Child Development and The Challenges to Parenthood: An Experiment in Time Travel


I recently had a deep discussion about time travel with my insightful, excitable six year old son. Such precious philosophical discussions are common enough in our home and yet somehow still seem semi-rare when one’s allowance rests partially upon remembering to simply regularly flush the toilet. The talk was initiated by a short debate as to whether we should watch the 1980’s classic movie Back to the Future for the umpteenth time (Thanks, satellite TV), or possibly instead just go outside and play. Much of the time travel conversation revolved around a good amount of “What if Dad…?” and “I’d be like…!” statements as to the details my son sees as important to maximizing the science theoretically supporting such futuristic travel modes.

As we went outside to ward off any chance of nature deficit — yes, thanks, I won the debate, another semi-rare occasion — he brought up other classic movies we have watched recently regarding time travel such as Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and the Looney Tunes version of A Christmas Carol. (Please don’t tell my wife we watch such appalling raunchy movies while she’s at work; she thinks I’m responsible.)

Without a phone booth or a collection of friendly caring ghosts to help us travel in time that snowy day, however, we decided to begin building our personal arsenals of snowballs. A war was about to begin. As the first barrage of snowballs were slung at each other, one semi-unlucky shot hit me square in the crook of the neck. The kid’s good; he’s gotta heck of an arm. As the snowball’s icy granular particles slowly melted and then proceeded to drip down my back (conveniently under my shirt) and stimulating memories of snowball fights from decades past, a parenting epiphany hit me.

Parenting Epiphany #1: We are All Kind of Time Travelers

Now, of course — before I begin and you think I might be missing a screw or two — I do realize, beyond time travel conspiracy theories emanating from Area 51, we the general public do not yet possess the science to physically move back in time or take quantum leaps forward. For the time travel conspiracy theorist readers joining this semi-commercial free blog due to an errant search on Google that brought you here, I also realize that it is possible time travelers might be among us and not sharing such technology. They, like Russian spies in New York City I suspect, are sneaky that way. I just wish one would visit me to share a few future insights foretelling how best to invest my 401k or raise my kids.

But as the arctic-infused blunt force blow to my spinal cord helped me realize, we are all slowly traveling physically through or with time. We also are all quite capable of moving forwards and backwards psychologically in time. Meanwhile, some are stuck mentally in time and unable to move forward or release the past. Others are so focused on the future they forget to live in the present. So technically, or theoretically, I propose we are physically, psychologically and/or mentally time traveling. Deep stuff written in semi-rambling prose I know . . . but there is a point to my madness. Just give me a second.

As the first snowball fight of 2015 continued, despite my saturated backside and feelings of discomfort while dodging random frozen projectiles, I reminisced and chuckled about how Marty McFly (aka Calvin Klein) and Doc Brown found the future in 2015 to be slightly weird or novel; such as flying cars or power shoe laces. For you detail-oriented movie trivia folks wanting to correct me, I realize this example is breaking protocol and I am going rogue, mixing Back to the Future I and Back to the Future II trivia facts — please forgive me if I have overstepped my boundaries. But the cars and truck in my driveway still rely heavily upon tires to move. Yes, Marty we do not yet have flying cars in 2015, and much to the dismay of my first grader we actually have to tie our shoes. Also, my daughter’s skateboard does not hover.

These trivia details however made me think how in many time travel movies the future is often hard to predict, intimidating and kind of scary. The actors in these movies are challenged to navigate a strange land where they are just learning the technology, customs and social expectations. Which brings me to Parenting Epiphany #2 . . .

Parenting Epiphany #2: To Some Extent, Time Travel is Like Being a Kid

Similar to children slowly, gradually, and sequentially moving through child development stages, time travelers are challenged every moment by a new world where understanding how to act is an experiment in motion. As a kid, you are thrust constantly into ever-changing environments your brain often leads you to believe you have never seen before. You try to observe, take in all of the sensory, and remember what you have learned; but often it is too much to handle. You try your best to behave appropriately to not bring unwarranted attention or get in trouble, or forever God forbid change the fabric of time, but your imagination, untrained internal dialogue and limited experiences leave you winging it and guessing as to how to think, behave and communicate.

I have a theory that such similarities between time travel and child development might explain why kids daydream so much more than adults and end up with diagnoses such as ADHD. With limited knowledge and lifespan experience they are trying to be hyper focused at warp speed on what is coming next but due to the thought process required they cannot always pay attention to what is being shared at present. This momentary cognitive void is when one’s imagination kicks in by default.

