Hyperactivity is an attention deficit disorder that adversely affects children’s concentration in classroom. Becker notes that this has resulted into increasing prescription of Ritalin drugs to the affected children in order to reduce effect of hyperactivity in children. However, there are both positive and negative notions towards Ritalin’s potential in reducing hyperactivity in children. In her article, “A Hyperactive Child’s Parents seek the Right to Say No to Drugs,” published by People Weekly in August, 1988, Rhea Becker notes that the agony of a child, Casey Jesson, who was at times discontinued for schooling, due to his inability of taking Ritalin.
The notion by Becker that “The school system should allow Casey Jesson to attend school despite his hyperactivity and his inability to take Ritalin” (59), is valid. According to her, Ritalin that is a stimulant drug given to children in order to improve their attention span by 80%, presents the affected children with 20% side effects that make them to be more violent, and even suicidal in some cases. The write up discusses on the impact of not taking Ritalin in supporting Becker’s opinion.
Hyperactivity and the Impact of not taking Ritalin
Becker’s opinion is correct in that Ritalin does not successfully reduce hyperactivity in children, thereby boosting their attention in schooling activities. In Becker’s article the ability of a child to use Ritalin in reducing hyperactivity improves his attention span only by 80%, leaving 20% as side effects, such as insomnia and stomachaches (59). Her perception that side effects of taking Ritalin make children to become more violent and disturbing, as in the case of Jesson, presents the drug as not fundamental in effectively reducing hyperactivity and enhancing attention among children.
As stated by Gomez (322), “When unsuccessful, Ritalin results into zombie-like behaviors, thought disorder and growth suppression” among children. This was in the case of Jesson where Becker notes that “Jesson had trouble in sleeping, lost his appetite and was behaving like a Zombie” (60). Additionally, she points out that when Jesson put off the Ritalin drugs, he regained his sleeping attitude and his appetite. This shows that whereas Ritalin is intended to improve children’s attention by enhancing their character and normal body functionality in promoting their learning ability, it was doing the opposite.
Rosemond points out that side effects of Ritalin cause reduced appetite and weight loss making families to seek out for dietary therapy for their children (38). She points out that reducing monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is a salt that is chemically converted into flavor enhancer in the food diet can reduced hyperactivity in children. As pointed out by Jacobson, hyperactive patients who were on the Feingold diet, free of artificial food coloring, flavors and natural chemicals normally present in food, showed improved attention span (1).
He notes that providing hyperactive children with food diets free from irritants, that cause behavioral symptoms, can best resolve the problem without any side effects as posed by Ritalin drugs. In her article Becker (60) points out that apart from putting Jesson off Ritalin drugs, his parents agreed to explore diet restriction and modification in order to enhance his behavior. She notes the exclamations by Jesson’s mother that “Ritalin drug will not be the answer to Jesson’s hyperactive” (60). This shows that depriving Jesson of the right to attend school due to his hyperactivity and inability to take Ritalin, was discriminatory and this is not a basis of addressing his problem.
In conclusion, it is evident that Jesson’s hyperactivity and inability to use Ritalin should not be used as an avenue to deny him a chance to attend school. The write up has pointed out on the need for parents and institutions to enhance other approaches, such as taking hyperactive patients on the modified diet in order to increase the reduction of hyperactivity. It has noted that such approaches will counter the insurgence of side effects caused by taking Ritalin, thereby enabling the affected children, such as Casey Jesson, to attend school.