A Journey in the Understanding of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Well… this is ADHD awareness month. I had no idea! In acknowledgement of this fact I am structuring this post with videos embedded and links. I narrowed this post down into four sections with resources in each category and there is one closing section. i tried to include resources for both adults and children My hope is that this blog post will give you some basic strategies for functioning during the day and maintaining health:

  • SYMPTOMS
  • STRATEGIES TO HELP WITH ORGANIZATION: ROUTINES
  • MAINTAINING FOCUS AND SELF SOOTHING
  • SLEEP ISSUES AND RESOURCES THAT MAY HELP
  • CLOSING STATEMENT

SYMPTOMS

ADDITUDE MAGAZINE is published on a regular basis throughout the year. A link to the signs and symptoms of this disorder are found. This particular article is quite detailed and the magazine extremely informative.

https://www.additudemag.com/what-are-the-symptoms-of-adhd/?gclid=CjwKCAjwlovtBRBrEiwAG3XJ-yPMIrV5H1w1cnI0Id297yfLAJjIP283Vj0LztNQpX1dhGtQKNi0wRoClUIQAvD_BwE

ORGANIZE KIDS AND ADULTS EACH DAY

Finding out that a family member has ADHD or ADD depending on the type is overwhelming as it is challenging to find out to whom you can turn to get help. For starters you can do something at home


Create routines! Consistency and predictability is helpful http://Kid Routine Printables- http://girlinthegarage.net/2014/08/ki…

Are you an adult who suspects that you have the symptoms or perhaps a known diagnosis of ADHD or ADD. Organizational strategies are imperative for you as well. Take a look at this blog post https://psychcentral.com/blog/9-tips-for-creating-a-routine-for-adults-with-adhd/

MAINTAINING FOCUS AND SELF SOOTHING

Problems at home getting your child or you as an adult having trouble calming yourself down to focus. Help is available with some resources available at this link https://www.amazon.com/s?k=fidget+items+for+adhd&gclid=CjwKCAjwlovtBRBrEiwAG3XJ-0Me8Bqv5d4H_ybXopbLbd3fDDQVTuFuuiBdbvW-6Ns4tqhoQHcWYxoCF58QAvD_BwE&hvadid=213954863905&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9067609&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t2&hvqmt=e&hvrand=14588173531033197546&hvtargid=kwd-295234017326&hydadcr=4120_9338763&tag=googhydr-20&ref=pd_sl_ldzonec9t_e

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

SLEEP HYGIENE: KIDS AND ADULTS

MEDITATION:

Some may complain that they do not have the patience to listen to them; but guided meditation apps abound as an aid to get to sleep – for adults and kids. Here are kid friendly scripts that can be loaded at no charge https://www.greenchildmagazine.com/free-meditation-guided-relaxation-scripts-kids/

For adults and children: you can try a free app url=https://www.calm.com/&utm_medium=paid&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=1603556317+61837906998+378906119265&utm_term=calm%20app&utm_content=CjwKCAjwlovtBRBrEiwAG3XJ-yd86OQDr3R6uCveBMjQjm5KP22M4p2cjdLo18M_KjqoYvjL8BNuDhoC_VsQAvD_BwE&gclid=CjwKCAjwlovtBRBrEiwAG3XJ-yd86OQDr3R6uCveBMjQjm5KP22M4p2cjdLo18M_KjqoYvjL8BNuDhoC_VsQAvD_BwE

Taken from https://www.tuck.com/sleep-resources/ here is a list of materials that may be of help

Sleep Health and Wellness

Sleep Medicine

Sleep Products

Mattress Guides

CLOSING RESOURCE

In closing: The organization CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD http://www.chadd,org provides a wealth of information including support groups – local chapters around the country which are amazingly helpful. Good luck!

Teaching Emotions to Those Who May Not Express Them Easily

There is a valued importance for social learning. “Social Interaction surrounds us as we move through our lives. Even when we aren’t actively engaged in interactions, we’re still exposed to it” according to Anna Vagin, PhD in her a book (see link at the bottom of this post) which outlines a curriculum that she developed using online videos to help teach social learning. Highly recommended for clinicians, teachers and even parents. It’s outline is written in very straight forward and presented in non- clinical terms

https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/lego-and-emotions/

Almost every child falls in love with Thomas the Tank Engine. With Black Friday coming next month and holiday shopping – you may want to consider adding this to the list if you have a child unable to do so. Research shows that the first emotions to develop are “happy”, “sad” and “mad” . Look at just this one character and the link below to a Thomas book that may be useful as a part of your home library

