The ADD Answer: How to Help Your Child Now

The ADD Answer: How to Help Your Child Now

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by Frank Lawlis

Every year, 17 million new cases of attention deficit disorder, or ADD, are diagnosed in children. But medications designed to treat the disorder don't work for many children and often leave families frustrated and searching for more options.

In The ADD Answer, Dr. Frank Lawlis draws upon his thirty-five years of experience as a clinical and research

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Every year, 17 million new cases of attention deficit disorder, or ADD, are diagnosed in children. But medications designed to treat the disorder don't work for many children and often leave families frustrated and searching for more options.

In The ADD Answer, Dr. Frank Lawlis draws upon his thirty-five years of experience as a clinical and research psychologist to show parents how they can reclaim their central role in healing their children with comprehensive step-by-step advice on dealing with the problems of ADD. His approach blends the latest medical, nutritional, and psychological treatments that can increase brain function with expert insight into the emotional-and spiritual-support kids need.

Including assessment tests geared to help parents understand their child's particular needs and practical information on proven treatment options, The ADD Answer explores:
* The role of nutrition in treating the disorder
* The positive effects of counseling and goal setting
* Advances in the field of biofeedback
* The importance of sleep, and much more

An inspiring and essential guide, The ADD Answer will help every family facing the challenges of ADD create a more loving, healthy environment necessary for their child to thrive.

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Editorial Reviews

Attention deficit disorder seems to be the malady of our times. Every year, 17 million new cases of ADD are diagnosed in American children. Several medications have been designed to treat the disorder, but for many families, these drug solutions offer little, or no relief. In this book, Dr. Frank Lawlis, the primary psychologist for The Dr. Phil Show, draws on 35 years of professional experience to show parents how they can reclaim their role in healing their children. His comprehensive plan for dealing with ADD problems includes advice about nutritional, medical, and psychological treatments.

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA)
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6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

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Read an Excerpt

The ADD Answer

How to Help Your Child Now-With Questionnaires and Family-Gendered Action Plans to Meet Your Child's Specific Needs
By Frank Lawlis

Viking Adult

ISBN: 0-670-03336-7

Chapter One

Taking a Step on the Healing Path

This book was written from my heart, soul, and mind for the sake of our children, because we are on the edge of crisis. I have seen too many children and families suffering because they lack plans and solutions for managing the realities of ADD. No one has been giving families tools they can use to take charge of the problem themselves, but I will. No one has been giving families the means to understand and assess the specific problems their child faces as a result of ADD, but I will. No one has been giving families clear action plans that will guide them toward success, but I will. It is with these goals in mind that I have written this book.

As a researcher and someone who is personally invested in helping people, I want you to know that I base all therapy on truth. And I will tell you the truth about why I am so passionate about writing this book. My interest in medicine and healing began when I was a child, growing up with a mother who had numerous surgeries, spread out over many years. Being a good son, my first career choice was to be a traditional doctor. However, I soon became aware of the limitations of medicine, and I eventually chose to become a psychologist who worked in the medical field. I quickly discovered that there are often a number of approaches to diseases and conditions that are very effective and scientifically valid but that never see the light of day. Many of these alternative treatments take longer than the typical seven minutes currently allowed in the doctor's office, so the traditional medical solution-a pill-is usually prescribed without even a brochure explaining the medical alternatives.

In all truth, ADD cannot be treated in seven minutes or in seven days, and probably cannot be treated in a doctor's office. It has to be approached in the home, where there is a higher calling than just getting a child to be quiet and conform to the rules for a while. This book, then, is written for the family. It offers new and exciting approaches, with action plans as well. But this is not a gift that cures the problem by itself. It is a path-a healing path that with effort and focus can and will shift the impact of your child's ADD from disaster to growth as your child becomes the human being he or she is truly destined to be.

It is critical for you to keep something in mind from this point forward: you and your family can beat this thing. It will not destroy your lives, your values, or your dreams. God did not invest ADD with that kind of power over you. ADD is challenging. It is confusing. But I've helped thousands of patients find hope and renewal.

Your job will be to stay strong and to keep things in perspective. This is a considerable challenge, but it is one you and your child can handle, just as others have. Remember, the measure of our character is how we respond to life's challenges.

If you are a parent who is new to the challenges of ADD, you need to begin this journey with two guiding thoughts:

You must commit yourself to a long and deep study of ADD. It impacts every realm of experience for you and your child-social, educational, and spiritual. So you must become both an expert and an advocate.

