Ritalin and Cerebral Palsy – Three Week Update

Pink Flower All Alone

Little Green has been faithfully taking her Ritalin, which we call her “super vitamin,” at breakfast at home and then at lunch at school for about three weeks now. (We call it this because she already takes a daily multivitamin and she takes the Ritalin at the same time in the morning. We also call it this because that’s what I do – give funny names to mundane things. For example, I call her SMOs her “feets.” I am not trying to trick or confuse her. She knows it’s medicine. It’s just how we roll.)

What I am learning is that I wanted this pill to magically take away all the tantrums and to calm my child all day, every day. Are you laughing at me yet? Go ahead and laugh. I’m ridiculous. I said something like this at the recent IEP meeting, and the principal smiled at me and said kindly, “There is no such thing.”

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Playdates and Tantrums and Neurotypical Friends

The Aftermath of a Tantrum
The Aftermath

Little Green has been in an inclusion class since she was three and moved from the birth-to-three early intervention program into preschool. Now she’s nine and in the third grade. She’s with her neurotypical peers more than half the day (specials, lunch, recess) and pulled out for therapies and small group academic work. She also has gone to an inclusion camp for the past four years. It’s what has, thus far, worked well for her, and we are all very pleased and proud.

As a result of these wonderful inclusion programs, LG has made a lot of friends who do not have disabilities but who know and understand her for who she is, which is wonderful. Those friends actually want to be around her, and she thrives in their presence at school and at camp (and beyond). When she’s with her peers, she walks more, she talks more, and she works hard to keep up with those around her.

But away from the structure of school or camp, playdates are a nightmare, and Mr. Green and I are at a loss.

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Ritalin & My Kid with CP – Not for Typical Reasons



I am just a mom. I am not a researcher, not a doctor, and not an expert. I am writing this blog post because when I typed some of these words (cerebral palsy, Ritalin) into Google, nothing came up that was relevant to our situation (using it to manage dystonia, not ADHD). I am hoping to share my personal experience and nothing more. And I reserve the right – as I always say on my blog – to change my mind or to update or to correct myself or to recognize my own mistakes. These words are not chiseled in stone, they’re written in the fast-flowing river of the Internet and are how I feel today.

Also, if you think medication is evil or that I’m making the wrong decision, you clearly don’t live in the house with my kid nor know what else we’ve tried, so move right along, thanks.

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