How Exercise Helps Reduce ADHD Symptoms

Healthcentral https://www.healthcentral.com/article/exercise-reduces-adhd-symptoms

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According to a number of recent studies, exercise, especially if it’s aerobic, can reduce symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Researchers are still working to identify the exact causes of ADHD, but it is generally thought to be caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain.

Scientists think that ADHD symptoms are caused by a deficiency in the chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine, which “play essential roles in thinking and attention,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Stimulant medications are effective because they increase these chemicals, therefore reducing ADHD symptoms and increasing an individual’s ability to focus. Exercise increases dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels in the brain, which means exercise can have the same effect on the brain as stimulant medications.

In recent years, a number of studies have backed up the idea that exercise helps decrease ADHD symptoms.

study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology in 2015 looked specifically at the effects of aerobic exercise on children with ADHD. Children were enrolled in a before-school exercise program for 12 weeks. Parents and teachers provided ratings of ADHD symptoms, including inattentionhyperactivity, and impulsivity as well as ratings for oppositional behavior, moodiness, and social interactions. At the end of the trial, researchers noted reduced impairment at school and at home. Betsy Hoza, the lead researcher believes the study showed that before-school exercise could be a way of managing ADHD symptoms.

study published in Current Psychiatry Reports indicated that sustained exercise programs benefited children with ADHD, specifically by enhancing neural growth and development, and improving cognitive and behavioral functioning. Executive functioning skills, which are often difficult for people with ADHD, were found to improve after exercise.

Another study assigned some students to a nine-month after school physical activity program. Other students were placed on a waitlist as a control group. The researchers found that students who actively participated in the physical activity program had better results on cognitive performance and had better brain function on tasks requiring executive function skills.

Dr. John Ratey, M.D., the author of “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” has advocated for exercise as a supplemental treatment for ADHD. Dr. Ratey discussed the study with Medscape Medical News and reported there have also been research in Taiwan and China supporting exercise for children with ADHD.

The study from China also found that balance training might be of benefit. Dr. Ratey explains that exercise increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels, which in turn decrease ADHD symptoms. “It also raises serotonin and all these other factors in the brain that really make for a nice recipe for an exercise pill, if we had such a thing,” Dr. Ratey said.

Besides improving cognitive functioning and executive functioning skills, exercise helps by:

  • Decreasing restless energy
  • Lowering stress levels
  • Improving concentration

In the studies, researchers mostly used aerobic exercises, such as running, cycling, and using elliptical machines, because this type of activity is known to increase the neurotransmitters in the brain.

Yoga might also help. In a review of studies, yoga was found to be effective as a supplemental or alternative therapy, with similar results as biofeedback or relaxation training for those with ADHD.

One of the major differences between exercise and medication in treating and managing ADHD symptoms is that the benefits from exercise are short-lived. It is recommended that a person continues to exercise to maintain benefits, and unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to stop what you are doing every hour or two to engage in aerobic exercise. However, building exercise into your everyday routine at a time that works for you can help to keep you consistent.

Is Your Child with ADHD Misbehaving or Is it Sensory Overload?

HealthCentral

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The holiday season is approaching. That means, lights, music, parties, family gathering, shopping trips. All the excitement surrounding the holidays equates to sensory overload in many children. For children with ADHD, sensory overload can spell disaster.

Poor behavior vs. sensory overload

You might be aware that your child has a hard time focusing or becomes more hyperactive when in places where there is a lot of activity and stimulation. But overstimulation has been associated with a host of other behavioral issues. The North Shore Pediatric Therapy center explains that, due to sensory overload, children might show the following behaviors:

  • Irritability
  • Inability to focus on concentrate
  • Temper tantrums
  • Overly hyperactive
  • Overly impulsive
  • Moving from one activity to another
  • Shuts down and avoids interacting with others

Reactions to sensory overload are as varied as the children themselves. Some might act out, others might turn inward and shy away from any social interaction. When you start looking at your child’s challenging behaviors and seeing the frustration or pain behind them, you can look for solutions rather than becoming frustrated and upset yourself.

