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ADHD Drugs Don’t Boost Kids’ Grades

Young school girl putting head on desk, looking tired or bored

An article in the Wall Street Journal cited a long term study that indicated children who are prescribed and take ADHD drugs are not better off academically than other children with ADHD who did not take ADHD drugs. ADHD drugs, like Ritalin and Adderall, have been studied extensively over the years and seem to improve focus, concentration and short term memory. It would follow that anyone taking the drugs would also improve academically, so why does a study of over 4000 children in Quebec over 11 years find that boys who took ADHD drugs actually performed worse in school than those with a similar number of symptoms who didn’t?

It may be that the drug’s benefit seems to wear off over time (approximately 3 years according to one study). It may be that some, if not many, children were misdiagnosed with ADHD and may suffer from other issues that impede focus and attention. It may also be that a key issue is not addressed when treating the symptoms of ADHD; development of skills that will enhance education and cognition.

Many symptoms related to ADHD are also symptoms of vision related issues like convergence insufficiency (the inability of both eyes to focus at the same point at a given distance) or what has been commonly referred to as “lazy eye”, amblyopia (one eye does not see as well as the other). In Vision Therapy, a patient undergoes a series of prescribed activities to develop vision skills that enhance their cognitive abilities, like reading and comprehension, as well improving cognitive focus and attention and other ADHD like behaviors.

If you would like more information regarding Vision Therapy and Developmental Optometry, please contact Virginia Vision Therapy Center. We offer a thorough screening process and can diagnosis a multitude of vision related issues that are sometimes misunderstood and not treated effectively. Our staff is ready to provide professional and effective Vision Therapy to improve the lives of children and adults suffering from vision related challenges.

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