Years ago, I worked with a young boy whose labels included gifted and talented, learning disabled, and ADHD with hyperactivity. One morning while waiting in the cafeteria for school to start, this boy turned over an entire cafeteria table with seats attached. The principal, in an effort at fairness and understanding, said, “Bob, I know your medication had not taken effect. It’s OK.” What happened? Was it really OK given the child’s disabilities?
Imagine a filter in the brain. The filter screens out excess sensory input. In most people, the filter works automatically when needed. Children diagnosed with ADHD have sluggish filters. Even when bombarded with excess noise, sights, or feelings, the filter does not do its job. The child feels flooded with sensations.
Stimulants such as caffeine and drugs such as Ritalin give a boost to the sluggish portion of the brain. One perplexed teacher offered a warm cup of coffee to a hyperactive child who mellowed out rather than becoming more active. With the jump-start, glucose utilization improves and the child with ADHD reacts more normally in terms of attentiveness, impulsivity, and excessive movements. Continue reading