My incredibly creative and highly communicative son only has 78 months under his belt when it comes to time spent on Earth. It should come as no surprise as to why he and many other children are often reflecting on past experiences and simultaneously thinking about what the future holds in store, while juggling the challenges of making good decisions in the present. Life as he, and many other children see it, is forming in real time where the past, present and future often collide.

Child Development is an Experiment in Time Travel

For so many kids, every day is similar to awaking in a new world. Strangely, Mylie Cyrus is considered classic music and yesterday happened so long ago. Last week is but a memory; possibly a dream from the night before. Their favorite place on the couch in front of the TV and their friend’s birthday party this weekend at Trampoline World often seem light years forever away. Going to school and walking through the surreal crowded hallways of students has not necessarily become routine or comfortable. Trying to grasp why this culture expects them to sit attentively and quietly in a small desk void of ergonomic qualities for hours of instruction that are not always of interest, occupies much of the fraction of the 10% of their brains we hope they will someday use. Without the criteria to not necessarily predict what the future for each day has in store, they are basically stumbling in slow motion through a time warp with eyes wide open waiting for the present to happen.

They are, as a child or teen, on an arduous time travel journey to learn what this strange wrinkle in time holds in store and what it means to their future. They are, as real science shows us in child development research, gradually and sequentially trying to get to the next stage of human development. And without a stainless steel early 1980’s model of a snappy space-like designed DeLorian car energized by a flux capacitor, or the ability to make quantum leaps forward in behavior modification, well let’s face it . . . accomplishing meaningful semi-instantaneous progress in stage theory development often seems worlds away.

Being the Guide on The Side, and Not the Sage on the Stage

I share this somewhat silly analogy with you today, because I am always looking for new ways to help myself as well as other parents and adults working with those not so perfect kids. To keep one’s sanity, we often need a new lens to look through in order to grasp a better way to understand, conceptualize and accept the real reasons behind the sometimes annoying and frustrating behaviors associated with child development. As many of you who read my blog know, I have grown tired of the increased trend of early diagnosis of children. I’m all for early interventions to help kids overcome learning deficits and developmental delays, but why — beyond education compliance policy and getting insurance companies to pay for the bill — do we have to label them with a learning disability or permanent mental disorder?

I am sickened by the misguided efforts to pharmaceutically medicate kids because they don’t quite yet think or act like “normal” kids, whatever that might be. As I share in my book Debunking ADHD and often in my talks, I think many kids being diagnosed with behavioral disorders or learning disabilities are only a stage away from “normal.” And the best way to help them move more efficiently through this time travel challenge, should not require being labeled or dangerously drugged. All that 99% of them really need is more time spent walking on this planet with caring adults aside them. They need time travelers who have been there before and can channel the sincere empathy to patiently be that guide on the side.

Why do we expect kids in the prime of their emotional, psychological and physical development (young people waiting for that noodle-like brain to solidify and hormonal imbalance to subside) to display perfect behavior that the majority of us adults cannot muster when forced to sit for  hours of instruction? Think about the last workshop, conference, training seminar or even sermon you were required to sit through. Did you fidget in your seat, not pay attention, and feel the need to get up and walk around? Are such commonly witnessed childhood behaviors, which so many today want to label as abnormal behavior, really that different than the behaviors we display during or after an exhausting and exasperating 8-hour work day?

Think about the last time you were placed in a situation that was new to you or an encounter that you did not feel seasoned enough to navigate confidently. Was your decision making and behavior reflective of your best efforts? Or is it possible you needed more time to develop and help from someone who has “been there before” to perfect such social or cognitive abilities? In other words, if we as adults were placed in the same situation and environment our kids are time traveling through minute by minute and day by day, most will display enough behaviors to warrant a diagnosis of ADHD ourselves. That’s why I call it the All Do Have Disorder, a Diagnosis of Normal.

Becoming a More Integral Part of the Childhood Time Travel Experiment

I completely understand the frustrations of parenthood and being an educator. I also realize many others have much greater challenges than what my wife and I encounter at home or in our work in schools or as psychologists. I share such thoughts and insights to help others know they are not alone, and should seek expert advice and help if they fell the need.  Being the sage on the adult role model stage is not an easy part to play, especially with Common Core math.

By looking at our efforts as a time travel movie and embracing a more focused supporting actor role in our children’s time travel experiments, however, can help us reframe our mindset. By rewinding or visualizing this movie in slow motion, or moving forward in time using the fast forward button, we can separate or momentarily detach ourselves from the daily demands of parenthood and teaching. We can change the picture from color to black and white, and by taking control as the director of this movie to some extent better direct our kids’ futures.

