Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD) is a "Learning Difference" or "Learning Difficulty" that has been extensively researched and studied and is of great interest to schools, teachers and parents.
Although much of the research is conflicting and confusing as to what ADD actually is there is a widespread belief that it may be neurological in nature.
In this article I will be presenting a very different perspective on ADD from an NLP point of view.
Using NLP, myself and other NLP practitioners most notably Dr. Don Blackerby have looked at the internal experience of these students to determine if it is their internal thought process that is causing the ADD behaviors.
If this is the case then using NLP we can change the internal experience and therefore change the external ADD behaviors.
The typical symptoms of ADD are:
The above list of traits can obviously cause problems for the student & their parents in terms of their success in school but it also causes huge problems for teachers as they may have to devote to much of their time just keeping this one student focused on task.
Although there are some people with genuine neurological deficiencies, in my opinion the above list of behaviors can be caused by many different factors and there is a huge amount of over diagnosis.
The way ADD is diagnosed is in my opinion very basic to say the least as does not even consider the students internal experience, a specialist will give your child a number of tasks to do and observe the results.
In addition parents, teachers and students will be given a questionnaire.
- Does your child have trouble focusing? Yes/No
- Does your child have trouble remembering instructions ? Yes / No.
If they are showing enough of the signs you will get a diagnosis. Many students will pick up a label of ADD or ADHD purely based on this list of questions.
If the above other reasons have been ruled out I will then look at the internal experience of the student to determine what is causing the behaviors and see if I can help using NLP.
The following is a case study of a 13 year old boy called Richard. I came across Richard in 1998 when I was first starting out. My experience with him inspired me to continue helping students using NLP.
Richard had been diagnosed with ADD and ADHD and was failing badly in his school. I observed him in the classroom and noticed that he was clearly un-focused. While the teacher was talking about the history lesson he appeared to be looking in all different directions and fidgeting in his seat.
I took Richard aside to try to figure out what was going on INSIDE his mind to see if that was the cause of his issues so I asked him;
"While the teacher was talking just now, what were you thinking about ?"
This was his answer pretty much word for word:
"Well I was thinking about playing on my roller blades this morning before school" (he had a mental movie of himself doing this)
"I was thinking about where I'm going to go on my bike when I get home" (he had another mental picture of this)
"There was a sound at the classroom door so I imagined who that might be"
"The teacher was talking about the history lesson and I was thinking about that"
This boy had around 6 mental pictures going in his mind, all at the same time ! !
Which by the way, is what happens inside the mind of a creative genius.
However the difference between Richard and a creative genius is that he had very little control over his mental experience, the multiple thoughts (mental pictures) just popped in and out randomly.
No wonder he can't focus ! !
The effect of having multiple mental images popping in and out of your mind can easily cause the behaviors of Hyperactivity,Impulsiveness, Distractibility, Lack of organization, Forgetfulness and Procrastination.
Using Dr. Don Blackerbys methods I proceeded to teach Richard HOW to focus his mind.
This took place over the next 3 sessions and in a nutshell the process went like this:
- Teach Richard how to hold an image steady in his mind.
- Teach him how to block out other thoughts in his mind and just focus on one thought.
How do you do this ? Well you find a person who is able to focus there attention (perhaps yourself) and you find out what they do inside their mind and then you teach that to the ADD student.
You bring the picture / thought of what you want to focus on closer to you, and make it bigger. So big in fact, that it blocks out all of the other thoughts in your mind. This is what it means to focus your attention.
If I can achieve this with the student the ADD behaviors start to go away. Richard was able to do this after a few attempts. I then went on to teach him effective learning and memory strategies and he was off and running.
Typically these students have incredible visualization ability that just needs to be harnessed.
In the next History test Richard scored an 86% which for him, was unheard of.
The vice principle of the school asked him "Richard, how did you suddenly get an 86% on the test having previously been at around 20% in all the other tests ?"
"I just memorized it the way Mr. Barlow told me to" was his answer.
Let me be clear here, I am not claiming to be able to correct ADD / ADHD in every case. There are some students with which I have not been able to achieve the dramatic results I had with Richard.
What I am saying is that there is a huge missing piece in the way we currently diagnose ADHD and in the majority of students who come to see me with this diagnosis, I am able to help turn them around completely or at least improve their ability to focus by teaching them how to use their mind.
Thank you for reading this article on NLP and ADHD. I really appreciate you coming to my site, I hope you are enjoying and benefiting from the information here. This site is designed to be the ultimate free resource for students / parents of struggling students.
Contact Tony to find out more.
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