Michael Phelps, an Olympic Gold Medal winner, has become a symbol of heroism for families across America! As a child, Michael, never sat still, never stopped asking questions, just wanting to go from one thing to another. His mother was told he had ADHD and agreed to put him on a psychotropic drug. This story is similar to so many across the globe. Advocacy groups hold Michael up as an example of what a child, now an adult, can accomplish, despite the label of ADHD. What most articles and websites do not give are the underlying facts behind ADHD.
It isn’t any wonder that parents can get convinced that their child has ADHD. There is so much money being poured into the marketing of this label and the prescription drugs that go with it. What most parents are not told is that there are no medical tests to evidence the diagnosis of ADHD. There isn’t a brain scan, not a blood test, nor a chemical imbalance test that can prove that ADHD does exist. In fact, there are medical tests that are done by Medical professionals that can show nutritional deficiencies, allergies, or anyone of a number of underlying physical causes of unwanted behavior. In addition, children 100 years ago, were simply accepted and loved for their endless energy and creativity.
Florida has its own, “Michael Phelps” and this is his story! When Austin was 6 years old he was tested in the first grade and the results showed that he was a gifted and bright student. He was very active, asked a lot of questions, had a lot of creative ideas and an endless imagination. His mom regarded those qualities as nothing other than positive.
However, she learned, all to well, that the school system did not view them that way. The school personnel described Austin as disruptive, annoying, unfocused and non-conforming. The discrepancy between this description and what his mom had learned through his first grade testing, of his giftedness, didn’t make sense. His mother took Austin to get further “testing” and was told that her son had ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder and Specific Learning Disability.
An ADHD drug, Adderall, was prescribed, and against her better instincts, his mom gave it to him. Austin’s mom kept a journal the entire time he was on the drug. She said that he began to not sleep well, he was having nightmares, losing too much weight and experiencing very strange thoughts. He told her he had curse words in his head and they wouldn’t go away.
When Austin’s mother brought him to the Doctor and expressed her concerns, the doctor simply increased the dosage of Adderall. One day, shortly after this, Austin turned to his mother and told her that it would be better if he were dead. Sitting at the computer one night, his mom looked up as Austin said “Look mom, my heart you can see it beating”. In fact, she could. There he was sitting perfectly still and it looked like he had been running a marathon.
Shortly thereafter, Austin was safely weaned off Adderall, with the help of an acupuncturist and a homeopathic doctor. At this point, his mom and dad noticed his affinity for swimming and decided to encourage this ability. Austin has been swimming ever since. He has won medals and is now working on his eligibility for the Junior Olympics. His mom will tell you that it has been a long road, where she had to sift through the facts versus the fiction where it comes to the diagnosis of ADHD. She did contact two different non-profit organizations, Able-Child and the Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida, to help get the facts. It’s led to a better life for Austin and for his family. One day soon we will see him up on the platform accepting his Gold Medal!
We need to help inform others about the facts! There are so many young people whose futures are trusted in our keep. They deserve, and you deserve the best chance they can have!