Empowering Parents: Innovative Strategies for Raising Children with ADHD: 36
In this week’s episode, Avigail Gimpel shares her insights on bonding, and forming relationships with children with ADHD. She began her journey by teaching at a school for international students where she found her passion and purpose for delving deeper into and working with those with ADHD. You’ll learn more about how ADHD is diagnosed, ADHD causes, ADHD types, what ADHD means (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and about ADHD and caffeine.
As a teacher, she developed a program for kids with ADHD which helped her gain a strong background in the subject as well. Throughout her personal experience, she found that daily medication might not be the optimal solution for dealing with ADHD and discovered the importance of physical health, diet, health, and interactions in terms of how one can work along with ADHD.
In her book, she identifies and breaks down the most common causes of ADHD including the instant gratification personality. While diagnosing kids with ADHD, as parents or caregivers, it is important to take note of behaviors that might be of importance or might want to take a look at. Being honest as parents/caregivers is of utmost importance as they should create plans and programs that they can handle.
After learning more about and understanding the depth of ADHD in children and its various effects, Gimpel finds ADHD to be an opportunity for parents to step in and use their creativity to create games and other plans to help their children. She talks about the resilience and perseverance of kids which gives them the ability to be strong while coupled with the leadership of parents.
If you’re struggling to relate or find strategies that work for your child with ADHD, you’ll definitely want to listen to this episode and get in touch with Avigail!
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Automated transcript, please forgive errors.
Cheryl McColgan: Everyone, welcome back to the Heal Nourish Grow podcast. I am joined today by my guest, Abigail, and hopefully this works a little better because we’ve been having some technical difficulties up to this point, but I’m really excited to share her knowledge and her background with you, she has been working and teaching all around the world, dealing with children with ADHD, and she’s going to give us some more insight about that today and things that we can do to create better relationships with people that are struggling with that problem, and just how to get through your daily life when you have children that have ADHD right, so anyway, welcome, Abigail, and I’ll let you get a little bit of your background so that we can… Let people know where we’re going with this conversation.
Working With Children with ADHD
Avigail Gimpel: With pleasure, and thank you so much for inviting me. It’s really a pleasure. It’s a pleasure being here, a pleasure meeting you. And you are so beautiful and young, and it’s remarkable, and you mentioned to me that you’re a yoga… What do we call those? Yoga or yoga teacher colonies, a better name for that. Okay, we’re gonna go with the Olga instructor might… I have a 19-year-old daughter is also a yoga instructor, but I feel like that is definitely the secret of your absolute beautiful young books, because we just discovered that your younger… That you’re older than me, which is slightly insulting to me… Oh no, nearer. Back to the ADHD story. I will begin as a young teacher when I was 20, and I started teaching in a school actually for… In Queens, New York, for Russian and Ukrainian immigrants. So in my classroom, the Russians and the Ukrainians were together. I imagine that now. Right. Anyhow, we didn’t have any language in common because the kids had just literally gotten off the boat and they were acclimating to America, but it was his English as a second language class, and I had a few students who were incredibly fantastic because they were smart and energetic and curious, I managed to understand what they were saying a little bit, and I love them, I was just crazy about them, but I could not get them to behave at all and interestingly, at the same time, when I was teaching a lot of these kids, most of them boys at that time.
Avigail Gimpel: Although in my family, it’s equal opportunity, ADHD, I met my husband at the same time, and it’s very clear that I like these very energetic people because when I was dating him, I was like, Wow, this guy is super energetic. I’m wondering why that’s so interesting to me. And so in the classroom and at home, clearly energetic people is my style, so I find working with ADHD to be quite fascinating and a lot of fun. So fast forward a couple of years, we were living in Moscow. And my oldest was in a class where she was learning to read and write, English, Russian and Hebrew, and succeeding at all three of them, but while she ran around the classroom and to a little, took little trips into the hallway and the teacher let her take her shoes off, and she was just flying high, amazing students. We get back, then we traveled to Israel, and we like to confuse our kids with foreign languages and stuff, and to keep them on their toes, and she gets put into a classroom of 30 kids in Moscow, it was a smaller classroom, it was quieter. They had much more resources.
