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ADHD and ADD in adults

User Article   981 Views   By administrator on Dec 04 2009, 4:07 pm






10 year ago I was working at a special needs school for children with moderate learning difficulties. I had got the remit of researching the effects of complementary health care approaches on behavioural issues.

Throughout this programme I was working with the educational psychologist to evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies that we were using with the children from their point of view, the professionals and the parents point of view. The project lasted a year and included 44 children and their families.


So drawing  on a background of post graduate research into evaluation method’s we were able to put lots of methods into place to see just how effective the things we were doing was turning out to be.


One of the things that I put in place was a notice board in the staff room for posting comments on the project. I requested that members of staff were write on the board any observations that they had on the children’s behaviour. What become very interesting was that for every positive comment that was made we had 10 negative ones in response to the children’s behaviour on the programme.


Now this was really strange because we had lots of other methods going on and knew that the children were actually doing very well and they were showing quite marked improvements in many ways but this was not being shown on the comments  the notice board.


Why not?

Well the truth is that the teachers were focusing on the negative. Obviously, their time and resources are precious and what was happening was that when a child was misbehaving it was a further drain on valuable time and resources. They really didn’t have time to notice those occasions when the child was doing really well and behaving in positive way. These incidents  passed unnoticed.

Sometime after that, I realised something else that was very significant. I was working in a pupil referral unit and evaluating the programme by looking at the reduction of consequences for the children on the programme. What that means is, that these young people whose behaviour was so poor that they couldn’t be in a mainstream school, were given warnings for their behaviour. These were  known as consequences that could be a warning or 5 minutes out of the  room or 10 minutes out, sent to the head’s office or a phone call home etc. so we knew the programme was working when the severity of the consequences and the frequency of them was reduced.


However when I got to thinking about the staffroom board experience and the focus on the  negative, I changed around the way we measured success. I developed a game called,  “12-0 I can score goals” what this meant was that children on the programme were encouraged to gather evidence of positive behaviours related to the goals we had set with them. These were varied in complexity for example it might start off that they could join in a project with others and end with when they realised that when other people were having a bad time and they could do something about this – so it evolved in the level of personal accountability that young person showed.

This started to produce much more profound improvements much more quickly and the reason?

We were focusing on the positive.

Now if we look at  a lot of the discussion forums on ADHD it is quite easy to see how people get hooked on the negative aspects of these conditions that are highlighted by the behavioural symptom checklist. By focusing on the negative aspects which contributors often do, it tends to create more negativity and the condition gets worse.


If we look at the negative traits of the ADHD checklist and we start to change the perception of these traits we can  rewrite them in a more positive way. Suddenly we start to see the gifts of this condition and then when we focus on what actually helps us feel better, improvements can be seen.  Instead of being unable to maintain attention and keep focus on one thing – how about - the ability to look at situations from many different perspectives and see many powerful new outcomes us a far more powerful insight into ADHD than  can’t focus on one thing at a time.



When we start to define the positive traits of this condition, then powerful things can start to happen, when a group of people share this focus it can really start to shift, because that is the power of the group dynamic.


Try it and see – Have a go at rewriting the whole manual on adult ADHD ADD symptoms!




Bury   ADHD
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