How To View ADD As A Gift

Do me a favor, please. I know you’re frustrated if your spouse or child or mother-in-law has one of those “labels” like ADHD or Dyslexia, or maybe a physical disability. It’s difficult, trying, exasperating. I know. I’ve been there. In fact, I am there. Look At The Big Picture But I’m asking you to do me a favor. Take a step back and just take a walk with me for a few minutes to a higher vantage point where we can get a better view of the Big Picture. I’d like you to do that and tell me what you can see from this more panoramic perspective. What have you learned about yourself because of your relationship with this “labeled” person? What new skills have you gained because you are tied together? And what has he or she gained because of being in relationship with you? What has he or she learned about handling life and coping with difficulties due to the challenges of the label and the challenges of being related to you? Why Is MY Life So Hard? Now you may want to ask me, “Okay, Deb, I see where you’re going, but why should I be learning all that anyway? Some people have life a lot easier. Why can’t I be one of those people living that life instead of the difficult, challenging life that I do lead?” It’s a fair question, and if you don’t mind, I’d like to respond by asking another question back: Why should a small child, an innocent five-year old be molested? No, let’s not go so far. Why should that...

7 Tips for Coping With ADD/ADHD For Adults & Kids

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from the Florida Jewish News, p. 16 [edited with title change] The first line of treatment for ADD/ADHD is usually behavioral for children and adults. Although there are no shyness pills, one can go to Toasmasters. Although there are no anger pills, one can learn anger management. Just as the parents of an ADHD child need to learn how to handle him or her, the child himself needs to learn strategies for getting the most out of this challenging experience. Here are some ideas: (a) Decide what is good about your ADD/ADHD. Write a list of benefits and prioritize that list. Ask yourself: How can I incorporate my strengths into my daily life, including my work? (b) Allow yourself room in your profession for creativity and, if you are the hyperactive type, for activity, variety, and challenge. (c) Write down or tape record reminders to yourself. I’m a big fan of yellow post-it notes and recommend clients make several copies of the same reminder and post them in places they would expect to look at such as their car dashboard or the coffee jar in the refrigerator. (d) Allow three times the amount of time you think you’ll need for whatever task you are doing. This way, you’ll always be safe. In the same way, tell yourself that a project due Wednesday is really due Monday, a deadline of 4 PM is really 10 AM, and so on. (e) Either create or have someone else create organizational systems for you that govern your schedule, your space, and your paperwork. Use the yellow sticky notes, color coding,...

The ADHD Brain – What Makes It Bad Is What Makes It Good

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from the Florida Jewish News, p. 18. [edited with title change] As a therapist, I find the diagnostic definition of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) really discouraging. It’s all about whatever the ADD person does that’s wrong. In fact, it’s considered a disorder. That’s wonderful if you want special assistance in school (such as sitting at the front of the classroom and getting more time for tests—both of which are required by law when a child has proof of this “disease”), but it’s not so wonderful for the people who now must view themselves through the filter of this negative label. For this reason, I’d like to define ADD more accurately, by presenting the powerful and positive aspects of ADD/ADHD. What’s Bad The definition that you are perhaps familiar with, the negative and depressing one, looks at ADD as a difference in “wiring” of the brain from those of non-ADD people. It is distinguished by a lack of ability to concentrate or focus on tasks, a lack of ability to set a pattern which can be followed in the future (such as deciding where to always place keys so you don’t lose them and then repeating that sequence of steps), and a lack of conscious awareness of this process (which results in not noticing yourself place those keys down, so that later you cannot retrace your steps to find them). ADHD—the additional element of “hyperactivity” that puts the “H” in the ADD definition—may have the added features of impulsiveness (such as blurting out whatever comes to mind without thinking about possible consequences like hurting someone else’s...

ADD? You Must Consider These 6 Things

ADD is a difference in “wiring” of the brain from those of non-ADD people which is frequently distinguished by lack of ability to set a pattern which can be followed in the future (such as deciding where to always place keys so you don’t lose them and then repeating that sequence of steps) lack of conscious awareness of behavior or habits (which results in not noticing yourself place those keys down, so that later you cannot retrace your steps to find them) lack of ability to concentrate or focus on tasks ADHD may have the added features of impulsiveness (such as blurting out whatever comes to mind without thinking about possible consequences like hurting someone else’s feelings or looking ridiculous oneself) lots of extra energy getting dissipated through activities that are either goal-directed (like sports) or not (like pacing). skinniness due to this expenditure of energy [in very young children] poor bowel control due to lack of control of the impulsiveness A quick look at the above lists is quite depressing, so it should be noted that these “syndromes” also contain the following highly desireable features: more energy than other people have that can be directed towards constructive tasks a way of thinking known as divergent in which one idea sprouts another and yet another–the very basis of creativity To back what I say, the following people were thought to have been ADD or ADHD: Henry Ford, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Emily Dickinson, John F. Kennedy, George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Salvador Dali. From this description, I think my child/spouse has ADD/ADHD. How can I be...

Spiritual Treatment of ADHD

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from The Jewish Star Times, p. 19 I first encountered Attention Deficit Disorder when my third child was born. That was 17 years ago and it went undiagnosed. He exhibited signs which, in retrospect, were classic indicators. At age two, a respected educator and psychologist tested him–and missed the diagnosis. In third grade, I knew what I was up against when his teacher told us that when he asks the class a really, really hard question, there would be silence for a moment until a voice would call out the correct answer from under a desk. That’s when we took him to a pediatric neruologist and got the right diagnosis. So Because My Child Is ADD, That Means He Is “Disordered”? Enter, spirituality. We were confronted with the big questions that need to be answered in order to institute a behavioral/medical plan: What is this child to make of this “disorder”? Why was it foisted on him? Does that really make him a “disordered” person, somehow “less than”? What are his siblings to think of him and how should they treat him when it comes to school effort and chores? Why should he have to take medication that tastes bitter? What do we say to him in the evenings when the last dose was out of his system and he showed a rebound effect (even more hyperactivity than if he had not taken the medication in the first place)? What pieces of the problem would the medicine not address and how should we address them? I Told My Child He Did NOT Have A “Disorder” When...

Why Symptoms of ADD/ADHD Are Not Enough To Make a Diagnosis

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from Natural Awakenings, pp. 16-17 [edited with change of title from ADD: A Holistic Approach] I’m not against pharmaceuticals. Not 100% anyway. My mother was a diabetic and I’m convinced the insulin she took daily prolonged her life. But when you’re looking at human behavior, a holistic perspective demands that you exhaust less invasive remedies before turning to medication. Such is surely the case with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a problem for which there exists NO definitive diagnostic tool. ADHD is an easy label to pin on an out-of-control child. The most precise measures we have to determine if a particular child indeed “has” ADHD are paper and pencil questionnaires which parents, teachers, and the child may fill out or take on computer. These questionnaires pinpoint aspects of the child’s behavior, and answering “yes” to a sufficient number of them yields a score which means that that child is behaving like an ADHD child. But is he in fact ADHD-or are other factors causing his disruptive, difficult, and hyper behavior? Before concluding that a given child is ADHD, parents, teachers, pediatricians, doctors, and psychologists are morally and ethically mandated to rule out other possible causes, such as the following: 1. abuse I recently attended a conference where I was amazed to see a video of a 5 year old child totally destroying his room over a three week period. He ripped wooden frames off windows and used the wood to beat family members who entered the room. He abused the dog. He would not let his parents come near him. He was in constant motion,...
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