Growing up I was very hyper active. I talked a lot and I wanted to move. I enjoyed school a lot and I loved reading, gym and recess. I played soccer every day at recess. One day I remember overhearing my mother talking on the phone to someone about me and she said, “They wanted to put her on Ritalin.” I didn’t know what that was at the time, but my mother didn’t allow “them” to put me on Ritalin. I later learned that Ritalin is a drug used for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. As I matured I didn’t experience problems with hyperactivity nor attention.

When my son went to first grade his teachers said that he had attentional issues and that he was also hyperactive and impulsive. I didn’t give in right away, but instead I did some research. I also decided to speak with his doctor and he gave me the Conners Comprehensive Behavior Rating Scale (A form used to assess ADHD) to give to his teachers to fill out. His doctor did determine that he had ADHD. By the time he was in the 3 rd grade I began treating the disorder holistically with supplements and diet. This was difficult, but I chose not to put him on medication at such a young age.

My son ended up with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for special education services. I never accepted the label, but I accepted the diagnosis. Therefore, I never said to my son that you have ADHD. I didn’t want him to ever think or feel that he was less than anyone else or to use it as an excuse not to do his very best. My son didn’t find out that he had an IEP and was receiving special education services for ADHD until he was in his senior year of high school. I believe that he was mature enough to handle the information properly and that he was more aware of his strengths and weaknesses by then. I also explained to him that I chose not to tell him about the diagnosis because words have power and I never wanted him to believe in the label or that he was the label.

No matter what you and your child/children are facing never allow anyone to label your child/children. You may chose differently than me in this situation. You may decide to use the medication and there is nothing wrong with that decision. It’s your child and your decision, but you can chose not to allow the labels. I explicitly told his teachers that my son didn’t know about his diagnosis or the IEP and I wanted to keep it that way. They respected my decision. I believe that choosing not to label my son is why he ended up getting a full scholarship to college.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. ~

Proverbs 18:21

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