Definition: ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is a biologically based condition causing a persistent pattern of difficulties resulting in inattention or impulsivity that interferes with academics and social performance.
Real World Definition: the student is in essence “stuck” in the right hemisphere of the brain and unable to access the left brain hemisphere’s logical, step-by-step, organizational abilities, which causes the student to remain in the daydreaming, creative, impulsive state of the right brain.
ADD is one of the most controversial subjects in America, and it seems like everyone has an opinion on it. Some people are sure that medication works. Others just think the student will outgrow it. Few have stopped to look at the function of the brain and the role it plays in ADD.
The first thing that needs to be considered when dealing with an ADD student is the diagnosis. To begin with, there is no blood test to diagnose a student with ADD. All of the tests given are subjective. The fate of a child is placed on a checklist of behaviors that the parent, teacher, doctor, and psychologist fill out. The child is then placed on medications, many with harsh side effects such as sleep interruptions and weight loss.
Students who are labeled as ADD are usually right brain dominant. The right side of the brain is responsible for movement, rhythm, music, shapes, colors, pictures, emotions, daydreaming, expressions, synthesis, and problem solving. Was an ADD student just described?
Schools are predominantly left brain oriented. The left side of the brain is responsible for conscious control, words, phonics, numbers, reasoning, math, lists, categories, analysis, linear thought, auditory skills, and bit by bit learning. The poor right brain dominant student is at a disadvantage all day long in this environment. Teachers are frustrated with what to do with these kids and are often at an emotional point when filling out the ADD checklist. Of course, an objective opinion is difficult at this point.
There is a way to help kids with ADD overcome their lack of focus. They can be taught to access both the left and right hemispheres of the brain so that they can function in the modern left brain dominant classroom. It takes time and effort. It isn't a quick fix, like giving a pill every day. But it is a lasting fix without side effects. And better yet, the student isn't stuck with a label for life.
Attention Deficit Disorder is very common and often misdiagnosed. Often a student doesn't really have ADD, but instead has ADD symptoms from another disorder, such as dyslexia. Once the dyslexia is treated, the symptoms of ADD disappear. ADD is treatable without medication if exercises are performed regularly. The student can then access both the left and right hemispheres of the brain, since most ADD students are stuck in the right side of their brains. Focusing skills improve gradually and the student gains confidence as grades soar due to proper processing of information and the ability to tune out unimportant information.
Symptoms of ADD/ADHD
"Zoning out" without realizing it
Struggling to complete tasks
Poor listening skills
Tendency to overlook details, leading to errors or incomplete work
Poor organizational skills
Difficult time remembering conversations
Hard time following directions
Poor organizational skills
Constantly losing or misplacing things
Tendency to procrastinate
Trouble starting and finishing projects