A Little Advice Needed from the Science Bloggers…
Actually, it just occurred to me to ask you guys (and gals… I mean that in the collective sense) for some guidance now that I’m getting a little traffic and a lot of you have some science know-how.
My 7 year old son is incredibly bright and intellectual. Unfortunately, he is a little emotionally immature in some ways, which I hear is not uncommon in bright children. He scored in the 99th percentile on the academically and intellectually gifted assessment test at his school. Much to my delight, he particularly enjoys science and is also very artistically inclined (yeah! he takes after me!). Unfortunately, he has a major issue with keeping focused. He just absolutely cannot stay on task with anything. He can’t follow through with chores at home without being constantly prodded and redirected and he is having problems completing assignments at school. He has always been like that since I can remember. Well, as you can imagine, this presents quite a problem for us at home, for his teacher, and to the other students in the class whom he distracts. My son feels frustrated when he gets in trouble and genuinely feels remorseful. He cries and says very frequently that he is incapable of controlling himself. I didn’t buy it at first but I’m starting to believe that is the truth.
I just had a conference with his teacher and she asked me if I had considered putting him on medication for attention deficit. She by no means was trying to persuade me in either direction but more so presented the idea as a possible option. She shared her experiences with me regarding previous students and their improvements (she’s been teaching for 16 years). She merely suggested that I speak to a counselor and/or pediatrician regarding the option. She and I have tried checklists, giving him a time limit with a timer, reward incentives, taking away privileges, talking to him, redirecting him, isolating him from other kids and distractions, etc… only with limited success.
When I first had children I was really opposed to this type of medication and always felt that parents and doctors were quick to medicate children that really just needed some discipline at home. Now that I am confronted with this situation I am starting to reevaluate my beliefs. I am not leaning in either direction and do not want to make any sort of decision until I have engorged myself with knowlege. I’m obsessive like that! (Actually, I won’t even purchase a vacuum cleaner without researching it for 3 days first…) Oh, just so you know, he doesn’t have any other behavior problems; he isn’t in the least bit hyperactive or aggressive or anything of the sort. As a matter of fact, he is incredibly well behaved when we go out. It’s just the whole staying on task thing… My fear is that if he continues to have these problems at school, he will constantly be in trouble (both with his teacher and by me) and will eventually feel defeated and start to loathe school. It would be a shame for him to waste his incredible intellectual abilities simply because he does not have the attention span. Plus, at some point he will start to fall behind in school if he does not pay attention. He can only teach himself so much.
So I guess what I’m getting at here is that I would like to know if any of you have personal experiences to share or can give me good resources where I can learn more to make a well informed decision. Thanks in advance!
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Tags: ADD, attention, attention deficit, behavior, childhood, children, focus, medication, psychology, ritalin, school problems, short attention span