Understanding ADHD and Learning Disability Part VIII

‘ADHD is an attention difference not an attention disorder.’

This inspiring video reinforces the view that we as a society must embrace cognitive diversity.


Related Reading

Part 1: Understanding ADHD and Learning Disability

Part 2: Understanding ADHD and Learning Disability

Part 3: Understanding ADHD and Learning Disability

Part 4: Understanding ADHD and Learning Disability

Part 5: Understanding ADHD and Learning Disability

Part 6: Understanding ADHD and Learning Disability

Part 7: Understanding ADHD and Learning Disability


3 thoughts on “Understanding ADHD and Learning Disability Part VIII

  1. Stavros Saripanidis says:

    Management and treatment of hyperactivity and ADHD, without drugs.
    Hyperactive syndrome and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatment, from the perspective of the holistic method of Maria Summer, Rankweil/Austria.
    Applied Speech therapy (Angewandte Logopaedie)
    Hyperactive syndrome includes the following: intense myokinetic activity, attention disorders, irritability, impulsiveness, communication deficit, of children.
    These children are constantly changing their mental mood. Sometimes, they exhibit behavioral disorders, even aggression.
    Helmut Remschmidt, in his book “Kinder und Jugend Psychiatrie”, reports that this disorder is associated with disturbances in the developmental stages.
    This hyperactivity can be due to organic brain lesions, or be a consequence of neglecting the child.
    Child hyperactivity leads it to chaos, because it moves in space without purpose.
    The great educator Maria Montessori in her book “The receptive mind” (1978), refers extensively in motion with educational purposes.
    She writes that movement promotes the child’s spiritual growth and personality development.
    “In nature, chaos would reign if every movement stopped, but the same would happen if the movement of beings lacked purpose.” Maria Montessori
    Hyperactivity is characterized by high kinetic activity of the child, but this is without purpose, with children going from one task to another.
    It’s a mental mess, and this leads to lack of concentration-attention, as observed in children and adults with increased impulsivity and irritability.
    This child is not receptive; it is not able to accept the commands of a parent, a teacher, or a speech therapist.
    Since it is not paying attention, the child can neither be positively affected, nor proceed to knowledge. His/her perception suffers, negatively affecting behavior.
    Children with hyperactivity, when they were infants, had shown some predisposition, being restless and irritable.
    As toddlers, no one could employ them in a game for a long time.
    At 6-10 years of age, they still do not know how to play.
    Playing is very important for spiritual growth and personality formation for a child.
    These children leave unnecessarily their position in the classroom, disturbing others, creating discipline problems.
    “Without movement with purpose, there is no perception, learning or knowledge.” Maria Summer (1984)
    In hyperactivity, we should bring the child to movement with purpose. For this to happen, and for the child to learn to observe, they must first come into harmony with their breathing, experience tranquility and relaxation.
    Perception is a continuous process, which is constantly changing with the addition of experience (5-6 years of age), with the ability to discriminate, with the development of abstract thinking.
    So, perception is an important prerequisite for the development of cognitive processes-functions.
    Vision and hearing play an important role in perception.
    A hyperactive child is not growing spiritually, only physically.
    It is wrong to be severe or punish hyperactive children, as this may exacerbate the problem and their disorders.
    Management and treatment of hyperactivity and ADHD, without drugs.
    When affecting the movement of the child, there is a problem in soul-body-breath.
    In our view, hyperactive children should be treated as a whole, holistic method of treatment (ganzheitstherapie).
    This method, developed and perfected by Maria Summer in Rankweil Austria, is for quick and effective treatment of disorders of speech, voice, breathing and learning, in approximately 60 sessions, without medication.
    A child with hyperactivity is constantly anxious and presents respiratory tension, with characteristic high respiration (hochatmung).
    The first steps in treatment are to bring peace, relaxation, harmonious breathing for the child.
    In the beginning, we only try to make the child relax and pay attention, even for a second.
    When we achieve this, we start reinforcing training exercises.
    Later on, when we acquire attention for a longer duration, we assign some simple tasks to perform.
    With relaxation and achievement of diaphragmatic breathing (i.e. low breathing), the child acquires a new boldness-presence.
    Then, we can switch over to different exercises, targeting the acoustic and visual perception.
    Important role in what we do with a hyperactive child plays the pause. A couple of seconds or longer breaks are necessary for the positive outcome of any treatment.
