Do you or someone you know suffer from any of the following conditions?
- Morbid Defect of Moral Control
- Post-encephalitic Behavior Disorder
- Minimal Brain Dysfunction
- Hyperkinetic Reaction
If you know someone who has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, then you do. Within the last century, these are the monikers given to this condition. (For more information on the history of ADD and ADHD, see this link.)
As horrible as these names sound, they are descriptive of the researchers’ observations as well as the knowledge of the time. And I can’t fault the people who came up with Minimal Brain Dysfunction as I use my own observations and knowledge to describe some people as suffering from the same.
In my role as Dr. Mom, I rely on my observations to diagnose and treat a number of conditions, but a few elude me. Consider the following:
Selective Hearing Disorder
The symptoms of this condition include the ability to hear any words that suggest fun or frivolity no matter how discreetly they are used in conversation but a complete inability to hear and/or understand direct commands that involve picking something up, putting it away, or refraining from an action that could potentially bring harm to oneself or others.
I have long known that my six-year-old suffers from this condition. My diagnosis is based on years of observation, and though I have not kept careful notes, I could produce enough evidence to convince a scientific researcher. But, for the sake of brevity, I will offer only a couple of case notes:
- the ability to hear words that suggest fun or frivolity
Once, while making a sweeping left turn, I told everyone in the vehicle to hold on to their cookies. “Cookies?” my daughter asked excitedly. She was rather disappointed to learn that I was merely using an expression. I have since eliminated this expression from my verbal repertoire.
- the inability to hear and/or understand direct commands
There is plenty of evidence to support a diagnosis here. “Put your backpack in your room” apparently translates to leave it in the middle of the living room floor where little sister can find one’s library book and homework. “Don’t leave your crayons where your sister can reach them” doesn’t seem to compute. And “Stop screaming in the house” means scream louder until mom finds herself screaming at the top of her lungs and causing everyone else to cry.
Failure to Process Repeated Directions
This disorder is self-explanatory, and again, I can offer plenty of evidence that suggests my child suffers from it. I don’t know how many times I have told her not to throw her dirty clothes on the floor or how many times I have told her not to talk with her mouth full. Yet, each day when she changes out of her school clothes, they find themselves in a crumpled pile two feet away from her laundry hamper. And each meal gives new definition to the term see-food.
Broad Spectrum Logic Syndrome
As its name suggests, this condition covers a variety of instances in which a child cannot seem to make rational decisions. There is the suggestion of logic, but it is misapplied. Last night’s dinner offers a perfect example. I was serving the girls spaghetti, and to avoid getting sauce all over the two-year-old’s shirt, I took it off before seating her at the table. The six-year-old, who was also wearing a white shirt, decided to follow suit. Knowing that she was going to try to get away with eating her meal bare-chested, I stopped her and told her to put something else over it. Instead, she waltzed into the living room, taking off the shirt and tossing it onto the floor as she went, and put on a fuzzy leopard print vest from an outfit she outgrew two years ago. (What it was doing in the living room I don’t know.) I have to give her credit for recognizing that spaghetti sauce and white shirts do not mix, but she, of course, failed to recognize that she is more adept at not getting food all over herself than her sister. And I’m not sure what to make of her cavewoman sense of style.
So there you have it. I highly doubt these diagnoses will ever make it to the medical books, but what do doctors know? They don’t live with the people they label.