Laurie A. Couture Debunks ADHD on Anderson Show

19 March 2012 Categories: public school, unschooling

Laurie A. Couture on Anderson

“We see a developing potential for nearly a total control of human emotion status, mental function and will to act.” -Wayne O. Evans, Ph.D. Psychotropic Drugs in the Year 2000 (1967)

“The way to sell drugs is to sell psychiatric illness.” -Dr. Carl Elliot, University of Minnesota Bioethicist The Washington Post (2001)

Drugging children for telling us our culture doesn’t meet their needs

“ADHD” is a fraud. It was a label concocted by psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry that allowed them to turn the distress of children held hostage to public schools (and other traumatic environments) into a financial goldmine. Manufacturing a label for the alarm signals of suffering children serves the needs, pockets and whims  of the pharmaceutical industry, the medical and mental health industry and of course, the factory public schools. The “ADHD” label does not serve the needs of children, who are suffering distress as a result of this unhealthy society we have created. Instead, the label draws attention away from children’s unmet needs and conveniently redirects the focus to stimulant drugs- a form of chemical restraint that requires no responsibility on the part of adults or our culture to meet children’s needs.

Laurie’s son, Brycen R. R. Couture on Anderson

On March 8, 2012, I was featured on the Anderson daytime show with my son, Brycen R. R. Couture to discuss how traditional schooling and disconnected parenting produces the very symptoms the medical industry packages as “ADHD”. Both my son and I debunked “ADHD” labeling and drugging by making it clear that when children live and learn in an environment of freedom and joy, following their interests and learning through play and movement, the symptoms dissolve.

Dr. Peter S. Jensen, Kimberly and Trent and Laurie A. Couture

The Disease and Drug Model vs. Nature

Dr. Peter S. Jensen of the Mayo Clinic, Founder of The REACH Institute and “lead Federal investigator for the longest study of ADHD treatment”, was also a guest on the show. Not surprisingly, he supported the “disease” explanation for children’s symptoms, as well as the psychiatric drugging of children. He insinuated that because his argument is about “listening to the science” that my argument in favor of unschooling, organic parenting, play, anti-inflammatory diet and natural remedies must be unscientific. I reminded Dr. Jensen that as someone who has worked as a mental health professional for a decade, I am a scientist. I hold a post graduate degree in psychology and obviously had to study rigorous scientific method and conduct research in order to obtain a Master’s degree. I am also qualified to evaluate, diagnose and treat the full spectrum of mental health issues and well as refer children to neurologists and psychiatrists for “ADHD” testing and drugging. However, what is different about me is that I am not a slave to the medical and pharmaceutical industry. I can correlate facts about child development, children’s needs and the effects of trauma to an explanation for “ADHD” and other mental illness. For psychiatrists and others involved with the psychopharmacology industry, there is no other authorized position but the “disease”, diagnose and drug model.

Laurie A. Couture on Anderson

I realized the seriousness of this “disease” and “drug” business when I spoke out within the system with the wrong ears listening: Years ago, I ran a training on alternatives to psychiatric drugging of children for a group of paraprofessionals working with families of children labeled as mentally ill. One of the jobs of these paraprofessionals was to provide information and resources to families about mental health issues and treatments. As a result of my exposé of the pharmaceutical industry, I incurred the wrath of two powerful state agencies: the paraprofessional program which was contracted by the state and The Department of Mental Health in that state. I had to obtain an attorney when these pro-drug agencies banded together to threaten a side job I held with a state-contracted mental health agency and to bully me into removing, my former personal children’s rights website that had nothing to do with my job.

Going against the authorized position can get people into trouble at a governmental level.

Did Dr. Jensen admit that “ADHD” is a symptom of traditional schooling?

I can understand why Dr. Jensen, like other psychiatrists and doctors, won’t admit the obvious- That trauma, poor parent-child attachments and unnatural environments like traditional school produce mental and cognitive distress in children, and that changing those environments will heal children’s distress- Too many psychiatrists making such statements would bring down the entire industry! However, Dr. Jensen did unintentionally contradict his entire “ADHD” labeling and drugging argument by admitting the following,

“Laurie is absolutely right, nature didn’t wire us to sit in large groups and be very quiet, it kind of wired us to be romping and hunting.”

“School is pretty boring”.