    Without the break, there can be no perception, attention-concentration, or learning.
    The child must learn to wait.
    Movement with purpose and pace precede, and are closely related to the development of speech, perception, spiritual evolution.
    Early perception is that of motion.
    Myokinetic exercises invented and perfected by Maria Summer are not gymnastics, rhythmic exercise, yoga, or meditation.
    Operators should experience exercises themselves before passing knowledge to others.
    Furthermore, the therapist-educator or psychologist should remain calm, without any stress, with proper diaphragmatic breathing, in order to have a positive impact on the child.
    Importantly, he/she should always remain lower in height, or below the height of the child.
    We describe herein some exercises for hyperactive children with ADHD. Proper execution of these exercises is more important than quantity. Proper implementation is difficult to describe and must be experienced by each therapist in practical training sessions.
    Position hedgehog (der IGEL) leads the child to complete relaxation, fetal position, cutting off most external stimuli, allowing it to concentrate on himself.
    With chin to chest, head between legs, body curled forward, arms at sides, the child is kneeling in front of the therapist.
    The therapist, at posture IGEL, is kneeling in front of the child’s head on the floor.
    With his/her fingers perpendicular, remaining perfectly calm, the therapist makes vibrations along the spine of the child, just aside of the vertebrae, from the bottom up to the head, whispering a hum (summen), in various tones.
    The child, after a break of some seconds, repeats the hum, mimicking his therapist.
    At IGEL posture, the child must slowly be rolled forward. When rising up, after completion of the exercise, the child must slowly stretch initially the lower vertebrae and finally the head.
    A big break, of 2-3 minutes, follows, on the floor, on a hard surface, no cushion, chin to chest, cheek leaning down, arms close to the trunk aside of the body, palms facing upward, feet very open, relaxed.
    At this posture of complete relaxation-peace, we observe the child’s breathing. We can spot the characteristic high respiration (hochatmung), by the vibrations of the back and shoulders of the child.
    In this case, the expert therapist intervenes with various exercises and techniques in order to restore diaphragmatic breathing.
    All this is done on the ground, on a hard orthopedic mattress, in a well-ventilated room, with the child wearing overalls and not clothes that restrict his/her movements.
    All exercises for proper breathing function should not be conscious for the child, at whom we never mention the word “breathing”.
    At cobra posture, the child, from the ground face down slowly lifts his head, keeping the chin attached to the chest, and focuses his gaze, for a few seconds, at a distant point.
    When tired, the child returns to the posture of complete relaxation-peace on the ground.
    After a few sessions, when we observe improvement, we pass to attention-concentration exercises, on a wooden table.
    Therapist and child are sitting side by side on a wooden table, with legs at right angles, hands one over the other at the edge of the table, their foreheads resting on their hands.
    The wooden table is a good conductor of pulsations (resonanz) to be transferred from the therapist to the child.
    With hums (summen) in different tones and styles, vibrations are transferred to the child from the therapist.
    In turn, the child, having learned to wait a bit and listen, begins to repeat the hum mimicking his/her therapist.
    Later on, we proceed in short-term tasks, like learning words, concepts, etc.
    In some cases of hyperactivity the swing posture is appropriate. The child is hugged in our arms, in the fetal position, and slight oscillation is performed.
    The therapist must remain completely calm, without breathing wrong.
    In this hug, while gently shaking, the therapist murmurs hums, mainly with the letter mmmmmmmmm.
    Maria Summer would return in the early stages of development when she understood that a child did not have the right experience.
    Conflicts of interest
    Athanasios G. Chasapis, Psychologist-Specialist speech therapist using the holistic method.
    Stavros Saripanidis, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
    Chasapis Athanasios studied, for many years, at the speech therapist Center and Institute of breathing run by Mrs. Maria Summer, and participated in many seminars for Advanced Speech Therapy abroad.
    He then transferred and extensively used these practices of the holistic method (speech-voice-breathing-attention-learning disorders-etc.) in his speech therapy Practice in Greece, from 1982 until now.
    He is the author of a forthcoming book in German, which describes extensively the pioneering holistic method of Mrs. Maria Summer, who died in 2007, without leaving a textbook behind.

  2. Professor William T. O'Connor says:

    Hi Stavros.

    Thank you for your insightful comments which have really added value to this discussion.

    Best regards,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s