What is AD/HD? AD/HD, ADHD, or ADD, all different names for the same syndrome, is a family of chronic neurobiological disorders that affect our capacity to attend to tasks (inattention), inhibit behavior (impulsivity), and regulate activity level (hyperactivity) in developmentally appropriate ways. These impairments are in what are called our executive functions, which also include our capacity for planning, sequencing, problem solving, initiation of action, and self-control. When our executive functions are impaired, our behavior can be affected in the following ways:

· We have trouble staying focused on a task
· We show great initiative, but poor follow-through
· We have poor planning and timing skills
· We are disorganized
· We interrupt in conversations
· We act without thinking
· We have trouble sitting still

While any of us might have one or all of these troubles at some time in our lives, it is the intensity, duration, and pervasiveness of the symptoms that differentiate ADD as a disorder.

Today, we know that ADD first appears in childhood, frequently continues into adolescence, and often persists into adulthood. Current research suggests approximately 3 to 5 percent of school age children have ADD. Some studies suggest even more. We know that ADD exists worldwide and that it has a strong genetic component. We know that other conditions are often present with ADD, conditions such as depression, anxiety, and learning disabilities.

The complications of untreated ADD, particularly when combined with other commonly co-occurring conditions such as depression, anxiety, and learning disabilities, can result in repeated failures in life. Unchecked, this can lead to poor self-esteem, inadequate social skills, behavioral disorders, drug abuse, and addictions, which eventually impact our ability to stay in school, keep a job, or maintain the relationships that are important to us.

We know that a disproportionate number of people with undiagnosed and/or untreated ADD enter our criminal justice system. We know that a disproportionate number of people with undiagnosed and/or untreated ADD abuse drugs. There is evidence that even when people with ADD escape these traps, they are more likely to divorce, have job troubles, and become the great underachievers of our society.

What can be done? Thanks both to extensive clinical research and to recent advances in neurology and genetics, we know much more about ADD now than we did a generation ago or even a decade ago. We know that the behavioral issues are based in neurology, not in poor character or bad parenting. We also know that certain parenting and teaching strategies work better than others. We now have a much better pharmacopoeia for treating ADD than we did even five years ago, and we know from solid scientific research which treatments work and which ones work best for children and for adults.

As awareness and understanding of this disorder grows, more professionals are becoming ADD-savvy, so there is more help available to families and individuals affected by this disorder. Likewise, there is more information available in books and on the Internet to help parents and individuals learn to understand and to live well with this disorder. However, more needs to be done, as there are still abundant myths and prejudices surrounding this disorder which prevent people from getting the help they need to live life more easily and successfully. Unidentified and untreated ADD remains a problem, often at great cost to the individual and to society.

How does Fidget to Focus fit in? This book addresses an unseen, often unacknowledged part of ADD. The part that is “the constant fleeing from boredom” that Dr. John Bailey, Director of the Center of Attention & Learning in Mobile, Alabama considers to be a hallmark of ADD. Fidget to Focus advocates an innovative approach that opens up a whole new realm of strategies for living successfully with this disorder, strategies that can be used with and that complement any existing intervention or treatment. This approach has largely gone unrecognized because the concept is counter intuitive. Yet, extensive empirical evidence and the latest research in several areas of cutting edge science demonstrates its validity and amazing effectiveness. The book also includes a succinct review of what we know about ADD and how to identify and treat it, extensive lists of references and resources, and a workbook to help the reader identify their own best fidget strategies.

Roland Rotz, Ph.D., is a licensed child and adult psychologist, director of the Lifespan Development Center in Carpinteria, California, and a nationally recognized expert on ADD, giving presentations regionally and nationally. Dr. Rotz specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ADD and co-occurring conditions, including chronic disorganization.

Sarah D. Wright, M.S., A.C.T., is a professional personal coach, one of the few in the nation trained specifically to work with people affected by ADD. She lives near San Diego, California, where in addition to her coaching and writing, she is a consultant at the Hallowell-West Medical Center, and is involved in ADD education and support groups.

 

Lifespan Development Center Child and Adult Services
Roland N. Rotz, Ph.D.


(805) 566-0441

957 Maple Avenue
Carpinteria, CA 93013
email: DocRotz@DocRotz.com
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