Friday, February 25, 2011

How do I tell my child about ADD (ADHA)? by Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D. and Patricia Quinn, M.D.

How do I tell my child about ADD (ADHD)?

Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D. and Patricia Quinn, M.D.

Many parents are concerned about "labeling" their child with ADHD. Other parents feel it's important to discuss ADD (ADHD) with their child, but don't know where to start or exactly what to say.
Parents face a difficult dilemma due to the negative image that many people hold about ADD (ADHD). But not telling your child has negative consequences too. Just talk to an adult who has gone a lifetime without understanding the cause of his or her struggles and you'll quickly understand the importance of knowing about ADD (ADHD) as early in life as possible.

Why is important for your child to know about ADD (ADHD)? 

(Click here to continue reading.)

Coping with ADHD Diagnosis by Brandi Valentine

As a parent or guardian, when your child was first diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, what were some of the first thoughts that came to mind and also, at the time your child was first diagnosed, what help, service or information would you have benefited most from?

By Brandi Valentine

That is the question that I asked of my readers in a recent Weekly ADDition. I'm not a professional writer but I tried to compile as much of it as I could so that I could share it with you.
As I read through the responses, the same words kept re-appearing. RELIEF, HOPE, SADNESS, FRUSTRATION AND IGNORANCE. Those who have a child diagnosed as ADD/ADHD have experienced them all.

Relief in knowing that there was a reason for their childs behavior and relief in knowing that the reason was a medical one, and not a result of something the parents had control over or were responsible for. It wasn't their parenting skills, they were not bad parents, nor was it the fault of a mother who felt that they were somehow responsible or had done something during pregnancy that caused their child. to be this way. It also gave many parents relief by knowing that they were not alone. For some, it even gave them insight as to how they behaved when they were a child.

Here are just a few examples of what readers had to say.

" Thank Goodness we found the problem. I was feeling very hopeless, as if my child was unruly by choice"

" Relief that there was a name for the way that my 16 year old son was acting and that he was not the only experiencing this."

" Relief, that there maybe help for him and those who have to live with him and guilt because my eldest child inherited dyslexia from me, and now my youngest had inherited ADHD from me."

" When my son was first diagnosed with ADHD it was both a relief and a disappointment. Being my first child, it was a relief to hear that there was something wrong, a reason why he didn't learn like other children and disappointment for not having a "normal" child."

"When my son was first diagnosed with ADHD, the first feeling was relief. Until that point, most people in our lives were convinced that all of our son's problems could be attributed to ineffective parenting skills."

" I honestly thought it was my fault and that I could have changed the outcome if only I had done something".

Very few comments were made about how hard or how easy it was to get a diagnosis for their child but again, most of the readers seemed to agree on another issue and that was the lack of support they received once their child had been diagnosed.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

ADHD Symptoms: How ADHD Differs in Boys & Girls by Mary Anne Dunkin

ADHD Symptoms: How ADHD Differs in Boys & Girls

Experts look at gender differences in the three types of ADHD.
By Mary Anne Dunkin
WebMD Feature

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Several years ago, neurology researcher Robert J. Melillo was preparing a presentation for a parent-teacher organization on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and its treatment. He began to recognize the symptoms he was reading about in his own elementary-school-age son. 
"He was hyperactive and impulsive," recalls Melillo. "His teachers came to us and said he was having a hard time focusing in school. He was easily distractible, very energetic, and a risk taker."
Melillo -- a chiropractor, author, and PhD candidate -- has since made it his life's work to better understand ADHD in order to help his own son as well as the growing number of other children diagnosed with ADHD (previously known as attention deficit disorder, or ADD).
The symptoms exhibited by his son -- hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors -- are perhaps the most visible symptoms of a problem that affects an estimated 8%-10% of school-age children. Parents often begin to suspect ADHD when they receive repeated calls or notes from their child's teacher saying he can't sit still or be quiet and his behavior is disrupting the class. And, yes, usually that child is a he.

