I’ve been playing around with a new site called Squidoo. It allows you to easily create information web pages. These are called lens, the idea being that they are focused on one particular topic. So I’ve created a couple. One on ADD / ADHD Medication and one on ADD / ADHD Treatment.
Your Amazing Brain is a collection of experiments, background information and tests covering body language, left / right handedness and mirror cells.
The next stage in my mission to make Myomancy the biggest and best ADHD, Dyslexia and Autism site is now on line. The Myomancy Blog Roll collates information from blogs and mainstream media into a handy digest.
As well as being fully searchable, each post is tagged so that you check out the latest news on ADHD, chelation, ritalin or whatever interests you.
Stopping ADHD or to give its full title ‘Stopping ADHD. A Unique and Proven Drug-Free Program for Treating ADHD in Children and Adults’ combines in-depth knowledge, good writing and clear examples distilled from the authors life-long experience and academic knowledge of learning disabilities.
When I see any book or treatment I have rule of thumb, my quackary test, to guide me on its credibility. Firstly is it referred to as a ‘breakthrough’. This is usually a sign of hype by the book’s editor who really means ‘I’ve never heard of this before’. The bigger the font used, the less credible the book looks.
Secondly, how many things does does it claim to treat. The longer the list of illnesses and psychological problems something claims to help, the more I become suspicious. Assessing a treatment’s effectiveness on a single problem is a long, expensive and difficult task so the more problems they list, the less likely they have done any credible studies.
How does Stopping ADHD fair?
Well the book is focused on ADHD and nothing else so that is a good start but it does have ‘breakthrough’ on the cover. As it is in a small font size and comes from a quote by Lawrence Greenburg, developer of the TOVA ADHD diagnostic test it has some credibility.
Having judged the book by its cover, what about the contents? On reading it I was pleased to find its focus was the Symmetric Tonic Neck Reflex (STNR). This is one of a number of primitive reflexes that newborn children have. This reflex ties the movement of the neck, arms and legs together so that movement of one of these parts results in the movement of the others. This helps the baby learn basic movements such as sitting up and beginning to crawl. The STNR fades away as the baby learns to crawl and then walk, actions that require independent movement of the neck, arms and legs.
The central position of Stopping ADHD is that ADHD occurs in children who have retained their STNR and that this impacts on their education and development. The authors suggest that this occurs when a child has not crawled for long enough before walking. This creates problems when the child goes to school and is asked to sit at a desk and write. To write, you must use the arms but in the ADHD child, the arms and legs cannot move independently. This results in two outcomes. Either the child finds they have to jump up and move whenever they are asked to do writing. Or they contort themselves in such a manner that they can restrain the reflexive movements of the legs. It is here where the book really excels. It gives a clear, logical path between the STNR, a well documented biological / neurological factor, and behaviour in the classroom.
The second half of the book focuses on the treatment method developed at the Miriam Bender Achievement Center that the authors cofounded. The treatment, simply put, consists of the child on their hands and knees crawling whilst an adult provides gentle resistance to the limbs or torso. Through these movements the child loses their STNR and learns to move their limbs independently. This allows the child to sit and move as other children.
The book’s full title claims this to be a ‘unique and proven’ way of treating ADHD and it is in this the book falls a little short. Whilst the actual exercises are unique, the general principal is not. The STNR and the rest of the primitive reflexes have been central to the INPP research and approach to treating learning difficulties for thirty years.
The claim that it is a proven treatment is also problematic. I am sure this treatment works for lots of people who visit the authors’ clinic because the science behind it is solid and well documented. However there is a lack of proper study on the actual treatment. In the appendix the authors write up a study they did with a local elementary school but there is no indication that this study was ever published in a peer-reviewed journal.
This is a good book. The first half is excellent and should be read by parents and teachers alike. The treatment itself is logical and has the same basic principals as other effective treatments. I am however doubtful of how well a parent can read this book and then implement the treatment with their child. This is not a criticism of the book which explains the treatment well but merely a reflection of the fact that delivering treatments like this is a skilled task learnt from years of hands-on experience.
Stopping ADHD, A Unique and Proven Drug-Free Program for Treating ADHD in Children and Adults.
Nancy E. O’Dell and Patricia A. Cook.
A good write-up of what ADHD is from a diagnostic point of view.
