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Technology and Managing the Gift of ADHD

January 31st, 2014 05:00:00 am

Technology and Managing the Gift of ADHD

My first encounter with a client diagnosed with ADD was in 1998, my second was a couple of days after the first, and before the year was through over half of my clients were coming to me with ADD-related issues. These were parents, children, spouses, educators and individuals who either identified with the ADD Label or knew those who fit the description. They were all looking for solutions, namely those that did not involve medication. Over the next several years, I made ADD (and later ADHD) the central focus of my work. It was the core of my doctoral thesis, which became my first book—Managing the Gift: Alternative Approaches for Attention Deficit Disorder.


I spoke throughout the United States and Europe on my approaches and perspective; ADD/HD (as I came to call it) is part of the evolutionary process, broadening the bandwidth of humanity, and in fact is not a disability nor a disorder. We need to manage, not medicate, and make necessary adjustments within the educational system—even altering societal thought processes to help bring the gifts of these individuals (many of whom are children) to the world.  But my work was overshadowed by the millions of dollars being thrown behind labels and medication contingencies, and companies that financially benefit from that platform.


The problem with my approach was that it advocated for inherent changes in the educational systems, a shift in parenting approaches, and recognition of the changing environment and diet—where are all very big issues to tackle. One on one, I was very successful in helping children and adults live better, more productive, drug free and disability free lives, but this approach meant lots of major players would lose millions of dollars and even their positions of power if they supported these methods. Also, my approach was tailored to each individual, difficult to replicate, and time intensive.


For several years, I put my ADD/HD work on the back burner, yet continued to work with parents and adults who understood this was a process, and were willing to do the work. But I stopped running around and speaking on the topic, because—as passionate as I am about empowering the ADD/HD child and adult—I am a small business owner and knew that I could not be competitive or gain profits I needed to further my work.


In 2011, I was dragged back in; I found myself outraged by the 67% increase in diagnosis during the last decade, combined with the highest drugged ratings of children ever, and laws that were passed directly benefitting drug companies at the cost of our children's health and well-being. My book Managing the Gift: Of Your ADD/HD Child was released to share more of what I knew worked: focus on parenting, educating and feeding at much deeper levels.


When I was approached by a designer who said “I can make anything you create in your head into an App,” I knew I had finally found a way to introduce an accessible tool to a wider audience: a Managing the Gift App.


The Managing the Gift App has general information for adults and children on diet, environment, parenting, and much more. The information complements the book, in that some of it is similar, and some is different. And what makes this app valuable for users is the “Paint Your Portrait/Paint Your Child's Portrait” element. Here, a parent can answer a dozen questions about their child, and the child is assigned a shade on the Dr. Kevin Rainbow. There are 64 shades, and what I've created is a breakdown where many variables—not just ADD/HD—that make up a child's personality and learning behaviors are taken into account. The report generated from the “Paint Your Portrait/Paint Your Child's Portrait” questionnaire is 17-19 pages long, and there are over 9,000 unique reports.


Each of the reports includes an overview, sections on parenting, guiding, supporting, educating, care and feeding. It gives the parent, caregiver, and educator a detailed road map of how to best understand, support, guide and empower a child to success—without drugs, without labels. It is a working guide for the individual ADD/HD child, which—to my knowledge—is the first of its kind.


When creating this App, I searched to see what else was available (specifically Apps) to help with ADD/HD. I discovered there is very little out there, and not just in terms of Apps. I found one tool that asked observational questions similar to what a doctor would ask when determining if a patient should be diagnosed.


We ran over fifty tests determining shades before we released the App, and the only complaint we received from participants was that we didn't have enough videos. The rest of the feedback was overwhelmingly positive; people were amazed that the reports accurately described themselves or their child.


Currently, only the child test and reports are ready. The adult version is still being written, and will include sections on careers, a note to your spouse, as well as care and feeding. We aim to release it the first quarter of next year.


This technology is extremely valuable in helping people who want to support and expand their child, helping them blossom into their full self—rather than medicating them so they “fit in” or are “convenient” to “deal with.”


This technology includes no magic pills or quick fixes. Downloading won't turn your phone into a magic wand to wave over your child's head to make them docile or satisfied with the current, unchallenging educational model. It will not make your child eat the right diet; it won't sit with them and help with schoolwork in a manner that works for them; it won't instill a strong sense of self-worth or self-esteem to protect them from a society that prefers to medicate them.


Right after my book was released in 2000, a reporter with ADD read it, interviewed me, and wrote that I had written the owner's manual for the ADD brain. But no matter how detailed an owner's manual is, if you refuse to follow the instructions, it is useless. In today's fast-food-mentality world, where single or double working parents have children who see more of daycare centers, teachers, babysitters, and after school caretakers than they do of their parents, my approach is a hard sell.



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