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Medicating Class Cut-Ups But Overlooking the Rest

This weekend a mother published a New York Times column about how her son came to be diagnosed with ADHD and became a member of the ballooning “Ritalin Generation.”

“Just a little medication,” the teacher told the boy’s mother, “could really turn things around” for the boy, who was having trouble focusing on class worksheets and lining up quietly for transitions between classes.

When the mother firmly responded that she and her husband weren’t going to medicate their son, the teacher backtracked, sounding mock-horrified.

She wasn’t explicitly suggesting medication, she said. The law prohibited such a thing. She just didn’t want him to fall through the cracks – and thus was was merely suggesting the boy’s parents have him evaluated by a psychologist.

The boy was evaluated, and sure enough, he ended up on Ritalin for a short-time, though he quit it on his own a year later, matured out of his former inattentiveness, and eventually ended up a well-adjusted, school-loving honor-roll student – and medication-free.

Such stories are commonly invoked as cautionary tales about the alleged over-diagnosis of ADHD and other behavior disorders and over-prescribing of drugs like Ritalin to keep children’s behavior in check. Teachers recommending meds for disruptive students often feature prominently. In fact, the debate over school involvement in medicating disruptive children showed up as early as the early 1970s.

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Medicating Class Cut-Ups But Overlooking the Rest

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  1. I tried the ritalin to no avail and I agree meds are not the way to go. My daughter is 8 and has ADHD. I use a neurofeedback/edufeedback program called Play Attention ( This program was developed by a teacher for parents and teachers as well. We use it before homework time (which was unbearable) and when she cannot focus and is not calm. She likes to play it so much that I am now using it as a reinforcement tool. I have seen immediate results and I am so happy I changed over to this platform. It also gives me the interaction with her and control over the behavior whereas the medication did not. Once they wore off she became lethargic and just as out of control. It has shaped her behavior and I believe in a few years she will live a normal and happy life without using anything except her own mind! I can’t say enough about it.


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