There are approximately seven to ten million children between the ages of three to five being treated for ADHD. At the same time statistics also indicate that one out of every four children may possibly have an undetected visual characteristic that leads them to poor concentration, poor academic performance and negative behavioral changes. What does this mean? It means that a child with an undetected visual characteristic could tragically be misdiagnosed and unnecessarily medicated for an ADHD condition that does not exist.
I wish this was only a speculation but it's not, it's a reality! Can you imagine a mom sitting by herself before three educators and three health professionals being told that she has to medicate her 8 year old son and if she chooses not to, her son would not be allowed to return to school and her name would be given to CPS? I've seen first hand what this can do to good and responsible parents! I've seen other parents with their hearts broken because their children were forced to take ADHD medication that made them feel awful and gave no significant improvements academically. An undetected visual problem left untreated ultimately means that a child's potential bright future is now simply thrown away!
Therefore, without the knowledge of vision and it's critical importance in learning and concentration, students are too easily and conveniently considered for learning disabilities and ADHD which treatments with either special education or strong psychiatric medications are destructive. And believe me there are consequences. I've seen a parent in tears because their child couldn't be taught to read not by one but two separate special education programs.
Schools today neither rule out nor even consider visual problems as a possible cause for poor academics and behavior in students. They may have done so decades ago, but unfortunately, those times have gone. Psychology has not only made a place for itself in our school systems but has overshadowed the basic fundamentals of seeing and hearing. Did you know that in the 1990's the Federal government had implemented a modified medical program to address ADHD in schools and allowed a different definition of the term 'Diagnosis' to exist. Unlike medicine, where a diagnosis is arrived at through a differential process involving the ruling out other possible causes, schools have been given the authority to diagnose ADHD in children when 7 out of a list of 9 behaviors are agreed upon to exist in that child by a group usually consisting of educators and assigned health advisors including state-hired pediatricians, psychologists and psychiatrists. Without proper differential testing including an effective visual evaluation by an specially trained optometrist, this modified program is a misdiagnosis just waiting to happen!
Project S.A.V.E. is a public awareness project founded by Dr. Makini that stands for 'Supporting Academic & Visual Excellence.' Its purpose is to protect our children from this life-altering misfortune! Dr. Makini has created a children's visual care approach called Academic Vision Care that can determine if a child is being misdiagnosed.
Dr. Makini - "It should never be just about the behavior only, but should include the successful academic development of the child. In reality, there aren't many health professionals best suited for this kind of problem. The behavioral optometrist, like myself, would be the closest in helping parents to find a solution for their child. This type of problem, although still relatively new, is unfortunately becoming more and more common place. We need more optometrists and pediatricians to be made aware of this devastating problem, how to identify them and how to get them the care they truly need!"
If you've any questions, need to acquire more information or would like to have Dr. Makini speak at your next gathering, please call 674-0744. You may also reach Dr. Makini at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ONE OF MANY TESTIMONIES ...
"No More Medication"
I'm a mother of two daughters who were diagnosed with ADD and ADHD. My first daughter, Michelle was diagnosed with ADD when she was in 5th grade. Her teachers would tell me to have her tested and I kept fighting it until other parents would tell me it was for her well being. So, I took Michelle to our doctor at our military hospital where I filled out a survey and just like that, she was given Ritalin. She seemed to be doing a little bit better but not what I was promised. The doctors kept telling me that as she grew, it was her age plus the ADD I was fighting against.
As time went on, my youngest daughter, Kristine, started school and also was a very active child. She was 'on the go' from the start. In kindergarten, the teacher told me to have her tested for ADHD because she wouldn't sit still in her chair for a significant length of time. After moving to a new military base in Hawaii, I had Kristine tested for ADHD. Part of the testing consisted of putting Kristine in a room all by herself for a long period of time to observe her to the point that she started to cry. With all their books and studies, they diagnosed Kristine with ADHD and put her on Ritalin like her sister.
After three years here in Hawaii, Kristine was placed into special education because she was doing so poorly in school. One of her teachers recommended to me to take Kristine to Dr. Makini because he specialized with learning disabled children. Dr. Makini tested Kristine while she was on her medicaton. Dr. Makini found that Kristine had a focusing problem and he wanted me to give him a chance to work with her for four months. He wanted Kristine off medications and instead wear her glasses while only concentrating and not when playing or sleeping.
I was willing to try anything to help my daughter. With her new glasses she made a remarkable change and was soaring in everything she was doing and her grade level went up one level in four months. Taking her back for a recheck, I found out that all that was wrong with my child was she couldn't SEE! She wasn't ADHD from the beginning. I was so impressed with Dr. Makini's findings I had my oldest tested as well and found that all she needed was glasses.
Now, today, my daughters are off their medications and are wearing their glasses when needed and are soaring and excelling in school. Kristine will be in special education classes for one more year and should be up to her grade level in two years. I would recommend any parent with children on Ritalin, Concerta or anything to do with ADD or ADHD to have their children's eyes tested before starting medications. I wish there were more doctors like Dr. Makini to care for our children like they should be taken care of. I thank Dr. Makini every day for his expertise and caring.