What I am basically asking you to do is try daily to understand… remember… what it is like to be a kid. Try to recall how little you wanted to focus on what your parents thought was important. Reflect on how torturous you sometimes found school to be. Drift back in your mind, and count how many times you felt bored as a child and dissatisfied with what the day designed by adults required. Can’t remember how you felt or behaved when you were young? If not ask your most honest parent or sibling.

And then think about why or how some in the mental health field and the pharmaceutically funded creators of the DSM can use these common behaviors associated with normal childhood developmental challenges (time travel) as symptoms to diagnose children with mental disorders such as ADHD, depression, and oppositional defiant disorder. Reflect back on your array of time travel movies you have watched and ask if they drugged any of the time travelers to keep them focused or more sedated to remain calm, more attentive and less disruptive. Please think about what it is like to be a kid before you accept a diagnosis from someone suggesting that such commonly displayed behaviors and thought patterns represent a mental disorder and that “legal” mind altering drugs they want you to call “medicine” (which come with a long list of dangerous side effects) are going to help a child’s brain develop.

Anyone recommending such limited mental health approaches and “Drug Therapy” without first spending weeks or months to rule out a mental disorder and numerous differential diagnoses is not thinking or caring enough. They must have missed how a less processed, preservative and pesticide infused diet can help kids. They must not be aware that structuring a child’s day with rules and interesting routines can help as well. If their efforts are not first and foremost focused on seeing if they can help you as a family or parent figure out how best to help your child travel through such times, they are not thinking or caring enough. They either don’t care or don’t understand that it is quite possible the major factors truly affecting your children’s brains (their behavior) are normal childhood challenges influenced by family and social dynamics at play. They either don’t understand the systemic influences on mental health and child development, or time travel does exist and someone in the future has sent back a bunch of minions on an evil mission to drug millions of kids for just acting like kids.

This morning at the bus stop my son was sharing how in the future everything will rely upon fingerprints and “eye scans”, and he thinks his fingerprints are the same as mine. In other words, he will soon in the future gain control of my Iphone6 fingerprint controls.  I must go now. Online I found a DeLorian for sale and an app on E-bay that can transform my cell phone into a flux capacitor. If all goes well, before he returns home, in the future I will still be in charge of my programmed parental controls. Until then, enjoy your time travel, and let’s stop drugging kids for acting like kids. They deserve nothing less.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. A piece of sage advise, don’t discuss any of these creative ideas with a psychiatric practitioner, you’ll be railroaded into the “system.” (Unfortunately, not joking.) But thank you, Michael, for this common sense blog, and mentioning the reality that we need to “stop drugging kids for acting like kids. ”

    I do have a piece of advise for helping children progress more rapidly towards higher childhood developmental stages, or at least it’s something that seemed to work well for my children. And it has to do with traveling, albeit not time traveling per se. I found that my children seemed to mature dramatically with each vacation we took. My theory was that it introduced them to new and different things, in a hands on and fun manner, and allowed them to more quickly process and understand the world in which they lived.

    Even regularly taking them to museums seemed to produce the same benefit. Although, I found the key to success with this was to know my children’s attention span, and their early warning signals of fatigue, and quickly “get out of Dodge” when they wanted to leave, not when I did. In other words, we started out spending only an hour or so at a museum when they were toddlers. Now that my children are teens, we can finally spend an entire day at a museum.

    And my children, according to their teachers, were always among the most well behaved and polite children in all the schools they attended. Their standardized testing scores were way above normal, too. Seemingly, the art of properly raising children has been lost in this country, and it is an important job, if our goal is to live in a polite society.

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        • Volunteering, or giving of oneself, is a wonderful way for a child (or an adult) to increase their sense of self worth, I agree. Churches often organize programs that teach this, my kids loved going on mission trips.

          I’ve got a cute story of how I taught my children the joy of giving, though. We had a Christmas fundraiser (to benefit underprivileged children) that we were going to, my kids were three and six, and we had to pick up some gifts to be wrapped at the party. I had only planned on picking up six to ten gifts.

          But I’d explained to my children that we were buying gifts for underprivileged children, and why, and let my children choose the gifts. My kids were so cute, each time they picked out a gift, they told me a story about the particular child who wanted that specific gift, as if they knew each one of these children (they did not). The extent of their imaginations was quite magical and charming. We ended up buying an entire shopping basket full of toys.

          My children’s teachers told me, ever after, that my children were among the most generous and selfless children they’d ever worked with. And my children are still active volunteers today, my son has an internship organizing and setting up a nonprofit this summer. Oddly, however, this was the “shopping spree” (a $400 donation to a children’s charity) that was “proof” I had “bipolar” – may we say the psychiatric practitioners have run amok yet? Warn the philanthropists!

