Re: Scouters, Social Workers, Counsellors ...
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET)
Wed, 12 Aug 1998 13:22:56 -0400
While speaking in relative ignorance (not being a parent of a ADHD kid, nor
being a physician), what I find sad (and a problem) is that someone feels
the need to numb the minds of these kids to the point that they go thru the
school day in a fog (or asleep).
As with any physical condition requiring medication, there is often a price
to pay for taking the medication. If the medication is necessary to relieve
the symptoms of the condition, it is usually worth the price paid.
The intention of medications for ADHD are not to "numb" the child, or even
make him docile. The medication only relieves certain symptoms of ADHD so
that the child can participate. While I'm not a big fan of medicating kids
with ADHD, I have seen the benefits of medication. I have also seen the
price the Scout paid to enjoy the benefits.
There's a really great kid in my pack (no, not just one<g>). He is numbed
beyond belief, I do not know with what. When he gets his dose, he may as
well be at home in bed, because it knocks him flat out. When he perks up
late in the day (just before the next dose), he has a quick, dry sense of
humor, the kind I might have if I was with an all adult group (not a side of
me that the scouts see). I almost think he is mature beyond his years or
exceptionally smart, because he makes comments and remarks (about things
that occur around us) almost as fast as they pass thru my mind. He will do
anything I ask him to do and do it the first time just like the rest of the
Webelos II's. He gets along fine with the other scouts.
What you aren't seeing is what this boy is like unmedicated. You have seen
what he's like ON medication, and what he's like coming off medication. My
experience shows me that kids who are medicated for conditions like ADHD are
often at their best when the drug is wearing off. Does that mean the drug
isn't necessary? That's not for me to decide.
Instead of being tested or given the opportunity to prove his intelligence,
he is drugged to the point that he doesnt 'bother anyone'. I've spoken to
his parents about the sleepiness that these doses cause, to no avail.
Perhaps you should talk to them about why he's taking medication. I can't
stress this enough! Each Scout should have a completed medical form on file
with the troop. The medical history of the Scout is supposed to be reviewed
by the adult leaders before each major activity. It's important for each
adult leader to know what medical problems a Scout has (if any), what
medications he needs for these problems, and what to do if there are
complications while on the outing. If you don't take the time to inform
yourself about the physical condition of each Scout, you are opening the
door for a potential disaster.
One of my co-workers has a daughter who has asthma. When we recently had a
discussion about how to handle medical problems on outings, she told us how
her daughter went on a Girl Scout campout and had a severe asthma attack.
Instead of giving the girl her inhaler when the attack started, the adult
leaders waited until she was turning blue before calling her mother. Then
they insisted on taking the girl home instead of to the hospital, which is
where she ended up. If the adult leaders had been aware of the medical
condition and knew what to do if a problem arose, they wouldn't have
endangered this girl's life.
This year, as with last, this boy sleept or dragged thru the better part of
a good resident camp, which is the only time I get to see him at length. Ive
also seen a new way for kids to pick on others. "Why dont you go take your
pill?" being a new cut-down aimed at the adhd kid. Perhaps these drugs are
necessary, but the effects I see (in my admittedly limited exposure) are far
Without knowing the reason for the medication, or the type of medication, I
couldn't even begin to advise you. It may be that his dose is too strong,
but there's no way to tell based on the information you've supplied. I am
also not even remotely qualified to make that determination.
For the record, the cut-down "Why don't you go take your pill?" has been
around for ages. I was the target of those words when I was on medication,
several friends of mine also heard those words directed toward them. And,
during a time when I was less likely to think before opening my mouth, I can
remember saying those same words. It seems to me that the rest of your
Scouts need to understand the reason someone takes a medication, and why
it's not a joke. But I have to ask: why would other kids pick on him for
taking a pill if he shows no signs he needs a pill? Unless the fact he has
to take a medication is advertised by the adults and pill-taking time
becomes a public opportunity to ridicule the boy...
AJ Mako, firstname.lastname@example.org, Scoutmaster Troop 381
http://members.aol.com/Scouts381/ "Home of the Unofficial Boy Scout Desktop
Great Trail Council - Old Portage District - Akron, Ohio
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City