Thursday, November 15, 2007

Panorama on ADHD and Ritalin

After posting my article the other evening, I watched the Panorama programme on ADHD that gave me an excuse for resurrecting it.

Two things about the documentary struck me.

The first is the theme park that gives all children diagnosed with ADHD a wristband giving them priority on all rides. It's hardly an incentive to good behaviour, is it?

The second was Craig, one of the youngsters featured in the programme. He clearly has serious problems:
He has no friends, has self-harmed, suffers night terrors, is aggressive and - after assaulting three school teachers - prison looks like a very real prospect if the family don't get the help they're crying out for.
Yet his favourite pastime, of all things, is fishing. If that is the case, then whatever is at the root of his difficulties, it can hardly be an ability to pay attention, can it?

Incidentally, the Panorama page gives links to some recent academic studies on the subject.


Anonymous said...

"Yet his favourite pastime, of all things, is fishing. If that is the case, then whatever is at the root of his difficulties, it can hardly be an ability to pay attention, can it?"

I mean this in the nicest possible way, but you say that because you just don't understand about ADHD. You see, in the world we all have to show self restraint at times, and THAT is where ADHD lets the child down, it is not that they cannot EVER pay attention.

You see - the time when an ADHD child is doing something they naturally enjoy is the time they don't need any self control, they can go with it. However, when in class and forced to act differently to what they might want, they need that self restraint that you might take for granted, however, that little bit of their brain doesn't work as well in an ADHD person. It is not in their control any more than it is in your control to lift a heavy weight that is beyond your capacity.

Now saying that the fact he enjoys fishing proves he doesn't have an attention problem is like me saying that the fact you can lift your arms up means you can lift anything, therefore you should be able to lift that heavy rock that you know is beyond your capacity, and then me accusing you of being lazy and deliberately letting us down!

That is what an ADHD child hears again and again because of that kind of misunderstanding. I'm sorry, but I had to straighten that out.

Anonymous said...

ADHD is a REAL condition, in which the part of the brain responsible for control is different to those people not afflicted by the condition - there is a measurable difference across the ADHD population. It is, therefore, a real condition ( Despite the growing evidence there is still opposition to the diagnosis by people who refuse to accept the growing findings, that ADHD is caused by measurable brain differences.

It causes allot of problems and medication certainly can help, and it does help in most cases. The boy in the program seemed to me to have other problems, as he certainly wasn't a typical ADHD child! For this reason, the panorama appeared flawed and one sided to me!

Saying medications don't help in the long run and then saying they do for awhile is contradictory, since a teenager's education is so important that if a drug can make him pay attention during that phase in life, he/ she is obviously better off in the long run, since he will learn at school and not drop out! In light of that, how can panorama, or anyone say medication is always bad!?

Anonymous said...

"The idea of giving four year old children the equivalent of cocaine in order to render them compliant is the only thing that's "sick"."

I understand why the thought of giving children cocaine might sound horrible, and putting it like that it does, but medication - its not the equivalent to cocaine is it?

I mean we're not talking about drug abuse here, are we? we're talking about a drug administered by a qualified therapist under medical observation that, when given in that way has proven to reduce the possibility of drug abuse, not increase it (

If, in the long run, children are benefiting from this treatment, they why on earth deny them it, just because some media thrive on making a flawed sensationalist association between a medically administered drug and a totally unrelated drug of abuse! I hope more people can see through it.

Not all children will benefit from this treatment, but that's why it needs to be supervised by someone qualified.