D) GD talk: The Gift of AD/HD

Dyslexia and focus

Audience
Any of the following: Educators, therapists, ADDers and their parents.
Duration: About 90 minutes.
Cost: Free or a nominal fee

Ron Davis has discovered that behind the learning difficulties are generally gifts waiting to be harnessed.

The labels ADD (attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity) are made to describe the negative aspects of the condition - the distractibility and how that impedes learning. Another way to think of exactly the same set of symptoms, is to say that the person is interested in everything and anything they see, rather than the one thing you want them to be interested in at that time. If you look at it this way, you can see that the person’s high level of curiosity is the main quality - and this quality can be a great asset if managed appropriately.

By addressing the issue of focusing, you can greatly reduce the above problems for people of all ages. Early intervention allows you to just about prevent them altogether.

Here is a short video from Ryan Higa, an American video blogger who has channelled his own ADHD into successful online entertainment business. Here he describes his own ADHD in a hilarious way.

Are you ADHD

When we work with ADHD person, we first teach them to focus their attention in a very easy way, and then we start to improve their awareness of when they are focused and when not. We also begin to show them the different outcome from engaging in a task focused or distracted. But where we are pretty unique, is in addressing the underlying "life skills" issues that are needed for ADHD success.

Life Skills Concepts

We have found that certain concepts, which most of us take for granted can be unclear or missing from the mind of an ADD person. These concepts include the following: 
  • Self
  • Change
  • Consequence
  • Time
  • Sequence
  • Order/disorder

Confusion about these concepts will show up in the behaviour of the ADD person; they may be constantly late, due to confusion about time - or frequently in trouble despite putting in huge effort to the contrary, due to confusion about the concept of consequence and the concept of order/disorder

They are likely to be just as puzzled as anyone, about why constant reminders and experiences of unplanned and undesired outcomes are not sufficient to shift the behaviour. They may commit again and again to change a piece of behaviour, only to find them having "messed up again". 

If you have someone like that in your life, you probably can't make sense of the sweet nature, sensitivity and good intentions, coupled with often destructive/insensitive behaviour. 

The good news is that this can be systematically dealt with, step by step. The life skills concepts can be mastered through The Davis symbol mastery, resulting in the person starting to apply these principles in their lives, and being able to identify the behaviours which creates desired outcomes, as well as destructive behaviours.

SPORT'S HALL OF FAME

Before you read any further, I would like to ask you to think of three sports-people which in your mind would be the greatest athletes of all time. 

Once you have made your decision, read on and see if your choices are included in my Sport's Hall of Fame.

Below you can see my Sport's Hall of Fame, and I feel pretty confident that at least two out of your three greatest athletes of all time are on that list.

If I could find "evidence" of an ADHD or dyslexia label online, I put that label next to the name and coloured it red. If it was a rumour, I put a question mark next to the label and coloured it red - and if there was no rumours or evidence, I obviously put no label.

In Lance Armstrong's case for example, I found a quote from his mother saying "he was a poster child for ADHD".

Sebastien Loeb has not bee diagnosed with ADHD, but before he became a racing driver he was "noted for his daring/reckless driving style and his tendency not to be punctual." These are two qualities very often associated with ADHD.

Tiger Woods has no diagnosis as far as I know, but here is an article explaining the advantage of ADD in playing golf.

http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/golfers-add-pga-tour-could-be-thriving-because-it

ATHLETES' HALL OF FAME

  • Mohammad Ali 
    (the greatest boxer of all times) 
    - Dyslexic, and probably AD/HD
  • Michael Phelps
    (22 Olympic medals - most decorated Olympian ever)

    - AD/HD

  • Mark Spitz
    (11 Olympic medals - most decorated Olympian until M. Phelps)

  • Lionel Messi
    (one of the greatest footballers of all time)
    - Aspergers

  • Sebastien Loeb
    (9 times Rally World Champion - the only one)

    - ADHD?

  • Michael Schumacher
    (7 times F1 world champion - the only one)
    - AD/HD?

