The ADD Label

Action Plan to Break the Bonds of Self-restriction
There are experts who understand diseases, works of art, and mechanical processes, but it is difficult to find a person who claims to truly know him- or herself. It doesn't help that modern consumer marketing creates labels and then does its best to channel people of all ages into marketing categories. They do this in an attempt to convince us that we need to purchase certain consumer goods and brands. Those labels are derived from the popular culture, and we are almost powerless to stop their insidious intrusion into our daily lives.

The point for parents of a child with ADD to understand is that there are multiple forces at work that affect their child's attempt to forge an identity. Recognize that your child may buy into any one of those influences, consciously or unconsciously, and that her behavior will reflect that.

Encourage your child by recognizing her assets and strengths. Play the cheerleader for your child so that she learns to recognize her value and potential. The greatest power comes from within, but parents instill that power--they fuel it by helping a child build a strong foundation of security and confidence.

Parents should never mislead a child or give a child false information, but it is certainly better to follow the advice of the old tune and accentuate the positive rather than dwell on the negative. A child who is shorter than his classmates and not likely to ever be more than average height certainly should be encouraged to look beyond height as a measure of his worth. In the same manner, once your child has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, you should stress that thousands of men and women who share the symptoms have achieved success in their lives.

If you want your child to be successful, you have to help him find the tools to create his own success over a lifetime. You can't create it for him. You can only prepare him for success by helping him learn how to learn in the most effective manner. Some people learn best by trial and error, some by rote memory, others by rational reasoning.

I am always inspired when I see the innovative methods devised by successful people to overcome their limitations. Texas had a governor in recent years who had such a reading problem that he had all of his notes written on large cards with broad black one-inch-high letters. A well-known opera singer could not read the words on the score and had to memorize each note and word by listening to her coach repeat them. One very wealthy businessman still does not know the order of the alphabet.

I have observed CEOs of major organizations develop specific strategies, such as acupuncture, massage, and music, to prepare for important staff and board meetings. Professional athletes use rituals and creative imagery to prepare for each event--to remove specific obstacles in their thinking or focus to ensure success and high achievement.


From The ADD Answer: How to Help Your Child Now by Frank Lawlis, M.D. Copyright 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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