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Chemical Cosh for Kids - ITV1 programme re medicating kids with ADHD

(20 Posts)
Triggles Thu 28-Jul-11 21:12:18

Parts were irritating, parts were interesting.

I'd be interested to see what other people thought of it.

I'm especially interested in where it says according to NICE guidelines, parents should be offered a parenting class (for assistance/support - NOT to say you're rubbish parents) and CBT for the children. I've certainly never been offered either of these for ourselves and DS2.

borderslass Thu 28-Jul-11 22:28:58

Never saw it but I was sent to all sorts of parenting classes whenever I asked for help gave up asking in the end as they made me feel a shit parent and weren't aimed at SN children.

Manxie73 Thu 28-Jul-11 22:31:23

I caught the last ten minutes of this programme and I'm keen to watch it on ITV Player. DS2 has just been diagnosed so we are new to this.
We have been offered a parenting course.

homeboys Thu 28-Jul-11 22:49:24

anone got an iplayer link or program title please?

Triggles Thu 28-Jul-11 23:13:08

It was called Chemical Cosh for Kids... Tonight programme, I think.

borderslass - when they mentioned parenting classes, it was NOT by way of making people feel like a shit parent, but more along the lines of offering tips and techniques to help out.

I went to a parenting class with a friend years ago, as we both had daughters approaching their teen years and we thought it would be helpful to get some info to prepare us (including things that might be utilised in those "stormy teenage years" we all hear about). We learned quite a bit from it, and I'm really glad I went. So I'm not adverse to a helpful parenting class.

I do think to some extent how it approached is important. I don't believe that putting a parent on the back foot to go to the classes is the best approach. It should be looked at as a help, not a "you obviously don't know what you're doing, so we're going to instruct you" but more of a "look we're going to need to get support and such going for you, but while we're working on this, we'd like to offer you the chance to go to this parenting class so you can have the opportunity to meet with other parents and discuss behavioural issues you may be experiencing so you realise this happens to lots of parents (not just you!) and some suggestions on ways you can deal with these problems effectively.

coff33pot Fri 29-Jul-11 01:08:25

There you go homeboys Its on again at 2am ....ish too

runningonmt Fri 29-Jul-11 08:08:06

The main part I objected to was when the ed psy (i think) said he thought that only 5 or 6 in 500 ADHD kids would benefit from medication - Doctor didnt agree of course but it was a pretty inflamitory remark I feel and gives Jo Public the impression that it is not beneficial for the majority of children who take it. Excuse me if I got the figures wrong (but they were something like that - I was only half watching it but have recorded it to watch again when I am not trying to deal with very bouncy DS whoes medication had worn off ..... anyone else get a rebound effect when meds wear off ?????)

I also felt that an impression was given that ADHD is caused by an new sibling in the family. The way parents deal with their kids with ADHD is of course very relevent but it doesnt cause it - it can make it better or worse of course but it is certainly not a cause. Most kids may play up with a new baby in the house as they naturally get less attention - ADHD will compound their reactions as they are high maintenance kids at the best of times - was that made clear ? I didnt get that impression.

The whole stance that medication should be part of a multi-facated approach is a joke in my opinion. I have been BEGGING for behaviour therapy for 4 years and IT DOES NOT EXIST in our area. I suggested it would be beneficial if my DS had some one to one with his pyschiatrist for some "talk therapy" but was told by them that I would probably benefit from having someone to talk to instead !!!!! I looked into parenting courses (eight week course 20 miles away during the day when I was at work once a year !!!!) Our local ADHD support group (17 miles away) shut down about 2 years ago. I would welcome any kind of help with open arms and spend quite a lot of time looking for it as if it is out there it is definately hiding from me. I have read every book I can on the subject but because books are not a two way interaction it is hard to understand particularly when there are additional comorbid conditions of ODD and autistic traits. Because I could not get any kind of help or support the ONLY course of action available to us was medication and self taught parent led behaviour therapy/support. Would you be happy for a surgeon to operate on your brain if he/she had had no formal training and had taught themselves by reading books? I dont think anyone would be happy with that idea !!!!