You must be willing to reach out for help and support. Even the most determined people can do only so much. We all have limits to our reserves of courage and energy. Do not be too proud to ask for help or to vent your exasperation. The important thing is to protect your own mental and physical health because your child needs you.

If you are a parent who has been on this merry-go-round for a while already, I want to offer hope. By now you've realized that there is no quick fix-no healing gurus, no miracle cures. But there are scientific approaches that will offer relief. I am going to share with you my proven strategies for helping those afflicted with ADD.

I encourage you to begin this new journey of treatment and healing by making a promise to yourself, your spouse, and your children. Pledge to open your heart and mind so that you can understand and meet this challenge. Make this a positive journey of accomplishment for you, your child, and your family. Every parent wants to find the easiest path. But the reality is that life rarely allows for easy travel. As in the children's tale The Velveteen Rabbit, it is only in wearing off our fur that we become real. In facing the challenge of ADD together, you will experience the privilege of truly getting to know your child and yourself. Believe me, that is a gift, regardless of what life throws at you later.

Many of the accepted treatments for helping kids with ADD put parents in the role of clowns in a three-ring circus. Physicians say one thing, teachers say something else, friends and family have their own opinions. Suggestions, recommendations, and diagnoses fly at you from all directions, but no one seems to fully grasp what works and doesn't work. Every day I am amazed at how even the most intelligent and dedicated parents miss out on important resources available for helping their children with ADD.

Parents of ADD children often talk of the emotional roller coaster they experience in searching for answers and in trying to determine what is right and what is wrong for their children. Many have endured criticism for trying different approaches when the recommended treatments appear to fail. They feel trapped in a no-win situation when an approach that has worked for others does not help their own children. At times when they most need support and praise for their efforts, they feel ashamed and damned.

This disorder often disrupts the normal life of a family. Certainly not every ADD family is dysfunctional, but the insidious nature of this condition can disrupt basic communication. Even the most loving family relationships can be thrown dramatically askew. Sometimes parents tend to focus so much on the needs of an ADD child that the needs of other siblings are neglected. When a family becomes dependent on outside expertise from psychiatrists, psychologists, teachers, and school counselors, that can undermine its healthy sense of self-reliance and disrupt its decision-making processes. Never knowing what to expect from an ADD child from day to day also disrupts a household. Trust can erode.

ADD can tear at the fabric of a family by undermining parental authority and creating suspicion and doubt. Yet we know, too, that challenges like ADD often strengthen familial bonds. Having worked with hundreds of clients, I've seen some horrific family crises arise because of ADD, and I've seen family members rally around one another with compassion and dedication. This book will give your family the tools and the guidance to make the best of your experience with ADD.

The Diagnosis

The scenarios of discovery don't vary greatly from one family to the next. Often a teacher sounds the first alarm by alerting parents to the fact that a child is disruptive in class. Within the first month of a school year, the label attention deficit disorder becomes associated with the child. The parents are given behavioral reports from the school and are encouraged to consult a physician or psychologist. Over the course of the next six months the child is put under a microscope and the family is subjected to an overload of stress as they attempt to grapple with this new development.

In the majority of my cases, the family quickly begins to experience conflicts and doubt. Their conventional understanding of what constitutes good and bad behavior for a child is tossed out. The child once seen as beautiful and precious is suddenly cast as abnormal. The blame game begins soon thereafter. Parents and teachers are often at odds over their responsibilities. This is a dangerous time. When the adults in a child's life become completely focused on negative behavior, the youngster's self-image deteriorates. The child can give up hope of ever being good or normal when his parents and teachers seem to perceive everything he does as bad or aberrant. You cannot allow this to happen.

A Disorder, Not a Disaster

The modern terms attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often used interchangeably, but they have subtle differences. Actually, ADD is typically used for the lack of attention abilities, while ADHD usually refers to the hyperactive behavior often attributable to the lack of concentration. The condition has undergone many name changes over the past century. First described by Heinrich Hoffmann in the nineteenth century, in a poem about Fidgety Philip, the disorder and its implications have not been fully appreciated until the last ten to twenty years. Today, attention deficit disorder is understood to be a neurological disorder. It is typically mild as far as direct brain symptoms, such as seizures or paralysis, are concerned, and the child functions normally in most daily activities and has age-appropriate skills. But ADD has extensive ramifications for a child's learning processes.

An ADD diagnosis means that the child's brain is not functioning normally. ADD is not a sign of inferior intelligence. It is not a handicap. It does not result in a damaged personality, criminal tendencies, or immoral behavior. And it is not necessarily a learning disability or a mark of mental immaturity, although such conditions can coexist with ADD. Much of the time, the problems of ADD are related to the brain performing at lowered, subdued ranges.

