Is your foster/adopted child being properly tested and diagnosed?

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As a RN, I find it very alarming that many children are being placed on medications without appropriate diagnostic testing.  Below is an article about "the black sheep" of society... children who are being labeled with ADHD, and medicated with drugs that have some SERIOUS safety concerns.  [See "ADD & ADHD Medications:  Are they right for you or your child?" http://www.helpguide.org/mental/adhd_medications.htm ]

Starting Point: Fran Tesoriero realized early on that her son, Jonathan, wasn’t exactly prom king material. “It was back in sixth grade, and he was always hovering on the periphery,” she says. “For his age, he just didn’t seem very aware of what to do socially. He’d blurt things out and had an honesty about him that, unfortunately, got exploited.”
 
In his struggles to fit in, Jonathan is not alone. Today, in the United States alone, doctors have diagnosed some 8 percent of school-aged children—that’s about 4.4 million kids—with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Children with ADHD often are regarded as social black sheep; they miss subtle visual cues and invade personal space. They also can speak out of turn, struggle to share and lose interest during long conversations.  

For Jonathan, who wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until seventh grade, his little social snags quickly added up. He was different, clearly, and as friendship circles closed before him, he seemed too different to fit in.  

Tesoriero was heartbroken: “It hurt to see that he wasn’t included in certain things. I felt that he was left behind. The parents labeled him as some kind of demonic kid, and even though that wasn’t his issue, the stigma was there. It was very hard.” 

By Bethany Lye for MSN Health & Fitness  http://health.msn.com/health-topics/adhd/slideshow.aspx?cp-documentid=100155803

Without proper diagnostic testing,  and a poor medical history, (thanks to poorly kept records), how can any parent be certain stimulants are the way to treat a child who feels like "the black sheep" of a social-setting?

Do doctors without diagnostic tests really know better, and are pills always the answer?

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Life Lessons (and wrong assumptions)

I found the following article very helpful for those considering "therapy". 
 Time to Quit Your Therapist?

The hard part is over.

You had a problem you couldn't resolve alone, took the time and effort to find a therapist and have been going for regular visits for a few months—maybe even a few years.

But how do you know when you're ready to get up off the couch permanently?

Many patients don't. But some therapists say that their work over time tends to draw to a natural conclusion—often to their clients' surprise.

"Most people's expectations and the presentation in the media and the movies is that it's this ongoing sort of psychoanalysis," says James Morris, a licensed marriage and family therapist and teacher at Texas Tech University in Fredericksburg. "They think there's no end. It just keeps going and going."

Plan Ahead

Perhaps the best thing people starting therapy can do is think hard about what they want to get out of the experience so they can recognize progress, Morris says. When patients picture what they want their lives to look like in the future and what they want to do differently it helps both them and therapists project a logical endpoint for sessions. It can organize the whole treatment process, too.

"You set up a clear contract upfront and say, 'This is what we're working on,' " Morris says. "They might find it difficult to articulate what the problem is, but it's the therapist's job to elicit all of that and get the conversation out on the table."

Geri Kerr, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in New Jersey, says another signal that therapy has run its course is a general shift in the conversation. Change might come in the form of more small talk or just an overall drop in intensity, but it's usually obvious to the patient and therapist simultaneously, she says.

Honesty Is The Best Policy

If you're thinking of putting an end to your therapy, be honest and open about it, says Dr. William Callahan, a psychiatrist in Orange County, Calif., and member of the American Psychiatric Association. Your therapist might be unhappy or try to talk you out of it if he or she feels there's still work to be done. But should they react defensively or with anger, Callahan says, it's a red flag that they might not be so great at goodbyes. It could be a smart time to move on.

Patients, he adds, should always feel comfortable getting a second opinion if things aren't working well in a relationship with a therapist.

"It's possible you could get more from another person," he says.

Therapists also say that if patients are beginning to question whether they need counseling anymore they could benefit from a break. Sometimes people come to Kerr's office wanting to work on a couple of things, but at a certain point decide they don't want to go any further. They're simply not ready. And that's OK, she says.

"It's not a therapist's responsibility to send a person back out with a 'perfect life,' " she says. "Everybody comes from their own background. It's important for people to identify the issues they want to solve." 

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I loved how this article started:  "the hard part is over"
To admit weakness, and the need for Help through Therapy is indeed a brave, bold step.  One that takes YEARS for some to decide.
Starting Therapy for me was a no-brainer... I was having horrific nightmares and sensory flashbacks in college.  I went to the Student Center and met with a counselor and spoke to her about my problems.  I knew my problems stemmed from being Adopted.  I also learned quickly not many people are trained to deal with Adoptee's Issues.
Stopping Therapy was also a no-brainer for me.  Having been placed on three high-doses of medications, with no benefits other than a Must See re-fill visit, I was forced to fulfill (simply because sudden withdrawl from meds like Effexor are BRUTAL!), I realized a pill cannot replace the void Unconditional Love is supposed to fill in my life.  The therapists kept pushing pills to help me "feel better", when in fact, I needed to learn how to change my perspective on personal relationships.
However, it was not just the pill-pushers who disturbed me deeply.  I learned frist-hand, having a bad (clueless) therapist helps the Stopping-process, too.  [Whoa Nellie... I had a few who oughtta be shot in the knee-caps by a firing squad of blind angry gun-men!  Yes, they were THAT bad... yet I kept going back.  Why?  Because I didn't know better.]  Looking back, I should have reported one, and demand she be fired for misconduct... but that would have created a scene I didn't want to be involved in... so I simply stopped... and suffered the consequences of Poor Advice given by a Professional.
How does a person know if he/she talked and walked himself into a Bad Therapist's office?  The atmosphere itself is a good clue.  The disposition and attitude of the staff can offer signs of encouragement (or not).  Most of all, I believe that First Visit is the one that will determine the fate of Couch Comfort for the client-in-question.  I have often been amazed by people's assumption that doctors, and therapists are given immediate God-Standards of Worship and Loyalty.  Why?  Are they not human, too?  Are they not capable of making mistakes and choosing bad options for bad reasons, just like the rest of us mere mortals?  For the Adoptee who decides it's time to discuss those Personal Issues that keep creeping into life's landscape, before you flip through the HMO Providor-Approved List of Therapists available to you, I highly recommend educating yourself about the different types of therapies and therapists Out There.  A Good Therapist can change a person'e life, simply by teaching that individual useful coping tools and skills that can help manage fear, anger and frustration.  [It's amazing what proper perspective and positive encouragement can do for a person who never had that before.]  However,  A Bad Therapist can ruin a person's life and family.
Sadly, we live in a world where medicine is a business.  I applaud articles like the one written above because it reminds the Consumer (client) that specific goals and objectives need to be assigned to each person seeking help through whatever means of support/therapy that person chooses to use.  Afterall, even a personal crisis phase is just that:  A Phase.  

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