Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Archive for January 9th, 2006

Three Cheers for Ritalin

Posted by Trixter on January 9, 2006

Most people who criticize “the mass medication of our generation’s children” with Ritalin, I have found, don’t really understand Ritalin or what it targets. They think that you take an overactive child with ADD or ADHD and then feed them Ritalin so that they slow down and just sit there, drooling. (Mancow Muller, as much as I enjoy his radio show, is especially guilty of promoting this idea.) Well, that is pretty much the opposite of the truth; Ritalin is actually a stimulant. A humorous yet still somewhat accurate portrayal of what Ritalin does can be seen in the Simpsons episode “Brother’s Little Helper“.

We just got back from Sam’s psych appointment and had nothing but praise for the 7-day trial of Ritalin we tried with Sam. Sam was normally unresponsive, distant, couldn’t hold a conversation, didn’t look you in the eye… par for the course for Pervasive Developmental Disorder, which is what Sam is affected with. But on this Ritalin trial, he really opened up: He looked you in the eye, heard conversations from across the room and joined in them, wasn’t behind the entire class in activities… a complete turnaround. It’s not the miracle PDD cure (there isn’t one), but it made such a difference that we’re adding it to his regular daily medication and have renewed hope for his educational development.

Perhaps the best thing about Ritalin is that it enabled Sam to finally play with his brother — and not just for twenty minutes, but for hours. I almost cried when I saw that (and I think Melissa actually did).

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