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No one knows everything!

shuras at aspen.uml.edu shuras at aspen.uml.edu
Tue Nov 21 18:48:17 EST 1995

>> >   teacher at a Los Angeles public elemntary school that he would not be 
>> >   allowed to come to school unless he had a Ritalin Rx for what *she* 
>> >   thought was ADD.
> Not only is this unethical, it's downright illegal.  The teacher and
> principal ought to have their butts sued.  My experience has been that
> they will continue this kind of behavior when the next "problem child"
> comes along.
> Not only is it entirely inappropriate for a teacher to diagnose and
> prescribe medication,  it is ILLEGAL to exclude a child from school on the
> basis on their (presumed) disability.  Heard of the ADA?

	I have so many thoughts racing around about this, I hardly know where
to begin.  How many times does it have to be repeated that a teacher (or a
parent for that matter) is not is not is not is not a medical doctor, and this 
teacher's actions smack of an arrogance which makes me seethe!

	FIRST:  This lady seems to think she has the scoop on this oh-so-simple
ADD thing, eh?  She thinks she can just observe a child - in ONE setting! -
discount the innumerable variables which could be a factor, including -in the
case of a bright, astute child who is informed about ADD (which is a very easy 
thing to become with all the exposure as of late)- the putting on of ADD-like
behavior?  I am not saying that this is common - or even that it has EVER
occured - but lets face it - the external aspect of ADD is relatively easy to
understand, and I'm sure very tempting to imitate; and a persistent person
could probably fool most anyone accept perhaps that person who knows ADD from 
the inside - and even then, that person only knows how it feels for (him) to 
have ADD.  

	My point is this - ADD is not about behavior, it is about one possible
cause for this behavior, and for countless numbers of other things in our lives
that are affected by this disorder, many of which are known only to us
individually at any particular time - hardly things which can be observed, 
measured, analyzed, interpretted, and treated by some elementary school 
teacher.  The arrogance STINKS!    		

	SECOND:  This lady seems to think she has scoop on this oh-so-simple
ADD thing, eh??  It is ANYTHING but simple!  There are so many behaviors, and
"symptoms", and other factors which go into the very complicated (and often
expensive) diagnostic process.  For this lady to even imply that this ADD
business is so darned simple, that diagnosis is so arbitrary, so mamby-pamby,
so darned elementary and easy that anyone can become an expert is shocking and
awful in and of itself.  BUT, to categorically cut and dice someone, to so
ignorantly attribute what may very well be hallmarks of his personality; to 
reduce a human being - and all the wonderfully diverse and infinite aspects of 
his being - down to some model of affliction which needs to be "dealt with", is
the most insulting, the most degrading, the most condescending, judgemental, 
and inappropriate slap in the face I have heard of in a long time.

	THIRD:  This lady seems to think she has the scoop on this oh-so-simple
ADD thing, eh???  Well, let me tell you that that attitude is completely
inappropriate, and it is damned detrimental in a variety of ways.  Obviously
the social implications of spreading misinformation is immediately apparent -
we can already see the results of a grossly misinformed general public.  The
stereo-type jus' don't fit, people!  

	In fact, the over-simplification of ADD can actually be a very
dangerous thing - especially when talking in terms of treatment and medication.
Again, I have to express my shock, disgust, and outrage at this silly, stupid
woman that she thinks it's a matter of counting how many times a kid gets out
of his seat, then telling him or his parents that he needs to go to the
pharmacy and get some of that Ritalin stuff.  

	That is irresponsible and inexcuseable.  For one thing, Ritalin 
(Methylphenidate) is not the only pharmachological product out there which can 
or is used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder.  There are other 
stimulants such as Dexadrine and Cylert, Zoloft (I am not sure what its 
classification is); there are MAOI anti-depressant meds such as Desipramine, 
and I believe Imipramine; SSRI's such as Prozac; and other medications whose 
classification I am uncertain - such as Wellbutrin (an anti-depressant of some
 type), and I'm sure many others of which I am unaware.  

	Then there are issues such as dosage, form (pill, caplet, sustained- 
release, etc.), and CONTRA-INDICATIONS and possible side effects and 
complications that only a well-trained, well-educated MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL can
assess, and about which he may educate and/or advise a given patient/client,
and when necessary, make appropriate adjustments.  

	FOURTH:  This lady has absolutely no clue about this ADD thing.  And
she most definitely had better watch her A$$ the next time she delivers an
ultimatum, and denies or threatens to deny the opportunity of an education to
someone based on ill-founded and downright DUMB assumptions.  Even if she were
right about this child having ADD, and further, that Ritalin would help him
without having proportionally significant side-effects - she still has
absolutely no damned right to so boldly assume such, and in effect insist on
her way.

	FIFTH:  Notwithstanding the potentially significant improvement the
right medication can bring about - she still has a job to do in the classroom!
If she thinks that forcing the kid to pop a pill absolves her of her
responsibility to treat him fairly, to accomodate his needs to a reasonable
degree, and to foster an academic environment which is conducive to the
dignified, rewarding pursuit of learning, then she is mistaken.  She need not
pull her hair out to cater to him, nor should she neglect her other students -
but she has no legal, nor ethical right to ignore him either.

	LASTLY - that particular boy has qualities, thoughts, dreams, wishes,
goals, temptations, frustrations, challenges and successes that are uniquely
his - and not attributable or relevant to ADD.  

	ADD is ADD, and people are people.  It is about damned time we
recognize this.  


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