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Attention Deficit Disorder and Ritalin
(updated April 2000)
What can you tell me about the use of Ritalin and other medications in the
treatment of ADD? What are some alternatives to medication?
No cure or "quick fix" exists to treat AD/HD. The symptoms, however, can be managed through
a combination of efforts. Management approaches need to be designed to assist the child
behaviorally, educationally, psychologically, and, in many instances, pharmacologically.
Medication has proven effective for many children with AD/HD. Most experts agree, however,
that medication should never be the only treatment used. Many parents and teachers have heard
that mega-vitamins, chiropractic scalp massage, visual/ocular motor training, biofeedback,
allergy treatments, and diets are useful treatments for AD/HD. However, these treatments are
often experimental and advocates, parents need to become informed consumers and exercise
caution when considering such treatments. (From NICHCY's briefing paper on ADD.)
Following are links to related ERIC Digests, minibibliographies, frequently asked questions (FAQs), Internet resources, and Internet discussion groups,
as well as selected citations from the ERIC database and the search terms we used to find the
You can search the ERIC database yourself on the Internet through either of the following web sites:
The full text of ERIC documents (for example, EDxxxxxx) is available:
- In microfiche collections worldwide; to find your nearest ERIC Resource Collection, point your web browser to: http://ericae.net/derc.htm.
- For a fee through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS): http://edrs.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 1.800.443.ERIC.
(no longer available)
The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:
- The originating journal
- Through interlibrary loan services at your local college or public library
- From article reproduction services such as
ERIC Search Terms Used
attention deficit disorder
drug therapy OR
Stimulant Treatment of
Elementary School Children: Implications for School Counselors.
Bramlett, Ronald K.;
Nelson, Patricia; Reeves, Betty
Elementary School Guidance & Counseling, v31 n4
p243-50 Apr 1997
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); RESEARCH
Determines the percentage of elementary children in the United States who
are currently receiving stimulant medication at school. Forty-six states and 246,707 children
were represented in the survey. Approximately 3% of children were receiving stimulant
medication at school with Ritalin the stimulant most widely used. Explores assessment issues
and treatment options.
Descriptors: *Attention Deficit Disorders; *Drug Therapy;
Elementary Education; *Elementary School Students; Pupil Personnel Services; School
Counselors; *Stimulants Identifiers: Frequency Data; Ritalin
Medications in the Classroom: A Hard Pill to Swallow?
Howell, Kenneth W.; And Others
TEACHING Exceptional Children, v29 n6 p58-61 Jul-Aug 1997
Document Type: NON-CLASSROOM MATERIAL (055); JOURNAL ARTICLE
Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Addresses classroom management
concerning use of stimulant medication (STM) for students with attention-related difficulties.
Identifies difficulties of noncompliance and misuse. Details ten guidelines for obtaining optimal
benefit of STM are detailed and including ensure that the decision to use medication is made
appropriately, promote student responsibility for behavior, and monitor.
*Attention Deficit Disorders; Compliance (Psychology); *Drug Therapy; Elementary Secondary
Education; Parent Teacher Cooperation; *Stimulants; Teacher Role
Practical Guidelines for Monitoring Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity
Katisyannis, Antonis; Landrum, Timothy J.; Vinton, Lori
School Failure, v41 n3 p132-36 Spr 1997
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);
POSITION PAPER (120); PROJECTDESCRIPTION (141)
Target Audience: Practitioners
First identifies salient features of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and then
offers a model for diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of students with ADHD. The model
assumes cooperation of parent, teacher, and physician, and data-based decisions concerning use
and ongoing monitoring of stimulant medication or other home/school-based interventions.
Descriptors: *Attention Deficit Disorders; Clinical Diagnosis; Decision Making; *Drug Therapy;
*Hyperactivity; *Integrated Services; Intervention; *Models; Stimulants; Student
Ritalin: Miracle Drug or Cop-Out?
Public Interest, n127 p3-18 Spr 1997
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); POSITION PAPER (120)
Provides the pros
and cons for the use of Ritalin in today's classrooms. Discusses the causes and diagnosis of
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), what Ritalin does to the brain, why ADHD
appears to be so frequently diagnosed, Ritalin's affect on school performance, and the notion that
current educational policies contribute to Ritalin usage.
Descriptors: Attention Deficit
Disorders; *Behavior Change; Behavior Problems; *Child Behavior; Child Psychology; *Drug
Therapy; Educational Policy; Elementary Education; Elementary School Students; *Etiology;
Pharmacology; Psychological Evaluation; School Choice Identifiers: *Ritalin
The Effects of Self-Monitoring on Children with
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Who Are Receiving Pharmacological
Mathes, Mickie Y.; Bender, William N.