In my opinion if medication was not working in any way shape or form for your child you would take them off it immediately - or is the general consensus that us parents would medicate our children for no good reason ??? We are aware how powerful these drugs are and the emotional mum demonstrated a very typical reaction over how hard the decision is to use medication. That was real honest reporting IMO. I am glad that her son is not so much of a danger to himself that she can keep him drug free at the weekend and on holiday. That is not a practical option for some of us unfortunately.

My heart goes out to everyone out there who are trying their best for their children with ADHD. Public opinion should not matter in an ideal world but it does when we are dealing with comments from Jo Public who gets their information from little snippets in the general media.

In the grand scheme of things I think the program was quite fairly balanced - which makes a nice change based on the way the media usually reports on this highly contriversal subject. If the public are of reasonable intelligence they will have appreciated most of the points made however the hysterial bunch who love to knock us down will be armed with more reasons to slate us a "feckless parents who drug our kids as it is easier than parenting them".

(Sorry for the waffle .... I really must make an effort to keep my posts shorter !!! Typical Gemini !!!!)

26minutes Fri 29-Jul-11 08:13:04

I think I'll record this then, will be interesting viewing.

Same as borderslass for me, I'm still a very long way from a referral let alone a diagnosis, yet have been sent on more parenting courses than you could shake a stick at. Some I've gone to off of my own back as I was led to believe there was nothing wrong with my son, it was just my apparent inability to parent that was causing his problems, some, including the latest were ones I've been sent on by CAMHS. These courses are not aimed at parents with a SN child at all and the most recent just covered the most basic parenting going. A parenting course aimed at children with SN would be more helpful and then, like you say Triggles you can meet people in the same boat as you, maybe bounce ideas off of one another and realise that you really are not alone and there are people locally going through the same things as you. Unfortunately CAMHS, GPs, HVs and nursery nurses ime are far too quick to blame the parents or other outside influences for the way a child behaves and just pack them off to parenting courses galore.

Triggles Fri 29-Jul-11 15:37:33

I have to say that I wasn't impressed with the family they used as the first example - the one that had the most air time (with the new baby). The clips they showed of the boy really just made him look like a badly behaved boy, and the clips of the mum standing and screaming at him like a fishwife constantly were not helpful IMO either. It really truly made it look like the kid was a brat and the mum was a chavvy bad mum that just wanted his meds upped because she couldn't control him and had bad parenting skills. And that's quite frustrating to me, as I think that's the impression it gives to the general public about ADHD in general and encourages them to make those type of assumptions. I would say it was represented that way on purpose, IMO, in the way they edited the programme (although to be fair, the mum rather annoyed me anyway in the way she handled some of it).

The other boys (and their parents) gave a much more balanced view of it, IMO. Especially when they were describing how they felt when the meds were working versus when they hadn't taken it. I found that rather interesting.

I wasn't horribly impressed with the EP either, but I think that was more just the way he presented himself. He seemed rather full of his ideas, not really willing to listen to anyone else's. The woman (school official, not the mum) made a stab at saying she felt the mum wasn't giving the meds every day - going so far as to saying it was obvious that she hadn't, based on the boy's behaviour, but I think that's assuming a bit much on her part.

The mum insisted he had taken his meds every day, however, not sure .... embarrassingly enough, the scene with her yelling at him really influenced the way I felt about her in general, even though I KNOW it's just a short clip in what could have been a very long day. That's why I think it was edited that way with the intent of bolstering their idea that these behaviours are just the result of bad parenting skills, because that's what the public want to believe.

sigh... why oh why can't they show normal families, rather than focusing on those that are lower income? I think some people think ADHD is a low-income thing for children that have bad parents and no better options. I'd like to see them show families from different income levels - affluent, middle class, working class - as it would not only show that it's across all levels, but also would highlight the options that those with better finances have vs those who don't.

