Althought not medically recognized until the 1970s, attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity disorders have become near epidemic in the schools over the last 30 years. Currently between 2 percent and 6 percent of all children in schools carries the diagnosis of ADD or ADHD. That means that in a class of 30 students one or more students is likely to have an attention disorder.

The syndrome had been recognized for at least a century but was not given the respectability of an independent diagnosis. In 1845, a children’s book, written by Physician Heinrich Hoffman, included a character called “Fidgety Phillip.” In the early 20th century it was called “a defect of moral control.” In the 1940s, children with the syndrome were diagnosed as “hyperkinetic disorder.”

Some support for formal recognition of the syndrome came in 1960s. During the early stages of medical acceptance of the diagnosis in the 1970s, the parents of ADD children began to organize, forming “Learning Disability Associations.” They established learning centers usually in schools, sometimes supported by school board establishments, sometimes not. The learning centers were classrooms with special carrels that would block distraction so that ADD students were forced to attend to specific tasks. The learning centers had some success in teaching ADD students. They incorporated early home computers into their learning systems and utilized available “teaching machines” to increase the one-on-one or individual teaching impact. The Learning Disability Associations were intense lobbyists in support of formal medical recognition of the syndrome as a diagnosis. It was in the 1980s that the syndrome gained the formal diagnosis of “attention deficit disorder” (ADD) and “attention disorder with hyperactivity” (ADHD).

Development of Treatments:

In 1917, during World War I, soldiers were coming home with the effects of head trauma including effects on behavior and reduced ability to learn. The medical community began searching for treatments. By the 1930s, physicians began using Benzedrine, an amphetamine to treat the learning deficits from this “shell shock” kind of syndrome. They noted that amphetamines, a central nervous system stimulant, a wakefulness arousing medication, increased the patients’ ability to focus. The realization was that the head trauma induced inattention resembling a kind of sleep-like state.

In 1944, Ritalin was synthesized to improve the effectiveness of wakefulness medication. Children showing “hyperkinetic Disorder” were treated with Ritalin with positive effects. Adderall came on the market in 1996 as an instant release form of wakefulness medication. Ritalin and Adderall are currently major types of medication for ADD and ADHD.

Currently, several medications, whose main effects are attention arousal and obesity control, have been tried to treat ADHD types of disorders in children and adults. Some success has been shown with Vyvanse ™ (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate), described as a treatment for obesity.

Medications for ADD and ADHD:

Methylphenidate stimulants are common. These stimulants come under brand names: Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, Methylin, and Aptensin. They come in liquid, tablet, chewable, long-acting, and long-acting chewable forms.

Caffeine under the brand name Diurex is sometimes suggested in mild cases . This medication is unregulated and no prescription is necessary.

Benzphetamine, under the brand name Didrex is a stimulant that reduces appetite and is usually prescribed for weight loss, but sometimes prescribed for ADD spectrum issues as well. This is a controlled medication with legal limitations for its use.

Dextroamphetamine, under the brand names Dexedrine, ProCentra, Dextrostat is a stimulant often prescribed for ADHD. It is a powerfully psychoactive drug causing a number of troublesome side effects like irregular heartbeat, psychosis, and heart failure.

Lisdexamfetamine may be prescribed for ADHD and eating disorders under the brand name Vyanse. This is also a lgally controlled substance that can cause symptoms like those of dextroamphetamine.

Dexmethylpenide is prescribed for ADHD spectrum disorders under the brand names Focalin and FocainXR. This is also a dextroamphetamine-like controlled substance.

The Tenney School was founded by George and Judy Tenney in 1973. From the beginning, the school has relied on one-to-one instructions as the primary method for teaching. Please contact us for more information.