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Medication Holidays, ADHD, and the outdoors

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I have to chime in here.


I agree with Gonzo1 in that ADHD is over-diagnosed. (By the way - the ADD/ADHD label isn't used any more - it's just ADHD.)


However, like ASM915 said, Asbergers is a totally different animal. It is NOT a form of ADHD. Asbergers is on the Autism spectrum, and part of it involves reading emotions in others and reacting appropriately. I don't know a lot about it, but it is different than ADHD.


In diagnosing ADHD, there are multiple possiblities: ADHD-Impulsive, ADHD-Hyperactive, and my favorite, ADHD-NOC (not otherwise classified). My son is classified in the ADHD-NOC category - his main issue is staying focused.


In my scout den, I had several of these scouts: 1 with Asbergers, 1 with high functioning Autism, 4 with ADHD (impulsive, hyperactive, and NOC), and all 10 were extremely bright - they attend our district's school for Gifted/Talented students. Some of these kids are working 2 to 3 grade levels above their current grade in reading or math.


Working with one scout and his father, I could see the differences once they started him on medication. Yes - he was calmer and more apt to follow instructions, but he didn't want to eat, was a bit more mopey, and just didn't have his old exhuberance for life. Hopefully as the scientists and researchers learn more about ADHD and other behavioural issues, more accurate diagnoses and treatments will happen - hopefully, with few side effects.

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Here's how we have solved the problem. ADD/ADHD are the problem of the kid and are ultimately responsible to their parents. If they mark on their health forms they take medications they are required to bring those medications while on any and all scouting events. The health form is signed by a physician and that doctor is ultimately responsible for the prescription drug and its usage.


If a parent decides their child is to take a medication holiday, they can have to attend the activity/campout and deal with the problems that will occur because of their decision. Otherwise the boy cannot go without his medical form medications.


It's not just for the ADD/ADHD boys. If a boy needs an epi kit, it has to be on his person at all times, or if he's diabetic he has to have his insulin. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, we are scout leaders and we are there to insure all the kids are safe. Go with the health forms, we have them filled out by a qualified doctor for a very good reason!!!!



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I agree and I disagree. There are many levels of ADD & ADHD.

My son did very poorly in his beginning years of school. The teachers said that he was ADD and my come back was that they just did not want to deal with a child that was a challenge.


Finally we had my son tested by a specialist and were diagnose was a mild case of ADD. He was put on Ritalin and his school grades went way up into the high 90s. We did watch his eating habits and we do have issues with sleeping.


He does not take the drug on weekends or any other time that he is not in school and we had asked the doctor about this and the response was that if it is not affecting the child with withdrawal symptoms it would be ok. But if it does than we would need to change the prescription.


When we go on campouts and functions I am always there as the ASM and I always have his MEDS with me just in case things get way out of control. But my son must be a special case because there have been a few times not many where he has come up to me and asked to have his Meds because he feels that he is loosening control. At this time the SM knows and my son and I take a little walk and talk things out and I can get it so he is back in control. When we get back to the site he is back in control of himself and ready to continue in the activities.


As a CM I am fortunate in the fact that when I do go camping the cubs, the parent is there and it is the parents issue. I do however require that if the Med Forms state that the child is taking meds that the Meds are at the site. At Den meetings if the parent drops the child off it is understood that if the den leader or I feel that the child is getting out of control a time out will be called and the child will be excused from the meeting for a determined amount of time and talked to by his leader or the asst.


Gonzo is correct in one thing as far as I can tell. All three of us meaning my son, wife and myself visit the chiropractor regularly and there is a noticeable difference in the way my son behaves concerning the ADD. I am no Doctor or anyone with a degree. I am a Construction Manger on a Multi Million dollar site. These are just observations that I have noticed.


I also must agree with Jblake47


WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, we are scout leaders and we are there to insure all the kids are safe. Go with the health forms, we have them filled out by a qualified doctor for a very good reason!!!!






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Technically, due to HIPPA regulations, parents do not have to disclose medical information to anyone not a medical professional and even then, it's on a need to know basis only.


That said, after HIPPA, our troop committee made a troop rule that anyone not having their form filled out and willing to disclose meds HAD to have a PARENT on every outing.


Ironically, this came from a kid who was diabetic who didn't self medicate and got quite ill on a weekend campout and no parent around.


My comment (to parents and non-scouters especially) when discussing the meds for ADHD is:

If your child was diabetic, would you give him an insulin holiday for the weekend when he is exercising more, eating differently, etc? Then, why would you give him a medication holiday when he's out in the woods, away from the normal setting, possibly overstimulated by the newness and needs every assistance to stay focused.


I say if they are medicated, can't self medicate, and/or no proper health form then they DON"T go.


Just my 2 cents,


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let's bring it back to the original point.

Parent of ADD scouts (IMO) MUST notify the unit leaders of the health probems of the child.


If a child were insulin dependent diabetic and injecting insulin, I would want to know it in advance.


If a medication were important enough to be taken Monday through Friday, it should also be important enough on Saturday and Sunday.


Lots of problems (not just ADD) are "over-diagnosed". A person can't have "borderline high blood pressure", it's like being "borderline pregnant"


ASM915, I agree, a bunch of diagnoses are missed. Thankfully, more are correct than not correct. I find it hard to believe that many kids are bi-polar. I am a doctor, I'm not claiming to explain everything in this forum (venue) or to treat or diagnose anyone here either, I'm not Dr Dean Edell.


MollieDuke, I don't believe HIPAA has any place in this discussion. The HIPAA rules don't apply, the scout unit isn't a HIPAA compliant entity. I agree, if the parents don't disclose the medical problem, then the parent should not EVER send the kid on an outing with the troop, EVER.


