A guidance counselor that I had during Middle School was one that I came to know in a great detail after a defining event during my 6th grade year. Although I still wonder what this person's intentions really were for all those years.

I was the quiet kid who throughout his entire school career, hated doing homework since it was pointless and stupid to repeat 20 times in 20 different ways the same crap that I had learned the prior day, yet I had always done very well on the tests that the teacher passed out, unless I truly despised the teacher. This is always seen by the powers that be in the public school system as failure on the part of the student (never the system itself) and eventually I was implied to be a potential troublemaker because I wouldn't toe the line. I somehow managed to offset my poor performance of homework with high scores on the tests and as a result, squeaked by in school with a marginal GPA.

The solution that this particular counselor offered back in Middle School was to put me on Ritalin. She assumed I was ADD (without displaying the other hyperactive symptoms) or had some other learning disorder. Keep in mind that this was in 1989 when there was a big prescribing spree of the new and improved miracle drug that enabled hyper students to concentrate.

My mother, bless her great wisdom, thought this suggestion was rather screwy back then since I was already on a cocktail of anti-asthmatic drugs including Theophyllin (which is known to cause personality changes), did some reading up on Ritalin. She decided that putting me on amphetamines at that age was just a bad idea since no one had gotten to the root of the "problem" on me. I went through a series of physicians and psychologists who all said that I just showed a greater interest and higher affinity for certain subjects, like computers, and got bored quickly with others. They recommended I be placed in more advanced classes that would offer a greater challenge.

School counselors are NOT physicians or psychologists and should NOT be recommending drugs without a thorough examination by the above. My parents at one point in elementary school were referred to a Neuropsychologist at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle for a definitive answer. He tested me with the battery of cognitive and reactive tests and came to the same conclusion that all the previous doctors did. Upon returning to school and handing the counselor the report, she shook her head and immediately discounted the opinion...one from a neuropsychologist! (you do the math)

After that point, I had become quite jaded with the purpose and ambitions of counselors...

...but it didn't end there...

In the spring of 1993 I ended up in an Alternative High School...where I encountered the same counselor who tried to put me on the same drug again, but from prior experience I saw the attempt for what it really was: shut up and conform already!.

There is a lesson to be learned here:

IF A SCHOOL COUNSELOR TRIES PUSHING DRUGS ON CHILDREN, ALWAYS GET A SECOND OPINION FROM A RESPECTED PHYSICIAN OR PSYCHOLOGIST. OR JUST SAY NO!

update: It didn't make the DSM-IV until my senior year in 1994 but I have since long suspected that what I have lived with, may be related to Asperger's Syndrome.

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