As much as I know about ADHD advocacy, 504 plans, IEP programs, and as passionate as I am to help others and to advocate – the effects of ADHD medication can’t be predicted by anyone. Each individual is affected differently both in how ADHD creates impairments and strengths, as well as how medication improves those areas of weakness.
I have talked to teens about their understanding of ADHD and how it impacts them in the classroom. Of course, there are different responses but a lot of similarities as well. Many complain of lack of focus, distractibility, boredom, and inattention. Executive functioning deficits include organization, time management, initiation, emotional regulation, planning, and working memory issues to name a few. Below the surface are so many struggles that are not seen.
Many who have ADHD do choose to medicate. If the effects of ADHD medication are positive they find an increase in focus, decrease in distractibility, a possible improvement in some executive functioning as a secondary result perhaps of an increased focus, and therefore an improvement in grades and self-esteem. Of course, many times these teens do have to deal with side effects including headaches, not feeling “like oneself”, a decreased appetite with weight loss, and irritability during rebound effects as the medication wears off.
The question always looms heavy: Does the positive effects of ADHD medication outweigh the negative? Are the effects contributing to a positive quality of life despite the downside of side effects affecting nutrition and emotion? Over time, could they learn enough strategies to negate the need for these medications?
None of these questions can easily be answered. What I have learned from these children diagnosed with ADHD is that the answers are static, changing over time depending on the situation and environment.
A young adult has been taking ADHD medication for seven years; beginning as a freshman in college, through law school, and now in practice. She is continuously weighing those very important questions in her adult life. She says that she certainly chose her passion by choosing her lawyer career. But to be a good lawyer, it’s necessary to read and that’s where the difficulty arises. No, she doesn’t have a learning disability, a very common co-existing disorder to ADHD. But reading fluency and comprehension can be negatively impacted by impairments of ADHD. Like she said, she notes how her job in the courtroom changes the need for meds. Her focus becomes a hyper focus armed with her strong knowledge base, goals for the case at hand, and physical movement needed in the courtroom.
A balancing act and the need to really pay attention to her level of attention and to what works for effectiveness; that is what is happening continuously for her to feel success. I listen with awe at how really hard it can be to deal effectively with the personal impairments of ADHD. Even working within your journey of passion, there are roadblocks at times that necessitate changes in strategies, ADHD accommodations, and ADHD medication.
I noticed her hesitancy at times. I saw tears in her eyes as she talked about one day wanting a child, as she expresses her determination to avoid medication during a pregnancy. My passion for our kids with ADHD soars and compassion and respect for the many decisions that they must make as they manage their ADHD symptoms, follow their passion, feel respect, and maintain a healthy self-esteem.
If you’re confused as to whether or not ADHD medication is the right choice for your child, then ADHD advocacy is something that you must strongly consider. Schools are bias in this area, and are not able to legally make a recommendation. Read my article titled, “Can the School Mandate ADHD Medication“.
To understand more about what ADHD advocacy is, and how it can dramatically help your child, please contact me directly for a free consultancy session. On our call, you will have the opportunity to share the challenges that your child is facing, and get instant feedback on critical next steps to help both you and your child. You can contact me directly by clicking here!
A little about the author and founder of ADD Advocate, Karen Lowry: I am a certified ADHD Coach. ADHD advocacy is my passion. There are so many school support challenges facing our children, that knowing your rights as a parent have never been more crucial. Effective ADHD coaching depends on effective advocacy for our kids. Remember, if you should ever have any questions about anything regarding school support, or just understanding about ADHD, IEP programs, 504 plans, etc….