From: joe! (Joe Parsons) Fri 05/15/1998 10:30

Subject: FAQ FAQ

 Welcome to FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about It is administered by Joe Parsons ( on a more-or-less regular basis and posted weekly to

The author disclaims any responsibility for the information contained in this document, although it was believed accurate as of the time of posting. It is not to be considered an authoritative work on the diagnosis of or treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Permission is hereby granted to republish, repost, email or reproduce this document by any means, with the express condition that it be published, posted or transmitted in its entirety, with no alterations or abridgments whatsoever.

Copyright 1996 by Joe Parsons. All rights reserved.

  1. Introduction
  2. What is "attention deficit disorder?"
  3. What is the purpose of a.s.a-d?
  4. Oh, yeah? who says?
  5. Who's the moderator on this board?
  6. I think you're all just lazy parents and incompetent teachers who want to drug kids; don't I have a right to express my opinion?
  7. I've got a great new non-drug therapy you people should try; is it okay if I just post a few messages?
  8. I think this whole ADD thing is a bunch of baloney! Why are you all so defensive?
  9. What's this stuff about "trolls?"
  10. How can I find out more about AD(H)D?
  11. Who is Joe Parsons, anyway??
  12. Thanks to...

    How do I sign up for (subscribe to) the news group?


1) Introduction

This short document will introduce you to the informal electronic gathering of folks we call ("a.s.a-d"). It will provide a brief introduction to the collection of symptoms and behaviors referred to as "attention deficit disorder (ADD)" or "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)." It is not intended as any sort of treatise on diagnosis, treatment or management of ADD or ADHD, but rather as an introduction to this support group.

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2) What is "attention deficit disorder?"

Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADD, ADHD or AD(H)D) is a neurological condition whose primary symptoms are distractibility, impulsiveness and restlessness. The condition is frequently observed in school-age children as an inability to pay attention or complete classwork, often accompanied by a high-energy, ants-in-the-pants demeanor.

In adults, ADD tends to manifest itself as inattentiveness, absent-mindedness, impulsiveness, lack of follow-through and an elastic perception of time. These behaviors may have led to poor performance in school and in the workplace, and low self esteem and clinical depression frequently travel hand-in-hand with ADD.

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3) What is the purpose of a.s.a-d?

This newsgroup was formed by and for people who have been affected by ADD. This includes people who have been diagnosed with ADD, people whose spouses have ADD, adults who suspect they may have it, and parents of AD(H)D children.

The participants come to a.s.a-d to receive and to offer support; there are discussions about research, diagnosis and treatment, attitudes toward ADD, coping strategies, occasional expressions of frustration, outrage or joy, and the occasional venting of spleens.

It was NOT formed to provide a forum for (nor does it find useful) articles

  • Debating the existence of AD(H)D
  • Pontificating about "lazy" parents or teachers
  • Debating the "right" or "wrong" of medication
  • Selling "alternatives" or "cures."
  • Personal flames or political diatribes

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4) Oh, yeah? who says?

Usenet (and Altnet) operate by consensus. While there are no "laws" governing the operation of an international entity such as the Net, there are many established and universally accepted customs covering what is and is not appropriate.

To learn more about these customs ("netiquette"), go to news.answers.newusers and read the many articles written to help newcomers.

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5) Who's the moderator on this board?

There is no "moderator" as such in a.s.a-d. A *newsgroup* such as this one is NOT a bulletin board service (BBS) like Compuserve or America Online. The absence of a moderator, however, does not reduce your responsibility for proper conduct: just as you are expected to behave in the "real world," there are expectations in newsgroups--particularly in a.s.a-d.

We hope you'll behave with courtesy, civility and compassion, just as we are sure you do in the real world, where we can see your face--and put our hands on you.

There are certain types of postings in a.s.a-d that are particularly egregious departures from the expected conduct in a.s.a-d. Such postings include (but are not limited to)

  • Personal flames
  • Fact-free diatribes about the supposed evils of medication
  • Postings that are clearly intended to disrupt, demean, distract or mislead
  • Postings that are clearly off-topic (e.g. diatribes about electro-convusive therapy)
  • Postings that approach the common definition of "spam: "those articles that are posted to a large number of newsgroups, either individually or through crossposting.

Postings such as those listed may be subject to "retro-moderation." For more information about the practice of retro-moderation, read news.newusers.answers or

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6) I think you're all just lazy parents and incompetent teachers who want to drug kids; don't I have a right to express my opinion?

You have the right to your own opinion. You have the right to express it, but PLEASE consider the audience you are addressing. This is a SUPPORT newsgroup, and your desire to debate belongs in a forum that has been chartered for such discussion. We are here to help each other, not to argue.

