Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tyler's Dad tells the story

Posted for

Polebot, Tyler's Father

When Tyler came into my full time care, his mother was double dosing him with Adderall XR15. Meaning when he got home from school she was giving him another pill to curb what she called "his coming down". In 2 years of having my son I never observed the behavior she was referring too. She went to jail for petty theft and driving on suspended license charges,

I received a phone call from my mother telling me that I needed to pick up my son from school. This was it! The chance I had been waiting for! No more "babies momma drama", no more bs, just me and my son. I can raise him how I see fit and help him develop into a good man. I have already let go of my party life, would require just a little more time out of my day.. you know what? LETS DO IT!

I called my mom immediately back to tell her I was accepting the challenge and I would take care of everything. A week or two after Tyler was in my full time care, his medication ran out, I decided to not renew it, and to try to let Tyler do life without drugs. There were noticeable withdrawals as far as him being overly hyper, but that went away after a week or two.

Right around the time that I got a note home requesting a meeting with his teacher. I agreed and set the meeting. After the meeting I learned that my son was VERY far behind in school. He was already on these drugs for so long, how can he possibly still be doing badly? I promised the teacher stricter discipline and more work at home. The next few weeks Tyler and I got back on track and I assumed he was doing better. I then got another note requesting another meeting, this time with administrators and professionals?

I looked at my son and ask him whats going on?  Isn't he trying harder?   Doesn't he understand that I was serious when I said there was going to be consequences? he confessed that he was trying very hard and is doing his best now.

I went to this meeting and on one side of a long brown table sat 5 nicely dressed adults, and then on the other side of the desk, a kid sized chair. Probably one just like Tyler sat in everyday. Then after a few introductions they all sat in big people chairs, I noticed but sat and listened to what they had to say.

I must admit they were very persuasive, showing me some school work of his while he was off the medication, and then while he was on the medication. Occasionally murmuring phrases like, "don't you want whats best for him". My resolve lessened and I admitted that I did want what was best for him, and agreed to put him back on the meds. No other alternatives presented themselves, or were offered. Now I realize that the bad schoolwork was another result of the medication, his brain, without the meds, would recede back to the last time it was off them. He was barely 5 when these bastards starting the process that eventually ended his sweet little life.

Throughout the next 2 years of Tyler's life I took him off the medicine every chance I could. Every weekend, every spring break, summer break, winter break, any day I could I would not give it to him. Call me crazy but I like a kid with an imagination and creativity. A child that can entertain with a story or joke, instead of one word answers.

Every time he started with a new teacher I would attempt to keep him off but being harrassed two to four days a week out of a five day week was getting old. I wanted what was best for him but like I said there were no options. I was told I had the right to informed consent? They even called me at 1:30pm asking me to bring him medicine one time. I stated that by the time I got there and the medicine kicked in it would be 2:30.

The teacher was pushing and pushing for my son to be so doped out he couldn't possibly talk out of turn or cause her to have to stop her teachings to correct him.  She flagged my parents down and called me almost daily the month Tyler was off his medicine exactly 2 months before he died. She was not as his funeral.

If you personally know someone that this medicine has helped, that's wonderful. A BABY who's brain is not fully developed and who is not done maturing, should NEVER be FORCIBLY drugged by the school board, pediatricians, or their own parents for behavior modification.

18 comments:

  1. Hang tough and let us know if we can help.

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  2. I am so sorry for your loss and what has happened -- it breaks my heart. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    They are doing the same thing to my nephew -- they are drugging him up because he didn't pay attention in school. His parents divorced, his mother is a psychologist, and she's the one that had him put on it after getting complaints about him from the school. My brother has tried his best to get them to stop giving him this medicine. He's not doing any better in school academically, but at least he stays in his seat now.

    Why weren't these drugs around when we were kids? Has it made a difference, other than killing some of them? This drugging up the kids to keep them complacent has got to stop.

    Thank you for having the courage to tell Tyler's story, and for doing what you can to make sure this never happens to another child.

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  3. ADHD is real and the medications have helped children and adults. However, the diagnosis and the use of medication must be properly evaluated and monitored by a physician. Medication, in conjunction with behavior modification techniques, yield better results than medication alone. In short, this is a complicated road for parents. Each parent must evaluate carefully what is in the best interest of their child.

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  4. Sandra, I can agree with you that ADHD might be a real disorder, but there are no real tests for it.

    Why are so many kids being classified as ADHD when they are just being kids? Kids like to play and have fun. Sitting in a seat for hours on end with nothing but books in front of them can be daunting and boring. They need to move around. I have seen some teachers let the kids run around the room for a minute or get up and stretch, these kind of things in the classroom would help. But, most teachers don't allow it and get upset at the kids when they want to move a bit.

