Preventing Summer Brain Drain in Your ADHD Child – Vacations – ADHD

Summer vacation is almost upon us. You can tell because the number of field trips are increasing – teachers know that even students without Attention Deficit Disorder lose the ability to focus in the last couple of weeks of school, so why fight it?

For kids with ADHD, especially those who struggle with academics, summer vacation is a welcome relief from the grind of lessons. For parents, it’s a relief to be free of the need to nag the kids about homework. But that’s also a bad thing. Summer vacation will not only let everything your child learned dribble out his ears, but he’ll also get out of the learning mode. The first couple of weeks back to school is always hard for children, but especially for children with ADHD, and it will be here before you know it.

via Preventing Summer Brain Drain in Your ADHD Child – Vacations – ADHD.

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Help Make Your ADHD Child Resistant to Teasing – Social Skills – ADHD

All children are the target of teasing and name-calling at one point or another. Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD tend to encounter more of this than most children, due in part to their problem with interpreting social cues from other children and also as a result of some typical ADHD behavior.

Many adults will encourage a child to just “forget about it” when they encounter teasing, but its not that simple, especially for a child with ADHD. Their self-esteem may be constantly taking hits from adults who are annoyed by their behavior, so peer acceptance is probably more critical to their emotional well-being than that of a child who does not have a disorder. So its really important to get to the root of the cause for the teasing and help your child to find a constructive way to handle it.

via Help Make Your ADHD Child Resistant to Teasing – Social Skills – ADHD.

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What Not to Say to the Parent of a Child with ADHD

I was reluctant to put my son on any medication for his ADHD. In fact, I resisted the ADHD diagnosis altogether. “Couldn’t it be just that he’s a kinetic learner?” I asked the doctor hopefully. He stopped writing the prescription, put down his pen and said patiently, “Ms. Gray, you and your husband have ADHD and ADD respectively. You told me that your mother had ADHD and your stepson had it when he was younger. The chances of your son not having ADHD are much smaller than the chance that he does have it.”

So we went ahead with medication treatment, and I have to say it’s made a huge difference. It has been a useful tool in helping my son to focus and control his impulsive behavior, things that most other children don’t even have to think about. He gets grades that would be awesome for a kid without ADHD and he rarely struggles with his classwork and homework. I can’t remember the last time I got a call from his school or the afterschool program asking me to pick him up because he got into trouble.

There’s only one problem with him taking medication, and that’s the attitude of other people. I have no idea why some adults think that they have a moral imperative to educate me about the dangers of ADHD medication and point out that I really should be taking a different path with my son’s treatment.

The situation is akin to people who ask me if I’ve tried bee stings as a treatment for my Multiple Sclerosis. For some reason, they think that being stung by bees multiple times sounds like a more palatable treatment than the shot I do once a week. I’m always tempted to say, “You try it first and let me know how it works.”

I guess what really ticks me off about these questions is that they imply two things – my child is deliberately behaving badly and/or my husband and I are lazy, careless parents who just want to medicate their child into being a perfect Stepford child.

Q. “Couldn’t he do without it?”

A. Could he live without medication? Yes. This isn’t insulin. Would his quality of life be the same? Definitely not.

And to anyone who thinks that he “should” go without the medicine for some strange character building exercise – are you serious? Forcing my child to experience frustration during the learning process when there’s an alternative doesn’t seem like a character builder or an effective teaching tool. That’s like making someone eat chili with their hands, even though you have a spoon for them. What’s the point? All that would do is make him equate learning with frustration. Good way to encourage him to drop out of school at 16.

Maybe people who say this see the medication as some kind of crutch, but to me the ADHD medication is like the spoon for eating chili. You could do without it, but why? You can choose to call something a crutch or an aid; it’s all in the interpretation.

Also, ask any parent of a child with ADHD who has seen their child run into a busy street because their impulse control is non-existent if they think medication that gives their child that “speed bump” (my name for it) that the medication provides, the extra time to think before acting, is necessary.

Q. “Have you tried eliminating sugar/Red Dye #40/caffeine from his diet?”

A. 1) Yes, 2) Yes and 3) What do you think I feed my kid, anyway?

When my son was a baby, I actually made his baby food myself. He drank, and still mostly drinks, milk and water. For the most part we don’t allow soda or even juice, just water and milk. He doesn’t actually like candy, except for chocolate. We usually have to throw out his Halloween and Easter candy because it gets stale. We rarely eat junk food.

It’s not his diet. Really.

Q. “Have you tried exercise?”

A. Yes, we have. He jogs with me every morning. Yes, exercise may make a difference in his hyperactivity, but not a perceptible one (although it does seem to help with his mood). In fact, sometimes I think that exercise revs him up even more.

