Posted by: Dana Harmzen | 2009/07/07


Ritalin not working?

My daughter is 5 yrs &  8 months. She has been diagnosed with ADHD about a year ago. I' ve tried Omega 3 &  6, and also scio therapy, but it did not work. She was very disruptive in class (Grade R) and battled to concentrate. She has been put on Ritalin (I got the generic Methylphenidate) 5mg in the mornings about a month ago. According to her teacher her concentration and disrutiveness have improved. However, she just did her school readiness test and did not do well. According to the teacher she is on the borderline. (But ready for Grade 1) She still writes mirror images of numbers or writes them upside down. She is not dislexic. What should I do? Do you think the dosage should be increased to 10mg? I was very anti Ritalin and to be honest still do not feel comfortable with it, but I' ll do whatever is best for my child.

Expert's Reply


ADHD Expert

Dear Dana,
From the teacher's comments it appears that the Ritalin dosage is correct; the medication is doing its job and helping your daughter to concentrate better and be less disruptive in class. The fact that she did not do as well as expected on her school readiness test is an issue entirely on its own. Remember that you daughter has only had the benefit of 'full concentration' for a month, while her peers have had this for the entire year. She may just need a little more time and extra attention to get up to speed now. It is also important to remember that very few children are ready for school prior to the age of a full 6 years. If she is borderline now, she may pass that border in the next four months; alternatively, repeating Gr. R (which is a fundamental year) with better concentration may be the better option. Ultimately the decision is yours, however, ask your daughter's teacher and the professional who conducted the assessment of their opinions as they have spent more time with her.
Kind regards,

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user comments


Posted by: BMJ | 2009/07/07

Hi Dana

Was in exactly the position as you. My son did another year in grade R . He was already 6 at the end of july. He is now doing brilliantly in Gr1. He also mirrored everything - it is much worse if he is not on Ritalin. If we do homework after the Ritalin has worn off - he still mirrors a lot - but not if he stil has it in him. The pead said it seems to go hand in hand with adhd. How would she feel about doing another year in grade R? I told my son that he had to wait another year because his birthday was after 30 june.

Ritalin has given my son his life back. It is awful for them to be in trouble the whole time and their friends start resenting them too for being disruptive. If your daughter had diabetes, would you give her insulin? If she responds so positivly to the meds, she does need it. Remeber that she will need a higher dose as she grows taller and heavier. My son started with 10mg in the am and 5mg in the afternoon. (Nov 2007) he is now on 20mg long acting - also Ritalin but it works for 6-8hours in stead of 4 as it is a slow release tablet.

You wont regret keeping her back. But you do know her the best and probably can gauge if she will make it or not,

Good luck

Reply to BMJ
Posted by: tinkerbell | 2009/07/07

You must remember ritalin does not make a child clever. It just helps them to concentrate and focus better. If your child is borderline request that she spends another year in grade R. You dont mention when her birthday is. Some children are just not ready for school. My daughter is a December baby. We had her tested and they said she was ready but just borderline. She will never be above average, just average or below average. I decided to keep her another year in grade R and I never regret it. She passed Matric with 4 A' s and 2 B' s. Although she was never on Ritalin. My son on the other hand is on Ritalin but also has a few learning problems. The ritalin just helps him to concentrate and focus. It doesnt take his learning problems away.

Reply to tinkerbell

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