Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder [ADD / ADHD]

Advice for living with ADHD

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder [ADD / ADHD] | 0 comments

Advice to Families

Some of the issues relevant to dealing with this problem can include:


All of us need to feel competent, able to take on life’s many responsibilities. Therefore, it is risky to view your child as hopelessly irresponsible because of his/her disability. it renders both you and your child powerless. On the contrary, parents need to encourage their children to accept responsibility for themselves. In turn, children who are respected by adults are more likely to feel self-confident and competent.


Family members of children diagnosed with ADD or ADHD often report experiencing a loss of their own coping and competency skills. Family members need to seek ways to rebuild their own confidence, competency and self-worth. These ways may include conversations with extended family, friends, and/or professionals, all of whom can help family members reconnect with their own talents and skills. One of the major effects of ADD or ADHD is the undermining of self-confidence and the competency of family members. In order to succeed there must be a rebuilding of confidence, competency, and self-worth for all family members.


Most of us need the support of our family and friends. This is especially true with difficult situations. Our children cannot solve all their problems on their own. They need to know they havea support from competent, caring people (family, friends, teachers) who can help them deal with the problem–and not see them as the problem.

Parenting issues

When difficulties arise with our children, we inevitably judge ourselves as caregivers and parents. We may wonder: have we done the right thing?. Did we do enough? Too much?, Did our partners do the right/ wrong thing? What more could we have done?
But perhaps it is equally beneficial to ask ourselves the following questions:

  • What effect has my child’s problem had on how I feel about myself?
  • How has it affected how I feel about my child? My partner?
  • How distressed am I?
  • Am I finding ways to avoid my feelings of anger, bitterness, disappointment, resentment and/or fear?
  • Should my reactions be address in their own right?
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Solutions – do’s and don’t’s

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder [ADD / ADHD] | 0 comments


  • Be clear about what exactly the problem is rather than looking at diagnoses.
  • Address these problems directly.
  • See the problem as something that has characteristics and a life of its own.
  • Notice how this problem has different effects on the lives of everyone it touches.
  • Be on the lookout for how you can join with others, particularly the child, to undermine the strength of the problem.
  • Try to do this without excluding or isolating anyone.
  • Look for evidence of the child’s success over the problem.
  • Make the most of the child’sis success.
  • Create a context for the recognition and encouragement of success.
  • If the child takes medication, give him/her/them credit for theirtheir contribution to any success.
  • When the child has outgrown the diagnosis of ADD or ADHD, celebrate their graduation.


  • Don’t give in to the pressure to label or diagnose.
  • Don’t notice only the problematic behaviors.
  • Don’t think of medication as the “solution.”
  • Don’t blame yourself for your child’s difficulties.
  • Don’t let the experience of this problem isolate you from others who might provide support.
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Questions about ADHD

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder [ADD / ADHD] | 0 comments

Questions for Parents and Caregivers

Some questions parents and caregivers can ask themselves include:

  • What problems lead you to suspect your child has ADD or ADHD?
  • Do you feel like you are in a power struggle with your child?
  • Is there any way you can undermine this power struggle?
  • Are there times when your child has exerted some control over these problems?
  • Are there times when your child has not allowed the problem to happen or been able to eliminate it sooner than usual?
  • Can you begin to look for instances when your child is exerting some influence over these problems?
  • How can you talk with your child to help them see and experience these instances of influence over the problem?
  • How can you help them notice success (however small) instead of failure (however great) in dealing with the problem?
  • What effect have these problems had on you, your sense of yourself, as a parent and as a person?
  • Should these effects be addressed in their own right?

Questions for Young People

A child or young person faced with such difficulties can find it helpful to respond to the following:

  • If you were to speak for yourself, what would you say is a problem in your life?
  • How have others described your difficulties?
  • Do you agree with them? What do you agree with? What do you disagree with?
  • Would you like these problems to stop or go away?
  • Have there been any times when you were able to stop these problems from happening or make them go away more quickly than usual?
  • Have there been times when you were able to recover from them more quickly than usual?
  • Would you be able to experiment for a short time with trying to stop the problems from happening, making them go away more quickly than usual, or recovering from them more quickly than usual?
  • Who would you like to help you in this experiment?
  • How can others be of help to you in this experiment?
  • Who would you like to notice you being successful in this experiment?
  • When the experiment is over, would you like others to look for evidence of failure or evidence of success?
  • What would it be like for you if others found evidence of success?
  • Would feeling successful at being able to influence these problems make it easier or harder to put effort into being more successful?

