Medications : AD/HD and Ritalin
Ian Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Tue, 27 Jun 1995 00:58:30 BST
I have posted one reply to the list about Scouters and kids' medicines,
but I would like to say a bit more about AD/HD and Ritalin.
Any Scout taking prescription medicine MUST have a current Class 2 ( or
Class 3 ) BSA Personal Health and Medical Record form , signed by a
physician and with the relevant section completed.
Methylphenidate ( Ritalin ) is a Controlled Drug and you would need to check
on the local position. E.g. some states require that CDs are kept in the
original package as dispensed. In any case the container should be marked
with the details of the medication , the Scout's name , and details of dose.
RITALIN should be taken with water. Postings on alt.support.attn-deficit
suggest that it should be taken about five to ten minutes before each meal,
but it is important to make sure that you follow whatever pattern the Scout
is used to. It should be taken with water , not milk or orange juice, which
reduce its effectiveness.
Also, since Ritalin has a very short action (three to five hours typically)
it is important to keep to the required times. And of course, you cannot
expect an AD/HD to remember to take his medication on time ... although he
will know if it is overdue !
| ASK THE SCOUT ... he knows what the medications do to him.
| And LISTEN to what he has to say ...
I had four AD/HD Scouts in my previous troop on Ritalin. They said the main
problem was coming off after the last dose, typically three or four hours
after administration. Common reactions include drowsiness, mild headache and
a return of AD/HD behaviour e.g. hyperactivity , lack of concentration,
impulsivity and inattention.
AD/HD kids sometimes get a lot of cruel taunts at school, and many will take
great lengths to avoid being seen as " one of the Ritalin kids " if their
schoolmates are in the same troop . You may have to respect this and be
discreet about how you give them their drugs. One Scout would come up to me
and I would " palm " him the container, he would go off somewhere private to
take it, then slip the bottle into my pocket. On the other hand, another lad
would shout across the campsite " Ian ... can I have my Ritalin now ? " <g>
It is important to understand that RITALIN DOES NOT CURE AD/HD - IT MERELY
CONTROLS SOME OF THE SYMPTOMS. Whilst it helps to reduce hyperactivity and
increase the ability to concentrate, the underlying problems remain. Many
Scouts with AD/HD also have other learning difficulties or behavioural
problems. Leaders need to be aware of the effects of AD/HD and take them
At the start of the year I made a point of taking each Scout on one side and
saying that I knew he had AD/HD and that I was available if he needed to
talk aboout any problems. Also, I said that if I was running an activity
and he found things were getting too much he could take " time out " ...
just leave the activity for a few minutes provided he stayed in the general
I also asked for feedback on the things that helped them to learn ... I ran
a session on how to instruct , and said that different people learn in
different ways. At this point one kid " came out " to the group , and said
that he had AD/HD and dyslexia , and talked about some of the things that
helped him. The other Scouts asked him about AD/HD , and I was able to
contribute some factual issues.
Hopefully this will help. I don't claim to be any sort of expert - just a
Scouter who is learning about AD/HD. I was diagnosed in April and have
recently started Ritalin. So I guess that on Summer Camp I will be in " the
Ritalin line " outside the medic's office. As one of my ADDers so succinctly
put it " Cool ! "
Ian N Ford
District Committee / Boy Scout Trainer
Channel District, Transatlantic Council BSA
London , UK
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City