A person I respect and follow on Twitter and whose path doesn't cross mine in any other way just tweeted this Schoolhouse Rock: Conjunction Junction parody from MadTV. It makes fun of "overmedicated" kids. You know, kids like Leelo.
I've been fairly on edge with the emotion and exhaustion this week, so you know what followed: instant tears of outrage. But as I am now a mature lady of 40 years, I didn't call the tweeter out in public! I wrote them an email, instead:
I follow you on Twitter as I appreciate your acerbic wit and lack of pussy-footing. However I was saddened to see your tweet about the Schoolhouse Rock parody re: overmedicated kids. My nine-year-old son has fairly intense autism coupled with a lot of ADHD fun. His story is longer and more complicated than what follows, but basically, after years of resisting meds and trying every behavioral method we could instead, we tried the drugs. After a few mismatches (there is no one try this, get that with autism), we tried Risperdal. It has transformed both his and our lives. His self-injurious behavior had decreased, we no longer worry about getting him a protective helmet. There haven't been any new holes in our walls, or destroyed furniture. I am no longer covered in bruises and cuts. His sisters no longer scream and run when he enters the room. He is sitting next to me right now, calmly putting together a large floor puzzle. We are still an atypical family, but we are an atypical, *happy* family. I cannot express the depth of my gratitude to the medication that has made this possible.What would you have said?
Please understand that I do not mean to attack you, not at all. I love your writing, and attitude. But I do ask you to consider that, as Judith Warner wrote in the sporadically useful Huffington Post, there is a myth about overmedicated children. And I do know that my son's case is extreme. But running around in the quirky kids parenting circles as I do, I know a lot of families who've had to make similar choices with less affected children. None of them have come to their decision lightly, and all of them have wrestled with enormous guilt. I don't believe they deserve the additional burden of public ridicule on their quest to help their children.