Questions for Professionals

You may be involved with children and families in a professional capacity. Before making interpretations or coming up with diagnostic labels, you may want to identify the exact problem. Some suggested questions are:

  • What behaviors are problematic?
  • How can you and others name and address each of these behaviors without a label being applied?
  • Is there any evidence the child has been able, even in a small way, to take responsibility for the problem behavior?
  • Is there any evidence the child has been able, even in a small way, to stop, reduce, or not engage in the problem behavior?
  • If so, how can others help the child in increasing this ability?
  • How can others help the child take more responsibility for doing this?
  • What can you do to help others encourage the child to further demonstrate this ability and responsibility?
  • How can you create a wider audience of teachers, peers, family and others for the child’s success?
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Case Study: Daniel Age 14

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder [ADD / ADHD] | 0 comments

Daniel has been in foster care for most of his life. He is now fourteen and has been with the same foster family for the last six years. His foster parents, Jean and Bill, find him extremely demanding and difficult to handle. They believe Daniel has a psychiatric or neurological disorder and want to find the correct diagnosis. However, they feel let down by Social Services, who do not support them in this quest. Jean and Bill have seen a number of programs on TV about Ausberger’s syndrome, autism, Tourette’s syndrome, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. However, no medical practitioner with whom they consulted believed Daniel had any of these diagnostic categories. Eventually, they found a pediatrician who was willing to diagnose Daniel with ADHD and prescribe Ritalin. When the Ritalin did not make any difference, they became angry with the medical profession for not being able to recognize Daniel’s pathology.

Eventually, although reluctantly, they succumbed to pressure from Social Services to go to counseling. Jean said that she was not going to stay; she only came to be certain the therapist understood the truth of the situation. She spoke of their conviction of Daniel’s pathology, their anger at Social Services’ lack of support, and the medical profession’s reluctance to agree with them. Daniel, in this situation, was shy and withdrawn.

The therapist asked Daniel if he would be willing to talk on the phone the next time he had a bout of anger. He agreed. Later that day Bill called. Daniel had not been allowed to watch his favorite TV program before finishing his homework. He got angry and abusive, threw around some ornaments, and then went outside and began hacking down the garden with a big stick. To everyone’s surprise, when Bill asked Daniel, he came to the phone. At first he was just huffing and puffing. The therapist talked to Daniel quietly, gently asking him questions. Eventually, Daniel began giving “yes” or “no” answers and indicated that talking on the phone was helping him to calm down. He also said this was what he wanted to do. Over the space of an hour he was able to gain self control and begin an attempt to make amends for his destruction and abusiveness. As a result of this call and with Bill’s support, Daniel began to develop a list of people he knew. He wrote a letter inviting some of them to be part of a telephone support group that he could call on when he was afraid an outburst was threatening. In this way Daniel gradually began to experience support in regaining control over these outbursts.

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Possibilities for Change

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder [ADD / ADHD] | 0 comments

We might ask others and ourselves what would we do if there had been no invention of ADD/ADHD? Pperhaps we would remember the skills, abilities and resources we could draw upon.

These might include the following:

  • Put the problem into a context. What has happened in the past and what is happening in the present in the young person’s life and relationships?
  • Be aware that some children, especially boys, are vulnerable to reproducing male violence and aggression, especially if they were victims in their lives of abuse and violence perpetrated by men.
  • Realize this problem may be a reproduction of some of men’s ways of being, rather thant a genetic inheritance.
  • Be aware of the ways in which children express emotional distress (often but not always as a result of abuse), and how parents and professionals describe these expressions as “behavioral problems.”

There might be ways of assessing and naming learning difficulties without needing to come up with new labels and categories. There might be ways of providing extra learning supports that do not pathologize children, but rather are helpful to them.

Thinking about the problem in new ways allows us to assist our children toin growing up into theira lives.fe They are given an opportunity to take control back from diagnosis and take responsibility for success back from medication. Believing we need special treatment and interventions for ADD/ADHD blinds us to our long cultural history of expertise:, skills and success in parenting, teaching, social work, and counseling children and families that have such problems.

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Living with the Problem

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder [ADD / ADHD] | 0 comments

For many children, parents, caregivers, and teachers the problems associated with those children diagnosed with either Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are very real. For some children it may simply be mean an inability to concentrate in a traditional classroom. For others, it involves a constellation of behaviors creatinge a full range of problems.

Most often teachers experience male students as exhibiting the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. These boys are loud, aggressive and impulsive. Behavior management with explosive and erratic students is a full-time job; they need more attention than one can possibly give. As class sizes and work loads have grown, teachers have less support in the classroom than they once did. The use of medication, such as Ritalin or anti-depressants, becomes an inviting solution.

Parents or caregivers
The experience of parents and caregivers who have a child dealing with these kinds of problems can range from a “challenge” to extreme distress. Some parents and caregivers have good resources and support from family, friends, and professionals. Others may experience disadvantages related to social class, race, or education. For children in this situation, whose families do not have access to resources, an ADD/ADHD diagnosis not only fails to solve the problem, but it makes it more difficult for families and professionals to see or attend to the societal and emotional issues.

The diagnosis of ADD/ADHD has a profound effect on children as it impacts their sense of identity, self-confidence, and self-esteem. For some, particularly those who already have a strong sense of themselves or are confident that they are worthy, loved, competent, and good, a diagnosis may be simply a name for the cognitive difficulties they experience. Unfortunately, many others might see themselves as a “problem,” not likable, untrustworthy, too rough, lazy, stupid or “mental.”

Diagnosis for these children can seem like a confirmation that they are bad or damaged.

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