In 2009, Ron and June worked with their oldest grandson, Trey, to add structure into his life that would allow him to control the negative characteristics of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) including distractibility, inattention, impulsivity, and restlessness.
While researching ADD, Ron was introduced to the positive characteristic of, "HYPERFOCUS". This allows people with ADD to focus intently, with passion, creativity, and enthusiasm on things they are interested in.
Ron also realized that the tools and structure he has spent his entire career teaching to others were all based on the same principles needed by people with ADD. They require permanent structure, and perhaps medication, to overcome the negative characteristics and benefit from the positive characteristic of Hyperfocus and creativity:
Setting long-term goals for 15-years out.
Breaking these goals down into 3-year increments.
Setting goals for the current year by months.
Preparing a calendar for the current month.
Preparing a "To Do" list for what has to be done today.
Becoming motivated and focused on the "To Do" list, in order of priority, knowing that you will be successful in reaching your life goals and dreams.
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By Ron Travis Sr.
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Ron Travis Sr.
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePUBLIC EDUCATION
"Build on prior knowledge and practice lifelong learning"
"The potential for public education is unlimited when the students, teachers, counselors, and parents work as a team"
Attention De cit Disorder (ADD) can be a curse or a blessing, depending on how you structure you life to control the negative characteristics and benefit from the positive ones. I have learned a great deal by surfing the Web for articles and presentations by doctors and teachers at leading research hospitals and universities around the country. This book contains my conclusions after a year of study, talking to counselors, and analyzing the trial and error process of trying to find the best guidance for Trey.
The beauty of my conclusions, for the best approach to treating ADD and related disorders, is that the procedures will work exceptionally well for all children. The precise diagnose and treatment for mental and emotional disorders is dif cult at best, and involves a lot of guess work. You can rest assured that the recommendations in this book will assist you as you work with your doctors and counselors to arrive at the best diagnose and treatment plan. Just tell them what you have learned from this book and be sure they are in agreement. I would be very surprised if you find any professional who will disagree that these are not great recommendations. Let me know if you do.
During the past 45 years, my career has been centered on designing management systems and training employees of my clients, or companies acquired by my two primary employers: Kane-Miller Corp. in Tarrytown, New York, and then McWane, Inc. in Birmingham, Alabama. June and I used many of these same principles to work with high-school seniors and beginning couples during the past 40 years. I used the same process to work with my grandson, Trey, in teaching him to organize and compensate for the negative characteristics of ADD and to benefit from the positive characteristic to Hyperfocus on things he was interested in.
While working with Trey and the public school system in Hoover, Alabama, I discovered a similar paradox to that involved in most consultant projects, "The systems and daily conduct of employees are often different from the written policy and procedure manuals".
This first chapter is therefore directed to all parents, teachers, administrators, and politicians. I am convinced if these groups will catch a glimpse of the principles taught here, many of the students in the bottom third of their class academically could be advanced immediately to at least the middle third, and some to the top third of the student body.
It is always amazing to me how simple the solutions are for resolving complex problems. We imperfect, and sometimes well meaning adults, get in the way more often than not. Please try these suggestions in the life of your children, classes, and school system. One advantage in specializing in the area of goal setting and management control systems for 45 years, and teaching these same principles to teenagers and beginning couples, is that you know what works.
PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEMS HAVE UNLIMITED POTENTIAL
The practices and procedures that have been conceived for our public education system are adequate to provide 95 percent of our young people the opportunity, motivation, and assistance they need to receive their high-school degree.
The current problem is the divergence in what managers and educators think is happening in their entities and what is actually happening. My job as a consultant is a simple process of:
Flowcharting the actual procedures being used and comparing them to the stated policies and procedures. Making recommendations to tweak the procedures for, "Best practices" being used by similar successful operations. Bringing the actual practices into alignment with the written flowcharts and written procedures. Training the employees using the new approved procedures. Developing feedback reports feeding up the organization to top management and superintendents. Teaching the user of the feedback reports to take corrective action for results that fall outside of a predetermined standard. Revaluating the procedures, controls, and checks and balances periodically, to determine if any changes need to be made in the procedures, or in the training of all people involved in the success of the entity.
I believe in providing all of our children with the opportunity to receive an outstanding public education. My three boys received excellent public educations and graduate degrees in the public-school systems of Alabama. They are all Certified Public Accountants with successful and satisfying careers. Some of my grandchildren attend private schools and others are in the public school system. I really do not see any difference in the results, as long as there is an active partnership between the students, their parents, and the school system.
