Thursday, April 26, 2007
ADHD patients have strengths and weaknesses

By Anthony Policastro, M.D

Most of the patients that I see in my Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics practice have ADHD. All ADHD patients have a mixture of strengths and weaknesses just like the rest of us. Attention is a weakness. Impulsive behavior is a weakness. Absent mindedness is a weakness. I have ADHD and I am a typical absent-minded professor on occasions. However, there are many strengths that ADHD itself can provide. The endless amount of energy in ADHD individuals allows them to be involved in many things. Their schedule will often be much fuller than that of their colleagues. Their work volume will frequently be very high if they can block out distractions and interruptions. We sometimes think of ADHD as a disability. In actuality, it really depends on the situation. Sitting still in a classroom may be hard. However, having the necessary energy and stamina to see something to its conclusion is a strength. Having ADHD and being able to survive on only a few hours of sleep per night is a real advantage if you are a physician with ADHD like me. Some of you know that I perform with rock and roll groups. You only need to see one performance to know that the energy level is pure ADHD. The major goal in children with ADHD is to teach them to use those strengths. Medication is often not needed in older children or adults with ADHD. What is needed is a substitute approach. For example, college courses are very different than high school. College teachers give lectures. They expect notes to be taken. The exam is then based upon those notes. The ADHD student who has relied on the high school teacher to give him/her notes to study for exams will find note taking difficult. There may be a tendency to daydream so that notes are never completed. An incomplete page is the result. My solution to daydreaming in college was to write down everything the teacher said. Even if it was irrelevant, I wrote it down. I then was able to redo my notes after class. If I were not constantly writing, I would start daydreaming. I would not know where we were. It is helpful to have an environment that nurtures the strengths of the ADHD child. Since those tend to be different from child to child, that is a challenge. It is a challenge to the school. It is a challenge to the parents. It becomes more of a challenge, as the child gets older. However, successfully channeling those strengths can lead to a successful career. Some colleges plan accommodations for students with ADHD. Some colleges like Landmark College in Massachusetts and Beacon College in Florida actually exist to serve ADHD and the learning disabled population. As parents our role is to nurture our children's talents. With ADHD, there are many things that can successfully be nurtured. We need to find those things and use them as the springboard to build the child's self esteem.

NMH Auxiliary meeting
Forensic Pathology in Sussex County will be the subject of Dr. Judith G. Tobin, at the May 9 meeting of the Nanticoke Health Services Auxiliary. Dr. Judy is the chief pathologist at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, as well as medical officer of Sussex County. She has been a resident of Seaford for many years, and her medical knowledge and skills has been recognized throughout the state of Delaware and beyond. Luncheon of an Indoor Picnic theme will be served at the Seaford Golf & Country Club promptly at noon. Members must make reservations with their caller who will make contact. A stroll down the Auxiliary's Memory Lane will be a special feature, according to Janet Hubbard, president of the auxiliary. Area residents desiring to be a part of the Auxiliary should contact Jan Grantz, 628-8478 or Linda Crescenzo, 628-8701. Membership is open to both men and women in the Nanticoke Service area.

Life Line Screening
Painless, non-invasive ultrasound technology can visually reveal plaque build-up in the carotid arteries, a condition that can lead to stroke. Using this technology preventively, before a person feels sick or experiences symptoms, can identify blockages when intervention, be it lifestyle changes, medical management, or surgery, can actually prevent the stroke from happening. Residents living in and around the Seaford community can take advantage of such ultrasound screenings when Life Line Screening comes to the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department on April 27. Appointments will begin at 9 a.m. A complete wellness package, including the stroke/Carotid Artery, Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, Ankle Brachial Index (hardening of the arteries) and Osteoporosis screenings, is only $129 (a savings of $41). For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 1-877-237-1377, or visit us on the web at Pre-registration is required.

Casino Night fund raiser
Delaware Hospice's Casino Nigh fundraiser will be held on Thursday, May 3 from 6:30-10 p.m., at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. Texas Hold-em, Blackjack, Craps, Poker and more will be dealt by local celebrities. Guests will enjoy refreshments provided by LHR Seafood and Catering, wine tasting compliments of Kemp's Liquors, raffles, and a silent auction. Proceeds from the event will benefit Delaware Hospice in its efforts to provide choice, expert care, and comfort to local families in need. Tickets are $30 per person in advance, $35 at the door, and include a drink ticket and $10 in chips. To purchase tickets, call Joyce Bensinger at 856-7717 or 800-838-9800, or email:

Health Care Conference
Individuals and organizations focused on improving the quality of Delmarva's social service delivery will gather at Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens Campus, Georgetown, on Friday, May 4, for the annual "Families, Individuals & Communities" conference. The conference begins at 8 a.m. with exhibits by area agencies; free health screenings for cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure will be offered by Beebe Medical Center from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The keynote presentation focuses on basic, necessary skills that will give health care professionals an edge in their professional roles. It will be given by Dr. Sharon R. Yoder, president of "Make it Happen Training Programs," and offers a humorous look into what should, and should not, be done by workers in the health-care world. There will also be workshops available throughout the day on a variety of topics including anger management, women's health, living wills, holistic modalities and stress. Cost for the conference, including meals, is $35 for the general public and $20 for full-time students. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations must contact Lori Westcott at 855-5988 by May 1.

Relay for Life Friendraiser
The Western Sussex Relay for Life committee members are busy making preparations for this year's Relay for Life. This year's event will be held on May 18, at the Mears Campus in Seaford. The Relay for Life is an overnight event that helps raise money for the American Cancer Society. If you are interested in receiving information on how to register a team or for further information, contact Mary Catherine Hopkins at 875-7308.