ADD is a myth, it does not exist as they teach it to you today.
What is ADD?
You know it as an Attention Deficit Disorder because kids can’t sit in classrooms because they have a hard time focusing. I’m not going to dispute that the symptoms can create challenges, but I am talking about the label that we are appending to them that they have a deficit and a disorder. The common sense truth is that you can put these kids in front of a video game and they will play it for hours. Because these kids think faster, think more globally, have more brain power to access than “normal”, average kids that oftentimes have the ability to sit in the normal educational pace that most of our classrooms are. Video games which have multiple sensory inputs keep these kids engaged so we know these kids function faster than other kids.
Secondly, they do not have a deficit.
They have a challenge with a system that is too slow paced for them. Even if they did have a deficit, by law, anything that has a deficit must have a surplus in another area. Instead of labeling them with a deficit, find their surplus and label them with that. Think about the kid that takes medication today and lives their life believing they have a deficit and a disorder compared to other kids. And in a parallel universe, that same kid has a surplus and we work with it and it’s the surplus that helps them handle the challenges of day to day life. Think how much better off they will be
A client of mine has a son that won an educational award in the DARE program about his topic: Ritalin as a gateway drug. His letter said,
“As a young child I learned that were drugs that would alter my moods. It was not marijuana. When my behavior was inappropriate, there was a drug that I could take that my teachers encouraged my parents to give me. The drug is legal and approved by society to help kids perform in the classroom. Teachers really appreciate the use of Ritalin and similar drugs because it makes their job easier. My question is why don’t teachers take Ritalin so that they can cope with us? Ritalin changed my mood from joy and enthusiasm to one of depression and irritability. It made my heart sad, but boy was I focused. And teachers love that.”
If you are a parent giving your child medication, it is altering their behavior.
If Ritalin works for your kid and you are happy with that choice, I honor that. I understand there are some extreme cases, and difficult cases, and normal cases where it works. But for the vast bulk of these kids growing up with this message that they are in a deficit and a disorder, we begin to label in this society and people act accordingly. It’s not the other way around, you don’t look at their behavior and then create the label. When you create a disorder and look at a kid that is above average and is having a tough time functioning in a slowed down environment, they are going to grow up with that label and will struggle their whole lives. Change the label, when you label somebody they accept it and begin to behave accordingly.
Change the ADD label, change this myth. It is not a deficit or a disorder. Find their surplus and work with it, label them with their greatness and their superpower.
Sure, the name is wrong.
There are brilliant things that each child can do who has these symptoms in their life and I think you’re right to point this out strongly – focus on the attributes and the plus sides. The hyperfocus is amazing. I know – I’ve personally lived with this all my life – am recently diagnosed in the UK (where this is still really hardly known, so I had to push hard to get this done). I am now taking meds, with incredible results for me – Positives – I am a researcher, more tenacious than most people I know in finding out the story and gnawing at problems till they are sorted. I decided age 9 I wanted to go to the Amazon. Every penny saved, studied Geography through school, age 17 after school I worked 6 months, studied portuguese, and realised my dream at 18 before college. Tenacious, stubborn! ..Once I get started, that is 😉 – the inability to get started is debilitating.
Point is, I agree ADD/ADHD is a horrible name. There are now lists of qualities an ADD person has springing up on the internet.
But what I will say is that I think there is a reality to it – THERE REALLY IS A DEFICIT – IN COMPARISON to other people. One example: in NORMAL conversation, I pay LESS attention, I do not follow up in the same way as others, I may be inattentive, impatient, I forget stuff people have said (their names/birthdays, anything they say really) more than other people do, and sometimes this has meant that I am not as welcomed and integrated socially as I might be; there have been impacts on my life as I can’t bear the slow tediousness of usual social interactions. So there IS a reality to this which is abnormal.
And I think actually it is REALLY important to acknowledge that so as to make the person with ADD feel better, first, and second to help them take steps to understand it and BE better if they choose to at those things – either through behavioural changes (e.g. making it a mental priority to really focus on a phone call with a friend; telling them you can only talk for 10 mins as otherwise your mind will wander) or through meds if helpful.
So please don’t say there is not a deficit there – there IS, in comparison to the ‘norm’ of what is expected in society.
BUT … ARE there massive positives to this ADD that are not acknowledged fully – OF COURSE there are! Massive massive positives – I love my life. I am more of a risk taker than most of those around me (other mums at school and so on), I thrive on the fast and quick decisions, doing more extreme things physically to get my dopamine rush with sport. I am bright. But you should know that ADDers as a group are similar IQs and intelligence to other people – research has shown that they are no more clever or less clever. Just that their brains work a bit differently. And their zany non-sequiturs in thinking may make people think they are cleverer sometimes, that is all. My lateral thinking has always been off the scale – not surprising if one is unfocussed and on low dopamine actually!
I hope this is helpful for you. I agree we need to be positive about ADD. But I also don’t think you should throw the baby out with the bathwater on this. Don’t deny there are issues that are real and negative for people with ADD. We all need to live together and ADD-ers are not ‘right’ or better because they are zany and creative and ‘superpowers’ – ADDers desperately need help and structure to enable them to get along and be their best, and all the help they can get from themselves and others too.
Point is, we need to know what we are dealing with if we have low dopamine and poor executive functioning. there is a good and bad side to this. The bad side is emphasized because it’s the stuff we don’t want – the negative impact in the class room and grades, or in the workplace with economic impact of workers who are not keeping to the expected norms of functioning. And there is a good side.
But to say it’s a myth because it is not deficit and not a disorder? That’s just incendiary and nonsense. There is an attention deficit. It is a neurological disorder, proved with brain scans now and medication that is effective in helping. BUT there is also a hyperfocus and positive stuff to go with it that is not lauded and appreciated enough.
The other thing I will say is that your comments about meds implying they are mood changing and bad, or should only be used in the most extreme cases, are not helpful. The positive point to stress about most of these meds is 1. They are Short acting – they do not stay in the system long. If you stop taking them, they are gone within hours 2. Dosing level is important – you need close attention from specialists 3. They stimulate the bit of the brain that helps concentrate – this does not shut down all creativity. But perhaps in some children there are changes that are different to what I’ve seen, with different dosings and so on. Or perhaps just it’s such a change from what the parents are used to. When I look back on my school years, I did well, but the stress and strain from living with ADD without knowing about it – deadlines, massive avoidance of work and boring stuff – I have years worth of knots and tension now that I am trying to get out of my neck and shoulders as a result of work stress that my colleagues just don’t have. I wish I’d known earlier. Understood earlier. Please don’t encourage parents not to try medication and try to get it right for their kids and be patient with it for a while. It could radically change their kids lives. Radically.
First off, please let me thank you for the time and effort and sincereity that you put into your comment. It is awesome! Secondly, we are closer than you think in agreement. I say “most of people” with this diagnosis… I say “as taught and accepted”… I say “yes, they have behavioral challenges” (but NOT because they have a disorder or they have a deficit.) So yes, there certainly a small percentage of folks, like you, who the video does not completely apply to… Thank you for pointing out your views and your experiences! However, there are MILLIONS of kids and MILLIONS more of adults that are blithely being drugged and they don’t understand, they don’t understand their options, even from their medical provider. Thus, the point of the video. Please stay in touch, I would love to know how you continue to progress through any other of my videos. Again, Thank YOU!