Special Sections » Families

Family valued - 4.12.06

Spring recess survival plan

Don't you dare waste spring recess waiting around for bird flu to show up. Get out and have fun!

The Rochester Museum and Science Center opens a new addition, the Riedman Gallery, on Friday, April 14. How Things Work demystifies everyday things like light switches, thermostats, and traffic signals. Too bad they didn't include the teenage brain. Also in the new gallery, kids can unleash their inner engineers with K'Nex construction toys and use the weigh-and-pay option to buy their creations. RMSC hours are Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Admission: adults $8, ages 3 to 18 $6, under 3 are free. www.rmsc.org or call 271-4320.

Don't let a public shaming during a school dodgeball game turn you against sports for life. Catch a Red Wings game with your family. Kids can join the Knot Hole Gang for $1 and see designated games at Frontier Field for only $3 (reserved seat). Parents receive a $1 discount on their tickets, priced from $5 to $9 (after discount). Enjoy Knot Hole games on April 14 at 3:05 p.m., and Sunday, April 16, and Wednesday, April 19, at 1:35 p.m. www.redwingsbaseball.com or call 423-9464.

Got a future Olympian? Yeah, me neither. But every kid's a champ at the Cool Eco-fest and Recycling Olympics at Genesee Community College in Batavia on Thursday, April 20, from 5 to 8 p.m. Celebrate Earth Day with wildlife exhibits, recycling games and races, a tree seedling giveaway, a pizza party at 6:30 p.m., and the Greta Garbage puppet show at 7 p.m. Bring unwanted electronic items, including computers and microwaves --- working or not --- for a chance to win a mountain bike. Free. www.generationcool.biz or call 637-3984.

Ah, the innocence of childhood. A time when juggling is something you do with balls and sticks, not work and parenthood. RIT'sSpring Juggle-In features some of the best jugglers in the northeast. Approximately 400 jugglers will offer workshops for all levels at RIT's Clarke Gym on Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. www.rit.edu/~jugwww/ or call 342-9937.

--- Linda Kostin (www.junkstorecowgirl.com)

What is ADD?

ADD/H is among the top five chronic conditions of young people in the US. Nearly one in 10 school-aged children has ADD. In 2003, 4.4 million American kids were diagnosed with AD/HD by a healthcare professional. Two-and-a-half million were taking medicine for it. With these numbers you would think that we would know what it is. If anybody tells you they really understand Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (colloquially known as AD/HD or ADD or ADD/H), smile and walk away.

There's no consensus about what combination of nature and nurture results in ADD/H. It is likely to be different for everybody who has it, whatever "it" is. Despite abundant behavioral scales, questionnaires, and tests, the "diagnosis" of AD/HD ultimately rests upon subjective impressions of a child's degree of impaired attention and impulse control, no matter how we rearrange its initials.

There are reasons to make ADD/H seem more easily quantifiable than it is. Symptomatic medicines help many kids with these disabilities, so we tend to believe kids who benefit from the drugs are similar. That's like believing everyone who uses Tylenol is the same. We like the security of naming things. Insurance companies and school systems demand coded labels to spend money on services and medicine. Pharmaceutical companies target their drugs to a specific condition. Researchers need to lump people together to study them. Among healthcare professionals it is common usage to say that a child "is ADHD." But our kids are not their labels.

When we accept the easy characterization of ADD as a defined "thing" treated with a medicine, we avoid the complexity of each child's growing mind in a changing environment. Far more than medicine goes into helping young people overcome obstacles. When we reduce the fix to a label and a pill, we reduce our responsibilities.

--- LaurenceI.Sugarman, MD

In This Guide...

  • Gimme a break!

    10 fun --- and educational --- ways to keep the kids busy on their week off
    Look at them, just sitting there, with their filthy mitts and kissable cheeks. Oh, sure, it seemed like a good idea --- "Let's have a baby!"