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What Should Counseling Goals Be?

Some parents of children with ADHD choose to include counseling as part of the child's overall treatment plan. But should your goals be if your child is receiving counseling for his or her ADHD?
"First, it is important to teach the child or teen with ADHD how to recognize problems and how to solve problems. There are many good problem solving techniques that young people can quickly learn, and these are great tools to teach them."
Other goals include teaching a child how to be less impulsive, how to monitor his or her thoughts, and how to develop adequate social skills. Read more at ParentingIdeas.com.

Labels: schools, treatment, counseling

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Different Regions of the Brain Determine Distractibility & Focus

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered that one part of the brain "pays attention" and another part of the brain "gets distracted" at the same time.

Their research has implications for helping people with Attention Deficit Disorder.
"The ability to willfully focus your attention is physically separate in the brain from distracting things grabbing your attention," Earl Miller, the neuroscientist who led the study, said.
Miller's team trained monkeys to pick out red triangles on a video screen in return for a treat. However, sometimes the monkeys were deliberately distracted from their task by flashing bright rectangles. During times of concentration, the executive centers of the monkeys' brains in their prefrontal cortexes were in charge. However, when they were distracted, their parietal cortexes near the back of their brains took over. This study is the first time that scientists got a good look at how these regions of the brain work.

Miller said that it is their hope to find treatments to boost attention. This study appears in the March 30, 2007 edition of Science.

Labels: research, focus, concentration

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Researchers Studying Mood Disorder Treatments

Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia are conducting a major new study on adolescents with Asperger Syndrome. This disorder affects about one in 280 Australians, a rate higher than the world average.

Lake-Hui Quek and others are trying to determine why young people with Asperger Syndrome experience high levels of mood disturbances and anxiety. They hope to develop new interventions specifically designed for Asperger Syndrome.
Currently, they are conducting trials of specialized cognitive-behavior therapy among adolescents with the syndrome.

Check out Your Little Professor - a friendly and helpful site - for parents of children with Asperger's or Autism.

Labels: aspergers, therapy, mood_disorders

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Parent-to-Parent Enrolls its 1000th

In 2005, CHADD - the nation's leading organization for people affected by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, established a program called Parent-to-Parent. The purpose was to connect parents of children with ADHD, giving them a forum in which to share not only their challenges, but successful parenting practices.
"Parent-to-Parent is a unique educational program for parents and individuals who are dealing with ADHD; many participants, or their family members, have recently received a diagnosis of AD/HD and are searching for reliable, evidence-based information on the disorder. Courses are offered in 38 states and online by certified Parent to Parent teachers who have received training through CHADD."
A typical course is seven weeks long, meeting once a week for two hours. Topics include diagnosis and treatment of ADHD, behavioral/parenting strategies, and school issues. Read more online.

Labels: education, parenting, support groups

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Clinical Trial Supports Benefits of Omega-3

Many studies have been conducted about the affects of Omega-3 on children with ADHD. Many have found that ADHD symptoms decrease significantly when Omega-3 is introduced to a child's diet. However, some in the medical community have expressed doubts about the studies, claiming the research methods weren't adequate. The most recent study of Omega-3 may put some of those concerns to rest.
"The new study from the University of South Australia recruited 132 kids with ADHD aged 7 to 12 for the randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind intervention study. One hundred and four children completed the trial."
The trial lasted for a total of 30 weeks and by the end, the behavior ratings given by parents showed significant improvement in 9 of the 14 scales of the Conner's Parent Rating Scales. Read more online.

Labels: diet, studies, symtoms

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Over-Focused ADHD

It doesn't seem like anything with work "focused" could be associated with ADHD. But there's actually a form of ADHD called "over-focused". People who have this type of ADHD are able to hyper-focus on a particular task, but have a difficult time switching from one task to another.
"He has trouble shifting attention from one activity to another, and he frequently 'gets stuck' in loops of negative thoughts. He can be obsessive, and very inflexible. He can also be oppositional and argumentative to parents."
Certain types of medication can help "Over-Focused ADHD", as can certain types of nutritional plans. Read more at ParentingIdeas.org.

Labels: medications, focus, over_focused

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Use of ADHD Drugs Tripled During Ten-Year Period

The use of medicine to treat Attention Deficit Disorder tripled between 1993 and 2003. The United States accounted for 83% of the increase. However, researchers noted that France, Sweden, Korea and Japan showed increases in ADHD drug use among children ages five to nineteen years, and Canada and Australia had heavier use than predicted. Overall, there was a 900% increase in spending on ADHD drugs such as Ritalin.

Richard Scheffler, who led the study, said that ADHD could become the world's leading childhood disorder treatable by drugs.

One in 25 American children now takes such medications.

Labels: medications, treatment, disorder

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Children with Asthma more Likely to Have Developmental and Behavioral Problems

The University of Virginia's Children's Hospital recently conducted research which identified several developmental and behavioral problems that are often found in asthmatic children. If these problems are not diagnosed and treated, an asthmatic child may not receive all the help he needs.
"We can definitely state that families with asthmatic children not only report higher incidences of ADHD, but also of depression, anxiety and learning disabilities,' said Dr. James Blackman, developmental pediatrician at the Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center at UVa Children's Hospital and lead study author."
Managing these "co-morbidities" as they're called, is key to treating children with asthma. The study found that the severity of the child's asthma affected the severity of developmental problems like ADHD. Read more at ScienceDaily.com.

