Q: My 12 yr old child is mostly ok in class. His teacher just needs to remind him a few times to keep focused. But my child has a hard time getting thru tests – should he take a Ritalin just on test day?
A: This is a very interesting question in that it goes to the heart of ADD. I am not sure what you mean by “getting through” tests. If your child is easily refocused in class, it may well be that the problem during test time is not due to ADD. . However,if the problem re getting through tests is that he daydreams and gets distracted, then have him sit near the teacher’s desk during tests.
It would be important to have him describe to a learning specialist or educational psychologist, just what the problem is during test time. His answer may warrant educational testing, which is called a psycho didactic test ( אבחון פסיכודידקדי ) in Hebrew. It is not meant to comment on how smart your child is but, rather, how your child makes sense of information. Memory, reading ability as well as decoding, processing information both written and auditory are all addressed.
If your child does well in class and can ask questions as well as understand answers, the problem may very well have to do with understanding the written instructions of a test. Another very common problem is the style of the test. Many children, as well as adults, have difficulty answering multiple choice questions. Others know the information but can’t figure out how to write the information requested in essay form. Once you discover where your child is having difficulty, it is a matter of helping him with the task or having the teacher allow him to answer the same question in a way that shows how well he knows the material, but in a format that works for him.
With regard to Ritalin- this drug is not for “sometimes” consumption. It is meant to be used on a regular basis.