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ADD meds don’t benefit the kids

Regarding your article on attention-deficit disorder [“On Their Terms,” Dec. 18], I’m a bit confused about the quote from a 31-year-old claiming he is part of the “first generation” of Ritalin kids. I just celebrated my 47th birthday and my strongest childhood memory is of a child psychiatrist telling me he was going to give me some pills “to make me good.”

At the private school for gifted children I attended in the early ‘70s, the school nurse was there, it seems, only to dispense the midday doses of Ritalin to nearly half the student body. After three years of pill-taking, my parents yanked me off Ritalin, afraid I’d become a drug addict.

Have I had problems with concentration in my adult life? Sure. But I’ve managed to build a successful business based on what I now see as my strength -- an ability to flit from one task to another quickly.

I strongly urge anyone considering drugging their child to consider alternative methods.

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PAMELA BARSKY

Los Angeles

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My overarching question is: Why suddenly (in the 1990s) were millions of kids diagnosed with ADD and put on meds in the first place? Parents failed to examine their own lifestyles, parenting skills and poor (dare I say, stupid) choices and the effects of those choices on their children.

The parents were determined that having children was not going to change their lives.

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Hence, kids were dragged around all day missing naps, staying up too late, being fed unhealthful foods. Kids were overstimulated by an onslaught of technological baby sitters: TV, video games and computers. Since “discipline” was equated with “punishment,” neither took place. Parents medicated everything that ailed them, setting a poor example.

When kids acted liked kids, they were diagnosed with a disorder. I feel sorry for the kids who are now becoming adults and have no tools (except meds) with which to navigate an increasingly difficult world.

STEPHANY YABLOW

North Hollywood

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