How ADHD Is Diagnosed
Avigail Gimpel: And the teacher immediately, within a couple of days is like, you gotta take this kid for an evaluation. I was stunned when my child was diagnosed with ADHD, despite being a special education teacher, you’d think I would recognize it, but we tend to not recognize things in our own kids, and she was a… A teacher, the doctor diagnosed her and immediately gave me a prescription for Ritalin, it didn’t sit right with me. Something was bothering me, I’m looking at her, I’m saying she’s intelligent, she loves to learn, she’s not disordered and she doesn’t need a daily medication to keep her going. This is something else going on. And at that point, I really started taking a deep dive into what the ADHD story is, what’s causing it, Why are these symptoms happening, and that’s when I really started to discover how fitness, diet, exercise, nature and their incredible effect in our children’s behavior. So that’s really the beginning of the story. It can be hard to see all of the ways how ADHD is diagnosed.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, and obviously, there’s so much more to this story, but one of the things that you mentioned there that I think is really relevant to people, and maybe this is why you mentioned it, is that in one sort of classroom situation, your daughter was thriving and it was because she was kind of allowed to be more herself, for lack of a better word, or just to kind of get out of her energy a little bit in different ways, or again, having our shoes off, lust, connecting with the earth, a grounding idea. But maybe those Tainui helping her, and she just didn’t even know it yet or haven’t identified it, and then going into a different kind of classroom where it’s very regimented and you’re expected to sit in your desk for eight or today or something like that. That would make anybody kind of… Kinda crazy after a while. So you identified this in your own children and after deep diving into it, I would imagine that that gave you insight into your previous experience as a teacher where you were probably dealing with that and just didn’t know it yet, so…
ADHD in the Classroom
Avigail Gimpel: Well, I actually did know it… Yes, I actually, as a teacher, and that’s what’s even more ironic about this, is that as a teacher, I developed an entire program for kids with ADHD in a regular classroom and the incubating… And so I really knew how to deal with ADHD in the classroom, which is why when my daughter was in first and second grade, I was saying, Great. They’re doing great, this is fantastic. She’s really thriving. And so I did have the background, but it didn’t occur to me that this what they were describing, his ADHD and my kid was the same thing. I learned a lot more about how ADHD is diagnosed, especially in the classroom.
Cheryl McColgan: Can you maybe go into a little more detail there? Because I do think it presents in different ways in different children as some have more of a hyperactive component, some have… And I only remember the basics of this from back in my psychology degree, but I’m expecting that it is involved even vastly, so much more since then, so could you go into… You said you didn’t kind of recognize that in her initially, maybe because you’re her parent, you said number one, but also maybe just to present it differently, or how do people know that they should be looking for that? Or what do they look for even…
What ADHD Means and How is ADHD Diagnosed?
Avigail Gimpel: So let’s begin by saying, first of all, it probably hasn’t evolved that much since your degree, because it’s really the same list of symptoms, and the symptoms we’re looking at is a hyper activity where a kid is kind of living on the edge doing more dangerous things, very very spontaneous, not thinking things through, which burns relationships and get the kid into a lot of trouble, very often breaks into conversations between adults will have a tantrum in the supermarket for not getting the candy that he wanted and the other candy and the other one. And it’s very much a… And is also the dream aspect of it, there’s the more quiet kid who’s gonna be sitting and looking out the classroom window, and you have this beautiful window behind you, and I’m kind of like wanting to look out there myself, but they’re looking out to the classroom window they’re dreaming. They have all sorts of ideas. So what we’re seeing really is socially, they are tend to burn bridges on the one hand with the hyperactivity and spontaneity, and on the other hand, from being too withdrawn and not really knowing the cues socially, and then we have the academic part, where kids have a very hard time at follow-through, if they’re not interested in what you’re teaching them, you’ve lost them, there’s nothing to talk about, they don’t engage in things for them, and they have a very hard time with transitions from one class to the next, from class to recess, the recess back to class and follow through, which would be homework, getting a fully responsible homework, they tend to be much more disorganized and then that’s how ADHD is diagnosed.
Avigail Gimpel: Yeah, that is emotionally… We would see them being much more emotional on the one side, being more sensitive to what’s going on around them, I’ll have clients who say, I can’t shut myself off, I’m just aware of every single emotion that everyone in the house, everyone in the room is having, and on the other hand, they’re also very emotionally sensitive about themselves, they get hurt quickly, and they carry that emotional stress around with them all day long, so that’s in a nutshell, what we’re seeing with kids with ADHD, but I began by saying that it’s a list of symptoms which means that these are challenging symptoms, but they’re being caused by many different things, there’s different reasons, so the list of symptoms is kind of simple to identify what’s much more challenging is why, why are they having these symptoms? And there is not one answer to this. Yeah.