What causes sensory overload?

Children with ADHD are often hypersensitive – they have a difficult time processing some sensory experiences. Loud noises, bright lights and high levels of activity can commonly bring on sensory overload but there are many other stimuli that can cause problems. Your child might be alright if one or two high stimulus things are going on at one time but during the holidays these add up quickly, causing your child to become overwhelmed. The following are situations that might cause a child with hypersensitivities discomfort:

  • Loud noises, buzzing noises, banging noises, loud talking or environments with noise coming from multiple sources
  • Bright lights, flashing or blinking lights
  • High activity levels
  • Smells of certain foods, strong aromas or smells of multiple foods at once
  • Texture of certain foods
  • Being touched
  • People being too close or bumping into other people
  • The feel of certain clothing including rough textured clothing, clothing with tags or seams that irritate the skin

Thanksgiving, which traditionally kicks off our holiday season, can be the start of a month long “overstimulation” event.

Be proactive to help your child manage overstimulation

There are a number of ways you can help your child better manage overstimulation during the holiday season:

Talk about what to expect. Before heading to any holiday event, talk to your child about what to expect, including what time you will be arriving and what time you expect to leave. Let him or her know what will happen during the event.

Provide a safe, quiet area. Whether you are in your home or a relative’s home, look for an area your child can retreat to when things become overwhelming. (In your home it could be your child’s bedroom, in a relative’s house you could ask your host if there is an area you can set aside for your child.) You might want to pack a backpack with a few items from home your child can play with alone.

Bring along food you know your child will eat. If your child has food sensitivities, pack food you know he will like. Hunger can add to irritability and behavior issues.

Let friends and relatives know if your child doesn’t like being hugged. Some families are “huggers” and don’t understand when someone avoids their hug. They may see your child as being rude. Let them know in advance that his preference is to simply say hello.

Think about other triggers that might causes your child to feel overwhelmed. Coming up with ideas and solutions to make the holiday event more bearable for your child will help everyone have a better time.

For more information on sensory difficulties:

What is Sensory Processing?

Sensory Processing Disorder: Managing Sensory Issues in Children with ADHD During the Holidays

Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral TherapyEssential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.

Helping Children With ADHD Beat Boredom

HealthCentral

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If you have children with ADHD you probably know that summer brings on a new set of problems. One is boredom. Children with ADHD tend to become bored quicker than those without ADHD. When boredom strikes, children with ADHD often act impulsively, make risky decisions or seek high-stimulus activities — and this can get them into trouble.

Why are children with ADHD more prone to boredom?

There have been a few studies looking at the correlation between ADHD traits and boredom. In the first study, researchers found that people who get bored easily are more likely to exhibit symptoms of ADHD, both in attention deficits and hyperactivity. The second study came up with similar results: those prone to boredom had increased symptoms of ADHD and depression as well as faring poorly on sustained-attention measures.

In the book Driven to Distraction by Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey, the authors list 20 criteria for diagnosing ADHD. The seventh item is “an intolerance for boredom.” Dr. Daniel Amen, in his book Reclaim Your Brain, explains that some individuals with ADHD have low activity in their prefrontal cortex. These people might seek out high-stimulus, risky or engaging activities because these increase the activity in the brain and actually help them to calm down. They seek activities that will jolt their brain out of the lethargy it feels during times of boredom.  They physically have “intolerance to boredom.”

For many children with ADHD, the boredom of the long summer days can lead to misbehaviors, accidents or creative thinking. By preparing for and managing boredom you can help your child enjoy the summer months.

Tips for managing boredom in children with ADHD

Provide structure and routine. You might be tempted to forego the routine since they just ended a school year that was highly structured, but routine actually decreases chances of getting bored. Structure and planned activities give your child something to do.

Incorporate movement into every day. Children with ADHD need to get up and move around. Try to start each day with exercise, even if it is only for 10 or 15 minutes. This helps get your child’s brain ready for the day. If you notice your child getting bored, play some music and dance. If your child is spending most of the day at home, plan for active play at least once every two hours.

