Consumer Reports surveyed more than 900 parents whose children have been diagnosed with A.D.H.D. to find out what it’s like to live with A.D.H.D. today. Here’s a snapshot of what it found:
“* 67 percent found drug therapy to be the most effective treatment, followed by switching to a more accommodating school (45 percent), giving one instruction at a time (39 percent), working with a private tutor or learning specialist (37 percent) and providing structure by maintaining a schedule of activities helped 35 percent.”
“* 84 percent of those in the survey tried medication at some point, and more than half of the children tried two or more medications in the past three years.”
“* Medications, parents say, are most helpful with improving academic performance and behavior at school (35 percent described it as very effective). They are not as useful in mitigating behavior at home (26 percent), improving social relationships (19 percent, or self esteem (18 percent).”
Interestingly only 52 percent of parents agreed strongly that they would choose to give their kids drugs if they had to do it over. Forty-four percent wished there was another way to help their child.
The survey found that only 22 percent of parents of children with A.D.H.D. say they are hesitant to publicly describe their children as such.
“There was a time when the label of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (A.D.H.D.) carried a stigma. Parents didn’t talk much about it, and kids didn’t want their classmates to know that they were taking medication. But there seems to have been a shift in acceptance over the past few years, almost a complete about-face. Celebrities such as Olympic Gold Medal winner Michael Phelps, Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel, and Extreme Makeover’s Ty Pennington speak out about their condition. And just last week, the popular website Jezebel posted a blog that begins with the confession: ‘Because I have raging A.D.H.D.…’ ”
”Even the treatment has gone mainstream. The same drugs prescribed for A.D.H.D. are being sought for their brain-boosting capacity and are believed to enhance memory and concentration in adults. Scientists are asking for them, college kids are sharing them on campuses, and baby boomers are extolling their powers at parties. So frequently are patients requesting them that just last year the American Academy of Neurology issued a guidance for potential prescribers like me.”
“Indeed, when it came to using medication, a Consumer Reports survey of 934 parents of children with A.D.H.D. found that parents were not very concerned about the stigma of being labeled with A.D.H.D.. Among parents who had given their child medication, 59 percent disagreed strongly with the statement: ‘I feel guilty or embarrassed about having my child take medication for A.D.H.D..’”
One other interesting note from the survey: 8 percent of parents admitted to having their child diagnosed as A.D.H.D. to get extra time on college entrance exams.
So what do you think: Is the stigma gone for A.D.H.D.? Are there good drugs to help kids cope? Do they only help at school or do they help at home? Do you feel that finding the right school is equally as important?
What do you think of people getting diagnosis for extra time on tests or just to improve their memories?