ADHD Symptoms in Boys and Girls

"Boys are more likely to be diagnosed -- three boys to every girl," says Marjorie Montague, PhD, professor of special education at the University of Miami. "No one knows if it is more common in boys or just more likely to be diagnosed in them. It may just be that boys are referred more commonly by teachers," says Montague, whose research focuses on learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders.

It may also be, at least partly, because people tend to think of ADHD in terms of the most well-known symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity -- symptoms more often exhibited in boys. But ADHD in children can also take other forms, particularly in girls. Forgetfulness, being easily distracted, losing or misplacing things, disorganization, academic underachievement, poor follow-through with assignments or tasks, poor concentration, and poor attention to detail are otherADHD symptoms.
Girls with ADHD may be more likely to be inattentive than hyperactive or impulsive. That may mean they are more likely to be underdiagnosed with the disorder. 
If you suspect that your child may have ADHD, it's important to understand the different forms it may take. There are three types of the disorder, which are characterized by different symptoms. To be diagnosed with ADHD, a child must exhibit these symptoms in more than one setting, such as home and school.
(click here to continue reading)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

ADHD College Survival Tips by Marissa Kantor

ADHD College Survival Tips

Essential life skills to guarantee success for college students with ADHD ADD or learning disabilities.

John Muscarello had no trouble making the transition to college life, despite his severe attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD).
That's because the 20-year-old cultivated good habits while attending high school in Glen Head, New York. "I had an assignment pad where I wrote everything down," he explains. "I also had a big calendar on my bedroom wall. I wrote down upcoming papers and dates, so I always knew what I had going on. I would get home from sports, take a shower, eat dinner, take a pill, and then do all my work."
In high school, John handed in papers before they were due. "Teachers would help me revise them," he says, "and I'd hand them in again, when everyone else did." And he cultivated close relationships with faculty members - a strategy he continues at Pennsylvania's York College by e-mailing his professors at the beginning of each semester to introduce himself and explain his academic "issues." He got this idea from his mother, Mary, who always made it a point to meet with her son's teachers to give them a heads-up.
Of course, laughs Mary, "The fact that we owned a pastry shop and brought stuff to school didn't hurt either."
Things were different for David Burkhart, a 28-year-old graduate student. He had done well at the prep school he attended, where students woke up, ate, studied, and went to bed at prescribed times. Given the order imposed on him, no one even suspected that David had ADD, as well as dysgraphia.
But David's life unraveled as he began his freshman year at Auburn University.

(click here to continue reading)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nutrition, Diet, and Non-Drug ADHD Treatments by Carl Sherman, Ph.D.

A top ADHD expert explains the impact of nutrition, diet, vitamins, and other non-drug ADHD treatments.

You’ve heard that sugar causes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD ADHD), haven’t you? And didn’t you read somewhere that vitamins may work just as well as medication for ADHD treatment? These days, there's a tremendous amount of information — and misinformation — about non-drug ADHD treatments.
To separate fallacy from fact, ADDitude’s Carl Sherman, Ph.D., spoke about ADHD treatment with one of the nation’s top experts on ADHD, Andrew Adesman, M.D., chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Schneider Children’s Hospital in New Hyde Park, New York, and a member of the CHADD professional advisory board.

Is there a link between sugar and ADHD?

People blame sugar for all sorts of things. But there’s no reason to think that it causes ADHD or makes symptoms worse. Controlled studies — the ones that compare kids who are on and off sugar — haven’t found any link to attention or behavior in school-age children. In preschool children, there may be a weak association between sugar and ADHD-like symptoms. If parents feel that diet affects their preschooler’s behavior, it might make sense to try restricting sugar to see what happens.
Although I advise parents to consider limiting sweets for other reasons, including good nutrition and dental hygiene, I do not see this as an effective treatment for ADHD.

How about dyes and other food additives, or food allergies?

ADHD isn’t caused by an allergic reaction to food, or anything in food, including additives. The evidence to support elimination diets or tests for food sensitivities simply doesn’t exist. Although it would be nice if foods had fewer chemical additives and less artificial coloring, parents of children with ADHD should not let a general bias against “unnatural” food ingredients guide their approach to treating ADHD. Dietary interventions are difficult to impose and unlikely to bring any benefit.

