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…
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.
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:
STRATEGIES TO HELP WITH ORGANIZATION: ROUTINES
MAINTAINING FOCUS AND SELF SOOTHING
SLEEP ISSUES AND RESOURCES THAT MAY HELP
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.
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!
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
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
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.
Anna Vagin Ph.D text: YouCue Feelings:Using Online Videos for Social Learning:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?