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    • The way we teach children since the beginning of modern education system (that’s around XIXth century if I recall correctly) is completely unnatural. We have evolved to learn through experience, through doing (so-called operational learning) and doing so with relatively little supervision, in peer groups or with parents/caretakers. Children these days are given very few time for leisure, to just be kids and develop their own interests. Play is the way how kids (like young animals of different species – look at puppies or kittens) learn. As a kid I spent countless hours in a garden observing nature, then reading books and comparing my observations to those which I read about. A lot of kids would do just fine with a few more hours of just being left alone to explore (especially in an active way, running around) than to sit at school doing boring tasks not connected to their interest and reality.

      Another thing that comes to mind when I think about my childhood and other kids who did better or worse at school that even though I went to incredibly egalitarian school with kids from all kids of backgrounds, which were all treated pretty equally by teachers, still the main determinant of the outcome was what home you came from. But not only in terms of money – the most important seemed to be the parents’ investment into the kids education: how much they cared about the kid’s grades, how much time they spent taking with the kid, taking it out, basically being actively present in his or her life. Which of course correlates with socioeconomics. I’m not surprised that kids in foster care get diagnosed more – they don’t have parents who take them for long walks and discuss all different topics with them, take them to museums, get them involved with family life or their friends’ kids. I don’t know where I’d be if not for my parents.

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  2. “For the time travel conspiracy theorist readers joining this semi-commercial free blog due to an errant search on Google that brought you here, I also realize that it is possible time travelers might be among us and not sharing such technology.”

    Why would they not share the technology Michael? If you loan your time travel machine to someone, you get it back straight away lol.

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  3. I experienced a more alarming version of this just before Thanksgiving. I was 14 when I was first institutionalized, and here I am at 37 watching the pumpkin goo drip onto the floor while I talked to my hysterical 14 year old daughter. She was in the car with her step mother on her way to be institutionalized for the first time. I had only a matter of minutes to impart what might be the most important lesson of her life. After I had her attention, I rushed forward with, “Do not fight them. Be amiable. Be candid. If you don’t, they can make this harder on you. You don’t have to believe everything they say to you or about you,. You don’t need to defend yourself to someone who barely knows you. You know who you are. I love you as you are at this very moment. I will love you at your very worst moment. Just this once, trust me.” She chose to sign herself in at the door, and I knew she had been listening. I don’t know if the world of psychiatry she has been exposed to is the same as the one I survived, but I couldn’t just hope things had changed that much. She was home before Christmas, and I won’t say she is better than she was. After all, there’s a level of manipulation to group treatment, and my daughter is a fast learner. I suspect she will get worse before she gets better, but those time travel moments were enough to assure me that no matter how bad things did get, she would always have someone to go to. I may have done the whole thing wrong, but unlike myself, she wasn’t alone, abandoned, and completely lost in a system that she isn’t old enough to understand, and I’m not cruel enough. (This might not have been the best example of what you were trying to convey, but it was that moment when I thought, I’ve been here before. I can change this.)

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  4. “Beyond just describing how all kids behave while they are learning to be good students and responsible, polite adults…” Dr. Corrigan

    Dr., forgive me. I quote this older comment you made in this thread because I am unsure whether you would see my response on the original thread.

    I think and hope what I have to say to you is worthwhile. You are a sincere man. Your arguments are heartfelt. You draw out of me, and others undoubtedly, a deep desire to clarify issues surrounding ADHD. I will begin by being brief. Your statement above is representative, a fine example of the paradox we face with ADHD in so many ways.

    The symptoms described in the literature that define ADHD are like just like what everyone experiences… True. Undeniable. Plain and simple. So simple it is a wonder advocates for the diagnosis can be so blind! Well, sort of.

    Ahh! But, let’s take a closer look. This is the point where much confusion starts. You say in essence, kids are kids, “…all kids behave while they are learning…” In other words, it is normal for children to lose stuff, to get sidetracked, to be restless, etc. as they progress through school. So, why are those kinds of normal behaviors so sick, so disruptive, so difficult to manage that medication becomes necessary for a bunch of kids? Again, closer. Look closer, “just describing how all kids behave while they are learning to be good students and responsible, polite adults…”

    Do you see it? The key: to meet the conditions of the ADHD diagnosis requires that those very “symptoms” behaviors occur so frequently and are so severe that the progression through school–learning to be a good student, learning to be responsible, learning to be a polite adult, etc. does not happen! Not as it does for most kids. The normal progression is interrupted. That is the difference. ADHD prevents it. It interferes with it, to the point where the person is handicapped. He cannot will himself to do better, and his best, depending on the severity of his ADHD, holds him back significantly. It harms him- educationally, socially, with self-esteem. He is injured even as he faces common daily challenges. He tries to function like the other kids but with an unseen disadvantage as real as if he were blind. That is the difference between the child who screws up like all normal kids do and the child with ADHD.

