Successful Treatment Planning for Attention Deficit Disorder
If you, your child’s teacher, or someone else significant suspects your child may have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or AD/HD), by this time of the school year you really need to get something going to help them as soon as possible. What is really needed is to first, find out definitively if it is really there, and secondly, get started immediately with a good plan, before it is too late to salvage the school year.
Schools vary widely in their ability and willingness to assist the parent in this matter. My brother is an elementary school teacher, and a good one, as are many of his peers. However, there is a wide range in the ability of teachers, as well as schools, in assessing and working with children with this disorder.
Some teachers are judgmental in their opinions regarding ADD. They may believe a child willfully misbehaves. Everyone knows a “dangerously” little amount about ADD. School personnel are often more objective than parents, as they can compare the child to hundreds of children in their professional experience. However, teachers listen to the popular press, have family members with ADD, glean information from other sources, and often base their opinion on what they have heard, and not on the true facts. With good intentions, school personnel may believe or imply to parents that bad parenting, low ability, and or emotional problems are behind the difficulties. Some teachers have been known to tell parents not to treat the problem, rather, just to employ harsher punishments, and that indeed is a very bad answer. Finally, most schools are often very slow to actually do any testing (6 months to a year is not at all uncommon). Furthermore, the results are frequently too vague, yielding results such as “learning disorders” or “learning disabilities”.
The proper thing to do, therefore, is to have your child tested by an outside, independent professional. There are two types of testing, those that based solely on symptoms, observed or reported (the most common form of testing), and those that based on testing the actual source of the problems (a specific brain function), through EEG-analysis. As there are other problems which can cause ADD like symptoms, it is essential to test right at the source of the problem: the brain (EEG-analysis).
Medication and Neurofeedback (EEG-analysis and treatment) are the only methods of treatment which actually address the underlying cause of the problem (a minor misalignment in the brain). Medication is usually effective (unfortunately, teachers will often advise that this is the only answer). However, possible side effects and the necessity of the life long use of these drugs are often understandably very discouraging to parents.
Neurofeedback is a drug and side-effect free, painless procedure in which the child learns to re-train the relevant attention and/or behavioral mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition. Once training is complete, no further treatment is necessary. It is an excellent alternative to the often dreaded medication scenario.