Chronic School Stress and Children

Stress is defined by the American Psychological Association as; any uncomfortable "emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioralSchool Stress changes. Some stress can be beneficial for our wellbeing; however, when stressors become chronic this is when it can affect our health.” Chronic stress occurs when everyday stressors are ignored or poorly managed, as well as exposure to a traumatic event. Chronic stress can lead to anxiety and depression as well as risk for heart disease or abuse of addictive substances.  

A recent article by ADDitude Magazine; Why School Stress is Devastating for Our Children, explored how chronic stress is affecting children especially ones with ADHD and learning disabilities (LD).  This is troubling because chronic stress can affect our brains and how we handle situations. It can also prevent us from reaching our...

Do sleep problems cause ADHD?

Shutterstock 1023149644We all know that if you don’t get enough quality sleep you will not have good attention. ADDitudeMag.com recently hosted a webinar about how sleep affects the ADHD brain and the two experts, Joel Nigg, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Super, M.D., gave some helpful insight on the subject. Here are some pinpoints from the discussion:

While it’s unusual for sleep to be the route cause of ADHD, it’s very common for children with ADHD to have sleep problems. The sleep problems are secondary to ADHD but it can make symptoms of ADHD worse. You get a vicious cycle where sleep can make ADHD worse and ADHD can make sleep more difficult.

A recent study showed that adolescents with less sleep did tend to have less attention, were more oppositional, and had sluggish cognitive tempo. However, it’s important to note that poor sleep is not associated with hyperactivity. When poor attention and irritability are...

Activity 2 for School-Age children: Classic Board Games

Big Board GamesPlay Attention improves the cognitive skills that lay the foundation for strong Executive Functioning, but many of our clients would like to know other activities they can do outside of their Play Attention sessions to improve cognitive skills even more.  In the coming weeks, we'll be giving specific examples of such activities divided into age category.  This week, we're going to talk about school-age children:

Activity 2 for School-Age children: Classic Board Games

Areas developed: Various

Though perhaps not enjoying the widespread appeal they once did, board games used to be a staple of entertainment for many families... and for good reason!  Classic board games combine fun with learning, while simultaneously strengthening family bonds through interaction.  In today's Coach's Corner, I'd like to mention a few classic board games from my childhood that are...

Activity 1 for Teens: Journaling

Play Attention improves the cognitive skills that lay the foundation for strong Executive Functioning, but many of our clients would like to know other activities they can do outside of their Play Attention sessions to improve cognitive skills Child 360791 640even more.  In the coming weeks, we'll be giving specific examples of such activities divided into age category.  This week, we're going to talk about teens.

Activity 1 for Teens: Journaling
Areas developed: Self-Reflection

Every Play Attention session ends with the Journal, which is an electronic opportunity for self-reflection.  Asking questions like, "what I learned" and "what I'm proud of" prompts an individual to internally evaluate the experience they just had, which in turn facilitates a better understanding of the experience they had.  Part of the process of learning certain cognitive skills is understanding how...

6 Exercises to improve communication with your ADHD Child

Large TennisChildren often come home from school worn out and stressed from the long day.  Since children with ADHD often struggle with the cognitive skills necessary for academic and social success, they are especially susceptible to feeling stressed after school. This can make it difficult to communicate with your child in the evening and to get homework done in a timely manner.

Harvard Health states that exercise helps us to relax by reducing stress hormones, producing endorphins, improving self-confidence, and distracting the mind from our daily struggles. If you block out some time for your child to get exercise after school, you may see improvements in their behavior and their ability to follow through with tasks at home. ADDitudemag.com suggests that individual sports are more effective for children with attention challenges. The list includes:

  • Tennis
  • Swimming
  • Martial...

ADHD and Exaggerated Emotions

Children with ADHD often exhibit exaggerated emotions.  How can we help them develop emotional control?

Smiley 2979107 1280Recently an article in Additude magazine; Exaggerated Emotions: How and Why ADHD Triggers Intense Feelings, focused on reasons why this happens.

When looking at ADHD, it is often a lack of executive functioning that makes it difficult for individuals to complete mental functions and self-regulate their behavior. Emotional control is part of executive function and for one to be able to control their emotions they must be able to; pay attention to the situation, process the situation, control their impulsivity and respond appropriately. For individuals with ADHD this is almost impossible; thus, we often see the emotional outburst or exaggerated emotions as a result.

Thomas Brown, Ph.D., explains why ADHD sparks such intense anger, frustration, and hurt, “Challenges with...