An uninformed rant on ADHD

by DaniGirl on February 17, 2005 · 8 comments

in Uncategorized

I won’t pretend to know a lot about the world of ADD, hyperactivity and the like. However, I do have a couple of boys, and said boys are a handful at times. Right now especially, my not quite three-year-old is a bit of a challenge, in much the same way that Paris Hilton is a “bit” of a flake. I do worry, though, that some day my high-energy and very bright boy will get some sort of label and be shunted off his track simply because he is less than sedate, submissive and compliant.

In yesterday’s Globe and Mail there was a piece on the demise of the class clown:

In American schools these days, countless class clowns are sitting down and shutting up,” writes Jeffrey Zaslow in The Wall Street Journal. “In chemistry labs, students who used to mix chemicals haphazardly, out of an insatiable curiosity, now focus on their textbooks. In English classes, kids who once stared out the windows, concocting crazy life stories about passersby, now face the blackboard. Ritalin and other drugs for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have helped many children improve their focus and behaviour . . . Some researchers now wonder if would-be Einsteins and Edisons will choose different career paths because their creativity and drive are dulled by ADHD drugs.
(Thanks to ÜberGeek for flagging this one.)

Last week, Health Canada recalled the ADHD drug Adderal XR, an alternative to Ritalin, “due to safety information concerning the association of sudden deaths, heart-related deaths, and strokes in children and adults taking usual recommended doses .” From 1999 through 2003, fourteen children died and two had strokes while taking the drug. The US equivalent of Health Canada, the FDA, has not taken any action.

So, your kid has been diagnosed with ADHD and you don’t want to start drugging him or her… what to do? How about turning to Multi-sensory Penmanship ?

A recent, radical shift in perspective on ADHD has occurred — it is neither a “disease” or a “brain deficit.” It is now viewed as a “developmental issue of self-control.” …Ritalin simply covers up symptoms — it does nothing to change the impulsive behavior on the long term. Handwriting changes the ADHD brain, reining in and marshalling the emotional energy, so functional productivity can be achieved… With the unfortunate neglect of penmanship for the last 30 years and increasing negative societal influences, it is hardly surprising that illiteracy, learning disabilities and ADHD have flourished.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 UberGeek February 17, 2005 at 6:13 pm

From Macleans… and yes I do have an opinion on the subject so please don’t ask if you don’t want to hear it.
The Ritalin figures are startling. In 1994, according to the Ottawa-based Canadian Institute for Child Health, pharmacists dispensed just under 27 million pills of the stimulant commonly used to treat children with ADHD. Four years later, the number had more than doubled to 56 million, graphic evidence, say some psychotherapists, that too many children are being diagnosed with ADHD. “Parents go to the family doctor and complain that their child is too active, or they can’t control him,” says Robin Alter, a clinical psychologist in the Toronto suburb of Thornhill. “The doctor makes a cursory assessment based on a checklist of symptoms, decides he’s ADHD and puts him on Ritalin. This is horrible.”
The most recent list of symptoms, published in 1994 by the American Psychiatric Association, includes behav

2 UberGeek February 17, 2005 at 6:14 pm

Silly 1000 word limit.
The most recent list of symptoms, published in 1994 by the American Psychiatric Association, includes behaviour that almost every parent has witnessed. A child with an attention deficit will, among other things, make careless mistakes in school, have trouble listening, lose things and avoid tasks requiring sustained concentration. The hyperactive or impulsive child — especially a boy — tends to fidget frequently, run in situations where walking would be more appropriate, talk excessively, interrupt others and have difficulty waiting his turn.
Sounds like just about every

3 UberGeek February 17, 2005 at 7:19 pm

Sounds like just about every < 8 year old boy I know.

4 Jaimieson February 17, 2005 at 10:53 pm

As someone who was stuck with the learning disabled label as a kid, this stuff makes me crazy. The fact that Ritalin was never prescribed to me was likely due to my mother’s stubborness. She found a doctor that was of the opinion that Ritalin was not the only answer.
As a soon to be parent, my protective instincts too are heightening. How much is ultimately determined by DNA and how much do we determine by the way we handle less than perfect behviour when we encounter it. Will the Super Nanny be there to tell what is “Asseptable” and what isn’t.
Twenty years ago the medical profession called it hyperactivity, but your teachers may have called it a learning disability. Your family and neighbours called it bad parenting or too much TV. It all depended on who caught you acting up, how much property damage was involved and how embarrassed/angry your parents were when they found out.
Medication should be used selectively in order to justify the risks, right? Used where bah

5 Jaimieson February 17, 2005 at 10:54 pm

Used where behaviour is so extreme that it poses a danger to the safety of the child or others. I’m with ÜG, diagnosing based on symptomology alone=bad medicine. What science doesn’t know about the brain could fill, well…the part of the brain we don’t know anything about.

6 SD Karyn February 17, 2005 at 11:35 pm

As a teacher I saw many children on ritalin that didn’t need to be, and children who were so drugged they were drooling. It was horrible. I think in the 5 years I taught, there was only one child that may have needed it. But that is questionable since he had a horrid home life. I’m sure his behavior could be attributed to that.
We all know that children learn in different ways, they take in information differently. Not all kids can sit at a desk and learn from a book. But this is how most classrooms are conducted and those children who do not fit the mold are the ones to suffer.
Those children who did not fit the mold in my classroom drove me batty. But we got through the year with no drugs (if the parent agreed that is) and I will never forget them. Many are now in college (eek!!) and doing fantastic, with no drugs. And they are the most creative, forward thinking students/people I know.
One last thing, am I to understand that handwriting helps overcome adhd? Did I read t

7 SD Karyn February 17, 2005 at 11:36 pm

Ugh! I’ve been truncated!!
Did I read that right? is the rest of my sentence.

8 Jaimieson February 18, 2005 at 4:03 pm

Handwriting is often linked to learning disabilities as a common activity closely linked to “right brain” intensive activities In my case, I used to print everything and was unable to make the transition to writing. I still prefer to print on greeting cards and actually find myself getting frustrated when the paper doesn’t have lines on it.
One of the treatments that I was exposed to was an intensive handwriting workbook that involved repetitive tracing of dashed letters. Eventually I was able to write complete sentences, in a standard lined workbook, with no tracing. Just like Alexander Keith.

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