Use your child’s interests as the inspiration for activities. Try to plan for your child to spend time each day pursuing his passion. If your children are younger, think about the activities that grab and hold their interest. For older children, find camps, clubs or classes that further their knowledge about the topic or allow them to build skills.

Create a boredom-beating box. Fill a box with different types of items: art and craft supplies, musical instruments and fascinating books. Take out the box for limited times to help keep the items interesting. You might take it out at a certain time of day or save it for when your child appears to be bored.

Look for variety in activities. Summer is a great time to explore different things and some children haven’t any idea what they are interested in doing. Search out community activities or plan short trips that will give your children new and interesting experiences.

Go outside. It’s great to be active outdoors; however, even during quiet activities, such as reading or playing on a tablet or phone, being outdoors helps to reduce ADHD symptoms.

See more helpful articles:

20 Ideas to Keep Children With ADHD Busy During the Summer

Creating a Summer Schedule for Children With ADHD

Adults With ADHD: Following Through on Summer Projects

Is Your Child with ADHD Misbehaving or Is it Sensory Overload?

Healthcentral.com

CJXviNAUMpbHGBW.jpg?1447253208
Credit: Thinkstock

The holiday season is approaching. That means, lights, music, parties, family gathering, shopping trips. All the excitement surrounding the holidays equates to sensory overload in many children. For children with ADHD, sensory overload can spell disaster.

Poor behavior vs. sensory overload

You might be aware that your child has a hard time focusing or becomes more hyperactive when in places where there is a lot of activity and stimulation. But overstimulation has been associated with a host of other behavioral issues. The North Shore Pediatric Therapy center explains that, due to sensory overload, children might show the following behaviors:

  • Irritability
  • Inability to focus on concentrate
  • Temper tantrums
  • Overly hyperactive
  • Overly impulsive
  • Moving from one activity to another
  • Shuts down and avoids interacting with others

Reactions to sensory overload are as varied as the children themselves. Some might act out, others might turn inward and shy away from any social interaction. When you start looking at your child’s challenging behaviors and seeing the frustration or pain behind them, you can look for solutions rather than becoming frustrated and upset yourself.

What causes sensory overload?

Children with ADHD are often hypersensitive – they have a difficult time processing some sensory experiences. Loud noises, bright lights and high levels of activity can commonly bring on sensory overload but there are many other stimuli that can cause problems. Your child might be alright if one or two high stimulus things are going on at one time but during the holidays these add up quickly, causing your child to become overwhelmed. The following are situations that might cause a child with hypersensitivities discomfort:

  • Loud noises, buzzing noises, banging noises, loud talking or environments with noise coming from multiple sources
  • Bright lights, flashing or blinking lights
  • High activity levels
  • Smells of certain foods, strong aromas or smells of multiple foods at once
  • Texture of certain foods
  • Being touched
  • People being too close or bumping into other people
  • The feel of certain clothing including rough textured clothing, clothing with tags or seams that irritate the skin

Thanksgiving, which traditionally kicks off our holiday season, can be the start of a month long “overstimulation” event.

Be proactive to help your child manage overstimulation

There are a number of ways you can help your child better manage overstimulation during the holiday season:

Talk about what to expect. Before heading to any holiday event, talk to your child about what to expect, including what time you will be arriving and what time you expect to leave. Let him or her know what will happen during the event.

Provide a safe, quiet area. Whether you are in your home or a relative’s home, look for an area your child can retreat to when things become overwhelming. (In your home it could be your child’s bedroom, in a relative’s house you could ask your host if there is an area you can set aside for your child.) You might want to pack a backpack with a few items from home your child can play with alone.

Bring along food you know your child will eat. If your child has food sensitivities, pack food you know he will like. Hunger can add to irritability and behavior issues.

Let friends and relatives know if your child doesn’t like being hugged. Some families are “huggers” and don’t understand when someone avoids their hug. They may see your child as being rude. Let them know in advance that his preference is to simply say hello.