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  5. “this invented disorder created to drug children does not exist” Dr. Corrigan

    Pediatr Neonatol. 2012 Apr;53(2):118-24. doi: 10.1016/j.pedneo.2012.01.009. Epub 2012 Mar 2.

    Auditory event-related potentials in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

    Tsai ML1, Hung KL, Lu HH.

    Recording of event-related potentials (ERPs) from the scalp is a noninvasive technique reflecting the sensory and cognitive processes associated with attention tasks. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder involving deficits in attention and behavioral control. The aim of this study was to investigate the difference in ERPs between normal children and those with ADHD.


    We examined 50 children with ADHD and 51 age-matched controls. All children with ADHD met the full criteria for ADHD according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV). The auditory oddball paradigm was applied, and event-related long-latency components (N1, P2, N2 and P3) from Fz, Cz and Pz were measured in each test subject.


    Children with ADHD showed a significantly longer latency and a lower amplitude of P3 compared to normal control children (p < 0.01). Delayed N2 latency at the Pz electrode was shown in children with ADHD compared to normal controls (p 10 years of age (p < 0.05).


    We found that the endogenous ERPs (P3 and N2) were significantly affected in children with ADHD, compared to exogenous ERPs (N1 and P2). Increased latency of P3 suggests a slower processing speed, and decreased P3 amplitude is interpreted as disruption of inhibitory control in children with ADHD. These results indicate a neurocognitive abnormality in ADHD, as presented by a reduction in ERP response.

    Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier B.V.

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    • I am not sure what you are trying to prove with this comment.

      And on a related note, many people are misdiagnosed has having ADHD when they have central auditory processing disorder, which somehow miraculously escaped the DSM. So I am wondering if folks in this study perhaps could have this condition instead because it mentions the slower processing speed this so common in folks with CAPD?

