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Adult ADD

And ADD in Kids

A transcript of a discussion on the Men's BBS

 

For starters, it's a medical problem, or an issue in our lives, that few of us talk about. But when I read Driven to Distraction (Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratley, M.D.) Order on-line I recognized myself walking through those pages, whether or not I've actually been medically diagnosed. Hey, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck ...

As I read the book, and saw its stress on Ritalin (methylphenadate), I also found lots of valuable hints for my own life, whether I have ADD or not. Things like having organizations and structure in my life, and a support network of friends (especially my wife, who is also non-diagnosed) to cue me and keep me on track. As soon as I mention the topic, folks either talk to me about the book or want to learn more about it. So I've had some interesting dialog with Men's Forum members, colleague Forum Managers, and friends and acquaintances in my physical life.

If it's an issue in your own life, you need to consider whether to seek the professional advice of a doctor (M.D., homeopath, naturopath, osteopath or whatever) and/or a counselor. (Be forewarned, of course, that not that many counselors actually have experience with adult ADD, and ask the counselor you go to some very specific questions about their experience about this. Bernetta and I were disappointed to find that our counselor, helpful in many other ways, was totally clueless.)

Here's a transcript of a discussion we had about that on the Men's BBS.

Book cover

Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping With Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood by Dr. Edward M. Hallowell

Order on-line



Order on-line
An controversial analysis of the true cause of Attention Deficit Disorder. Based on personal experience and years of medical practice and research, Scattered is a groundbreaking book that explodes the conventional wisdom that A.D.D. is a genetically based disorder, declaring instead that its roots are environmental. Dr. Gabor Maté, a family physician and himself an A.D.D. sufferer, asserts that A.D.D. originates in infancy as a response to conditions that fail to provide a necessary degree of emotional or physical security. Financial problems, marital strife, job stress, and substance abuse can all create an environment that may trigger A.D.D.


George T. Lynn

Book cover

Survival Strategies for Parenting Your ADD Child

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Book cover
Talking Back to Ritalin: What Doctors Aren't Telling You About Stimulants for Children
by Dr. Peter R. Breggin
Reviews
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Related:
Jason Fernandes
Letter From a Learning Disabled Kid. 15-year-old Launches World-Class Web Site to Help Others.





Order on-line
An controversial analysis of the true cause of Attention Deficit Disorder. Based on personal experience and years of medical practice and research, Scattered is a groundbreaking book that explodes the conventional wisdom that A.D.D. is a genetically based disorder, declaring instead that its roots are environmental. Dr. Gabor Maté, a family physician and himself an A.D.D. sufferer, asserts that A.D.D. originates in infancy as a response to conditions that fail to provide a necessary degree of emotional or physical security. Financial problems, marital strife, job stress, and substance abuse can all create an environment that may trigger A.D.D.
 

Adult ADD

  Paul:

Bert, How did you get a Doctor to diagnose the ADD? I believe I have the same problem and took my step-daughter's Ritalin for years as I found it relieved the problem. I can't use the Ritalin now as I haven't been diagnosed and (obviously) have no 'scrip. I'm going to El Paso tomorrow for a week. Might pop over to Juarez to pick up some Ritalin.

PJ--

" It is not necessary to understand things in order to be able to argue about them. "

Beaumarchais. 1775

  Bert:

PJ,

You ask an excellent question. In truth, I am not at all willing to have a doctor diagnose ADD, nor is Bernetta willing to have a doctor diagnose her. The M.D.s are all so very willing to prescribe Ritalin. We both have grave misgivings about the extent of M.D. knowledge, especially with regard to not noticing or caring about side-effects.

How did I come to this conclusion? Somebody sent me a promo copy of Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratley's Driven To Distraction: Recognizing And Coping With Add From Childhood Through Adulthood. (ISBN 0-684-80128-0), in hopes I would interview him for the magazine. Hallowell and I both being ADD, we never connected. (He has a funny story in his book, about his first ADD group therapy session. A man rushed in, very frantically, 20 minutes late - into an empty room! The others were distracted, too busy, caught in traffic jams, or whatever.)

