Ritalin May Make Learning Easier - Health News Story - KRXI Reno

Ritalin May Make Learning Easier - Health News Story - KRXI Reno

By: Dr. Jim Roche

Ritalin is about the most common medication prescribed for ADHD. Usually it is prescribed for the problems of focus and concentration. This new research demonstrates that Ritalin is also effect, at least in these animal studies, for improving learning speed. Learning speed and processing speed, two similar but different issues, are the focus of concern of the research of Russell Barkley and several others in the field.

This current study was published March 7, 2010 in Nature Neuroscience.

While medication is considered to be the most effective intervention for issues of focus and concentration in ADHD it is often not enough. Children and adults have often developed inappropriate behaviour response patterns to compensate for their ADHD symptoms, and additionally have not learned to use many appropriate behavioural responses and social skills. Therefore behavioural interventions are still needed, even with the often immediate and striking improvements we see from medication. If your child is in school his or her Individual Education Plan (IEP) should address the need to teach and reinforce new "replacement" behaviours. A Positive Behaviour Support Plan should appropriately address these missing links that have developed over time. Understanding them often means conducting of FBA or Functional Behaviour Analysis prior to developing a plan.

Adults often go through this activity when they engage in behaviour therapy for ADHD. For both children and adults specific training might address issues of social skills, self regulation of affect (anger management), response inhibition (the ability to think before you respond), task initiation (procrastination), mental flexibility (the ability to revise plans) and goal-directed persistence (sticking with a task until it is finished). As you might imagine, as effective and necessary as medication may be, there is no medication that quickly teaches these skills. In addition to these skill sets we often need to train individuals in planning, organization, time management, how to improve and use working memory (some very basic skills many individuals don't know about!) and metacognition (self-monitoring, asking yourself "How did I do that? or How am I doing?" in order to improve your performance. Learning and mastering these skills seldom happens automatically.

For more information on ADHD assessment, treatment and support you can visit my web page at www.drjimroche.com or www.relatedminds.com.