Most people view ADD, ADHD, hyperactivity and learning disabilities as a behavioral problem or psychological issue when in fact these disorders are a complex net of neurological, immunological and nutritional problems.
ADD, ADHD, hyperactivity disorders etc. are labels and not good ones. They put expectations on a child that they often will live up or down to. Traditional diagnoses of ADD, ADHD are understandable but they don’t tell us what to do to find the mechanism of the child’s “behavioral” problem to balance, improve and or correct it.
The “behavioral problems” stem from neurological and metabolic imbalances. It is not that these are socially dysfunctional children per se. Their behavior is result of multiple “functional” imbalances. The latest research is clear on what causes most “behavioral problems” and that is an electrical imbalance between the two sides of the brain. This is called the Functional Disconnection Syndrome (FDS). Here’s how it works. The brain has two completely different sides with completely different functions which need to be coordinated for the whole brain to work in a balanced fashion. These two sides of the brain must fire at an equal frequency for us (humans) to be “normal”. If one side fires less than the other (due to trauma, severe emotional stresses, virus, infections, inflammations, etc.) then that part of the brain will express less function and less ability to express itself.
In many (not all) behavioral children the right side of the brain is deficient. The right side of the brain houses our social skills, likes soft music and sounds, houses the stop mechanism of our brain, is the “sad” side of our brain, controls body awareness, concentration and self-control. The left side of this child’s brain likes rote memorization; it’s where our “academic” skills reside, likes loud noises, flickering lights (think computer, TV, etc.), likes sameness — doing things over and over again. This is a very minimal description of the cerebral hemisphere functions but it should serve to educate in this scenario.
Let’s go back to the functional disconnection syndrome and we can see very quickly what happens in the ADD, ADHD, learning and behavioral disabled child. Something occurs to cause the brain to “disconnect” the wiring between the two brain hemispheres and in this example the right brain becomes weakened and not working very well and the left brain becomes dominant. You get a child that likes TV, video games, computers and all things loud (left brain). They interrupt due to the right-sided weakened social skills. They “perseverate” — they do the same things over and over again (left brain). They like routines, rituals (left brain). They have a good memory (left brain) usually they have poor social skills (weak right brain), poor body awareness (weak right brain) can’t concentrate (right brain) has tantrums (right brain) and can’t control themselves. This is the ADD, ADHD and frankly OCD, Aspergers and Autistic brain patterns.
This is the hallmark of learning disabilities and “behavioral problems” a brain that is functionally disconnected — it is out of balance. And balance and coordination is the key to their recovery. The bottom line remains — one side of the brain becomes very dominant, the other neglected. Over time if the FDS is not corrected, the neglected side (the weak side) almost never gets better on its own. In fact many times it gets worse.
Modern understanding of the neurology of the brain and the metabolic imbalances that trigger and drive imbalances and prevent them from correcting themselves are well understood as are the specific individualized nondrug methods for their correction. Unfortunately very few practitioners utilizing the current models of care have ever heard of the syndrome, know how to recognize it, or how to treat it successfully. Finding a practitioner with a background in functional neurology and metabolic work is the first step for successful recovery.
The Cognitive Neurosciences, MIT Press, 1994
Disconnected Kids Dr. Robert Melillo Perigee Trade January 2010