> Kitty Petty


> Thinking Differently


>Kitty Petty, a California Certified Paralegal, became interested in

>Attention Deficit Disorder/Learning Differences (ADD/LD) after her

>grandson was diagnosed with the syndrome in 1989. She founded the

>Mid-Peninsula chapter of CHADD in Palo Alto in 1992 and Kitty Petty

>ADD/LD Institute (KPI, http://www.kpinst.org/) in 1995.


>KPI's mission is to provide education, resources and support to

>children, youth, and adults with ADD/LD to become self-advocates and

>reach their true potential.


>Kitty will discuss the etiology, characteristics, and treatment of

>these lifelong neurological syndromes, and recent research at Stanford

>University using brain imaging in finding an objective way to diagnose

>the disorder, which is estimated to affect 30% of school students

>and 25% of the workforce.


Kitty Petty began her talk by going through the most common symptoms of ADD. These included things like difficulty starting on projects, having mood swings, being creative, having trouble sitting still, problems with your self esteem, and a tendency not to see yourself as others do. She continued by explaining that there is a strong tendency for such problems to have a genetic component. For example, her grandson was diagnosed with ADD, and when she learned what the symptoms are she realized that she and her son were both also victims.

There are many cases of this disease. It has been reported that as many as five to ten percent of children nationwide may have the problem. Kitty Petty thinks that Californians are particularly susceptible, and here there may be more like fifteen percent of the children susceptible. An Orange County Register article she handed out shows that in OC alone there are about 20,000 to 60,000 cases.

Some cases of ADD respond readily to treatment with Ritalin. Kitty Petty did a test on her grandson, having him write a sentence before he took his dose, and then again 20 minutes after. She reported that his handwriting improved dramatically during that time. There are also many cases where putting the student in a classroom setting where his fidgety nature is not as huge a disadvantage as it is in the public schools can help a lot.

During the Q&A someone asked if it was possible that they were simply classing being intelligent as a disease, in that way that psychologists have of curing the patient instead of the problem? Kitty answered that one of the classic books about the subject was subtitled "Being a Hunter in a Farmers World," and there could be an element of that if the definition is taken too literally, but there really are many cases of hyperactive children where the disease is a real problem and does respond to treatment.

Tian Harter