Thursday, February 17, 2005


An uninformed rant on ADHD

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.