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Research and Publications Available on Learning Disorders

3/2/2001:   Many persons with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are treated with methylphenidate (Ritalin), but its mechanism of action and effects on the human brain have been poorly understood. According to a news release from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder in childhood. An estimated 3%5% of the population has ADHD, which is characterized by agitated behavior and an inability to focus on tasks. Researchers reported in the Journal of Neuroscience, for the first time, on the effects of therapeutic doses of oral Ritalin on levels of dopamine in the human brain. Dopamine imbalances appear to be closely related to ADHD symptoms. Additional research is needed to determine the effects of Ritalin on persons with ADHD, especially children. For further details, see http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/jan2001/nida-16.htm.

CWLA Press has just published a handbook for teens and adults affected by ADHD and other learning disabilities: Learning How to Learn: Getting Into and Surviving College When You Have a Learning Disability by Joyanne Cobb. The author, president of Learning and Employment for Adult Dyslexics (LEAD), holds bachelors and masters degrees from George Washington University and gives many examples and tips based on her own experiences in learning with a disability. Chapters include information on the Americans with Disabilities Act, finding and getting into college, taking standardized and other tests, assistive technology, time management, and hints for general living. Lists of resources, organizations, and schools with services for learning disabled persons are also included. To order, visit http://www.cwla.org/pubs.

Another CWLA publication, ADHD Handbook for Families: A Guide to Communicating with Professionals, by Paul L. Weingartner is written by a clinician who works with children who have ADHD. In addition to his professional perspective, he gives a personal account of his own strategies, as a person with ADHD, to change the way he interacted with family members and coworkers. Topics addressed in the 15 chapters include how it feels to have ADHD, diagnosis, intervention, measuring behavior, behavior modification, and common myths and misunderstandings. Published in 1999, this 133-page paperback has an extensive list of references and resources. It is available from http://www.cwla.org/pubs.

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