Re: To Ed Henderson and Michael Ban
Ian N Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Sat, 25 Nov 1995 09:00:13 +0000
I guess there comes a point at which reason and logic fail to work with
some people. The " dump the pills and get back to discipline " brigade
are just as mistaken as those who allow kids to run wild.
There <have> been changes in society , and tv , family breakdown, lack of
respect in society generally, drugs , alcohol , advertising etc. have all
led to young people being under far more pressure than ever before.
As for the 40% of kids on " behaviour altering medication " at Summer
Camp, the answer is simple. Scouting at its best offers a program which
offers the structure and stimulation which kids (and adults) with AD/HD need.
Chris Green , an Australian child psychiatrist , says that 2/3 of his ADD
patients find Scouting or Guiding helpful for these reasons. These are
the kids who may lack the motor co-ordination to excell in soccer or baseball
or whatever, who have problems with social skills and so on. Scouting
has a value system which accepts kids ... irrespective of social status,
religious affiliation or disability. It also has a reputation which will
reassure parents that their child will be looked after by competent and
caring adults. So in a way it is a compliment to our program.
I agree that some parents take the easy way out ... this applies to
parents whose kids don't have a neuropsychological disorder as well.
As one psychologist put it , " ADD is not caused by bad parenting,
but it can make a good parent seem bad " . And indeed, Chris Green's
diagnostic criteria of AD/HD include a recognition that the child will
display behaviours which are inappropriate < taking into account the
quality of parenting>.
I can say from personal experience that Ritalin does <not> change behaviour.
What it can do is help with the impulsivity ... it provides those few
nanoseconds between impulse and execution for the higher centres in the
brain to say " hang on, that's not a good idea " . It can also help with
concentration. Properly controlled medication should not leave a kid
like a zombie.
I suppose I can think of about twenty Scouts who are AD/HD
and on medication. One lad taught a session on games with me at our
recent Pow-Wow and had seven leaders under perfect control for an hour
<g> ; another Life Scout helped the sailing instructor on Summer Camp and
got a very good report ; a third, an Eagle Scout, was very active in OA
and was a very popular Summer Camp staff member. The list continues.
But it's time to go and take my Ritalin ...
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City