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    That little girl ignored the boy. She acted as if she had not heard him, smiling as she walked off to be drugged.
     When I was thirteen, I stood up to my parents and refused to ever take Ritalin again. I swore I did not have a problem. I eventually buried my inner Ritalin child, but I do remember hearing comments as I heard in that classroom. They are difficult to forget. They embellish the mental image, the history in my mind of how a hyperactive child is perceived. A stigmatized child. He or she is labeled as sick, slightly nuts. Everyday the child must be aware that people on Ritalin have something wrong with their brain. Other people do not accept the way they act. Their brain's deficiency must be supplemented with a little yellow pill. A drop of pharmaceutical sunshine.
     Why does the ADHD child seem so unfocussed? There is no definitive research indicating what causes a child to be so active. The reason that Ritalin calms ADHD patients while making normal people highly stimulated is not known either. So, what causes certain people to see a blurring of the child while many others only see a healthy, albeit active child? Why is Ritalin the coping method of choice for highly active children in American society? I would not want to teach my child to solve problems with little yellow pills. I want children to grow up in a thoughtful manner. I want them to be critical of their interactions with society. My expectations for the mental processing of a child are high.
     When a human being is a growing child, it is constantly learning. Think of this learning period in the terms of a building a personal computer, putting it together. In the womb, the computer is assembled. The pre-teen years are the time when the operating system and all of the other software are written and installed. Later in adolescence, we interact with the human software going through a period of debugging. Then things are set and ready to go. We have a powerful and complex unit, prepared to deal with many tasks in an intelligent and efficient way. Of course, problems arise at times, a security leak here, a coping problem there. Windows 98 crashes all of the time. It needs a restart (rest period) and a scan disk (self analysis and reflection) and things run great again. If the problem persists, we can write and install new software, we do not just unplug the bad part or increase an electrical flow. The way ADHD kids are programmed, when they have a minor crash, what will help? Is it time to go get a chemical supplement to make them right again? We cannot simply hand a child a pill to temporarily modify their neurochemical makeup. We must teach them how to perform well in their environment, help create efficient tools for task management.

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