ADHD and social disinhibition
As you may have noticed, Myomancy has been redesigned so that it better integrates with the Myomancy Treatment Database. I’m still tiding up so things may take a couple of days to settle down. If you spot anything that looks broken, please let me know along with which web browser you are using. Also if you have any general comments on the new design, please let me know.
This is the second stage of a plan to give Myomancy a bigger range of content and features. The first step was the treatment database. Coming soon are better search facilities, better links to other blogs and a new Amazon shop focusing on Dyslexia, ADHD and Autism.
The Visual-Spatial Resource focuses on different learning styles and in particular those learners who are visual-spatially orientated. These children often struggle in schools that are sequential and auditory based in their teaching. They offer some downloads as well as promote a variety of books to help parents, educators and children understand about different approaches to learning.
A report on the BBC yesterday suggested that about half of all parents with Learning Difficulties (LD) had their children taken in care by social services. This caught my attention for a couple of reasons. Firstly they did not identify the nature of the learning difficulties so presumably included people with dyslexia. Secondly if the figure is true then there needs to be a lot more support given to the parents or social services and the courts need to understand more about the capabilities of adults with learning problems.
After some digging I’ve found the original report. Find the Right Support [ PDF ] is well written and thoughtful 100 plus page examination of the needs of parents with learning difficulties. It is aimed at midwifes, social workers and related agencies and gives guidance on the the identification of parents with LD and the problems they may have dealing with social services. The report, like the BBC, makes no differentiation between the different types of disability bit it does make clear that intelligence, the ability to read and the ability to be a good parent are not directly connected.
The 50% figure quoted in all the news reports is used in the report but its source was actually a study done in 2005 for the NHS. Adults with Learning Difficulties in England 2003/2004 is a big study (over 9MB for the full version). Right at the beginning of the full report it says
“We have decided to use ‘learning difficulties’ rather than ‘learning disabilities’ because these are the words that the people themselves said they prefer. It was used throughout the research. In this report we talk about ‘people with learning difficulties’, meaning people who since they were a child had a real difficulty in learning many things. We do not mean people who just have a specific difficulty in learning, for example, people who only have difficulty with reading which is sometimes called dyslexia.“
Further on in the report they clarify things further
“…we asked people whether they themselves had ‘learning disabilities’ or whether someone they lived with or supported had ‘learning disabilities’. Because we just asked people, we realised that we might end up interviewing some people who did not have learning disabilities as such, but who may have other difficulties (e.g., dyslexia). We decided to exclude people if they had been awarded a GCSE at grade C or above, an O level, an A level, a degree or HND qualification.“
So the study was looking adults with severe problems or at least severely let down by the education system. Presumably this would capture large numbers of autistic people but not the majority of dyslexics.
Two and half thousand adults (16+) with learning difficulties or their carers were interviewed for the study. The results are, as you may expect, depressing.
Two thirds of people with LD who want to and are able to work are unemployed
Adults with LD are more likely to no contact with friends or family
Only one in three voted in the 2001 general election compared to 73% of non-LD adults
Half of all adults with LD are still living with their parents
On caring for children the report says:
“One in fifteen of the people we interviewed (7%) had children. Of the people who had children, just over half (52%) looked after their children. Women were slightly more likely to be a parent than men (9% compared to 6%). But men and women were just as likely to be looking after their children if they had any (52% of women, 53% of men).“
It is worth noting that the report doesn’t say who is looking after the children that are not with their parents. Nor is there any indication if the parents are unhappy with this arrangement.
I’m please to announce a major expansion of Myomancy.
On the Myomancy Treatment Database you will find a list of ninety different treatments available for ADHD, dyslexia and autism. These range from mainstream reading programs to fringe treatments such as NeuroCranial Restructuring. Visitors to the Treatment Database can comment on treatments they have tried so that other parents can find the right treatment for their child.
Everything is brand new so if you find anything that doesn’t work or any typos then please let me know by commenting here or emailing me.
And please tell your friends about it. If you have your own blog or are on any email lists or forums, please mention the treatment database. It can only help dyslexics and sufferers of ADHD if people know about it.
ReadPal is a piece of software that helps dyslexics and others read on-screen text. It text from MS Word, Outlook and Internet Explorer to be displayed in a variety of formats to suit the reader.
I’ve not used the software (I’m a Mac person and its Windows only) but it looks useful. Particularly if you need to do large amounts of reading on-screen for school or work but suffer from eye-strain or lose your place regularly. There is a free trial and the full software costs just over £20.