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  6. Event rate and event-related potentials in
    Roeljan Wiersema,
    Jaap van der Meere,
    Herbert Roeyers,
    Rudy Van Coster,
    and Dieter Baeyens
    Department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, Belgium;
    Department of Clinical
    and Developmental Psychology, Groningen University, The Netherlands;
    Department of Pediatrics and Medical
    Genetics, Ghent University, Belgium
    Background: It has been repeatedly found that performance of children with attention deficit hyper-
    activity disorder (ADHD) is more impaired when a long inter-stimulus interval (ISI) is used than when a
    short ISI is used. According to the cognitive-energetic model, this may reflect difficulty in remaining in
    an optimal motor activation state because of insufficient effort allocation. Method: Event-related
    potentials (ERPs) were evaluated during a Go/No-Go task that incorporates a condition with a fast and a slow presentation rate. Results: ADHD, whether or not comorbid with oppositional defiant/conduct disorder (ODD/CD), was associated with a steeper increase in reaction time (RT) from the fast to the slow condition accompanied by a missing increment of the parietal P3. Speed of responding was found to be correlated with P3 amplitude. In the fast condition, children with ADHD made more errors of commission, accompanied by a smaller No-Go N2, a component thought to be related to inhibition; however, after controlling for ODD/CD these differences disappeared. Conclusions: The association between the steeper increase in RT and reduced parietal P3s may indicate that the children with ADHD did not allocate enough extra effort to adjust to a potentially under-activated state. However, the event rate effects could not account for all of the differences between groups and also early automatic information processing stages seem disturbed in this disorder as indexed by larger P2 amplitudes.
    Alternative explanations are discussed. Keywords: ADHD, ODD/CD, ERP, event rate, effort, state
    In general, children with attention deficit hyper-
    activity disorder (ADHD; DSM-IV-TR, American
    Psychiatric Association, 2000) have been found to
    perform more poorly in conditions of relatively slow
    event rates as compared with fast and moderate
    event rates. This statement holds with respect to
    paired associate learning tests (Conte, Kinsbourne,
    Swanson, Zirk, & Samuels, 1986; Dalby, Kins-
    bourne, Swanson, & Sobol, 1977), memory re-
    cognition tests (Chee, Logan, Schachar, Lindsay, &
    Wachsmuth, 1989), the Computerized Matching
    Familiar Figure Test (Sonuga-Barke, 2002), Go/No-
    Go tests (Borger & van der Meere, 2000; Potgieter,
    Borger, van der Meere, & de Cock, 2000; van der
    Meere, Gunning, & Stemerdink, 1995), the Con-
    ners CPT (Purvis & Tannock, 2000), the CPT-A
    (Leung, Leung, & Tang, 2000), the stop task
    (Scheres, Oosterlaan, & Sergeant, 2001), and tap-
    ping tasks (Rubia, Taylor, Taylor, & Sergeant,
    1999). The typical slow and variable response style
    in ADHD, when stimuli are presented slowly, is a
    consistent finding in these studies, whereas with
    respect to errors of commission, the findings are
    mixed. Relative to controls, children with ADHD
    have been found to make more errors of commis-
    sion in the fast condition (Potgieter et al., 2000), in
    the slow condition (van der Meere et al., 1995), in
    both a fast and a slow condition compared to a
    medium condition (van der Meere, Vreeling, &
    Sergeant, 1992), or in neither one of the conditions
    (Borger & van der Meere, 2000; Scheres et al.,
    The finding that RT performance in children with
    ADHD is highly sensitive to presentation rate of
    stimuli has been explained by Sergeant, Oosterlaan,
    and van der Meere (1999) and by van der Meere
    (2005) in terms of the cognitive-energetic model of
    Sanders (1998). According to this model, event rate
    influences the motor activation level (tonic readiness
    to respond). Motor activation increases with an in-
    crease in presentation rate of stimuli, whereas a long
    inter-stimulus interval (ISI) may induce under-acti-
    vation. To compensate for a sub-optimal motor
    activation state, extra effort allocation is necessary.
    Consequently, the earlier mentioned RT findings
    may suggest that children with ADHD have difficulty
    in adjusting their under-activated state because of
    insufficient effort allocation.
    Borger and van der Meere (2000) underscored the
    idea that ADHD is associated with insufficient effort
    allocation and an under-activated motor state. They
    reported that children with ADHD showed decreased
    heart rate deceleration before onset of the Go
    stimulus in the slow condition but not in the fast
    condition, suggesting decreased motor activation in
    the slow condition. In addition, children with ADHD
    showed higher heart rate variability (HRV) in the
    slow condition only, suggesting less effort allocation.
    The major aim of the current study is to test
    whether children with ADHD do not allocate the
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 47:6 (2006), pp 560–567 doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01592.x
    Ó 2006 The Authors
    Journal compilation Ó 2006 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
    Published by Blackwell Publishing, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, US

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  7. These types of modern testing methods reveal brain function and differences on a scale unimaginable when Sir Alexander Crichton wrote about people lacking attending capacity in 1798.

    First, to differentiate between inattention and impulsivity based on type of errors made in the AX version of the Continuous Performance Task (CPT), and second, to investigate whether differences in performance between children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and normal controls also occur in specific forms of brain activity, namely event-related potentials (ERPs), presumably related to inattention and impulsivity or inhibition.


    Sixteen ADHD and 16 normal control children performed the CPT-AX. ERPs were recorded at occipital (Oz), parietal (Pz), central (Cz), and frontal (Fz) leads.


    The ADHD children had a higher CPT-Inattention score and showed smaller parietal positive waves at a latency of approximately 300 msec in reaction to target stimuli, target P3s, likewise indicating less attention. In contrast, they showed neither higher CPT-Impulsivity nor a smaller frontocentral negative wave at about 200 msec (N2); the N2 is generally seen as reflecting inhibition. A subgroup of children with ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder (n = 6) had smaller N2 waves than controls, however.


    The ADHD group studied showed deficits in attention but not in impulsivity (or inhibition
    First, to differentiate between inattention and impulsivity based on type of errors made in the AX version of the Continuous Performance Task (CPT), and second, to investigate whether differences in performance between children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and normal controls also occur in specific forms of brain activity, namely event-related potentials (ERPs), presumably related to inattention and impulsivity or inhibition.


    Sixteen ADHD and 16 normal control children performed the CPT-AX. ERPs were recorded at occipital (Oz), parietal (Pz), central (Cz), and frontal (Fz) leads.


    The ADHD children had a higher CPT-Inattention score and showed smaller parietal positive waves at a latency of approximately 300 msec in reaction to target stimuli, target P3s, likewise indicating less attention. In contrast, they showed neither higher CPT-Impulsivity nor a smaller frontocentral negative wave at about 200 msec (N2); the N2 is generally seen as reflecting inhibition. A subgroup of children with ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder (n = 6) had smaller N2 waves than controls, however.


