THE BIG DSM V CONTROVERSY
The DSM is the Diagnostic Statistics Manual. It is the 'guidebook' by which mental health and behavioral disorders are evaluated and diagnosed. Up until now, it has been the 'Bible' of psychiatrists, etc. Trouble started during the revision of the Manual when they started to monkey around with the Autism diagnostic criteria and groupings. In addition to the appropriate standard being used for a diagnosis, huge amounts of money became involved given the potential havoc these changes might play on insurance coverage.
Here is the official page from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) explaining what they did and why:
Here is the official positon of the US Autism and Asperger Association (USAAA) on the matter:
Here is the position of Autism Speaks
Then, to complicate matters, the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) withdrew its support of the DSM V on the 'eve' of its implementation
Accordingly, rather than resolving issues, the adoption of the DSM V has caused more contoversy and confusion. Stay Tuned.
The Question: "Should we put our child on medication?"
This question presents the ultimate heart wrenching and soul searching issue you may have to address
A great way to start this debate is to read the thoughtful articles in ADDitude magazine on this topic. They also discuss alternative therapies and treatments - http://www.additudemag.com/topic/adhd-treatment/adhd-medication.html
Next: go to this link and read the interview with Dr. Barkley - then see and share the PBS Frontline video on this topic (keep a tissue handy) -http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/medicating/interviews/barkley.html#
[click where it says - "Watch online"]
Also, you should become familiar with the 'Multi modal'/ 'MTA' Study AND the Follow Up. Basically, the National Institute of Mental Health conducted a longitudinal study (meaning, it was conducted over an extended period of time) to determine what treatments or combintations of treatments was most effective. Later a follow up was conducted. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2007/improvement-following-adhd-treatment-sustained-in-most-children.shtml
(be sure to recognize the limitations of these studies)
Here is a thoughtful analysis and checklist to run down when considering your options - http://www.health.com/health/library/mdp/0,,aa69633,00.html
Also- read "A Child in the Balance..." by Kevin Kalikow (see my book list and this link -
Once again, consider the studies that have been done by Consumer Reports on treatments
AND - the Consumer Reports review of ADHD medication - http://www.consumerreports.org/health/best-buy-drugs/adhd.htm
American Academy of Pediatrics Interventions Guide -This chart outlines various options for treatment of specific types of behaviors and ranks them from "best support" to "no support." A very useful tool when talking with your child's doctor about possible treatments. Go here for a copy of the chart:
Here are my thoughts on this topic - at all times you have to consider what you think is best for your child and which course of action you feel will best equip them to excel. I believe it is a parent's duty to provide them with every opportunity to succeed and that their personal thoughts, fears or prejudices should take a back seat.
Understanding Psychological Evaluations:
Don't know your BASC from a hole in the wall? You're not alone. Chances are that psychological evaluations and neuro-psychological evaluations will become part of the norm for you. It is essential that you get to know what these tests are and what they can do (or evaluate) and what they cannot do. You need to know this stuff because you will be highly encouraged to get an independent evaluation from us before you make any decisive move for your child.
A good site for understanding the various tests (make a copy and refer to it when you read your child's report) - http://concordspedpac.org/TypesTests.html
Another helpful site to give you an overview about psychoeducational assessments - http://ldlink.coe.utk.edu/understanding_report.htm
This site provides a database of more than 25,000 tests and other measurement devices -
CACLD can provide you with the incredibly helpful services of Rena Schine - a retired school psychologist who can assist in translating and understanding the school psychology reports. She is a fantastic resource !!! She can be a phenomenal asset to you. Contact CACLD to find out more about this program - it is wonderful - http://www.cacld.org/
TESTS, MEASURES AND A LITTLE STATISTICS
Before you can successfully advocate for your child, you must know their strengths and weaknesses. To know this, you must be familiar with tests, measures and statistics to make sense of it all
Here are some really good sites and links to help you get started
What the tests mean and how they fit into to process
What Do Those Reading Tests Measure?
This article will give you the a,b,c's of all those confusing reading tests