The conditions commonly known as ADD and ADHD are now consolidated under one label, that being ADHD, whether your child has the “hyperactive” component or not. Teachers may tell parents that their child is having difficulty “paying attention” or “staying focused” in class. This is a good and important observation. However, far from being experts regarding the causes and appropriate solutions to attention problems, they are often heard telling parents that their child needs to be evaluated for ADD or even worse, telling them that their child needs to be on medication. This is too often a quick fix, premature and professionally inappropriate statement.
There are three types of attention. Selective, Sustained and Divided.
All are important and we all have them including children who are viewed or identified as ADHD! They have these abilities but not necessarily on the task or content or stimulus or to the degree that teachers and parents want them to!
Very often ADHD is not the problem but a symptom. There are many weak cognitive, perceptual and physiological abilities in children that manifest as the symptom of ADHD! I have yet to meet a child labeled as ADHD who did NOT have AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDER!
Masking the symptom, the band-aid approach, through medication without assessing what is the REAL PROBLEM,is a disservice and frankly a misdiagnosis.
What would you do if a doctor misdiagnosed or mistreated a physical ailment?
If your child has a medical ailment don’t you explore all options? Look for experts? The truth is that answers to most problems require “outside the box” thinking.
Why is the realm of attention any different? Why prescribe toxic opiates and metamphetamines (which are highly addictive) to a child without complete diagnostic comprehensive evaluations (which are not just IQ and achievement tests and a few questionnaires!)?
There are excellent, non pharmaceutical, non invasive diagnostic and therapeutic tools which are highly sophisticated, based on current research, scientifically sound and have been successfully used for many, many years internationally!
Experts in the field of Medicine and Learning have stated that ADHD is a Diagnosis of Exclusion. What does that mean? That means that all medical, neurological, sensory, physiological, emotional, psychological, intellectual and perceptual problems that mimic ADHD MUST BE RULED OUT before a VALID and ACCURATE diagnosis of ADD/ADHD can be made!
This may take months at best! Medical Experts on the subject agree that filling out a few questionnaires, and having a brief exam with your family physician, pediatrician does not constitute a valid diagnosis of ADHD! Yet more often than not this is the case!
I have never seen the correct Professional Protocol followed in over thirty five years as a Learning Expert in the field of Special Education!
The symptoms associated with adhd as inattentiveness, and difficulty concentrating are due to sensory integration dysfunction affecting body in space (spatial orientation), crossing the midline (lack of integration of left and right brain), or other cognitive processing difficulties as slow processing speed, vision and auditory processing difficulties, weak cognitive skills including memory and comprehension as well as a number of medical conditions and nutritional deficiencies to name a few.
There are over 100 identified factors contributing to the symptoms more commonly known as attention deficit and hyperactive (ADHD) disorders. All of these areas need to be assessed and most children with these difficulties respond very well to brain training and other types of therapies and specialized training without the use of medication.
Unfortunately, too many parents resort to medications out of pressure from doctors, schools and family members and most importantly not knowing what else to do! To those of you who feel this way, there are other possibilities! You do not have to make decisions you are not totally confident in because of lack of support or resources.
All aspects of your child’s development need to be assessed. There are no “quick fixes” and you have the right to take your time and explore all avenues. If you are feeling pressured by your schools to place your child on medication, it is time to find a good advocate who is well versed and experienced in IDEA and ADA and working with schools.
Trust your inner knowing, your “mother’s intuition”, even moreso than that of the professional advice you are being given. We often need to “Think Outside the Box” to find the true causes and solutions to our child’s needs. Unfortunately, these are seldom found through traditional educational approaches or family pediatricians. There are numerous highly trained and qualified holistic therapists, learning specialists and integrative medicine doctors who can ease, improve and even resolve many of these symptoms without medication.
Here is a list of Resources that will guide in your search for approaches and solutions to the symptoms of ADD/ADHD.
No More Ritalin: Treating ADHD Without Drugs by Dr. Mary Ann Block
The ADD and ADHD Diet by Rachel Bell and Dr. Howard Peiper
Stopping Hyperactivity: A New Solution by Nancy E. O’Dell, Ph.D and Patricia A. Cook, Ph.D.
The LCP Solution by B.Jacqueline Stordy, Ph.D. and Malcolm J. Nicholl
The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A.
Reflexes, Learning and Behavior by Sally Goddard
One Mind At a Time by Melvin Levine, MD