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NASP Home NASP Publications School Psychology Review (SPR) Volume 5 Issue 4 (1976) Behavioral Alternatives to the Drug C...
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Volume 5, Issue 4 (1976)

Behavioral Alternatives to the Drug Control of Hyperactive Children in the Classroom

pp. 33—39

Hyperactivity in school children has recently become a major concern of parents, teachers, and school psychologists. The problem seems to be an increasing one with high rates of activity accounting for a major portion of complaints made by adults in referring children to outpatient clinics (Patterson, 1955). A common form of treatment for hyperactive children has been the use of drugs to control the whirlwind behavior. In fact, an estimated 200,000 children in the United States are currently receiving amphetamines to control hyperactivity (Krippner, Silverman, Cavallo, & Healy, 1973). Although drugs appear to be very effective in controlling high rates of activity, concern is mounting over their use with children. Many children are maintained on amphetamines for years with no prospect of terminating medication. The various physiological side effects may be risky, and interested adults often notice immediate, undesirable side effects of drugs such as lethargy and irritability. Of particular concern to school personnel are studies which point to the fact that children on medication typically have poor academic performance (Campbell, Douglas, & Morgenstern, 1971; Freibergs & Douglas, 1969 ; Stewart, Pitts, Craig, & Dieruf, 1966; Sykes, Douglas, Weiss, & Minde, 1971). The many concerns over the continued use of drugs with children have led researchers to pose the question: Is there an alternative approach to the use of drugs in controlling hyperactivity in the classroom?

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