A recent study, reported at CNN.com (click here for the full story) reveals a gross mis-diagnosis of kids with ADHD. The diagnosis of someone with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder tends to look like the following…
1.) Unable to focus on task at hand
2.) Excited about all things stimulating
3.) Inability to string cognitive thoughts together.
4.) Doesn't finish a project, rather jumps from one event to another for no apparent reason.
5.) Can't complete a task given.
Hmmmm….ever hung out with teenagers before? Seriously?
There was a time when we could supply the local pharmacy store with the amount of ADHD medicine kids used to bring to camp. I was always a bit skeptical, because it seemed like the kids with means were the one's most diagnosed, but the kids from the inner city rarely brought in drugs like Ritalin, or Adorol. But hey, I'm not a doctor, and I didn't god to school to diagnose anyone.
Then I took a trip to Costa Rica. It's a famous story among my friends.
We had 15 students from all over the country join us to go and help my dear missionary friends stationed outside San Jose while they were building a camp for the Assembly of God mission groups. The kids were excited to see a new culture. I was excited to see if teenagers were willing to give something to someone else, rather than continuing to consume Christianity.
Our journey started out from Miami, and we were on our way to making a difference in the world.
One particular student was 13 years old, and for some reason we just hit it off. He's since become one of my greatest camper friends, but at the time we were just two people going to Costa Rica.
We laughed at the same jokes.
We liked the same sports teams.
We even knew some of the same people.
It was exactly the way youth ministry is supposed to be.
Monday came and went. My friend was working hard on the projects we gave them. He and I were "tied at the hip" laughing. Tuesday came and went, and we actually got a chance to go into a small jungle town to visit some of the friends of the missionary. And then came Wednesday.
The guy I was friends with went to sleep Tuesday night, but when he woke up on Wednesday, someone else crawled from his bed.
He was entirely unmanageable.
He was running off making havoc.
He was tearing up stuff we built the day before.
He even climbed a huge tree and acted like he was tarzan for about 3 hours.
i asked him, "What do you think you're doing?"
"Mom said I didn't have to bring my medicine on this trip. I'm trying to get off."
AAAAAAAAAAAA. Traveling with 13 year olds!! HA!
It was that moment I knew there was a difference. There is a difference between a kid who just can't keep his mind focused on an event, and one who really suffers from ADHD. I would advise parents read the article, and find out the tell tale signs of someone who really needs to have the drugs.
Because if kids don't need them, they're not going to take them. AND, what I've found…there's a black market for Ritalin and Adorol at the local high school. Kids are selling the drugs from their ADHD bottle to kids that have important tests because of the nature of the drug.
Moms and Dads, be careful. This isn't something as innocent as once thought. ADHD can be a serious problem, but sometimes kids are just being kids. They don't focus. They don't complete tasks. They're pretty irresponsible sometimes. And, they like to multi-task. (Have you seen your teenager work their laptop while connected to the internet?)
In any event, this is more a PSA than a true Journey article.