ADHD in the Classroom

Since 1 to 3 students in the average classroom has ADHD, it seemed like some attention should be drawn to it. We typically think of these students as the ones with so much energy, but there are other symptoms both the teacher and the parent can look for. Things like: making careless errors in math and writing, taking longer to read assignments, regularly losing homework, difficulty paying attention, focusing elsewhere when you talk to them, and blurting out answers. There seems to be much controversy now a days if ADHD truly exists or if it is being diagnosed, but what we do know is that it can be seen in a brain scan. Those with ADHD also have the odds stacked against them with 45% being suspended at least one time while in school, 25% having a serious learning disability, and 35% becoming drop outs. It seems imperative that we give them the tools to succeed in school.

adhd

Some easy interventions are:

  1. Physical breaks- they might need to sharpen their pencil a couple extra times or run the errands out of the class for the teacher, but their brains literally need the breaks to focus
  2. A timer- they might need to visually see the time they have left
  3. Less math Problems- Once they demonstrate the knowledge, they need to be able to move on to other learning
  4. Recorder for Writing- their brains often work way to fast for their hands and getting those thoughts onto paper can be confusing; they may need tools to simplify the process
  5. Voice to Text Software- another great tool to capture their ideas
  6. Breakdown Steps- If they can focus on one step at a time and know what comes next, they may be more likely to follow through; visuals are key; Something like a timeline can really help them accomplish the task
  7. Consistent Place for Homework- An easy step at home that will let their brains now it’s work time
  8. An Alternative Workstation in the Classroom-  to help with the wiggles and get them refocused; a standing station in  the back may be ideal
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mental health

Mental Health in Kids: What to Know

Did you know there is a whole day that focus’ on Mental health in kids? Today, Thursday, May 7, marks the 10th anniversary of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s, SAMHSA, National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day! Each year, more than 1,100 communities and 136 national organizations, including Federal programs, participate in this celebration. It is because mental health starts at birth. Mental health can be impacted by a variety of things, like genetics and environment. Here are some important facts about parents:

mental health

Note that depression is normal, but it can effect your little one’s mental health and overall development so get help. Talk to a doctor about your concerns. It is also normal for kids starting at birth to have social and emotional problems but talk to a doctor. The earlier you can get intervention the better. For these babies and children with behavioral health challenges the extra services and supports available to them can mean a possibility at demonstrating their remarkable resilience. By truly getting everyone healthy, it is possible for the whole family to lead richer, fuller lives.

mental health

These children tend to have:

  • Negative Feelings
  • Perform poorly in school
  • Have a harder time focusing
  • Lower self-worth
  • Later become involved in unhealthy lifestyle decisions.
  • However, when these children receive intervention services, they can learn skills to live a more advantageous life
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Learning disabilities

Learning Disabilities: Definitions & What to Know

Learning Disabilities are a disorder that is defined as a permanent problem that affects a person with average intelligence, in a way that he/she receives, stores, and processes information. There are physiological differences in those with learning disabilities, and this impacts their learning.

No one knows the exact cause of a learning disability. One widely accepted theory is that learning disabilities are a result of subtle disturbances in the brain structure and function. The experts, however, agree that learning disabilties can be caused by hereditary, complications during pregnancy and birth, along with incidents after birth, such as a head injury, or lead poisoning. An individual with a learning disability can also have other disabilities.

Some of the terminologies connected with having Learning Disabilties are listed below along with an example of the symptoms:

  • Dyslexia-letters or words can be written or pronounced backwards
  • Dyscalculia– difficulty learning to count by 2’s, 3’s, 5’s
  • Dysgraphia– difficulty writing and organizing ideas on paper
  • Dyspraxia– difficulty with fine motor skills
  • Auditory Processing Disorder– difficulty interpreting auditory information.
  • Visual Processing Disorder– difficulty interpreting visual information such as
    distinguishing between letters like h/n
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder– difficulty concentrating and focusing

Academic curriculum and environment can have a tremendous impact on determining if a child is at risk of becoming a child with learning disabilities (LD).

Learning disabilities

Curriculum factors:

  • School work is mismatched with uneven abilities
  • The child is taught at a level above what he can comprehend
  • The style of teaching does not match the child’s learning style

Because of these problems, students with LD become frustrated, they find it extremely hard to catch up. These difficulties can make a student give up and create behavior problems.

Some possible solutions to these problems:

  • Dictate essays
  • Read by listening to books on tape
  • Reduce the number of words or concepts the student must memorize
  • Teach memory tricks
  • Translate difficult text
  • Make concrete models of difficult concepts.

Modifications must be made in order to reduce the strain caused by these students difference in learning style.

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autism emotions brain

Autism, Empathy, and How the Brain Might Truly Work

As someone who is around a high-functioning Autistic child daily, it is easy to see that many of society’s current notions about the disorder, and how it effects the brain and empathy, might be incorrect. This interesting article was sent me that backed up some current feelings we have in this household.

Autism is thought to result from a deficit in the brain’s social region based on research and ideas starting in the 1980 called the “theory of mind” developed by Uta Frith, Simon Baron-Cohen, and Alan Leslie.

They found that autistic children are late to develop the ability to distinguish between what they know themselves and what others know—something that other children learn early on.

What if however, their perspective was just different? What if they were actually taking in so much information, it became difficult to separate and think about things from a different view point?

autism empathy brain

Nationally renowned neuroscientist and father of a high-functioning autistic boy, Henry Markram, is looking into how autistic children might have “mind blindness” (or a failure to take on different perspectives) but not actually lack understanding of others all together. Markhram’s colleague and another neuroscientist, Michael Merzenich, proposed that autism is caused by an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory neurons.

So Markram started his research at a circuitry level. They studied rats with autistic behaviors and used what we know about VPA drugs, like Depakote, to increase the odds of these specific rats. The networked VPA cells responded almost 2xs as strong as the normal cells. The cells had become hyper-connected. The rats infected were quicker to both frighten and learn. They also had a harder time forgetting because everything that might of given them fear (the room, the feeling, the smell) would re-trigger the same reaction. The VPA rats learn too quickly with too much irreversible fear.

Markram notes how this sounds more like his son as it does with our experiences of Autism. Depending on the child’s individual experiences and make up, being made of these hyperactive cells could explain a lot of different things we know about Autism.

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