ADHD: Getting Help

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Mark

In third grade, Mark’s teacher threw up her hands and said, “Enough!” In one morning, Mark had jumped out of his seat to sharpen his pencil six times, each time accidentally charging into other children’s desks and toppling books and papers. He was finally sent to the principal’s office when he began kicking a desk he had overturned. In sheer frustration, his teacher called a meeting with his parents and the school psychologist.

But even after they developed a plan for managing Mark’s behavior in class, Mark showed little improvement. Finally, after an extensive assessment, they found that Mark had an attention deficit that included hyperactivity. He was put on a medication called Ritalin to control the hyperactivity during school hours. Although Ritalin failed to help, another drug called Dexedrine did. With a psychologist’s help, his parents learned to reward desirable behaviors, and to have Mark take “time out” when he became too disruptive. Soon Mark was able to sit still and focus on learning.

Lisa

Because Lisa wasn’t disruptive in class, it took a long time for teachers to notice her problem. Lisa was first referred to the school evaluation team when her teacher realized that she was a bright girl with failing grades. The team ruled out a learning disability but determined that she had an attention deficit, ADHD without hyperactivity. The school psychologist recognized that Lisa was also dealing with depression.

Lisa’s teachers and the school psychologist developed a treatment plan that included participation in a program to increase her attention span and develop her social skills. They also recommended that Lisa receive counseling to help her recognize her strengths and overcome her depression.

Henry

When Henry’s son entered kindergarten, it was clear that he was going to have problems sitting quietly and concentrating. After several disruptive incidents, the school called and suggested that his son be evaluated for ADHD. As the boy was assessed, Henry realized that he had grown up with the same symptoms that specialists were now finding in his son. Fortunately, the psychologist knew that ADHD can persist in adults. She suggested that Henry be evaluated by a professional who worked with adults. For the first time, Henry was correctly diagnosed and given Ritalin to aid his concentration. What a relief! All the years that he had been unable to concentrate were due to a disorder that could be identified, and above all, treated.

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