Pre-schoolers and ADHD medication – scary? Not so much…

When the Guardian writes a piece about preschoolers and ADHD, as they do here , we don’t expect it to scaremonger or to conform to prejudices around this complex neurodevelopmental disorder. We expect some breast beating from the Daily Mail or the Telegraph, but we hope for sense from the Guardian. However, while medicating preschoolers is controversial, ADHD medication (please don’t call it drugs – this not pushing recreational ecstasy tablets or making toddlers smoke joints) is immediately written off as a Bad Thing – without any explanation for what type of medication it is. Continue reading “Pre-schoolers and ADHD medication – scary? Not so much…”

ADHD and Exercise – When will schools get it?

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I’ve just been in to meet with my son Michael’s head of year, two teachers and Special Needs co-ordinator. None of them seemed to think that excluding my ADHDer from sport yesterday was not the best way forward when they also wanted to talk about his challenging behaviour in class. As they went on and on about how he liked to “challenge the rules”, and his mis-behavioural points, I wanted to say that – like a Golden Retriever dog that always brings back the ball – he wasn’t going to change. And I couldn’t help thinking – “well you have the power, if you don’t want to argue the toss over the rules with him – just don’t engage’.

More worryingly for me, is that he doesn’t have the choice to challenge his exclusion once again from extra-curricular activities. Last term he was made to sit in a library while others were outside playing games, because he was deemed a “risk” (to himself? to others?). Despite the fact that he had a giant black eye from a friend hitting him in the face during hockey after school (we are used to Michael being accident prone and didn’t complain) this time Michael was the culprit. Except Michael was excluded from hockey club for hitting another boy with the hockey stick.

Arrrrrgggghh. Why can’t teachers get it? Exercise is the best medication for ADHD? Continue reading “ADHD and Exercise – When will schools get it?”

Now Dr Saul wades in with ADHD doesn’t exist

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Doctors are getting themselves in a right twist. In response to the previous post on the New York Times piece, Behavioural Neurologist Dr Richard Saul in Chicago has waded in, puffing his provocatively titled book called “ADHD does not Exist” (ironically reviewed by Belinda Luscombe on the same site as one of the Top Ten ADHD books here ). Dr Saul’s stance argued on the Time Magazine’s website here has a particular beef with the new diagnostic manual for mental health (DSM V), which awards ADHD to anyone displaying a minimum of five out of 18 possible symptoms.

His views will no doubt curry favour with Daily Mail readers, who do see this massive upsurge in ADHD diagnosis and medication as a problem, and also with those who feel that taking medication for ADHD is in some way “cheating” in life – whether offering extra focus at school or in the workplace (something that is shown to be not the case in the more level-headed recent Time Magazine piece by Denise Foley in another piece . Foley points out that even with meds, the attention of an ADHD child is still below the par of a “normal” child in school).

Without blamming the reader with any more Time Mag pieces to read, what Dr Saul does not to address in his piece, Continue reading “Now Dr Saul wades in with ADHD doesn’t exist”

Mastering ADHD for adults – Dr Hallowell’s Game-changing Workshop in London on 30 September

adhdcartoonAnyone who has been touched by ADHD considers US-based Dr Hallowell as something of a guru. And, on the eve of ADHD Awareness month, the Crossley Family managed to persuade him across the pond to talk to those affected by ADHD in the UK. An author of 20 books, a self-professed ADHDer himself, with dyslexia, and a father to two ADHD boys – Ned Hallowell also runs a psychiatry practice in New York, and advocates what he calls a “strength-based” or positive approach to the condition.

At 64, he has some 25 years of experience under his belt, he refuses to see the complex neurological “disorder” as a disability – instead insisting that if he had a choice to have ADHD or not have it, then he’d keep it. Despite dishing out scripts for medication Continue reading “Mastering ADHD for adults – Dr Hallowell’s Game-changing Workshop in London on 30 September”

Why is Negative So Much More Attractive than Being Positive?

ImageWhy is Negative So Much More Attractive than Being Positive?

I’ve written on this blog before about Kevin Roberts being the poster boy for ADHD and now have completed his rather good book – Movers, Dreamers and Risk-Takers, Unlocking the Power of ADHD. I like it, ironically, because he is so positive about the whole ADHD issue, something that the Neuroscientists like Russell Barklay are not (“It’s a Neurodisability, why dress it up as anything else?”)

One of the more fascinating nuggets to emerge from this book is that ADHDers create negative dynamics in many areas of their lives because “negative information and stimulation weigh more heavily on the brain than positive information and stimulation, thus creating brain activity”*.

As Roberts writes: “I have come to the inescapable conclusion that I feel more alive when I am being negative. Opposing something gives me more juice than supporting it. We ADHDers create negative dynamics in many areas of our lives… Continue reading “Why is Negative So Much More Attractive than Being Positive?”

Kevin Roberts – Author of Cyber Junkie and Movers, Dreamers and Risk Takers

Kevin Roberts - Author of Cyberjunkie and Movers Dreamers and Risk takers

Kevin Roberts, Author and ADHDer, came over from the States to give a couple of talks at the ADHD international Conference in Liverpool – 10 to 12 October 2013. He is co-founder of The Empower ADD project and a member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. Officially or unofficially, he became the Master of Ceremonies of the occasion because his mixture of showmanship, humour, positivity and love of interruptions glued the event together. He’s the unoffical Poster Boy for ADHD, because he believe – above all – that teaching people with ADHD to find the fun in life provides a powerful means to success.

From Concerta via Ritalin to Elvanse & Strattera, a month’s journey in meds

UnknownI wonder how families who have only the NHS to fare cope when it comes to “Child and Adolescent Mental Health“?  Our initial meeting with the NHS pyschiatrist left me holding some Concerta 12-hour stimulant medication – and a date for a follow up meeting IN A MONTH. A Month was too long, too long by 28 days almost, as the daily rollercoaster of keeping our son on track began. Continue reading “From Concerta via Ritalin to Elvanse & Strattera, a month’s journey in meds”

Countdown to Meds for my 12 year old ADDer

IMG_0671On Tuesday, we give up with the year’s experiment of keeping our ADHD  son unmedicated, and head for the pharmacy. Despite the promises of the NHS with their NICE guidelines suggesting Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Social Skills training, group and individual therapy and parenting classes – it’s clear that NONE of it is available. There is only medication on the NHS, and the rest is down to you the parents to sort. Mental health is appalling in the UK, we just don’t get it.

Of course medication is no silver bullet, I have read too many chat room posts and message boards where adult ADDers talk Ritalin, Strattera, Concerta, Medikenet, dosages, availability – like drug addicts swapping tips. It may or may not work, but the alternative (nothing) doesn’t work either. Continue reading “Countdown to Meds for my 12 year old ADDer”