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Ritilan Over Prescribed And Damaging To The Child

21 May 2002

ADHD Over Diagnosed - Ritilan Over Prescribed And Damaging To The Child Long Term

Dr Paula Barrett, Clinical Psychologist, Griffith University, Queensland, told delegates at the annual Independent Schools of New Zealand conference that research looking at the use of Ritilan over 10 years has shown it has led to increased drug use, damaged physical growth and poorer mental development in children diagnosed with ADHD.

“Maybe one child in 200 has ADHD but not one in two,” said Dr Barrett. “Instead parents and health professionals should concentrate on ensuring the child has sufficient rest, an adequate diet limited in caffeine and sugar especially in the evening, and is involved in education appropriate to the readiness of the individual.”

She told delegates that some children are not ready to go to school at five as their motor, social and cognitive skills are not sufficiently developed. Anxiety, misbehaviour and learning difficulties arise when the child is pushed when not ready.

“Children should be allowed to play and be a child as they will never get the opportunity again. Children need 10 to 11 hours sleep each night – more in winter, “ she said.

“If a child is regularly going to bed at 10 p.m. after several heavily caffeinated or sugared drinks, then of course he or she is going to find it difficult to concentrate at school the next day,” said Dr Barrett.

She also said children can be taught coping strategies by learning to be calm and to make calm responses to situations that are perceived as threatening.

Dr Barrett was in New Zealand for the conferences of the principals and governors of independent schools. She plans to return to New Zealand to work with the schools during the coming months.

For more information please contact
Joy Quigley
Executive Director
Independent Schools of New Zealand
Tel. 471-1924

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