Friday, April 25, 2008

ADHD in 1955

First: I've got a big announcement! My new totally free weekly "ADHD Answers Now" telechat starts Tuesday night, April 29. The first one's called: "The Calm after the Storm," and I'll be giving you three quick, effective tricks for helping kids down--even helping you calm down.

So go sign up right now. You'll get handouts, web audio, and its FREE. But you do need to register since I can only take so many people on the call before the conference bridge line cuts us off.

I’ve been thinking about ADHD when I was a kid. How those of us “diagnosed” with the “disorder” as adults managed to get through school in the 1950s and early 60s? What did our families and teachers do right?

So back in the dark ages of my childhood, nobody had heard of ADHD? No stimulant drugs, no ADHD TeleChats, no ADHD forums or chat rooms, no support groups, no help for teachers or parents, no Brain Gym.

But, don’t let the experts fool you. ADHD did exist, I know cause I had it!

Impulsive, hyperactive kid who couldn’t focus. Poor coordination. A total dunce in arithmetic. Forget anything so advanced they called it “math.”

Here’s what parents and teachers did—and funny thing, it’s exactly what the ADHD books and the experts, and the “Managing ADHD” TeleChat are telling us to do today to help ADHD kids.

For starters the world moved more slowly and a lot less stimulation. So ADHD kids didn’t get quite as overwhelmed quite as quickly. We lived with boundaries, routines, and schedules. And at my house, the routine was pretty extreme!

We watched less TV. Ate less sugar and junk food. Took piano lessons. Had music and PE in school and fewer outside activities. Got more sleep. Weren’t allowed to skip breakfast EVER.

And talk about exercise. I walked . . . and walked and walked everyday.

That’s when I wasn’t riding my bike or roller skating--a primitive form of roller blading requiring a skate key and done without so much as a knee pad or a helmet. (I still have a scar on my left knee from roller skating.)

For me with ADHD, I wouldn’t have made it through school without the boundaries, routines, schedules, music, walking, bike riding, and skating.

Although I never did get the math stuff. However, there’s hope now for math illiterates. A program called Cog Med. More about that in the next post.

Don’t get me wrong here. There’s plenty of stuff they botched up big time in the ‘50s and early ‘60s. But that’s another story which I don’t think I’ll bother telling.


P.S. And another reminder about the next TeleChat coming up soon: "They're Driving Me Crazy: How to Manage ADHD at Home and in School. Starts Thursday, May 1 to help you help these ADHD kids and keep your sanity.

Includes discussion of dozens of non-drug strategies from how to raise dopamine levels to Brain Breaks for classrooms, from TV tips to standing desks. Check out the whole list of topics covered at

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