Cheryl McColgan: In your work, have you started to identify reasons that are slightly more than others, or is it really just all across the board, so
Avigail Gimpel: He actually… In my book, I identify and really break down and work through the most common causes the… I would say the most common cause is an instant gratification, personality, rights, that’s the kid who wants things now and fast and interesting and fun and dangerous, and novelty is the name of the game, but here’s the problem that doesn’t work in our society because… Or anywhere, it doesn’t work anywhere, because even though it’s a healthy personality, and the truth is that this kind of healthy personality really can lead to super greatness, the kid can really go far as an entrepreneur, as an inventor, as a… I don’t know, there’s so many things that this person can do, and my husband, who is definitely an ad instant gratification personality, he travels a lot right now, he happens to be in London, but for his work, he works in high tech and… That’s perfect. He travels in place to place and everywhere he goes, everything’s interesting to him, and drop a middle of Rome, in middle of Milan, he knows the city within 15 minutes, so that if these kids engage their environment very quickly. But what’s missing there, and this is a big missing, as they don’t develop habits, because you as a yoga instructor know that you have to do something every single day, you use it or you lose it, and you have to keep repeating it in order to get strong at it.
Avigail Gimpel: And strengthen your brain. And these kids do not like the repetitive behaviors, they want to just be running and having fun all the time, and therefore they are slightly immature, and we as the adults have to help them create behavior from… Create habit, sorry, by imposing it from outside, but in an instant gratification kind of way with prizes and things like that.
Cheryl McColgan: Interesting, yeah, that’s… I would say one of my favorite topics to creating new habits, healthier habits, and it’s not easy for anyone, it doesn’t even have ADHD to necessarily implement new habits in a way that kinda makes them stick and make them consistent with them, so I can only imagine dealing with children with an attention problem, that’s gotta be even more challenging, but I’m assuming because you wrote a whole book about it, you must have identified some ways, and you mentioned they’re like prizes or other incentives. Can you use those with any… Does it work with any child, number one, but number two, obviously, these are things that you’ve identified specific to the more… The attentive one, or the hyperactive one? Or does it work for both? This will help people understand how ADHD is diagnosed.
Avigail Gimpel: Yeah, it works for both. And every child needs help with developing habits as well as every adult, and we know that… Yeah, I go out jogging every single morning, I don’t right now, but let’s say as an example, I used to… And then you have… You get sick for a couple of days and you kind of drop off and then getting back into it is so hard, so habit formation and maintaining habits is something we need our entire lives, and when I say to parents when I meet with them, is that… For a child with ADHD symptoms, they must learn this method, they must… For every other child, it’s a tremendous benefit because we all need to develop habits, some kids will develop habits through osmosis, through just being okay with doing something every day, and they have… It just develops at an to own, but we all need that help and yes, the program works for every child. That’s awesome.
Cheryl McColgan: So even if you’re listening to this and you don’t, you know that your child does not have ADHD or you think they might, or you know that they don’t, it doesn’t matter, they could really use these methods, this general healthy behavior adjunct to whatever else they’re doing with their kids for education or for… Habits or sports or whatever it is.
Avigail Gimpel: Yeah, so definitely what I have parents do is write a list of the behaviors that need improvement, this is not a list of criticism of your child, and it’s important that parents know, especially for a kid who is an instant gratification kid, that that child wants your attention and wants your attention strong, which means that if you are yelling at your child and trying to get your child to behave or develop a habit by yelling or criticizing, then they just want you to yell and criticize more because they want your attention. So before we even start planning on helping our children with habits, we have to get a grip on our own behavior and bring it down and figure out why we’re feeling so critical, sometimes we’re disappointed that this is a child we got that just doesn’t behave well, like the neighbor’s kids, that’s human. And that’s fine, we have to work through that and realize that this child is exactly the right fit for us, and be grateful for that, but that’s a process for us, once we’ve gone through that process and we shifted over to positive communication with our child, then we’re really ready to make that list and choose one of those behaviors to work on first, when we choose all of them at once, then everything falls, if you’re gonna try to eat your Paleo diet and exercise and visit with friends and have time to yourself while you’re being a fabulous mom.
