Tag Archives: ADHD

EXECUTIVE FUNCTION: tips

EXECUTIVE FUNCTION suggestions:
* ask teachers to check if child wrote assignments in agenda
* post schedules and directions and SAY THEM OUT LOUD
* give step by step directions and HAVE CHILD REPEAT THEM
* use checklist and color-coded supplies
* break projects into smaller pieces with OWN DEADLINES
* use graphic organizers or mind-mapping software
* follow daily schedules with built-in times for breaks
* with your doctor, consider ADHD medication
 
source: http:www.understood.org, adapted from Thomas E Brown PhD
Reading / writing tutor in Columbus OH: Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021 or email aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com

+ Expert: Signs of ADHD Evident by PreSchool

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Early identification of issues improves odds for social and academic success later.

It is important to recognize and treat ADHD early because the condition has a profound effect on learning and academic development, according to Dr. Mark Mahone, director of the department of neuropsychology at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore.

He says

Children whose symptoms begin in early childhood are at highest risk for academic failure and grade repetition.

Research shows that children with ADHD have abnormal brain development, meaning that ADHD has a biological basis that often makes it a lifelong condition.

According to Mahone, parents should pay close attention to the behavior of their young children.  In children aged 3 to 4, the following behaviors are often associated with a diagnosis of ADHD by the time children reach school age:

  • Avoids or dislikes activities that require more than one or two minutes of concentration
  • Loses interest in activities after a few minutes
  • Talks a lot more and makes more noise than other children the same age
  • Climbs on things despite being told not to
  • Unable to hop on one foot by age 4
  • Almost always restless and insists on getting up after being seated for only a few minutes
  • Acts fearless, which results in dangerous situations
  • Warms up to strangers too quickly
  • Behaves aggressively with friends
  • Has been injured after moving too fast or running after being told to slow down

If parents observe these symptoms, and have concerns about their child’s development, they should consult with their pediatrician or another developmental expert, says Mahone.

“There are safe and effective treatments that can help manage symptoms, increase coping skills and change negative behaviors to improve academic and social success.”

Mahone and his colleagues used neuroimaging.  They found that children with ADHD have a smaller caudate nucleus  (which is a small structure in the brain associated with thinking and motor control) than other children their age.  The researchers hope their research leads to earlier interventions for children with ADHD to improve educational outcomes.

Although the causes of ADHD aren’t really known, studies suggest that genes play a role.  Scientists are also looking into whether brain injuries, diet and social environment contribute to the disorder.

For more information on ADHD, visit http://www.cdc.gov

Source: http://medicalxpress.com

Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH:  Adrienne Edwards  614-579-6021 or email aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com

+ Free Community Parent Seminars at Central Ohio’s Marburn Academy

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Marburn Academy, central Ohio’s premier K-12 school for bright children with learning challenges, continues its free parent seminars.

  • Tuesday, June 12
  • 7-9 pm
  • “Understanding the Problems of ADHD Children”

The following week:

  • Tuesday, June 19th
  • 7-9 pm
  • “Improving Self-Management Skills for ADHD Students”

Are you a parent or grandparent who needs to know more about how to help a child with ADHD succeed?  Families of children who are impulsive and distractible often find school to be more difficult than expected.  But ADHD children can learn to do well if parents truly understand and know the right strategies to apply.

If you would like to know more, consider attending Marburn’s Free Community Parent Seminars — the information just might make all the difference in the life of your family.

Reservations: let them know to expect you.  Email bdavidson@marburnacademy.org or phone 614-433-0822.

Marburn Academy is located at 1860 Walden Drive, Columbus OH 43229.  Visit their website at www.marburnacademy.org.

Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH:  Adrienne Edwards  614-579-6021 or email aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com

+ ADHD: Therapy Better Than Drugs?

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Since the 1970s, stimulant drugs have been seen as the dominant way to help ADHD students focus.  But research now suggests that behaviorally-based changes are more effective in the long run.

An  article in Scientific American on May 15 2012 reports that a new synthesis of behavioral, cognitive and pharmacological findings emerged when experts in ADHD research presented their work at an Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego.

