The stakes are high and the harms sometimes permanent. The best way to protect our children is to respect their difference and to accept uncertainty. I really love the idea of writing psychiatric diagnoses in pencil.
Each child deserves a balanced, thorough evaluation that allows everyone involved to proceed in a thoughtful way. And even when ADHD medication is indicated, we need to remember that medication alone is never enough.
As parents, our children's health ranks among our top priorities. When fall arrives and flu season begins, we notice every cough and feel for signs of fever. But how attuned are we to mental health symptoms in our kids?
Your child needs to be learning in a place that will support his strengths rather than view him as a problem. For children who are bright or anxious, active or inattentive, simply changing how and where they learn can make all the difference.
Giving a name to difficult problems that are poorly understood provides a kind of false comfort, but the label often doesn't really add to the understanding and may carry risks of its own -- especially unnecessary treatment, stigma and wasted resources.
It's time for us to rethink our certainties about the state of children's mental health in America. Maybe then we can move forward with making the promises of our era real for the children who need help the most.