ADHD is not simply an excess of energy. If you take a child without ADHD and subject them to a long car ride, they’re going to be fidgety, but running around at a rest stop for ten minutes usually takes care of it. My child is fidgety five minutes after we finish jogging.

Q. “Maybe he’s watching too much television.”

A. No, he’s not. In fact, he’s a voracious reader. And how do you explain that I had ADHD as a child, since my parents severely limited our television viewing? My sister and I were outside most of our free time, riding our bikes, climbing trees and other non-electronic activities.

Since I’m a polite person, I patiently answer these questions instead of telling the questioner to get lost or asking why they think that my son’s mental health is any of their business. I know that in many cases, people mean well. But…please don’t. We get plenty of (solicited) advice from the medical professionals. We’re good.

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Improving Social Skills in Children with ADHD with Social Skills Builder

When I started to realize that my son's Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was having an impact on his social interactions, I considered social skills group therapy as a solution. Social skills group therapy helps children with ADHD or a disorder on the autism spectrum learn and practice social skills with other children.

I live in Northern California, right next to Berkeley, so I figured it would be easy to find a group. You can't throw a stone in Berkeley without hitting a therapist of some kind. But you could have knocked me over with a feather when I realized that there were only a couple of these groups in my area, and they met too far away from us to make using them feasible.

I read a few books, which gave me some ideas such as role-playing with him, to practice the correct interactions. But unfortunately my son just found role-playing kind of dumb, maybe because he was role-playing with me instead of another child. I was beginning to run out of methods.

via Improving Social Skills in Children with ADHD – Social Skills – ADHD.

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Decluttering My Desk: Avoiding ADHD Pitfalls

So recently I decided that I couldn’t live with the clutter on my tiny desk anymore. Here’s a reminder of what my desk looks like pre-de-clutter:

 

The first thing I did was to take everything out and put it in a single big pile. There’s a good reason for doing it this way instead of doing one surface at a time. That way all similar items are put away in one fell swoop instead of being handled a few times.

via Decluttering My Desk: Avoiding ADHD Pitfalls – Organization at Home – ADHD.

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Decluttering My Desk: How Did the Mess Get Here?

So, I was finally fed up with not being able to find anything on my desk. I keep throwing things on it that never leave, and since I have a very small desk area, it doesn’t take much in the way of neglect to make it look like this (the bottom part is the keyboard shelf):

via Decluttering My Desk: How Did the Mess Get Here? – Organization at Home – ADHD.

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How Vitamin D Affects Depression – Prevention – Depression

Two years ago, I spent nine months with sinus infections. I had one after another, and if I didn’t go to the doctor and get antibiotics, I got so sick that I would throw up. None of the doctors I saw could figure out why all of a sudden I was so prone to sinus infections. I saw an ear, nose and throat doctor and an infectious diseases doctor, as well as seeing almost every doctor and nurse practitioner at my GP’s practice. I had every test you can imagine. And no one could figure out what the problem was. Finally, when I was on one of my by now bi-weekly visits to my GP to get a prescription for antibiotics to fight the most recent infection, the nurse practitioner said, "Why don’t we check your Vitamin D level." Sure enough, I was extremely deficient. The standard range is 32-100 ng/mL. Mine was 20. I was put on prescription Vitamin D and voila! No more sinus infections.

via How Vitamin D Affects Depression – Prevention – Depression.

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Action Plan: Back to School Season with ADHD

Ah, summer. Is there any time of the year more dear to children’s hearts? Its bliss is only marred by what’s at the end of it – back to school. After months of nothing more strenuous than camp, children’s brains are just not ready for the rigors of the classroom and the structured format of the school day. The switching of gears is especially hard on children with ADHD. They often need time to get used to changes, so a little preparation is in order to keep from the first day of school being a rude shock.

via Action Plan: Back to School Season with ADHD – In School – ADHD.

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Natural Depression Treatments

Recently I was looking online for some information that family member needed about whether it was safe to take melatonin when you were on an antidepressant. I was pretty sure that they should not be taken at the same time. I groaned when I saw the answer that someone had posted to this particular question on a message board. The answer was, "Melatonin is herbal, so it’s safe to take it with anything."

Aaaaghh!

Herbs are considered safe by many people, under any circumstances, because they’re natural. But natural doesn’t automatically equal harmless. Almost anything natural can be toxic if not used appropriately. Sunlight is natural, but too much of it can give you a sunburn, or skin cancer. When I was a few weeks away from my wedding, I thought that I’d make sure I didn’t come down with a cold, so I took high doses of Vitamin C every day. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say that I spent a lot of time in the bathroom before I wised up and settled for taking a multivitamin instead.

via Natural Depression Treatments – Depression.

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