“Laurie makes a good point. It depends on the nature of the task. So if you give the child a chance to go out and romp and play you don’t see ADHD difficulties… ADHD is a problem with paying attention not to things in the environment but things that you have to study and concentrate on with your brain and learn.”

“Johnny just can’t contain himself because he just wants to be in the wild.”

I almost feel that this post could end with the words, “I rest my case”.

A real disease doesn’t go away when you’re on summer vacation

Kimberly, the other mom who appeared on the show with me, was in favor of using stimulants to address her son’s reported symptoms. She stated that her son’s therapist used a diabetes metaphor to convince her to put her son on stimulants: “[The therapist] said, ‘Kimberly, if your son was diabetic, you would give him insulin.’ And, that was a light bulb moment for me when I realized that I was denying my son the tools that he needed to succeed.”

I felt so sad for Kimberly and her family that a therapist irresponsibly placated the system by convincing this intelligent mother to override her natural instincts rather than empower her and her husband to find a learning environment that met their son’s needs. When Dr. Jensen grabbed the metaphor and mentioned that children don’t require drugging when on summer vacation, I stated, “Diabetes doesn’t go away when you’re on summer vacation”.

Laurie’s son Brycen on Anderson

My son, the “ADHD” expert

If “ADHD” was a true “disease”, it would not disappear during summer vacation, or when children are free, happy, safe… or when children are unschooling. My son commented this morning, “If you take ADHD at face value, its more like an allergy to boredom and the inappropriate environment of school.” I would consider Brycen an “expert” on “ADHD”, as he was given this label in early childhood, prior to him joining my life through adoption.

My son, who was a severe trauma survivor, could not tolerate the environments where he was forced to live and “learn” for the first 11 years of his life. These school and foster environments did not meet even a fraction of his needs, yet his intense alarms signaling his distress were labeled as “ADHD” and drowned out with a number of chemicals over the years. Labeling and drugging a free spirit like Brycen made him more manageable to the adults in those environments and abdicated their responsibility for not meeting his needs.

Laurie’s son, Brycen at age 11, on the very first day that they met

The day I was matched with my son in November 2004, my first parental decision was to have him tapered-off the stimulant drug he was on at the time. Due to legal protocol of adopting a child through the foster care system, Brycen and I would not officially be allowed to meet until January 2005 when certain inter-state paperwork was processed. In the months leading up to our special day, I met with his public school teachers and others who had made decisions for his life. I informed his 5th grade teacher that Brycen would be removed from the stimulant drug and would be attending a child-centered, play-based private school until our adoption was legalized and then would be unschooling once our adoption was legalized. I reminded the teacher that my almost-11 year old son weighed only 68 pounds due to failure-to-thrive syndrome; him being on a stimulant drug seemed to exacerbate the below average weight and height he had at the time. The teacher stated, “I know he’s only 68 pounds, but its easier on the teacher when he’s medicated.”

Laurie’s son, Brycen, thriving after just 11 days of visits together

I wished that day, in that moment, that I could have located Brycen in that school and taken him home with me. However, he would have to remain there for two and a half more months. In January 2005, after 11 days of visitations, my son was already showing signs of holistically thriving. By the time he officially moved into our home in early February, he was free of the stimulant drug, beginning his healing journey and detoxing from public school.

There is no conclusive evidence that “ADHD” is anything other than natural boy behavior or children’s distress signals

My statement on the show that there is no conclusive evidence that ADHD is a brain disorder is factual. There is no evidence that ADHD is anything other than natural boy behavior or a collection of distress signals of children in highly distressing and unnatural environments. Dr. Peter Breggin is one child psychiatrist who has boldly spoken out against labeling and drugging of children. He remains firm that despite heavy funding of studies by the pharmaceutical industry, no conclusive studies have found that “ADHD” is a disease. In fact, he debunks the “brain scan” studies stating that the differences seen in the brains of children with “ADHD” (vs. children without “ADHD”) were due to the effects of psychiatric drugs on the brain over time. Dr. Breggin was featured along with me in Cevin Soling’s powerful documentary, The War on Kids, which addresses the imprisoning aspects of public schooling.

