ADD/ADHD: A Change in Focus--(Working Format--IGNORE)


                  "Be careful how you interpret the world: It is like that." 
                                                          Erich Heller (1909-1990)

Several years ago while traveling through India, Thom Hartmann, who authored many books on "Attention Deficit Disorder" (ADD), began a conversation with some Indian Businessmen: "I'm curious, but in your country, are you familiar with the personality type where people seem to crave stimulation but have a hard time staying with any particular thing?"
One businessman offered, "Ah yes, we know this type well."  
 "What do you call it", asked Hartmann?   
"We have great respect for such individuals. Though their lives may be difficult, it is these difficulties that purify the soul", another interjected.
"Very holy", he replied.  "These are old souls near the end of their Karmic cycle… people who are very close to becoming enlightened …and the result of many reincarnations to free themselves of entanglements and desire." 

 Then they asked Hartmann, "How do you view these people in America?" 

 Hartmann said, "In America, they are considered to have a psychiatric disorder!" The businessmen laughed simultaneously in disbelief…
Of late, an increased number of children—and adults—observed to exhibit behaviors that fall within the general categories of distractibility, impulsivity (including frequent shifts in attending and failure to follow instructions); and risk-taking, have been labeled as having either "Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD)" or "Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)." Both are considered psychiatric "disorders"; illnesses.
Historically, our desire to define, classify and label goes back thousands of years. Through time, labels have offered a sense of order to those who applied them. However, the recipients of those labels have often experienced disorder… a way of being in which their self-esteem (i.e., their ability to experience themselves as successful in some way) is severely compromised. An illustration of this occurs when children, whose behaviors are perceived as "abnormal", are classified as having an internal deficiency; a brain disorder! Prior to 1980, their disease was called, Minimal Brain Dysfunction and then, Hyperkinetic Disorder in Childhood. Since 1980, the label for the same "disease" has been Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD).
This sort of framing that these children live inside of leads them to expect failure as the default outcome. And the programs designed to address children classified in this manner, which carry further pejorative labels such as "resource rooms" and "special education", simply exacerbate the situation. Consider the traumatic impact this has on your child’s expectations for being successful! After all, the childhood social imperative is to fit in with peers—not be different—especially when "different" means "inferior!"
How do you suppose the trauma of being classified as "inferior" manifests? The "ground" of one’s experience is the form that is held within the body. All thinking involves movement, and this is held at the neuro-muscular level known as the somatic form. The form (muscle movements/posture, breathing, eye accessing cues, gestures, gait) held by a child facing the stigma of pathology, in which his behavior is framed as a problem or "disease", perpetuates both his perceptions of failing in the world and his
So what if the real "problem" is: trying to overcome the problem? When the focus is on limitations, we operate from an inhibitory state. And this way of holding who we are within our bodies is wrapped around the powerful stories we live by; stories that translate into "cans" and "can-nots." So imagine how those "stories" would change if the way we held ourselves to be in the world (the somatic form) was in relation to what is possible—what "works"—instead of problems! What if you could discover where an ADD/ADHD child "goes" inside to generate the somatic form he manifests every time he does something that fascinates him; a form that represents who he is at his best or his excitatory state? And, since "function follows form", once that strength has been identified, how could you design life circumstances that can sustain that form to master through-time skills such as schoolwork?

Furthermore, what would be the impact of parents and educators viewing ADD/ADHD through a new lens; one which stimulates kids and generates enthusiasm for learning, instead of blaming a child’s failure to learn on faulty neurology? This requires paying attention to what ADD/ADHD children already do well. Have you ever noticed that these children will play video games for hours, skateboard, dance, communicate effectively with peers and perform many other complex tasks? Not bad for kids who have an "attention deficiency", eh?
Of relevance here is that they learn and perform best when there is a good deal of stimulation, especially visual. This is not surprising since a majority of people select visualizing as their "primary modality" for experiencing life. Yet most of education is transmitted through the auditory channel. Think how spelling and reading are taught… (Actually, in a sense, "phonetics" is a violation of itself!). Modifying the way material is presented to stimulate children through their most valued learning modality-- which for many ADD/ADHD kids is visual-- more than makes "sense"… it plays into their fascinations and interests. And like this, they can begin to manifest a truly enlightened way of being.