"Pills Don't Teach Skills."
In April, Dr. Nima Rahmany came to MI. He is a chiropractor who likes to call himself an EDUTAINER. He writes rap songs to educate his audience. One of his songs was titled “Pills Don’t Teach Skills”. I love this saying. As a pediatric occupational therapist, I have seen time and time again that even when a child is put on medication, the medication may resolve some of the symptoms but it does not treat the underlying problem or the teach the child skills.
According to Dr. Nicole Beurkens, “The reality is that many school-age children take medication that does very little to resolve their symptoms. There are more children than ever before on prescription psychiatric medications, and yet we have an ever-increasing number of students experiencing difficulties with learning, socialization and behavior in school. If medication was the solution, these problems would have been solved long ago.”
Dr. Daniel Amen a leading expert with ADHD, has also said, “Only putting a child on medication is bad treatment. The whole child needs to be addressed including diet, sleep and behavior.”
Along the same lines, I recently read an article from the ADDitude magazine online blog which asked parents to answer the following question.“What ADHD symptom could not be controlled by your medication?” These were some of the answers that were posted.
“Meds do not help with self-esteem”
“It hasn’t helped with emotional outbursts.”
“Medication sharpens attention, but it doesn’t improve executive function skills, like working memory or organization.”
“Meds haven’t helped with fidgetness. However, treatment has helped with social relationships a lot.”
“Clutter management and organization are still problems at our house.”
“My child’s impulsiveness is not helped by the meds nor the paranoia that everyone is judging her.”
The above input is from both professionals and parents. I am not opposed to meds, however, it is important to take into consideration what skills the child is lacking and work on those skills. I agree taking a pill would be easier for sure! However, the pills are not the magic. The magic is working with the whole child, as well as the family. It is the day to day learning and experiences that grow the child. The magic is the commitment, love and dedication by a whole team which includes the parents and professionals.
This being said, summer is a great time to work on skills. The child is typically less stressed and families seem to have more time. There are a few spots still open for summer therapy. If your child struggled this year with academics, handwriting, stress, motor coordination, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation to see if OT can be helpful. I use brain based tools to facilitate brain connections and improve sensory processing. Please see sidebar for more information on the programs.