A Guide To Reading Scattered
One, comprised of the first five chapters, is an examination of the nature of
attention deficit disorder.
Chapter One, So Much Soup And Garbage Can,
reports my own diagnosis with ADD, briefly introduces the thesis I will put forward, and
shows something of the painful emotional realities accompanying ADD.
Chapter Two, Many Roads Not Travelled,
explains how ADD is diagnosed and describes the traits and behaviours associated with it.
Chapter Three, We Could All Go Crazy, argues ADD is not a
disorder in the medical sense of the term. Its characteristics are on the continuum of
normal human traits which create a problem only when they get to the point of interfering
significantly with ones life.
Chapter Four, A Conflictual Marriage, is a case example of how
ADD traits, in this instance the fathers, do create problems for the whole family.
It also shows how tensions generated in the parents relationship can affect the
atmosphere in which the children spend their formative years. The family is my own, the
couple my wife and I.
Chapter Five, Forgetting To Remember The Future, introduces the
idea that attention deficit disorder represents not illness but a failure of psychological
and neurophysiological development. The brain circuits that remain immature are those of
emotional intelligence and self-regulation..
Part Two explains how the human brain develops, how
heredity and the environment may affect its development, and under what conditions
complete maturation of important brain circuits may be impaired.
Chapter Six, Different Worlds: Heredity And The Environments Of
Childhood, is itself in two parts. The first portion shows the weaknesses of the
evidence for ADD being largely an inherited, genetically transmitted condition. There is
definitely an important genetic component, but its importance is frequently exaggerated.
The second portion investigates how even children in the same family do not share the same
Chapter Seven, Emotional Allergies: ADD And Sensitivity, argues
that the inherited trait children with ADD do have in common is a heightened sensitivity
to emotional stimuli--and often to physical ones as well. This makes them more vulnerable
to environmental influences.
Chapter Eight, A Surrealistic Choreography, presents the
astounding findings of modern neuroscientific research as regards the development of the
human brain. The environment minutely influences how the circuits of the brain are formed.
Chapter Nine, Attunement And Attachment, discusses the conditions
necessary for the maturation in the brain of the circuits of emotional intelligence, the
circuits impaired in ADD.
Chapter Ten, The Footprints Of Infancy, is about the circuits in
the gray matter of the brain that have failed to develop fully, and about how the
environment may directly affect the chemistry in the portions of the brain implicated in
Part Three is about the environmental roots of attention
deficit disorder in family and society, a topic first touched upon in Chapter Four, about
my own family.
Chapter Eleven, An Utter Stranger, tells the story of the first
year and a half of my own life, the period most critical in the development of the brain
circuits discussed in the previous chapters.
Chapter Twelve, Stories Within Stories, presents what I have
found out about the families of ADD adults and children who have come to me for help, and
presents also what the research evidence has shown about ADD families.
Chapter Thirteen, This Frenetic Society, argues that ultimately
the environmental roots of ADD can be traced to socioeconomic trends in industrialized
society which have virtually fragmented the extended family and have also stressed the
nuclear family nearly to the breaking point. Popular culture, too, has increasingly come
to celebrate a short attention span.
Part Four explores the psychological meaning of ADD
Chapter Fourteen: Severed Thoughts And Flibbety-Gibbety: Tuning
Out And Distractibility, describes how the tuning out in ADD first arises as a form of
emotional defence, and how the inattention and distractibility are also intimately
connected with the individuals emotional life.
Chapter Fifteen, The Pendulum Swings: Hyperactivity, Lethargy And
Shame, shows that hyperactivity begins as a normal developmental stage in which,
under certain conditions, the child gets stuck. Its seeming opposite, the lethargy
of many inattentive children and adults, is also a matter of normal development gone awry.
Part Five: The next nine chapters are devoted to the
question of how to promote the healing process in the ADD child and teenager. Although the
following part of the book will discuss healing in the adult more specifically, ADD adults
are advised to read Part Five carefully. It is meant also to help them understand their
own personalities, as well as the conditions necessary for the further maturation of their
impaired ADD circuits.
Chapter Sixteen, It Aint Over Til Its Over:
Unconditional Positive Regard discusses the scientific basis for optimism as regards the
development of new, better functioning brain circuits in later childhood and even in the
adult years. It describes the very first condition loving parents need to provide their
children to promote that development: warm, secure acceptance.
Chapter Seventeen, Wooing The Child, suggests techniques to help
parents build the relationship in which children can find the required sense of security.
Chapter Eighteen, Like Fish In The Sea, advises parents to take
care of their own emotional states and the parental relationship, these forming the
invisible psychological ground on which the development of the sensitive ADD child must
Chapter Nineteen, Just Looking For
Attention, discusses some damaging myths about ADD children, including
the misconception that they are "just" looking for attention. If, indeed, they
are looking for attention, we must inquire why.
Chapter Twenty, The Defiant Ones:
Oppositionality, explains what is really behind the trait parents and adults find most
frustrating in children with attention deficit disorder: their almost automatic resistance
to authority, their so-called stubborn and wilful natures. Fortunately, we find, it is not
a fixed trait at all. It is only an unconscious reaction, called counterwill, which
parents can learn to defuse.
Chapter Twenty-One, Defusing Counterwill. In which parents learn
to do so.
Chapter Twenty-Two, My Marshmallow Caught Fire: Motivation And
Autonomy. ADD children tend to be unmotivated. Much of what parents are told about
motivating children is self-defeating. This chapter discusses how to promote true
Chapter Twenty-Three, Trusting The Child, Trusting Oneself: ADD
In the Classroom. Principles and guidelines for helping the ADD student in the school
Chapter Twenty-Four, Always On My Case: Teenagers, is about the
special problems involved in dealing with ADD teenagers. What works, and what does not.
Part Six is concerned with helping ADD adults understand
themselves, some of the problems they face, and the ways they can create conditions for
their own self-development.
Chapter Twenty-Five: Justifying Ones
Existence: Self-Esteem And The ADD Adult. Low self-esteem is the
greatest burden and obstacle confronting adults with attention deficit disorder. It leads
to harsh self-judgements and a chronic inability to say no.
Chapter Twenty-Six, Memories Are Made Of This, shows that while
adults with ADD may have poor recall, their neurological circuits are imprinted with
infallible memories that silently influence their feelings and their behaviour.
Chapter Twenty-Seven, Remembering What Didnt Happen: The
ADD Relationship. People with ADD have a notoriously difficult time with emotional
intimacy. This chapter explores why, and analyses some of the relationship problems these
adults may have.
Chapter Twenty-Eight, Moses Saved By The Angel: Self-Parenting (I).
The topic of this chapter of how the adult with ADD can learn to take care of herself
Chapter Twenty-Nine, The Physical And Spiritual Environment:
Self-Parenting (II), describes the physical conditions needed for self-development,
as well as the importance of creative expression and spiritual work.
Chapter Thirty, In Place Of Tears And Sorrow: Addictions And The
ADD Brain, explores the nature of addiction in attention deficit disorder and the need to
confront it, offering the author as a case example.
Part Seven ties up some loose ends.
Chapter Thirty-One, I Never Saw The Trees: What Medications Can
And Cannot Do explains the possible benefits of medications in the treatment of ADD and
gives some guidelines for their use. It puts forward the possibly radical principle that
not even young children ought to be made to take medications without their autonomous
Chapter Thirty-Two, What It Means To Attend, expresses some
parting thoughts on the nature of giving attention and on some of the long-term challenges
we must continue to face.