Thursday, February 21, 2008

Kudos for Good Medical Journalism

Like so many people affected by AD/HD, I get really riled up when I notice misinformation about the disorder being disseminated through the media. Unfortunately, that's quite often. The disorder is important to me both professionally and personally. My teenage son Andrew has AD/HD and other learning challenges. I know what he goes through, so hearing a lot of nonsense from the anti-mental health groups and others who haven't bothered to read up on the disorder really irritates me. They don’t live with the challenges and frustrations that we families do.

As I am sure you are aware, there is still a lot of work to be done to educate the media and the public about AD/HD. However, I find information about the disorder in the media that is science-based to be exhilarating. That was the case recently when I read an article by a columnist at the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Florida. The piece was by a Dr. Paul Donohue, who was responding to a question that challenged the validity of AD/HD.

In his answer, Dr. Donohue relied on the scientific findings to effectively address the question posed to him. Basically, the doctor said AD/HD is a real disorder with objective and quantifiable signs. He wrote that "medicines that treat ADHD don't dope children. They allow affected children to control impulses that are otherwise uncontrollable. No medicines should be used indiscriminately, but there is a time and place for the appropriate use of ADHD medicines."

Dr. Donohue's response is good journalism and good information because it's based on the science. We need more people like Dr. Donohue. When we see people like him, we need to thank them for all that they do to set the record straight about AD/HD. If you see an article that you think is particularly good, be sure to write a letter telling the writer or his or her editor what you think. Share the article and your letter with us here at CHADD. It's important that we speak up when we notice good information, as well as when we see misinformation being disseminated.

Here's to positive reinforcement for journalists who do their jobs!


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