Reading the first few chapters of Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It by Gabor Mate was like a peek inside my own brain. If anyone without ADD would like to know what it’s like, read this book. “Never at rest, the mind of the ADD adult flits about like some deranged bird that can light here or there for awhile bu is perched nowhere long enough to make a home.” I have never heard a more apt way of describing my thought life. Mate explains the connection between ADD and addictive behaviors, poor self-esteem and the sense of alienation that adults with ADD often deal with. The pros and cons of medications are discussed briefly. Mate acknowledges that they can be useful without considering them a first-line treatment. Mate attributes the origins of ADD to attachments issues in early life, which he says affect the chemistry and even structure of parts of the brain. This could be why ADD rates have risen so drastically, as children are separated from their working parents at younger and younger ages and our lifestyles have become so frenzied that families have little meaningful time together. There is no blame here. It is not the parents’ “fault,” and not every child who goes to daycare will end up with ADD. It’s the combination of a highly sensitive child with a disruption of attachment that often leads to ADD. The more sensitive the child, the more likely ADD will result.
Perhaps what I love most is that in dealing with ADD children, the most important thing Mate recommends is building the relationship and letting nothing get in the way of it. That is the biggest part of helping ADD children to attend. I know that I have noticed in my own work with children that the more I am able to be with them one-on-one, the more I have their attention. Their “attachment” to me may be tenuous and brief, but I can make as much of it as I possibly can.