My concern is for the lower third of the students in school, especially those that have tremendous potential, but lack the support of their parents, or have an attention or other problem that is not properly compensated for. Their entire lives are affected by events happening before they are 19-years old.
I have learned so very much about this group while working with my grandson, and talking to the parents of other teenagers who are having problems in school. Therefore, before getting into the chapters talking about depression, attention de cit disorder, and oppositional de ant disorder, this chapter will address the students in the bottom third of their class academically, regardless of the cause. In fact, all of the recommendations in this book, and my first book, "The Synergistic Life Style", will assist all students to move up dramatically from the bottom third of their class, and to move toward the top five percent in every area of their lives.
POLITICIANS APPROACH TO THE DROPOUT PROBLEM
The great problems in our country, and in our school systems, are hard to resolve in the political arena. Their approach to most problems is to blame everyone in the past and say they alone have the answer. Then they present a ten-year plan to resolve the issue.
The resolutions to most problems are just not that hard, and certainly do not take ten years to resolve. There are usually guiding principles that, when followed, would turn the situation around immediately. The politicians just need to address the problems as opposed to fighting each other and focusing on their own personal selfish ambition. For example:
The problem with the Federal budget has been caused by politicians sticking their heads in the sand and ignoring the basis principle that you can't spend more money than you receive, on expenses or things that depreciate, without eventually running into a wall of insurmountable debt. The solution is to balance the budget each year, or implement automatic proration across the board. The result would be shorter and less severe economic cycles, as the free-market automatically adjusts to the available public revenues and expenditures. Social security is basically a pension plan to supplement the retirement income for seniors and disabled citizens. The Federal government should add the net-present value of the social-security debt to the general-fund debt using a six percent discount rate. The annual increase in the benefit for inflation should be frozen at two percent each year. The payroll withholding and employer matching for social security should be adjusted annually to adequately fund the plan. Annual payments to balance the net-cash flow from the plan can also be made for the interest accrued and principal needed from the general fund. Remember that the General Fund owes the Social Security fund $2.5 Trillion dollars in surplus receipts by the Social Security Fund. The surpluses were borrowed by the General Fund and now it is time for them to start repaying them plus accrued interest. By freezing the interest rate and inflation adjustment for benefits, the overall interest and inflation cycles will also be less erratic. Each State should bear more of the financing for the infrastructure of their state. Their tax basis should be adjusted to support the financing for these projects and bring the decision making closer to home. This will also eliminate the unnecessary ear-marking and foolish expenditures by Congress. The Federal budget and taxes can also be reduced to more than offset the adjustments to state taxes.
PUBLIC EDUCATION IS A HIGH CALLING
I am more optimistic that the bottom third of our students can be dramatically assisted in their efforts to improve their lives than I am about the politicians resolving the problems we all face as a nation.
My wife, June, taught in public schools, and many of our best friends are educators. The key to success is to form an alliance between our teachers, and their students and parents, in the day-to-day educational experience for the bottom third of each class. June started to school again with each of our three boys. She became active in the parent-teacher associations, and she became friends and supporters of their teachers and the school principal. I recognize that many systems use the class rotation system today, whereby a student in high school may have six different teachers during each day.
Therefore, the key to this student/teacher/parent relationship is to focus on the homeroom teacher for each student. This way, each teacher should be capable of overseeing the welfare of about 25 to 30 students. They could serve as the primary coordinator between the parents and teachers, for all of the classes each of their home-room students are enrolled in.
HOMEROOM TEACHERS ARE THE KEY TO SUCCESS
The homeroom teachers, parents, and school counselors should work together during the first few weeks of each year to identify the students that need special attention during the year:
The top 65% of the class should be capable and encouraged to excel. They should be offered creative opportunities to improve their talents and passions. About 20% of the students are probably operating below their potential because they are not self-starters, or they are being influenced by their peer group. Feedback reports and empowering their parents will often be all that is needed to move this group up and keep them focused. About 5% of the students will be special with handicaps that require special teachers and tutors. They should be taught in classes specially designed for their needs, and be taught by outstanding special-education teachers. Another 5% of the students will be borderline juvenile delinquents and should be taught in a very restricted environment. The danger of leaving these students in the general high-school population is that they will invariable become a negative influence on other students. That would leave about 5% that need to be monitored at least weekly because they have Attention De cit and other related disorders and traits. Eventually the 5% of students with ADD could take over their own structure to manage their lives, and actually benefit from their unique ability to be creative and Hyperfocus. With the proper structure, and perhaps medication, these students have the potential to move up in their class dramatically.
