Jan. 8, 2008
In the summer of 2007 FRONTLINE asked producer Marcela Gaviria to return to Denver to report on the four children whose stories she featured in her 2001 report on ADHD, Medicating Kids. Here are brief summaries of how they are doing today.
Nicolas is now 11-years-old and has just started middle school. His parents say the pressure to medicate Nicolas for his behavior persisted throughout his years in elementary school. Eventually, to qualify for extra assistance at school, Nicolas did go through a battery of tests and was given an ADHD diagnosis. But, despite the insistence from teachers, the Duperrets have never opted to give their son medication.
Nicolas remains a very active kid, but his parents think he's gradually become calmer over the years. They say they have found that the best strategy is to keep him busy. Nicolas is an avid soccer player. He also speaks fluent French and studies piano. In recent years, he has competed at the Colorado State Federation Festival piano competition and has participated in National Guild Auditions.
Noelle is now 19. She recently graduated from high school and is making plans to go to college, she is considering becoming a teacher. Over the last seven years, she's been on a number of different medications - Adderall and the non-stimulant Strattera for ADHD, and Zoloft and Wellbutrin for depression. At one stage, she was on a cocktail of several drugs at once. Getting the right mix, she says, was a long process of trial and error.
At the moment, she's scaled back her medication. She still struggles with her concentration, particularly in school, and believes she has ADHD. The symptoms, though, are less pronounced than they used to be and she feels that she's gotten better at dealing with them. She does expect to keep taking medication for the rest of her life. But, these days, she only takes her pills when she feels she needs a little extra focus.
Alex is in his final year of high school. He no longer takes any psychiatric medications. He has mixed feelings about the medications he took as a child and believes he is better off now that he is no longer on anti-depressants or stimulants. He is well adjusted in school and has many friends, but still struggles academically. Alex plans to attend college next year.
FRONTLINE was unable to report on Robin's story.
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