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Organizing the Disorganized Child: Simple Strategies to Succeed in School
with co-author Marcella Moran.
brief, pointedly practical, and clear as glass, this book will help any
child, parent, or teacher who reads it."
-- Edward Hallowell, M.D., co-author of Driven to Distraction.
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ADHD: Living without Brakes.
and educational strategies are a great combination of proven methods
that are realistic and practical to implement. Most of all, this book
will help parents and anyone else who works with these children
thoroughly understand how they think and why they function the way they
do." --Heidi Bernhardt,
Director of the Centre for ADHD/ADD Advocacy Canada (CADDAC)
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Kids in the Syndrome Mix of ADHD, LD, Asperger's, Tourette's, Bipolar
and More! The one stop guide for parents, teachers, and other
one book covers the whole spectrum of neuropsychiatric problems. "A
sparkling, granite-strong steppingstone"--Kirkus
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Dr. Kutscher's first book
ADHD Book: Living Right Now!
"What a sigh of relief to know I can be kind to my son! What an
eye-opener! This book is written with humor,
heart and intelligence, and is a must read for anyone seeking to
understand ADHD. It's also a book to come back to again and again when
you need reassurance. I can't thank you enough!"---Susan
Manager of ADDedSupport@groups.msn.com.
This is the print version of the ADHD e-Book.
More Reviews and Our 39 Awards
The ADHD e-BOOK
Martin L. Kutscher, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology,
New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York.
Practice Limited to Pediatric Behavioral Neurology
in Rye Brook, Middletown, W. Nyack & Wappingers Falls, NY
© Martin L. Kutscher 2002, 2004, 2007
Chapter 1: The Tip of the Iceberg--The Full Spectrum of ADHD Problems
Chapter 2: Printable Checklist of ADHD/ ADD Symptoms
Chapter 3: Home Therapy--Just STOP!
Chapter 4: School Therapy
Chapter 5: Medical Therapy--Ritalin and other Medications
Chapter 6: Cognitive Therapy--How to Talk through a Problem
Chapter 7: Personal Philosophy for Understanding Others
Chapter 8: Sound Simulation of ADHD
Chapter 8A: Poll on Sound Simulation of ADHD
Chapter 9: For Kids to Read. "What Happened to My Brakes?"
Chapter 10: Summary of ADHD Problems and Treatment
Chapter 11: Pop Quiz on ADHD (Hint: You only need to have read Chapter 10)
Chapter 12: References, Suggested Readings, and Links
Chapter 13: ADHD Humor
Chapter 14: Favorite ADHD Analogies
[Short on time: read Summary Chapter 10 first, then Chapter 3.]
Excerpts from Chapter 9: For Kids to Read
("Hey, What Happened to My Brakes?")
Imagine this: A kid is on a bicycle speeding downhill. The world is whizzing by. He needs to avoid holes in the pavement. The road is curving. The wind buzzes in his ear, and makes his eyes tear.
Suddenly, there are rocks in the road. He goes to put on the brakesbut they dont work!! As the bike speeds downhill, just staying on it seems overwhelming. Too many obstacles call for the riders attention. So much seems out of control. Who has time to pay attention to the huge truck coming up?
Thats the life of someone with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It all comes from difficulty Putting on the Brakes, to borrow the title of a book by Patricia Quinn and Judith Stern.
Heres whats happening. Your brains boss is located just behind your forehead. These frontal lobes figure out where you want to go, and the individual steps of how to get there. Like any boss, a large part of their job is saying No!” For example, parents are supposed to be the boss in the house. Think how often their job is to say no. Theyre always saying things like, Susan, do not have a fifth scoop of ice-cream, or Bob, stop playing Nintendo so that you can do your homework, or Jill, dont stay out past 10PM. Unless something puts brakes on our actions, we would spin out of control.
Well, at least that is how it is supposed to work. Dr. Russell Barkley explains that for ADHD people, the front part of their brainsthe bossdoesnt do a good job of putting on the brakes. This means that these people may:
|Have trouble putting brakes on distractions. Their minds are pulled off the main topic by any competing action. This leads to the Attention Deficit of ADHD.|
|Have trouble sitting still rather than checking out those distractions. This leads to the Hyperactivity of ADHD.|
|Have trouble putting brakes on any thought that comes into their minds. There is trouble putting brakes on frustrations and over-reactions. This leads to impulsivity. Note: in current terminology, there is no such classification as "ADD." If you are inattentive but not hyperactive, then the correct "label" is "ADHD of the Primarily Inattentive Type."|
No wonder things go out of control so often!
