Medication can be a revelation for some ADHD sufferers

14th May 2010 at 01:00

I found the article on ADHD and Ritalin full of prejudice and tabloid-style misinformation ("Doctors, leave them kids alone", TES Magazine, May 7).

I am an advanced skills teacher and am studying for a masters in specific learning difficulties. I have ADHD and take Ritalin. This medication is not taken primarily to change behaviour: it helps with focus and attentional difficulties. I coach families and adults with the disorder and found much of your article misinformed and insulting.

My son also has ADHD and completed a masters at Lancaster University last year. He now teaches English in Germany. I strongly suggest that anyone with a genuine interest in the condition reads the book Delivered from Distraction by Dr Edward Hallowell. This gives a real insight into the disorder and will help teachers to understand the condition, which is a real and lasting neurological trait. Children do not grow out of it, they learn to work with it.

Dr Hallowell says: "As I like to describe it, having ADD is like having a powerful race car for a brain, but with bicycle brakes. Treating ADD is like strengthening your brakes - so you start to win races in your life. In my work as a psychiatrist who treats ADHD, I see myself not as a doctor who treats a disability, but rather as a doctor who helps people, adults and children alike, identify, develop, and celebrate their talents."

Your lengthy article will be read by many teachers and it, in my opinion, shows a damaging lack of awareness of the condition.

Margaret Smith, Rochdale, Lancashire.

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