Probably the most common diagnoses prompted by school authorities, ADD and ADHD account for a significant percentage of clients who seek our help. So we’re very familiar with the challenges you deal with daily and often. Teachers tend to send you to a doctor for a diagnosis because (they say) your child’s behaviours interfere with his or her ability to learn and may distract other students, take “too much” of the teacher’s time, and disrupt class routines.
If you are an adult who feels that you have “all the symptoms” – easily distracted, can’t focus on one thing, etc, you may also have looked into, or already received, a diagnosis of adult ADD or ADHD.
From the HANDLE perspective there’s no such thing as a “deficit” of attention. Everyone is always attending to something. We’ve observed that most people who have difficulty sustaining their attention and/or adjusting readily to the demands of new situations demonstrate irregularities in specific developmental systems, which result in the individual’s internal energy and attention going toward just trying to function in the world. On an input level, these can include:
- hypersensitivity to at least one modality such as touch, vision, sound
- weakness in the vestibular system ( simplified as the inner ear ) which supports and regulates such functions as listening, dynamic use of our eyes, balancing, feeling at ease with our bodies in space, having an appropriate state of readiness in our resting muscles. It also integrates with systems that govern breathing, pulse, etc.
On an output level, they have difficulty processing various elements of a situation and acting upon those that require response in a self-regulated way due to problems such as:
- insufficient coordination between the two sides of the body and brain
- immature reflex inhibition
When your internal energy and attention are going towards taking care of those needs, there is not enough left to also deal with external demands, or chosen areas of attention, in an organized, sustained way.
A vulnerable vestibular system will usually require more movement than an organised vestibular system; “more movement” earns that “hyperactive” label.
Currently, the most common treatment for these diagnoses is medication. While some medications can temporarily ease many of the symptoms in both children and adults, it is usually with unwanted side-effects, and it definitely does nothing to address the underlying actual causes of the behaviors.
Through careful observation and analysis we can discern systems of the body and brain that need strengthening or organising or protection. We then design an individualized program of gentle movement-based activities, along with other indicated recommendations and support, to enhance weak systems, reduce symptomatic behaviours, and create function from dysfunction.
Once these systems are functioning more smoothly and efficiently you will have more attention available to direct to the things you choose to attend to.