ADHD Medication for children
I am asked occasionally from other parents of younger special needs children with ADHD, whether medication is helpful, when to start, what to use and how much. My first response is that using ADHD Medication for children is a very personal and key decision between you and your child’s doctor(s). I can provide insight from my own family’s experience and view, but recommend they work with their doctor, and school as required, but it is ultimately their family’s decision in the end.
First, I would work with the school to get their written observations as they are key partners, but caution that schools can’t dictate meds or make diagnosis. Only pediatric doctors and behavior specialists can diagnose PDD/Autism and/or ADD/ADHD, not schools. Schools provide valuable input as they see the kids daily, but it is between you and the doctor. Sometimes, I have seen and heard, some schools just want to “check the box” and move on. It is your family’s decision on ALL final outcomes whether to take meds or not.
Some daycares and schools recommend meds too early to “quiet kids down”, especially to boys as they are naturally more energetic, as they may not be able to handle them. My son’s daycare and then the pre-K teacher fit this niche. I would discuss with the school their concerns and have them put in writing which you can take back to your doctor as another data point in your decision.
Remember, in the end, this is a partnership between you, the school staff and doctor. The best results are achieved when all are on the same page and that “we are all a team for the child”. I admit, I learned this the hard way by lashing out at school and didn’t get what we ultimately needed.
My son has been tracked by an excellent center for special needs in Boston since he was 3-4yrs old. But we didn’t start on ADHD meds until after 8.5yrs old and it works well for the last 1yr to allow him to concentrate on lessons. But some kids can “grow out or come to deal” with it by then. Also at that age, the doctor usually tracks kids every 4-6months on dosage and overall health so only doctor can prescribe the type and dose based on the specific child’s height/weight and medical history (i.e. allergy, etc.).