Articles on ADHD

Is ADD Really an Abnormality

This 'point of view' was the fifth in a series on Attention Deficit Disorder by Paul T. Elliott M.D.

Paul T. Elliott M.D. is the co-author of "ADHD and Teens: A Parent’s Guide to Making It Through the Tough Years", and has worked with ADHD children for over 30 years.  He currently lives and works in Australia.

“In my opinion, the ADD brain structure is not truly an abnormality. In fact, I believe a very good case can be made that it is not only normal, through the minority, but may well be a superior brain structure.

However, the talent of the person with the ADD brain structure are not those rewarded by our society at its current stage of development.

In other words, the problems of the person with ADD are caused as much by the way we have out society, educational systems and business methods organised as by other factors more directly related to the ADD itself.

I fully realise that these are not concepts generally shared by most other professionals. I have not always felt about ADD as I now do, but twenty years of experience treating ADD in all ages under a variety of conditions have lead me to my current beliefs.

A superior brain structure? A review of some of the things we know about the ADD brain structure and performance will demonstrate this possibility.

The average I.Q. of the person with ADD is higher then that of the average person in society. This is not to imply that all persons with ADD are more intelligent, but simply that the average I.Q. is greater.

The person with ADD has a greater ability to think creatively. This refers not only to creativity in the fine arts sense, though a person may have such a musical or painting talent, but the ability to problem solve, create or invent.

The person with the AD brain structure has an increased sensory awareness. This stems not only from a heightened sensitivity of the senses, but also from the increased intrusion of those sensations into the conscious awareness of the person.

In other words, the person sees, feels, hears, tastes and smells more, and these sensations are more likely to distract the person.

Finally the higher one goes on the I.Q. scale, the greater the percentage of ADD one finds.

Muhammad Ali Quotation

From an I.Q. of about 160 and above, virtually everyone has ADD. Now, if that is “brain damage” as was previously felt, we should all be so damaged! Certainly it is not brain damage, and the sooner we acknowledge this, the sooner we will be able to take a more appropriate approach to ADD.

I encourage patients and their parents of families to view brain function in several unorthodox ways, not because that is the true way brains work, but because they effectively illustrate what we observe about brain function.

One is the channel method. There are two possible channels of function in the brain: Channel A and Channel B.

Everyone in the word is born with channel A in his or her brain. This is the average channel and the only one which the majority of people have, those with the average brain structure.

About one-third of the population also has a Channel B in the brain and we refer to these individuals as having ADD. The people with ADD use Channel B because it is the only channel they can get to work very well. They have the “writing” for Channel A, but they cannot get it to work very well for themselves for vary long.

Thought processing in the Channel A mode is very linear, or non-dimensional, and driven by time, Priorities, task and a desire for completion. It is as though the person were on a rail going all the way to the end, finishing the task, turning around coming back down the rail, finishing the task, and so on, back and so forth in an orderly fashion.

Thought processing in Channel B is very three-dimensional. It is not only fore and aft, but up, down, side to side and diagonally broadly ranging from horizon to horizon, and floor to the stratosphere."

by Dr Paul T. Elliott


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