Alright. I'll be quiet now. grin

Triggles Fri 29-Jul-11 15:38:45

runningonmt - see? huge post from me!! and I'm not even a Gemini!!! I'm a Scorpio!! grin

AllieZ Fri 29-Jul-11 20:22:01

Just watched it on iPlayer.
Not surprising that the EdPsych was against medication: most of the are for the simple fact that they cannot prescribe it and they are keen to assert that their tools can solve the problem, too.
I was somewhat surprised at the mother who said she waited 2 years for the parenting course: most courses use printed and video materials and even if you cannot go on the course you can get hold of the materials (I know because I used to work at a service where we ran courses). Attending a course can offer things you cannot get otherwise, like networking or case studies but I'd say 70 per cent is written down somewhere and you can work through it the way you would do with, say an OU course.
I think medication is very important because it gived kids the chance to spend at least some of the day in a state when they are able to focus and learn. Even CBT - you might need to medicate a kid so he can sit and listen long enough to access CBT.

runningonmt Sun 31-Jul-11 15:40:55

Triggles I agree - The young lad who said that without his meds was like "drink driving" - I LOVED that analogy - He is one smart dude in my opinion.

I would love to see a program full of these insightful young people to show that ADHD isnt about Chav kids who live with feckless parents (who cant deal with the kids they already have so they just pop out a few more for good measure) but effects kids from any social and financial background.

ADHD can drive us everyday parents into screaming loons several times a day - I know I have had several "fishwife" moments myself and am sometimes ashamed of my own behaviour never mind my sons.

My decision to medicate was when another parent with ADHD asked me why I was expecting my DS to learn new (and appropriate) behaviour (that I was trying so hard to teach him) when I wasnt giving him the tool to access the ability to focus on what I was asking him to change - It was such a good point I realised that not medicating him was based on my own prejudice about the drugs and my concern over how people would look down on me for medicating. I hadnt really given a thought about how it could open the door to him to be able to learn to control himself and adapt. When the idea sunk in it was a much easier decision to make really.

It is easy with our experience to understand that a new sibling in the house would make a childs ADHD symptoms worse - my DS does require a lot more attention than a 'regular' 11 year old. If my attention is tied up with doing something else (like painting the shed) his reaction will become so intense you have to stop what you are doing to focus on him - Last year he attacked the shed because I was painting it and he 'needed' my attention for something. My shed painting did not cause his ADHD just like the new sibling did not cause that young lads ADHD but it will agrivate it - I dont think that point was particularly clear especially to Jo Public.

I also think it would have been useful to point out there are varying degrees of ADHD. Mild, Moderate and Severe. It also should have been mentioned the co-morbid conditions that usually co-exist with ADHD such as Autism, ODD and Conduct Disorder.

ADHD certainly isnt restricted to bad behaviour but that appears to be what the focus was on - How about the inability to sit still and the effect that can actually have on the child (never mind anyone else in the room). How about showing the impulsive behaviour (that is not considered 'naughty' behaviour such as getting the child to verbalise the danger of crossing the road without looking but doing it anyway (in a safe controled environment of course) - that is not attention seeking or 'naughty' behaviour but a very real effect ADHD has - but it was probably easier for the film crew to film the unsupervised and bored child 'acting up' instead.

If the child with ADHD could have 100% supervision 24 hours a day and a one-to-one in every classroom to keep them on focus the need for medication could almost be eradicated. But that is not the way the world works. Like the psychiatrist said ..... meds are cheaper than TA's in the class room. Until the general public really understand how ADHD effects children they will always be of the opinion that it is down to bad parenting and that is what they want to see on the TV not something that makes them question their ignorant opinions.

I dont want sympathy for my DS - Just educated understanding - Is that really too much to ask ?