SAD

HAPPY

MAD

https://ttte.fandom.com/wiki/How_do_You_Feel,_Thomas%3F?file=HowDoYouFeel,Thomas%3F.png

In her text (see link below), Dr. Vagin lists these as helpful resources to help children learn about emotions

Emoti Plush toys are dolls with moveable facial features (mouth, eyebrows) that allow children to be shown and themselves demonstrates changing feelings www.emoti-plush.com

Kimochis-characters that can be used as a playful way to help children identify and express feelings www.kimochis.com

For older children-why not act out more lengthy scenarios with materials from those described at this link https://www.smartfelttoys.com/ . The house may be a particularly good one for acting out a scene that may be of meaning for your individual family.

Reference

Anna Vagin Ph.D text: YouCue Feelings:Using Online Videos for Social Learning:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=youcue+feelings&i=stripbooks&gclid=CjwKCAjwxOvsBRAjEiwAuY7L8uy2mC8MOJL6o2am_o69lw8oQq04qSWVYkH_sRWZMkaMTCz1n6izmBoCYUQQAvD_BwE&hvadid=241626664073&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9067609&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=3578291734155525261&hvtargid=kwd-263732575109&hydadcr=20777_10173310&tag=googhydr-20&ref=pd_sl_6hadcfm4ei_e

How Do you Define and Describe Sensory Processing Deficits in a Meaningful Way, What Can You Do About Them and How Do You Help Others to Understand?:

I personally have a dislike of labels being put on people, but on some level, they do enable us to understand what we see or experience ourselves. The area of Sensory Processing Disorder is not that commonplace of a condition and not as familiar as the “flu” or “stomach virus” for example. So the importance of understanding and then conveying to others that which you know about the condition has meaning. It allows for the potential of gaining the understanding of others around you and empowers others to be more empathic of the needs of those with SPD.

The below five systems are typically those that we learned about in school… keep reading – there are additional ones:

Image result for sensory systems
In addition to these five, we have proprioception (sensation of muscles and joints of the body), vestibular (sense of head movement), interoception (these provide the sensations that tell us how we feel-hungry, tired, need to feel the bathroom and the following link explains this new sensory system in more detail) https://www.facebook.com/STARInstituteforSPD/videos/1540367686031185/

In a visual manner, we can take a look at the neuroanatomy of the disorder which adds greater understanding of the fact that there is a REAL reason for why the behaviors exist and what may cause disturbances in self-regulation.

***Many thanks to Bill Nasen who is the author of a book being published in October 2019 https://www.amazon.com/Autism-Discussion-Anxiety-Shutdowns-Meltdowns/dp/178592804X/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=bill+nason&qid=1553451610&s=gateway&sr=8-3&fbclid=IwAR2SU44pGAPb3sZLBqTGrNWJbNXKIs0tSToC1C9aPPLxnLJgAlkPzXzCFg0 for providing these valuable photos on Facebook’s The Autism Discussion Page @AutismDiscussionPage there is a book series and a wealth of information on this topic. there.

There are also resources available that may be of assistance for adults or children:

For Children With SPD:

The book called The Out of Sync Child helps identify strategies to help children. Potentially, strategies can be useful are related in this book, https://www.amazon.com/Out-Sync-Child-Recognizing-Processing/dp/0399531653

The STAR Institute gives both professionals and parents a number of resources such as home activities and books connected with the topic of SPD. Another helpful resource if you navigate here is one about how to handle dental visits! https://www.spdstar.org/basic/resources-for-parents-and-professionals

Checklist of symptoms in children who have SPD https://www.spdstar.org/basic/symptoms-checklist

Sensory Items that may be helpful https://inyardproducts.com/blogs/blog/117708293-15-amazing-sensory-products-for-your-child There are many more available online.

Issues at school? If these are potentially going to come up or are reported in the upcoming school conferences in your child’s fall meeting consider navigation to this site beforehand https://childmind.org/article/school-success-kit-kids-sensory-processing-issues/

Adults with SPD:

Knowledge and awareness don’t stop after you grow up. To help others find resources the guide at this link might be helpful. http://www.sensoryprocessing.info/books-adults.html

Sensory items that may be helpful :https://harkla.co/blogs/special-needs/sensory-products-adults

Assistance is available at the STAR INSTITUTE as well as resources pertaining to treatment https://www.spdstar.org/landing-page/treatment and readings connected with this condition are available for adults if you peruse this link https://www.spdstar.org/basic/resources-for-parents-and-professionals

Children or Adults with SPD

** this above link to me appears to be related to anyone with sensory issues and not just with the ASD or SPD diagnoses

Self Regulation
https://funandfunction.com/goals/sensory-regulation.html?fun_age=58%2C1478&utm_medium=search&fbclid=IwAR0x_jcpBP6aaY66IH4doN-X1qVMriGZUKwJM_WyfJnvKlRsgYffQlWpsSA
*this link has toys and other items to use in self regulation

What Can You Do When the Screen Goes Off??”

