There’s a great blog by an American author called Tess Messer, a mother of an adopted ADHD-er with Combined Hyperactive and Inattentive, and an ADHD biological son who is Primarily Inattentive. She herself had it as a child and writes eloquently, in an All-American fashion about what it is like to sit in 5th Grade with it here on her blog
“I wanted to give you a sense of how a child with Primarily Inattentive ADHD might appear at school.
Do you see that kid in the corner of the room. She is in 5th grade and is lost in her own thoughts. She knows better than to look out the window. She is staring straight ahead. She has not heard a word the teacher has said. She is thinking about why her teenage cousin is so obsessed with that boy with the funny hair.
Now everyone has reached for their math books. Now all the math books are on the desks. Now everyone is writing. Where is my math book? What page are they on? Where is my pencil? She wonders. She finally finds her book and her pencil and manages to sneak a look at the desk in front of her to find the correct page but the lesson is over. The teacher is talking about homework. She is confused and way behind.
This looks very worthy and important stuff about diet. But I’d rather walk more, and eat a home-made quiche then stare at the rain and pick at a salad. So exercise and more cake rules over nutrient dense in this part of the country. But medication also plays havoc with suppressing appetite during the day, so the propensity to binge is exacerbated. Any thoughts?
Anyway, thanks Additude mag for the info, and if you haven’t signed up to their email magazine, and you have an ADHDer in the family. I recommend them. It’s all free…
We know that Meditation is good for ADHD, and for calming the system of other neuro-atypicals. The expert and psychiatrist Dr Ned Hallowell recommends it as one of the 8 interventions to help, along with sleep and exercise, but it seems that more and more international studies are now confirming just how impactful it can be.
This New York Times piece goes into some detail about how it is helpful for children at school, in regulating emotions and helping to reboot them – including those with other additional needs such as Bi-polar disorder.
However, persuading an ADHD child off the stimulating activities, such as video games, and into a meditation chair is going to be quite the challenge. Somehow that needs to be overcome with a group, so it is great news that some schools are cottoning on to the benefits. I still haven’t managed it with my son.
For my own part, the end of the Yoga session when Shivasna (lying on your back and meditating for a few minutes) is probably my most favourite part of the week. It takes the effort of the full hour and a half class to make it so potent, and I can’t seem to recreate it at home.
So let’s hope that the group encouragement of meditation and mindfulness practice is soon to be on the school curriculum, as it already is for some schools in the UK – like St James’s schools.
This is a brave and clear explanation of the physical effects of anxiety, often termed as a “co-morbidity”, something that accompanies spectrum disorders such as Autism and ADHD. I think it comes about because of deeply ingrained sense of being different from a young age – and how that affects your ability to navigate the world effectively. I used to have dreams of having a baby that I would leave places in a lift, Very ADHD, and Anna’s lack of understanding (see below) from her mother pre-diagnosis suggests a similar awareness of being at odds with the world. This is a great blog, and it is good that she has found something that helps her keep her issues at bay.
For all that scattered attention, mindwandering, forgetfulness and disorganization there is an even more confusing aspect to ADHD that is often cited as evidence for why the person can’t have it at all. Hyperfocus, the ability to lose time and be completely absorbed by some interesting occupation, and interesting is the crucial word here, seems to suggest that the adhder can pay attention when it suits them.
Hats off to Dr Hallowell for his new podcasts on a brand new website that launches tomorrow. I listened to the one on music and focus, where the author and neuroscientist interviewed spoke for five minutes about music and focus. It appears that the ADHDer and psychiatrist Dr Hallowell is unusual because he likes to write and listen to music. Most perform worse when listening to music because it stimulates the mind-wandering mode.
I liked the idea that listening to music helped our “mind-wandering mode”, and how this mode is valued to help us solve problems that the “executive function” aspect, ‘ the planning aspect, wasn’t able to do. This is perhaps the “Thinking Outside the Box” tag that is often given to ADHDers, who are celebrated for being able to make brave and bold decisions that more cautious planners might shy away for.
You can guarantee that these podcasts will attempt to focus on the positive wherever possible, something that was perfectly illustrated by the giant laugh that he leaves us with.
Thank you to Emily in the comments section on this piece in the Daily Mail a few days ago. Emily points out that ADHDers have a hard enough time being believed for this condition, without the gleeful note of scepticism raised in the Mail every time the latest study on ADHD appears.
This one from Taiwan, involving just under 400,000 school children entering school in the Far East, implies that the higher percentage of August babies to September babies carrying an ADHD diagnosis shows that ADHD is just down to immature behaviour.
As Emily in the comments section points out, the statistical difference 1.8% for September babies too 2.9% for August babies is not that great anyway, and even the article points out that it is perhaps not that significant. “So why write the article then?”, asks Emily.
Here, here. And when you consider that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, and some children – around a third – are said to grow out of it, perhaps even a whole year in age can make a difference when there is a borderline diagnosis for a child who may then grow out of it (particularly if helped with tools for keeping on track in school while on medication).
Particularly malevolent is when the Daily Mail uses words to describe the increase in prescriptions for children’s ADHD medication as having “soared” since the 1990s. This “soaring” statistic is better explained by a simple increase in diagnosis- and because at last, slowly, there is a better awareness of the symptoms and treatment for the condition.
This is to be celebrated. But the Daily Mail seems to want to blame the condition on poor parenting. Do other mental health issues have this moral stigmatising?
When Dr Ned Hallowell, the ADHD expert from America, came to the UK – I was surprised to learn that he controlled his own ADD symptoms with coffee rather than medication. Any ADHDer is likely to LOVE coffee, or have an on-off relationship with it, knowing that overly wired means that you just do stupid things faster. Here is a neuroscientist explaining how to use coffee to your best advantage….
Recently I took part in a double-blind randomised controlled medical trial for a cannabis inhaler to help in controlling ADHD symptoms. At the end of the six-week trial, I was later told that I was on the placebo – which was no surprise as the mouth puffer had no effect whatsoever. While I wasn’t expecting to feel euphoria, I expected to feel something – and quickly sensed I was puffing a dud. However, the trial run out of the Maudsley clinic in London, was evidence of the growing interest in CBD – Cannabis oil or medical marijuana – typically the extract of the plant without the THC, the part that makes you high. Continue reading “CBD – a help for ADHD?”→
Here in the Washington Post about what ADHD means to America’s children. It includes details of the first US national survey of medication among preschoolers. It makes positive and interesting reading. I like the Brain difference, rather than Brain deficit.