ADHD And Sleep
Avigail Gimpel: Forget it, you’re just gonna be like puddles in the corner, you’re combing your mouth and you’re bad because you… Everything felt so don’t do that one at a time. And let’s say going to bed at night, I like to start with that because we get up better in the morning when we slept, that’s a little trick I’ve learned, and so we would take going to bed at night and divide it into four parts, because the more divided it is, the easier it is to follow it, there’s also more to celebrate and a child can do some of it and still be okay, and that’s something that… Divided support, sorry. And we put it in a chart, and the child knows exactly what’s expected, and we also have a practice, so during the day, I would stop my child and I’d say… Let’s say, Joseph, I’d say, What are we gonna do tonight? And how does it work? And what time you get into bed or… I’d even play may believe and say, Oh, at 7 o’clock, what do we have to do now? And he would kind of have to run to the bathroom at shower time and he would get…
Avigail Gimpel: And he would get points for just participating in the game or a problem shooting, seeing what we did wrong yesterday and how we could do it better, but I’m engaging my child, so that my child has in his or her mind that we’re doing something important, and therefore when it’s happening, I’m marking it off on this chart, I’m doing it for at least a month, so this is a really important tip for parents, if you’re not great at being consistent, that’s fine, and if you just don’t have a lot of time, that’s also fine, but you have to be honest. You have to see what you can do and what you can do. If you can do a program that’s half an hour to half an hour, it’s much more important that you do what you can do and not what your child needs, because we need this to be consistent, and only you can make it consistent. And if you make a very large elegant program, but you’re falling on your face halfway through, you haven’t accomplished anything, so make it fit it to you according to what your child needs, but fit it to your abilities, so throughout that hour or half an hour at every as you’re doing, you’re checking off with a child, some of the sticker or a star or whatever it is, you’re doing a check and you’re giving a lot of loud positive feedback, but if a child doesn’t do it, you just put a line there.
How to Create Reward Systems for ADHD
Avigail Gimpel: Nothing’s happened. That’s it. And what we do to prepare is we give our children a menu of prizes, we write down a list of the prizes that we would offer to our children, we choose some of them, and then we open the floor to the kid… Go ahead and tell me what you’d like to have as a price, and then we put a value on it because these points, the stickers are your child’s money, so therefore they can go visit the shop, which is you any time and get their prize when they want to… And this, the reason we do that is because this is an Instagram partition kit. If he get more feedback and is able to cash in right away, then he’s gonna stick with it, he’s gonna do great, and we also want those prizes to be more experiential than a prize that he can play with, because those prizes he will lose… He’ll step on and break all that stuff, but an experience stays forever, so going out with a kid for ice cream to play ball, to a football game, any of those things, those are the prizes we’re shooting for even the child choosing dinner tomorrow night, or a small hike, something like that, that is a bonding time between parent and child, these are worth a million dollars, and so a small hike might be 10 points, a football game might be 30 points, and we’re doing that with our child and as the program runs, keeping in mind that it’s at least a month.
Avigail Gimpel: Sometimes we have to add a little bit more excitement. If you have two days in a row that are perfect to get an extra point, so you have to kind of read your child and see where he or she is holding and up the excitement as you go, but after a month of doing this, your child actually develops new neural pathways and has these habits and then you will maybe either take that habit that he’s already developed and move that to be one of the things he has to do, and then add new things and other three, another three behaviors that you wanna strengthen. Wow.
Cheryl McColgan: So there are so many actual pieces of pain there that you have that
Avigail Gimpel: I… Warehouse, I really love this part as a teacher, Extra extra credit point, or besides for the practice, we also have extra credit points, you could actually get this chart on my website, and so you don’t have to re-create it on your own, but the extra credit point the reason it’s important is because the points of the child’s getting is what the child does, the extraction is how he does it, let’s say he’s like drags along and like, Oh, I hate this. So you wanna given points for energy or for beating the clock or something like that, and that’s often more powerful than the actual behaviors, because we’re linking new behaviors to a positive feeling, so the child gets even more feedback from us. Okay, now you’re turrets.
Cheryl McColgan: The one thing I wanted to highlight that you said was, And because, again, I think this is relevant for not just working with kids, but the only pick a few things. We’re not gonna try to change our whole life in a day, I mean, we’d all love to, but that’s just not practical and not sustainable and not something that you can be consistent with, taking small little chunks, and people heard me talk about this ad nauseam, but starting small and just being consistent with that for a while, and then building on those habits, so I love that, and I just wanted highlight that, also the resources on your website, that’s amazing, people don’t need to create the wheel, they’re already stressed out enough trying to manage a child with a condition that they’re not maybe totally comfortable dealing with, and the last thing is this point system, so I love this so much, and our boys are… How old are they now? 17, 17. And what is about turn 15? And
Avigail Gimpel: I can see you got your hands for that.