Anyway, BINGO! In fact, another FM and I were talking about this just last week. "If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck" ... and I could relate to all the tests in the book, and all the behaviors he describes. He has some very practical suggestions, aside from pumping folks full of Ritalin. So the medical diagnosis is unimportant. I don't really care what label folks want to put on me. His suggestions for deliberately adding structure in my life, and to set up a support system that "cues" me in the right way ("How did x go?" or "Have you done x yet?" instead of "You f*****ed up again, promised but never delivered on x") are a great help. The FM also recommended a ginko herb derivative which he says has worked well for him. I haven't tried it yet, but he says folks noticed the difference in him within days.

I wondered as I've seen your posts, whether or not we have a kinship here.

Most non-ADD folks think of "distracted," "short attention-span" and "no focus." They have no clue that digging in with a single-pointed focus and manic-like behavior, to do a sleepless marathon effort to complete something creative (ignoring distractions like food, sleep, relationships) is equally as symptomatic.

For myself, the stress-relief strategies we talked about in the other thread (physical exercise, quiet meditation, carving time out to slow down and listen to music). I'm especially grateful to Bernetta for stressing the the value of exercise in burning off the excess energy, and in truth I feel the consequences of not following the advice of Betnetta-the-exercise-addict.

Of course, I can only speak for myself and Bernetta. I think if we felt that these strategies weren't effective in helping us gragging control of our lives, we would each or both also sek medical or counseling advice. And in fact the counseling that Bernetta and I have each received addreses the ADD issues, if only in an indirect and unarticulated fashion. Neither one of us have sought a counselor or an M.D. who was specifically trained in ADD. And you need to know that there are very many therapists out there who also don't know much about adult ADD.

And when I get O (for the non-ADD folks, the name of that O is "a round tuit") I'll start a special section on adult ADD.

Bert -- Bert H. Hoff Men's Issues Forum Manager

ADD in Kids

  Nina:

In the late 1800's, researchers noted that individuals recovering from serious head trauma often presented with inattentive and distractible behavior. In 1902, a researcher by the name of G.F. Still described a disorer in childhood which he referred to as a Defect in Moral Control. The set of problems, inattention, impulsivity. He observed this was a disorder that occurred more frequently in males than females. He dedescribed possible causes of the problem, including heredity, tram. He was also quite pessimistic, feeling that there was very little that could be done for these children. In the early 1900's, especially gollowing an outbreak of encephalitis, researchers began reporting on restless, impulsive and overactive behavior. In the 1930's, Charles Bradley, began experimenting with stimulant drugs for these children and saw a dramatic effect in them. In the 1940's, research with soldiers experiencing head trauma as the result of war wounds. In the 50's and 60's this disorder, was la bled as hyperactivity. Children with the disorder but without sign of hyperactivity fell through the cracks. In the 70's and 80's, research began to focus on the issue of attention and implsivity. Then came the name Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Better known as ADD and ADHD, which brought with it a definition of the disorder. It is not my "job" to convince anyone that it exist. All I know is it is easy to sit back and judge others. It is much harder to live with something every day misunderstood by many. I have been blamed as his mother, as a single mother the sad part was I belived it for awhile. I did not buy into anything or look for an easy way out. I looked for the best way I could to help my child. Thousands of studies tell us what these kids can't do, but few tell us what they can do and who they really are. That is the work I have done with my son's school was to get them to focus on what he and other child with this disorder can do.

Nina

 

CarolAnn:

First of all, let me point out that this is not directed at any parent on this board. It is simply my opinion, and I stand by it.

While I don't argue the existence of ADD or ADHD, I bemoan the rush to medicate the children without the benefit of any other treatment.

If the research is valid, these children will have to learn to live with their disorder for the rest of their lives. Medicating a child without addressing the existence of the lack of self-esteem is a formula for disaster.

Medication is no more than a tool - the children must be taught how to live with ADD/ADHD, including being taught impulse control techniques, self-talk, etc....

