The Kitty Petty ADD/LD Institute offers hope to those affected by Attention Deficit Disorder.
Kitty Petty started the Palo Alto-based institute in 1995 to educate more community members about Attention Deficit Disorder, a chemical imbalance in the brain that can cause distractibility and hyperactivity.
"People call it a 'fad' or the 'designer syndrome of the '90s', but believe me, it's here to stay," Petty said. "It can severely impact a person's ability to succeed throughout life if left untreated."
Through training sessions, annual symposiums, access to her private library collection and quarterly newsletters, Petty said she hopes to educate teachers and people involved in the juvenile justice system as well as families affected by the disorder.
Petty first began educating the community as president of the mid-peninsula chapter of a national group called Children and Adults Attention Deficit Disorders in 1992 after her grandson, her 34-year-old son and herself were diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder.
"I was relieved to find out. It explained so many things," Petty said. Petty said she grew up thinking she was stupid. As a single mother, she blamed herself for her son's "disruptive" behavior and school problems.
Petty said about 400,000 people in California are diagnosed with the disorder, an estimate she considers low.
Petty said she wouldn't be surprised if 75 percent of Silicon Valley's professionals have Attention Deficit Disorder. Petty said the valley's high-tech professionals "fit the mold. They're creative, workaholics, start from scratch, are intuitive and are always seeking a challenge."
Petty said although people with the disorder tend to have higher intelligence, not all become successful like many of Silicon Valley's entrepreneurs. She said most do poorly in school because they learn differently.
Kids know they aren't achieving to their abilities. It can take them three times as long to do their homework. It's frustrating," Kelly said. "If children grow to be adults and don't learn to read, they have two choices, welfare or crime. Crime has a higher status and it pays better."
Petty said Attention Deficit Disorder is "very treatable" when managed through therapy, behavior modification or drug treatments.
For more information about the Kitty Petty ADD/LD Institute, call 321-5939.