a Child on Medication
Sherwood has tutored children for 32 years
the past thirty-two years, I have had consistent
and ever-increasing success with many child and
adult barriers. From the under achiever to the
severely learning disabled. Dyslexic, epileptic,
mentally retarded, mild brain damage, ADD, ADHD,
autism and more. I've tutored students of all
ages with audio/visio barriers, emotionally traumatized,
average, gifted, unfocused, low confidence, disorganized,
defiant, and the just plain struggling.
success depends on ignoring the labels and concentrating
on discovering the missing basics, assessing learning
aptitude and tapping into hidden potential.
are only three instances where I cannot make good
progress with a student:
Where there is extreme ongoing conflict within
the home or close vicinity of the child and one
or both parents are not willing to participate
in coaching and training to resolve the sources
of conflict. Good optimum progress is also inhibited
when parents do not desire to learn the teaching
and communication techniques. I do not accept
students to be dropped off for their tutoring
sessions. I help the parent as well as the child.
This is key to the fulfillment of my guarantee
2. When the child is neurologically and irreparably
affected to the degree that he or she cannot
demonstrate signs of conceptual intellect and
interact with some form of conceptual communication.
I can tap into and build on present conceptual
3. When the child is under the influence of or
has an extensive history of psycho-pharmaceutical
medication, I find the child or adult does not
retain information well. I would prefer to sit
under the table with the child if needed, or customize
physically active and therapeutic sessions...
and establish communication at that level and
progress from there. I need the child to be drug-free.
This is very simply based on my personal experience.
only these three, I can guarantee excellent results
with any student who comes to me.
topic in this issue focuses on #3 - psych0-pharmaceutical
medication. I am not an authority on
medication; I am an authority on teaching children
on and off medication. That is my field of expertise.
I cannot recite the long list of side-affects
of one drug or another or its generic name and
so forth. If you want scientific information such
as this, there is an ocean of information from
an abundance of experts just on the Internet alone.
My favorite web site? http://www.alternativementalhealth.org
you are interested in information about teaching
children and adults on medication as apposed
to no medication, I can tell you what I know
years of experience:
begin, there is absolutely no difference in teaching
an attention deficit hyperactive child than in
teaching an autistic child, or a dyslexic child,
or one with mild brain damage and so on. The academic
techniques do vary; my choice of words may vary;
the materials, demonstrative methods, speed of
teaching and so on, vary widely with each disability
and even with each level of aptitude within each
disability. But the teaching is not equivalent
to the materials, the words, or the subject matter
being taught. Those are simply tools and subject
matter for teaching. The teaching is in the quality
of communication one establishes with the student.
And this in effect, does not vary.
can have all the credentials, gadgets, materials,
and even chairs with built-in restraining devices,
loudspeakers for your voice to impinge and auto-shake
mode for moments when your student wanders off
into never- never land. But if you have much experience
trying to get a child's attention, you know that
not one single above tactic will get, hold and
focus that child's attention on what you have
to say when effective communication is missing.
was thrilled in the beginning years of my tutoring
when a child was finally prescribed medication.
He could finally sit still in that chair and learn!
Well, I was half right. He could sit still, and
he looked like he was learning, but more time
and experience proved me wrong. These kids weren't
retaining information as well as I thought and
they certainly weren't able to 'think with it'.
For some reason they were not able to approach
their full potential.
is only as valuable as it can be put to use in
life. Many years of tutoring kids on meds and
others supposedly in dire need of meds, revealed
much to me. The best way I can share my insight
with you is to tell you some of my experiences.
In this issue, I will tell you my most recent
two months, I've been tutoring two boys labeled
with ADHD, ages seven and nine. In our first telephone
consultation, I explained to the mother that I
have not had success tutoring kids on medication
and my reasons made sense to her. She was
excited to schedule our testing appointment and
without my advising her to do so, she decided
to take the kids to the doctor to get them off
the meds as soon as possible. They both had taken
the medication seven days a week for about 4 months.