The findings suggest that behavioral and cognitive therapies focused on reducing impulsivity, and reinforcing positive long-term habits, may be able to replace current high doses of stimulant treatment in children and young adults.

Recently, surveys have shown that 9 percent of all children in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD.  The core symptoms of ADHD include hyperactivity, inattention, inability to perform monotonous tasks, and a lack of impulse control.

Such children have difficulty in school as well as in forming relationships.  Nearly sixty percent will continue to suffer from the disorder well into adulthood.

By 2007, 2.7 million children were being treated with stimulant drugs.  Psychologist Claire Advokat of LSU has looked into the effects of stimulant medications in college students.  She is interested in finding what improves with medication and what does not.

She found, to begin with, that people diagnosed with ADHD have lower grades and lower ACT scores.  In addition, they drop more courses than their peers.

She also found that these issues were not improved by stimulant medication treatment.

Instead, Advokat discovered that — naturally — ADHD students divided into those who had good study habits and those who did not, regardless of treatment.  It appeared that those with good study habits did not need medication to bolster their grades.

She hypothesizes that it is not that medication has no effect, but that “it may be that the medication can help, not in helping you remember, but in helping you form the good study habits.”  Her findings suggest that if ADHD patients could learn good study habits early on, medication would become less necessary.

Other research examined the role of behavioral interventions, not only for children, but also for their parents.

Parents of children with ADHD exhibit more parenting-related stress and difficulties than parents of students who are not afflicted.  After training parents in stress management, and giving them behavioral tools to help their children, says psychologist Bill Pelham of Florida International University, he and his colleagues saw significant improvement in the youngsters’ ADHD-related behavior, such as  frequency of classroom disturbance.

Pelham has also shown that behavioral therapy  for the children themselves produces equivalent results to those seen from medication.  He feels that his data suggests that a lower drug dosage, combined with behavioral therapy, may provide a far better outcome  than either medication or therapy alone.

Additionally Julie Schweitzer and colleagues, at the MIND Institute at UC Davis, published  a 2011 PLoS ONE paper, with results showing extra activity in brain areas associated with “task-irrelevant” information during working memory tasks.  It appears that such students have less efficient cognitive control.  Schweitzer’s recent work indicates that cognitive therapy could improve control, thereby potentially reducing the need for medication to “drown out” extraneous information.

At the San Diego meeting, Advokat, Schweitzer, Pelham and others agreed that behavioral therapies deserve renewed focus.  Therapies come with no drug tolerance; they offer no fear of subsequent substance abuse.

The trick, they feel, will be in identifying which of the new therapies are most effective and, additionally, making those therapies affordable.  While stimulant medications are much cheaper and faster at the moment, the “long run” is what matters most to those involved.

Visit: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=adhd-behavioral-therapy-more-effective-drugs-long-term&print=true

Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH: Adrienne Edwards  614-579-6021 or email aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com 

+ Central Ohio Free Parent Seminar at Marburn Academy June 14

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Marburn Academy offers free parent seminars from time to time on various topics relating to learning , dyslexia, study skills, student support and other related issues.

On June 14, at 7:00 p.m., the topic will be “Understanding the problems of ADHD Children” (part 1 of a series).

Reservations are required.  Call Barbara Davidson at 614-433-0822, or email bdavidson@marburnacademy.org.

Marburn Academy is Central Ohio’s premier K-12 school for bright children with learning challenges.  It is located at 1860 Walden Drive, Columbus 43229.

tutoring in Columbus OH:  Adrienne Edwards 614-579-4021 or email aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com

+ The Science of Concentration

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John Tierney reviews a book, “Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life,”  by Winifred Gallagher.  The book is a guide to the science of paying attention.

After she learned she had a nasty form of cancer, Gallagher chose the theme of the book.  It is borrowed from William James: “My experience is what I agree to attend to.”  

You can lead a misrable life by obsessiong on problems, or you can recognize your brain’s finite capacity for processing information and accentuate the positive.