    The ADHD group studied showed deficits in attention but not in impulsivity

    These tests confirm that the ADHD brain reacts to stimulus with less attending speed and energy than controls.

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      • Also I love how they measure some potentials and then transform so “significant” group differences into:”The ADHD group studied showed deficits in attention but not in impulsivity”. I’d love to see how you can measure potentials at different points though the scull and make any claims about the relation to internal state or behaviour other than “this person is awake” or “this person is sleeping”. These studies are based on a lot of assumptions. Btw, show me any of these studies being independently reproduced showing “smaller parietal positive waves at a latency of approximately 300 msec in reaction to target stimuli.” for “ADHD” kids and maybe I’ll start thinking about it. People publish a lot of rubbish all the time, especially in the imaging and psychological studies.

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  8. As far as the junk science, invented, voted in ADHD life destroying stigma to push the vile kiddie cocaine drugs to a make a literal killing by biopsychiatry when it sold out to Big Pharma in the 1980’s, I will trust Dr. Fred Baughman, lifelong Child Neurologist, and author of ADHD Fraud any day of the week when he speaks of such psychiatric fraud as the worst medical crimes ever perpetrated against humanity. We can thank Dr. Joseph Biederman for such crimes against children when he personally sold out the nation’s children to the drug companies he was truly serving when he almost single handedly created both the ADHD and bipolar epidemics in children just like DSM III and IV perpetrators created the adult bipolar epidemic in adults and now the DSM V perpetrators are pushing for adult ADHD. This Dr. Mengele like psychiatric monstrosity never ends. And ADHD drugs are now being promoted for the brand new DSM bogus stigma of “binge eating disorder” with an article about it posted in the news section of MIA with many upset because these toxic drugs put people at risk for heart attacks and other lethal effects with children far from immune as many children have died from these dangerous drugs.

    And the real experts have exposed that any supposed differences in the brains of so called ADHD and normal kids are due to the toxic drugs given to those stuck with a junk science ADHD stigma due to abusive families, bullies and other social stressors and certainly not any faulty brains. Diet may be a factor especially today, but the current model is always blame the victims for any lethal effects inflicted by the current robber barons of our time, the real “patients” of psychiatry today as was the case with the robber barons of the 1930’s who along with psychiatry created the eugenics theories that led to the Nazi Holocaust after psychiatrists practiced by gassing to death those they stigmatized as “mentally ill.” Today, they just drug and shock children and adults to early death by about 25 years after torturing and profiting from them during their greatly shortened lives thanks to the biopsychiatry/Big Pharma cartel.

    And Dr. Thomas Insel, Head of the NIMH, has admitted recently that all DSM junk science stigmas that would include ADHD, bipolar and other recent voted in fad frauds of psychiatry are totally INVALID and lacking any science, medical or other evidence whatsoever.

    Thus, I think that despite blakeacake’s attempts to “educate” MIA members about all the great science behind the bogus invented ADHD stigma created to push amphetamines on innocent children that have been proven to cause much harm and little help or positive results after about three years and often ending up with an even worse bipolar assault due to the lethal effects of the kiddie cocaine pretense of help, MIA members and many others are all too well informed about the total junk science behind ADHD, bipolar and any other life destroying degradation rituals perpetrated by psychiatry/Big Pharma to force their brain disabling treatments on a literally brain washed public. But, the cat is out of the bag and more and more people are catching on thanks to all the corruption exposed in both psychiatry and Big Pharma not to mention all the destroyed, disabled lives exposed by Robert Whitaker in his many articles and books like Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic.

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  9. “And the real experts” You mean other experts are not real? ” have exposed that any supposed differences” The experts don’t suppose.
    “in the brains” Pretty important organ. Unlike anything else on the face of the earth! Unreal, isn’t it? “of so called ADHD” It isn’t “so called” ADHD. If it were merely “so called”, your real experts wouldn’t identify it as that which exists only in the brains deformed by toxic drugs.
    “and normal kids are due to the toxic drugs” No data supports that belief. “given to those stuck with a junk science ADHD stigma” is circular reasoning. “due to abusive families, bullies and other social stressors and certainly not any faulty brains.” They, the ADHD labeled kids, are labeled that way because of abuse, but their brains show no signs of abnormality, except for what was caused by others who abused them for having ADHD which doesn’t exist.

