Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Andy sends a NY Post story about a school that pressured a mom to put her kid on ritalin for ADHD. When the kid got worse, the school wanted him on more psychotropic drugs. When the mom stopped the drug because of nasty side effects, she was charged with child abuse. Reader comments are here, and they are nearly all opposed to schools recommending psychotropic drugs.

The recommended diagnosis method for ADD or ADHD is completely subjective, and based on reports from the parent and/or teacher. The American Psychiatric Association lists fourteen signs, of which at least eight must be present for a child to be officially classified as ADD. These fourteen signs are:

  1. Often fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming while seated.
  2. Having difficulty remaining seated when required to do so.
  3. Being easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
  4. Having difficulty awaiting turn in games or group activities.
  5. Often blurting out answers before questions are completed.
  6. Having difficulty in following instructions.
  7. Having difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play
  8. Often shifting from one uncompleted task to another.
  9. Having difficulty playing quietly.
  10. Often talking excessively.
  11. Often interrupting or intruding on others.
  12. Often not listening to what is being said.
  13. Often forgetting things necessary for tasks or activities.
  14. Often engaging in physically dangerous activities without
    considering consequences.

The symptoms should have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level. In other words, either a parent or a teacher has to be unhappy with the child's behavior. See the DSM-IV criteria for more details.

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