Last week, we went looked at what the differences are between students who have to learn how to learn with ADD, ADHD and Learning Disabilities. This week, we would like to look at one type of ADD called Over-Focused ADD. Here are some common questions that may help you assist your child or another student to learn without being as frustrated or over-whelmed:

What is a student with Over-Focused ADD look like?

A student with ADD symptoms and has great difficulty shifting attention, may be over-focused. Often, an over-focused student gets “stuck” on a task or “locked” into negative thought patterns or behaviors.

What causes an Over-Focused tendency?

According to Attitude Magazine, there is “a deficiency of serotonin and dopamine in the brain”. What’ s that mean? Basically, there is too much activity in the area of the brain, which is the brain’s “gear shifter” (the anterior cingulate gyrus).

How do you recognize a student with Over-Focused ADD?

With “gear shifter” functioning differently (too much activity), makes it difficult a student with this type of ADD to go from thought to thought, task to task – and to be flexible making any type of change. Students that may have difficulty following directions while switching tasks or remain on a particular task well after other students have completed may exhibit and over-focused brain.

How do you help or refocus a student with Over-Focus ADD?

Psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, the founder of the Hallowell Centers in New York City and Sudbury, Mass., prefers the term “flow” than hyper-focus. The concept of flow comes from the research of psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, Dr. Hallowell says, and it is when “you’re doing something that really matters to you that is challenging.” It’s also, he says, “when you operate at your best.”

child-241749_640How do you treat Over-Focused ADD?

People with Over-Focused ADD get more anxious and worried on a stimulant medication, so treatment with medications can be tricky. However, you do want to make the imbalance in the brain balanced – scientifically, aim to boost serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. You can also avoid a higher-protein diet with this type, which can make patients mean.

For more suggestions on supplements or medication, consult your child’ s doctor.