    Thanks for your input. I don’t agree with you, but you are to be commended for your passionate defense of your views. Take care

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    • ” They, the ADHD labeled kids, are labeled that way because of abuse, but their brains show no signs of abnormality, except for what was caused by others who abused them for having ADHD which doesn’t exist. ”
      Sweetheart, if you take 10 kids which are abused and 10 which have “normal” loving homes I can assure you you will find behavioural differences and “brain abnormalities” (that is different patterns of activity etc) at least to some extent. It does not mean that the abused kids have a disorder – that only means that their brain is functioning differently because they are in different circumstances. If you put me through sleep deprivation and then let me sleep it off and at each time measure my brain potentials doing some task then I’ll have different activity each time. It doesn’t mean my brain just got sick/healthy, it means that it’s reacting to the external and internal state. This is not a proof of anything, merely showing that kids who are hyperactive have different brain activity than non-hyperactive (and that when you’re generous and forget all the methodological problems, low reproducibility and straight misconduct in some of these studies). It tells you nothing about the reason for this or whether it’s causative, a result of or merely correlated to something entirely different. So you can paste as many studies as you want, they are as good as saying: kids which behave differently behave differently. It’s still circular.

      Brain, no matter what they are trying to tell you, is not pancreas. It’s reacting in real time to internal and external states in a very complex way, it has incredible individual variability (there are people missing half a brain who are almost completely normal) and simply measuring some small group difference in a tiny number of people, arbitrarily divided into two groups based on subjective assessment of their behaviour, attitude or temperament, in a completely irrelevant behavioural task is not going to tell you anything meaningful. People are different and respond differently to different stimuli (and so do they brains) – duh.

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  10. Just to clarify again, “real experts” are just that in they act in a scientific, experimental manner seeking answers to important questions and are agnostic about the results.

    Fake experts, on the other hand, are like the majority in biological psychiatry whose real agenda is to protect their own guild interests and ideology with no science or evidence whatever with Big Pharma’s regardless of the harm to their many victims they pretend to be helping when they are only harming in the guise of mental health to make billions for Big Pharma and cohorts, and aiding and abetting the increasing social control and theft of human freedoms and rights of our Therapeutic Fascist States pretending to be democracies.

    So, there is a real difference between real and fake experts that can be life threatening if one doesn’t know the difference, which is why so many MIA members have done their homework for sure. Since you asked, I am happy to clarify just what I mean by “real experts” as opposed to those just pretending to be such like those doing the bulk of fraudulent biopsychiatry/Big Pharma ghost written, junk science, bought off “studies,” “drug trials,” and other tasks while hiding any negative or life threatening results that could threaten profits and Pharma payments, perks to psychiatrists, government and others involved. Big Pharma has had to pay billions in fines for such fakery of psychiatry when it creates new stigmas to push the latest toxic drugs, ECT and other brain damaging, useless “treatments” while doing all in their power to cover up those lethal effects and the fact the “treatments” don’t work, but make things much worse as exposed in Bob Whitaker’s books and articles. But, obviously, our government knows this, so they obviously have a different agenda than the health of the victims they prey on with biopsychiatry as those in Nazi Germany found out too late when psychiatry gassed to death those they stigmatized as “mentally ill” as practice for their huge role in the Holocaust they instigated with their never ending bogus, cruel eugenics/euthanasia agenda in league with past and present robber barons to justify the theft of most global wealth while enslaving the majority or typical psychopathic agenda of the 1% versus the 99%.

    Or perhaps they may not be fake experts after all since they are so successful at their role of wolves in sheep’s clothing plotting others’ destruction for greed, power and sadism typical of psychopaths per world authority/expert Dr. Robert Hare who created the psychopathic test, the PCL-R and consults for the FBI. I guess it depends on how you look at it in that they are only fake experts when they speak of any real brain damage, disorder, disease or faked evidence regarding junk science stigmas like ADHD and bipolar while they are experts at Big Pharma/biopsychaitry spin to pull the wool over people’s eyes regarding psychiatric pseudoscience.

    Are you saying that Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, was/is not a real expert when he exposed the DSM and with it ADHD and bipolar as lacking any validity or scientific, medical evidence whatsoever despite the fact that the NIMH and Surgeon Generals have been singing the opposite tune for decades and knowingly committing total fraud against the American public as Dr. Fred Baughman and others have rightly accused them of doing? Of course, Dr. Insel just wants to change the same old tired ideology to something new with the same pernicious purposes to attract Big Pharma back to psychiatry’s previous lucrative fold now that the drug pipeline is drying up as Big Pharma has been dumping psychiatry in droves due to its now tarnished image and its own admission that psychiatry lacks the science to pursue new, applicable treatments.

    So, feel free to continue to try to obfuscate the above while your own ADHD and bipolar ideology with no evidence to back it up is all too clear.

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