When I was diagnosed with Chronic Major Depression, it was made clear to me that I would battle this for the rest of my life. I take anti-depressants, but I don't depend on them solely to control my mood swings and irrational behavior. I have learned to recognize the signs of control loss and to deal with them appropriately. While my control is not perfect and I don't see any signs that it will be, I do not use my diagnosis as an excuse. I hope I have managed to teach my son not to use his recent diagnosis as am excuse either, and I don't accept it myself as an explanation for any behavior he may exhibit.

If I had a dollar for every parent in Scouts and sports that excused their child with "Oh, s/he's got ADD" I would be able to retire now. I tell them the same thing - I won't accept that as an excuse in my team/troop, and I explain why. Most of them are a little surprised, but see my point. I have had a few huff off and report me to whatever authority there is over me. That's fine - I have never been removed from a position of leading children because of it, and I believe that to be because many parents are tired of the children with ADD disrupting their children's lives and getting away with it. Most of the parents I work with recognize that I am fair to their children and I expect the same level of behavior from all the children I work with.

The children with ADD frequently need time to themselves to regain their control, and I am willing to do this. I am also willing to talk with a child to bring him back under control. I will not punish a child for something I believe to be out of his/her control, but I will not accept ADD/ADHD as an excuse for inappropriate behavior. I have seen too many children respond positively to methods employed to teach them self-control to believe it can't be done.

When the child is taught to recognize they are losing control, they can be taught appropriate methods of dealing with the loss of control. -- Be well - CarolAnn http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/1326 --<--<-{{@ Doing it One Day at a Time!

 

Rene:

CarolAnn - Excellent post and it brings up several important points, which psychiatrists often dismiss. That is alternative treatments. I have had several students each year in my class that have been diagnosed ADHD and one this last year that has ADD. The majority of the parents take the Ritilan and expect miracles, and are often frustrated and disappointed their child doesn't turn into an angel and straight A student overnight. The medication, they are led to believe, should FIX the problem without further intervention. I take inservices and classes every year to keep up with the latest on ADD/ADHD/ and now ODD (oppositional defiant disorder). I work with my parents to help them understand how behavior management and further education for themselves and their children are necessary in order to learn to live with this disorder.

I also have a friend whose son was diagnosed ADHD and refused to medicate him, choosing instead to place him in a behavior management program for boys and following a strict diet that has been found to have good results with "hyper" kids. It has not been easy, but there have been good, solid improvements as a result of her diligence. I always recommend this approach to my students' parents, to compliment their choice to medicate.

On a side note, as far as easy diagnosis of these disorders - in my 7 years at my present location, I have had 9 students come in labled ADHD - I believe only 2 of them truly had the disorder. I saw parents wanting an easy answer for disruptive children, and looking for a quick fix - not understanding that the labeling of their children will follow them throughout their lives.

- Rene

"Learn to teach...and teach to learn."

 

Nancy:

>>On a side note, as far as easy diagnosis of these disorders - in my 7 years at my present location, I have had 9 students come in labeled ADHD - I believe only 2 of them truly had the disorder. <<

Rene, Last month didn't someone come out with a study that showed pediatricians overprescribe antibiotics just to please parents. I think the same thing is true in the "disorder" field of medicine. Maybe people should just be spending time coping with what was given to them, than reading magazine after magazine about how to better themselves, and looking for something to cure them. -- Nancy

 

Nina:

Parents of a child with ADD should receive instruction in behavior management. Ritalin is not magic, it doesn't change the behavior of the child. It allows the child the ability to concentrate and learn things such as self-control, self-discipline and behavior that is acceptable. Ritalin cannot mask the problems of ADD. It is still there and these children are a challenge to raise and to teach. The child with ADD has a hidden handicap with which he will often need help for many years.

My son knows that his medication is only to assist his concentration and allows him to exert more efficient control. My son knows that the Ritalin is not responsible for his behavior but that he himself is.

Parents who use ADD or ADHD as an excuse for their child are doing a dis-service to their child.

Mis-dianoses are becoming more and more apparent. Children with Bipolar Disorder (Manic-depressive) are being seen that have been labeled ADD or ADHD. Children with clinical depression, are being seen with both depression and ADD.