The blog post https://blog.asha.org/2019/05/13/the-best-toys-for-slps-are-the-toys-that-do-nothing/ that recently appeared in the ASHA Leader resonates with me. I put individual links to which the author refers at the bottom of this post, So does the book “If You Give a Mouse an iPhone (of course available on Amazon in print). Here is a link to the story being read https://youtu.be/S3nVxt6_lAc If you can’t get it otherwise and are not familiar with it – the mouse is given an iPhone.. he uses it (viewing something that is not defined) and is unaware of his surroundings on a trip. The battery of the phone runs out and the result is a tantrum.

With the new American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines for Family Media Plans that i talked about in a recent post, I really did not give any suggestions for the way to redirect your child when the screen is not visible. That led to this post and the awareness that there are so many things that you can do together. Indeed as my colleague wrote you can really be “the best toy!”.

First of all… TURN THEM OFF

This video is presented to parents with children on the Autism Spectrum but these principles can apply to so many of us that i wanted to share it with you

Here are some fun seasonal activities that you can do at home that will be enjoyable and something to do with your family, especially as the days get shorter.

SEASONAL FUN:

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Carving a pumpkin-adapting the activity for your child based on their abilities an differences in managing textures in a child-friendly way https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX6OIhqFZ8o

Write a story about carving the pumpkin, use educational workbooks that are consistent with your child’s age https://elemental.medium.com/bring-back-handwriting-its-good-for-your-brain-fe22fe6c81d2

Read stories (actual books) together. For adults look at the book The Reading Brain https://elemental.medium.com/bring-back-handwriting-its-good-for-your-brain-fe22fe6c81d2 which gives you documentation of how doing so, as opposed to reading books electronically with your children can affect your brain!

RAINY DAY/WEEKEND OR VACATION DAYS:

Instead of going out for a Halloween costume try to make it yourself. Here is something that i found that might be of help in terms of suggestions: https://www.mother.ly/child/no-sew-diy-kids-halloween-costumes?rebelltitem=9#rebelltitem9

Here is a youtube video to consider: Paper-Mache

SUNNY/FUN DAYS: STEP OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR:

In NYC https://www.nybg.org/learn/kids-teens/childrens-gardening-program/ and in other cities there are most likely similar types of activities. Novel – if this is not the case is using an avocado seed, allowing it to sprout roots by soaking it in water and allowing it to grow in a pot with dirt. Plant peas from the pods or use others from fruits.

INEXPENSIVE AND SPECIFIC FOR THOSE WITH SENSORY CHALLENGES:

https://www.fatbraintoys.com/special_needs/sensory_integration_disorder.cfm

Leisure time and family functioning in families living with autism spectrum disorder (Autism, August 2019, Vol. 23 Iss. 6)

Additional Resources from Emily Ferjencik May 13, 2019 ASHA LEADER article which I put a link to at the beginning of this post are worth a look!


WOW: THE BIG DIFFERENCE A TINY TOY CAN MAKE
INEXPENSIVE, READILY AVAILABLE OBJECTS CAN TURN TREATMENT INTO A FLOOD OF SENSORY EXPERIENCES FOR THE YOUNGEST OF CLIENTS.
TACKLE FOUNDATIONAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS—NOT JUST LANGUAGE SKILLS—BY INFUSING FUN AND SILLINESS INTO SESSIONS.

Preparation for Schooling After EI, If not Done Already

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Parents tell me that in one moment the services are all in your home and you have a coordinator keeping very close touch with you who will organize everything. Parents are being required to research schools that may be available to children when they prepare to research appropriate programs for their child. Now it is all up to you and it is “so overwhelming. This appears to be the biggest cooncern during the transition period. I’l hear from parents that “I am so stressed about this right now…how will I ever find a school?”

