1. How Can We Improve ADHD Treatment?

    July 7, 2013

    Girl with ADHD

    by Robert Locke

     

    All too often, ADHD is overdiagnosed and treated incorrectly.  Here are five facts to bear in mind when we look at how we can help to get a better and more accurate diagnosis as well as more efficient ADHD treatment options. But before we do that, let us reflect on a famous person’s experience with ADHD, just to set the scene, so to speak.

    Channing Tatum’s experience.

    Channing Tatum hit the headlines this week again by revealing that he had ADHD as a child. He also spoke about the problems he had with ADHD treatment by conventional medications saying that they left him feeling like a zombie.

    This is not an uncommon story. In fact many children who never become famous talk about the same reaction. But Channing also mentioned the fact that in his experience, the drugs became less and less effective over time.

    In addition, he had learning difficulties such as dyslexia which have left their mark today in that he is an extremely slow reader. That means that it takes him five times longer than a normal actor to get to grips with a script.

    Watch the media hype on this one

    It will be fascinating to watch the media hype on Channing Tatum’s latest statement. This will be construed as being against ADHD meds. It will be distorted and hyped up to an extraordinary degree. The fact is that the actor just merely recounted how ADHD drugs were not the right medicine for him and that he would not give them to his baby girl if she ever had a problem like ADHD or a learning disability.

    1st Fact

    We all know that medication is useful but there are limits.  There are also considerations such as the right meds and the correct dosage. Often, by adjusting these to suit the individual child, medication can be effective in the short term and can be a valuable asset in any treatment regime.

    Far too often though, medication is expected to perform miracles.   Doctors, teachers and parents are all convinced that there is little else to be done. How wrong they are!

    As if that was not bad enough, their concept of meds working is to adjust the dosage and this is often increased.  There is far too much superficiality as Dr. Charles Parker points out in his new book ‘New ADHD Medication Rules’.

    2nd Fact

    In various conventional treatment scenarios the individual and his reaction to the medicine is rarely taken into consideration. The patient should be number one on the list so that his metabolism, diet, allergies and the way he is able to absorb the drug are carefully monitored- very often though, these things are swept under the carpet.  Again, instead of increasing the dosage almost automatically, there should be a much more careful analysis of how the patient is reacting.

     

    3rd Fact

    In France, ADHD is much less common than in the USA.  The American figures are climbing all the time and the latest CDC estimate puts it at 11% of the school going population. Why?  Surely French life and parenting styles cannot be that different? In any case, ADHD is a neurobiological disorder but the criteria for diagnosing it are key.

    In France, psychosocial factors such as the home environment and school setting are first looked at and family relationships are examined thoroughly. In the USA, biomedical standards are applied almost universally and guidelines and checklists are used in a haphazard fashion.  The social, cultural and other factors are barely considered.

    This fact should alert us to the possibility that there is a tendency to seek a biological cause and a medical solution. In addition, there are over fifty other childhood conditions which can mimic ADHD in their symptoms and these are often ignored. Sleep disturbances, food allergies, vision problems and thyroid deficiencies are often just not considered as possibilities.

    4th Fact

    There is no cure for ADHD. Medication can help the child to overcome common obstacles in learning at school but rarely help with behavioral problems although the child may be initially calmer and less restless.

    Helping a child cope with everyday tasks, social skills, learning tasks and so on are all key in helping the child to manage their ADHD. That is why there are parenting classes to help parents home in on behavior problems, organizing their home to make it more ADHD friendly and so on. The drug companies have never really advocated this but the most prestigious medical bodies in the USA have. It is a pity that the doctors, parents and teachers all too often take shortcuts and never even bother to try.

    5th Fact

    One fact that is often not mentioned is that homeopathic remedies can form an equally useful and valid alternative to the conventional meds. Before you disregard this one, think outside the box and reflect on the fact that there are no side effects or health risks at all! This is a fact which has been proved time and time again. This fact will never be true for the psychostimulant drugs and every parent should consider the alternatives such as homeopathy. Just imagine no worries about depression, sleep, appetite or stunted growth!

    Keeping on track

    ADHD is just a difference. We should reflect on how we are actively and supportively helping our kids to overcome this difference. Positive thinking is not enough as we will have to make organizational changes to our homes, just for starters.  Our society demands high standards and we should be giving our children all the help we can.

     

     

    Author Bio: Robert Locke, MBE is an award winning author and has written extensively on ADHD, child health problems and mental disorders. You can visit this page on ADHD natural treatment  to find out more

     Image Credit: Corie Howell

     

     


  2. Does your Child have a Learning Disability?

    April 29, 2013

    learning disability

    Psychologists don’t view learning disability as a black and white disorder. Learning disabilities cover a wide spectrum of various cognitive functions and tend to impact a person’s ability to understand complicated information, learn new skills, live independently. Whether you live with an individual with a learning disability or know of someone with a learning disability, there are a number of ways to properly understand and support them.

    1. What causes learning disabilities?

    There are many different reasons for a learning disability to occur. Sometimes it occurs in early brain development if the mother is ill during the pregnancy or the foetus is deprived of oxygen or nutrients. Sometimes it occurs as a result of genetics or if the child is injured or develops an illness like meningitis during childhood. Sometimes other conditions have learning disabilities associated with it, like Downs Syndrome and cerebral palsy. And sometimes, unfortunately, there is not clear reason at all.

    2. How can a learning disability affect a person?

    A learning disability can range from being relatively mild and manageable to very severe. Those with easily manageable learning disabilities may seem normal in every other aspect, but struggle with learning new skills which can take them just a bit longer to pick up. On the other hand, other people with serious learning disabilities may have difficulty communicating and need help with everyday tasks like washing or dressing themselves, they may even need supported living as they get older.

    Psychologists warn not to confuse a learning disability with learning difficulties. Learning difficulties stem in education and covers issues like dyslexia whereas learning disabilities focus on the difficulties of learning other “skills” not just reading and writing.

    3. How should a person with learning disabilities be treated?

    The proper support is vital in providing the right care and well-being for those with learning disabilities. GP’s, paediatricians, therapists and psychologists are all there to help those living with learning disabilities have as normal and independent lives as possible. It’s also important that children with learning difficulties get the proper support in school. Life-long skills like reading, writing and interacting with others might take longer for them to pick up but will help them greatly in later life.

    There are many people suffering with learning disabilities living normal lives and the last thing they’d want is to be treated differently because of their disability. Of course some may have supported living or assistance in some aspects of their lives, but that doesn’t change their need for friends and fun like any other person.

    4. Learning disabilities in children

    It is extremely important to identify learning disability at early stage. Many school children are labelled as lazy and stupid, while in fact they have learning disabilities. Psychologists recommend testing children at age 7 and older if there are any signs that the child may have learning disability. Psychologists use various tests to conduct psycho-educational assessments, which consist of an assessment of psychological aspects of learning and of academic skills. Psycho-educational assessments can also help identify ADHD, if present. If your child has been identified as having learning disability, they may get special curriculum, placed in specialized programs, and given extra time on the tests at school and in the college.

    5. Focus on the positives

    Someone living with a learning disability my find themselves frustrated or angry at situations and learning processes that they find difficult. In cases like this, it’s important to help them focus on different parts of their lives where they thrive, whether it is painting, sports or cooking. It’s important not to treat them as if they’re children. Rather be there to listen and support the individual in their time of need.

     

    This guest post is provided by Voyage Care who offer supported living and activities for adults with learning disabilities.

    Image CreditNwardez