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Parents Urged to Exercise Caution

Punishing a child for bad behavior is an unfortunate, but sometimes necessary, part of being a parent. But for kids with ADHD, it can be just as important for parents to reward good behavior.
"During a presentation at the ADHD workshop at the Doha College yesterday, Dr. Mahmoud Fakhra said parents should be informed advocates for their children's healthcare. Parents should seek appropriate medical advice from healthcare professionals and also establish contacts with ADHD advocacy groups... "
The purpose of Wednesday's workshop was to inform and educate both parents and teachers on health conditions in children. Read more at Gulf-Times.com.

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Labels: behavior, rewards, punishment

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Help for Parents

Parents with children who have recently been diagnosed with ADHD have a lot of information to sort through. Some may not know where to start. The website Responsible Rx.org has posted a 14-page guide called the Parent Starter Kit that, as the name implies, may be a great place to start.
"You can download the guide and print it out to read. There is no cost. It is a free resource that helps parents work with their child's doctor to navigate the treatment process once a child has been diagnosed and medication has been prescribed."
The guide is straightforward and easy to understand and covers such topics as "communicating with your child's doctor" and "understanding medication guides." Read more at ADD.About.com.

Labels: diagnosis, support, advice

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ADHD Medicines

There is a large variety of ADHD medications out there. For the parent of a child with ADHD, the options can seem overwhelming and confusing. FamilyDoctor.org has gathered answers to the basic questions that parents often have about ADHD prescriptions.
"Do the medicines have side effects? All medicines have side effects. Psychostimulants may cause a decreased appetite, a stomachache or a headache. The loss of appetite can cause weight loss in some people. This side effect seems to be more common in children."
Other questions addressed include "How should ADHD medicine be taken?" and "How long will this treatment last?" Read more at FamilyDoctor.org.

Labels: medications, side_effects, advice

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Communicating With Your Child

Being the parent of a child with ADHD poses unique challenges, frustrations, and rewards. Many parents struggle to communicate effectively with their children and feel exasperated over having to repeat instructions or rules.
"[Kirk] Martin encourages parents to speak softly and whisper at times. 'It helps your child learn to listen more attentively.' He also warns parents not to fall into the trap of requiring a child to maintain eye contact. 'Instead, let your child play with something...or move while you are speaking. This will actually increase attention and retention,' explains Martin."
Martin also suggests setting unusual time limits. For instance, instead of telling a child that the family is leaving in 5 minutes, challenge him to "set a record" by picking up all of his Legos in 3½ minutes. Read more at ADD.About.com.

Labels: communication, advice, whispering

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Role of Stimulants Limited

Professor Joseph Rey from Sydney University has warned that results of recent studies show that neither doctors nor parents should rely on stimulant medication as the primary means of treating ADHD in children. His comments come in the wake of a US study that found little or no long-term difference between kids with ADHD who were treated with stimulant medication verses those who received behavioral therapy treatment.
"Prof Rey said the results of the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) study should change attitudes to ADHD treatment. 'While results of one study rarely justify drastic changes of practice, the findings underscore the complexity of ADHD, show that stimulant drugs are far from being a silver bullet and that there is much we do not yet know,' Prof Rey wrote in the latest Medical Journal of Australia."
Prescribing rates for stimulant drugs have increased nearly ten-fold in the past ten years as ADD and ADHD have become more widely common, but a growing number of doctors and professors are beginning to question medication's long-term benefits. Read more at TheWest.com.au.

Instead of stimulants, what about removing disractions like TV and video games. Stone Mountain School, a therapeutic boarding school for boys, is set in a rustic part of North Carolina that allows boys with ADHD to concentrate on their actions, behaviors, and academics.

Labels: medications, drugs, stimulants

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Maximize Your ADHD Child's School Performance

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., is a family therapist who, since 1986, has worked with ADHD children and their families. In this Parenting Ideas article, he offers suggestions for helping kids get the most out of their school experiences.
"Get to really know and understand your child's needs at a deeper level. Keep in mind the difference between real 'needs' and things that you 'want.' Real 'needs' would include resources that your child must have in order to function at acceptable levels. Have documentation to back up what you think is a need. Be able to express this information to his school, doctor, etc.
"Dr. Cowan also stresses the importance of asking questions. Most professions have their own 'language' and parents need to push both doctors and educators to explain things in everyday language. Not only will this help parents understand their child's diagnosis better, but it will help parents determine whether the "professionals" they're talking too really know their stuff or not. Read more at ParentingIdeas.org.

Stone Mountain School, a therapeutic boarding school for boys, is set in a rural area of North Carolina which removes common distractions and allows boys struggling with academics and behaviors a chance to learn how to control their emotions while earning school credits.

Labels: education, schools, advocacy

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Experts Call for New Approach to ADHD

Results of a long-term study conducted by researchers at UCLA have the medical community calling for an upgrade to the diagnostic and treatment criteria for ADHD. This first-of-its-kind study found that only about half of the children who were diagnosed with ADHD exhibit the cognitive issues most commonly associated with the condition.
"Part of the explanation may lie in the common method for diagnosing the disorder. ADHD is an extreme on a normal continuum of behavior that varies in the population, much like height, weight or IQ. Its diagnosis, and thus its prevalence, is defined by where health professionals 'draw the line' on this continuum, based on the severity of the symptoms and overall impairment."
Another finding that has raised eyebrows is that, in Finland - where the study was conducted, ADHD is rarely treated with medication like it is in the United States. Despite that, ADHD "looked" the same in both countries, regardless of whether it was being treated medically, which raises questions as to the effectiveness of current ADHD treatments. Read more at PsychCentral.com.

