New Solutions for ADD
Original article by Ivan Poturica, BA, Director of ADD Centre Winnipeg
Current approaches for children and adults using stimulant medication and academic tutoring do not resolve attention or concentration issues and cannot remove learning disabilities.
James M. Swanson, University of California-Irvine ADD Center in the early 1990’s did a “review of reviews” of published drug company studies. Conclusions of the studies reviewed confirmed that in the short term one could only expect temporary
management of diagnostic symptoms. However, one should expect side-effects such as increase in the appearance of tics, frequent problems with eating, sleeping and possible psychological effects on cognition. Most telling is that no significant improvement in reading skills, athletic or game skills, positive social skills or improvement in learning, achievement, behavior or attention was found. When long term outcomes were tracked there was no improvement in academic achievement and no reduction in antisocial behavior including arrest rate!
Researchers at John Hopkins Children Center concluded that children treated with current methods after six years: “Nine out of 10 young children with moderate to severe ADHD continue to experience serious, often severe symptoms and impairment long after their original diagnoses and, in many cases, despite treatment.” (2013) Old and new studies agree that medication treats symptoms but leaves no lasting improvement for attention, learning or behavior. Medication ([based treatment] for ADD/ADHD) is an old technology, like eye glasses to correct vision instead of laser eye surgery to bring back normal vision.
Many parents and educators are of the belief tutoring works equally well for students with ADHD as for those with academic problems and good attention skills. However, researchers found no evidence of any benefit from tutoring among children with both attention problems and early reading difficulties. The ADHD brain is easily distracted often drifting off task making children and adults inefficient learners. Lack of focus and concentration has nothing to do with intelligence. Distracted and unfocused children have difficulty reading because they simply can’t focus long enough on the line of text to make sense of the words and sentences. [Mixed in with ADHD are children and adults with varying degrees of learning disabilities.] For all of the best intentions and intense efforts of parents and tutors to teach academic skills it is disconcerting how little of the learning is retained. Why? Tutoring cannot teach the skill of attention and concentration.
ADHD and learning disabilities are often mixed together because they share the same underlying cause: brain performance. Researchers are finding ADHD is the result of poor regulation in areas of the brain involved in attention and concentration. Other
researchers looking at learning disabilities are finding areas involved in reading/decoding, understanding concepts or math calculations are under performing. They are not finding a disorder or defect but as one researcher described it, “an out of tune brain.”
New technology can take advantage of (neuro)brain plasticity to train the brain. Neurofeedback brain training makes exposes under performance so the person can consciously intervene by changing their thinking to re-tune their brain’s activity.
Studies using fMRI scanning indicate 91% of children with ADHD no longer tested with attention problems after completing 40 hours of training resulting in grade point and IQ improvements. Many no longer needed medication. Long term follow-up studies indicate the improvement is permanent for the majority. [Brain training restores attention and concentration.] (Long term studies indicate that brain training [permanently improves] (restores) attention and concentration for the majority of participants.)
(Long term follow-up studies indicate the improvement is permanent for the majority of participants concluding that brain training (restores) (improves) attention and concentration.)
The ADD Centre brain training program teaches the brain to pay attention and focus. Then we add tutoring to fill the skill gaps in ELA and math after our brain training is complete. With severe reading problems like dyslexia, brain training is done over areas of the brain responsible for reading/decoding and spelling then backed-up by one-on-one reading skills tutoring. Training the brain then teaching reading skills resolves reading problem more effectively, in less time with lasting benefits.
We offer free interviews with a demonstration of the program. For children with ADHD and learning disabilities Federal and Provincial tax benefits may be available.
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