Remedial and Special
Education, v18 n2 p121-28 Mar-Apr 1997
JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); RESEARCH REPORT (143)
A study of three elementary
school boys (ages 8-11) with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, who were already receiving
pharmacological treatment, investigated the effects of using a self-monitoring procedure to
enhance their on-task behavior. Results found all three subjects increased in on-task behaviors
when self-monitoring was used.
Descriptors: *Attention Deficit Disorders; *Behavior
Change; *Drug Therapy; Elementary Education; *Hyperactivity; *Outcomes of Treatment;
Performance; Program Effectiveness; *Self Management
Educating Children with Attention Deficit Disorder.
Schiller, Ellen; And Others
Children, v22 n2 p32-33 Nov-Dec 1996
NON-CLASSROOM MATERIAL (055); JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is recognized as the most common
neurobehavioral disorder in American children. The paper examines how to obtain a proper
diagnosis for children with ADD, how medication for ADD affects children, how children with
ADD can be properly served in public schools, and where to go for help.
*Attention Deficit Disorders; Behavior Disorders; *Clinical Diagnosis; *Drug Therapy;
Elementary School Students; Elementary Secondary Education; *Hyperactivity; Public Schools;
*Regular and Special Education Relationship; Secondary School Students
The Myth of the
A.D.D. Child: 50 Ways To Improve Your Child's Behavior and Attention Span without Drugs,
Labels, or Coercion.
Available from: Dutton
Publishers, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
This book asserts that children who
experience attention or behavior problems are fully intact, whole, healthy human beings, not
children suffering from a medical disorder; that Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is often
misdiagnosed; and that Ritalin, a drug commonly used in the treatment of ADD, is widely
overprescribed. Part 1 argues that ADD is a construct invented in psychological laboratories
given life by the psychological, educational, and pharmaceutical communities. It examines the
specious nature of ADD and provides a number of alternative explanations for why children
might have the behavior or attention problems that experts currently link to ADD. It addresses
the benefits and drawbacks of the use of medication and a wide range of non-drug alternatives to
control ADD. Part 2 presents 50 practical strategies for parents to help their children discover
their true nature and achieve success in life, by improving their behavior and attention span.
These strategies focus on proper diet, limiting television and video games, developing interests,
channeling creative energy, physical relaxation techniques, positive role models, school
placement options, family relationships, social skill development, self-esteem, rules, feedback,
and behavior management.
Descriptors: Attention Deficit Disorders; Educational Strategies;
Drug Therapy; Behavior Modification; Child Rearing; Misconceptions; Parent Child
Relationship; Disability Identification; Role Models; Self Esteem; Interpersonal Competence;
Student Placement; Coping; Elementary Secondary Education; Behavior Problems; Attention
Crook, William G.
Help for the Hyperactive
Child. A Good-Sense Guide for Parents of Children with Hyperactivity, Attention Deficits and
Other Behavior and Learning Problems.
Available from: Professional Books, PO Box 3246, Jackson, TN 38302
guide for parents focuses on treating hyperactivity and attention deficit disorders, as well as
related behavior and learning problems, through allergy detection, nutritional changes, and
avoidance of environmental toxins, rather than drug treatment. After special introductory
chapters addressed to parents and to teachers and other professionals involved with the child, the
first section gives an overview of the recommended approach, including: dietary changes, good
nutrition and nutritional supplements, food allergies, lifestyle changes, control of candida,
psychological support and discipline, and helping the child succeed in school. The second
section gives more detailed information on similar topics, including hyperactivity and attention
deficit disorder, allergies and dietary changes, television and other aspects of the child's
environment, yeast infections, ear infections, and vitamins. The third section focuses on helpful
hints and recipes for cleaning up the diet, how to manage dietary changes within the family
environment, elimination diets, and the yeast connection.
Attention Deficit Disorders; Learning Problems; Behavior Problems; Allergy; Physical
Environment; Food; Dietetics; Nutrition; Parenting Skills; Individual Needs; Behavior
Available from your local book store or library:
Ritalin is Not the Answer: A Drug-Free, Practical Program for Children Diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, David B. Stein, Ph.D. Jossey-Bass Publishers, 350 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104. 888.378.2537. http://www.josseybass.com
Running on Ritalin: A Physician Reflects on Children, Society, and Performance in a Pill, Lawrence H. Diller, MD. Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036. 800.726.0600. www.randomhouse.com
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