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My seven-year-old son is in the first grade for the second time. Per his teacher and principal, they are encouraging me to have my son tested. I do not have a problem with having him tested.

My problem is this: all I’m hearing from them is he needs to be on a prescription drug. I can not see how a prescription drug is going to help him with his problems. After reading some of the articles LD OnLine has, I totally agree that he definitely has a learning disability, but the school system can not tell me why this requires prescription drugs.

I will do anything in my power to help my son develop. I will not shove prescription drugs down his throat until I understand how this will help him. Can you explain this to me?



Good for you. School staff cannot tell a parent to put their child on medication. The question might be the one you raise. Are his academic problems the result of a learning disability, of ADHD, or of both.

If your son has been hyperactive, inattentive, and/or impulsive since early preschool, you might discuss ADHD with his family doctor. If the main issues relate to difficulty learning to read, to write, to putting thoughts on the page, and to learning basic math and/or relate to his ability to understand oral instructions or reply orally, formal testing is needed to explore for a learning disability. Request such testing.

Many school systems will not test children until the end of the third grade – a “wait until they fail” model. If this is your son’s school philosophy, you might need to have the testing done privately.

Go slowly and clarify the problems before starting treatment. What your school staff is doing is similar to a physician saying, “Your child has a stomachache. He should have his appendix out.” No – first you learn what is causing the stomachache and then you recommend treatment.

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