Laurie A. Couture on Anderson

In an upcoming blog post, I will be addressing some of the questions and comments raised during and after the show about “ADHD”, drugging, anti-inflammatory dietary interventions, Attachment Parenting, unschooling and how I believe that most families can live an unschooling lifestyle as humans did for millennia.

Watch Clips of Laurie and Brycen on the Anderson Show!

Further Resources

Laurie A. Couture, Attachment Parenting and Unschooling coach- Learn drug-free solutions to “ADHD” behavior:

Instead of Medicating and Punishing: Healing the Causes of Our Children’s Acting-Out Behavior by Parenting and Educating the Way Nature Intended by Laurie A. Couture

Talking Back to Ritalin: What Doctors Aren’t Telling You About Stimulants and ADHD by Peter Breggin, MD

11 Responses to “Laurie A. Couture Debunks ADHD on Anderson Show”

  1. Kelly 20 March 2012 at 1:12 pm (PERMALINK)


    Thanks for this very brave piece. I am sharing it with the internet. :-)

  2. Mary Herrington 21 March 2012 at 11:18 am (PERMALINK)

    I love how you stand your ground and how your face is so indicative of what you are thinking/feeling. The honest pride and love you have for Brycen is beautiful.

  3. Cassie 23 March 2012 at 7:27 am (PERMALINK)

    Hi, Laurie. I have recently become a fan of yours :) I saw you on the Anderson show and searched for your blog …I have recently been researching unschooling and attached parenting…I have been home schooling my daughters for 2 yrs now…I decided public school was no longer an option for them because of various factors and have never looked back….
    My question is this: My daughters are 9 and 10 and I have unknowingly practiced attached parenting with them when they were younger, I just didnt know my type of parenting had a label, but now that they are older I want to know what attached parenting looks like for their age level…when they were around 4 and 5 we started making them sleep in their own room and they began school….this really changed our relationship…
    I realized this after they had been in school for a while and were becoming persons I know longer knew :( how do I get back to a place of true closeness?

    • Laurie A. Couture 25 March 2012 at 10:14 pm (PERMALINK)


      I would be happy to work with you through coaching/consultation to help you help your daughters to heal the attachment disruption. You can learn more here:


  4. Bob Collier 2 April 2012 at 6:24 am (PERMALINK)

    I thought I recognised the name Jensen – here’s something I wrote in my newsletter in 2004:

    “From Drugging Our Kids, The New American, August 25, 2003

    “Advocates for the forced medication of schoolchildren diagnosed with ADHD and similar dubious maladies are unapologetic about the use of such totalitarian methods. “Its becoming increasingly clear that this is a powerful treatment that can be life-saving for some children,” insists Peter Jensen, a board member of Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (CHADD), which advocates the use of Ritalin and similar drugs. “This is going to be happening more and more,” he promises.

    Dr. Jensen, whose high-profile advocacy earned him the sobriquet “Mr. ADHD,” does believe, however, that there are a few parents whose judgement can be trusted when they refuse to drug their children. Speaking at a gathering of psychologists in December 2001, Dr. Jensen emphasized that “medication is not the only effective nor … the best treatment option for every child,” reported the Monitor on Psychology. “When his own child was diagnosed with ADHD, Jensen told the audience, he and his wife opted not to use medication.””

    What a stroke of good fortune for Dr. and Mrs. Jensen that they happen to be amongst the elite “few parents whose judgement can be trusted”.

    Lucky for their child, too.”

    • Laurie A. Couture 2 April 2012 at 8:52 am (PERMALINK)


      How sobering! Thank you very much for sharing these critical points about Dr. Jensen and his own family situation!


  5. Schalk 4 April 2012 at 4:09 am (PERMALINK)

    At the very basis of this “disease” is a bogus diagnosis! Without proof of REAL and DEMONSTRABLE pathology there LEGALLY cannot be a claim of medical, scientific disease. Without disease, there cannot be treatment. Thereafter, any chemical “prescription” is not treatment, but fits the criminal definition of poisoning.
    The truth is, without real pathology the ADHD proponents HAVE to admit that the so-called “condition” or “abnormality” is an emotional or behavioural issue, and not an organic disease. This is a very inconvenient reality that does not benefit the pocket. (Nor the ego, I suspect)
    So, purely on current FACTS, any claims made upon “Scientific evidence” of pathology, is a lie, a fraud, a gross misrepresentation of the facts, and those who make this claim should be punished for perpetrating a fraud.
    I also strongly believe that PARENTS who have this information, yet persist in “medicating” their children, are an active and willing party to this fraud. They should wake up and smell the coffee.
    Isn’t it ironic how the same mother who gave up smoking and drinking during pregnancy will in the blink of an eye feed her young child brain and soul-destroying chemicals like Amphetamine?

