Drug-free ADHD Treatment
Real Causes of ADHD
Most ADHD books rehash the same worn out theories and treatments. Instead, ADHD: Drug-free and Doin' Fine and ADHD: A Path to Success offer a new and refreshing perspective on ADHD that resonates with your own personal daily experience.
ADHD is not a deficit, defect or neurological disorder. Rather, it is a highly refined, short-term coping skill that backfires in the long-run. Children adapt to unpleasant situations at school and home the same way adults do, by building emotional defenses. They make themselves more comfortable by learning to automatically divert their attention away from the trigger for unpleasant feelings.
Fortunately, extinguishing these bad feelings and the resulting
Homework Help Hell
When homework help becomes a struggle between children and parents, it can trigger escalating emotions including yelling, stomping, breaking things, physical violence, and running away. This, in turn, often triggers similar emotions in parents and more pressure on the child, thus more arousal in the child and less attention to homework. Night after night, the same pattern is repeated, often cycling to greater extremes.
For many kids, just the thought of homework gets them agitated, angry, anxious, and bored. The negative feelings triggered in the child can make doing homework impossible because these emotion drain the attentional resources needed to do the homework. Thus, it is impossible to think clearly. This is similar to not doing well in an argument because you are upset, then later, when you are calm, thinking of all of the brilliant retorts you should have said. Many kids find themselves in an equally emotionally intense and unproductive situation with their homework. Their emotional arousal blocks access to the intellectual knowledge and skill necessary to do assignments. Until the emotions are resolved, efforts at skill development and task completion are ineffective.
Reading & Math Problems
Most learning problems I see are just learned phobias, most typically to reading and math. Conditioned emotions, particularly anxiety,drain children's attentional resources so there is little left to focus on the task. The behavioral signs of this emotional arousal are often obvious: wiggling, grimacing, or complaining for example. No one can learn efficiently when they are this upset. Emotions drain attentional resources (working memory) so that there is little left to do school work. Nonetheless, we somehow expect children to be able to do this and label them learning-disabled if they cannot.
Though this can effect any subject, reading and math are particularly vulnerable because both require storing a series of steps and information in short-term working memory. Reading comprehension requires storing the last several words in short-term memory. When emotions absorb working memory, children are unable to store enough words to create meaning. Thus, poor reading comprehension.
Likewise, math problems require remembering and doing a series of steps. Emotional arousal absorbs the working memory necessary to remember the steps. Thus, the child does not know what step to do next. When this phobic emotional arousal is extinguished, children often made dramatic progress in reading, math as well as other areas.
Social Skills Deficit
Many children who struggle in social situations are misdiagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, rather than the more accurate social anxiety inhibiting the expression of social skills. To tell the difference, watch how social performance changes in different situations. If there are situations, such as with familiar adults, family members or siblings, where social performance is better than others situations, such as with peers, then you know that the child possesses the social skills, but they are inhibited in some situations, probably by social anxiety. In this case, social skills training, coaching, etc. are seldom effective because you are teaching the child skills he already has. However, extinction of the social anxiety that inhibits these skills is usually very effective in helping the child demonstrate their already present social skills, everywhere.`
These children want to be accepted by their peers, However, they are very hurt and frustrated by their lack of social success. This negative feedback increases social anxiety, which further inhibits the expression of social skills. As this feedback loop iterates, dealing with social situations becomes increasingly uncomfortable. Because of this consistent negative social feedback, many of these children become depressed, anxious and angry. This just compounds their social difficulties by further paralyzing them in social situations.
Behavior problems usually begin with the child's attempts to avoid bad feelings such as anxiety, anger or embarrassment, and unintentionally reinforced by adults’ and peers’ responses to them. This is how it works.
Children show their bad feelings in behaviors such as wiggling, outbursts and making sounds. Occasionally, it will catch the attention of peers or adults and trigger a response from them. No matter how this reaction was intended, it acts as a social reinforcer for repeating the misbehavior. The more he repeats it, the more they respond to it, etc.
As this spirals out of control, adults continue because they implicitly believe a child misbehaves because he does not understand what he is supposed to do. Thus, they continue to tell him how he erred, what his choices are, etc. However, in the hundreds of children I have seen, I have yet to meet the one that, in a calm moment, could not tell me how they should behave. Thus, lack of knowledge of appropriate behavior is not the problem. Rather, this is a self-reinforcing, emotionally driven feedback loop in which he is being reinforced for misbehavior!