Cheryl McColgan: I can see that this would have worked amazingly well with them when they were younger, but I’m just wondering about… Do you have any tips for parents like as children get older, when their rewards start to be spending time with the parent, even though they want that attention as a teenager, that’s probably hitting with them the same way that it did when they were younger, so advice as a child gets older, hopefully, if you’re doing this program, they’re implementing a lot of new skills, they’re learning these habits that are going to help bring them to those next levels, but what becomes the reward as they’re older or what becomes… Does it become more innate where it just gets ingrained, how does that… Now.
Avigail Gimpel: What are we love or just to be in a… Just happens, and you’re talking about teenagers, I actually have… I have six kids, thank God, and I’ve got a good bunch of them, there are teenagers right now. And the fact that you and I are both smiling is really a miracle of nature, but no, not innate, what we have to do is… We’re still doing the same thing sometimes at that age, kids are like, Don’t give me a chart very often, and that’s age appropriate, and when they wanna chart at that age, I kind of worry that the child’s a little bit immature. Please reject my chart. What I do more is agreements with an agreement, first of all, we have to add something negative, let’s say my son… I’ll give you a real life example. My son, who just entered teenage hood, I’m not into phones, I’m not in smart phones, I’m not on the screens, because they really do Rob our children of their free abandoned curiosity, fun, play with friends, spontaneous, good childhood stuff. But then it comes to a certain age where you kind of can’t say no anymore, because all the friends have it, and that’s the way to communicate.
Avigail Gimpel: So your son will become the kid who doesn’t know anything and never goes anywhere because he don’t have a Fall, so I’ve agreed to it, but the reward is the phone, and there are certain things that… Certain things that he’s a liar and absolute, he’s a lot to have certain… He’s not certain hours and all that stuff, but with that, if he abuses that privilege, which is a privilege and he earned it, then the phone has to be taken away and stuck in the safe or… We have a gun safe because we live in the Middle East, but… And so we would stick it in to say for a couple of days, and it’s very clear… So on the one hand, we’re giving our teenagers rewards, either money or electronics or other things like that, and obviously I still want things together, like two of my teenagers went out camping with their father for two days at skiing. Notice how I say their father is. I don’t like camping. When I get there, it’s okay. To a skiing trip once again with their father, and so those are things that a teenager will be excited about, but we have to ask our teenager what they want, usually teenagers are fairly clear on what they want, they’re not shy, so yeah, we’re shifting the prizes over and what we’re doing, since we’re doing in agreement, we’re kind of keeping track of it, and not in chart form, but in a daily, I would just write down in my calendar…
Avigail Gimpel: Or my Google calendar, I’d write down like, Well done per day. And if we have one day at a time, then that would be rewarded maybe with money, and then if we have… And I would discuss that with my child, would you like to add to that if you have a string of days? One week, two weeks. How about if we discuss something bigger, the football game is still gonna be good, even more money is gonna be even better, but there are a lot of experiences that our teenagers want scuba diving, things like that, that they really would like to have. And we’re not necessarily gonna just on a regular, old Tuesday, take them to school, a dive. So we add that.
Cheryl McColgan: No, those are great, and I think that’s important to know what’s age appropriate, because you did mention that phrase in this, and I think every couple of years they change so quickly, right. To say you gotta just re-evaluate what motivates them and what’s the reward, and like you said, money is always a good… Eure pretty motivated by that. I guess I wanted to also, since you’ve been doing this work and getting deeper into it, one of the things that I ran across… And so when I got my psychology degree, that’s a very long time ago now, and one of the things I remember thinking about at the time, I was working with kids at Children’s Hospital doing this internship, and my concern was that… And this is proven true over the years, that ADHD is just getting more and more… I’m gonna say prevalent on one hand, but more and more diagnosed on the other hand… That’s the argument. How is ADHD really diagnosed? I’m curious, having this very concrete experience that you’ve had with your own children and with people that you’ve worked with, do you think that it is sometimes over-used or that kids can struggle with this when they’re younger and maybe grow out of it, and then if that’s the case maybe I didn’t truly have that ADHD to start with, but they had something else, but I think you know where I’m going with this question.
How ADHD is Diagnosed in the Classroom
Cheryl McColgan: It’s just like, I’m just curious if you think it’s, for the most part, accurately diagnosed, and if there’s anything for parents to watch out for, I think some features are kind of overly anxious to put kids on medication and they’re just a pay… Your trouble in the classroom. So I just think there’s kind of two sides of it, and I’d just be curious as the expert on this, where are your thoughts fall in line with that?
