The Issue of Attention
How does a child pay attention, focus, and concentrate persistently on tasks? What constitutes the norms of attention? What are the cultural expectations projected on children? How do these affect the child’s view of themselves? How do attention functions intersect with other issues in a child’s life? What is the homeopathic view of attention issues and how should the homeopathic approach be integrated with other modalities?
Attention as an issue has become a focus throughout cultures in recent years. Although the allopathic treatment of attention problems has not changed much over the past quarter-century, the amount of interest in this field has grown tremendously. In fact, there is now an entire industry devoted to attention problems with departments in University medical centers and their affiliated programs dedicated to treating this supposed disorder. The identified syndrome has an official allopathic diagnostic name, Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity (ADD and ADHD). Children are labeled with the disorder, the pharmaceutical industry supports research on the various corresponding drugs, scholarly books are written on the subject, huge parent support groups have formed, catalogues of educational materials are published specific to this disease, and regular conferences are held on the disorder.
Jane’s fundamental assumption is that children are naturally inquisitive, explorative, demonstrative, and sensitive. If this is the natural state of a child, then an environment which confines the child in some way is contrary to her fundamental nature. Although children are expected to learn certain rules of social interaction and respect others in their environment, it is not reasonable to expect that most children will thrive in an environment as restrictive and stultifying as a classroom. Admittedly, there are some schools that respect the individual child and their learning style, providing opportunities for creative discovery and freedom
Often children learn to repress their natural inclinations and seek styles of behavior that will win them praise and recognition. When a child chooses other reactions, such as rebellion, or simply cannot repress a natural exuberance for learning and social interaction, then the whole industry of academic disciplinarians, psychologists, and physicians is brought into the game. A child reacts to all of this with typical and predictable behaviors and emotions that are studied, dissected, and treated. Some children, of course, do have a state of imbalance and express symptoms prior to entry in school. Many infants and preschoolers are in need of homeopathic support for an imbalance that manifests as temperament extremes and behavioral symptoms which have a variety of causes, chemical, environmental, miasmatic, and spiritual. Often parents can cope with these symptoms and develop a sensitivity to their child’s individual nature that promotes their growth, development, and healing.
Understand the Child
Children who come for homeopathic support with these types of symptoms, attention, and behavior problems, are either already in trouble with school or just disruptive enough to the family so that their parents seek help. Sometimes the homeopath will discover a problem in this realm when the parents seek care for something else such as allergies or recurrent ear infections. The homeopathic case depends upon a detailed description. The choice of a remedy hinges upon the essential nature of the child as well as the subtle character of symptoms. It is helpful to separate the description into the classical homeopathic categories, mental, emotional, and physical.
The correct constitutional homeopathic remedy can assist and this is especially true in the area of attention. Since attention problems reflect an imbalance in the body, they will usually normalize under the action of a remedy. For example, in a child who cannot remain still long enough to focus on a task, homeopathic support will assist the natural ability to calm the mind and willfully bring motor activity under control.
Attention problems or dysfunctions that truly limit the child’s freedom and prevent learning are important keys to the mental aspect of the homeopathic case. A professionally qualified homeopath can discern the problem areas, evaluate their importance in the case, and use them as building blocks in the construction of the rationale for the remedy. If an attention dysfunction is intense and extremely disruptive to the child’s well-being and efficiency, then it should have a prominent place in the differential process leading to the remedy based on the individual’s totality of symptoms.
The emotional overlay in children who have these problems becomes more complex. This is when it is important that the homeopath derives a sense of the cause of emotional symptoms. If the emotional symptoms originate in the child’s refusal to participate in an abusive environment, then this aspect of the emotional case should be recognized as a healthy reaction. If a child’s sadness and poor self-esteem arise from an inability to recognize social cues and a dullness in response to social stimuli, then this aspect of the case may have primary significance and lead to remedies in the Baryta-carbonica, Causticum, Natrum-muriaticum realm.
The ideal in constitutional prescriptions for these children is the single remedy that works at a curative level for months or years. Miraculously, this occurs in a large percentage of children’s cases. Sometimes, however, flexibility in the prescribing approach is necessary for children who are constantly confronted with the stresses that trigger symptoms. These children often are so energy-intensive that they seem to require more frequent repetition of a constitutional that seems to burn out. Other creative prescribing approaches may be needed as well, such as daily dosage of a remedy that corresponds to an especially resistant attention symptom. Constitutional remedy pictures may also change as these children seem to metamorphosize like plastic from one behavior pattern to another.
Homeopathy offers support in restoring our body’s balance, health, and vitality. It’s important you seek professional advice from a qualified registered homeopath or your GP to ensure you are receiving the best possible treatment for yourself or your child on an acute or chronic condition that you are experiencing.
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(Adapted from) Source:
Jane Sheppard CPC FMCHC
Randall Neustaedter OMD, LAc, CCH