Why I won’t touch Ritalin with a barge-pole


I was stunned to see how many posts entered in the recent SACH blog carnival “How we came to homeschooling” (as well as some of the comments on my own carnival post), reveal that there are an increasing number of people choosing to turn to homeschooling rather than having their children drugged up to their eyeballs just to get through their school years.
I was particularly touched by Elize’s comment on my post, in which she told how a total stranger had approached her at the botanical gardens and told her that her son would have to be medicated if he was ever going to get through school.
Isn’t it amazing how everyone else seems to know just what’s best for YOUR child? From grandparents, to teachers, to aunties, to therapists … to total strangers!
Well, I believe that NO-ONE knows your child better than YOU!! You have been with him from day one. You have nurtured him (or her), sat up with him when he was sick, cried with him, watched him take his first faltering steps, and been there with every new discovery that he has made.
You know better than anyone what his likes and dislikes are; what he likes to play with; how he responds to different people and different situations; and how he best learns about the things around him.
I believe that NO ONE on this earth is more qualified to teach YOUR child than YOU!
When it comes to Ritalin, here’s what Dr Robert Mendelsohn, author of “How to raise a healthy child … in spite of your doctor” has to say:
“Educators and doctors who label a child hyperactive or learning disabled, and then suggest treating him with chemicals, always defend their recommendations by asserting that it will improve the child’s ability to learn. They know that you will respond to this more positively than to their true motivation, which is to drug your child into near-somnolence so he will be more manageable and less of a nuisance in the classroom.
No one has ever been able to demonstrate that drugs such as Cylert and Ritalin improve the academic performance of the children who take them. The major effect of Ritalin and similar drugs is on the short-term manageability of hyperkinetic behaviour. The pupil is drugged to make life easier for his teacher, not to make it better and more productive for the child. If your child is the victim, the potential risks of these drugs is a high price to pay to make his teacher more comfortable.”

Dr Mendelsohn goes on to outline the risks, saying that the manufacturer of Ritalin acknowledges that it does not know how Ritalin works or how its effects relate to the condition of the central nervous system. It warns against the use of the drug in children under the age of six and admits that its long-term safety is unknown. It also notes that suppression of growth in those who take the drug has been noted and that there is some clinical evidence that it may provoke convulsive seizures in some patients.
Other side-effects documented include loss of appetite, increased heart rate, psychotic-like manifestations, visual disturbances, skin rashes and dermatitis, anorexia, dizziness, palpitations, insomnia, depression, irritability, aggression, nervousness and abdominal pains.
Dr Mary Ann Block, author of “No more Ritalin” says “I call Ritalin ‘paediatric cocaine’”, and outlines the potential risks of drug dependency.
There is much more to be said, and a lot of information online, but the above is enough for me to ask:
Why would anyone want to give this stuff to their precious children just to make a teacher’s life more comfortable?


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