Why Dont I See Problems Coming?
Lets imagine another scene: Jack is on a boat, happily fishing. Reeling in the jiggling fish while still steering the boat captures all of his attention. Jack is so consumed by the experience of the moment (catching the fish) that he cant look ahead to see the waterfall coming up. Its not that he doesnt care about the cliff. After all, he doesnt want to fall off a cliff any more than anyone else. Its that he never gets the chance to see it. Just like the speeding bicyclist, ADHD kids often are stuck in the present moment. The future comes as a surprise. This is called a lack of foresight. So, people with ADHD:
|Have trouble stopping long enough to consider what is best for themselves in the future. This often gets misinterpreted as not caring.|
|Have trouble stopping long enough to consider what is best for other people. This often gets misinterpreted as being selfish or mean.|
What other Problems Are Common for ADHDers?
Teachers, parents, and friends may notice many other problems for those who have ADHD. Often, these problems are not recognized as just being part of ADHD. These people might also:
|Be very disorganized. They often dont get the right assignments home. Even more amazing, they may do homework and then forget to hand it in!|
|Find that other people seem to take forever to eat, shop, or get to the point! Time seems to move so slowly in these settings.|
|Have trouble with arguing, blaming others, or even lying.|
|Sometimes have blow ups over unimportant things.|
|Yell at people who are trying to help them.|
|Have trouble noticing how other people are reacting to them. After all, whos got time for that?|
|Have a sense of always being nervous or worried.|
|Have trouble with handwriting, or sometimes with other school subjects.|
Dozens of books have been written about helping ADHD, including books by Drs. Ross Greene and Thomas Phelan. Heres some of the best advice:
|Just STOP. Remember, the problem in ADHD is difficulty putting on the brakes. First, we need to keep an eye out for the warning signs that our brakes arent workingand that we are spinning out of control. The warning signs include getting angry, sensing that we are getting overwhelmed, raising our voice, and tightening our hands. When we first notice these warning signs of getting over-heated, we then need to try extra hard to STOP. Work out a code word or phrase, such as I need a five-minute time-out with people you are close to. Go someplace quiet, such as your room. Dont worry about getting in the last words in the discussion. (Youll get a chance later.) Do something calm like reading a book, sorting cards, etc. Once you are calm, then come back for a useful discussion of the problem. People around you should do the same thing. Sometimes, you may not noticeor may not want to noticethe warning signs. Then please, please, please listen to others when they ask you to STOP and take a five-minute break.|
|Make decisions when you are calm. Youll be surprised how much easier it is to reach a good decision when you and everyone else is calm. People cannot think clearly when they are over-excited. Returning to our bicycle example, wait until the bicycle coasts to a stop. Then, look around and calmly consider your options.|
|Realize that your parents and teachers are usually good at preparing for the future. In the bicycle story above, your parents can be thought of as standing on the sidewalk, watching you speed downhill. Since they are not overwhelmed just trying to stay on the bike, they have no trouble looking ahead to see the truck coming. Theyre screaming, Watch out for the truck! or Watch out for that cliff, or Watch out for that book report due in two weeks. A parents foresight is typically much better than that of their ADHD child. Listen to them. Please. If nothing else, its probably fair to say that your parents usually try to act in your best interest.|
|People with ADHD typically need help with organization. Take it. Remember, it is not fair to yell at someone who is trying to help you!|
|Your doctor may prescribe medication with stimulants (such as Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall or Dexedrine). These medications stimulate your frontal lobes, making them perform better. Lets return to the bicycle story. Medications like Ritalin work by stimulating the stopping power of your brakes. You find yourself in less trouble because you now have a high performance bike, which is complete with a braking system. It does not work by making you too tired to move around.|
|Keep a good attitude about yourself. Remember that ADHDers also have many great traits. They know how to have fun and enjoy the present moment. They are often quite smart, very creative, and have a why not try it? attitude that is the envy of many people. We always need to keep in mind all that is wonderful about you.|
[Back to ADHD e-BOOK Table of Contents]
See our new book, Kids in the Syndrome Mix of ADHD, LD, Asperger's, Tourette's, Bipolar and More! The one stop guide for parents, teachers, and other professionals. This one book covers the whole spectrum of neuropsychiatric problems. "A sparkling, granite-strong steppingstone"--Kirkus Reviews
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