IMO, in most cases, ritalin is prescribed to treat the parents and or teachers, not the kid. While this may upset some here, most of the ADD kids are really smart, bright kids who are probably bored. True enough, some of thm can be a real handful. Some are true behavior issues and need to be dealt with accordingly.


It is not my intent to ruffle your feathers, but rather to inform you that there is a different way to treat these kids. Parents of the youngsters NEED TO BE ON THE OUTINGS AND AT MEETINGS. Let the parent help control the kids in question.


Almost guaranteed, if the NC boys parent had been there, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion.


Everyone, I'm not a specialist in treating ADD or Asberger's cases, I do treat them however. I mainly treat neuromusculoskeletal disorders. If medication is prescribed, take it. If you or someone you know would like more information on chiropractic and how a chiropractor can help, PM or email me.



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Since we know so much about it, we should be spelling "Asperger's Syndrome" correctly....named after Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger.


And I don't buy the argument about saving money. Every June, my wife, a school nurse, would have to flush hundreds of dollars worth of Ritalin and Adderall because the parents couldn't be bothered coming in to school to pick it up. Now with the long acting drugs, she can get back to her real job rather than spending hours a day handing out pills while the kids lined up down the hall.

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Gonzo, here's a good reference book to help differenciate the two, ADHD or Bipolar. "THE BIPOLAR CHILD" by Papolos & Papolos. The statistics are staggering.


Asperger's or Aspergher's, sorry. Saw it spelled with an "H" several years ago. You know how us American's like to bastardize European words, like Paediatrics VS Pediatrics.


The youngest's school (geared for ADHD, ASPERGERS and BIPOLAR kids) is suppose to be set up as a CUB PACK, A TROOP AND A CREW. The gentleman that handles the few camp-outs that are scheduled each year, has it set up that PARENTS MUST ATTEND. PERIOD. NO PARENT, NO KID. YOU THE PARENT are responsible for medicating your kid.

Only been on one camp-out with him. We had 5 kids and 6 parents, that's out of about 250 kids between three schools within a 30 mile radius of the campground. Usually his campouts are planned on my weekend at the hospital.

Unfortunately, their PACK/TROOP/CREW really isn't working the way it should and noone in the management is willing to listen to ideas from different scouter parents who are involved in regular troops.


Gonzo, did you receive my Email earlier today?(This message has been edited by ASM915)

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Let's get to the real reason for Med. Holidays:

1) 3 months in the summer giving the pocketbook a vacation. The med's are expensive you know.

2) Weekends and days off school - Let's stretch the supply we have as long as we can. Again, pocketbook relief.

3) A fast buck on the street, $10 -$20 a pill. Nice side income. Sorry to take a negative view, but some parents really do do the above.


Wow, if ignorance is bliss, ASM915 must be one happy Scouter.

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Dud, wish I was ignorant. Then I could give mine a Med. Vacation, but I know better. Thank God for the Pharmacy Plan at work. I get away with $140 for three month supplies. Without it the 4 script's would cost $1000 - $1500 a month. Unfortunately they don't make generics for 2 of the med's.


My extended family consists of Pharmacist, Teachers and Medical Professionals and yes we've seen all three situations mentioned in my earlier thread on several occassions. Yes, sometimes the MD's suggests the vacation either because of the side-effects (and the MD only wants to use a particular drug and won't try another med.) or he/she knows the expense involved and thinks they are helping out (the parent maybe, but not the kid).


I have friends where when the kid goes to daddies house, he refuses to give the kid the med's saying they don't need it. When the kid is there for the summer, she doesn't get anything. When she comes back to mom, it's starting at square 1 all over. Dad does it to get at MOM and to save him a few bucks.


As for Ritalin, yes it does kill the appetite and sometimes the personality. But Ritalin is old, cheap but old and lots of side-effects. That's why Aderal, Concerta and Stratera were invented. Concerta is far superior to Ritalin, more expensive, but very few side-effects. If parents are giving the kids vacations due to the decreased appetites and flat affect, maybe they need to be looking for a med change and see if one of the new med's on the market work better so Sam and Jack don't have to take vacations. My brother said it was the worst thing they ever did for him. He hated not being able to stay focused on things during break and summer vacation.

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A few years backs I was on camp staff and we had a young man who kept coming into my area, crafts and saying he had to finish up his MB because he would be going home early. He spent much of his time in the medics office. When at 10pm she was called to treat a sprained ankle out at the troop site. She had him sent to town to be checked out. I went as the second adult with an ASM from the troop into town to the hospital. It wasnt until 2:30 am (due to an lady dying in the ER) that we found out that the Scout was on medication for depression and his parents had decided to give him a vacation from meds. I sure enjoyed watching the doctor calling and waking them to give approval for him to prescribe. The scout made it through the week and had a lot more fun on Meds than the first few days.


Scoutldr, just the tree hugger in me hopes that your wife isnt flushing meds down the john. There a great problem in getting meds into the water system that way.


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NW, sounds like a great Hornaday project. Maybe we can start a new thread about the Feminization of Fish or the Mutation of Frogs due to flushing old med's down the pot. Only problem with collecting old med's is that a Pharmacist has to take them in, but then there is know real way to get rid of them after that. My 20 y/o did a term paper on the subject. What's your take Gonzo?

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I'm fairly confident that by the time any flushed meds make it to our tap, they are pretty much diluted, just like the pesticides and old paint I flush , wait a minute, did I just type that? er, I mean throwing them down a latrine is best, no one is going after them once the old meds get there.

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