ADD or ADHD will not go away if ingnored, it will not go away if treated, but a child can learn to live with it.

also: Michael only takes his medication when he is at school, never at home. At home the need is not there, as home is less structured than school.

Nina

 

CarolAnn:

While I was having a multitude of problems with my oldest, I took him for an appointment with a psychiatrist he had never seen before.

After talking to the child for 15 minutes, he told me Robby had ADHD and wanted to immediately prescribe Ritalin. When I expressed hesitation, he informed me that he didn't see why I had bothered to bring Robby in if I wasn't going to take his diagnosis. My response was that I failed to see why he should be insulted that I was hesitant, and that his methods of treatment left a bit to be desired.

I found a psychiatrist willing to actually test Robby, and the diagnosis was Major Depression, which can frequently manifest itself in the same manner as a child with ADHD/ADD.

Robby has been treated for depression and has made great strides. -- Be well - CarolAnn http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/1326 --<--<-{{@ Doing it One Day at a Time!

 

Nina:

April 6, 1990

My dearest Michael,

I sit here and cry tonight, I do not blame you for getting kicked out of pre-school again. I wish I knew if what I am doing is right. They, teacher, doctors, and more doctors, say it is one of two things. One is that I am not a good enough mom for you, and that your dad left three years ago. Or they say that you have this thing called ADD, and need medication for it. I have been reading for two months everything I could find on ADD and a drug they call Ritalin.

Please don't blame your daddy for leaving, he just could not deal with a family anymore. The only problem with that is you are stuck with just me. I can not just leave your well-being up to physicians or to teachers without finding out as much as I can before I make a decision.

Maybe this is because I was sad during the time I had you inside of me. Maybe this is my fault, but this is new to me. Shawna and Ben do not have problems like this. So even with you being my third child I have no experience with this. You will be four next month, and as I put you to bed tonight you said to me "mom sometimes, I do not want to live anymore." This scared me to death, my heart quit beating.

Michael, you have been different since you were born, but are so very special. I love the three of you with all my heart and as a family we will deal with this. This ADD that they talk about so many have told me it is a cop out. Other say it is true, to say I am confused is an understatement. I am scared, but I promise you that I will find out everything I can before I make a decision on your behalf.

This is one of those times that I must face my fear, and not listen to anyone but find out all I can on my own. Know my young son that I love you from the bottom of my heart. And I will not let you walk this road alone.

With all my love always, Mommy

 

Rene:

Oh, Nina - what a beautiful letter. I hope you save it to share with Michael when he is older. Listen to your good heart and your instinct, which is right on target. From "getting to know you" through reading your posts, you will make the right decision, whichever direction you choose to take with him. You are a great mother, and Michael is a lucky little boy. Good luck. -- Rene, wiping away tears...

"Learn to teach...and teach to learn."

 

Nina:

July 7, 1993

To Whom It May Concern:

At the meeting on June 17, 1993, it was decided to start over with a new assessment for Michael. I was asked to consider what I believed Michael's needs are for our next meeting. As his mother, my first instincts are to deny and protect. Even though I know that it is a very high form of love, to allow someone for whom we care deeply to suffer the natural consequences of their behavior, and thus to have the opportunity to learn the particular lessons that behavior will teach. When we feel responsible and out of our own fear and guilt we can short-circuit those consequences and therefore those lessons.

Since a lot of Michael's emotions and behaviors seem to be beyond his control, it has always been somewhat difficult for me regarding Michael. So it was with a great deal of effort to view Michael objectively, that I arrived at the conclusions of how I view Michael and what I feel his needs are.

Michael's temperamental and behavioral characteristics are inattentiveness, distractibility, impulsiveness and opposition. He becomes emotionally over-aroused with a low frustration tolerance. He can be extremely demanding, frequently clowning around or displaying annoying attention-getting behaviors. He sometimes has difficulty adjusting to situations and has a hard time following rules. At times he seems unmotivated and lacks a desire to please.

