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If Your Child Has ADD/ADHD

The Q&A section of the Windsor Beacon posted a question from a frightened middle schooler who's having trouble in class. The student's question, and the writer's response, are great examples of the fear felt by children who sense that something's wrong, and the honest, positive ways that adults can respond to those fears.
"I have always known something was not right with me, but I was embarrassed to talk to anyone about it. My school is telling my parents that I should see a doctor, and that scares me."
Check out the "StoryChat" comment at the end of the article, as well. It's another excellent example of how to discuss ADHD in a positive manner with your child.

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Light Therapy

A study by Canada's Centre for Addiction and Mental health has revealed that light therapy (especially during the fall and winter months) may help adults with ADHD.
"The study demonstrated that participants exposed to thirty minutes of light therapy, using a full-spectrum florescent light box that filtered out UV rays, had a significant decrease in core ADHD symptoms such as inattention, difficulty sustaining effort, impulsive response to stimuli, and hypo-arousal/fatigue."
Study participants reported having more energy, and they were able to wake up and go to sleep earlier. Read more online.

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Problem Solving Solution

Teaching problem solving techniques to a child with ADHD can be difficult. A short article from ParentingIdeas.com suggests using the game of checkers.
"It's a great way to practice [problem solving] without it effecting anything in the 'real world'."
The game of checkers allows the child to view multiple options, and learn how to decide which option is best.

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Myths Debunked

There a lot of myths and rumors floating around about ADD/ADHD. You may have heard some of them, or even been confronted by someone spouting myth as fact. Between well-meaning peers and the media, myths about ADD/ADHD can cause concern and even raise doubts about treatments and medications. The Attention Deficit Disorder Association has addressed some of these myths, hoping to set worried minds at ease.
"The following myths - and factual responses - have been collected from rebuttals to recent media articles about ADD/ADHD. The rebuttals were written by MAAAN (Metro Area Adult ADHD Network, base in the Detroit area)."
Issues address include myths about Ritalin, causes of ADHD, and more.

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First Long-term Study on Ritalin and Preschoolers

The first long-term study of Ritalin's effects on preschoolers has been completed, and the results are mixed. While some children showed signs of improvement, nearly 40% developed side effects. Another 11% dropped out of the study because of problems like irritability and weight loss.
"Preschoolers on...generic Ritalin grew about half an inch less and gained about 2 pounds less than expected during the 70-week study."
Though the study began with 300 children, many families dropped out after seeing significant improvement during the behavior treatment phase. Others simply didn't want to put their children on drugs. Many critics of the study fear it's just a way for pharmaceutical companies to broaden their market share, and have urged parents to proceed with caution. Read more online.

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What You Can Expect from a Behavior Center

A behavior center may be the next step for you if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD. These centers will help you and your family develop communication and behavioral changes that will benefit all family members.
"...centers will often keep specialists on staff, each of which deals with a specific need of the patient and/or family members of the patient."
Most centers will focus on helping your child develop important life skills and coping mechanisms meant to improve overall quality of life. Learn more online.

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Possible Options for treating ADD/ADHD

If your child has been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, you've likely been given a prescription for something like Aderall. But The Optometrists Network offers some suggestions that don't include prescription medication.
"Physicians often recommend that ADHD... be treated asymptomatically with stimulant medication, special education, and counseling. Although these approaches sometimes yield positive benefits, they may mask the problems rather than get to their underlying causes... A sensible, multi-disciplinary, developmental approach treats underlying causes rather than the symptoms which are secondary."
Suggested treatments include vision therapy, occupational therapy, and treatment of allergies. There is no guarantee with these treatments, and the web site recommends that you consult with a behavioral optometrist and an allergist, among others.

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Teens with ADHD Pose Unique Parenting Challenges

For the typical person, the teenage years represent the first steps toward independence. Curfews are longer, drivers' licenses are obtained, and responsibilities are increased. But for teens with ADHD, those first steps of independence can be especially rocky, leaving parents at a loss for how to best help their children.
"While parenting any teen can be a challenge, parenting teens with ADHD can be doubly so. One of the main reasons for this is the emotional immaturity that often comes along with ADHD."
This article from About.com offers some suggestions for both the parents and the teens that can help make these years less volatile and frustrating.

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Independent Living in Young Adults with ADHD

Trying to help a young adult with ADHD can be frustrating for both the parent and the child. You want to see your child succeed. He wants to succeed as well. But the unique challenges that young adults with ADHD face can sometimes seem insurmountable, leaving both parent and child feeling angry.
"But no matter whether anyone is to blame or not, the situation remains the same. Parents struggle to find a solution, one in which the adult child can grow and learn and eventually learn to care for themselves."
This article on About.com offers some suggestions and contact information for organizations designed to help young adults with ADHD.

Cedars Academy is a boarding school that caters to the needs of teenagers with ADD, ADHD, NLD, or Asperger's. At Cedars, children with Learning Disabilities achieve academic and personal success because Cedar's understands that ADHD, NLD, and AS are not only about paying attention in the classroom, but that they affect every aspect of a person's life. The Leadership Pyramid Model is used to develop Cedar Academy's system of social and academic enablers. Cedars offers a Post-Secondary Program that helps students build their college experience by giving students a year to experience college life, while they still have the support of a structured environment. Learn more about Cedars Academy schools for ADD, ADHD, NLD, or AS >>

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ADHD Children Require More Expense Healthcare

A report at Reuters Health says that children diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) "use significantly more health services 2 years before and 2 years after they are diagnosed compared with children without ADHD." ADHD is among the most common psychiatric disorders in American children ages 4 -17.

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Exposure to Lead or Prenatal Smoking Increases Changes of ADHD

The online journal Environmental Health Perspectives posted a study that found children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy were two and half times more likely to have ADHD. Increased lead levels appear to increase a child's risk as well.
"The study builds on previous research, but offers one of the first estimates of how much those factors contribute."
Lead levels that seemed to contribute to ADHD, disturbingly enough, are levels that are considered "acceptable" by the U.S. government.

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Local CHADD Meetings Help Parents of Children with ADD

CHADD, Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder, is a national organization that holds meetings throughout the U.S. in an effort to give support and help to those affected by ADD and ADHD. The meetings offer a place where people can come together, get some answers, and know they're not alone.
"Many of those in attendance [at the Princeton, NJ meeting] were parents of fourth to ninth graders, but there were also those with children in high school and Milrod Jemas says she has gotten calls about the group from parents of young adults."
You can find more information about CHADD and locate meetings in your area by going to their web site: www.chadd.org.

Read the full article here.

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MotivAider May Help ADHD Kids Focus

Psychologist Dr. Steve Levinson has spent twenty years studying change and why change is so hard. What he's discovered is that people need an active reminder to help keep their attention focused on the behavior they wish to change.
"His research led him to create the MotivAider, a small electronic device that can be set to vibrate at varying intervals to remind people to manage their behavior."
When used by children who struggle with ADD or ADHD, the device, which can be worn as a pager, can remind him or her to pay attention to the teacher or focus on his or her work.

Read the full article online.

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