On the positive side, can vitamins help control symptoms of ADHD?

(click here to continue reading)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Am I the Worst Parent Ever? by Keath Low

Am I the Worst Parent Ever?

by Keath Low
By , Guide

Question: Am I the Worst Parent Ever?
“Oh, I’m just so frustrated! I wish I could just come home and we could be a ‘normal’ family. I know 
that sounds bad but it’s true! Parenting a child with ADHD is hard frick’n work and some days I 
wonder if I’m the worst parent ever!” Forum Member
One of our ADD/ADHD Discussion Forum1 members wrote in after having a run of horrible days with 
her 8-year-old son. A single parent who works 50 hours a week, she has admitted on the forum that 
she feels exhausted and wants to know how to avoid falling into battles, arguments and power 
struggles with her son. “I just want to come home from work and have a good time with my son 
but by the time I get home (and his medication has worn off), it’s just a constant night of 
struggles,” she writes. The past two days have been the worst she explains, “Yesterday I cried 
about it for 3 hours. Today I put my fist through a wall while he was in the shower. I swear I am 
not a bad parent, even though that sounds terrible to do.” She has tried to spend quality “play” 
time with her son, but then he wants to play all night and avoid homework. “I know he’s only 8, 
but that boy can argue, justify and manipulate every directive I give him until he’s blue in the 
face. Some days, it’s easier to surrender to his strong will. The only thing that makes him happy 
is his Wii and TV and 100% attention all the time.”


I think you describe the challenge of parenting a child with ADHD perfectly. It can be “hard 
frick’n work!” It takes a tremendous amount of energy, patience, attention and creative 
parenting. As a single parent, you are doing this all on your own. To top it off, you are 
working 50 hours a week!
Try not to be so hard on yourself. You are exhausted. Everything is going to be harder 
when your energy is zapped. For any of us, when we are drained emotionally and physically 
it becomes impossible to be proactive and respond in the most effective way. We may 
engage in the battle rather than stepping back and avoiding the power struggles. And as you 
say, it becomes easier to surrender rather than maintain consistency, but obviously the 
surrendering ends up causing more problems in the long run. A child learns that no doesn’t 
really mean no and the way to get that no to change to a yes is to act out. In other words, 
it reinforces the negative behavior.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Best and Worst After-School Activities for Children with ADHD by D. Steven Ledingham

Best and worst after-school activities for children with ADHD

Best after-school activities for children with ADHD

Karate or tae kwon do These activities require intense mental and physical involvement so they tap into your child's need to immerse himself in an activity. They also provide positive role models, clear directions and rules, and peer interaction.

Scouting Scouting is perhaps one of the best activities currently available for boys and girls with ADHD. Scouting includes many of the elements that can help your child to focus, including lots of physical stimulation, highly structured activities that make use of various learning styles, consistent peer interaction, close adult supervision, competition, and, most of all, fun. To really make scouting effective, consider becoming active in the troop and helping the scout leader get training in how to work with children who have ADHD.

Team sports Baseball, basketball, football, soccer — nearly any team sport that's highly physical and requires total involvement can be a good choice for your child. Team sports offer him a chance to learn social skills and be around peer models, but make sure he finds a sport he's really interested in because learning the rules, taking turns, and cooperating with other kids can be difficult.

Drama clubs or acting Being able to act out different characters and scenes is a terrific outlet for a child with ADHD.

Model building, carving, woodworking, or mechanical activities Children with ADHD often love to solve problems or puzzles. Building models or making things out of wood or metal will help your child learn how to turn his ideas into concrete reality. Successfully completing a project where he has something solid and visible to show for it can be extremely rewarding to your child.

Swimming Swimming requires physical effort and concentration, plus it's fun.

Art classes or music Art and music are two great ways to help your child express himself. Just remember that it's not about how well he draws, sings, or plays an instrument; the most important thing is that he gets a chance to say something about himself.

Worst after-school activities for children with ADHD

Excessive television Current medical studies show that viewing a lot of violence and advertisements on television can hurt a child with ADHD. These children are ill-equipped to choose which messages to pay attention to. Also, watching TV is a passive, isolated activity that takes time away from developing important learning skills and social interactions, and from the physical exercise that children need to grow into healthy adults.

Video games Research shows that these games reduce baseline brain activity in children with ADHD, causing them to continue to seek the reward of doing well in the game to compensate for the diminished dopamine levels in their brains that give them a sense of well-being. This is why some children with ADHD become addicted to video games and have trouble turning them off.

Games with long waiting periods Any game or activity that involves long periods of inactivity, or a long sequence of steps to complete, can be tough for children with ADHD who just don't have the patience necessary to succeed at these games. Common examples include standing in long lines at amusement parks, complex card and board games, or physically demanding games where your child is on one of many teams who must wait long periods of time before starting to play. If your child wants to play a game that involves waiting in line or sitting patiently for long stretches, have snacks and small items that he can fidget with (a ball or toy) available, and be prepared to play a talking game or tell a story.

What to think about when choosing activities for your child

The best after-school activities for a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) make good use of his time, teach essential life skills, are educational, use surplus energy, are fun, and make him feel good about himself. Activities that are interesting to children with ADHD tend to have the following characteristics. Understanding these concepts will help you pick activities that are fun and beneficial for your child:

Novelty Children with ADHD constantly crave novelty. Everything they see and hear seems equally valuable and deserves the same amount of attention. These children have difficulty isolating single events from all the others in their environment. Many try to compensate for this barrage of stimulation by focusing on the loudest, most exciting, or most novel event. For instance, if you watch an ADHD child channel surf, he'll stop only for the next gunshot, explosion, or attention-grabbing commercial. Activities that are fast-paced or very stimulating are usually best.

Immersion Children with ADHD tend to think ahistorically, meaning they have a poor sense of past and future and primarily focus on the here and now. For instance, if your child had a great week at school but had a problem ten minutes ago, he'll focus on the problem and the bad feelings associated with it and may be unable to remember the successful week he's had. Conversely, if his week was filled with frustrations and failures yet ended with a success, your child will focus on the good feelings, making it difficult for him to learn from his mistakes. So the best activities are ones that require or allow for your child's complete physical and mental immersion. The more intense the activity, the better your child's chance of sustaining the attention necessary to complete the activity.

Reward Many experts believe that children with ADHD experience Reward Deficiency Syndrome. This is because they don't produce enough of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which works to satisfy a person's natural need to feel safe and rewarded. Without enough dopamine, these children may feel more driven than other children to obtain recognition, praise, and reward. Activities that provide frequent praise and short-term recognition in the form of awards or healthy treats tend to be the most gratifying for them.

Peer modeling Gaining acceptance and a sense of belonging are powerful motivators for children with ADHD. If your child has a history of getting into trouble and has made few friends, he may start to believe that maintaining friendships is impossible. Children learn to get along with their peers by watching each other and seeing how to look, talk, and act. If your child has no peer role models, he may become isolated and withdrawn. Team and group activities can help build your child's self-esteem and social development.

Adult support Children with ADHD are often clumsy and may have trouble verbalizing their thoughts, controlling anger or moods, reading and following directions, and behaving appropriately. This can keep them out of many activities. As a way to cover up for these problems they may isolate themselves, refuse to play, or have angry outbursts. One way around this is to have a knowledgeable adult nearby who can offer support and positive encouragement. Choose activities overseen by someone who can praise and support your child, and provide him with the reassurance he needs to face new challenges.

Physical activity A hyperactive child feels driven to keep some part of his body moving all the time, so let him do it! Physical activities are essential to your child's well being and also help his brain "normalize" in a way that allows him to focus, remain calm, and stay on task.

Fun Children with ADHD will usually need more time completing homework and household tasks than non-ADHD children; they may even feel like they need to work all the time just to keep up while other kids get to have fun. But it's important for their happiness and well being to have a balance of work and fun in their lives. Don't make the mistake of denying your child fun activities until his work is done. Sign him up for a weekly class or activity and make having some fun a priority in his life.

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