Michael shows a remarkable ability to pay attention under certain circumstances. For example, while watching television or being read to. Yet, he has difficulty concentrating on activities that require sustained attention, therefore, he has trouble completing tasks. He has difficulty following instructions, especially if they involve many steps. He appears not to listen. He often loses or forgets things. He has difficulty planning his actions and shows poor judgment.

Michael needs constant mental stimulation, but is easily bored. On the other hand, Michael is creative, intuitive, and intelligent. Michael's fine motor skills are delayed, which affects his writing. As he states, he gets "tired of writing." Michael needs to feel safe and secure in order to ask for assistance. He needs uncomplicated and clear instructions with guidance. Directions and rules might need to be repeated several times. He needs to feel he has some control over his environment, and when possible, he needs to be allowed to have choices. he needs to learn to resolve his feelings. He thrives on consistency.

Michael is able to adapt more easily and adjust when made aware of changes early on. Michael then can understand the consequences if he chooses not to comply with the expectations. He needs praise when he is compliant. he needs to have time to regroup his emotions. Michael has made progress regarding his impulsiveness. Michael needs encouragement and support in doing the things he thinks he can not do. Realistic expectations and attainable goals need to be set, to help him achieve confidence. Without losing sight of his strengths, and for positive mental growth he needs to learn to compensate by learning alternative strategies. He needs encouragement to form relationships. He need to practice acceptable social-skills.

I am concerned about Michael's self-esteem. he has expressed a feeling of being different and unable to do what everyone else does. When frustrated he refers to himself as stupid or dumb. Michael is extremely sensitive and emotional. At times I have seen him demonstrate excessive, needless worry with a sense of impending doom. He can alternate very quickly between insecurity and daring. I continue to focus more on his strengths without denying his weaknesses. This has become an effective tool in helping Michael.

Respectfully,

Nanina M. Hawk

 

Kathy:

Bert and Nina,

Probably Einstein would have been diagnosed with ADD if it had been one of the things of the moment when he was growing up.

When my youngest was in elementary school, his teacher complained two years in a row that he was not doing what he was supposed to do. He had not finished his Math., but he had read every book in the room. I kind of wondered where she was, but she complained so about the state of schools, etc. (even though we are in the best school district in the city) that I did not pressure her. I tried to get my child to do what he was supposed to, without her reminding him....The next year, he had a male teacher. He said marvelous things about this child. I waited. I finally asked him if he didn't have a complaint about the child not doing what he was supposed to do. He told me that he saw my son reading and would sit down and say, "What are our future projects? When are they do?" That was enough to get my son back on track.

The other thing I have noticed is that the creative child is the child who gets the most criticism. She/he is likely to be the one who is off gathering wool or daydreaming. School systems are not geared to the creative child at all.

If there is a drug for it, there seems to be a rush for it. It makes life so much easier for the adults who find a kid a handful...or is there, all of a sudden, a rash of ADD kids out there who never existed before?

Kathy

 

Nina:

Kathy, Your post was quite interesting about your son. Two years ago I went to an awards ceremony for gifted children at Duke University. It's a program where 7th graders in the top three percentile of standardized tests take the ACT or SAT. The top two percentile of these kids tested get an award from Duke, I think John Hopkins has a similar program for the Northern folk. Anyway the women sitting next to me had a son getting an award in language skills. He scored a 29 on the ACT Language section as a seventh grader. However, she told me during his first three years in school, he was assigned to special Ed classes for not finishing his math or not doing what he was supposed to be doing in class, etc. She fought the system, and got them on the right track. - Nancy

 

Glyn:

After reading "Wyrd Kids...", I can certainly agree with the idea (as I understood it) that young males with ADD have an even greater need for a father in their life. One of my sons, my 14 yr old was diagnosed as having ADD. I resisted the drug option (Ritalin) for several years because I didn't think it was needed from what I saw. The truth, however is that what I saw was only a small part of his behavior. The lad was pretty much uncontrollable by anybody but me, and my control only held if I was present. Eventually we did try the drug, and wouldn't you know, I didn't help. I've cried myself to sleep a couple of times after watching him suffer through structured social situations (no, I don't cry easily. no, I'm not a sensitive 90's kind of guy. and no, I don't make excuses for him.) Perhaps his condition is a result of something in the environment, but in his case it is more likely because bio-mom was strung out on methamphetimine while she was pregnant. I know that parents should think positively about their kids, but in truth it horrifies me to think about how his life might turn out if I don't monitor his activities to the point of suffocating him. I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.

glyn

 

CarolAnn:

Glyn:

Although neither of my kids are ADD, one of them was lucky enough to inherit Chronic Major Depression from me.