GET INVOLVED: CONCERNING HEALTH ISSUES

Some parents have found schools but now the laws – at least in NY State and I believe others have changed. You are being required to have your child vaccinated; but are choosing not to do so – for any of a number of reasons. Here is what the law indicates https://www.cdc.gov/phlp/publications/topic/vaccinations.html

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/preschool/program-list-nyc-region.html

As a result of not vaccinating your child and for those in the NYC area this is a youtube video that may help you understand how to get home schooling for your child. I found it on youtube – searching for home schooling in my city and you may be able to find this for your locale.

.

Maybe your child is starting or has started already. They HAVE been vaccinated.

Here are sometips .

Please do not rely on the school system to have uploaded all of the information about your child into their computer system. NYS Education Department has its own requirements and must be both FERPA (Family Education and Rights Privacy Act) and IDEA (Individuals With Disabilities Act) for their maintenance. Familiarize yourself with what they should have on file, but keep a record of them on your own at home. It is in your interests to have these on file from the very beginning of your child’s education and transition to CPSE or Kindergarten

http://www.acces.nysed.gov/bpss/schools/requirements-organization-student-records-provided-department

  • Go to school and introduce yourself, bringing the IEP in person and any of the other paperwork that they should have there, based on what you read from the above link.
  • Connect and get to know your special education supervisor, your child’s teacher and related service providers. In my experience – those who do so are those whose children get the most out of the school experience.
  • You may be given a packet of information- a welcome letter on that first day. Recognize that there are ways to get involved and stay connected with the educational team, as well as the administrative staff.
  • Joining a parents group at school is a great idea.
  • Home activities are a great thing to get ahold of from each professional as you can support yor child’s work and perhaps even praise them for their school accomplishments. Request them!
  • If your schedule allows for it you may want to volunteer to act as a chaperone for school trips.

Enjoy the experience! Recognize that you are now your child’s advocate! It’s great to become their cheerleader now.

Finally – just a fun idea: A colleague posted this and I could not resist sharing it with you. You may want to consider sending this snac k to school, especially on day one: They look great! https://www.romper.com/p/rice-krispies-sensory-love-notes-is-making-love-more-accessible-brb-i-need-tissues-18648897

Sensory Awareness Month

This month is another “Awareness” month. We not only become aware of ADHD but one of the concomitant conditions: Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

The need to have an understanding of the sameness and difference between the conditions is very important as it can have an impact on planning for treatment and perhaps the type of testing that needs to be done. According to the STAR Institute

“many of these kids have both disorders. A national stratified sample of children suggests that 40% of children with ADHD also have SPD (Ahn, Miller et. … Causes: In very simple terms, ADHD and SPD are both disorders that impact the brain. “.

STAR Institute doesn’t talk about adults, but I cannot imagine that there is not a large population of adults who have ADHD + SPD as well…

The discrete differences according to the STAR Institute are found at https://www.spdstar.org/node/1114

Being empowered with knowledge and having that increased awareness about individual differences will only help us as individuals -neuro-typical or not to interact with one another. That I believe is the goal of awareness months- so it behooves us all to take a look.

With a Feeling of Obligation to Provide Some Suggested Guidance Regarding the Use of Technology in a Responsible Way as the School Year Starts:

Leader Live — Happening now in the speech-language-hearing world

HomePrivate PracticeAudiology Advising Families on Screens: 7 Resolutions for the New School Year

Advising Families on Screens: 7 Resolutions for the New School Year

written by Jaumeiko Coleman August 12, 2019

Family eating a meal together.

It’s that time of year: back to school. Whether you are celebrating or mourning the end of summer, this time marks a fresh start for families. As parents consider how to best help their child achieve success this school year, audiologists and speech-language pathologists know how much tech use can affect a child’s school achievement. This makes it an ideal time to guide parents toward better balance after the all-too-common summer screen-time binge.

Editor’s note: As always, children who use low- and high-tech augmentative and alternative communication devices (AAC) should continue to use them at all times—and in an interactive way.

As with almost everything in child rearing, the rules are not necessarily one-size-fits all: what works for one child (or family) may not work for another. Finding the ideal balance can take trial and error. As parents continue to grapple with setting appropriate parameters for kids, it’s not necessarily as simple as “no more than 30 minutes a day.”