Think about other triggers that might causes your child to feel overwhelmed. Coming up with ideas and solutions to make the holiday event more bearable for your child will help everyone have a better time.

For more information on sensory difficulties:

What is Sensory Processing?

Sensory Processing Disorder: Managing Sensory Issues in Children with ADHD During the Holidays

Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral TherapyEssential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.

Things Parents Of Children With ADHD Wish Someone Had Told Them

HealthCentral

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Parenting a child with ADHD isn’t always easy. Because every child with ADHD is unique and comes with a different set of challenges, there isn’t a roadmap to tell you what to do. Every day, it seems, you are faced with a new set of trials to overcome. When you finally think you have control of one issue, a different one pops up.

The following are six things parents of children with ADHD wish that someone had told them when their child was diagnosed.

You are the expert and the advocate

When your child is diagnosed with a medical condition, you might expect doctors to understand how the condition impacts everyday life. But not every doctor understands ADHD.

Some doctors might diagnose based on a few questions, and some might suggest medication without a thorough evaluation. Some might not understand that ADHD is more than just the major symptoms. While doctors today are more knowledgeable about ADHD than 10 or 20 years ago, you as the parent still need to be the expert.

Read everything you can about ADHD and how symptoms manifest in children. Read the pros and cons of medication and other treatment methods. If your doctor can’t provide answers, ask for a referral to a specialist. As the parent of a child with ADHD, it isn’t enough to rely on others for answers — you need to seek them out.

Your child needs an advocate

Children with ADHD are often seen as lazy. They are frequently immature for their age, and they may need extra assistance or accommodations in school to help them succeed. Some children may need extra help navigating social situations.

When you have a child with ADHD, your job of parent extends to the role of advocate. You might need to regularly meet with teachers, attend IEP or Section 504 meetings, discuss treatments with doctors, explain your child’s behavior to classmates’ parents, and work to find social settings where your child feels comfortable. In each of these situations, you are the parent and the advocate. By acting as both, you can make sure your child has every chance of success.

You should be on the lookout for other conditions

ADHD rarely travels alone. Learning disabilitiesanxiety, and depression are common coexisting conditions.

Sometimes symptoms or challenges from these conditions overlap, and it is hard to know which condition is at the root of some behaviors. Your child has the best chance at success in life with an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

It’s worth your while to know the major symptoms of conditions that are associated with ADHD. That way, if you have a concern, you can immediately bring it to the attention of your child’s doctor or school and have it addressed.

Schools don’t always agree with your accommodation requests

To you, it might seem like common sense that your child needs extra time for tests, an aide to help him stay focused, that he not be denied recess to complete work, or any other accommodation you believe will help. But schools don’t always agree.

Meetings about ADHD accommodations can sometimes become contentious, and sometimes parents end up frustrated with the process. It helps to understand the laws regarding accommodations and commonly-used accommodations in other schools.

As a parent of a child with ADHD, you should become especially familiar with the laws governing IEPs and Section 504. It is going to be up to you to request evaluations and meetings, and to advocate for your child every step of the way.

Your child is going to be frustrating, but he is still just a child

There are going to be days when you are pretty sure your child is being purposely defiant. You might think, “she must have heard me and is clearly ignoring me,” or “he can’t possibly have forgotten to do that, he is being stubborn.” If your child has ADHD, he probably isn’t being defiant on purpose.

She probably isn’t “acting out to get your attention.” Your child isn’t trying to be ADHD. Your child has ADHD.

Children who are impulsiveforgetfuleasily distracted, and can’t sit still for very long have symptoms of ADHD.

As a parent, it’s your job to love your child anyway. It’s your job to remember that as frustrating as it can get, your child is still just a child. He or she still wants your acceptance. In one way, it isn’t any different than any other child; love is what your child needs most.

You should take time to celebrate your child

It’s easy to get caught up in the constant cycle of trying to improve your child’s behavior, improve grades, to get your child to listen when spoken to, and get along with siblings.