  6. Kathleen 31 May 2012 at 1:48 pm (PERMALINK)

    Thank you Ms. Couture.

    I am also an “unschooling” mom of two wonderful children. I wish all kids could grow up in such a supportive environment as you have created for your son.

    You face a mountain of obstacles when questioning “big pharma”, the school system, or any mainstream parenting idea’s.

    You are making a difference, and not only in your sons life. If even one parent begins to question why they are making these decisions, and tries to follow your example it is worth it.

    Solidarity! We need to take back the right to parent and live our lives the way we know is right for our families, and for a future that supports each individual the way they need to be.

    Free to be.

    Kathleen Somerville

  7. Momma T 23 November 2012 at 2:27 am (PERMALINK)

    I’ve been reading a lot of your blogs tonight. This hits home for me because my therapist diagnosed me with Adult ADHD about…a year ago (I’m 30 a month ago). I went on a medication trial for about a month or two. I’ve never liked medication and this only reinforced how I felt about meds. The only benefit I had from taking mehtylphenidate was relief from driving anxiety. Oddly enough. I think it gave me the energy I needed to drive and in effect helped to change my paradigm. Otherwise, it made me a monster, it set my anger on full speed. I also had to ween my daughter who was 28 months at the time. When she’s very upset she still begs to nurse me although she’s forgotten how to latch. My therapist also specializes in EMDR as you do but I just could not shake the deep down belief that she was wrong about my diagnosis. What I really believe that I have is deeply ingrained anxiety. I was not properly supported and guided in my youth (to say the very least) and as a result I’ve suffered with anxiety, depression, and very troubling problems with making and achieving goals in my adulthood that have left me destitute and making poor decisions I never in my wildest dreams thought I would make. Furthermore, I do not consider myself to be a “traditional learner” and since working with toddlers and preschoolers I can’t imagine how any human is a “traditional learner” I consider myself a very intelligent and promising person, however, I cannot stick with any one plan and set myself up for failure regularly because I’m convinced I’ll disappoint everyone. Also, my mind freezes when I’m faced with tasks (especially in school and in work I become apathetic in my actions). Apparently these are symptoms of ADHD, but I can’t see how they are not symptoms of anxiety and trauma. I become paralyzed by challenge and feel undeserving of success. I also battle issues with anger that turn me into a person that goes against everything that I seemingly pretend to believe. Every episode leaves me feeling like I’ve failed. Sadly I have very limited insurance and am not able to see this therapist any longer (although I’d probably find a new one). I’ve been feeling recently that while doing EMDR I was confident that I’d made a lot of progress. I realize now that while that was true, I’d certainly only begun to scratch the surface. I find solace in your blogs. I’d like to get your book, but if you have any other suggested readings based on what I’ve said, I’d be grateful for them. Its very difficult being a Mom who wants to practice unschooling while sensing that my emotional problems could greatly interrupt our success. I become tired, lazy, and disengaged at my worst (frequently). Its quite the prison I’ve made for myself considering that deep down I’m teeming with energy and enthusiasm. ~T

    • Laurie A. Couture 23 November 2012 at 8:28 am (PERMALINK)

      Momma T,

      Thanks for your support and I’m glad that you are enjoying my blog posts. I would encourage you to read my two blog posts discussing how I debunked “ADHD” on the Anderson daytime show. I would also strongly suggest that you read my book, Instead of Medicating and Punishing. In my book, I discuss how trauma, disrupted parent-child attachments, traditional schooling and mainstream Western living cause the very symptoms of trauma in children (who grow up to be traumatized adults) that are misdiagnosed as “ADHD” or the myriad of other diagnoses that are fashionable in Western culture. My book also is packed with resources for further reading on this subject.

      One issue that I wish I had had the space to have addressed in more depth in my book is diet. I’d suggest researching the Paleolithic diet.

      My best to you in your quest for natural family living!



Leave a Reply