The medication had changed several times and she
was concerned about all the side effects and the
fact that the meds would not 'cure' the ADHD.
the interim, we did the testing with the boys
on medication and I was very aware of the limitations
in my test results. But we did the testing near
the end of the day when the meds had worn off
and that gave me a better picture of everything
I wanted to view.
found both of the boys to be severely lacking
in academic basics and neither could read.
The eldest was totally incapable of focusing for
more than a few seconds. We spent more time gathering
his attention by far than getting actual testing
done. But this was part of the testing - seeing
what it takes to gather his attention and how
long and how well he could focus. I found both
boys to be very intelligent - although not attributed
to past education. The doctor had already been
seen and the testing appointment was done on the
final day of medication for both boys.
sessions were twice a week for an hour each and
progress was bewilderingly slow. After two months
these same techniques would have any other comparable
kid much improved with greatly increased focus
and ability to relax. It wasn't happening.
I tried the most effective techniques I
knew that worked well with other kids having similar
barriers and no history of medication. There was
a little progress in phonics and focus, but it
was only about 20% of what it should have been.
Then, three sessions ago, I realized the boys
were still on the medication. I told the mother
that I can see they are still on the meds and
reminded her that I couldn't guarantee results
with kids on meds. She apologized for not telling
me about it and explained how they were getting
in trouble at school and that they were off the
meds for one day and went wild. They had
not been taking the meds on weekends.
took them off the meds with doctor supervision
and we had two med-free sessions. The mother sat
in these two sessions to observe, as she frequently
did. At one point, she looked at me and cocked
her head to the side and her eyes opened wide.
She had seen it. I don't think she had ever been
aware of seeing this before, but she had. Now
she was aware of seeing it. What did she see?
Before I tell you, I will describe what she usually
sees; what she is in constant battle with, and
what many of my readers may be in constant battle
with as well.
two months of sessions had been chaos. It was
like having a speech to deliver to a riot. If
you can picture a meek, little old lady lacking
strength to carry a message barely above a whisper
to an angry rioting crowd, you're not far off.
Now picture this lady with a fog horn, the swat
team and a couple of cannons, that stills the
crowd for a brief moment... and then the rioting
continues. Several times the army is able
to gather a few glances and even a few apologies
accompanied by some heads bowed in shame or defeat.
And just as she begins her speech of wisdom, the
rioting cuts loose once more.
familiar? Any words of wisdom actually received
by this student, are not absorbed or made sense
of to any significant value. They may be 'recorded'
without thought, and rattled off later without
boy had absolutely no control over his body, his
thoughts or his attention. None. Zero. If
I shot off a firecracker, he would become excited
about firecrackers but that newly diverted attention
could not be redirected to learning. If
I placed my chair directly facing his with our
knees touching, and held his shoulders so as to
face me, he would hold his body there and look
at me. But he wasn't home. Any available analytical
awareness over himself would wake him up just
enough to realize that he's being difficult. But
that would only serve to withdraw him further
into his protective world. It would do more harm
could make him hold still. I could intimidate
him and control him with a my mental force and
threats and he would sink into apathy and surrender
to me. His body would drain of energy and his
head would drop in defeat. Am I the winner?
Is he now ready to learn? His meds are believed
to have long since worn off, but he's still on
auto pilot not only from the camouflage of the
meds, but from protective self-conditioning to
tune out. And I can't reach him.
this defeated state, he would wine, he would put
his forehead to mine to divert my attention in
on myself and off of him, he would almost cry,
complain, anything to avoid this horrid force
of focus. He would occasionally try to focus,
but he wasn't present for progress because the
drugs were blocking our contact. He sat there
in a mental straight jacket. I'll tell you
why I know this...
touch, tunes in to the being himself, and is
so validating and inspiring, that a med-free
hyperactive child cannot long tune me out and
cannot help but make progress. There is something
that takes place that the child usually does
not recall ever experiencing, and that is being
reached - not physically and not with words,
but by another being who is right there with
him, at that moment, acknowledging his presence.
