A neuropsychologist's views on medication for kids

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A neuropsychologist's views on medication for kids

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In any discussion about ADHD this issue of medication comes up. I’m not a physician. I’m a neuropsychologist, so I don’t prescribe medication but from my experience with kids; when medication is used for kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, it’s very effective and I would say 75 to 85% of the cases when it’s appropriately monitored when the doses right, when the medication is right and when there’s good communication between the physician and the school and the home. I think medication when used in conjunction with training about how one thinks, it’s about giving kids lesson, it’s about how to be more efficient. I think the medication can help kids learn to be more efficient and then as a result of that combination they can do better in school. I think that the problem with medication is that people fear that it is used to contain kids that are controlled kids and make them behave; that’s wrong. That’s not an appropriate use of any medication. But medication, when properly prescribed to kids with ADHD can learn better how to have better self control, can learn better in schools because the medication helps their brain function more efficiently and as long as we think about medication in that way it becomes a healthy intervention in one that we don’t need to be so frightened about. For some kids, if medication isn’t working their other things we can do. We can teach kids about being more aware of their behavior. We can teach kids skills of relaxation. We can teach kids how to use a mindful approach to being aware of where their brain is and where their eyes are when they’re supposed to be learning something. Even if kids are taking medication we should do that anyway. Stimulate medication has been used for more than 30 years to help children and adults to become more successful by helping them be more efficient thinkers. And I think we should look at it in that regard. It’s a healthy tool to use to add to the tool box that we have to allow kids to be successful.

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Jerome Schultz, PhD

Clinical Neuropsychologist

Dr. Jerome (Jerry) Schultz is a former middle school special education teacher. He is currently in private practice as a clinical neuropsychologist and is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School in the Department of Psychiatry.  For over three decades, he has specialized in the neuropsychological assessment and treatment of children with learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other special needs. He was on the faculty of Lesley University in Cambridge MA for almost 30 years, and served there as the Founding Director of a diagnostic clinic called the Learning Lab. Before returning to private practice, Dr. Schultz served as the Co-Director of the Center for Child and Adolescent Development at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Teaching Hospital.

Dr. Schultz received both his undergraduate and Master’s degree from The Ohio State University and holds a Ph.D. from Boston College. He has completed postdoctoral fellowships in both clinical psychology and pediatric neuropsychology. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of a journal called Academic Psychiatry, and is on the Professional Advisory Boards of a website called Inside ADHD.com, and the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

In addition to his clinical and educational work, Dr. Schultz serves as an international consultant on issues related to the neuropsychology and appropriate education of children and young adults with ADHD & LD and other special needs. In his current role as neuropsychological consultant to several large school districts in the Boston area, he is on the ground, in schools and working with kids and their teachers several days each week.

Dr. Schultz created an award-winning video called “Einstein and Me” about living successfully with a learning disability, and has written extensively about children with learning, behavioral and emotional challenges. He has a special education and psychology blog on the Huffington Post. His book, called Nowhere to Hide: Why Kids with ADHD and LD Hate School and What We Can Do About It, (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) which examines the role of stress in learning, has received international acclaim.

 

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