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TOPIC: Deconstructing ADHD

Deconstructing ADHD 15 May 2014 21:29 #337

Deconstructing ADHD
By: Mauren Morel, LCSW

I remember the first time I was faced with deciding whether to medicate my child or not. According to my pediatrician, my child who was 3 at that time, was not focusing, was slightly hyper and, according to her, was going to have a lifelong condition called ADD. I felt as if she was already sentencing my child. My initial reaction was of anger and in my mind I said: “How dare she?” Yes! How dare she diagnose my son in just a 15 minute visit? “Does she remember what I do for a living? I remember thinking to myself.”

My inquisitive nature immediately kicked in and I began bombarding her with questions.
-Are you aware that the term ADD is outdated and is now ADHD inattentive type, ADHD hyperactive type or ADHD combined type?
-How can you make that assessment in 15 minutes without asking me about his performance at school, social environment and at the house?
-Are you aware of scales and assessments?
-Do you believe in behavior modification?
-Do you know what I do for a living?

How dare some doctors sentence our children to become co-dependent on drugs and not teaching them the appropriate coping skills to manage their excess energy, to self-regulate, to recognize when they are losing focus… How dare them trying to fix something with a pill. What about the parents? Who helps them? Who educates them? I remember experiencing frustration with my situation. My frustration stemmed from knowing that there were so many in my shoes, but not with the same experience and education on the matter. My frustration was generated by knowing how many parents go to doctors for answers as they are the experts and not being provided with the resources so they can make an informed decision. By the way, being provided with a brochure sponsored by a pharmaceutical company is not information because in the end is an advertisement to have your child on that particular drug.

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Florida and I am also a Substance Abuse Professional. I have worked in both private and public settings and I can tell you that mental illness and learning disabilities, do not discriminate. However, when parents are undergoing financial stressors, then access to services for children with ADHD and following up with recommendations can become a very expensive issue. As a former school district employee in the Emotional Behavioral Disabilities program for one of the largest school district in the nation, I witnessed firsthand both successes and failures in classroom settings

It sadness me to observe how teachers and school systems take on the roll of medical doctors and are now diagnosing children and advising parents that the best course of action is medication. Well it is cheaper for the school to have a child medicated than provide them with services and accommodations that children with ADHD can receive under the 504 plan or an Individual Educational Plan (IEP). Although, in some cases medication can have its benefits, medication alone does not teach a child the appropriate coping skills, does not help a child develop social skills, education skills and study skills. Unfortunately, in today’s society we are quick to conform to the cookie cutting ideas promoted by individuals. No one really cares how many children are being derailed from their future with a 15 minute assessment. Certainly, we have a monumental task ahead of us of educating this nation.

Mauren Morel is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Florida and a Substance Abuse Professional in the United States. She is currently the Clinical Director and Co-Founder at the Core Centers and Counseling for Emotional Solutions. Her interest in the health professions stemmed from her involvement as a Guardian Ad Litem for the 11th circuit court in Miami Dade County. Mauren has been a court appointed child advocate for the last 12 years. As a voice for abused and neglected children, she discovered a passion for making a difference in children's lives who are dependency court proceedings. She utilizes clinical interventions as well as music and art in her therapeutic approach to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals of all ages.

Mauren is a motivational speaker who has presented at local and national conferences in the area of substance abuse, suicide, child abuse, and domestic violence. She also facilitates training for Department of Transportation and FAA regulated companies in the area of motivation, compliance, safety and productivity.
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