- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2001

Some adult facts about 'children's disorder'

I would like to compliment Mona Charen on her insightful and balanced Commentary column, "ADHD and its critics" (March 5). I agree with her opinion that while "too many parents are having their children labeled and medicated erroneously" "the anti-Ritalin backlash has discouraged many parents from seeking an evaluation of children who are clearly hurting."

It is not only children who suffer when problems stemming from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) go unevaluated. Adults who are not diagnosed with ADHD in childhood often never find out why they do not function properly in society. Also, children who have been diagnosed often do not follow up with their treatment as adults. Often, this is due to the "embarrassment" factor that is perpetuated by critics of ADHD.

Ms. Charen is also right that ADHD has been treated with stimulants since the 1950s. But it was then believed to be a problem that children grew out of by adolescence. Children were rarely kept on stimulants past sixth or seventh grade, and follow-up treatment into adulthood didn't exist.

This was true with two members of my family, both of whom have struggled in adulthood with ADHD. While they are successful in their chosen careers, both lacked organizational and time management skills, which caused frustration and stress. Both have sought treatment as adults, despite the negative connotations, and have benefited tremendously.

I suspect there are many more from the 1950s, '60s and '70s with similar experiences. I would like to encourage them to consult with their family doctor on adult treatment for ADHD. It can lead to peace of mind and the elimination of barriers for success.

ADHD is not a widespread problem for children or adults. It does exist, however. While anyone seeking treatment for their children or themselves should be cautious, they should also remain open-minded. Diagnosis and treatment can mean the difference between success and failure in life.

CATHY MCNICKLE

Sterling, Va.

Yes, gun-control laws help the criminals

The shootings Monday at Santana High School in Santee, Calif., have something in common with the December office shooting in Wakefield, Mass: Both occurred in states with Draconian gun laws, states in which self-defense is not an option.

Massachusetts and California have the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, but these laws could not keep these atrocities from happening. For further proof, look at the District and Maryland, where gun laws are rapidly approaching the restrictive level of those in California and Massachusetts. The District is the U.S. murder capital, and Baltimore has more robberies than any other U.S. city (per capita, according to the U.S. Census Bureau).

There is a reason for these similarities. In areas where guns are restricted, criminals feel safe. They can be certain that people in those areas will not be armed. The criminals, on the other hand, hardly feel restricted by these laws.

ROBERT E. BRAND

Gaithersburg

Neither Reagan nor Clinton responsible for soaring economy

R. Emmett Tyrrell's March 2 Commentary column, "Tax sense and economic savvy," can hardly be called balanced. There was a very good reason why President Reagan's 1980 campaign promises were called "voodoo economics. " He promised to cut taxes, increase defense spending and balance the budget. He came through with the candy by cutting taxes and increasing defense spending. However, he was unwilling to give us the medicine of balancing the budget, which would have entailed slashing federal programs and likely would have cost him a second term. Instead of submitting balanced budgets, Mr. Reagan left it to Congress to do the dirty work. When it wouldn't, he blamed it for the result. So much for taking responsibility for your actions and your campaign promises.

Neither Mr. Reagan nor President Clinton is responsible for the soaring economy of the '90s. Mr. Clinton raised taxes in 1993, and despite Republican forecasts of doom and gloom, the economy still soared. The information revolution, not the so-called Reagan revolution, brought about the soaring economy, prodigiously raising productivity levels in its wake. It's a safe bet that it would have occurred regardless of whether Mr. Reagan or Mr. Clinton had ever set foot in the White House.

JOSEPH R. FARRELL

Alexandria

'Land grabber' not fit to be Bush environmental policy czar

Liberal Republican John Turner has a lot of powerful friends, including Rockefeller family lobbyist and former Sen. Alan K. Simpson, who defended Mr. Turner in the March 4 Commentary Forum column "A character of conservation." But that doesn't make Mr. Turner qualified for key environmental position in a conservative Republican administration.

Mr. Turner is a former director of the Fish and Wildlife Service under presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush. For the past several years, he has been president of the Conservation Fund, a controversial land acquisition trust fund.

Mr. Simpson defends Mr. Turner's record, claiming Mr. Turner has promoted "teamwork" and "creative programs." Here is the rest of the story:

As Fish and Wildlife director, Mr. Turner made Endangered Species Act enforcement the service's "highest priority," lobbied for massive new land acquisition funding, worked with Democrats in Congress to begin wolf reintroduction into farming and ranching areas, and listed the Northern Spotted Owl as an endangered species based on flawed scientific data.

As Conservation Fund president, Mr. Turner attempted to expand the boundaries of Antietam Battlefield National Park by condemning the property of farm families in the area.

He forced a family out of their home on Metinic Island, Maine, because it was a bird habitat and then allowed the Fish and Wildlife Service to refurbish the cottage and occupy it as summer retreat. His newsletter published the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters "hit lists" of targeted Republicans five times in four years.

The Bush administration can fulfill its promises in support of private property rights, or it can appoint land-grabber Mr. Turner as its "czar" of environmental policy, where he will undermine both Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman.

MICHAEL HARDIMAN

Lobbyist

American Land Rights Association

Washington


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