Labels: behavior, development, asthma

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Children Prescribed Strattera® More Likely to Change Therapies

Prime Therapeutics, a pharmacy benefit manager, recently conducted a study on the medication Strattera® to determine its effectiveness in treating ADHD in children. It found that children who are prescribed Strattera® in the initial stage of treatment are over 4 times more likely to switch to a different kind of medication than a child who's prescribed a stimulant.
"'We believe that children who start on Strattera® are more likely to change therapies because they are experiencing side effects or the drug is not working effectively,' said Patrick Gleason, PhD, Director of Pharmacy and Medical Integration at Prime. 'Because stimulants have been around longer and are available in generic forms, physicians and medical care providers have a lot more experience with them."
In addition, Strattera® has some unique safety concerns which, when combined with the lower effectiveness, may mean that stimulants are a better choice. Read more PRNewswire.com.

Labels: medications, stimulants, strattera

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Transitional Class Helps Students Prepare for First Grade

In Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Thames Elementary school has launched its first "transitional first-grade" classroom. The classroom is made up of just a few students, and is intended to help children with ADHD and other behavioral or learning challenges develop the skills they need to transition into first-grade.
"Teacher Candace Hill's class is smaller, which means more one-on-one time. And lessons are tailored to each individual child. Some students go to a first-grade classroom for lessons, to ease the transition into second grade."
The parents of all 11 children in this first class agree that it's the best place for their children. Read more at ClarionLedger.com.

Labels: education, schools, teachers

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Deciding Where to Draw the Line

When a child has ADD or ADHD, it's important that he's diagnosed and receives appropriate treatment to help him learn to function in school, at home, and socially. However, not all children who "simply can't sit still" have ADD or ADHD. Some are just being kids.
"It should not be forgotten that attention span and concentration differs from child to child and they increase with age. Children come into this world with different abilities and timetables. A child is regarded a 'normal' if his behavior conforms to that of his peers, but there are wide variations in childhood behavior and it is often hard to decide where abnormality begins."
It's important for parents and teachers to work together if someone suspects that a child may have ADD or ADHD. Behavior should be monitored at home and at school, and parents and teachers should "compare notes". Read more at ParentingIdeas.org.

Labels: behavior, treatment, diagnosis

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Attention Deficit Disorder in Kids Linked to Alcoholism in Teens

Children with Attention Deficit Disorder/Hyperactivity are at risk for alcoholism or drug dependence as teens and adults, according to a new study by the University of Pittsburgh. If their parents are alcoholics, the likelihood increases even more.

Dr. Brooke Molina and her colleagues interviewed 142 adolescents diagnosed with childhood ADHD and 100 demographically matched others without the disorder. The team also interviewed another group of 364 children with ADHD as adolescents ages 11 to 17 years and then again as young adults ages 18 to 28.

Their two studies showed a link between ADHD and alcoholism.
"Alcoholism and ADHD tend to run together in families," Dr. Molina said. "We found that parental alcoholism predicted heavy problem drinking among teenagers, that the association was partly explained by higher rates of stress in those families, and these connections were stronger when the adolescent had ADHD in childhood."
About 14% of the 15 to 17-year-old adolescents with childhood ADHD were diagnosed with alcohol abuse or dependence compared to none of the 15 to 17-year-olds in the control group without ADHD. The ADHD group reported being drunk 14 times the previous year compared to 1.8 times in the control group.

"It is important to recognize that not all children with ADHD will have problems with alcoholism" Dr. Molina said.

This study appears in the April 2007 issue of
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research

Labels: genetics, alcohol, alcoholism

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SVSU Psychology Professor Studies Causes of ADHD

The primary tools that are currently used to diagnose ADHD are behavioral. They are often rating scales which are filled out by parents and teachers, and if certain behaviors are present, a child will be diagnosed with ADHD. But Sandra Nagel, a professor of Psychology at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan is conducting a study to develop neuro-chemical diagnoses.
"[Meaghan] Carpenter agreed. 'I would love to see a more biologically-based method of diagnosing ADHD become part of common psychological/medical practice. As Dr. Nagel says, it's pretty ironic that today's method of diagnosing the disorder doesn't involve biological measures of any sort, even though it's a widely accepted fact that the disorder is biologically-based."
Dr. Nagel hopes her research will help her pinpoint different types of ADHD, so that both the diagnoses and the treatment will be more specific. She also hopes it will reduce the number of misdiagnoses. Read more at SVSU.edu.

Labels: medications, diagnosis, biological

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Improving "Working Memory" Helps Children and Adolescents with ADD/ADHD

The program is called CogMed Working Memory Training". It was originally developed in Sweden, and is based on a discovery that improving a person's working memory helps reduce attention deficits. The Swedish company CogMed has worked with more than 1,400 children and adults in Europe who struggle with attention deficits, and found that 80% achieved significant improvement in attention, impulse control, problem solving skills and academic performance.
"Working memory is a function of the brain that holds information 'online' for a brief period of time, typically a few seconds. In daily life, individuals use working memory to perform numerous tasks such as remembering instructions, solving problems, controlling impulses and focusing attention."
The program lasts for five weeks, during which the "patient" participates in 30-minute working memory "training sessions" once a day, five days a week. The training can be done in the patient's home, and led via phone or internet by a trained coach. Read more online.

Labels: academics, memory, skills

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