I have been reading the questions and answers on your website... I have a 6 year old daughter with down's syndrome, who just recently has been diagnosed as having all the symptoms of ADHD. Today is her first day on Ritalin. After much research and deliberation, I have conceded to giving it a try.


How long should it take to see whether or not the medication is helping her? She at this time exhibits extreme hyperactivity and very short attention span. Also has crying spells for no apparent reason, or when circumstances just do not really warrant such extreme reactions. I am very interested in this trial for several reasons.. First and foremost being that FINALLY there are other options or possible 'causes' for her behavior other than simply the fact that she has 'down's. This is exciting to me. I have felt all along that even though I realize that she will be slower than most children developmentally, she also is a CHILD...and being the fourth of our five children, we do our best to just raise her as we do the other kids.. No special treatment...expectations are the same for her...based on age appropriateness of course...and the very same reprimands and rewards are offered to her as the others. I feel this is VERY important in not only making her feel less 'different', but also in allowing her to demonstrate her own limitations, (which to this point are not as most 'experts' would have us believe.)

Back to my original question, if RITALIN is not necessary will it not work?? and how long should I give this 'trial'? I understand it will take time to even establish the correct dosing for her as an individual and am not looking for a 'quick-fix' so much as really trying to help her get the most out of all that is being offered to her, both at home and at school. I am a full-time stay at home mom, by the way, and can personally say that her behavior is exactly the same at school and at home. Thank you in advance for any input you can give me.   -- Sincerely yours, TMW.

There's no theoretical reason why Ritalin won't have the same effect on a Down's child as anyone else - in other words making your daughter more methodical and able to stick with things she finds boring or difficult. Being that she is a six year old child with developmental delays I expect her compliance and day to day management is your biggest problem with her and not so much her learning (though that's important too). The medicine "works" for virtually everybody, child, adult, ADHD, or not. So whether she does or doesn't respond has more to do with how angry, sad or anxious she is or much testing behavior she is doing to determine her limits. Interesting about her Down's because so many of these children are extraordinarily placid, but not yours. By the way it is the very nature of the ADHD personality that your other children have responded very well to your parenting efforts and it's precisely her ADHD that demands that you deal with her differently; otherwise she will continue to struggle. I find your situation interesting and haven't had anyone ask me this question yet, so it may wind up in my FAQ's. I'll make sure your name is omitted.