When you have a child with ADHD, there is always something that can be improved. But don’t forget to celebrate your child’s successes, no matter how small, and his or her unique way of looking at the world. Take the time to enjoy your child’s sense of humor, enthusiasm for life, endless curiosity, and boundless energy.

Emotional Regulation for Kids With ADHD

Edutopia

Six brain-based strategies to help kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder build confidence, engagement, and focus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 11 percent of children—that’s 6.4 million kids—in the United States ages 4–17 were reported by parents to have a diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder as of 2011. Dr. Russell Barkley, clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina and an expert on ADHD, says that this disorder is primarily about emotional regulation and self-control and is not just about inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Emotional regulation, which is foundational to social, emotional, and academic success, is underdeveloped in these young people. Barkley emphasizes that ADHD arises from neurogenetic roots and is not a knowledge or intelligence disorder.

This year, I am working with the Indianapolis Public Schools and co-teaching in a fifth- and sixth-grade classroom. In class, I have students who are significantly challenged in terms of paying attention, focusing, and regulating their emotions. Each day I see how they struggle emotionally, socially, and academically, and observe how they can begin to wither away in deep feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty if they don’t have a sense of purpose and connection. Below are a few brain-aligned strategies that we’re implementing in the district. I have found that these strategies, which focus on the strengths and interests of these struggling students, can have a profoundly positive impact.

1. Whole Class Discussions: It’s very unsettling when students see another student struggle and do not understand why that student is struggling. At the beginning of the year or grading period—or simply when behaviors and learning as a class go awry—we have the opportunity to address the challenges and strengths of various learning and emotional disorders with the entire class. Invisible disabilities are often met with fear and anger from other students because of the unknown or a simple misunderstanding of their classmates’ emotional, social, or academic challenges. Just as some of us need glasses to see clearly or take insulin to regulate blood glucose levels, others need an oxygenated supply of movement, brain intervals, or space and time to regulate after a 10- to 20-minute instructional lesson. Holding class discussions about the neurodiversity of human brains helps all students to understand each other.

2. It Takes a Village: Bringing in adult community members who have experienced ADHD, anxiety, or other attentional challenges is a wonderful way for students to feel connected and hopeful about their future and plans for success. When I invited young adults who have been challenged with these disorders into our classroom, they shared their personal and professional journeys, which deepened the sense of community, understanding, and acceptance of all learning styles and challenges. A motto that needs to be embraced is: “Everyone gets what they need.”

3. I Noticed: Homemade “I Noticed” sheets are great tools for reinforcing all that is going well moment by moment even when you’ve had moments of adversity. Students who struggle with attention and focus need this constant feedback throughout the day to help them track how they are learning and to know that the teacher is present and aware. All students love homemade sheets—they show that the teacher has taken time and effort to help them feel and be successful.

4. Brain Stories: Children and adolescents who struggle to pay attention sometimes don’t feel accepted or successful in school. Yet, beneath many of the challenges of neurodiversity are facets of your students that are not always shared during content instruction—personal stories that highlight these students’ strengths, gifts, and feelings.

Psychiatrist Dan Seigel says, “What is shareable is bearable, and what you can name, you can tame.” A great way to recognize these students is to have them share “brain stories”—personal experiences, strengths, interests, and feelings. You can further engage them by giving them a choice as to whether they want to create their stories in narrative or picture form. Younger students may begin to showcase their lives through pictures and artwork; older students may want to add sections, revise current categories, and change the format as they see their life journeys unfolding. Brain stories can be created throughout the semester or academic year and posted on a weekly or monthly timeline.

Much like an Individualized Education Program, the brain story will accompany each student throughout his or her school years, though you can invite students to modify, rework, and share their stories over time.

5. Homework for the Teacher: One of the best brain-aligned strategies I have implemented with all ages is doing homework for them on the weekend. Each Friday, I select a couple of students who are in need of affirmation and who have struggled to meet a few of their goals. I usually know their interests and likes, and so I ask, “I have some time this weekend and would love to learn for you! What would you like for me to research this weekend? What would you like to know more about? I will bring my work to you on Monday!” The excitement, the feelings of connection are palpable, and each time, I see more effort from these students than I did the weeks prior to this invitation.