    I'm not saying that these pills don't help some, but they certainly are being given to too many children for the world to just sit back and say that its okay. They are being prescribed to four year olds. We as parents need to put our foot down and say enough is enough. Too many kids on this stuff is making the pharmaceutical companies rich and dumbing the kids down, stunting any imagination they may have.

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  5. [copied from the fda website]
    Side Effects of Ritalin - for the Consumer
    Ritalin

    All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome when using Ritalin:

    Dizziness; drowsiness; headache; loss of appetite; nausea; nervousness; stomach pain; trouble sleeping.

    Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur when using Ritalin:

    Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; joint pain; purple or brownish red spots on the skin); behavior changes (eg, aggression, hostility, restlessness); blurred vision or other vision problems; chest pain; confusion; dark urine; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; hallucinations; mental or mood changes (eg, agitation, anxiety, depression, irritability, panic attacks, persistent crying, unusual sadness); one-sided weakness; seizures; severe or persistent dizziness or headache; shortness of breath; slurred speech; suicidal thoughts or attempts; tremor; uncontrolled speech or muscle movements; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

    This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

    [now a list from drugs.com]
    * Abdominal pain
    * Akathisia
    * Alopecia
    * Angina
    * Appetite loss
    * Anxiety
    * Blood pressure and pulse changes (both up and down)
    * Cardiac arrhythmia
    * Diaphoresis (sweating)
    * Dizziness
    * Dyskinesia
    * Dysphoria or Euphoria
    * Headaches
    * Hypersensitivity (including skin rash, urticaria, fever, arthralgia, exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme, necrotizing vasculitis, and thrombocytopenic purpura)
    * Lethargy
    * Libido increased or decreased
    * Nausea
    * Palpitations
    * Pupil dilation[45]
    * Psychosis
    * Short-term weight loss
    * Somnolence
    * Stunted growth
    * Tachycardia
    * Xerostomia (dry mouth aka cotton mouth)

    [and finally]
    A small study of just under 100 children that assessed long-term outcome of stimulant use found that 6% of children became psychotic after months or years of stimulant therapy. Typically, psychosis would abate soon after stopping stimulant therapy. As the study size was small, larger studies have been recommended.[63] The long-term effects on mental health disorders in later life of chronic use of methylphenidate is unknown.[64] Concerns have been raised that long-term therapy might cause drug dependence, paranoia, schizophrenia and behavioral sensitisation, similar to other stimulants.[65] Psychotic symptoms from methylphenidate can include hearing voices, visual hallucinations, urges to harm oneself, severe anxiety, euphoria, grandiosity, paranoid delusions, confusion, increased aggression and irritability. Methylphenidate psychosis is unpredictable in whom it will occur.

    NOW, Once again, there are SAFE, NATURAL, remedies that are PROVEN JUST AS EFFECTIVE as these drugs. So say again that these drugs are necessary and I will e-slap you with more TRUTH. Your move..

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  6. *****Grumpy note****

    Debbie is Tyler's Grandmother..

    It took a lot of courage for her to to make that statement here..

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  7. Polebot, Many dangerous and potentially deadly things are also useful, under certain conditions if they they're used properly, and appropriatlly by someone who understands them..

    Dr. Diller who Sandra discused in the Jury remains out put it this way.. in a comment he made to Sandra
    ___________
    "I agree that pills are not the moral equivalent of non-drug interventions that engage children — but having tried those approaches and the struggle continues for the child — it’s reasonable then to try Ritalin
    type drugs."
    ____________

    Tyler's doctor didn't use that logic

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  8. Hi folks, Being the Father of a kid with challenges isn't easy. We depend upon the 'experts' to help guide us through the daily ups and downs of having a child who is, for the lack of a better word, 'different'.

    I, and my kids, have kept Tyler in our prayers since I heard about his story here. I've amended my prayers to include all the other 'Tyler's' and parents being forced into a medically-induced 'normality'.

    What do the following people have in common?

    Albert Einstein, Elvis, Benjamin Franklin, Jim Carrey, Hans Christian Anderson, Alexander Graham Bell, Walt Disney, John Lennon, Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Sylvestor Stallone, and Babe Ruth...
    (for more: http://www.adult-child-add-adhd.com/categories/general/famous_people.php

    Each would have been clinically classified as having ADHD or ADD in their early (and some of their 'later') lives.

    How many generations of inventors, entertainers, and politicians are we obliterating by forcibly changing these kids / adults?

    Changing a person's personality, emotions, and abilities is in the teacher's best interest - not the child's. When I was a kid, teachers told my parents that I was 'not like his brother John'. I, apparently, 'did not apply himself fully to the tasks at hand'.

    Thank God the meds weren't an option back then (as the only solution when I was a kid, I believe, was a good 'leeching', or 'blood-letting' to release the ill humours.)

