Edited By Curt Dudley-Marling and Alex Gurn
7 “Requires Medication to Progress Academically”: The Discursive Pathways of ADHD - Rebecca Rogers & Michael Mancini 87
Introduction Evan Treader (pseudonym) is eleven years old and in fourth grade. He shows excitement about reading and writing. He proudly shows certiﬁcates that name him as “student of the week” and student with the “biggest smile.” June, his mother, hangs his near perfect spelling tests on the refrigerator. The following statement is found on Evan’s individualized education program (IEP): “Evan is a healthy boy. He does have ﬁne motor difﬁculties and takes medication for atten- tion deﬁcit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He requires medication to progress academically.” This statement foreshadows only one of the contradictions em- bedded in labeling Evan with ADHD. That is, this statement contradicts research indicating that, while stimulant medication such as Methylphenidate (i.e., Ritalin) can be effective in reducing the symptoms of ADHD, there is a lack of strong evidence that it improves academic performance in the moderate or long term, particularly with children who have been diagnosed with a co-occurring learning disability (LD) such as Evan (Carlson & Bunner, 1993; Conners, 2002; Snider, Frankenberger, & Aspenson, 2000). During a visit to his house for data collection, Evan and I read a book to- gether called Stars in the Darkness, a story about a young boy who comes up with a plan with his mother to save his brother from gang life and organize his neigh- bors to stand in peace. In response to the book, Evan shares the ﬁrst time he saw a shooting, at six years old. SEVEN “Requires Medication to Progress Academically...
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