Temperament is the more biological component of personality.
- Babies are born with "Factory Settings" aka Temperament
- Misguided attempts to modify temperament often do more harm than good
- Temperament can often be modified, but this requires skill and patience
- Mismatch between environment & temperament is a major cause of all manner of difficulties
- Psychopathology is often caused by a mismatch between temperament and environment.
- Most extremes of temperament may be thought of as specializations for particular situations. And, they may not function that well when in situations for which they are not suited.
- The exact dimensions of temperament are still being worked out. The dimensions presented here are clinically useful, but perhaps not precisely accurate as they may be blends of temperament & learned behavior.
Extremes of Temperament mistaken for ADHD
High Sensory Screeners.
Individuals with ADHD often fail to notice or listen because they are unable to screen out extraneous stimuli and important signals (such as the teacher's voice) get lost in the chaos. At the other extreme, the High Screening Temperament will often screen out all sights and sounds - and thus look like ADHD. Getting their attention before speaking goes a long way to solving this false ADHD.
High Need for Physical Activity.
Some people just need to be more physically active than others. When someone with a high need for activity is required to sit quietly for hours, the result is discomfort, inattention and squirming. Activity breaks go a long way towards solving this false ADHD.
Very Low Intensity of Emotional Expression.
Parents press the child to work on homework and the child blows up. The studious adolescent spends hours ostensibly working on homework, but accomplishing nothing. In both cases they may be under extreme stress which is hidden from parents and teachers. Sometimes simple strategies make a world of difference.