6. Chunking: Chunking or condensing assignments and instructional time with frequent feedback is an excellent way to build on small successes. Students diagnosed with attention challenges may require a smaller list of tasks to complete within a structured, shorter period of time. As an example, I’m working with a second-grade student diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety who was literally throwing tantrums and disrupting the class several times a day when he began feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and unsuccessful. We have now chunked his assignments and written those on colored sticky notes. When he arrives in the morning, he has two assignments to complete that are clear and easy to accomplish. When he completes those two assignments, he is given a brain break for a few minutes and then moves on to the next task. We have seen amazing improvement with his ability to pay attention and to remain focused and inspired with these shortened assignments and tasks. We will continue to  build and lengthen these assignments over a period of time with the renewal of time spent on something he loves and enjoys.

Brain Intervals

Brain intervals have two purposes. They provide novelty and and increase interest when implemented after a student has worked on an assignment for a period of time. A young person’s attention span is limited, and following a period of direct instruction and independent work, students with ADHD need to step away with a brain interval that is interesting and engaging. Here are some ideas to support brain intervals:

  • Reading a favorite book/comic
  • Drawing or designing art for the classroom or main office
  • Computer time and/or watching motivational videos
  • Playing a brain-aligned video program such as Brain Pop

The Mindful Child

The New York Times

Photo

CreditSam Kalda
It’s long been known that meditation helps children feel calmer, but new research is helping quantify its benefits for elementary school-age children. A 2015 study found that fourth- and fifth-grade students who participated in a four-month meditation program showed improvements in executive functions like cognitive control, working memory, cognitive flexibility — and better math grades. A study published recently in the journal Mindfulness found similar improvements in mathematics in fifth graders with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. And a study of elementary school children in Korea showed that eight weeks of meditation lowered aggression, social anxiety and stress levels.

These investigations, along with a review published in March that combed the developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience literature, illustrate how meditative practices have the potential to actually change the structure and function of the brain in ways that foster academic success.

Fundamental principles of neuroscience suggest that meditation can have its greatest impact on cognition when the brain is in its earliest stages of development.

This is because the brain develops connections in prefrontal circuits at its fastest rate in childhood. It is this extra plasticity that creates the potential for meditation to have greater impact on executive functioning in children. Although meditation may benefit adults more in terms of stress reduction or physical rejuvenation, its lasting effects on things like sustained attention and cognitive control are significant but ultimately less robust.

clinical study published in 2011 in The Journal of Child and Family Studies demonstrates this concept superbly. The research design allowed adults and children to be compared directly since they were enrolled in the same mindfulness meditation program and assessed identically. Children between 8 and 12 who had A.D.H.D. diagnoses, along with parents, were enrolled in an eight-week mindfulness-training program. The results showed that mindfulness meditation significantly improved attention and impulse control in both groups, but the improvements were considerably more robust in the children.

Outside of the lab, many parents report on the benefits of early meditation. Heather Maurer of Vienna, Va., who was trained in transcendental meditation, leads her 9-year-old daughter, Daisy, through various visualization techniques and focused breathing exercises three nights a week, and says her daughter has become noticeably better at self-regulating her emotions, a sign of improved cognitive control. “When Daisy is upset, she will sit herself down and concentrate on her breathing until she is refocused,” Ms. Maurer said.

Amanda Simmons, a mother who runs her own meditation studio in Los Angeles, has seen similar improvements in her 11-year-old son, Jacob, who is on the autism spectrum. Jacob also has A.D.H.D. and bipolar disorder, but Ms. Simmons said many of his symptoms have diminished since he began daily meditation and mantra chants six months ago. “The meditation seems to act like a ‘hard reboot’ for his brain, almost instantly resolving mood swings or lessening anger,” Ms. Simmons said. She believes it has enabled him to take a lower dose of Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug used to treat bipolar disorder.