body may be buzzing around like a hummingbird
on speed, and his attention may be flitting from
thought to thought and object to object, but
he is accessible. Knowing this, I feel no upset
about his flits and flights from the chair, his
comments on some object or his questions about
the carpet. I answer his questions, but not until
he looks at me for the answer. Then I answer
him with complete interest in his question and
with unquestionable respect. He is a little thrown
off by my interest and care while he searches
for another question, partly automatic and party
to test my patience. I again have genuine interest
in his question or comment and look at him completely
tuned in to his interest. This is not reverse
psychology. This is real communication. He is
no longer being forced to tune
into me and my agenda and he is absolutely bewildered.
And at that moment, he looks at me to figure
out what's up and it happens. I have eye contact.
I have spiritual contact. I have him with me
for that moment. And I do not abuse it. I enjoy
it and he perceives my enjoyment of it. My face
shows interest only because I AM interested.
I'm not faking it. My interest is in him. Not
as a subject, but as a spiritual being. And suddenly,
he knows that he perceives it too and probably
has rarely, if ever, experienced this.
occurs here, is that we have cut through the
automatic responses, the defensiveness, the built
up energy that never seems to be released because
it is always suppressed by the agenda and/or
the degradation from others. Nervous energy,
coupled with real physical stress from nutritional
deficiencies and possibly allergies, are harnessed
up and cannot be released through actions demanded
by the control of others.
true that this stress can be registered on a
chemical level. But chemical imbalances are not
the source of the chemical reactions or the cause
of the attention deficit or hyperactivity. They
are the result of all of the aforementioned i.e.,
nutritional deficiencies and/or allergies and/or
emotional stress stemming from the human environment.
This stress causes a chemical reaction just as
a sudden threat of a rattlesnake strike will
shoot adrenalin through your blood in overwhelming
surges. The ADHD child however, has continual
stress keeping these surges constant, however
less intense. But he will experience an easing
off when in a calm and supportive environment.
His energy may still be very high, as should
be in a child. But it is more focused and productive
when the environment allows for it.
is also not in need of tuning out for self-protection
or getting into trouble just to have his weight
felt. His weight is being felt. But it's not
the weight of his body, his bodies activity,
or his behavior. It's the weight of his very
presence and the weight of the value of his communication.
Having that felt is life changing for the child
as long as it is his to have. When he becomes
secure that it will not go away, and his body
is relieved of any nutritional deficiencies and
allergens, he will be accessible to teach and
to enjoy, with all normal childhood energy in
the little successes that follow tune him in
more and more. But that can't occur when he's
taking the medication. He's just not home for
me to reach. These two med-free sessions were
wonderful. The youngest was calm and his older
brother had nervous energy which dissipated as
the session moved along. He found himself intentionally
getting distracted just to test his freedom from
control. But that in itself is progress because
he is gaining some control of his hyperactivity
just by so doing. He made tremendous progress
in both med-free sessions and his mother took
the news home to her husband.
this is only the beginning of a dedicated journey
of about four months. And outside influence will
make all the difference in our progress. First
of all, concurrent with the med-free sessions,
the teachers and assistants couldn't handle the
boys off the meds; especially the oldest boy.
They both had to be picked up from summer school
because of their uncontrollable hyper behavior. Her
husband was losing it and wanting them on the
meds and they were arguing about to medicate
or not to medicate. She called me in desperation
and fear of losing ground we had made. I calmed
her first and foremost and gave her some homework.
did more research on nutrition and allergies
and their relation to ADHD and then we had a
home consultation with herself and her husband
to bring some understanding to what the boy was
going through and what will turn things around.
The boys were with an aunt, so we had 2 1/2 hours
to sift through pros and cons and at end, both
parents were in agreement and very excited to
move on, med-free.
now I can continue progress with these two highly
intelligent and able young boys. They will be
out of danger of toxic medications, their side
effects, and nutritional stress brought on by
them and the stress of life. They will
be reachable spiritually, as individuals and
normal body function and education will follow.
It will be a joy.