ADHD What You Need to Know

ADHD, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Distorter occurs in about 3-7% of school aged children. It effects their ability to progress social, occupational, or academically. It also must be present before the age of 7 and occur in at least to different settings. Although the name suggests inattention, many children with ADHD have long attention spans toward activities they find interesting.

What is ADHD

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Distorter is more commonly  diagnosed in males than females. 30-50% of those diagnosed continue to have issues into adulthood. Common symptoms include:

  • Struggles to follow directions
  • Easily distracted
  • Seems to not be listening
  • Daydreaming
  • Problems processing information quickly and accurately
  • Problems maintaining focus
  • Becomes bored easily
  • Troubles completing and/or turning in assignments

May also include: Fidgeting, talking nonstop, impulsive, not able to sit still, difficulty doing quiet tasks, not able to wait turn, emotional, touching and playing with everything in sight

ADHD symptoms

The cause of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Distorter is unknown. It is believed to be a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Many of the genes effected seem to be connected to the dopamine neurotransmitters. Environmental factors can include alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, lead and insecticide exposure, premature and/or low birth weight and brain injury.

ADHD what to know

If these symptoms sound like your child, talk to your pediatrician. Medication and therapy can be used as treatment.

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Neurological Differences: The Strength and Weakness

neurological differences

Neurological Differences: The Strength and Weakness

Neurological differences, just like any differences, are part of nature. Sometimes children are born with these neurological differences, like Tourette’s Syndrome, epilepsy, or autism, but sometimes they come later in life.

I recently came across this video from a neurologist who had a very interesting point of view, perhaps a more optimistic one. In his video, he states how neurological differences are important. He also states how there is a possible positive side effect to the difference.

It is important to look not just simply to think in terms of defects and problems, but in different ways of doing things, in different ways of functioning. -Oliver Sacks

It is important still to explore the differences. Help the brain wherever you can, but also excepting one another and realizing the power of one’s differences in truly a beautiful thing.

Some children may require various amounts of therapy and accommodations. Schooling may have to be modified, or it may be their strength. Each child, just like their brain is very unique. It is important to assess the child. Figure out what exactly they need. It is also important to help them find a strength and praise them. No one always wants to feel down and out. The brain is a mysteriously magical thing that has many capabilities. As he talked about in the video, it can compensate for so much. Sometimes children and adults need help finding the right resources to get their brains functioning on the next level, but it’s amazing what the body is capable of doing on its own.

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Executive Functioning: The Why and What of Its Importance

Executive functioning literally rules our days. It is the part of our brain that allows us to remember directions, know what needs to be done before we can leave, and helps us stay safe by evaluating potential dangers. Many children can have a delay in developing this region of their brains. Even many adult can be effected by not being as skilled in executive functioning. As with most delays and shortcomings, it is best to become aware of the issue. Evaluate where or what parts of Executive Functioning are particularly difficult, and then come up with the game plan on how to be successful. Here is online test for adults I found, but you can imagine from it some of the same child sized questions.

Executive Functioning Impacts:

  • Time Management: Constantly running late and losing track of time both fall under this category
  • Regulation of Attention: Easily distracted or getting too involved in one thing and not being able to move on
  • Impulse Control: Evaluating whether the environment or certain actions in the environment are safe
  • Organization: keeping things where they belong, throwing out other things, and being ale to re-find certain items all take energy from the brain
  • Working Memory: Also known as short-term memory that allows us to recall important information
  • Emotional Control: Even being able to keep feelings in check falls into executive functioning
  • Flexible thinking: Being able to roll with the changes that life throws at them
  • Task initiation: Being able to redirect the brain into a new task
  • Self-monitoring: knowing how to regulate behavior in order to accommodate their current social situation

Things that can help:

  1. Sticky notes, a calendar, or whatever is going to help them remember each of their tasks…but don’t overfill it with information, keep it simple and to the point
  2. Create environments where they can be successful. Do they need a quiet chair? A wiggly seat? It is best also to keep it consistent. Patterns will help give their brains clues about what needs to be occurring.
  3. If the child is impulsively speaking out of turn, have them write notes instead to share later. Redirect their needs to be satisfied more appropriately.
  4. Create an organization system. Yes this probably mean the parent is doing a lot of the work at first, but skill building can start small and then get bigger. Remember big tasks take a lot of practice.
  5. Patience is probably key when it comes to their memories. You will undoubtedly feel like you’ve said the same thing many times. Taking notes and putting visual enforcers for them can help.
  6. A dramatic kid can also take patience, but teaching them how to check-in with their own emotions can help them in the long term. Things like ‘mindful’ practices may also really help to strengthen their emotional balance.
  7. Flexible thinking can be hard for all of us, but life gives us lots of opportunity to practice this skill. Let them learn it, but try to set them up for success. A good nights sleep and a full belly can go a long way.
  8. Give them a specific starting point for their new task. Help ease them into it. They may need stepping stones because they can’t break down the task into it’s smaller steps on their own. For example, homework requires you grab a pencil, get the homework, find a seat, read directions, and then begin. Breaking the 1 step direction of ‘get homework’ into those 5 steps may really help the child out.
  9. Help your child become self-aware by talking to them about their actions in a neutral way. This can be done while they are in the process of doing it, at the end of the day, or probably best yet before different activities require something special of them.

By OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site. http://cnx.org/content/col11496/1.6/, Jun 19, 2013., CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30148119

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Social Thinking: How to Improve It

Social thinking can be a really hard thing for people of all ages, but kids can start learning it at a young age. Here are some ideas and tips for you to get the ball rolling at home or school:

  • Thoughts and Feelings– Everyone has thoughts and feelings. Making children aware of their own thoughts and feelings can be a good first step. After that, try and get them to imagine what others might feel like. ‘Sarah’s crayon broke. She might be ____.’ Making them aware of them self and others makes life easier in the long haul.
  • Group Plan– When doing an activity, there is normally a group plan. It may be spoken or unspoken. It maybe as simple as we are all going to get the mail or play a game. Every activity has unspoken rules. If a child is having difficulty, it may be important to brainstorm the normally unspoken rules to make sure they fully understand the plan before being held accountable. Once everyone understands the group plan, then the child can be reminded to stick to it.
  • Body in the Group– Groups occur throughout the day. If your body is wandering, you are no longer part of the group. The child may need reminders to rejoin the group.
  • Thinking with the Eyes- People tend to think about what they are looking at (of course this isn’t always true for all kids), but if the child is ready for it ask them to engage visually in the social thinking of the group.
  • Whole body Listening– This of course includes having your body in the group and your eyes engaged, but also thinking about what the rest of your body should be doing. Probably semi-quiet hands and feet that are also pointed toward the person speaking. Body language is so important.
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Intervention for OCD obsessive-conpulssive disorder

Intervention for OCD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Intervention for OCD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, starts with knowing the root cause. OCD stems from anxiety taking over part of a person’s life. Often this is thought of as someone with Mysophobia (a fear of germs), and them over cleaning their hands until the point that they are raw, but it can be more than just a physical routine. Anxieties can stem from anything and therefore an individual can create OCD routines of all shapes and sizes over their abnormally large fears of any daily task.

OCD effects both boys and girls equally although boys are often diagnosed earlier than girls. It has been observed in children as young as 3 years of age. Often proper diagnosis of OCD takes many years to aquire. In the U.S., approximately 3.3 million people have OCD, of which 0.3 to 1% of pediatric population and 2% of adult population. OCD is a brain disorder that may have genetic components. It also is believed to be effected by low serotonin levels and is possibly effected by strep.

Children with OCD will constantly be stuck in a state of fight or flight due to their fears. This is one of the first warning signs you can see. They might also have routines that help them cope with this behavior. When the routines are abnormal and the worry is effecting the child’s school work and friendships, it is a good time to seek a medical professionals help.

student

Intervention for OCD treatments normally include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT (recognize obsessive thoughts and behaviors and then use anxiety techniques)
  • Exposure Response Prevention, EX/RP (teaches to relearn to process fear more appropriately and then find better responses to coping with it)
  • Family Counseling (to provide everyone tools and knowledge to cope and understand)
  • School Counseling (to help in the school setting as needed)
  • Parent Training (to provide encouragement and tools to motivate their children to change; specific examples include: modeling, scaffolding, differential attention)
  • Medication (to balance serotonin)
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