Try sharing these tech resolutions with families to help them find a screen time balance to the new school year:

  1. Make—and stick to—a plan. If you haven’t already developed a family technology plan, the start of school makes an excellent time to do so. Numerous trusted groups, including the American Academy of Pediatricsand Common Sense Media, offer templates to make this easy. Even if you already use a plan, find time to revisit it and consider—with your kids—whether the rules need to evolve. What is, and isn’t, working? Are kids old enough for additional/different privileges? Screen time plans need to change to stay effective.
  2. Focus on quality. While quantity—such as daily/weekly time limits—still work for many families, not all screen time is created equal. As most experts now stress, 30 minutes spent creating something—art, stories, programming—isn’t the same as 30 minutes passively viewing YouTube videos. Emphasize the former—and consider allowing more leeway if the time gets well spent.
  3. Make dinner time sacred. An oldie but goodie, dinner time should be offline time. Make conversation king at the table. In addition to building kids’ communication—speech, language, and social—skills and providing an unmatched, consistent opportunity for family bonding and connection, a host of other benefits are linked to regular family dinners. Technology is almost always a distraction—so no answering texts, emails, or Googleing. Everyone can hold off for those 30 minutes.
  4. Keep bedtime use off limits. Another classic, but oft-ignored recommendation. Recent research from Common Sense Media found 68% of teens—and 74% of parents—now take their mobile devices to bed with them. Not only can this detract from beneficial bedtime activities such as daily reading, but it can interfere with adequate sleep—which is necessary for physical and mental health, as well as academic success.
  5. Limit during homework time. This undoubtedly becomes more difficult as kids get older and assignments require online research. To that end, minimize technology as much as possible—and only to assist in homework. During homework time, discourage multi-tasking with social media or texting.
  6. Get involved. Make tech use a group activity. Watch your kids play Fortnite or view videos from their favorite YouTuber with them. Ask questions. Show—better yet, have—interest. This not only keeps the lines of communication open and provides a chance to talk/bond, but it can moderate parents’ concerns about their child’s online time—i.e., it may not be as bad as you think. Conversely, it can be an early indicator of problematic content.
  7. Elevate the conversation—Think beyond limits, rules, and restrictions. Again, these have their place, but encourage kids to think critically, for themselves, about how they use technology (risks/rewards) and help them appreciate and value offline time—both activities and relationships—prioritizing people over devices. Parents can’t monitor everything, especially as children get older. Talk about your expectations for being a good digital citizen and your family’s values, so they carry these along when they are at friends’ houses, on the school bus, and out in the world. Give them the tools to make good decisions.

For more information and tips, visit ASHA’s Healthy Communication & Popular Technology Initiative.

Jaumeiko Coleman, PhD, CCC-SLP, FNAP is ASHA’s Director of School Services. jcoleman@asha.org.PRIVATE PRACTICESCHOOLSTECHNOLOGY1

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I finally took a social media break — nida chowdhry

Last week I deleted all the games on my phone and the data associated with them. Why? I was playing too much. I was past level 1000 on one of them and realized that I simply was not reading “real” books – the kind that you hold in your hand. I went to the library and borrowed some. Great! I thought to myself. Now I am using more of my brain and getting neuro-exercise (my own word). Here is the data to back that up https://www.scilearn.com/blog/the-reading-brain I recently posted on technology and how it affects or may be affecting your life. Well… coincidentally I ran across the above post and had to share it with my readers. I wonder what your thoughts are AND if you were to make one change in your habits with tech use – consider what might happen to you!

Well.. I haven’t given up my phone completely. On my tablet I found this article that is great to read in conjunction with the one that I am sighting in the title of my blog which has to do with addiction to social media and how to spot it in yourself https://www.talkspace.com/blog/your-brain-on-instagram/

My question has and still is how the use of technology may be affecting the brain. Here is the scary thing. I found out that blood glucose levels in the brain are heightened and in turn affect the functioning of the brain. Further, “The mammalian brain depends upon glucose as its main source of energy, and tight regulation of glucose metabolism is critical for brain physiology. Consistent with its critical role for physiological brain function, disruption of normal glucose metabolism as well as its interdependence with cell death pathways forms the pathophysiological basis for many brain disorders” https://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/sugar-and-brain Ms Nida Chowdhry’s instagram cleanse and my deletion of games on my phone may not be such a bad idea to try.

It is not all bads news. Technology can do wonderful things for us too. All the modern day conveniences are at our finertips, you can do research and find out information through your searchbars as I did in preparing this blog. Take a look at this chart for information on specifics around the use of it – not just for conveniences

So .. the conclusion is not only to be aware of how technology may be affecting us negatively – but to recognize the positives and use it in moderation. Don’t forget to include “face-time” interactions that do not involve machine, read “real” books and physically write, add with a pen and paper – using your brain to make calculations when you have the time and socialize in person – not through technology all the time. As well – recognize and respect the generational differences and preferences in communication style. Not all people feel comfortable using it and others have yet to learn how to use it. What do you think?