Children and adults who demonstrate unusual difficulty focusing their attention on “the task at hand,” organizing and completing their work are labeled with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Those whose apparent inattention is accompanied by uncontrolled movement (such as running, fidgeting, not sitting still) and impulsive behaviors (such as interrupting others, difficulty taking turns) are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Other difficulties may include disorganization, behaviors others judge to be defiant and disruptive, low self-esteem, problems with transitions, sleep problems, and others.
The most common mainstream treatment is medication. Stimulant medication speeds up processing, treating the symptoms but not the root causes. Medical research indicates that individuals diagnosed with difficulty setting and sustaining attention have thinner neural fibers, and that thinner fibers transmit signals more slowly—thicker fibers have more mylenation.
HANDLE holds a different view. No one has an attention deficit. Everyone is always attending to something. HANDLE has renamed the inability to set and sustain priorities according to the task at hand as Attentional Priority Disorder (APD). Everyone has what HANDLE calls attention priorities—things that draw their attention more than others.
HANDLE clinicians incorporate information from many disciplines to discover why a specific individual blocks certain types of stimulation and seeks others, and why (s)he has difficulty adjusting attentional priorities flexibly to meet varying demands. Engaging in movement at times is the intuitive attempt of the brain and body to energize themselves and regain focus. Movements also are responses to a felt need. Scratching an itchy nose is not viewed as an impulsive behavior, but continually removing a shoe and sock to keep feisty threads from tickling or fidgeting in a chair to find a comfortable spot is.
Most people who have difficulty sustaining their attention and/or adjusting readily to the demands of new situations demonstrate irregularities in specific developmental functions, on an input level:
On an output level, they have difficulty processing various elements of a situation and acting upon those that require response in a self-regulated way due to problems such as:
Each person who demonstrates symptoms of APD is an individual, with unique life and developmental experiences. For this reason it is important to learn each person's functional patterns and to design program that speak to the individual needs.
Depending upon the complexity or severity of the presenting concerns, a HANDLE Screening and short HANDLE program may be effective in addressing client’s needs. For others a full evaluation and HANDLE program is necessary.
In children and adults alike, the nervous systems respond to repeated movement patterns and proper nutrition by altering their neuro-physiological responses, organizing mental processing, and changing the very structure of the brain. HANDLE relies on the fact that the nervous system is intended to adapt continually throughout the lifespan. Through the Gentle Enhancement® of weak functions and providing proper nourishment to strengthen the nervous system, weak aspects of the nervous system can be permanently strengthened. Each program is customized for effective application in the client's home or other supportive setting. The program usually requires less than a half hour daily to complete, doesn't have to be done all at once, or even in a certain order.
The HANDLE treatment often includes a nutritional component. In particular for this set of behaviors, we consistently ask clients to consider is adding a supplement of the essential fatty acid, Omega 3 to their diet, which is crucial to developing and maintaining myelination.
“Here is what we have noticed in our son, after two weeks of his HANDLE program. He has a much greater level of everyday cooperation and ability to multitask after being asked only once. He has mentioned that he can 'listen better in school.' Little things we’ve always tried to teach him like saying 'please' and 'thank you’ and not interrupting… he is finally unconsciously doing them! We are so pleased with the results so far.”
~ Terry V.