Monday, November 09, 2015

Traditional Classroom Model - Not for ADHD Students!



Doesn't Work for ADHD Student                            Best for ADHD Student

30+ students per classroom                                  Less than 20 Students
Whole word learning                                             Phonics
Rows                                                                  Work/Study Groups
Level playing field idea                                          Learning differences accepted
Low stimulation room                                            High stimulation room
Primarily auditory methods                                    Multi-Sensory Methods
ADHD = “Developmental Lag”                                ADHD = Neuro-Biological Disorder
Children are "little adults"                                      Each child an Individual
ADHD Child - “immature”                                       Teach appropriate behaviors
"Goals and Objectives" Emphasis                          Evidence-Based Remedial Methods
Motivation/Responsibility assumed                         Teach Motivation/Responsibility 
                                                                                        (ADHD student’s core problem)

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

What Does ADHD Look Like in School?

What It Looks Like In School

*Excessive talking
*Off-task behaviors
*Distorted sense of time
*Disorganized or Perfectionistic
*Responds negatively to correction
*Often unprepared, loses materials
*Poor/conflicted peer relationships
*Disruptiveness, clowning, defiance
*Difficulty with Transitions/Changes.
*Physical restlessness or slow moving
*Careless mistakes, omissions, rushes
*Doesn’t seem to “get it” (cause-effect)
*Incomplete work, not finishing on time
*Misses and/or misinterpret social cues
*Poor recall, forgets, trouble memorizing
*Homework is missing; but it’s completed!
*Inconsistent performance (grades, behavior)
*Defiant and/or uncooperative, or overly submissive
*Relates better to older and younger children (not with peers!)

Academic Problems -
*Messy, stilted hand-writing
*Trouble copying from board
*Poor reading comprehension
*Difficulty reading; dislike of reading
*Written expression (getting it on paper)
*Difficulty with sequencing (auditory, visual)
*Math. concepts, word problems, times tables, algebra
*Poor grammar; sentence structure; punctuation; capitalization

But, often does well in PE, Art, Music, and/or Science

Not All symptoms need be present

Monday, November 24, 2014

5 trends driving global rates of ADHD

"5 trends driving global rates of ADHD"
Brandeis University
Peter Conrad and Meredith R. Bergey attribute ADHD’s growth to five trends:

1. Drug companies are effective lobbyists, and have spurred some countries to relax marketing restrictions on stimulants.
2. Psychoanalytic treatment with talk therapy is giving way to biological psychiatry—treating psychological problems with drugs.

3. More European and South American psychologists and psychiatrists are adopting the American-based Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) standards, which are broader and have a lower threshold for diagnosing ADHD.
4. Vocal ADHD advocacy groups work closely with drug companies to promote pharmaceutical treatment.

5. The easy availability of ADHD information and self-diagnosis online empowers consumers to ask for prescription treatment.

I approached this story with great interest.  But the more I read the more annoyed and disillusioned I became.  It is written by a sociology professor and a doctoral candidate at Brandeis University.  One of Professor Conrad's areas of academic emphasis is the "medicalization of society".  Another is the "sociology of ADHD."  Ms. Bergey appears to be primarily a medical researcher, most recently from the University of Pennsylvania, with no apparent background in ADHD.  These factors are important as they directly underlie the basic theme of their "study", i.e., the international medicalization of ADHD.  So that's their bias.
My bias stems from being a 40+ year veteran of direct clinical practice and study of ADHD.  From my viewpoint, Professor Conrad and Ms. Bergey are academicians whose "theories" clearly emanate from the "ivory tower" of education.  Not the "real" world.  There are several clues within their "5 trends" to their cloistered perception of the world of ADHD  -

1. Drug companies do have a significant influence but are not a primary driver of ADHD diagnosis or of medication usage.  Stimulant medications are not "bad" in and of themselves.  Their appropriate prescription, management and usage are the key problems.
2. "Psychoanalytic treatment" never, ever was considered an appropriate treatment for ADHD.  One form of "talk therapy" called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) along with Family Therapy are evidence-based treatments for ADHD.  There is no mass-movement from these latter therapies to "biological-psychiatry."

