Thursday, March 22, 2007

Welcome to Our World

Nothing irks me more than so-called experts who espouse theories on parenting, especially when it is obvious that their own parenting experience is as stale as 10 day old bread. Trying to sell his bread to Henrico County parents and teachers this week was John Rosemond, purveyor of ‘Traditional Parenting’. According to Mr. Rosemond’s website:

John Rosemond has worked with families, children, and parents since 1971 in the field of family psychology. In 1971, John earned his masters in psychology from Western Illinois University and was elected to the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society. In 1999, his alma mater conferred upon John the Distinguished Alumni Award, given only once per year. Upon acceptance, he gave the commencement address.
From 1971-1979, he worked as a psychologist in Illinois and North Carolina and directed several mental-health programs for children.

From 1980-1990. John was in full-time practice as a family psychologist with Piedmont Psychological Associates in Gastonia.

Presently, his time is devoted to speaking and writing. John is syndicated in approximately 225 newspapers nationwide. He has written twelve best-selling parenting books, nine of which are published in 16 different countries. He is also one of America's busiest and most popular speakers and most certainly the busiest and most popular in his field.

Sounds to me like his real skill is selling bread…

Mr. Rosemond has stated that he doesn’t believe a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD is valid for most children diagnosed that way. He seems to believe that effective parenting rather than medication and well-researched behavior modification are the solutions for those children diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. I believe that Mr. Rosemond’s ‘Traditional Parenting’ approach has the best chance of succeeding with ‘traditional children’, and unfortunately, in my world, most children are not traditional. I would like Mr. Rosemond to spend some time with my family – just dinner every night would be enough. But, I don’t believe he would ever do that because then his techniques and advice would be put to the test. However, even though Mr. Rosemond would probably not step into my world, there are professionals who have, and the feedback I get from those professionals is that the experience has been a real eye-opener for them.

The VaLEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) program at the Partnership for People with Disabilities in Richmond, Virginia is an advanced level training and leadership development program which targets health professionals in 14 disciplines. According to their website, their major activities include:

  • Implementing and evaluating a 12-credit competency-based curriculum for health professionals and special educators
  • Evaluating and enhancing the family mentorship experience
  • Recruiting advanced graduate students and professionals to be VA-LEND trainees and fellows
  • Coordinating training activities related to childhood neurodevelopmental disabilities with the VCU School of Medicine, and the Virginia Department of Health, Title V Program
  • Implementing and evaluating interdisciplinary clinics at a local public health center, a community-based human service agency, and a university-based clinic

That second bullet point above, which talks about the family mentorship component of the program, is the one that has brought professionals into my family to experience the real world of parenting a child with disabilities. We have been mentors to pediatricians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, special educators, and psychologists. The student in the program spends the school year observing ‘their’ family. They share the good, the bad, and the really bad. But when their school year is finished, these students have a wonderful understanding of life in a special needs family. Unlike Mr. Rosemond, whose website lists no current practical experience, the professionals who share a year with my family and the other mentor families are the ones whose opinions I would value.

I believe I will just tell Mr. Rosemond and my school district that I am not in the market for any bread right now.

No comments: