Tips for the Thanksgiving Table

Tips for the Thanksgiving Table
Make Thanksgiving special (and maintain your sanity)

Holiday excitement can make it difficult for your ADHD child to adjust his/her behavior. A little early planning can keep your child’s behavior in check. You can do this by providing your child with some special responsibilities that will not only help you, but will also make your child feel like he or she is part of the family experience.

Make setting the dinner table your child’s Thanksgiving job. Giving him this very important job will keep him occupied and give him something to be proud of. It also provides an opportunity to practice skills such as planning, organization, and memory!

Steps to help you plan ahead:

1. Discuss. Start talking to your child about his Thanksgiving job at least a week before Thanksgiving – no surprises on Thanksgiving Day!
2. Brainstorm. Make a list together outlining everything that will be his responsibility to place on the table.
3. Display. Post the list somewhere that is easy for him to find and read.
4. Arrange. Make certain your child’s items are easily accessible and sequential. For example, we will start at this time, we will do this first, then this, then this…
5. Rules. Make certain your child has guidelines to follow. You must follow the list. Cross items off the list after you have placed them on the table. If it is not on your list, then it is not your responsibility.
6. Praise! Make certain family and friends provide your child with lots of positive reinforcement for a job well done!
7. If all goes well, he can be the host who serves appetizers.

A little effort goes a long way. Your planning can keep you child in the moment, focused, and well behaved. We seem to always catch them ‘being bad.’ Create an environment where you can catch them ‘being good.’ Setting this tone at the holidays keeps the tears away and everyone happy. It will definitely reduce your stress level and increase your sanity!

Impulsivity and Calling Out in Class

Impulsivity and Calling Out in Class
Is it effective for ADHD kids?

The Journal Learning and Individual Differences published research titled ADHD and academic attainment: Is there an advantage in impulsivity?

Read More: http://dro.dur.ac.uk/9246/1/9246.pdf

Dr. Peter Tymms, DurhamUniversity’s (http://www.dur.ac.uk/) leading education expert, analyzed test scores spanning more than 500 British schools and found that ADHD students who shouted out answers scored better than their quiet peers.

Scores were significantly better; louder ADHD students were about nine months ahead of quieter classmates in reading and math. Tymms says the findings raise questions about how best to teach youngsters with ADHD.

Prof Tymms said, “Children with ADHD symptoms who get excited and shout out answers in class seem to be cognitively engaged and, as a result, learn more. Perhaps those children also benefit from receiving additional feedback and attention from their teacher.”

For most teachers, having children shout out answers in a classroom setting is not practical; other children don’t have time to reflect and then think of an answer. Shouting often interrupts the thinking process. However, research tells us that ADHD children who shout out answers in class often learn quicker than their quieter schoolmates.

Tymms’ study also seems to suffer from the problem of antecedence (think chicken and egg). Do these children do better because they call out, or do these children call out because they are cognitively ahead of their peers and are bored?

Is there a middle road? Perhaps setting a game format for review of classroom material in which it is fair to call out answers would assist ADHD children in learning quicker (think Jeopardy). At home, parents could allow their child to call out answers when doing homework.

This also raises the question whether we should teach ADHD children to be able to control their impulsiveness and to think before acting regardless of their cognitive abilities.

Auditory Processing Problems & ADHD

Auditory Processing Problems & ADHD
Washed a broken paint can?

You stand in front of your husband. He’s looking you in the eye. You explain that the washer broke today and you need him to call a repair man. He squints at you and asks, “You washed a broken paint can?” His tone is displeased and he glares at you as if you were an alien.

You take a deep breath and slowly enunciate it, “I NEED YOU TO CALL A REPAIR MAN.”

He asks, “For what?” Your head drops. You shake your head in frustration staring at the floor.

ADHD is not just an inability to sustain and direct attention. It often involves a variety of other cognitive impairments. When other conditions occur with ADHD, it’s termed co-morbidity. Co-morbid auditory processing difficulties often occur with ADHD. Attention is a critical component of processing information we hear with our ears. This process can become disrupted when ADHD is present. The ADHD person either hears only bits and pieces of the information, or sometimes the information may seem garbled like multiple radio stations playing over each other.

The dynamics of living with an ADHD person are stressful. Couple that with auditory processing issues and the stress level is often magnified. To be clear, frustration is on both sides; the ADHD husband truly thinks you are not speaking clearly, and you think he’s not listening to you. Feelings of frustration, disinterest, lack of compassion, lack of understanding, and even abandonment sometimes follow.

An ADHD child with an auditory processing condition can also be frustrating. You ask him to go to his bedroom, put his pajamas on, brush his teeth, and get in bed. You go to his bedroom an hour later and he’s sitting on the edge of the bed playing a hand held video game. He never put on his pajamas, never brushed his teeth, and he’s obviously not in bed. Your frustration increases as this behavior appears to be pure defiance. An argument typically ensues. If you understand it’s not defiance, you can approach this situation differently. He just didn’t process what you said after, “Go to your bedroom.” You’ve got to admit, he did make it that far. Multiple step directions are difficult for ADHD persons and should be avoided. Giving simple directions and having the person repeat them often helps get things done efficiently. It will also help you maintain your sanity.

There are steps you can take to improve auditory processing, and they can be life changing. Simply understanding your spouse or child will greatly reduce your frustration, however you can do more.

ADHD does not have to be a struggle. No one knows your ADHD life better than you. No one knows how to improve it better than us. See www.playattention.com. 800.788.6786

ADHD Attention Deficit Training Neurofeedback Tool | Play Attention
www.playattention.com
Play Attention is the world’s indisputable #1 learning system to improve attention, behavior, and cognitive function for ADHD children and adults. To avoid any confusion about anything else out there, let’s clear this up:

More Women Diagnosed with ADHD Now

More Women Diagnosed with ADHD Now
Is it life, work, or something else entirely?

Read More: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2012/08/girls-adhd.aspx

You can’t keep track of the kids and your spouse. Your house is in total disarray. Your mind can’t stay focused on anything for more than a few seconds. If this is your life, don’t feel alone; more women are being diagnosed with ADHD than ever before.

Women who are diagnosed later in life often think their messiness, lack of focus, and poor organization are just habits they learned over the years, but it could be much more serious than that.

“The number of Americans taking attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medicines rose 36% in 2012 from 2008, led by a surge among women, according to drug-benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co.

Use of the medications grew 85 percent in 2012 from 2008 for women ages 26 to 34, and women 19 and over now outnumber men in use of the medicines, according to the report released yesterday.” (Source Newsday).

How does one explain the incredible increase in ADHD medication use especially among women ages 26 to 34? Is it due to increased stress? The demands of home and work? Better marketing among these women? Can a pill fix these problems?

Boys are diagnosed far more often than girls.In some areas of the country boys are diagnosed 5:1 over girls. Many experts attribute this to boys being more boisterous; they express frustration and act out far more than girls. Of course, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so more boys are diagnosed than girls. Additionally, the majority of tests for ADHD were developed for hyperactive white males, so girls were by standard, omitted from that group.

Girls are often told they just aren’t performing up to par. They hear remarks from teachers like, “Stop daydreaming,” or “Get organized.” But many times it’s not just a matter of organization or daydreaming. Their ADHD just doesn’t get diagnosed until they are older. By then, their world may seem like it’s falling apart.

According to the American Psychological Association, “Young women diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as girls, particularly the type with early signs of impulsivity, were three to four times more likely to attempt suicide and two to three times more likely to report injuring themselves than comparable young women in a control group, according to the findings, published online in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology®.”

“ADHD can signal future psychological problems for girls as they are entering adulthood,” said the study’s lead author, Stephen Hinshaw, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “Our findings reinforce the idea that ADHD in girls is particularly severe and can have serious public health implications.”

Recent research has also shown that menopause can produce ADHD like symptoms due to hormonal changes.

The more you understand your life, the better you can manage it, but it won’t happen without you becoming your own best advocate. Don’t wait until depression sets in. Don’t wait until you feel like your life is out of control or falling apart.

I Have ADHD and My Child Has ADHD

I Have ADHD and My Child Has ADHD
Welcome to WW ADHD!

Read More: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2631569/

Debate continues about rates of separation and divorce of ADHD couples, but there is little debate that marital dissatisfaction tends to be a major factor among spouses affected by an ADHD partner.

ADHD people function differently on a cognitive level. They process information differently. They show love and often accept love quite differently. While this may be overlooked initially in a honeymoon period, it often eventually grates the nerves of the non-ADHD spouse. Frequently the non-ADHD spouse feels abandoned, left to manage the entire household alone.

Having children helps many couples bond, but for the spouse of an ADHD partner, it becomes a burden. Specific ADHD spousal tendencies such as the inability to complete tasks, be on time, maintain organization or cleanliness become severe irritants when an infant’s needs aren’t met.

Add an ADHD child to this mixture and the relationship becomes even more volatile. The two ADHD family members, for example, father and son, understand the others’ tendencies. While this may be fun to those two parties as they accept their habits without question, the ADHD child sometimes grows to adulthood with the same problems his ADHD parent has. It also tends to alienate the other spouse as she feels the males live in their own world.

The attributes of the ADHD spouse initially are enticing and fun; they are exciting, spontaneous, intelligent, creative, and think outside the box. This places the non-ADHD spouse in a predicament; their love is strained by the actions of their spouse. Realizing their spouse functions differently isn’t enough to quell the feelings of abandonment or unrequited love.

When it involves ADHD, psychologist William Pelham is one of the most prolific researchers around. Pelham and his colleague Dr. Brain Wymbs published a longitudinal study (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Vol 76(5), Oct 2008, 735-744.) that tracked 282 families with and 206 without ADHD children. They found that couples who have a child diagnosed as ADHD are almost twice as likely to divorce or become estranged compared to couples without an ADHD child. A simple dynamic is causal: ADHD children can be stressful for parents thus magnifying conflicts between spouses. ADHD children also have oppositional behaviors which increase stress at home.

“We have known for a long time that kids can be stressful for their parents. What we show is they can be really stressful and can lead to marital dissatisfaction and divorce,” said Pelham, who works at the State University of New York at Buffalo. “What it means is ADHD should not be treated without involving the parents in the treatment.”

The researchers found that parents with ADHD children tended to reach the point of divorce or separation faster than their peers. Parents of ADHD children are distinctly aware that battles over homework, chores, discipline are key stressors that provide further conflict between spouses. It is understandable that 22.7 percent for parents of kids with ADHD were divorced by the time the children were 8 years old as opposed to only 12.6 percent of the parents of non-ADHD children.

“Parents of children with ADHD report less marital satisfaction, fight more often, and use fewer positive and more negative verbalizations during child-rearing discussions than do parents of children without ADHD especially if the child also has conduct or oppositional problems,” Pelham and Wymbs noted in their paper.

The researchers discovered that regardless of whether parents had manageable or difficult children, if parents had an ADHD child they were three times as likely to be negative toward each other as parents who did not. Stress was up and patience was thin.

So, while the dynamics are difficult when an ADHD parent has an ADHD child and a non-ADHD spouse, they are not insurmountable; it often depends on the tolerance of the non-ADHD spouse. Having a regimen of behavior shaping, cognitive skill training, and organization also helps.

Does ADHD Mean I Have Less Attention?

Does ADHD Mean I Have Less Attention?
You’ll be surprised by the answer

It’s ADHD Awareness Month. Spread the word.

Read More: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml

ADHD key symptoms include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It is normal for all children to exhibit these behaviors, but for children with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe and occur more often. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a child must have symptoms for 6 or more months and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

But do children with ADHD really have less attention than their peers? Attention deficit is actually a misnomer of sorts; ADHD children do not have less attention or a ‘deficit’ of attention. Actually their attention is quite substantial, however their ability to direct it or manage it at will is very difficult.

Try to imagine this: four television stations playing in your mind at one time. A lot of information is pouring in, but it’s difficult for you to pay attention to any one thing for very long. That’s the typical mind of an ADHD person. Thus, their attention is not deficit, but it is fleeting; it’s directed quickly from one thing to another.

Think of it like this: you enter a cave with a flashlight (the flashlight will serve as a metaphor for attention). It’s very dark, but you very carefully shine the flashlight in the cave, directing it on the floor to carefully navigate. Your ADHD child enters the same cave with that same flashlight. He constantly shines it all over the cave as he walks forward. So, it’s clear, same flashlight (same attention), but his is scattered or diffused.

Now you know why he’ll walk through the living room time after time and bang his shin or knee on the same coffee table for years.

Now you know why, when you ask him to go to his bedroom, put on his pajamas, and get ready for bed, you find him sitting on his bed a half hour later playing a Game-boy. He processed the, “Go to your bedroom” part. His brain is not yet equipped to process multiple step directions. When that happens in school, it’s a mess.

But why can they play their Xbox or Play Station for hours on end? I literally have to yank the controller from my son’s hand to get him to come to dinner. A characteristic of ADHD is hyperfocus, the ability to tune out everything else and attend to only a particularly engaging stimulus. Video games use high intensity graphics and sound and are loaded with action. Your ADHD child’s mind is tuned for this type of stimulation. They can hyperfocus on this for hours on end. Unfortunately, your classroom teacher cannot compete on this level. As we’ve mentioned before, limit the use of high intensity video games.

Knowing your child’s mind is integral to understanding your child’s behavior. At times they may not respond to your demands and it creates a conflict, but it’s not due to defiance necessarily. It’s often due to the way they process or don’t process information. Knowing this can reduce your conflicts and improve your family life.

Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still in School Today

Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still in School Today
Get an answer from an occupational therapist
Read the full post at:
We’ve gotten many new friends on our FB page. We wanted to run this again for those who’ve missed it. Very good information.

Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist, wrote a blog post for the Washington Post. She asserts that the general trend of more seat work and less physical education and recess could be culprits.

What Causes ADHD?

What Causes ADHD?

After much research, the answer is…

 

Read More:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml

 

We’ve all heard that ADHD is caused by chemical imbalance. That’s really just a theory. ADHD may be related to a neurotransmitter called dopamine. After much research, it’s still impossible to determine if ADHD is caused by a malfunctioning or slow dopamine system.

How about genetics? Likely, but there’s no absolute certainty about a genetic link either because in some cases, no genetic link has been found.

Other research has indicated that smoking, the use of acetaminophen, or drinking during pregnancy, might be linked to ADHD in children.

The National Institute of Mental Health says:

“Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role. Like many other illnesses, ADHD probably results from a combination of factors. In addition to genetics, researchers are looking at possible environmental factors, and are studying how brain injuries, nutrition, and the social environment might contribute to ADHD.”

Some studies have indicated that children with ADHD have reduced brain mass or delayed maturation of certain areas of the brain. Recent research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicate that delayed brain maturation may be related to the underdevelopment of brain connections related to attention in ADHD children.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter. There is no certain cause of ADHD. It is likely to be caused by a variety of factors.

What do we do as parents, educators, and other concerned people if we don’t know the cause? One of the greatest conundrums in life is thinking that knowing the cause affects the outcome. As far as ADHD is concerned, knowing the cause won’t likely affect your outcomes; knowing that you smoked, used acetaminophen, were exposed to lead, or used alcohol during pregnancy will not change the fact that your child has ADHD.

You’ve got a variety of weapons against it in your arsenal ranging from medicine, to cognitive training, parental training, dietary change, behavioral training for your child, to exercise, and more.

No matter the cause, we know the brain can change and be changed through proper training. There is hope.

 

Can ADHD Meds Boost Grades?

Can ADHD Meds Boost Grades?
What the long-term data reveal may surprise you
Read More:
In June, the National Bureau of Economic Research published a study that examined ADHD medication usage over 11 years and the educational outcomes of nearly 4,000 students in Quebec. The researchers found that boys who took ADHD drugs actually performed worse in school than those with a similar number of symptoms who didn’t take meds.According to the Wall Street Journal, “The possibility that [medication] won’t help them [in school] needs to be acknowledged and needs to be closely monitored,” says economics professor Janet Currie, an author on the paper and director of the Center for Health & Wellbeing, a health policy institute at Princeton University. Kids may not get the right dose to see sustained benefits, or they may stop taking the medication because side effects or other drawbacks outweigh the benefits, she says.A central question puzzles those researching ADHD: If its drugs demonstrably improve attention, focus and self-control, why wouldn’t grades improve as well?The medication’s ability to improve concentration and attention may even backfire when it comes to studying.Martha Farah, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania who sits on the American Academy of Neurology committee that is drafting new treatment guidelines, recalls a student saying that after she takes her medication, she heads to the library. If she keeps her head down and studies, she gets very absorbed in her work and accomplishes a tremendous amount. But if a friend stops by, she becomes equally engrossed in the chat. Many students report they find themselves absorbed in cleaning their rooms rather than studying.The National Bureau of Economic Research is a non-profit organization without any agenda on ADHD.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/09/too-many-children-diagnosed-with-adhd/index.htm

Your Kid Might Be Taking an ADHD Drug He Doesn’t Need – Consumer Reports
www.consumerreports.org
Too many children are diagnosed with ADHD, Consumer Reports says. Find out why many kids may…

 

 

ADHD and Increased Risk for Substance Abuse

ADHD and Increased Risk for Substance Abuse
Fact or fiction?

Read More: http://www.uvm.edu/medicine/?Page=news&storyID=13651&category=comall

Research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry reports that children with ADHD may be at significant risk for later substance abuse.

More than 600 children were followed over eight years. Those children diagnosed with ADHD at baseline (average of 8.5 years), had significantly higher rates of substance regardless of their sex 6 to 8 years later compared with their age-matched peers who did not have ADHD.

“Medication for ADHD did not protect from, or contribute to, visible risk of substance use or SUD by adolescence,” write the investigators.

“We Need to Do Better…However, similar to managing high blood pressure or obesity, there are nonmedical things we can do to decrease the risk of a bad outcome,” said Dr. Molina, one of the study’s authors.

“As researchers and practitioners, we need to do a better job of helping parents and schools address these risk factors that are so common for children with ADHD.

This echoes previous research by doctors Robert Whelan and Hugh Garavan of the University of Vermont and a cohort of international researchers.

Their report published in the journal Nature Neuroscience (online April 29, 2012) helps answer whether particular brain patterns are caused by drug use or established before drug use. Professors Whelan and Garavan found that certain networks in some teenagers cause a higher risk for experimentation with drugs and alcohol – simply because their brains are wired differently making the teens more impulsive.

A teenager exposed to peer pressure regarding smoking a joint or drinking alcohol, provided parental boundaries and structure have been set, would refuse the offer whild the teenager with lesser orbitofrontal control would likely say, “Yeah, gimme, gimme, gimme!” says Garavan, “and this other kid is saying, ‘no, I’m not going to do that.’”