Who are we dedicated to helping?

There are three broad categories of people we are dedicated to helping.

First, there are children, young adults, and others who have had been told at some point they they have a learning disability or some other form of neurological problem, Some of these people are labeled as a special form of a diagnostic category, such as “high-functioning autism” or “atypical” something, e.g, atypical Asperger syndrome or ADHD. Others are simply relegated to generally broad and amorphous diagnostic categories, such as “nonverbal learning” disorder or “sensory integration” dysfunction. These people often have received more than one diagnosis. They often have trouble holding down a job or hold undemanding, low-paying and unsatisfying jobs, well beneath their potential.

Second are the children, young adults and others who compensate well enough that they may not show up as leaning disabled on a standard (non-extensive) neurological evaluation but whose problems functioning are nonetheless serious. These people are often told and believe that their problems are exclusively psychological or psychiatric, e.g., depression, manic-depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder etc. Those conditions may be in whole or in part a failed coping mechanism for an unrecognized neurological deficit.

Third are the “successes.” These people are so intellectually or artistically gifted that they not only get by, they may enjoy considerable professional success. Yet these gifted people find many seemingly simple tasks exceedingly difficult. For some, it’s arithmetic. For others, it’s reading or writing, organization of time and space or interacting with others. For many, it’s managing stimuli-packed environments. But because others see them as so “smart” or “successful,” they have no way to explain why they are so “absent-minded” or easily frustrated with the “simple” tasks of life or why they seem so often to be operating on their “last nerve.”
People in any of these categories who do seek medical attention are all too often put on treatment regimes that do no good or worse, exacerbate the problem. For example, they may be told to keep four notebooks instead of one, to write every meaningless detail down and to check the lists every day. For those who cannot manage one notebook and get overwhelmed with details. these “therapeutic interventions” may only lead to more frustration or to symptoms that mimic obsessive-compulsive disorders as they spend their days trying to manage their lists and notebooks. For some, these are Herculean tasks, requiring constant concentration and leaving little time for any creative or original thought. Others are given medications that at best are useless and often harmful.

The “lost” people in our three categories are lost not just to themselves but to the rest of us as well. Even the “successes” who seem “present” to us are cut off, isolated, by mental burdens they do not understand, cannot explain to others and from which there is no relief. The existence of the “successes,” however, tells us something else important: It suggests the enormous potential that may be locked away in those who have not been able to find another way round.