1. “Our son had been looking forward very much to returning to school. We knew that getting back into the routine of regular school would take a little adjustment, however, it’s been five weeks and he is still struggling with focusing in class, and homework is really tough, too. Is this normal? Is it what most kids are doing?”
It’s difficult to see something that has been anticipated – returning to school – turn into something that’s very frustrating. Generally speaking, most children would have gotten back into the regular school routine after a couple of weeks, at most. If your son is still experiencing this kind of problem, he may be showing you something else is getting in his way. It sounds like that “something else” may be the Inattentive form of ADHD. The only way to find out if this is true is to have the proper testing done. It’s very important to make this determination quickly. If the disorder is present, it needs to be treated and corrected as soon as possible to prevent your son from falling behind his classmates and suffering the loss of self-esteem that often accompanies this pattern.
2. “My daughter, Sammy, was really excited about getting back to school and seeing all her friends. At first this was great and she was very happy. But now they seem to be shying away from her. She makes poor decisions, overreacts, and when frustrated gets so ‘worked up’ so quickly! Her teacher says she’s talking all the time and it seems as if there’s a motor constantly running in her. What do you think is going on with her?”
Your daughter sounds delightful and very social. The exuberance she had at first for seeing her friends sounds very understandable. It’s heartbreaking to hear how this has soured for her. The fact that her teacher is seeing problems, too, is also very telling. It’s possible Sammy is exhibiting the Hyperactive-Impulsive form of ADHD. At this point, if it is this disorder, it’s very important that she correct it before she loses her friends and is possibly identified by her teacher as a troublemaker. We don’t want either of these things to happen to her. She needs to be properly tested, and if she’s determined to have this problem, she needs to have it treated immediately.
ADHD, while its symptoms are significant, is caused by relatively minor imbalances in the brain and is not difficult to correct. Some parents avoid testing their children (adults do this with themselves, too), and/or if they are diagnosed with these disorders, avoid treatment because they fear the side-effects and rigors of a lifetime of medication. The good news is there is now a drug and side-effect free alternative to this scenario.
This method of treatment is Neurofeedback, a highly effective, non-drug, painless, side-effect free procedure in which the person learns to retrain the attention and behavior mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition. Once the treatment is complete, no further training is necessary.
Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari is the Director of Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback