When a school pressures a family to have their child evaluated for a mental illness, usually for special education, it can be a very confusing time. But before parents "give in," they owe it to their child to conduct a thorough and thoughtful evaluation of all possible causes and solutions to the situation. Labeling a child with a mental illness, such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), ED (Emotional Disturbance), ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder), or some other mental disorder, is a life-changing decision which not only alters the child's life forever, but also opens the door to potential mind-altering drugs to "control" the child's classroom issues.
Since 1995 I have been helping parents and students in all types of school matters, and I have represented parents both in and out of the special education system. I have also assisted a handful of parents who fought against school pressure to label their children with mental health disabilities due to problems in the classroom. The public schools and their staff often push parents to have their child evaluated by a medical professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Many parents follow through, as their child is not learning, is a problem in the classroom, or acts bad at school, and they don't know what else to do. But is a disease really the cause? Maybe, maybe not.
2) Nutrition/food issues.
4) Energy and interest in life.
5) Poor teaching.
12) School is not taught in an interesting way.
13) Poor parenting- parents not working with them at home, not disciplining enough, not there.
Labeling a child with a psychological disorder is a BIG deal, and opens the door for drugs- drugs for behavior, drugs for attention, drugs for...control. If Johnny sits there and no longer blurts out, the teacher will be happier, but will Johnny actually be better off? Parents need to first consider what would help their CHILD to survive, learn, and flourish. The school's needs are secondary.
When considering such avenues, parents should check the following sites (among others) for alternatives and information on labelling and drugging of children for alleged mental disorders:
- Alternative Mental Health.com
- The Block Center- alternative ADHD treatment
- Public Service Announcements and the website of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights
- The Psychiatric Drug Search Engine
Education Law Attorney
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