Labels: treatment, diagnosis, studies

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ADHD Memoir Published by Youngest-ever Author

Blake Taylor is a freshman at the University of California at Berkley. For the last two years, he's spent summer vacations writing his memoirs about life with ADHD, and the book is finally ready for release.
"Taylor is being considered the youngest American to publish a personal account of his life with ADHD. A determined 18-year-old from Weston, Conn., Taylor says he wants to give readers insight into what it's like day-to-day to have ADHD, and to combat the stereotype that the widespread neuro-developmental disorder is really just an excuse for unruly behavior or the result of bad parenting."
The paperback book follows Taylor on his journey from trouble-making 5-year-old to hard-working, socially active college freshman. It chronicles the trial and error he had to go through to find the right combination of medication, self-imposed organization, and rest. Read more at WebWire.com.

Taylor is proof that children with ADHD can go to college and earn academic and personal success. The Cedars Academy offers a post-secondary program that prepares ADHD students for college and life after high school.

Labels: college, development, determination

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Managing Your Child's ADHD throughout the Year

Weekends, vacations, and other long breaks from school can be especially challenging for parents of children with ADHD. One recommendation is to use an individualized treatment plan that includes a medication patch like Daytrana.
"Clinical studies have shown that Daytrana's novel design provides a continuous flow of medication when worn for the 9-hour recommended wear time. Alternatively, Daytrana can be applied later in the day if the child sleeps late on weekends or start activities later during the summer or holiday season, and can still be removed at the usual time."
If your child has been prescribed ADHD medication, it's helpful if the doses can be tailored to your child's activity level and schedule. Talk with your doctor about the best options for creating an individualized treatment plan. Read more at HealthNewsDigest.com.

Specialty boarding schools
, like the Cedars Academy, offer programs geared specifically for children with ADHD, learning disabilities, Asperger's Syndrome, or Non-verbal learning disorders. Learn more about their boarding schools for learning disabilities at CedarsAcademy.com.

Labels: medications, treatment, activities

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Study of Kids with ADHD Raises Questions About Drug Treatments

A study of Attention Deficit Disorder among Finnish children reinforces the idea that children outgrow some of their symptoms, but also raised some questions about the long-term effectiveness of medications as a treatment for the condition.

Dr. Susan Smalley, of the University of California/Los Angeles, used data from a longitudinal Finnish study begun in 1986. Researchers from Finland's University of Oulu and Imperial College in London collected information on 9,432 children from the time of their mothers' pregnancies until adolescence. About 457 of the children were evaluated for ADHD and other psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Smalley found that symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity decreased as the children grew older, but symptoms of inattention continued into adolescence. Only about half the adolescents diagnosed with ADHD had cognitive deficits in working memory, inhibition, etc that are commonly associated with ADHD. Those with cognitive defects did not show increased levels of inattention or hyperactivity compared to others with ADHD.

Youth in Finland rarely take medications for ADHD. Dr. Smalley found that when she compared children with ADHD in Finland who did not take drugs to those in the United States who did, she could conclude that prevalence, symptoms, psychiatric comorbidity and cognition was equivalent for both groups.
"We know medication is very effective in the short-term, but the study raises important questions concerning the efficacy of ADHD treatment," she said.
Two genes labeled DBH and DRD2 that regulate dopamine were associated with ADHD in the Finnish population of adolescents.

This study appears in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Stone Mountain School adhd boarding schools for boys offers a quiet, rural setting that removes everyday distractions allowing boys to concentrate on positive behaviors and academics.

Labels: medications, research, treatment

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Parents of Kids with Disabilities Shut Down Ad Campaign in NY

A controversial public service advertising campaign ended because of objections from parents of children and teens with mental disorders.

The ads, which appeared only in New York City, were supposed to incite parents to have their children evaluated for autism, ADHD and other disorders.

A typical ad looked like a ransom note that read:
"We have your son. We will make sure he will no longer be able to care for himself or interact socially as long as he lives. Autism."
Air N'eman, president of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, wrote, "You have inadvertently reinforced many of the worst stereotypes that have prevented children and adults with disabilities from gaining inclusion, equality and full access to the services and supports they require."

The New York University Child Study Center pulled their ads and apologized to that group and others.
"We meant well," said Dr. Harold Koplewicz of the Child Study Center, "but we unintentionally hurt and offended some people."
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Labels: mental_health, advocacy, advertising

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New Strategy Helps Kids Learn

The strategy is called SLANT and was developed by researchers at Kansas University. It was initially developed for special needs children, but researchers have since discovered that it works best with ADD or ADHD students.
"In the SLANT strategy, the S stands for 'Sit up straight', the L stands for 'Lean Forward', the A stands for 'Activate your thinking', the N stands for 'Note key idea' (littler ones, 'Nod and smile' works better), the T stands for 'Track the talker'."
Teachers can create posters to place around the room, or even note cards that can be taped to students' desks. Then, when a student is not paying attention, all the teacher has to say is "SLANT" or "everyone needs to SLANT". The students know what it means and are reminded to sit up straight and pay attention.

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Labels: education, teachers, learning_disabilites

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