ADHD Self-Control and Time


    Sam Peters – Sonoma [email protected]

    Audio cassette tape ADHD Self-Control and

    Russell Barkley, Ph.D.

    How does the ADD child see the world? This simple, elegant,
    maddening question has turned my world upside down and inside out
    over the last 10 years. The doctor who posed the question opened a
    door for me through which I willingly walked because I love my son.
    What I found on the other side of the door was empty space.

    Sure, I studied parenting skills, 50 ways to organize, 100 ways to
    motivate, how to deal with school and community, other parents
    dealing with their own ADD kids (some of them with ADD too), not to
    mention numerous opinions and theories that are flat out wrong, at
    least as they apply to my son. I even spent a year as a CHADD
    coordinator sharing the wealth of available material with the many
    parents and adults seeking information. Yet, despite the undeniable
    value of putting a name to the disorder, validating the usefulness of
    medication, and learning the genealogy of ADD within my family, the
    question How does the ADD child see the world? remained

    If I look at my son’s feelings of alienation, frustration, and
    anger, I sense lack of attention (not always), lack of goals
    (sometimes), poor sense of time (usually), lack of interest in social
    activities (mostly), and so on. Inevitably I’m drawn toward the usual
    explanation as lack of focus. However, after 10 years of observing I
    have concluded that this definition while better than nothing gives
    me no useful insight into the fundamental question How does the ADD
    child see the world?

    Consequently, I was really ready for Russell Barkley, Ph.D.’s
    audio cassette tape ADHD Self-Control and Time (available from CHADD)
    of his speech to the 10th Annual CHADD International Conference,
    10/17/1998, on which he summarizes his theory of ADD. Barkley
    emphasizes that a 1 hour talk cannot adequately cover his theory; but
    I found many of his statements thought provoking, particularly in the
    important sense that I saw new ways to approach understanding what
    ADD truly is to those wrestling with it.

    First, ADD is not a deficit. Children are on the low end of an
    understood spectrum of mental abilities. Their problems are obviously
    real but their mental abilities are complete, just not fully
    available to them because of their difficulty with short term memory.
    Thus, ADD children fall farther and farther behind their peers
    because they are unable to access their mental abilities as
    thoroughly as their peers. This has implications for what I can
    expect from schools, if anything; the age at which my child will
    reach maturity; and what impact growing up in a safe, nurturing
    environment might have on adult ADD.

    Second, ADD children do not have time horizons as distant as
    others. For example, children may look an hour into the future at the
    consequences of their own actions where ADD children are able to look
    only 30 seconds into the future at the consequences of their actions.
    Guess which children will be more frustrated. Note that when ADD
    children are operating within their short time horizons they behave
    normally, but when they must think beyond their time horizon they
    cannot function. This accounts for the fact that ADD children can
    appear to be perfectly normal in some situations but, as we know so
    well, not in others. ADD children’s time horizons can be lengthened
    by medication but can they be educated into growth? Is sensing longer
    time lines a learnable skill ? Not likely.

    Third, children learn by first hearing rules for living, then
    speaking them, and then internalizing them into voices speaking only
    in their own heads. To the degree that these thousands of rules which
    affect one another are not internalized in ADD children, they must be
    immediately available in the ADD children’s external environment to
    speak the multitude of rules for living that the children have not
    yet internalized. How can a parent shape ADD children’s environments
    to reflect this multitude of rules for living not yet internalized?
    Is it possible to create an environment that provides a minimum of
    frustration for ADD children?

    I think any member of CHADD will enjoy and be challenged by this
    tape. Also, my apologies to to Dr. Barkley for any misrepresentations
    I may have inadvertently made of his complex theory. I make do with
    what I can find, and I’m deeply appreciative of his remarks. And
    thanks to Dr. Barkley I now have some some answers to that key
    question How does the ADD child see the world?

    Related book:

    A New Look at ADHD: Inhibition, Time, and Self-Control

    by Russell A. Barkley


    1 Response to ADHD Self-Control and Time

    1. Kelsey says:

      This specific post, “ADHD Self-Control and Time” was in fact beneficial.
      I’m creating out a clone to clearly show my buddies. Thanks a lot-Kelsey

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