Avigail Gimpel: So that is a great question, and there is so many answers to this, let’s start with ADHD as a diagnosis in itself, so I compare it to, let’s say, a woman would go see her doctor and say, Listen, I’ve got a headache all the time from the morning till the night and it’s always bothering me, and I even wake up mill and I don’t have a headache, and a doctor would listen and do some evaluating and checking and then say… I know exactly what’s wrong with you. You have chronic migraines, and it’s like You didn’t tell me anything just now DAI said to you, who then my head arts all the time, you’re just packaging it in new words, which… Thank you very much. That’s really how ADHD is diagnosed. But really, what ADHD is essentially it’s a descriptive diagnosis and it doesn’t necessarily connect with a very specific brain disorder, they’re still looking for it, 2017, it was a huge study where they were still trying to prove that ADHD was an Rolo-ICA disorder, even there, they only found that 5% of kids maybe had some kind of varied brain, so they’ve been looking for this cause of ADHD and…
ADHD Diet, ADHD and Caffeine
Avigail Gimpel: Exact diagnosis. ADHD since 1978-79. That’s a lot of years. So since they’ve had so much time, I’m gonna go with ADHD is a descriptive disorder, and therefore we have to focus on is it diagnosed correctly or not, it’s hard to diagnose descriptive things, if you have a sore throat and the doctor says you have a sore throat, then the doctors diagnosed it correctly. Okay, that was easy. Now to… Why do you have a store? Is it covid? Is it strap? Is it because you didn’t sleep very well or You were screaming all night long, it… There’s so many reasons why your throat turning, so is it… First of all, let’s go with, yes, it is way more ADHD now than there was when I started teaching. And that’s not even a question. So at ADHD diagnosis and actual ADHD symptoms in the classroom, out of the question, and the classroom has definitely gone up. The question is why… And there’s a lot of answers for that. And I would say that, first of all, since you are into healthy lifestyle and proper diet, let’s look at our diet, our kids are drowning and chemicals, their environment is just getting dirtier and dirtier, very few kids eat clean, they are eating processed food.
Avigail Gimpel: My daughter was helping out at a kindergarten the other day, and he said she’s feeding them these little cute, cute little kids, and he said that All of runny noses, and then the head kindergarten teacher gives her the food to give the kids and she’s like, Oh, that’s why they all have runny noses, she’s giving them white soft pasta with cheese on top and… Yeah, now that’s why they… So our environment, the way the kids are eating is atrocious, we also have a disconnect between nature and our children, they just live in buildings with air conditioning and heat nowadays, the best way to get focus to find your center, to learn new things in natural way is to get out on the forest as a little kid, I was outside all day long, I’m blessed at… My kids also like to be outdoors a lot, and we take them out on hikes very often, but that’s not the standard, and… So those are two reasons. Also the screens, and this is why I’m so anti-screens because we’ve basically handed a poison to our children, and it’s like saying, handing your children pot or opening up the alcohol cabinet and saying, Go right ahead, Be my guest, and then…
Avigail Gimpel: They’re not gonna get addicted to it, so we’ve handed our kids something that’s addicting them, that’s also changing their behavior, and unfortunately, emotional and physical sexual abuse and trauma as well as bullying is gonna add to it. We have a tremendous amount of Billy now, which is way up from what it used to, because we have cyber bullying, and the kids are suffering from cyber bullying as well as the regular old bullying that you and I grew up with, and I didn’t suffer from bullying, but many, many children did, so yes, it’s more ADHD, we’re not better at diagnosing, it were better at poisoning, our kids were better at making sure they don’t move too often, and we’re better at filling their minds with stuff from a screen as opposed to real life lessons our kids are not doing great, but diagnosing correctly would, to me mean… And this is something, this is my call from the mountain top, a correct diagnosis is answering the question, why is this child not flourishing and… No, doctors do that.
