Is it ADHD or LD? – Update

A recent national opinion poll shows that most Canadians are confident about psychologists’ abilities.  However, only 44% of Canadians are aware of psychology’s role in diagnosis, assessment, and management of learning disabilities.

Of course, from my chair (as a psychologist), our role seems obvious, because we are the only profession with the proper tools to find specific learning problems (e.g., measures of academic potential, intelligence, memory, etc.).  (We can differentiate between, say, ADHD and LD.  Maybe it’s not ADHD – those symptoms might mask something else.  Or, the hype about ADHD may lead some to see it where it doesn’t exist.)

By the same token, I think that my profession is missing something – why are we such a mystery to people?  As a group, we tend to want to help any way we can, yet often shrug when faced with the facts – most people don’t know how we can help.  Any feedback would be appreciated!  Please leave your candid comments.

As I mentioned in my last post on ADHD/LD, I urge psychologists to go beyond the simple identification of an LD.  Look deeper: what is driving the LD?  Is it a difference in memory?  Phonological awareness?  Is part of the public’s confusion about psychology because the quality of our mysterious reports varies so greatly?

Those lengthy and technical psychoeducational reports are often confusing and some, unfortunately, list many numbers but don’t contain much direction.  Confused by your child’s assessment?  Want a second opinion?  Want to know why it says what it does?  Want to know more about the nature of your child’s learning differences?

Give us a ring.  We will review your child’s report and:

* provide in-depth analysis & interpretation of existing data,

* flesh out recommendations that will make a difference to your child,

* help you communicate your needs & concerns to the school, and,

* targeted follow-up testing to clarify those results – discovering what drives a gap between potential & achievement is key to effective accommodations.

We also conduct ADHD / LD & vocational interest assessments for adults or students heading into post-secondary.

Parents – ADHD & LD have a heavy genetic component.  Ever wonder if you learn like your child?  Ever wonder why your job performance differs from your pal’s?  Why you get bored with your job fast?  Why certain types of information just won’t stick?  We can find out & show you work-arounds to boost your confidence & pride.  Heck, you might even get a raise!

About tanya.spencer

Dr. Spencer has worked with families, schools, and residential treatment settings using an evidence-based framework and cognitive-behavioural perspective. She specializes in learning problems, attachment, mood disorders, teen self-harm and the autism and fetal alcohol spectra.
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One Response to Is it ADHD or LD? – Update

  1. Sachi says:

    a0a0 This review is from: The autohr sets out to prove successfully in my view that drug treatment for conditions such as ADHD, OCD, depression, and anxiety are vastly inferior to behavioral therapy. Though many contend that chemical imbalances are responsible for producing these disorders, Stephen Ray Flora argues and presents credible prove showing how cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), instead of pharmacological intervention, can right such problems and lead people in the direction of human health with markedly lower relapse rates and with results that are lasting. Drugs do not fundamentally re-shape our worldview into a more constructive, healthier outlook. For instance, if we have an anxiety disorder that results from heights, broadcast seats, or broadcast speaking, taking a medication will not fundamentally resolve those issues. Instead, through exposure-response therapy, people are forced to confront their fears and place out the unhealthy response to a particular environmental stimulus (such as a cliff, or a stage in front of many people). Indeed, the manifestation of other psychological conditions can be examined through the lens of behaviorism. OCD is fueled by seeking relief from anxiety (negative reinforcement). Depression is perpetuated by avoiding activities that, in and of themselves, would resolve the depression itself (negative reinforcement). Though I do not wish to spoil the substance of the book by going into detail, Flora shows how environmental reinforcers can produce these conditions of mental illness and how they can be resolved. The autohr’s scrutiny of ADHD and schizophrenia was also very enlightening. This book is empowering for those seeking to take control of a particular condition they may have. Instead of outsourcing blame ( Oh, it’s not my fault; it’s the OCD ) or reducing the complication to a simple resolution ( I just need a pill. ), Flora provides an engaging and well-researched discourse of certain conditions and shows how the tools for overcoming these problems is readily accessible for anyone equipped and willing to work. CBT and/or exposure-response therapy is many times more effective than drugs by really correcting psychological problems, not masking them. I believe our culture is too demanding of solutions in life that come quickly and in something as simple as a pill. We have become too keen to take medications despite the fact that psychiatry has only proven that there is a CORRELATION between brain chemistry imbalance and mental illness, *NOT* causation. The autohr jokes in the beginning of the book how the victor in a martial arts struggle has a higher testosterone count (the chemical’) than the person he defeated. Does that mean that the loser has some kind of physical struggle victory deficiency disorder? Additionally, Jeffrey Schwartz has shown using PET scans how CBT and EX/RP (exposure-response therapy) can alter brain chemistry to healthier levels, without drugs. To the skeptics and critics: Flora addresses the arguments presented in favor of drug intervention. The autohr will demonstrate how medications can even interfere with the effectiveness of CBT, not improve it. In fact, as you will read in the chapter on depression, if mental illness was a bona-fide chemical problem, why did more people improve with only placebos in one study vs. those who took real medications (Duke University study)? This was a very excellent read! I highly recommend it!

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