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5 different types of ADHD

What’s interesting about Chinese Medicine is that even if 5 people all have sore throats, each person could get a completely different treatment. Not all sore throats are the same. The same goes for ADHD. Dr. Stephen Cowan wrote a wonderful book on the different types of ADHD you will find in children based on their 5 element constitution. It illustrates beautifully how important it is to treat people individually and why medications won’t always work-not everyone’s type of ADHD is the same. I developed a 5 element ADHD questionnaire based on his book you can find here. The first answers of each section correspond to the element wood, the 2nd fire, 3rd earth, 4th metal and the 5th water. You might find that you are a blend of 2-3 elements and that’s not uncommon; also, different environments or scenarios might bring out more of one element in you than another.

If you have a wood type of ADHD, you might try studying in a communal environment like the kitchen or a coffee shop. Walking through the woods with your child while going through flash cards might work better than forcing him or her to sit at a desk with a book.

With a fire element type of ADHD, invest in some fun colorful markers/pencils and sticky tabs or stickers and brighten up your study materials. If your child has a test to prepare for, have them make up a song or use puppets highlighting important content to make it more fun.

For earth element types, try re-organizing study content into flow charts or maps to add visual cues, enhance context and see the big picture. Give your child fun analogies and metaphors to help them see connections between what he or she is learning and the outside world.

Metal element types thrive with routine schedules so pre-plan and try setting out a study schedule each week. If possible, re-frame homework into puzzles to solve and highlight any patterns or sequences.

Water element types tend do best in apprenticeship-like styles of education so the more learning that can be done hands-on, the more easily you can immerse yourself in the task at hand versus daydreaming and getting easily distracted. Try setting a stopwatch for each task or having an intermittent chime (meditation bowls are great for this) to bring your child back to the present/make them aware of passing time. Be sure to carve out enough time in their schedule for journaling and poetry to nuture their inner world.