Ritalin and ADHD
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) may not be the problem

In recent years psychiatrists across America have prescribed, for so-called ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), millions of doses of Ritalin, a drug originally approved to control mild depression and senility in adults.
Read some reports and you would come to believe that ADHD  is a malady that inflicts about two million American children.

Also known as ADDS (Attention Deficit Disorder Syndrome), ADHD is supposedly characterized by three main features: hyperactivity (fidgeting, excessive running and climbing, leaving one's classroom seat), impulsivity (blurting out answers in class, interrupting others, having problems waiting turns) and inattention (forgetfulness, disorganization, losing things, careless mistakes).

Now no one would deny that many children regularly display the three characteristics of being hyperactive, impulsive and inattentive

But a growing body of researchers feel these problems mainly result from students with learning styles that conflict with their teachers' teaching style and that there are much more natural alternatives than drug treatment.

Some, such as Dr. Thomas Armstrong, go so far as to say that ADHD/ADDS does not exist. "These children are not disordered," he writes in The Myth of the A.D.D.S. Child. "They may have a different style of thinking, attending, and behaving, but it's the broader social and educational influence that creates the disorder, not the children."

Dr. Armstrong's book outlined "50 ways to improve your child's behavior and attention span without drugs, labels or coercion." Those ways range from changing eating habits to physical education programs, from martial arts classes to the use of relaxing background music, from channeling energy into creative arts and computer training.

This view is supported by Gordon Dryden and Dr. Jeannette in The Learning Revolution, which was the world's top-selling non-fiction book in 1999. And in their chapter on different learning styles, Dr.Vos in particular outlines suggestions to improve the performance of students who are strong in "bodily-kinesthetic intelligence": students often wrongly labeled hyperactive or ADHD/ADDS.


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