    For Tyler's parents, grandparents, and friends, please know that you all remain in my family's prayers. As for Tyler, I'm sure he's praying for us.

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  9. Debbie - You are absolutely right. I think we are all in agreement that the medications can help some; and all are in agreement that there is something seriously wrong with the current methods of diagnosis and prescription of medication. The CDC statistics are startling.

    Yishai noted that in Israel neurologists are involved and a 3 hour exam. Doesn't seem to be a U.S. practice.
    Dr. Diller noted that behavior modification with or without drugs is highly beneficial; but both the education and medical communities push for efficiency.

    Personally, what I hoped in the blog I wrote was to alert that the Shire funded study should not make parents believe there is no heart-related dangers. The others who posted comments added important insights to this painful topic. In the end, the more people are informed on the details, the better they can make tough decisions. This is my hope.

    For you Debbie, and your entire family, I wish you peace. I am deeply sorry for your loss.

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  10. Debbie from one grandma to another I cannot imagine, for one moment, how much pain you must be in. My hope for you, in time, the good memories will out weigh the bad. Until then my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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  11. Grumpyelder said...

    Polebot, Many dangerous and potentially deadly things are also useful,

    Doesn't mean I would knowingly give any of them to my son at 5 years old for only showing symptoms of childhood. Sure, he was behind in school, because his mother would rather stick him in front of a tv or video game 6 hours a day then to do school work n stimulate his mind in different ways. Once he was being properly parented his grades shot up to A+'s. The medicine had NO effect on this. This was shown as he failed kindergarten and almost failed a SECOND time being on the dope the WHOLE time... You go find a handful of people these drugs have helped and I will show you 3 handfuls of people it hurt.. God made us the way he wanted us, no Methylphenidate was included in the package..

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  12. Polebot, I'll go along with you completely, especially given the way we handle these children.

    Compare what we do here, what you went through to what Yishai says his experiance in Israel was like. A complete evaluation, ongoing monitoring, and everything, including risks explained to the parents.

    Tyler had a teacher referal, rubber stamped approval by a school phycologist by and a bottle of pills.

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  13. Fishygal, Sandra, Grumpy, Mike, Torimom and anyone else I may have missed:

    Thank you so much for your kind words. My heart is heavy but your thoughts and prayers help to lift it up. I appreciate it very much.

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  14. I am sorry for your loss. My sister is a Psychologist...she will tell you that ADHD is real..but that it is often misdiagnosed, and over medicated. Some of the drugs Clonidine being one of them is extremely dangerous. Clonidine reduces the brains activity. It also reduces blood pressure. Among one of its more dangerous side effects is the rebound effect of stopping the drug cold turkey...Blood pressure can spike well about 250/135. As with most mood altering drugs it is not meant to be used without very close monitoring.

    This is but one of my issues with our current educational system.

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  15. @ Capt http://grumpyelder-todayimgrumpyabout.blogspot.com/2011/05/psychiatric-medicines-biggest.html

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  16. Realitycheck4eveJune 2, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    I know this comes as a little late to help but it might help others. When you are being set up and given a kid sized chair to sit in, throw the officials off guard and remind them that you are a grown-up and expect to be treated with respect and dignity. If they can't provide you with an appropriate sized chair, the meeting is over. Also, don't be afraid to mention lawsuits. I have had to stand up to a kindergartner teacher who tried to get my son tested for ADD (I never did). There was nothing wrong with him, he was just acting like a boy. He is now in 9th grade and has always made the honor roll.

    Don't be afraid to show claws and fangs when teachers and administrator try to force your child on drugs. Arm yourself for any meeting. Raising Cain Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys is a great book at describing what boys act like a different ages. Think things through and keep notes in a notebook if you have to. Don't be afraid to take your notes with you. Keep in mind the one thing they don't want is bad publicity. Write down ways you could turn this situation into a tv news story prior to the meeting and don't be afraid to make threats.

    Most of all, don't let gov't officials intimidate you. You are your child's advocate, nobody will fight harder for your child.

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  17. I have personally offered to go to any meetings to several parents so far. Now that I have the information I would do that for any child, especially my son. The problem is awareness. That is why I started the Tyler Kowalczyk Foundation and linked up the Citizens Commission for Human Rights (CCHR, cchr.org). I plan to organize local events to promote awareness, as well as making informational flyers and passing them out every week (Tyler's grandfather and I have already started this). The website link will be posted by Tylers picture when the site is live. It will be hosted @ ADHDecide.com. Please stay in touch for updates on how this fight is going. Without awareness the parents might not even think to try to fight the schools. I fought them because I didn't like the way my son was on the meds, had I known that they could kill him or cause brain atrophy, or one of the other 20 sickening side effects happen to him, I would not have backed down.

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