I have had Robby medicated for quite a while, and his behavior had improved, but before we discovered his problem he would try crazy things like running in front of cars, etc... Only later did he tell me that he wanted to die because he was so tired of feeling the way he did.

I was at my wits end trying to figure out how to deal with him. I certainly understand how you feel.

By the way, there is a new medication for ADD called Adderal. While I am not usually an advocate of medicating children, I have seen a friend's child respond magnificently to this medication. You might look into it.

-- Be well - CarolAnn http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/1326 --<--<-{{@ Doing it One Day at a Time!

 

Nina:

I would like you to read what I had written in the Newspaper in my town, to a man who said that ADD is an excuse, because you can only decide for yourself. Having to live with it with my son I have seen ADD and its effects.

It is easy to sit back and judge others. It is much harder to live with something every day misunderstood by many. In response to Gene McCaffrey article about the use of Ritalin. As a parent with an ADD child, I will talk Ritalin with you, Mr. McCaffrey. I did not buy into anything or look for an easy way out, as you suggest. I looked at the best way that I could help my child. This is my third child, he was 3 and 4 years old when it was apparent there was a problem. He is older now, and I know we have come a long way. You can blame me as his mother; you would not be the first; and I am sure you won't be the last. You could blame me as a single mother doing the best I can for my children. It is inconsequential if there are people who wish to blame me. I realize we live in a society where people need someone to blame, whether it is the truth or a lie. I would have eagerly let you or anyone else walk in my moccasins for the guilt I have lived with, as for a time I believed it when it was stated I was at fault. When ADD was diagnosed and Ritalin was suggested I didn't say, "Duh, OK." Instead, I went out and found out all the information I could on ADD and Ritalin. My children are important to me. I don't trust their well~being to a physician or to a teacher without finding out as much as I can before I make a decision.

Teachers are usually the first to spot the problems. Once a child enters school they spend more of their waking hours at school than they do with their parents. Food substances ingested by children are often suggested as the cause of poor learning and attention, as well as other behavioral problems. Studies involving sugar have shown that children allowed to use any amount of sugar do not behave differently. Heredity is the single factor shown to be a common associate of children with attention disorders. Children with ADD are four times more likely to have siblings and parents with ADD. We can also discuss a cause for ADD in terms of brain dysfunction. Brain stem centers contain the cell bodies which produce chemicals such as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals are then sent through axon to all areas of the brain. Some information is available to suggest that dysfunction of the dopamine system is important to ADD. Medication is a widely used intervention for ADD. Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is also the most widely studied medication given to children. One can view the effect of medication upon the attention system as a stimulation of the normal system of the brain stem that regulates attention and concentration. When this system is stimulated, it is able to function and adjust a child's attention and concentration level appropriately. If a child needs and wishes to sit quietly and pay attention, the functioning of the attention center allows this to happen. A non-functioning attention center, as occurs with ADD, does not allow the child to control his activity, attention and concentration. Thus, when the attention center is stimulated, a child is able to control his attention and concentration and appears to be quieter. Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is an amphetamine like drug. It works by stimulating the part of the brain that in not working. McCaffrey said he asked several doctors why it has a "reverse" effect on children and none could explain it. When I could go to the library and find out, I think we should be more terrified of the ability of the physicians in Fort Collins. Ritalin is not magic, it doesn't change the behavior of the child. It allows the child the ability to concentrate and learn things such as self-control, self-discipline and behavior that is acceptable. Ritalin cannot mask the problems of ADD. It is still there and to and these children are a challenge to raise and to teach. The child with ADD has a hidden handicap with which he will often need help for many years. My son knows that his medication is only to assist his concentration and allows him to exert more efficient control. My son knows it is not the Ritalin but he himself who is responsible for his behavior.

