Refusal to Medicate is Child Abuse?

Justus for All: Taking a child off ritalin is child abuse?

Posted on Justus For All. I wanted to comment on this on his blog, but my response to this… will just take too much space… so here you are.

I am a parent of a child with ADHD. His pediatrician and I have had an understanding from day one, an understanding that he insisted be there. From the beginning, I have been told that I am in complete control of his dose, when he takes the medication and when he doesn’t. The pediatrician will make suggestions, but he knows that with these sorts of medications there are no perfect answers, and there are definite dangers. If I notice that my son isn’t sleeping or eating, he will support my decision to stop giving him the medication. The school district can feel free to contact him about it. He will support me all the way.

Every parent should have this choice when it comes to using amphetamines to control a mental illness in a child. These drugs are not things to be taken lightly, and they cannot be a band-aid for the disorder. They have to be used as a tool to treat the disorder and help the child learn to control it, with the hope that some day, the medication will not be there as a crutch and they will be able to cope with their issues without its use.

I get angry when school districts do things like what has happened to 12 year old Daniel and his father. I begin to wonder if the people working in these places realize that we are dealing with lives here, not just behavior problems, but lives. Clearly, Daniel’s problems were such that his health and physical well-being were in danger. If that goes to pot, there won’t be any behavior problems left to worry about, because there won’t be a Daniel anymore.

Behavior problems never, ever supercede the physical well-being of a child in the eyes of a parent, nor should they ever supercede that in the eyes of those who claim to care about the futures of children. Behavior problems can be dealt with using methods other than medication. This is why things like Individualized Education Plans exist, and every parent of a child with any sort of disability, phyiscal or mental has a right to have one of these plans created in their public school district for their child under federal law.