The human body is such an interesting thing.
I’ve done a ton of reading over the years on ADHD and SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) in an attempt to understand how TMan is feeling and find ways to help him.
What I have found is fascinating. Research shows (in short) that ADHD results in restlessness, acting impulsively, and lack of focus which impairs children’s ability to learn properly, and that SPD is is a neurological disorder causing difficulties with taking in, processing, and responding to sensory information about the environment and from within one’s own body.
If you liken the human body to a very sophisticated machine, there are gears and levers and pulleys and central computing system and more…super-complex, right?
So my thought is that when a child has ADHD or SPD (or any of the otherwise invisible disorders), his engine is just not running right. That’s easy to say, but hard to fix. It’s not like a broken bone or a cut in the arm – you can’t see what needs to be fixed. It’s underlying, it’s in the internal workings of the engine – how the various pieces work together harmoniously. Or in the case of our children, not harmoniously.
It’s like the belt or chain is broken on the engine, causing the wheels to spin irregularly, thus throwing the pace of the whole engine off.
I look at it like this:
My son is a little walking, talking machine. A brilliant one in my mind. Due to his ADHD and SPD, he doesn’t walk or talk the way other 8 year-old’s do. It interferes with his education and thus, his ability to mature and grow. He’s saying “I think I can, I think I can..” but through no fault of his own, he just can’t get up that hill.
For some reason one of his internal belts or chains is either broken or misaligned. According to Wikipedia, a Machine Belt does the following for an engine:
There’s a large debate over medication and whether to use it in kids with ADHD and other disorders. People get all angry and bash each other and resort to name calling and everything else. I, myself, am often faced with people asking when I’ll take TMan off the meds or whether I’m over medicating.
The medication prescribed by his doctor does just what it states above – it regulates his system and help his little engine of a body function the way it was designed.
So no, I don’t think I’ll take him off the meds anytime soon. Would you open the hood of your car and just slip one of the belts off and go out cruising?
And no, I don’t think I’m over medicating – just like a belt or chain needs to have the tension adjusted occasionally, his meds do too. We watch how he’s acting and responding and adjust accordingly.
Inevitably there will be people at both ends of the spectrum: Ever put too much oil in your car? Ever forget about the oil entirely and run out? There is a happy medium, but a car can’t be without it.
In my opinion, my extraordinary son needs his meds and we must pay close attention to it and adjust as needed to ensure he is the best he can be.
If you are ever struggling to describe ADHD or SPD or another of the outwardly invisible diagnoses, step back and take a scientific look at your child’s engine.
He may not need medication. Then again, he might. That’s why we, as parents, partner with doctors and therapists and others to diagnose and develop a plan to keep that little engine running like it should.
We are there to help him say, “I knew I could!”