ADHD and Nutrition
Cheryl McColgan: No, that’s a very… In my space and nutrition and being focused on a lot of weight loss stuff, we are starting to get more functional medicine doctors that wanna find the root cause of it. To your point, what you’re saying is like, why do they have all this and why do we even need to call it a disorder or a disease, but I feel like one of the things that you hit the nail on the head and I’d almost be willing to go further and say that it is probably a direct correlation that now that doesn’t mean causation, but if we just look, Taif, we just looked at the data on screens, and I’m including in that social media, because you mentioned the bullying and I think the social media is a huge part of why there is more bullying and cyber bullying, but the screens, you just look what they do to adult grown adults, but… No way better. I was gonna say a more strong to save there, but see what devices have done humans, humans in general, but adults, you can’t even get an adult to focus and have a conversation without them, all of a sudden, you know, looking at something on their phone and half the time thing, they don’t even know, they’re just looking for that, that in psychology where you…
Cheryl McColgan: That inter-minutes have labs dog, because the notification rings or you get a text or something, that’s this inter-minute reward system that comes from you at the little thing, and they’re a prize at the other end of it. Exactly, and so I’m thinking if it even appeals to kids that do have these attention things, so you’re talking about that immediate gratification thing, you put a screen in front of them where it’s like, how many likes am I getting? And how many people have looked at my photo and… Oh, who’s texting me now? No wonder they can’t focus, but all the other… The stuff you said about the environment, not grounding and connecting to nature, I mean that for me is huge. I can just tell it myself, I’m not as good at being outside as I once was, but you’re right when we were little kids, you’re gone all day running around, or you were never a…
Avigail Gimpel: I used to collect garden snakes and salamanders have a little bit… Elements were my favorite. I remember when my first child was born and I looked at her, I’m like, Oh, she looks a little like a salmon or out… When they’re first born, they kinda look like that, but I had a frame of reference. If you ask kids today, what is element or to a anion.
Cheryl McColgan: It is so sad. But I think you had on so many great things there, and now what would be your advice and to be respectful of your time, we’ll probably start to move towards winding down there, but I think this is a really important question based on what you just said, and that I echoed that once parents have gone down the road, whether it’s with a child with or without this diagnosis, because I think it’s all kind of really relate actually, but how do parents that have already gone down this road of the kids have devices, they have video games, they’ve never implemented this reward system before, is it possible to make changes to move more in that direction for their mental health and for their… Just overall well-being and if so, how could you start to move in that direction when you’ve been so far already with the other thing, I kinda letting them have whatever they wanted or… All that, right? How to parents know how ADHD is really diagnosed and if it’s vaild?
Parenting and ADHD
Avigail Gimpel: Oh my God, this is such a relevant question, because that’s where so many parents find themselves, and I think the root of that problem is that parents are terrified of their children, Roland, they feel like… And parents really need their child’s love, and they want to be the cool parent, and they want the child to be happy, and somehow the training went off at some point for us parents, and we are trained now to have our child be this kind of fragile… Made out of glass thing that if he doesn’t win the soccer game, that he’s gonna fall apart, so we’re gonna give a participation trophy and we’re gonna… And we treat our children like there’s such a fragile and not resilient people, and the more we treat them that way, the more that becomes reality, so we have to start by saying, Our children need leadership, no matter what age they are, they need leadership. And another cause of ADHD symptoms is leaving a child to decisions on their own. I remember reading about a parent whose child had this dream of flying an airplane, and the child was really, really young, unfortunately, the end of the story is of the airplane crashed, but here’s the thing, I know this is a terrible story to tell, but here’s the thing, you’re the parent, Your child has a dream that’s really nice, so now let’s get to an age-appropriate time where your child can fly an airplane and let her go for it.
Avigail Gimpel: She should fly an airplane when she’s 19, 20, 21, Now 70, and when you let your seven-year-old handle something that she’s not capable of handling, that seven-year-old is terrified because that child cannot make the right decisions. So number one is, we have to know our kids need our leadership, and we don’t need to be popular, and we don’t need to be their friends, as a matter of fact, it’s better that we’re not their friends because they need a confidant, they need someone to turn to for advice. And that’s us. They have enough friends. So let’s start with that very clearly. Number two is, yes, you can pull things back, you can say, I made a mistake and now I’m repairing it, but that has to be something that works together, for example, we all got sucked into our phones during the covid lockdown. We all became addicts, and I know that with my six children and trying to balance who has zoom in and finding confused, I’m running from computer to computer writing to the teacher checking at APS every six seconds till I became that parent where there was a… Dang, I’m like, Oh, oh, I wonder what’s here, and that’s me, and I’m the one who’s telling everyone to get off their screens, so I actually handed my phone to my husband one day and I said Take it and block it, so that I could only have no more no more surfing the lab for me, if I need to look something up, I would go to my laptop.
