatives, try medication and then ask he/she, “How do you feel about these solutions?”

    Here’s my favorite sentiment on brain diversity:

  16. @Jen,

    Wow!!! So interesting. I felt a bit uncomfortable about pushing but I'm glad I did. The decision you and your son made makes a lot of sense with more of the facts on the table.

    Your school sounds amazing. I'd love to learn more from your student's blogs and perhaps if you have a few posts to recommend that make sense that would be of interest to educators let me know if they'd be interested in cross posting them here.

    As far as your decision, I find that people who have investigated deeply and are knowledgeable about what they are discussing are not as sensitive when the likes of me push to learn more. I'm glad that is the case here.

    Thank you so much for sharing. You've definitely helped me (and maybe others) expand my thinking on this topic.

  17. @Mike,

    Thank you for elaborating on this. I am convinced your classroom is an environment that kids thrive in. A part of me wonders how some of the burden for other’s learning could be taken off your shoulders, but that’s a whole other issue.

    As far as if I believe that medications can assist in helping some students, what sticks in my craw is the schools that take students typically treated with meds and helps them thrive without them outside a traditional school setting. I feel like a broken record saying this, but here I go. Yes. Meds help kids fit into the mold of school. I AGREE. I’m saying take them out of the mold and let them flourish and thrive in a non-traditional way. When you ask a student how he feels about being on meds in school vs off meds, s/he’ll will choose the meds because school doesn’t work for them. I say find what works for the child rather than give them meds.

    I will check out the article you sent.

    Also, I’d love to have you share the video from your class here on my blog with a post. It sounds like you’re doing great things with students.

  18. This is an interesting topic worthy of discussion, even if it means being a broken record. Sometimes when I rephrase a position it helps me to clarify my own thinking on the subject.

    I've spent 28 years flourishing with my brain chemistry and this is my first experience with medication. I've been even more productive, both at work and afterwards.

    There's a few I'm thinking of who just couldn't get out of their own way. I'd be very interested in hearing the strategies you use to accommodate these styles of learners in your classroom. Enjoy your week.

  19. As a counseling psychologist with 15 years experience,I have encountered numerous clients whose families have been impacted by children diagnosed with ADHD.In the past, these clients have not had any access to information other than that which was provided by the standard "medical model" treatment.That treatment strategy was always based in psychostimulant medication.NOW THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES!!!!!! Dr. Maninder opens the doors to a new and dynamic approach with easy to understand practical information backed by the most current scientific data that both acknowledges and honors the complexity of each individual situation.ADHD Without Drugs represents an incredibly useful and welcome additon to aid both parents and professionals

  20. Hey there. I had wanted to chime in a little earlier, but was distracted with holiday festivities (i.e. eating).

    I just wanted to back Lisa up in terms of upholding principles. There's no way she can go into everybody's bedroom and check out the individual cases. If the principles aren't working, there are myriad case-specific potential reasons why not, so in Jen's case in particular I would want to dig further. Another reason I didn't post earlier was because I feel her sitch is none of my business, and I'm reluctant to give advice in general - and specifically to strangers about whom I know little. All I'll say is that controlling parenting doesn't just come from militaristic authoritarians- anyone with a set belief is going to cause an opposing reaction somewhere (Newton's 3rd Law), so it wouldn't surprise me at all if a dedicated hippie had a kid who wanted above all else to be "normal." I think there was a movie about this in the 80s with Richard Dreyfus about a guy who was born on a commune and grew up to be a DEA agent or something. Just kind of happens that way.

    Anyway, like I said, it's none of my business and I don't even know half of the details. But there can be a lot of factors clouding the basic principles (in this case of freedom to choose one's educational enviro), such as nutrition or the inevitable family complexes that don't actually disprove the principles themselves. So I just thought I'd add that into the conversation.

    This subject brings up *a lot* of issues for people- the only thing more damaging to s person than coerced schooling (or, I suppose, prison and/or execution) is forced medication. The workings of the psyche are a mystery to almost everybody - doctors and psychiatrists especially. Most alternative folks concede that "there are some cases when drugs really are necessary," and I would concede that only when all other avenues have been explored. In my experience, when people have claimed to have explored all of the avenues, they really have just explored some of the avenues- there are, after all, too many to visit in a single lifetime.

    I have been blessed to get to know fabulous healers and healing regimes that are far enough outside the mainstream that nobody gets to them. Even as a raw foodist, I am shocked at how "litely" people treat this transformative method of healing almost any ailment- that is, they tinker around the edges of their health but never do the serious detox/alkalizing work necessary to truly transform. One often hears "but I tried it and it didn't work" at the first sign of a cleansing reaction- the very thing that makes us get better.

    So I am a bit skeptical when I hear people have tried all the options. Our modern lifestyle is *so far* from our biological imperatives that to get back to center, some pretty radical approaches are called for. When we're talking about natural learning, we're talking about getting back to nature. Over the course of many generations, we have strayed so far from that that most superficial approaches simply will not work. If we're not willing to radically come back to center, then yes, medicating is somewhat rational as a compromise. But it should be undertaken as such, out of (often necessary) convenience, not as an actual solution.

  21. @D-Blog, thank you for your thoughtful feedback. You bring up a great point about those who say they've tried alternatives. This is rarely the case. What they're usually saying is, "I've thought about alternatives." A magic pill is certainly easier than considering the 20 alternatives I shared in my free parenting guide. It's also easier than facing the underlying reasons leading to medicating the child...which may just be s/he was not made for keeping their butt in a seat all day.

    The biggest argument I hear is, "but, this works and my kids is happier this way." If I had to sit in a class all day learning stuff in a way that seemed uninteresting and/or irrelevant, I would probably prefer to be medicated too. This however, does not mean, this is the best option.

  22. I agree, “drug-addicted children will suffer serious negative consequences”. In these days, there are many different alternative options that are available to cure ADHD in teens without the presence of drugs. To add up, you can visit this site: ADHD teen help. This is just another resource for ADHD treatment which I found practical enough.

  23. I have a child with ADHD. I tried the Ritalin with little to no success. I found the drug made my child lethargic and once it wore off she would either crash or become even more hyper-active. Believe me, I tried it for a period of time to see if it would build up in her system and alleviate not only the behavior but the side effects. It did not. After doing much research I found two programs that are working for my daughter and my family. I use Play Attention and ADHD Nanny. Play Attention is a program that builds behavioral shaping and she loves to play it which makes it that much more easy on me. ADHD Nanny (she is young), gives me and my family tools for everyday structure to assist her. Recently divorced I found it difficult to keep her structured because of going back and forth from two homes. Now, each household uses it and it is working for her and the family.