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Gearing Advantage

Doctors Sylvia and Milton Gearing have been serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1985 with compassion and professionalism.

The Gearings implement the latest in psychological research to stay at the cutting edge of their field and bring the most effective and life changing techniques to their clients.

Their methods and strategies have been sharpened over the years, and are now built upon Gearing Up’s Three Gears of Change.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Mar 19, 2006

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

March 19, 2006

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, CBS 11 News

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is one of the most common childhood behavioral disorders, affecting up to 9% of all school-age children worldwide. Now new research suggests that this problem may actually have more to do with challenges in self control than in attention. Here to tell us more about this issue is psychologist, Dr. Sylvia Gearing.

Q: What are the defining characteristics of ADHD?

Dr. Sylvia: ADHD involves two sets of symptoms:

1.) Inattention

  • Fails to attend to Details
  • Does Not Listen When Spoken To
  • Forgetful
  • Distracted Easily
  • Does Not Follow Instructions
  • Does Not Finish Tasks (Schoolwork, Chores, etc.)

2.) Hyperactive and Impulsive Behaviors

  • Fidgeting and Restlessness
  • Difficulty Playing Quietly
  • Talks Excessively
  • Has Trouble Awaiting Turn
  • Interrupts or Intrudes Upon Others

Q: So are psychologists redefining their understanding of ADHD?

Dr. Sylvia: We do know that ADHD is a real developmental disorder. However, leaders in this field now report that ADHD is a deeper problem that has to do with self-control and self-regulation. We've found that these kids know what to do, they just have trouble implementing and following through. The problems in activity level, attention span, distractibility, and impulse control are the manifestations of this more systemic, fundamental problem.

Q: So what can parents expect of these children?

Dr. Sylvia: As most children grow up, they gain the ability to engage in mental activities, known as executive functions, that help them deflect distractions, recall goals and take the steps needed to reach them. ADHD kids have trouble here. They do not develop the capacity to inhibit or delay their initial responses to an event. Their brains fail to effectively regulate their behavior and reactions.

Q: What does this new psychological model of ADHD look like?

Dr. Sylvia:The loss of self control leads to challenges in the following four areas:

  • Impaired Function Consequence
  • Remembering Information Diminished Sense of Time
  • While Working
  • Self Talk Difficulty regulating behavior
  • Regulating Emotions/ Arousal Displays Emotions Quickly
  • Breaking Down Behaviors Into Inability to Problem Solve
  • New Actions

Q: Are there gender differences in the prevalence of this disorder?

Dr. Sylvia: Boys are three times more likely than girls to develop the disorder. Indeed, some studies have found that ADHD boys outnumber ADHD girls by nine to one, possibility because boys are more prone to disorders of the nervous system. The behavior usually arises between the ages of two to five. However, some kids do not develop symptoms until late childhood or even early adolescence.

Q: Why is there controversy surrounding this disorder?

Dr. Sylvia: There are two reasons that ADHD is controversial. We use medications to treat ADHD and people find that to be a concern. There has been a lot of incorrect information circulating in the media and many people simply do not understand why medicine is so important to helping these children.

Also, most of us believe that a misbehaving child has simply not been disciplined enough. If you wind up with a child who is out of control, it must be your fault. However, the reality is that ADHD is a biological disorder that can occur in the best kids in the most disciplined of families. Bad parenting cannot cause ADHD, nor can good parenting be a cure on its own.