  • Lance Armstrong
    (7 times Tour de France winner)
    - AD/HD (according to his mother)

  • Michael Jordan
    (greatest basketball player ever?)
    - Dyslexic

  • Magic Johnson
    (greatest basketball player ever?)
    - Dyslexic

  • Sir Steve Redgrave
    (Gold medal in 5 consecutive Olympics - the only one)
    - Dyslexic

  • Babe Ruth
    (Greatest baseball player in history?)
    - Dyslexic

  • Pete Rose
    (Greatest baseball player in history?)
    - Dyslexic

  • Tiger Woods
    (golfing world champion)

  • Usain Bolt
    (fastest man on Earth)

Out of fourteen names on the above list, eleven (all the red ones) have either been confirmed or rumoured to have ADHD or another related learning difficulty.

The problem
A problem with focus (attention) is the key common factor in AD/HD and all the related learning difficulties. By addressing this issue successfully, the symptoms can be eliminated, solving the problem once and for all.

The cause
A person’s learning style reflects their preferred thinking style. Thinking styles fall into two main categories – verbal or non-verbal. We all start life as non-verbal thinkers, and sticking to this thinking style puts us at risk of developing special education needs. Conversely, using this thinking style allows us maintain access to the high-speed creative thinking babies and toddlers use to learn. This is the main reason for the gift of dyslexia and AD/HD.


The solution

There are essentially two steps needed to address AD/HD: 

1. Learn how to focus – and how to notice when focus is broken; 

2. Master (fully understand) all the "life-skills" concepts, and explore how they play a part in influencing our lives. 

We teach a specific focusing technique, and use plasticine for a multi-sensory learning method to help us eliminate confusion. 

To address ADHD we generally need at least 50 hour one-to-one work followed by several hours at home. This ensures that there is no confusion about the life-skills concepts, and over the following months, the AD/HD person will start applying these concepts in his/her life.

We talk about correcting learning difficulties, as there is in our view nothing to cure. By giving the individual a set of simple effective tools, their challenges are overcome.

Our experience has shown a high success rate in correcting AD/HD. This is achieved with the Davis correction procedures, explained in detail in Ron Davis’ book The Gift of Learning.

The Davis methods have proven successful in dealing with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, hyperactivity, ADD, AD/HD and Aspergers syndrome.

Medication

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD are generally treated with Ritalin or other similar medication, and the prescription of ADHD medication has skyrocketed in the past few years.

An article in The Guardian newspaper in 2012 stated the following:

"Figures released by the NHS business services authority to the Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt reveal the number of prescriptions of methylphenidate hydrochloride, the generic name for Ritalin, rose in England from 158,000 in 1999 to 661,463 in 2010."

From The Guardian


ADHD is believed to affect between 5% and 10% of schoolchildren in the UK. Symptoms include overactive and impulsive behaviour and difficulty paying attention.

The Association of Educational Psychologists said it believed guidelines were not being followed. The guidelines recommend that ADHD medication should not be prescribed to pre-school children for the long term, nor in isolation from other therapeutic interventions, without consultation. But the association said it was aware of a substantial increase in the number of children aged under six, and in some cases as young as three, being prescribed ADHD drugs.

"It is extremely alarming that in the decade up to 2010, prescriptions for Ritalin quadrupled," [Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt] said. "Statistics show that 90% of prescriptions for this powerful drug in 2004 were used to combat behavioural problems in school-age children. I am shocked that there has been such a huge explosion in use."

This is worrying, as the total number of children in England at school age 4 - 18 years old was less than 10 million in 2010, according to the 2011 census, and that suggests that more than 6% of school-children were on medication like Ritalin in 2010. If the rise in Ritalin prescriptions has continued to rise in a similar fashion since, then we may be facing well over 10% of school children being prescribed ADD-type medication in 2015.

The Davis approach to ADD and AD/HD is holistic and non-medical, and it is in fact not compatible with most of the AD/HD medication. If your child is on medication like Ritalin, then you would only consider a Davis AD/HD programme if you wish for your child to come off the medication. This would need to be done in collaboration with the prescribing medical professional, and the Davis self-management tools will be used instead of the medication. 

The medication needs to be stopped at least a week before the programme, and the plan would be to stay off the medication permanently. It can take a couple of months for the full benefits of the Davis programme to manifest in a permanent change of behaviour (less impulsive, less distracted, more organised), but we generally see some changes immediately within the programme.
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