Alternative ADHD Treatments and Theories

The website Born to Explore was started by Teresa Gallagher, a mother of an ADHD child. She attempts to approach ADHD from a different point of view. For instance, she argues that not everyone who meets the diagnostic criteria for ADHD has the actual disorder and that ADD is not necessarily a brain defect. In addition to “exploring” other possible sources of ADHD-like behaviors, the website explores alternative treatments and puts a positive spin on those traits now associated with ADHD.

What Can the Organization Do for You?

In addition to providing alternative ADHD Treatments and Theories, Gallagher gives helpful tips and recommends books that approach ADD positively. She also takes a skeptics stance in exploring accepted conclusions about the disorder. For instance, the website sets out an in-depth history of the disorder and points out ways in which the diagnosis is still vague and confusing.

First and foremost, Gallagher makes you think by exploring all the different theories, treatments and resources available.

Are ADHD and Asperger Labels an Advantage or Disadvantage?

I have a natural aversion to labels. They pigeon hole people and in some cases limit them. I’m not alone in this belief. When my son was first diagnosed with ADHD and Aspergers “tendencies,” our family therapist shied away from wanting to give the “tendencies” clear ADHD and Asperger labels at the school level.

In other words, while my son might have benefited from additional resources available through special education, the labels could follow him through his academic career and affect how he was perceived and treated by his peers and teachers. The decision of whether or not to officially take advantage of special education resources became a weighing game between how strongly he was impacted by his “tendencies” and the possible negative consequences of acknowledging them. We chose to get resources outside of the school system.

Looking back, I’m still not sure if we made the right decision. I do know, however, that the only way to combat whatever negative associations people have regarding ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome is to arm them with knowledge and awareness. While neither condition should be used as an excuse, understanding how the tendencies of both ADHD and Aspergers can affect behavior can avoid a lot of hurt and misunderstanding. Knowledge gives friends, family and teachers a place to start toward building a win-win relationship.

Once upon a time, I worked with a woman with whom I now suspect had Aspergers tendencies. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, and the result was that I took a lot of her social faux pas personally. In fact, I developed a healthy dislike for her. These days, armed with information and knowledge about both ADHD and Aspergers, my feelings about her are more about regret. If I had better understood her at the time, I could have better understood some of our interactions and been less likely to take offense. In some respects, then, a label could have been a little freeing, for both me and her.

ADHD Resources: CHADD

CHADD (“Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder”) is a national, non-profit organization organized in 1987 by a group of parents and two psychologists. It is devoted to improving the lives of people affected by ADHD by providing resources, advocacy and support.

CHADD was one of the first organizations to educate people about ADHD and remains one of the biggest, most nationally renown resources.

What Can the Organization Do for You?

CHADD keeps a professional directory, as well as a list of local support groups. It also provides training programs for teachers/families and publishes Attention magazine six times a year.