Tierney spoke to Gallaher and one of the experts cited in her book, Robert Desimone, a neuroscientist at MIT, who has been doing experiements tracking the brain waves of macaque monkeys and humans as they stare at video screens lokking for certain flashing patterns.

When something bright or novel flashes, it automatically tends to win the competition for the brain’s attention. 

But that involuntary bottom-up impulse can be voluntarily overridden through a top-down process called “biased competition.”  

Desimone is director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT.  He and his colleagues found that neurons in the prefrontal cortex — the brain’s “planning center” — start oscillating in unison and send signals directing the visual cortex to heed something else.

These oscillations are gamma waves that are created by neurons’  firing on and off at the same time — a feat of neural coordination Tierney likens to getting strangers in a stadium to start clapping in unison, thereby sending a signal that induces people on the other side of the stadium to start clapping along.

However, in a “noisy” environment, these signals can have difficulty getting through.  Says Desimone

It takes a lot of your prefrontal brain power to force yourself not to process a strong input like a television commercial.  If you’re trying to read a book at the same time, you may not have the resources left to focus on the words.

Now that this synchronizing mechanism in the brain has been identified, researchers have started work on therapies to strengthen attention.

In the current issue of Nature, researchers from Penn, MIT and Stanford report that they directly induced gamma waves in mice by shining pulses of laser light through tiny optical fibers on to genetically engineered neurons. 

And in the latest issue of Neuron, Desimone and colleagues report progress in using this “optogenic” technique in monkeys.

Ultimately says Desimone, it may be possible to improve your attention by using pulses of light to directly sychronize your neurons as a form of direct therapy. 

This might help people with schizophrenia and attention-deficit problems (and might have fewer side effects than drugs).  If it could be done with low-wavelength light that penetrates the skull, you could simply put on — or take off — a tiny wirelessly controlled device that would be a bit like a hearing aid.

And in the nearer future, neuroscientists might also help us focus by observing our brain activity, and providing biofeedback as we practice improving our concentration.

Researchers have already observed higher levels of synchrony in the brains of people who regularly meditate.

Winifred Gallagher advocates meditation to increase focus, but she says there are also simpler ways to put the researchers’ information to use. 

For example, once she learned how hard it was for the brain to avoid paying attention to sounds, particularly other people’s voices, she began carrying ear plugs.  If you’re trapped in a noisy subway or a taxi with a TV that won’t turn off, Gallagher says you have to build your own “stimulus shelter.”

She also recommends starting your work day concentrating on your most important task for 90 minutes. 

At that point your prefrontal cortex probably needs a rest; this is when you can answer email, return calls and caffeinate (this does help attention).  But don’t get distracted until that first break — it takes 20 minutes to reboot after an interruption.

(For more advice, got to www.nytimes.com/tierneylab.)

Says Gallagher

Multitasking is a myth.  You cannot do two things at once.  The mechanism of attention is selection: it’s either this or it’s that.

She points to calculations that the typical person’s brain can process 173 billion bits of information over the course of a lifetime.

People don’t understand that attention is a finite resource, like money.  Do you want to invest your cognitive cash on endless Twittering or Net surfing or couch potatoing?   You’re constantly making choices, and your choices determine your experience, just as William James said.

sole source:  John Tierney’s article on 5/5/09 in the nytimes.  www.nytimes.com   “Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life,” by Winifred Gallagher, Penguin Press, $25.95.  ISBN 9781594202100.

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or email  aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com  

+ Central Ohio: Free Parent Seminar on ADHD and Medication

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Marburn Academy, Columbus Ohio’s premiere K-12 school for children with learning challenges, is offering another of its Free Community Parent Seminars.

  • Tuesday April 7th at 7:00 pm.
  • Marburn Academy 1860 Walden Drive, Columbus OH 43229
  • Title: ADHD Students and the Role of Medication.

Please RSVP to Barbara Davidson.  bdavidson@marburnacademy.org, or 614-433-0822. 

For information about Marburn Academy, visit www.marburnacademy.org.

tutoring in columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or email  aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com