Here's an analogy: let's say you learn about a support group for people who have attempted suicide. The group meets in your public library and since the library is a public place, you are allowed into the meeting. Each time someone in the meeting talks about how they had attempted suicide, you respond to them by telling them they are just cowards, looking for an easy way out. They should just "snap out of it," you say. Would this be against the law? Probably not. Would it be morally reprehensible? I hope you know the answer.

Support groups exist to provide a *safe* place for people to deal with a problem or condition--not to make them an easier target for derision. Our asking you to behave politely and compassionately does not comprise censorship.

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7) I've got a great new non-drug therapy you people should try; is it okay if I just post a few messages?

If your first and only appearance in this newsgroup has been to sell your product, we suspect that this is your only reason for being here. We are not interested in hearing from you. You can be assured that most of us who might consider "alternative" treatments have already done so--ADD people (and parents or spouses of ADD people) are *very* good at research. None of us is interested in reading your brochures. Or in debating the nasty medical establishment. Or in trying to pin down your extravagant claims. Please go away.

If, on the other hand, you have been here for a while, sharing YOUR REAL, PERSONAL EXPERIENCES and want to discuss alternatives you might have discovered, then our attitude might be different. If we discover that your agenda is really to sell a product, however, you can expect the climate to turn very chilly.

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8) I think this whole ADD thing is a bunch of baloney! Why are you all so defensive?

Many ADD people have been wrestling with the ignorance of others all their lives. If you post an article suggesting that ADD is just a "myth" or an "excuse," you should back up your statements with solid, documentable facts.
Hint: the following phrases are not considered "facts" or "proof:"
"It's just common sense."
"Everybody knows."
"I heard about an article that said..."
"A doctor at a leading hospital says..."
"My neighbor's sister says..."

On the contrary: those phrases may well cause you to be branded an idiot.

For extra credit, please refer to the analogy in section (6) above.

If you feel compelled to debate the existence of AD(H)D, please go to alt.debate.attn-deficit, where you will find the appropriate audience for your position.

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9) What's this stuff about "trolls?"

A "troll" is an article posted for the *sole* purpose of provoking a reaction. Trolls can often be recognized by their subject line, which may have a provocative title such as "You ADD people are just a bunch of speed freaks," or "Why are you turning your innocent children into zombies?" The poster really has nothing worthwhile to say relative to ADD; he just wants to create a long thread. The fact that he is hurting vulnerable people means nothing to him.

The best way to handle such a cretin is *not* to give him the attention he craves. Answer him by e-mail if you must; that way you will not encourage him or give him the opportunity to clutter the newsgroup any more. Posts of this type may be subject to retro-moderation (see section 5, above).

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10) How can I find out more about AD(H)D?

There's no shortage of resources; if you do a web search on ADD or ADHD, you'll turn up lots of places to go. There is a non-profit organization called CH.A.D.D (Children and Adults with A.D.D.) that has a homepage at You'll find many useful links from their page.
(PLEASE NOTE: while many participants in the newsgroup are members of CH.A.D.D. is in NO WAY affiliated with or supported by CH.A.D.D.)

There are some excellent books on the topic of ADD and its management. Some of the titles you'll see mentioned are

"Driven to Distraction," by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and John Ratey, M.D.
"You Mean, I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!!" by Peggy Ramundo and Kate Kelly
"ADD: A Different Perception," by Thom Hartmann

There are lots more; hang around the newsgroup and you'll hear about them--or feel free to ask.

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11) Who is Joe Parsons, anyway??

Joe Parsons is a writer living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since his fans at present are primarily people who don't send him enough money to meet his overhead, he works in mortgage banking, too. He spends as much time as he can manage sailing "Good Faith" out of Berkeley, California. One of the great epiphanies of his life was reading Ned Hallowell's "Driven to Distraction;" he still thinks it was written about him.

He can be reached at

One other thing you should know about Joe Parsons: He HATES excessive quoting in Usenet and in email. He thinks quoting an entire article just to add three words is a clear indication of cluelessness.

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12) Thanks to...

This document could not have been prepared without the contributions of
John Thompson
Graeme Smith
Cheryl Mathison
Nancy Gleason
Yoav Altman
Jan Thiessen

The author is also indebted to Arthur Byrne, whose FAQ-writing advice has been invaluable.

He is especially grateful to the many "regulars" in who give so extravagantly of themselves in reaching out to others.

He has also received some valuable feedback from a small number of people who say they hate his guts.

Revision History:

3/19/96: Initial publication

Please remove the "!" from my address to send me mail. I do not wish to receive *any* Unsolicited Commercial E-mail (UCE). I will consider that altering my address for the purpose of sending such unwanted mail is willful harassment. You *don't* want to do that.

Added by Balance Check:

How do I sign up for a news group?

Ask your internet service provider or read one of many good books on the Internet. I'm not sure how I did it so don't feel competent to try to tell you how to subscribe.

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