Saturday, January 20, 2007

Buyer Beware- How to Find the Best Information, and Avoid Being Taken to the Cleaners

Caveat Emptor is the famous legal phrase that translates into "Buyer Beware." And in the land of learning disabilities, we need to be smart and saavy consumers, and be able to spot the deals that are simply too good to be true.

This podcast is a departure from our recent string of interviews and information. I was looking around the web to bring you any of the latest news about ADHD, and I found a press release from someone who proposes to cure ADHD is three to 5 sessions, asserting that this is a "fake" disease.

This hit a nerve with me. Parents of kids with LD have a hard enough time trying to find out the root cause for their child's struggle, without having to deal with a bunch of self-proclaimed experts telling them the problem is all in their head. It's a challenge to sort out credible information from that designed solely to sell you a magic or miracle cure, at god knows how much money. But the truth is, as parents of kids who struggle, we would gladly pay whatever was necessary to cure our kids. But our kids don't attend Hogwarts, and Dumbledore is not stepping out of the shadows to cure all our problems with a wave of the wand. The problems are real, and require real solutions.

So in this show, I list the things to look for when trying to figure out whether information you read online or see on TV is credible. The list of things to look for has been complied by the Government Information Office (those nice people in Pueblo, Co.) and Schwab Learning. You need to be careful and check the education of the individuals spouting information, their training, their basis, their profession, the source for their expertise, and the like. For example, one popular book is called "Without Ritalin" promising an easy way, without meds to conquer ADD. But the book is written by an optometrist. Not even an opthalmologist, who has been to medical school, but an optometrist, who practices behavioral optometry, a proposed treatment for learning disabilities that has never been shown in any clinical study to have any lasting result.

Should you believe this man, who is telling us maybe what we want to hear, or someone like Dr. Mel Levine, instead. In contrast, Dr. Levine went to Brown University as an undergrad, was a Rhodes Scholar, attended Harvard Medical school, was chief of his division at Children's Hospital in Boston, an affiliate of Harvard , and currently pactices out of UNC Chapel Hill. He has written the definitive textbook on Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics. To me, based on credentials alone, there is no contest. I'll take a smart guy trained at the best schools in the country, if not the world, who has been practicing developmental pediatrics for years over an optometrist, on the subject of ADHD, thank you very much.

(and if I could use non-podsafe music, the song I would have played is "We Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who. Instead, I play Ritalin by the Codaphonics, available on the Podsafe Music Network.)

Click here to Download Show #40- Caveat Emptor


Anonymous Roland said...

Hi Whitney, I really enjoyed this episode (your fiery rant on all the misinformation and conflicting information that parents have to sift through). It struck me personally because we're wrestling with whether or not to trial medicate our 7 year old son.
Thanks for putting all the great information out there to help parents make an educated decision.

1:35 PM  
Blogger wsh1266 said...

Thanks, Roland! I worried that I was getting up on a soapbox and people might get turned off, but surprisingly, the response has been positive so far.
Good luck with making the decision. The interview with Dr. Brown should help, and know that it isn't an irreversible decision, but that also you have to be willing to tinker a bit to get a good sense of whether it is a good thing for your child. Just remember, it's a tool, not a cure.
All the best, and let me know how it turns out,

4:27 PM  

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