11.14.2007

Promising news for our little monkey

NY Times ADHD research article The news media was heavily discussing this new research yesterday. As the mother of a child with ADHD it was very encouraging to see the result of scientfic study of his disorder. The new findings really mesh so strongly with the sorts of things we have seen with Dane for most of his life. The inability to focus and delayed fine motor skills. It's also reassuring to see that there's a strong likelihood that he will eventually not require stimulent meds to help him focus and not have inappropriate levels of activity for the classroom.

This new research has found that kids with ADHD have brains that develop slower than their "normal" counterparts, but that these kids eventually do catch-up. This has me wondering if Dane's delay in most developmental milestones (for instance walking and talking) could have been early ADHD issues. He's pretty famous for hitting these milestones at the very tail end of what is considered typical, yet once he does he almost always exceeds what is expected of a kid his age. We have seen his reading abilities to be a prime example of this. He almost stubbornly fought learning to read...then within a matter of a month went from slowly sounding out words to reading longer and more complex phrases with expression--especially texts with a variety of characters speaking. And he very rapidly went from reading aloud to preferring to read silently.

The thing that still has me frustrated, however, is the general lack of understanding of or empathy for these kids. I was very saddened to read the comments following the above article...so many people referring to children with ADHD as "monsters," or "bad" (or still insisting that it's a matter of bad parenting and that corporal punishment is the solution). Anyone who knows Dane would never attach such labels to him or suggest that his behavior is the result of lax parenting. While he may be overly active, he's never been aggressive or angry. Frustrated, yes, but never have his actions included harming another child. If anything he'd fit the class clown mold. Dane's a very affectionate, sensitive, polite, and witty little guy. There's a reason that his closest friends have almost always been girls...he's very much like his father and his uncle (my brother) in that respect.

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