Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

Teaching Children with Autism: Medication for the Symptoms of ADHD, continued

Simulants are prescribed because ADD is associated with a “dozey” brain.  To understand that, you need to know that the brain produces electrical activity – brain waves – at frequencies ranging from very low to very high, and various brainwave frequency ranges have been gives various labels (named after Greek letters).  The very slow brainwaves associated with sleep are referred to as “delta” waves; brainwave frequencies around eight or so cycles per second are referred to as “theta” waves; brainwave frequencies around ten cycles per second and associated with meditation are referred to as “alpha” waves; and brainwave frequencies around thirteen cycles per second and up are referred to as “beta” waves.  Normal relaxed alertness produces activity in the low beta range, say about 13-14 cycles per second, or vice versa – in fact, it seems likely that brainwaves drive behaviour and behaviour drives brainwaves, both influencing each other.

Individuals with ADD produce a preponderance of theta activity (or individuals with a preponderance of theta activity produce behaviour that gets them labelled as having an attention deficit disorder).  Hence stimulant medication.  It speeds up the brain and helps the client to pay attention and stay focused on the task at hand.  Thus, while there are undesirable side effects, it is easy to see why some parents would choose this option for their ADHD children, particularly if the medication is covered by their health insurance and other options are not.

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