Whether children are on medication or not, meditation can help instill self-control and an ability to focus. Perhaps encouraging meditation and mind-body practices will come to be recognized as being as essential to smart parenting as teaching your child to work hard, eat healthfully and exercise regularly.

To learn some meditation techniques you can teach your child, readThree Ways for Children to Try Meditation at Home.

RAISING A CHILD WITH ADHD: A CANDID AND OPEN DISCUSSION

Fusion

4/28/2016 6:30 pm – 07:30 pm

Presentation: Raising A Child With ADHD: A Candid & Open Discussion: This wonderful presentation will look at ADHD from a strength based perspective and will focus on: the old versus the new understanding of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); the many roles that parent(s) of children with ADHD assume at home, at school and in the community; parenting stress research and ADHD; and recommended support for parents. The reported myths versus the facts of ADHD will also be discussed as will one mother’s personal story.

Cynthia Keefe, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in conducting comprehensive psych education and AD/HD evaluations as well as providing individual, family and group therapy services and parent coaching support. Prior to joining The Southfield Center, Dr. Keefe held various training positions in both public and private settings including: Green Chimneys in Brewster, NY, Four Winds Hospital in Katonah, NY, Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, NY and Andrus (Mental Health Division) in White Plains, NY. She is experienced in numerous evidence-based treatments including cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT). Dr. Keefe received her Master’s degree in Applied Psychology from Fairfield University and her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University, C.W. Post.

Join other parents and community members for this evening of learning in a casual atmosphere.

*Prior to the event, there will be a 30 minute Open House at 6:00pm, for anyone who is interested!

Register Here

Event Location:
Fusion Greenwich Campus
66 Gatehouse Road,
Stamford, CT 06902

Is It Really ADHD or Just Immaturity?

The New York Times

Photo

CreditGetty Images

New research shows that the youngest students in a classroom are more likely to be given a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than the oldest. The findings raise questions about how we regard those wiggly children who just can’t seem to sit still – and who also happen to be the youngest in their class.

Researchers in Taiwan looked at data from 378,881 children ages 4 to 17 and found that students born in August, the cut-off month for school entry in that country, were more likely to be given diagnoses of A.D.H.D. than students born in September. The children born in September would have missed the previous year’s cut-off date for school entry, and thus had nearly a full extra year to mature before entering school. The findings were published Thursday in The Journal of Pediatrics.

While few dispute that A.D.H.D. is a legitimate disability that can impede a child’s personal and school success and that treatment can be effective, “our findings emphasize the importance of considering the age of a child within a grade when diagnosing A.D.H.D. and prescribing medication for treating A.D.H.D.,” the authors concluded. Dr. Mu-Hong Chen, a member of the department of psychiatry at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan and the lead author of the study, hopes that a better understanding of the data linking relative age at school entry to an A.D.H.D. diagnosis will encourage parents, teachers and clinicians to give the youngest children in a grade enough time and help to allow them to prove their ability.

Other research has shown similar results. An earlier study in the United States, for example, found that roughly 8.4 percent of children born in the month before their state’s cutoff date for kindergarten eligibility are given A.D.H.D. diagnoses, compared to 5.1 percent of children born in the month immediately afterward.

So how should we interpret data showing different rates of A.D.H.D. diagnosis among populations of children who are similar in everything other than relative age at school entry? Cautiously, says Michael Manos, the head of Cleveland Clinic Children’sA.D.H.D. Center for Evaluation and Treatment.

“The kind of attention that you have to use in school is the kind of attention that’s difficult for a person with A.D.H.D.,” so attention deficits are more readily recognized in a classroom situation, he said. “If the diagnoses are performed accurately, then some kids are getting noticed sooner than other kids,” he said. If younger children with A.D.H.D. are starting treatment earlier because they’re starting school earlier, then that’s a good thing.

But that presumes the diagnosis is an accurate one. “When you take people who are in a 15-minute pediatric primary care physician’s office visit, and the mother describes hyperactivity and the physician automatically prescribes medication, that’s a problem,” Dr. Manos said. Many parents who describe concerns about children’s behavior “aren’t describing developmentally inappropriate behavior,” he said. “They’re describing behavior that does not meet certain expectations,” and that can be the issue in classroom settings as well, where some students are older than others.