Nina M. Hawk

 

Charlie:

Nina

There have been some new studies that suggest different a combination of a much smaller amount of Ritalin and another drug, works to combat ADD/ADHD better. The problem I have with Doctor's so frequently prescribing Ritalin, is that the long term effects it has on children have not been done. Ritalin itself has a large number of side effects, that in the long run, could manifest itself in these children as they get older. Ask your Doctor to check out what new treatments are out there. Do a search on the internet for the latest studies that are being published. I commend you for your hard work, to keep your son from relying on the medication too much. I know it can be frustrating and difficult at times. I wish you all the best.

--

Any Friend of Harvey's, Is a Friend of Mine.

Charlie

 

Rene:

Nina -

It is so difficult to decide to medicate your child. As a teacher we understand that, and at least in my case, I am always very careful before even suggesting there may be an attention problem. I always make sure to talk to the children's doctor myself to share my insights about the child in the classroom. I have to share a story about one of my students, Randy, who was the most severe of any of the ADHD children I have had. I wondered if anyone ever talked about it, especially to him, so one day I sat down and asked him about it. I thought it might help me to understand what he needed if I could get his perspective of living with the disorder. He told me, quite seriously, that he was like a video tape running on fast forward. All the same pictures, information, etc is there - it is just going to fast to be understood all the time. When he took his medicine, he could slow the tape down to "play" speed and be like other kids. He wanted to take his Rit. He didn't like the way he felt without it. his mother, like you, gave it to him for school - but on weekends or holidays, he didn't take it. Unless he requested, which he did at times because he felt out of control. He knew he was responsible for himself, and he had a great understanding of what he was dealing with. Believe it or not, he was only 9 years old. Since then, I have always made it a point to talk to my ADD/ADHD kids, to get their perspective. And I have used Randy's video analogy to help them understand themselves, as well as help their peers understand them. Randy went from a child on the verge of expulsion and failurein second grade to one of my top students in third grade. He helped me as much as I hoped I helped him!

--

Rene

"Learn to teach...and teach to learn."

 

Nina:

Rene,

I am glad to hear you say that, you sound like a wonderful teacher. Care to move to Colorado? I have already got Kathy scoped out for Junior High in a couple of years. Not too many teacher take the time to find out how the child feels. I do not blame them they have a room full of students to teach.

There is a wonderful book, that I wish to tell you about. "PUTTING ON THE BRAKES" Young People's Guide to Understanding ADD/ADHD. Order on-line The book is writen by Patricia O. Quinn, M.D. and Judith M. Stern, M.A. The book is for kids, but great for grandparents who do not want to read all the techinal stuff. The only way you can find this book is through, Magination Press. I have a 800 number for them, I am not sure I can put it here.

The book talks about ADD, feelings, Gaining Control, Making Friends, Understanding Medication, becoming more Organized. It give kids a feeling of not being alone in this. I like the book because it talks about and helps explain things like.

~How can I be better at following directions?

~How can I be a better listener?

~How can I become better organized and not lose things?

~How can I keep track of all the things I need to do?

~How can I stop being so messy?

~How should I study for tests?

~How can I make my work look better and neater?

I wish this book would wind up in book stores. It is a great book for kids 8 -- 13. The gain that I will make is it may just help a child. :-) Order on-line

Nina

Rene, the world needs more teachers like you and Kathy! Thanks for sharing your story! :-)

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George T. LynnSurvival Strategies for Parenting Your ADD Child

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Related Article

Wyrd Kids and Planetary Survival
by George T. Lynn. An article about the "differentness" of boys with ADD or Tourette syndrome, that also speaks to men with adult ADD.

Our Schools and "Attention Different" Boys The Challenge of ADD
A chat with George T. Lynn
Are our schools equipped to handle "attention different" boys who act out or curse in class? That was the subject of a recent chat with expert George T. Lynn, author of Survival Strategies for Parents of ADD Kids.

Talking Back to Ritalin
Dr. Peter Breggin, author of Talking Back to Prozac, raises serious questions about Ritalin


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