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Guide to Family Gatherings

Holidays mean family get-togethers. Family get-togethers can mean stress and anxiety for both adults and children with ADD or ADHD. This family guide offers tips that can help manage your environment and your ADD/ADHD.

"Don't assume you're the only one in your family who has ADD/ADHD. The disorder has a hereditary basis. If you have it, odds are one of your relatives does too."
Allow yourself to take a break, go for a walk to burn off excess energy, or just get some peace and quiet.

Read more at Parenting.iVillage.com

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Physical Therapy for the Brain

Neurofeedback is a form of therapy that trains the brain to behave or respond in certain ways. Patients with ADHD, for example, are taught to increase arousal in the frontal cortex, which reduces hyperactivity and improves focus and attention. A clinical team studied 100 children diagnosed with ADHD. All of them received counseling and Ritalin, but about half also received neurofeedback therapy.

"After a year, all the patients showed some improvement. But when the researchers discontinued treatment for a week and reevaluated the patients, only those who received neurofeedback retained those improvements."
Similar results have been observed in people who struggle with substance abuse, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

Read more in the LA Times.

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Different Types of ADHD

Believe it or not, just knowing that your child has ADHD may not give you all the information you need. Medical researchers have identified several different types of ADHD.

"Dr. Daniel Amen has written a great book on the subject... where he uses his SPECT scans of patient's brain activity to help in making his six classifications."
Each type of ADD/ADHD requires slight modifications in treatment. The more you know about your child's ADHD, and better you understand the types of ADHD, the better equipped you will be to help him or her.

Read more at NewIdeas.net.

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A New Diet May Help

Some who study ADD and ADHD believe that cutting certain types of foods and reducing things like sugar can help both kids and adults with ADD/ADHD. While a modified diet alone isn't enough to manage ADD or ADHD, it can significantly decrease some symptoms.

"We have found that it really helps about 20% of the ADHD kids that try it. Results fall into a "Bell Curve." A few do great, a few are completely unaffected, and most do somewhat better but it is not enough as a stand-alone intervention."
Some modifications include cutting out 90-100% of all sugars, drinking more water, and eating little or not processed meat.

Read more at NewIdeas.net.

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Improving School Performance

It's that time of year. Mid-term school grades will be out soon, if they're not out already. For students with ADHD, and their parents, this can be a stressful and frustrating time. The Detroit Free Press gathered together a small group of experts to get some advice on making school, and homework, easier for kids with ADHD.
"...set regular learning times when a child must read, write or think, regardless of whether they have homework or a test. 'If they say they have no homework, [says Bob Sornson] say "That's great. That gives you time to read or write."'"
The panel also suggests that parents learn more about ADHD. The more they understand, the more patient they'll be with their kids, and it may help them come up with some creative solutions on their own. Learn more from FortWayne.com.

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Coping in the Workplace

An estimated 4% of adults are affected by ADD/ADHD. Learning to cope, and be productive, in the workplace is a difficult challenge. Adults with ADD/ADHD are often so focused on the struggles caused by their diagnosis that they don't recognize their natural talents, which leaves them feeling depressed and lacking the ability to succeed.
"Even though [Alan] Currie...had a natural gift for sales, he had told himself that all his 'deals were bluebirds'...lucky breaks. So, in 2001, when he landed his big software-sales job, where he had the potential to more than double his income, he knew it was time to control a condition which had been controlling him."
Using technology, medicine, and a personal coach, Currie not only double his salary in his first year at his new job, but he was named rookie of the year. Read more online.

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Physical Activity May Help

Professor Richard Bailey has stirred up a bit of controversy by suggesting that some children diagnosed with ADHD could benefit as much from physical exercise as from medication. Bailey doesn't dismiss the use of drugs, and in fact acknowledges that in some cases, drugs like Ritalin are necessary, but still believes increased physical activity would help.
"'Physical activity is a normal, natural part of children's lives and if we deprive them of that normal, natural experience, we suffer consequences.'"
Responses to Bailey comments have been mixed. Some feel he is oversimplifying a complicated condition. Others, however, believe that any reasonable suggestion should be considered, including changes and diet and exercise. Learn more online.

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Health Canada Warns About Heart-Related Risks

Health Canada has released new warnings for drugs used in managing ADHD. The warnings apply to both adults and children.
"...advises Canadians not to use them if they have high blood pressure, heart disease or abnormalities, hardening of the arteries, or an overactive thyroid gland."
Standardized labeling, and physician recommendations have both been updated.

Read the full press release here: www.tipsanswers.com.

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NASA Technology Helps People With ADHD

It's called the Play Attention Learning System, and is based on technology used by NASA astronauts and U.S. Air Force pilots to stay attentive in the cockpit. The system's main piece is a bicycle-like helmet lined with sensors that monitor brain-wave activity and attaches to your computer. The user completes various mental tasks that are meant to teach concentration and focus.
"Often, within a short time, behavior can be modified to reduce or eliminate calling out, fidgeting, impulsivity, and so on, while improving time-on-task, focus, comprehension and more."
The software responds in real-time, and adjusts activities based on the participant's attention level.

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New Web Site for Parents of Children with ADD

Alpha Delta Delta has launched a new web site aimed at encouraging parents of children with ADD. Stress and chaos are common in households where one or more children have ADD. Parents often feel stress outside the home as well, as they listen to well-meaning friends and family offering advice for getting their kids "in line". Parents can feel judged and isolated.
"Alpha Delta Delta is helping to restore a more healthy balance between the positives and the negatives by helping parents to stop for a minute and look at some of the things that went well in the day."
The web site includes areas where parents and read about and post their own victories as a means of encouraging one another.

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Teens and Driving

The first few years behind the wheel can be challenging for any teen. But for a teen with ADHD there can be some added challenges, and an increased risk of accidents. WebMD posted a short article offering suggestions for keeping teens safe.

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Balanced Diet and Fish Oil Produces Dramatic Results

Eaton Hall Special School in Norwich, Great Britain participated in a six-month study that tracked the effects of a balanced diet and fish oil supplements on children with dyslexia, ADHD and other disorders. They found that many of the children were able to concentrate better, apply themselves to their studies, and had fewer behavioral incidents.
"...the most serious type of outburst, which required physical intervention from staff to prevent pupils harming themselves and others, dropped by 68 percent."
Some parents reported noticeable changes in their children. The balanced diet included meals with lower salt, transfatty acids, sugar, preservatives, and additives. Read more online.

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