Page last updated at 14:37 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 15:37 UK

Bringing up children with ADHD

Dr Tim Kendall, psychiatrist, answers some of your questions on ADHD.

Doctors have been advised whenever possible to avoid prescribing the drug, Ritalin, which is used to treat people suffering from ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

New guidelines by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), say parents need lessons in how to cope with their children's behaviour.

Parents of children diagnosed with ADHD have been contacting the BBC News website with their stories of coping with the condition and their views on stimulants.


PARENTS NOT USING STIMULANTS

My 6 year old son has very recently been diagnosed with ADHD and has been on a waiting list for an ADOS test to also determine whether he has an autistic spectrum disorder since March. Despite him being permanently excluded from his nursery aged 4, and getting two exclusions from primary school, it has taken us years of battling with the medical profession before we were able to get a referral for diagnostic tests. The only support we have been offered is medication - we have asked and asked if other support is available first but apart from the specialist ADHD nurse coming into school to talk to us and his teachers there is nothing available. We were told - if your son had diabetes you would not hesitate to give him insulin, so why are you resisting Ritalin for ADHD? We strongly believe that we should be given additional support both as parents but also for his school to help them cope with his incredibly disruptive behaviour. But nothing is available.
Michele Hart, Stockport

We were told - if your son had diabetes you would not hesitate to give him insulin, so why are you resisting Ritalin for ADHD?
Michele Hart, Stockport

I was surprised to read your article saying that medication is the first port of call as my experience has been totally different from what is described. My daughter's consultant has recommended NOT putting her on any medication for ADHD. Instead, I have been offered Play Therapy, been directed how too use Filial Therapy, had advise from the Clinical Psychologist, from her school and educational psychologist regarding managing behaviour. Not all of the advice has been successful, some has worked and there are some improvements in her listening skills. What has been invaluable, though, are the skills I have learned on how to manage her behaviour. It is a shame more parents aren't in the same position.
Karyn Lovell, Frimley

PARENTS USING STIMULANTS

My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 3 years old and, after several years of trying many various exercises and tips, he was finally given Ritalin. This resulted in a better environment for him, as he is able to control it more. I feel that it has kept him out of trouble, he has done better and better at school and now is staying on in the 6th form to pursue his dream of acting. I really think that if he had not had medication as well as other forms of help then things would not have worked out so well. People that say kids do not need medication have obviously not had the years of mental anguish, violence, dangerous acts of self harm, constant damage to property and most important the unloved and hurtful feeling for the child that its him/her that is to blame rather than the behaviour.
Claire Rolfe, Swansea

No parent of a child with ADHD takes medication lightly.
Carol Redpath, Newcastle

My son has been diagnosed by a child psychologist as having ADHD. We turned finally to Ritalin, he was 8 years old. It was fantastic but it caused him to have irregular heart beat, so we had to stop. He was only on Ritalin during term time so he could concentrate on his school work. Never at home. I feel, however, if he had the extra help he so obviously needed at school, we would never have needed to turn to Ritalin. Why do ADHD children not get statemented? Is it all really about money?
Elizabeth, Morden

My child was diagnosed with ADHD in October 2003. I did not "just decide" to put him on medication. He is taking Atomoxetine alongside behavioural intervention programmes which I myself have helped develop. No parent of a child with ADHD takes medication lightly. It is not the child's fault, they have been diagnosed with it. They are not naughty kids, as they are always perceived to be in the media. They have a disorder which is difficult to manage. Our kids just want to be like any other kids. As my friend, who is an adult with ADHD said, they are square pegs just trying to fit into round peg holes. My son has an amazing sense of humour. He is articulate, friendly and passionate about life. Yes, he can be impulsive and he, definitely, doesn't see the consequences of his actions, but he is a sensitive young man who I am very proud of.
Carol Redpath, Newcastle

This is all well and good, but as parents of a child diagnosed at 5 years old with ADHD, we have been asking for additional none medication support for the last 9 years, and it never happens. We're left to deal with situations and difficulties as best we can. Now, as he's coming up to teenage years, it's more important than ever for him to get the help, and he's been on the waiting list since June for 'communication therapy'. What is he (and us) meant do until he gets it? Do the best WE can. Your caption doesn't help by labelling the affects of ADHD as 'unruly behaviour'... ADHD is so much more than that. It is a neurological impairment, which affects the brain, and is a disability. Our children with disabilities need the help and support now.
Alison, Kent



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SEE ALSO
Parents 'need lessons about ADHD'
23 Sep 08 |  Health
'Wide variations' in Ritalin use
16 Jul 08 |  Health
'A toddler trapped in a teen's body'
24 Jul 08 |  Health
Use of hyperactivity drugs soars
07 Mar 07 |  Health

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