Childhood Psychological Disorders: Current Controversies

By Alberto M. Bursztyn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
Persistent Questions about Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Dana Freed

Terry was the first to greet me when I entered the room. He was always friendly, except when his medication dosage was too high. He got up out of his seat and ran over to the door to say hello while his teacher rolled her eyes and said, “Sit down, Terry,” for what sounded like the hundredth time that morning. He ran back over to his seat, banging the backs of other students’ chairs on his way. “Stop it, Terry!” the other kids screamed, but some of them were smiling. Terry was grinning from ear to ear when he finally sat in his seat, which made it easy to see all of his braces at once. “Come help me, please, come help me, come see my new person I made,” he asked and waved his hand so high into the air that he slipped out of his seat. “Sit in your seat, Terry, not on the floor,” his teacher said immediately. Terry’s desktop was covered with doodles and comic strips on white paper. He was a very talented artist and he loved to draw, but that was all he liked to do in class. He could spend hours drawing. His teacher said, “Okay, Terry, that’s enough, let’s get back to work.” Terry continued to ask me to come help him.

Terry was a 12-year-old African American male, and shorter and skinnier than the other boys in his class. He was in the sixth grade when I met him, attending a public school for children exhibiting behavioral problems. Terry was diagnosed with ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, when he was seven years old by his pediatrician and had been on and off a variety of stimulant medications since then. The pediatrician had a difficult time adjusting his medication. Too little of the medication left him unable to focus in school and too much made him almost catatonic in the classroom, not an uncommon problem. Terry shared how embarrassing it was when he took higher doses, since saliva often accumulated in

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