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27 Dev. Mental Health L. 1 (2008)

handle is hein.journals/dvmnhlt27 and id is 1 raw text is: DEVELOPMENTS IN
The Institute of Law, Psychiatry & Public Policy - The University of Virginia

Volume 27, Number 1

January 2008

The Tug-of-War Over Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:
Balancing the Interests of Parents and Schools
(and Don't Forget the Kids)
By Amanda Slater* and Ronald E. Reeve**
1. Introduction                                 Also in This Issue:
Kamela Nelan, Restricting Waivers
The diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity  of the Presentation of Mitigating
disorder (ADHD) and the prescription of  Evidence by Incompetent Death
ADHD medications, like Ritalin, Concerta, and  Penalty Volunteers ............ 23
Adderall, have reached an all-time high in this  Developments in the USSC ........ 49
country. The increase in the use of these  Developments in Virginia ..... 54
medications among children has fueled an  Developments in Other
ongoing debate over how to diagnose and  Federal Courts ......................... 63
treat ADHD in school-age children. At the  Developments in Other States... 68
center of the debate is a controversy over  Other Developments ............... 72
what roles teachers, parents, and school
administrators should play in identifying and
treating students with an ADHD diagnosis.

This article contends that teachers and school
officials should be able to initiate steps that
will lead to the implementation of an
educational strategy that addresses the
treatment needs of these children. Albeit
infrequently, when it can be established that
treatment is medically appropriate and
consistent with the educational best interests
of the child, the initiation of these steps may
need to occur notwithstanding the objection of
the child's parents. However, it will also be
asserted that a far better course is to
implement measures that will (1) facilitate
parent-teacher discussions of and joint
agreement on treatment strategies that will

best help students with ADHD achieve
educational goals, (2) promote the resolution
of disputes between parents and school
officials about educational strategies, and (3)
encourage input from the child on the best
strategy to employ.
Part II of this article explains what ADHD is,
who it affects, and how it is diagnosed, and
examines the different treatment options
available to individuals diagnosed with ADHD.
Part III outlines the controversy surrounding
ADHD medications. Part IV addresses the
rights of students and parents to refuse ADHD
medication, Part V explains when the state

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