Avigail Gimpel: But I don’t want this in my hands anymore, I need to be consistent with my children, and I actually have a program in the book that helps parents walk through getting their children on board for the things that are important to them. What happens usually is that once you set the rule, your children will go crazy for about two weeks, and… Why does it take that long? Because we’re reprogramming them to have faith in us. And the minute they know that we really mean it and we’re not backing down and we love them, and this is for them, and we care. Then everything comes down. And they come back to their senses. So I have parents of kids of all ages walk through getting the screens out of their lives for a little while, like doing a total detox, and then coming back to it, this is not my program, this is Dr. Dunkley, she had to reset your child’s mind, I think this is… The book is called love it, it’s great, and I highly recommend it. And so I help them, but I warn them in advance, you have to be a strong parent here because no matter…
Avigail Gimpel: No level of Begging, pleading and threatening can shake you here, but be reasonable, sometimes you have to take it one step at a time, and first start with shrinking amount of hours that children use, but be with them on it. Don’t be inconsistent if you… Their phones away, and then you’re sitting there watching a football game or worse, then you’re not a good leader of your family.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, and that probably is probably one of the harder things for parents because they do… As I say, not as I do, doesn’t really fit. You’ve gotta step by lead by example, and so I think that… First of all, I just appreciate this conversation so much because I think anybody that listens to it will take some things away, not just people that have children with ADHD or dealing with those things, trying to work through… because it’s real, is it not real? It doesn’t even matter, it just matters and go back to the root and get people healthier in general, which is what I’m all about, and that affects everything positively, is kind of what I’ve taken from the things that you’ve mentioned and working with them, where can people find more about you online to learn about your book, you have another one coming out, just talk about how you work with people and where they can find you most easily.
Avigail Gimpel: So people can reach out to me through my website, which is hyper healings at org. That’s a very easy way to reach out. And they can send me a message, which I’m always happy to respond to, I’m also on Instagram, which is hyper-healing ADHD, those are really the two best ways, and of course, my book hyper-healing is on Amazon, and I’m right now working on the audio, but right now we have the soft cover and the n-e-book, so anyone could definitely… And if you purchase the book and you wanna get in touch afterwards with questions or comments, then please by all means, I’d love to hear from you.
Cheryl McColgan: Awesome, well, thank you so much and all of those links will be in the show notes for everyone so that you’re easy to find, but again, that’s hyper-healing dot org and say… Did I say that right? That you have a new book coming out? Or do I do?
How ADHD is Diagnosed and Raising Healthy Children
Avigail Gimpel: Yeah, I do imagine it. Yeah, my second book. Thank you. My second book, which is called hyper-healing, showing me the science. That’s a… Yeah, so my first book is not controversial at… Well, maybe I don’t think it’s controversial, it’s really just a program that every parent can follow, whether your kid has ADHD or doesn’t have ADHD, it’s a very good program for raising children in a healthy way, and it’s not very highly demanding. Maybe I sound like I’m expecting so much, but it definitely is a process and you’re raising your kids anyway, and you’re spending all that time with your children anyway, it might as well be good, high quality time that everyone feels good from the connection. So that really is what the first book is about, the second book, show me the science is much more going through all of the studies that I referred to before from 1979-78, that they were already starting to look at the brain… CTs, mris, FMRI, and what became of all of that is this dog… Man, do we know that ADHD is a brain disorder? And I go into the medication, what’s the story with the medication? I have myself have medicated children, so I’m not one of those purists, but I am very curious and I wanna know what the story is, and I really think that in order to have informed consent, you and I and all parents have to get every piece of information you wanna know the short-term effects, long-term effects, is this really helping my child become stronger scholastic ally, or is it just keeping my child quiet, all those questions are answered and show me the science, so that it really gives parents a guide to making the right decisions for their children in terms of a treatment plan.
Cheryl McColgan: Oh, I love that, and thank you for that because I know that any time that there’s something like that and people are struggling with doing all this research themselves, it’s always wonderful, especially since you’ve experienced this, not only from a teacher perspective, but you have children that you’ve gone through with this, I think that people will see this as a very trusted resource and you’re siding with science and it’ll just make their decision-making process that much easier, and I’m sure that was your intention to
Avigail Gimpel: Anti-add to that, that I’m completely free. No one’s paying me to one side or the other, and I took a journey myself, I’ve been on both sides until I finally actually come through everything and really was able to come to much deeper understanding, so I’m not bought off by anybody, and as a mom, I’m really looking at it at, for the well-being of your children. Of my children. And that’s what’s most important. We’ve gotta put re… Insert The children and their well-being into the story and not other things that distract us.
Cheryl McColgan: Yes, well, thank you so much, I’ve appreciated this conversation immensely, I know that people are gonna love it and get so much out of it, and thank you for taking the time today and sharing all your wonderful knowledge…
Avigail Gimpel: My absolute pleasure, thank you so much for having me. It’s been a really fun conversation.
Cheryl McColgan: Alright, we’ll keep in touch. Thank you.