The ADHD Dumpster Diagnosis


I have a wonderful Naturopathic Doc who was recommended to me with the words “He saved my friend’s life.”  How often do you hear that these days?  About a doctor?  Not very often.  He’s easy on the eyes but, the truth is that his laser-like intellect is the draw of his growing and successful practice (and his wife manages the office, by the way).  He seems to glide into the room, smiling as though you’ve been friends forever, his bright vitality beaming over you like a well tuned scanner.

“Tell me what’s going on.”

In the most efficient battery of quick motor and visual tests, he notes your responses and rattles off a list of suspect correlations and causations, educating and illuminating on subjects and nuances that leave even the most detailed hypochondriac feeling inadequate.  In moments, the appointment is over and he’s writing out a list of treatments, generally self regulated or free, to start the healing process.  You leave feeling like your Apple product has been fully replaced and your warranty extended for three years.  Even if you know that healing and recovery will take months, you feel like you finally have answers.

After spending $1500 for my son’s neuropsych evaluation and feeling no closer to answers, I booked little man in with Dr. N.  He looked over my forms and saw the ADHD diagnosis and shrugged.

“ADHD is a dumpster diagnosis.”

He got straight to work testing little man’s reflexes, motor skills and balance and focus.  He quickly narrowed down his dysgraphia and said it was primarily motor driven.  He gave me a series of stupidly simple exercise to do with him for the next two weeks.  He wants to see him tracking progressively and able to move fingers to thumb on each hand without mirroring.  He said that when he can do that, and also inhibit the reflex to look at a moving object when told to look away, he will have reconnected the front and rear of his brain so that he can effectively function with writing and other social and cognitive tasks in school or anywhere.

We didn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the enigmas or misdiagnoses of ADHD.  He smiled at little man and said that he performed so perfectly in a number of his tests that he had high confidence that once this brain connection was repaired/healed/fixed little man would be well on his way.

“Make sure you mention me in your Nobel Prize acceptance speech, okay?”

One of the exercises is to have little man stare at his left thumb while I turn him to the left in a chair 4 times slowly four times a day.  This silly simple exercise will help/force his brain to create pathways of focus.  He is subtly training his brain to focus on one thing while there are a million things spinning around him.  Right now, that is really hard for him to do because the roads are mere trails through rough brain matter.

The second exercise is to have me massage and turn his left hand in a figure eight movement for a minute a few times a day.  It has to be done passively in order to stimulate similar brain circuitry for writing.

Little man wrote his name for Dr. N and immediately he saw that little man’s name starts with a “Z.”  Z is the one letter of the English alphabet that violates ALL the rules!  In English, all our other letters basically start top to bottom then left to right.  Z starts left to right then top to bottom…Ironically, or cosmically, his name is part of his problem!  He has learned from his very first word (every child starts with their own name) to learn to write backwards!

Dr. N urged me to make sure that Dyslexia Haven was teaching him the top down left to right progression so that he would get that simple rule without any hesitation.

I definitely feel so utterly grateful to have (finally) found competent help for my son.

I won’t say that the neuropsych evaluation was useless, but really, it was.  I didn’t get any concrete insights into what might be CAUSING his symptoms.  I got recommendations for occupational therapy, for drug consultations and family therapy.  I suppose my naturopathic doc is recommending occupational therapy of sorts, but’s free.  One appointment cost me $90 and we’ll go in for a follow up.  But the treatments are provided by me at home.  The neuropsych was referring to me to her friends for $90 an hour appointments from here to eternity.  I know people who shell out $1000 a month on various therapies and treatments.  What a racket!

I despise sickcare.  We do not care for health, we manage disease.  Our system is pallitive, not healing.

ADHD, like so many labels, is not an actual disease.  There is no agent, no specific germ or biological lever that breaks.  It’s terminology that captures a set of symptoms that varies widely from person to person  The standard approaches require intensive medical oversight and interventions without regard for the underlying issues.

We were being routed down that path and I said no.

But it was hard.  The pressure and stress leading up to my decision to pull little man out of the school/medical system labyrinth nearly took me out.  I spent this entire last weekend mediating, crying and breathing the stress out of my body.  I think it saved my life.  I feel like a new person right now.  And without all that crap loaded on me, I feel better able to seek out and manage real healing for my son.

The ADHD diagnosis seemed so bleak a few weeks ago.  Now it seems like any other label.  Just a symptom set.  An opportunity to connect with my son and find out who he is right now and what he needs.  He was right.  He doesn’t fit in.  And I’m so grateful he doesn’t.  He’s an amazingly unique individual and deserves to be seen and valued for his skills and talents.  I’m grateful that we are able to respond and help him without just feeling blindly irritated because he doesn’t operate like everyone else.

In the meantime, here are some of the books I’m currently reading.  I’ll skim and review and let you know which ones seem worth the investment.

adhd books2


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