Brain performance is usually discussed in four ranges of measurable electromagnetic activity. These output ranges, called "states," are Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta.

Beta State. This is the highest range of brain activity. This brain state measures greater than 13 hertz (or cycles per second), and this is the output that occurs during most of the day. You are producing Beta waves when you are problem solving and actively thinking.

Alpha State. This is called the relaxation or calm state (8-12 hertz) because there is a perceptible tranquil sense that you experience as you enter this state. You may remember the Alpha machines that were popular a few years ago as aids to help people relax and fight stress.

Theta State. When you are in a trance, similar to that period just before you fall asleep, in a kind of "twilight" time, you have entered the Theta state (4-8 hertz). This is the state of hypnotic effect, where realities blur and the imageries of dreams are created. Consequently, this is the state when creativity is highest, because the obstacles of rationality and objectivity no longer restrict you.

Thomas Edison used an unusual technique to achieve a Theta state for solving his problems. It sounds awkward, but he would hold pebbles in his fists while supporting his head on his wrists above a bowl of water. Just before he dozed off, his fists would relax enough so that the pebbles would fall into the water. The water would splash up into his face and keep him just close enough to the waking state, while still in the Theta zone, for him to view a problem in more insightful ways.

Delta State. This is the slowest range (0.5-4 hertz), but you are fully asleep during this phase. There are lower levels within the sleep stages, but suffice it to say that Delta is not usually a state that psychologists consider as related to the issues of ADD.

The Brain Stuck in Overdrive

With attention deficit disorder, the brain is functioning in the Alpha and Theta ranges most of the time, even when it is more appropriate to be in the higher ranges, such as when the child is at school and solving problems.

Your child's ADD brain, then, is like a car stuck in overdrive. Your child can't use the power of the engine to get over the hill. He may feel as if he is caught in mud up to his knees while being expected to run a hundred-yard dash. No wonder he gets frustrated and acts out!

ADD children are hyperactive not because their brains are operating in high gear, but because they can't shift into high gear. Their mental engines are bogged down. Their normal methods for stimulating the brain aren't working, so they try other ways to step on the gas. They engage in risky behaviors, get into fights, and challenge authority-anything they can do to create an excited state. They create stress, and then their adrenal glands kick in and raise the brain activity to a higher level.

Children love to run and play. Movement gives them pleasure. This is especially true for children with ADD. They crave excitement as a means for stimulating their lethargic brains. They eat gobs of sweets because sugar offers a quick fix. Unfortunately, their energy drops rapidly once the sugar high fades.

For some children, certain parts of the brain connections in the administrative and memory parts run at a lower rate than normal; but they may not feel drowsy, because their muscles and organs are still charged with energy. Children experiencing this condition do not feel particularly unpleasant, but their conscious thoughts are in that dreamlike state of free association, with the boundaries between reality and dreams broken down. We've all experienced a similar state of consciousness as we drift off to sleep.

An Imaginative State

Tune in to the internal dialogues of two children in geometry class. Jane's brain is in a normal state, conducive to learning. Jill's is in an ADD mode.

As the geometry teacher explains how to find the area of a circle, Jane follows the teacher's process of calculation without being distracted: I see the circle and I can visualize that there is a line crossing through the center. That is called the diameter, and half of that is called the radius. OK, I understand the diameter and radius, and all I have to do to find the area inside the circle is to multiply the length of the radius by itself, and then multiply the result by pi (?), or about 22/7. I just do that to get the answer. I got it!

But if you were to tune in to Jill's internal dialogue, it might sound like this: I see the circle, and the circle reminds me of that ring I saw on Molly's finger. I wonder where she got it. That reminds me, I have to get a new top to wear to Joe's party. Oh yeah, Joe is sitting over there and he is looking at me. I wonder if I am looking stupid again. Oh darn! The teacher is looking at me. I probably missed the lesson again, and she is going to call on me. Oh darn! Let's see. Radius squared times pi. What was pi again? Maybe it is called pi because it looks like a pie. That reminds me, I am getting hungry ...

Jill, the child with ADD, is in an imaginative state. But it is not the proper time to be creative. It is the time to focus and learn in very precise steps. If Jill misses a step, she becomes anxious. She then tries to focus and regain lost ground, but she is unable to break free of the free-associative state.


Excerpted from The ADD Answer by Frank Lawlis Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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