Therapy for ADHD and ADD

I provide specialist therapeutic support to parents, carers and the children who have been diagnosed to ADHD or ADD. In this article I write about how hard it can be for some children and young people to comply with adult expectations and if you would like any more information, please do feel free to get in touch with me.

If you are reading this then you are probably wondering why a young person that you love and care for or a young person you know behaves in the ways that they do despite all the care and attention they have received from you, their school, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and other organisations that seek to modify challenging behaviour.

Maybe you are wondering if they have ADHD or maybe you think they are “on the spectrum” to use that vague, umbrella-like term that means nothing.

What are the symptoms of ADHD and why is punishment ineffective for some students? If you look on the UK’s NHS web site for a description of the symptoms of ADHD you will find a list of behaviours that, worryingly, could apply to any young person who is growing up in a challenging environment, not just those young people with, seemingly, a diagnosable mental health condition.

Is ADHD or ADD genetic? Answer – Maybe but probably not.

Can our upbringing cause ADHD? Answer – Maybe, but if we single out and blame parents and carers then we neatly absolve the rest of society for any responsibility it has to teach and show it’s members how to be good parents. The old adage that states that there is no rule book for parenting is obsolete, there are plenty of well researched guides to good parenting.

These questions, like our worries and concerns can go round in our minds so let’s forget about them for a moment and walk in the shoes of the person we feel has ADHD symptoms.

This is the UK’s DfE statement on page 7 in their guidance to Head Teachers and school staff about discipline in schools.

“Teachers can discipline pupils whose conduct falls below the standard which could reasonably be expected of them. This means that if a pupil misbehaves, breaks a school rule or fails to follow a reasonable instruction the teacher can impose a punishment on that pupil.”

I wonder how a teacher might know what reasonable behaviour is? We all have an idea about the behaviour we want to see in schools, about what we want our children to experience and about how we want our children to behave. We also have clear pictures in our minds of our own experiences in school when we were children and young people.

We remember the children who just seemed to “get it” and were always out performing the others in terms of academic achievement and we remember the children who, for whatever reason, were not able to succeed in the same way as the others. We know we shared school with individuals who all came from unique backgrounds, who’d developed unique ways of managing the world. Some children were able to concentrate on their studies and some were not. Some children and young people understand and are able to achieve academic success in the school environment and some are not in a place in their lives where that is possible.

Life-long limiting self beliefs that develop in childhood due to messages received during our school days are as dangerous to a child as they are unfair and to imagine that a prescriptive set of rules can be understood and adhered to by all students is farfetched and does not recognise children as individuals.

It’s like saying that the only way for someone to swim The Channel is to use breast stroke. But what happens if that person has only ever known how to swim on their backs because that have needed to watch the sky for danger that does not come in predictable ways, usual ways, from the front but from above.

Without the understanding and clarity in our society and in our schools, where everyone is understood to be individual, rules can be more than unfair, they can be cruel. Attainable for some, unattainable for others. Like random lines in the sand that some are bound to cross, not because they have chosen to do so but because these lines bare no reflection on what is possible and not possible for them.

School is the place to teach the meaning of society to those members of society that are growing into it. Expectations are necessary in school for it is the place where our citizens and community learns about itself. However, there are many ways of teaching, showing and demonstrating social expectations that do not resort to sanction and isolation.

In this way the behaviour code of a school might offer teaching as it sanctions it’s population rather than punishing them and creating more resentment, fear and confusion in their most vulnerable members.

If you would like to find out about the therapy I provide then please email me or call me, I would be pleased to hear from you.

AND if your child has even been prescribed medication such as Ritalin or Adderall then please look at http://www.cognitune.com for a comprehensive list, natural, effective, alternatives to generic, over prescribed, pharmaceuticals.