Volume 1 Issue 8, What's your perspective about ADHD? May 27, 2010

Joanny's Note
Deeper Healing
Feature Article:
What's your perspective about ADHD? What if there's nothing really wrong?
About Dr. Joanny
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Note from Joanny: I announced some weeks ago that I attended the Canadian Association for Young Children (CAYC) National Conference on April 31 and May 1, 2010. It was an amazing experience. I was able to listen to the keynote speaker several times during those two days. His name is Daniel Hodgins and he has a powerful message, which is “Stop medicating kids!” He is the author of several books. His latest is “Boys: Changing the Classroom, Not the Child”. He relates the research and his life experience with boys. He talks about why boys are the way they are and that they are in fact, just acting true to their nature, as girls are.

We both feel that there is a big misconception out there with parents, teachers, and school systems. Read more in today’s article.

Dr. Joanny.

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Feature Article:What's your perspective about ADHD?

So what is going on here? A friend of mine told me recently that his son, who played soccer with my youngest, was once targeted to be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. My husband and I know this boy very well and I was surprised. He just had his own personality. He was laid back and had a sweet soul. But one of his teachers in grade 2 insisted and tried to have him coded. Instead his parents found him a private school where he would succeed. He’s now going into the third year of his Kinesiology degree. My friend smelled something fishy.

A friend of mine, who is a psychiatric nurse and admitted not being an expert on ADHD, once told me during a visit at my home that she thought my youngest son was ADHD. I told her that he was just being a normal, active, healthy little boy. Period. And continued to remind him of his responsibilities and expectations for excellence, but was still, most importantly, allowed to be himself.

A client told me that her son had been diagnosed as ADHD at 7 years old. She’d tried various methods including homeopathy, chiropractic, massage therapy and meditation. Nothing completely worked. So he was now on medication. Supposedly the medication was meant to help him focus, but his marks were still going down. His favorite subject was math at the time and he saw his grades slide. He was miserable and distraught because he couldn’t focus and yet the drug was supposed to help him do that. This client was very distraught as she watched her son’s self esteem dive. Do you feel the pain and suffering going on here?

These examples are all of boys.

The sad part is, boys are 7 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls are. What does this really mean?

Both Dan Hodgins and I have found that schools have become very boy-unfriendly since the 1990s. All the "weaknesses" of boys have been targeted for such things as ADHD. It's doing a great deal of damage. What used to be considered normal behavior is now abnormal. People in the "mental health" field like to say, they're just catching the affliction more. We should be glad they're diagnosing more kids and catching it early! So goes the rationale. The funny thing is, these "professionals" don’t actually know what normal behaviour is. So what is going on here?

I've explained in terms of Chinese medicine that boys are usually more active (more Yang) than most girls. Females are Yin; males are Yang. Some boys are not so Yang and some girls are not so Yin. Stereotypes abound but are not always prevalent. I've also explained what normal behaviour is and what abnomal behaviour truly is, earlier in the series.

But Western medicine has found a way to make us think that there's something wrong. So let's turn it around. What if there really ISN'T anything wrong? What if you’ve been led to believe something that isn't true? Because either you or other adults aren't dealing with the truth.

I have been around a great deal of children, both boys and girls, through the work I did running my community soccer program and also being around youth soccer for decades, where you could have thousands of kids coming through, either playing for us or against us. Out there on the soccer pitches, I didn't see a lot of kids who were totally unmanageable. There were glaring exceptions and unfortunately their parents were consciously or unconsciously egging them on, in public view.

Like my son, who was encouraged to do the best he could, so were so many other children. They were allowed just to be themselves, but were often expected to behave in a sportsmanlike manner and to pursue excellence in sport. It was hoped that what they learned on the pitch would be carried on to other areas of their lives.

Publicly funded schools are a different matter though. Of course, not all schools are alike. But it appears that's where the problem is. Yes, I know that the schools have to plow kids through the system. They have a job to do. It seems at times, that it's more like school teachers and administrators act like golf course marshals, making sure the next hole isn't hogged by a foursome.

But when we're talking about kids, we're talking about developing immature human beings. And when adults don't have a handle on their own conflicts and their inadequacies, I'm afraid that the burden falls to the children. So the minute a situation gets difficult, up comes a visit with your local child psychologist, tests are done, and ultimately a diagnosis is triumphantly arrived.

Remember these are little boys or girls. Neither my friend nor I believed what we were told about our children. That's not to say, if they were truly misbehaving, we wouldn't do something about it. Nope. I know both sets of parents took these things seriously. In my case, it was an off the cuff comment. For my friends, that teacher was so determined to mark their son that she called ahead to some of the private schools about him. Incredible.

A neighbour and friend of mine is a school teacher. She has run for exercise for as long as I've known her. She's a phys-ed teacher. Recently she told me that for years she's offered to take all the "ADHD" kids first thing in the morning and give them a good work out. Finally this year, the school took her up on her offer. There are 39 kids in the group – 38 boys and 1 girl. And she puts them through the paces. When the kids go back to their prospective classrooms, the teachers CAN NOT help but notice how much brighter and more alert these kids are.

She's expanded the program for the "gifted" children too. Their teachers have also noticed the wonders of exercise on such things as focus and concentration. You see, my friend knows that when she doesn't have her workout first thing in the morning, she doesn't focus very well either. She thinks she can identify with these kids. She's from my generation when we weren't automatically pathologized for being different.

You see there are LOTS of signs and symptoms for ADHD. Almost anyone, especially boys, can fit into them. ADHD is like an all-inclusive resort these days. Hey, everyone is welcome now. And if we're forcing drugs into them, to keep them quiet, Hey, that’s good. Do you know that they do this in senior citizen residences too, to keep them drugged and quiet for the same reason – mere manageability, not quality of life!

I have always thought that all kids should be active and encouraged to play, run, jump, skip, be creative, in the fresh air, rain or shine. Children are more Yang than adults. When you reach adulthood, if all of the right things have been done, you should be a lot calmer and naturally focused on what you need to do.

The labeling and the diagnosis are doing damage to many human psyches. Think about that. However, I truly believe that with lots of love, courage, and patience, this damage is reversible. More next time about Dan's research. Later I'll contrast his work with that of an American ADHD expert who came to Calgary in March, 2010. Yikes!

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE? See Dr.Joanny's three blogs: The Happy Acupuncturist, The Passionate Doctor, and The Things Kids Wish Their Parents Knew. Please also visit Chinese Medicine For ADHD Autism for more detail.

About Dr. Joanny
I am a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, an Empowerment Coach, and an Educator and Expert on the subjects of ADHD, Autism, Anger, and Insomnia.

I identify the heart of the matter, the true root cause. There isn't any guesswork in Chinese medicine. A diagnosis in Chinese medicine is the cause. From there, you get a treatment and action plan. As you undergo that, you are on your way to healing.

By helping you to remove root causes, you will transform your life. Or do you merely want to manage symptoms?

The results of the treatments are the same regardless of gender, age, or race. What may differ is timing. Children have fewer issues and heal quickly. Adults are often more complex, but in the end, healing will still occur in a timely manner. It will be weeks or months, not years or never.

The result of working with me is more living, more life, and more joy. In record time.

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Dr. Joanny Liu, TCMD, RAc, P.Eng. Registered Acupuncturist.
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