Triggles Sun 31-Jul-11 15:52:13

Exactly - they focus on what is perceived as "bad behaviour" and how it affects everyone AROUND the child, instead of showing how the impulsive or fidgety behaviour makes life dangerous or difficult (such as from an educational standpoint) for the CHILD.

drivemecrazy63 Sun 31-Jul-11 16:00:55

i totally agree with the "found myself shouting like a fishwife" blush it does anger me do they go out of their way to find worst example families as this reinforces the opinion that the dcs are just badly behaved with parents with no parenting skills.also wrong to juts focus on the behaviour and not inability to concentrate, keep from stimming and what about safety for the dc themselves, these dcs need better trained teachers (make it obligitory again they train in asd, adhd ect) trained TAs and generally give more funding to MS and stop closing and trying to intergrate EVERY dc even when its not right for them back into MS .STOPP reinforcingpublics low opinion of these dcs and their mothers, huh the last party said education education education this party seem to be saying not worthy not worthy not worthy , thats how it feels and looks.

runningonmt Sun 31-Jul-11 16:24:13

What can we do ? What should we do ? How can we change this ? I am sick to death with moaning about this all the time ................ sad

Any ideas how we can change peoples perception ?

runningonmt Sun 31-Jul-11 16:28:18


"Stimming" confused

"generally give more funding to MS" confused ? what is MS?

Sorry ! bit confused by the jargon ?? blush

dolfrog Sun 31-Jul-11 17:31:55

runningonmt and Triggles

If you think that was bad it gets worse.

As you are no doubt aware my main interest is Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).
If a child has APD then they can loose the plot of what is going on around them, not being able to process what is being said, and when this happens over a long persiod of time and their learning needs are not met, they can be come disruptive to try to get their needs met. This in many instances has been seen as ADHD, the child referred for an ADHD assessment, so that teachers et c can use the Chemical Cosh.

The real problem, as you have described is a complete lack of understanding, of what ADHD is even amongst the so called professionals. The biggestr problem is that individual professions have their own agendas, and are very relauctant ot talk to other groups of professionals in related areas. (As you have noted income and money are the main motives) Many professionals diagnose on a very basic principle "I have a hammer, so it looks like an nail" even when they are looking at a screw or a tack, or even a needle.

ADHD has been become a spectrum of issues, which now includes the old ADD set of issues. So to some extent the Ed psych could be correct as those who were only previously ADD, may not have some of the hyperactivity issues, added to which you may also have those who may have been miss diagnosed as having ADHD, but have a different set of problems completely.

This the reason i have gone above the heads of these incompetents, and look at the vast body of research papers that can describe and define these various issues and conditions from around the world. In the UK we tend to be some years some years behind in our understanding of some issues, and at worst decades. The UK can sometimes can lead the world in some areas, and have some professionals who may be consider ahead of their time. There is also a large gap between the specialist hospitals, and local facilities and local professionals understanding of cutting edge issues.

Some of the issues you have raised my be discussed in these papers:
The neurobiological basis of ADHD
Symptom-correlated brain regions in young adults with combined-type ADHD: Their organization, variability, and relation to behavioral performance
Advances in understanding and treating ADHD
The parallel development of ODD and CD symptoms from early childhood to adolescence
and more

Triggles Sun 31-Jul-11 18:20:39

stimming is like a repetitive thing many ASD people do to "jump start" or help them focus, depending on the situation - it can be verbal or physical - DS2 writes letters in the air when he's talking to focus, and does some verbal noises as well as some other physical stims (don't know if I really explained that well, but it's a start, eh?)

MS mainstream school

drivemecrazy63 Sun 31-Jul-11 19:39:34

I do think other dc stim too though not just as/asd my dd is neither but does this continual foot wiggling thing drives me crazy [ haha hence the name] but you know what I mean perhaps its a nervous type thing sometimes when i was little i had a very scary dad at home and would hear them argue while i was supposed to be asleep and i found it a huhe comfort to wriggle my feet and ankles (did this subconciously) untill i would fall asleep , dont know if this is common? my DS1 used to just not be able to sit still in class and would do same in his chair , he grew out of it though.

Triggles Sun 31-Jul-11 19:43:30

I always wiggle my foot or jiggle one knee when I sitting and reading or watching television.. anywhere really... blush

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