Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The ADHD Update

I checked some books out of the library on ADHD recently, and found some good stuff to share. Now of course half the books they have are completely out of date, and some are just ridiculously out of touch with reality. But I found one in an easy-reader style called The ADHD Update by Alvin & Virginia Silverstein & Laura Silverstein Nunn.

Is ADHD Overdiagnosed?
In the United States, ADHD has become so common that many people think the condition is being overdiagnosed. Medical experts disagree. They say that because scientists have learned a lot about ADHD in recent years, doctors are now better able to identify it. While some cases may be misdiagnosed, many cases actually go undiagnosed. People who have ADD - without the hyperactivity - often go unnoticed because they are quietly daydreaming in the classroom.

I've been told that we should modify E's diet in order to 'cure' him or help with symptoms. I respect that certain foods can cause unwanted symptoms in some people, but I grow weary of being told that I should eliminate sugar or food dyes or gluten as a cure for my son's behavior. Another quote from the book gave me backing to what I already knew:

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) conducted a number of independent studies on the effect of a restricted diet on hyperactivity. In 1982, the NIMH announced that such a diet helped only about 5% of hyperactive children - mostly young children with food allergies.

I find it a bit insulting, like you would tell any other parent of a special needs child that they could fix the problem if only they would stop feeding them such a horrible diet already. Like I'm stuffing him with Slurpees and Pop Rocks all day. Shut up people, and let me parent my own kid.

Great picture here of what it's like to have ADHD:
If you don't have ADHD, try to imagine what it feels like. First, turn on the tv and the radio. Then ask a friend to talk to you. While all this is going on, sit down and try to do your homework. Can you tune out all the distractions and do your homework? Can you talk to your friend without paying attention to the tv or radio? Some people with ADHD have trouble sorting out the many sounds, sights, and thoughts that demand attention. They do not know how to focus on just one thing at at time and tune out the rest. One person with ADHD described how it felt when he tried to do something as simple as read a book: "My thoughts raced round and round in my head. It's like my mind was a pinball machine with five or six balls smashing into each other."

I really appreciated this book, and hope that others might find the above helpful too. We may not have awareness magnets on our cars just yet, but my goal is make people aware of what this disorder is really all about, and how to understand those who have it, rather than judging them.


Tara said...

Wow, that's pretty powerful, and it totally sounds like Jace. Luke noticed he was daydreaming at football practice (again) one day last fall, so he asked him later what he thinks about when he's not paying attention. Jace's answer? "Everything." And he basically went on to say exactly what is described here -- that he just can't stop thinking about random things. I know that's why he interrupts us so frequently, because he's just afraid that he's going to lose the thought that he wants to tell us. It's frustrating nonetheless though. Definitely going to check out this book!

Carla said...

That book looks interesting! ADHD is something that few people "get"...and everybody has an opinion on. Living with 3 people in my house that have ADHD/ ADD is something that only those living with it understand.

Theresa said...

Thank you for posting about ADHD. I don't do that as often as I should. I can relate to the "change her diet" comments. I tried it. I tried everything. I want to say, wouldn't you if it were your child? Stop feeding your child sugar and their dyslexia will go away. Really? It's the same situation, don't you think?!