Monthly Archives: June 2012

Zeros on School Assignments

Now secondary educators may be in the habit of handing out zeros to irresponsible students but I am not aware of too many elementary educators who have the nerve to make that move.  Personally I have never given out a zero (an R as in Remedial, sure) unless it was a PM benchmark for reading….and that has only happened once with a child who simply cannot read a word of english even though it is her first (and only) language.

Clearly many parents would be up in arms about handing out a zero to an elementary school child and perhaps this is reasonable to an extent: primary and even junior grade students require consistent adult supervision in order to complete assignments and hand them in on time.  Missing deadlines and handing in barely completed work tends to reflect home life, not the child’s capabilities or interest in school projects. watch RSA animate – changing Educational paradigms 

Grades 7 and 8 however may be a different story.  By that age, most kids should be able to sit down and study on their own.  Years of parental supervision of 12 and 13-year-olds in terms of homework habits should ensure enough responsibility in these students that assignments will get completed unless difficulty level impedes achievement.  In this case, there are many options that can be put into place to address academic difficulty and usually this procedure is put in place years before children enter the intermediate grades. watch the conciolio – parents advocating for student excellence

Breaking down assignments into sections that are granted varying deadline dates is an interesting option that could indeed eradicate the grading of a zero on a student’s paper or test. There are many other options that can assist children in meeting deadlines with quality work, however by high school if this system isn’t already in place, necessary effort and attitude can eradicate this possibility. In other words, it can be very difficult to get a student’s achievement back on track when a teacher is dealing with that student’s “zero” interest in school.  watch edmonton teacher mike tachynski

Ritalin and Children with Neurological Disorders

Ritalin and other similar drugs have such a bad reputation it seems fair to discuss from an objective viewpoint the positive and negative consequences of using a medical stimulant with a child with a neurological disorder. That comment alone might surprise people; that Ritalin is a stimulant.  Most people are under the erroneous impression that Ritalin is a sedative; not so.

A neurological disorder refers to problems with the nervous system and in particular the brain, spinal cords, or nerves. Frequently children are born with these problems; sometimes genetics plays a role and sometimes poor prenatal habits are the culprit. More rarely, children can develop neurological disorders through a brain injury, tumors and infections. In the case of the latter and unlike children who are born with neurological disorders, it is possible to prevent a neurological disorder from developing and it is also possible to reverse symptoms so long as basic, preventive steps are taken in time. watch adhd: to medicate or not

Most common neurological disorders include the following:

  1. autism – there is no cure for autism and there are varying degrees of this disorder. It is characterized by problems interacting and socializing with others, and symptoms typically appear during a child’s first  three years of life. watch ADHD and the brain
  2. meningitis – also called spinal meningitis, it is inflammation of the lining around  the brain or spinal cord caused by a virus or bacterial infection. watch managing meningitis
  3. spinal bifida – the result of a birth defect, spinal bifida affects the spinal  cord and  results in leg paralysis, bladder control problems and learning  disabilities throughout life. watch what is spinal bifida
  4. ADHD – attention deficit hyperactive disorder, characterized by an inability to control one’s impulses, short attention spans and uncontrollable distractions. watch ADHD is a myth
  5. ADD – attention deficit disorder, characterized by a failure to focus on any stimuli in the environment.watch 60 seconds in an ADD brain

Negative Effects of Ritalin
Ritalin is a prescription neurological medication. It is a mild neurological stimulant designed to treat hyperactivity as seen  in ADD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  It’s generic name is  methylphenidate, and has been prescribed for hyperactivity for several decades. watch prescription drugs and side effects

  1. Ritalin is prescribed for children and adults who have difficulty with impulse control.    
  2. Ritalin can alter the growth pattern in children.
  3. Ritalin has also been known to  increase the risk of seizures.
  4. Blurred vision has also been found in some patients, which could  indicate Ritalin has an effect on the nerves affecting the eyes. watch dangers of ADHD drugs

Positive Effects of Ritalin
When there is uncontrollable hyperactivity, short  attention spans, uncontrollable distractions and impulsive behaviors Ritalin  is often helpful. watch ADHD and the brain

  1. 1. Less problematic impulsive behavior
  2.  2. More attention to other people
  3. 3. Less hostile aggression
  4. 4. An increased ability to stick with reading, writing and other projects until they are completed
  5. 5. Increased self-esteem
  6. 6. More appropriate social interactions (e.g., listening well to others or sharing)
  7. 7. Task completion ability
  8. 8. Enhanced math skills

These are only some of the potential positive effects for those who lack effective levels of the neurotransmitter(s) missing in persons with ADD/ADHD when they receive stimulants.

Criminal Case involving Ritalin
A young mother in the States acquired Ritalin on the streets and used it indiscriminately on her 3-year-old son so she could watch her television programs without interruption.  When she brought him to the emergency room of  a hospital for an unrelated reason a young doctor noticed the child seems excessively passive. He contacted police and before she could quickly exit the hospital she was arrested and charged. The child was removed from her care and placed in the foster care system.

watch family guy – mom mom mommy
read life after ritalin
watch why does my mind always seems to race