ADHD or Auditory Problem?

Filed Under (NLP coaching learning difficulties) on 01-04-2017

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My 4 and a half year-old daughter refuses to color, write, read, and play independently.  She heads straight for the TV, computer, or anything electronic she can get her hands on.  She’s very bright.  I’ve had to take all the computer games away, sell her iTouch, and disconnect the TV.  I also have a 14 year-old son with ADHD. When he gets home from school, they play off each other.  That’s when the yelling starts.  My daughter doesn’t listen, doesn’t want to follow directions, I have to lock her in her room with a timer set for 5 minutes for her to get dressed.  

My husband is in complete denial.  I am bipolar, ADHD, depressed, and medicated.  My son is on lamictal and it wears off too early. My daughter is the problem.  What do I do?  Who do I see?  What kind of Dr. do I bring her to?  School says she recognizes her words, but only when copying them, not trying on her own.  

Firstly I’ll give you some background which will explain a lot of these phenomena. Then I’ll give you practical steps to implement at home without spending a cent.

The background

This girl is highly visual, which means that she processes most information from her environment as seeing pictures in her head.  What this parent is describing and many similar occurrences happens to the most visual people on this planet.  Highly visual people process information the fastest of all people. That means that they’ll always be (a) easily distractible / bored and (b) drawn to things that are constantly moving, such as pictures on TV, computer games, and anything electronic they can get their hands on. They’re drawn to things that are constantly moving because fast movement is what’s happening in their heads all the time, thus is natural for them.

Today’s children are born into a fast moving world with all things electronic of which many have screens with fast moving action on them. Parents buy electronic gadgets to even 2 year-olds nowadays, thus a young child is surrounded by fast movement of everything. And his/her brain has to cope and process everything from the environment. Every coin has 2 sides: speedy imagination can be a drawback if it serves a person in ways in which it serves this girl in some contexts.  

Drawbacks are one side of this coin.

The other side is that a child like this is extremely bright and creative!  I wouldn’t be surprised if this mother wrote to me in 25 years that her daughter became a successful architect, engineer, interior, fashion, or web designer, computer programmer, software or applications developer, film maker, or photographer!  That’s exactly what most highly visual people become!  So intelligence is abundant, and thus in a similar situation to this girl’s you won’t have any problems putting things right!

A few simple principles that’ll teach this child’s brain to use the right tool for the right job are what’s called for here.  A parent in desperation will do anything that comes to mind with all the best intentions. But disconnecting a child from technology in a situation like this will have the opposite of the desired effect, because it’ll give the child the subtle but powerful message that the child has done something wrong. The 4 and a half year-old child won’t understand what’s happening. That will confuse and distract her even more – and produce even more frantic brain activity and yelling!

Another thing is that this girl has modeled a lot of this frantic brain activity from her 14 year-old brother who has ADHD and from her mother who is bipolar and also has ADHD.  That suggests that the brother and mother are also immensely visual, bright, creative. That also confirms what I said about dyslexia in the fifth paragraph of this article.  Hence there’s no wonder that the girl and her brother play off each other and have a great time yelling!  They’re very similar and know it on the intuitive level.

Visual versus listening

Highly visual people find it difficult to follow directions and listen.  Why?  Because they’re visual – they LOOK and SEE  while you’re TELLING and ASKING them to LISTEN!  That won’t happen, because their visual sense is already so crowded that all other senses necessarily go down in performance.  This is also why so many autistic people don’t communicate auditorily with their environment.   Locking the child in her room with a timer won’t help. The child will feel abandoned, isolated, confused, and frustrated, which will produce more frantic brain activity and the opposite of the desired effect.

The husband mentioned here is in denial because he too doesn’t know how to deal with this mess and that’s making him frustrated and withdrawn.  Being bipolar causes severe mood swings, which makes bouts of frustration more severe.  The fact that this mother has ADHD suggests that both of her children have modeled it from her. So one can’t blame them.  Children think: “if mom and dad do things this way, that’s the norm.”.  This is exactly why most learning difficulties are learnt behaviors – because children model and copy them from their parents.

The practical steps:

1. Shed all negativity, frustration, and the attitude that your child is the problem.  For the next few weeks take on a more patient attitude. Treat your children as if they are not a problem. Acknowledge that they are doing their best in the circumstances.  Do not isolate your children by locking them in their rooms nor away from technology.  Do not take their pleasures away from them. Use the pleasures to teach your children’s brains useful ways of working for them.

2. Teach your child’s brain to freeze the action first.  The girl mentioned here refuses to color, write, read, and try for words independently because she probably has a lot of movement in her head and thus can’t see anything on paper.  We don’t know this because we haven’t asked her. But I suspect that this is at the root of the problem.  Use her love of technology and practise freezing the action: ask her to imagine what happens to a picture on a TV screen when she presses the pause button on a remote control.  Once her brain learns to see pictures still, she’ll be able to color pictures and read and write words.  At present she won’t do anything independently because at her very young age she’s too terrified to try on her own because of the mess in her head.

3. When images are still in their imagination,  any child will start drawing and later writing.  At this stage invest in several large sheets of paper with a sticky strip to hold the sheets on the wall – like the ones used for flipcharts in conferences and trainings.  Stick one sheet of paper at a time on a wall slightly above your child’s eye level – his/her visual field – and practise drawing and writing on it for several weeks until the child gets more proficient.

Ask your child to draw whatever s/he imagines.  Because s/he is imagining it, s/he is doing it independently, i.e. from the brain to the paper without your help.  When you intuitively feel that you can progress, ask your child to write letters, then syllables, then words.  Once s/he does, his/her confidence will grow, and after some time s/he’ll be writing easily.  The initial stage of sticking the paper on the wall will be tremendously important because it’ll take the child out of the feelings and into the visual field which is where s/he needs to be for writing independently.

4. Take your child out of the feelings.  Our visual field is slightly above our eye level, hence we look up every time we visualise something. We look up whether we’re aware of it or not.  If we’re processing information through our feelings, we’ll be looking down toward our stomach, to the floor.  This is why depressed people keep looking at the floor.  They’re processing their lives through feelings.  Because feelings of people who have trouble with writing, reading, coloring, etc. will inevitably be negative, such as “I’m terrible at this”,I hate doing this”, “I can’t do this”, “I fee sick / confused / horrible / terrified by doing this and avoid doing it”, you’ll succeed only if you take the person out of their feelings.

Whenever you practise freezing your child’s pictures, coloring, writing, or reading, hold the page of the material you’re working with at or slightly above their eye level – out of the feelings. Being in the visual field will help the child’s brain process the information much faster and negative feelings won’t inhibit learning.

Implement and practice

5. When practising visualisation and freezing the movement in your child’s imagination, use something familiar and fun for him/her, such as a favorite TV or computer game character.  Visualisation will also increase the memory and sharpen your child’s observational skills.

6. Implement grounding. It’ll help your whole family.  Grounding is a vital tool for calming down the brain activity which is what you want to achieve for your child and everyone else.

7. Once your child gets proficient at visualising, s/he will visualise tasks s/he needs to complete during the day, such as the morning routine or doing homework after returning from school.

8. Make it fun for everyone!  When you all have fun, you’ll all be motivated to stick to it and it will all come much more naturally than it would if you viewed it as another chore.  Use your creativity, your children’s love of technology, TV and computer game characters, being able to see the computer keyboard and how they’re typing numbers. This is useful when visualising phone numbers, PIN numbers, etc.

Do you have similar problems? Or do you know someone who does? If you’d like NLP help with ADHD and / or auditory problems let’s talk about it.

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