Last night I went to a meeting/lecture with Dr. Martin L. Kutscher about executive function, dysfunction, in adhd kids. Parenting 2 adhd kids of my own has been challenging at best. M, 17, is adhd hyperactive, impulsive with odd tendencies, and L, 15, is adhd inattentive with social issues. J is my relatively “normal” one…but normal is relative anyway.
Dr. Kutscher was funny, right on target and so informative. He talked about kids with adhd as being unable to stop, look and see to analyze a situation.
“… the ability to inhibit (“putting on the brakes”) is central to effective executive function. Successful execution of a plan largely involves putting brakes on distracting activities...
This lack of inhibition is a double problem for people with ADHD. First, without these brakes, they will be viewed as unable to adequately inhibit distractions, inhibit impulsive reactions, or inhibit physically acting upon these stimuli (hyperactivity).
Second, patients with ADHD do not inhibit their behavior long enough for the other executive functions to adequately develop either. Functions such as:
- Self-talk refers to the ability to talk to ourselves–a mechanism by which we work through our choices using words.
- Working memory refers to those ideas that we can keep active in our minds at a given moment.
- Foresight (predicting and planning for the future) will be deficient when inadequate working memory teams up with a poor ability to inhibit the present distractions.
- Sense of time is an executive function that is usually extremely poor in ADHD.
- Shifting from Agenda A to Agenda B is difficult
- Separating emotion from fact requires time to reflect. “
All he talked about, I could see in my kids. A lot of his solutions were even ways in which I have tried to deal with the girls. My biggest obstacle with parenting has been my husband. His way is yelling and punishing and trying to “win”. Whenever I tell him (after a screaming match with M) that they sounded like a couple of 2 year olds…he just says, well she deserved it. WRONG. If she is trying to deal with the distractions around her to get something accomplished, why would yelling help that to occur faster???
The end of the talk briefly touched on meds. Only L is on meds, M has refused since the beginning of high school. I know that’s been a mistake and how far and how better she could be now had she had the benefit of meds, well, we’ll never know…how much of the struggles in school (esp for someone with a very high IQ) could have been helped, self esteem and everything.
I will get through this and my kids will be great…as long as you aren’t picky…