ADD Dilemma: Dawn

ADD Dilemma: Dawn
Dr. Phil has advice for learning to bond with a child you don't like.

"I'm very worried about my daughter. She's not able to concentrate. She stares off into space, she has trouble with reading

comprehension," says Dawn, whose 7-year-old, Savannah, was tested as "clinically significant for ADD."


Dawn asked the school for help, but says they didn't offer any. "I expressed on several occasions that I did not want to medicate. They said, 'There's nothing that we can do for you. There's no point in continuing with the diagnosis if you're not going to medicate,'" Dawn says. The only help they gave her was parenting tapes. They would not put Savannah in special classes or give her any kind of special seating. "That was extremely frustrating for

me. I don't want to drug my child."

Dawn pleads, "Whether she's diagnosed with ADD or not, there has to be some help for her. Dr. Phil, what can I do to help my daughter and not let her fall through the cracks?"

Dr. Phil answers Dawn's question about why it is necessary to medicate her daughter. "The answer to that could be that she very

much needs medication," he tells her. "She may, in fact, have neurological deficits that indicate the need for medication. If that's the case, do you still resist medication?"


"I don't resist medication as long as there's something else to go along with it," Dawn replies.


Dr. Phil defends the school. "These teachers simply can't do it unless they're in partnership with you and treatment professionals if a child is having a difficult time," he makes clear, noting that Savannah's school has recently been taking steps to help her.

Dr. Phil asks Dr. Lawlis for his thoughts about Savannah. "Does it seem odd to medicate before the diagnosis is confirmed?"


Dr. Lawlis says that there is a new law going into effect which will prohibit schools from using medication as the only tool. He explains that as an alternative or in addition to medication, he does relaxation training and music therapy with children. "The younger the child, the easier it is to teach them new things," he says. "By the time they're 7 years old, they've created such a complex that's mixed in with anxiety, you have to untangle the anxiety before you get to the ADD."


Dr. Phil elaborates. "Children perceive that they're not fitting in right. They know this isn't going well, and so they start getting tension and anxiety that can exacerbate the problem, whether or not it's

neurological," he explains. He addresses Dawn: "We need to help you get this diagnosis done in a very clear and concise way, so you know what to do. And if it is determined that ADD is active, then medication may be appropriate, but then you have to do all the other things that we've been talking about the entire show as well."


"Absolutely," Dawn agrees.


"We're going to try and help every way we can," Dr. Phil assures her. "And these teachers mean well and for the most part, do extremely well."