Each school system should provide a Web-site to keep the students and parents informed on all things that the school is involved in each semester. Most schools have these systems in place, and they are also readily available as packaged systems for those that do not. The missing link is that I have found that two things happen to reduce the effectiveness of these systems:
1. Many of the teachers do not post their assignments on their personal page in the system in advance of homework, tests, and projects. 2. The parents are not adequately trained to pull the teachers page up on the Internet to monitor their children's homework, projects, and preparation for tests.
As I stated earlier in this chapter, the paradox principle continues to create variances between the stated and written policies and the actual practices. Fortunately, this problem is easy to fix:
The Superintendent and Principal for each school system should state to all teachers, students, and parents that no homework assignment, project, or test can be graded, or declared missed, unless it is posted to the teacher's Web-site at least three days in advance of the due date; preferable a week in advance. The first week of each semester should include lectures to parents and students on how to use a calendar and planning guide given to each student. The training should also include the Web-site for assignments by each teacher, and the Web-site for grades posted for homework assignments, tests, exams, and special projects. Evening training sessions should be held monthly during the semester for both students and parents, with hands-on practice, to be sure all interested parents have the ability to access the Web-site and teacher pages for their children. During the second week of each semester, the Homeroom teachers should review each students planning calendar. The 65% who have the ability to handle their own scheduling should have calendars that are neat and full of entries for each class. The 20% who just need a push will improve with another lecture or two, and Emails and monthly training sessions for their parents, explaining the feedback and control procedures in place. Most parents will be delighted to help, once they learn to use the passwords and school Web-sites.
The 5% that need to be in special classes for their particular disability will probably already have been identified. Just coordinate with the counselor for your grade to be sure they are receiving the best instruction available. The 5% who are borderline juvenile delinquents hopefully will also have been identified. If these students cross the line of acceptable behavior, they should be placed in an alternative environment immediately. This zero tolerance for bullies and other unacceptable behavior will often straighten many problem students out immediately. Regular teachers should not have to waste their time and energies on these students that refuse to fall in line. The Hoover School System has two levels of alternative schools available that do an exceptional job in returning students to the regular classroom environment. Problem students may be transferred for just a few weeks or for longer periods. The 5% of students with ADD and other disorders, and their parents, should become friends with their Homeroom teacher, who should also be an instructor for one of their classes. The Homeroom teacher can be a valuable mentor to these young people; and this will be the most gratifying thing they do all year, as they watch these students flourish in this positive environment. The school system should find the resources to buy any parent a computer, who is interested in learning but does not have the money. I am sure that other parents will give to a fund to do this if the school does not have the funds.
This may appear to increase the workload of the homeroom teachers, but like most effective procedures, they become the most efficient and time-saving procedures as well. Businesses are more pro table, with improved employee morale, when procedures are both effective and efficient, and employees are adequately trained, with follow-up and corrective action. Schools are also more successful when the dropout level is reduced, and more students are high achievers:
Parents are happier when their children are high achievers. The student's confidence, self-esteem, and abilities improve. Fewer dropouts will result in fewer criminals and fewer people on welfare. It is amazing how many students, who appear to have a learning disability, improve using this system, and their symptoms disappear or reduce significantly.
The Federal government can incur debt that they can never repay, to support educational initiatives that sound good and political but waste taxpayer money and time. The solutions to most problems in America, including education, are simple; the politicians are the ones who complicate them. The paradox between stated policies and actual practices cause many systems that appear to be efficient, to actually be ineffective, because of the actual follow through by teachers.
Each parent should get involved with their children's school to see that their particular learning needs are properly met. Every parent has the potential to learn to use the School Web-site with their children, even though they may have to repeat the training classes several times. Other volunteer parents will be more than happy to help in the training classes.
Excerpted from HYPERFOCUS by Ron Travis Sr. Copyright © 2010 by Ron Travis Sr.. Excerpted by permission.
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Table of Contents
ContentsAbout The Author....................v
1. Public Education....................1
3. Trey And Poppy....................25
5. Attention Deficit Disorders....................55
6. Oppositional De ant Disorder....................75
7. Conduct Disorder....................99
8. Long-Term Intervention....................115
9. Short-Term Therapeutic Programs....................133
10. Life Cycles And Mood Swings....................147