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Learning Disability Specialist Offers Study Tips

Students with learning disabilities like dyslexia and ADHD often have a hard time studying for tests and quizzes. Learning disabilities specialist Alexa Taylor has developed a list of strategies to help students who struggle in this area.
"Duplicate normal study places. If studying in the library is a habit when class is in session, don't switch to studying in the dorm, where roommates and television can be distractions."
Other suggestions include using different study styles throughout the day, and mapping out a specific written study schedule.

LearningDisabilitiesInfo.com is a great resource for parents of children with learning disabilities.

Labels: schools, learning_disabilites, studying

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Youth Achievement Award

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities is a non-profit organization that was started in 2000 to support and encourage children with learning disabilities or ADHD and their parents. Every year, they offer a Youth Achievement Award for which kids can be nominated.
"This $1,000 award recognizing the strengths and accomplishments of young people with learning disabilities and ADHD will be given to a student 19 or younger who has demonstrated initiative, talent, and determination resulting in a notable accomplishment in any field  including art, music, science, math, athletics or community service.
Young people who have received the award in the past have overcome problems caused by dyslexia, ADHD, emotional traumas and more.

Learn more about how you can help your child with learning disabilities at LearningDisabilitiesInfo.com.

Labels: accomplishments, learning_disabilites, benefits

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Young Woman with Asperger's Syndrome Makes it to Finals of "America's Top Model"

A young woman with Asperger's Syndrome made it to the top five on the popular television reality show "America's Next Top Model."

Heather Kuzmich, a 20 year-old student from Valparaiso, Indiana, was eliminated from the competition after making the finals and being voted viewers' favorite for eight weeks in a row.

Ms. Kuzmich has a form of autism that is characterized by difficulties in communication, inability to read others' cues, and unusual social interactions. Some of her traits, such as her inability to hold eye contact and tendency to glance sideways, gave her modeling photos an edgy quality. However, when faced with the challenge of living with twelve other contestants, her disorder sometimes put her at a disadvantage. She often needed telephone support from her mother when the others made fun of her.

Ms. Kuzmich told the New York Times that the contest was a personal way to test her limits as a person with Asperger's Syndrome.
"It was a point in my life where I was thinking either Asperger's was going to define me or I was going to be able to work around it," she said.
Visit Your Little Professor to find schools and camps for children with Asperger's.

Labels: success, media, support

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Buying Gifts for ADHD Children

When a child has ADHD, buying the right holiday gift can pose a unique challenge. Though certain kinds of toys or games may be popular, they may not be right for a child with ADHD.
"Before you set out to buy a gift, look at the child's interests. Many children with ADHD are talented in art or music. They may be creative or have interests that are not traditional. For example, many young boys enjoy cars and trucks. However, this may not be the right gift for the child you are shopping for. Rather than selecting a generic gift, find something that will motivate and inspire your child."
Watch your child at play and notice what interests her or hold his attention. It could be anything from puzzles to video games. Whatever gift you choose, be sure it's one that emphasizes the child's strengths, not his or her weaknesses or struggles with ADHD.

Wondering about buying gifts for children with Asperger's? Visit YourLittleProfessor.com for a guide to shopping for the Asperger's child.

Labels: activities, gifts, toys

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Linked to Differences in Brain Structure

Researchers at Cambridge University found that the brains of people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have abnormalities similar to healthy family members, indicating that the disorder may be genetic.

OCD is a disorder characterized by recurrent thoughts and ritualistic behaviors such as hand-washing, lining possessions up in a certain order, checking to see if doors are locked, etc.

Dr. Lara Menzies from the Brain Mapping Unit at Cambridge and others used magnetic resonance imagining (MRIs) to examine the brains of 31 people with OCD and 31 healthy close relatives such as siblings, and 31 others in a control. The OCD group and their family members had less gray matter in the area of their brains associated with suppressing responses compared to the control group.

OCD runs in families, and this new research may contribute to the theory that it is a genetic disorder.

Boarding schools for OCD can be found at the BoaridngSchoolsInfo directory.

Labels: brain_activity, genetics, ocd

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Young Woman with Asperger's Syndrome Makes it to Finals of "America's Top Model"

A young woman with Asperger's Syndrome made it to the top five on the popular television reality show "America's Next Top Model."

Heather Kuzmich, a 20 year-old student from Valparaiso, Indiana, was eliminated from the competition after making the finals and being voted viewers' favorite for eight weeks in a row.

Ms. Kuzmich has a form of autism that is characterized by difficulties in communication, inability to read others' cues, and unusual social interactions. Some of her traits, such as her inability to hold eye contact and tendency to glance sideways, gave her modeling photos an edgy quality. However, when faced with the challenge of living with twelve other contestants, her disorder sometimes put her at a disadvantage. She often needed telephone support from her mother when the others made fun of her.

Ms. Kuzmich told the New York Times that the contest was a personal way to test her limits as a person with Asperger's Syndrome.
"It was a point in my life where I was thinking either Asperger's was going to define me or I was going to be able to work around it," she said.
Visit Your Little Professor to find schools and camps for children with Asperger's.

Labels: success, media, support

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Fever May Temporarily Block Symptoms of Autism in Kids

For years, parents and pediatricians have been telling stories about autistic children who become perfectly normal when they have fevers.

Now a new study from Baltimore Kennedy Kreiger Institute indicates having a fever of at least 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit may indeed restore an autistic child's abilities to interact and socialize by improving concentration, eye contact, and communication skills.

Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a pediatric neurologist who worked on the study, believes that fever may restore nerve cell communications in some regions of the brain after he and his colleagues observed thirty autistic children ages 2 to 18 years with fevers. The "fever effect" only appears to work in children.

As many as 1.5 million Americans suffer from autism.

This study appears in the journal Pediatrics.

Camp Huntington is a summer camp for kids with Autism, Asperger's, and other special needs. Visit Camp-Huntington.com to learn more about their summer camp programs.

Labels: autism, concentration, fever

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Heart Events Rare in Kids on ADHD Drugs

Researchers from the University of Florida have released the results of a study in which they analyzed medical records of 55,000 children under the age of 18, to determine whether ADHD medication increases the risk of serious heart complications. They found that, though higher blood pressure and heart rates were somewhat common, more serious events like cardiac arrest were rare.
"Stimulant use was found to be associated with a 20% increase in visits to hospital ERs or doctors' offices for complaints such as heart palpitations and racing heartbeat, compared with nonuse. But use of the drugs did not appear to be associated with an increase in hospitalizations or deaths due to cardiac causes."
Researchers agree that the results are reassuring, but that a larger study is needed to confirm the safety of ADHD medications.

More and more teens are abusing prescription drugs, leading parents and doctors to wonder how to prevent further teen substance abuse. Visit DrugRehabTreatment.com for more information.

Labels: medications, health, side_effects

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Teaching Attention

A special education teacher in Manhattan has developed a unique way of teaching her kids to pay attention. A pre-recorded chime is played four times during her class, and students with attention problems are asked to record - on a scale of 0 to 4 - how much they were paying attention when the chime sounded.
"The students average and compile these results from their 'Attention Monitoring Check Sheets' monthly, graph their attention spans, and set goals for the next month."
The Manhattan teacher has seen excellent results from this practice. Students become aware of the times when they're more likely to be distracted, and they have a visual representation of their improvement.

Some private boarding schools cater to special needs students in ways that public schools just aren't able to. Learn about private schools for learning disabilities at BoardingSchoolsInfo.com.

Labels: attention, teachers, classrooms

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Scientists Develop Unique ADHD Accessory

At John Carroll University in Ohio, a team of scientists have developed a clever aid for people with ADHD or sleep disorders; a simple pair of glasses that block blue light. By blocking blue light, a person's circadian rhythm is advanced, causing melatonin to be released sooner.
"Normally, melatonin flow does not begin until after the individual goes into darkness. Studies indicate that promoting the earlier release of melatonin results in marked decline of ADHD symptoms."
The glasses are meant to be worn for the two hours prior to bedtime. The team has also developed alternatives to the glasses - light bulbs and nightlights that also block blue rays.

Boarding Schools for ADHD, like Cedars Academy in Delaware, can help children with learning disabilities in ways that public schools can't. By understanding the needs of students with learning disorders, the faculty and staff at Cedars offer the personal attention and environment to help kids. Visit CedarsAcademy.com for more information.

Labels: alternative_medicine, treatment, melatonin

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Be Cautious of ADHD Diagnosis

Concern is increasing over the proper diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in children. Numerous recent studies have found that misdiagnosis and over-prescription of medication are likely. One study in particular notes a 700% increase in prescription medications to treat "child behavior problems" during the 1990s.
"More recently, national research has documented that less than one-third of primary-care physicians adhere to established diagnostic criteria."
An expert panel convened in 1998 determined that, while ADHD as a disorder does exist, it probably affects only 3 - 5 percent of children. In contrast, upwards of 14 percent of boys in America have been diagnose with ADHD. Though this information shouldn't scare parents, it should remind them that caution is required when seeking an appropriate diagnosis for behavioral issues in children.

Private schools for children with learning disabilities can be found in our ADHD Directory.

Labels: treatment, diagnosis

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Study Shows Working Memory Training can Help

Cogmed is the name of a computer program which trains and develops working memory. In a recent breakthrough study, an institute in Sweden used the program to redefine the way attention problems are understood and treated. Now, researchers at Harvard University have conducted a study of their own which supports the initial findings.
"'Our pilot study indicated that the training of working memory in a school setting may be a feasible, safe, and effective way to help children with ADHD that warrants further investigation,' [Dr. Enrico] Mezzacappa concluded in the study."
Mezzacappa goes on to say that the program helps stimulate cognitive skills and overall development, and makes treatment for ADHD possible within schools systems, to students who might otherwise receive no treatment at

Stone Mountain, a school for boys with ADHD, helps boys deal with their behaviors while earning credits for school. Visit StoneMountainSchool.com to learn more.

Labels: schools, exercise, memory

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Australian University to Study Effects of Fish Oil

Grandma always said that fish was "brain food". Turns out, she may have actually been right. Several recent studies seem to indicate that daily doses of fish oil improve concentration in children with ADHD. A team of researchers from Australia will be conducting a study of their own, in hopes of finding the final, definitive answer.
"They want to recruit 120 children with ADHD ages seven to 12 who have learning problems and are not already taking prescribed medication or supplements of omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil. Queensland University of Technology psychologist Ross Young said the study would test whether fish oil improved the children's literacy skills and also investigate the optimal dosages."
The team is currently accepting applications from children (and their parents) who would like to participate in the study, which is expected to last for one year.

Southeast Journeys offers semester length programs for children with Asperger's Syndrome, high-functioning Austin, and other learning disabilities. Learn more at TalismanCamps.com/SoutheastJourneys

Labels: medications, diet, fish_oil

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