3. The "broader" diagnostic guidelines in DSM-V ARE research and evidence-based.     
4. Stating that, "ADHD advocacy groups work closely with drug companies", tends to imply some collusion.  For the most part, ADHD advocacy groups maintain a primary allegiance to consumers  -  parents, families and ADHD adults.

5. The easy and increased availability of ADHD information and screening tools on the Internet are primarily positive public education mechanisms.  The action of consumers asking physicians for prescriptions is a doctor-practice-management issue.  Perhaps THE most significant factor in both excessive and inaccurate ADHD diagnosis is the FACT that over 90% of physicians who first see potential ADHD patients do NOT follow accepted guidelines for diagnosis or treatment.
Prof. Conrad and Ms. Bergey appear to be out to make-their-mark in the current realm of ADHD controversies.  Their contribution is of dubious value.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A More Complete List of ADD and ADHD Symptoms

ADHD Symptoms:

1. Difficulty Waiting: Impatience (Rushes; waiting is frustrating)
2. Hyperactivity or Restlessness: In motion a lot (fidgeting; squirming)
3. Emotional Over Arousal: Anger, silliness (Over-reacts to many situations)
4. Stubbornness: Defiant, oppositional (Resists many things; wants own way)
5. Distractibility: Trouble sustaining concentration (Can’t stay focused; off-task)
6. Impulsivity: Behavioral and cognitive (Acts without thinking; mind always going)
7. Tactile Over Arousal: Skin sensitivities (“Touchy-feely”; bothered by touch; too rough)
8. Social Problems: Trouble with relationships (Offensive behaviors; argues; isolates self)
9. Disorganization: With time, things, thoughts, short-term memory (Poor time-sense; looses things; messy; overwhelmed, poor recall, confabulation)
 ADD Symptoms (without  hyperactivity):

*Distractibility: Off-task
*Trouble Focusing: Can’t get focused; drifts
*"Spacey", Daydreaming: Mind wanders, a lot
*Shyness: Loner; social anxiety (isolates; social avoidance)
*Emotional Sensitivity: Feelings easily hurt; compassionate
*Passive Non-Compliance: Avoidance (silent; absent; sullen)
*Cognitive Impulsivity: "Mind mess", wanders at “light speed"
Disorganization:  With time, things & thoughts
     *Poor recall (ST memory deficit)
     *Poor time sense (lose track of time)
     *Appear "Perfectionistic" (compulsive efforts to compensate)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What's it Really Like to have ADD/ADHD?

What's it Really Like to have ADD/ADHD?
OK, now I've read just one-too-many media stories about ADD/ADHD that simplistically say it's inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity.  OMG people!  It is much more than that!  No wonder ADD/ADHD has an image-problem and about one-third of the world thinks we're just a bunch of wimps and whiners.  Let's get real.  Here's what it is REALLY like ……
*Often mentally and/or emotionally overwhelmed
*"Body Clock" is out of sync (different sleep pattern)
*Exceedingly difficult to wait in many circumstances
*Frequently feel "not OK" mentally; feel “different”/"odd"
*Frequent “I don’t want to” sensation, and can’t explain it!
*Others frequently react - angry, avoid, annoyed, frustrated
*Mind "wander off", "tune-out", frequently and involuntarily
*Poor emotional control in frustrating or exciting situations
*Distorted sense of time, passage of time, and of the future
*Frequently lose, misplace or forget many day-to-day things
*Real fatigue in response to frustrating/distasteful situations
*The harder we try, the worse it gets (brain activity decreases)
*Sloppy and disorganized, or struggle intensely to be organized
*Great difficulty paying attention to uninteresting/difficult tasks
*Intense difficulty facing the consequences (self-consciousness)
*Often say/do things impulsively, automatically, without thinking
*Involuntary physical and/or mental restlessness: ongoing or off/on
*Average or above-average IQ + inconsistent symptoms = severely challenges others efforts at understanding ADHD
*Worst of all, many believe the ADHD person purposefully, willfully, and knowingly does the above things
*So, they believe the ADHD person makes a "choice" to do these things
*So, they treat the ADHD person accordingly!

(Note: Not All ADHD individuals have All these problems.  However, most ADHD people experience a majority of them.)