“I think the link between age at school entry and A.D.H.D. diagnoses are not really about being young or ‘not ready,’” said Daphna Bassok, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education who has studied kindergarten readiness, by email. “Instead, I think they are about a child’srelative age. “

“In early childhood classrooms, where a month or two age difference can make a big difference,” she continued, “ teachers perceive the youngest children in the class as having more attention struggles, and behavioral struggles, than the older children, irrespective of the child’s actual age.” When those teachers flag those struggles, the path to a diagnosis is paved, but the diagnosis itself still depends on the expertise of the clinician.

Stephen Hinshaw, co-author of “A.D.H.D: What Everyone Needs to Know,” said that early recognition of attention deficits “could be an opportunity for early intervention for all kindergartners, as our society struggles to balance achievement gaps, ever earlier and stronger achievement expectations, and high student-teacher ratios in Transitional K programs, as well as for evidence-based intervention for 4-year-olds with bona fide A.D.H.D.”

“On the other hand, if this is the ticket for overzealous labeling of kids, mainly boys, who are simply needing more time to mature, that’s not what we need,” Dr. Hinshaw said.

Fidgeting May Help Students With ADHD Learn

Health Day

Study found symptoms increased when kids faced more challenging memory tasks

depressed boy

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 29, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Students who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often get into trouble for fidgeting in the classroom, but that fidgeting may help them learn, new research suggests.

“The prevailing view has been and continues to be that hyperactivity is a core deficit in ADHD,” said study author Michael Kofler, an assistant professor of psychology at Florida State University in Tallahassee. “When we think of it as a deficit, we are saying it’s a bad thing and it’s interfering [with schoolwork]. Our work has been challenging that thought.”

Kofler’s team gave 25 boys and girls with ADHD, aged 8 to 12, a series of working memory tasks, observing the amount of fidgeting as the children did them. In one set, the students had to remember where a series of dots appeared on a screen and then reorder them mentally, based on color. They had to then remember a series of numbers and letters, mentally reordering them, numbers first from smallest to biggest, then the letters.

In the easier test of dots on a screen, the children knew in advance how many items they would have to remember. In the more difficult test, the amount of items they would have to remember was random so they didn’t know in advance how many items they would have to remember.

The children fidgeted during all the tests, but fidgeted about 25 percent more when they couldn’t predict how many items they would have to remember. The tests were alike in every other way, so Kofler said this shows that demands on working memory affect the level of hyperactivity in ADHD students.

The fidgeting may increase “physiological arousal,” Kofler speculated, similar to what stimulant medication does for a child with the disorder. But the study didn’t prove that point, he said, and the researchers don’t know if the kids were fidgeting on purpose.

The study was published online this month in the Journal of Attention Disorders.

The findings echo some from a study published last year from the University of California, Davis. Researchers there looked at 26 children with ADHD and 18 without. They found that when the children with ADHD fidgeted more, they did better on a test. Fidgeting among kids without ADHD had no effect on test performance.

Dr. Trevor Resnick, a pediatric neurologist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, said, “We’ve known [intuitively] for many years that kids with ADHD often do better when they are fidgeting.”

However, Resnick said, the interpretation of why they fidgeted more has not been proven. “We don’t know whether they do it to help or because they are anxious, or whether it is helping,” he said.

Kofler agreed, saying his team next plans research “to link the movement with the arousal and the performance, to see if we are right about that is why the movement is helpful.”

Meanwhile, until more is known, students with ADHD should not have free rein to do what they want in the classroom, Kofler said.

But the new study does suggest that teachers and parents should focus less on whether a child is sitting still and more on whether the work is getting done, regardless of the movement level, he said.

More information

To learn more about ADHD, visit U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Michael Kofler, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor, psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee; Trevor Resnick, M.D., pediatric neurologist, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Miami; Feb. 22, 2016, Journal of Attention Disorders