ADHD - Reintroducing Curiosity and Respect to Diagnosis and Intervention
Updated: Jan 29, 2019
More and more children—and adults—are being diagnosed with attention deficiency disorders.
The prevailing trend for dealing with ADHD is treatment through medication such as Ritalin. Avigail Gimpel, ADHD coach and founder of Hyper Healing, advocates a more holistic approach to diagnosis and intervention, based on curiosity and respect—an approach that in her experience is safer and far more effective.
The causes of ADHD are as yet unknown. It is suggested that ADHD is hereditary and associated with a brain chemical imbalance. “However,” Avigail points out, “causality is quite murky. Despite enormous efforts by psychiatry and pharmaceutical companies, the brain chemical imbalance theory remains a theory—it has yet to be scientifically proven.”
Every week, Avigail is contacted by parents who are unsatisfied with medication or are concerned about side effects. Indeed, Ritalin does not seem to “fix” these kids. At best, stimulants act as a bandage covering up “bleeding” from ADHD symptoms, while sometimes causing extensive side effects. And although many children initially get a major boost from the medication, the progress often fades over time.
A Holistic Approach
ADHD is not a stand-alone disorder, but a list of neatly-packaged symptoms tied together by the American Psychiatric Association. It does not have one simple cause. Rather, symptoms occur due to many complex factors, including environmental, physiological, social, and emotional stress.
We all deserve the respect and patience to discover the root causes of our challenges and the tools to overcome them. Avigail’s assessment of a new client begins with the assumption that she is meeting a healthy person who is struggling. The question she asks is “Why is he suffering?” and not “What is his or her disorder/diagnosis?”
By listening carefully to each client’s personal story, Avigail is able to peel back the layers of complexity and provide a more accurate and holistic diagnosis. She investigates by asking questions about underlying health issues, allergies and food intolerances, trauma, learning disabilities, sleep habits, amount of screen time, and many more possible contributing factors. She is then able to set up an intervention plan that takes all elements into account. “I consider myself a wellness detective, looking for clues within the story,” Avigail says.
The trend for quick diagnosis and then medication stunts growth and instills in the sufferer a feeling that they “can’t”—that there is something inherently wrong with them and that there is no point in trying.
“We have to stop telling our kids who have been diagnosed with ADHD that they can’t!” Avigail urges. “Let’s make a commitment today to say ‘Focusing and concentrating and sticking with a process are hard for you right now. But you can do it with help and support and this exercise will make you so much stronger.’ Let’s give our kids the privilege of working hard towards a worthwhile goal instead of branding them with ‘you can’t!’”
Avigail began her career as a special education teacher in an inclusion classroom, with children of all ability levels, unique gifts, and challenges.
She recalls, “I loved all my students, but the most intriguing were the students with ‘special energy,’ the ones who were trying to drink from a waterfall instead of a glass. These are the kids who dream all day, but then say something that no one else thought of, the ones whose engines run on instant gratification and have not developed habits and routines to focus their explosive energy.”
The children were creative, funny, out of the box and… struggling. They had trouble with follow-through, organization, social skills, routine, and emotional regulation.
“It was time to fill their tool kit with strong skills and habits,” says Avigail. “I developed an intervention program full of novelty, discovery, structure, responsibility, routine, and faith in each child’s ability. My special energy kids began to flourish.”
Hyper Healing offers five tracks to cater best to the clients specific needs: Adult clients with ADHD symptoms, couples struggling due to ADHD behavior in one or both pouses, parents of children with ADHD symptoms, 7-part series workshop for parents of children with ADHD and a 12-part series for educators
Avigail Gimpel, M.S., is an educator who specializes in ADHD and founder of Hyper Healing, a holistic approach to diagnosing and treating ADHD in children and adults. She is a college lecturer, practitioner in private practice, and parent educator, with a master’s degree in Special Education and further certifications in Special Education with focus in Dyslexia, Instrumental Enrichment, and MLE.
Avigail can be reached at 054-441-3295 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit her website https://www.hyperhealing.org/