Tips for Parents Supporting Children with ADHD

Tips for Parents Supporting Children with ADHD

Tips for Parents Supporting Children with ADHD Tips for Parents Supporting Children with ADHD

The school environment can be challenging even for a child with optimal psychological health. The responsibilities such as school assignments, homework, interaction with other children, and co-curricular activities all can contribute to considerable stress in a child. The level of stress in children who suffer from ADHD can be even greater because of the unique challenges they confront due to their symptoms.

The following pointers can help prepare a child with ADHD for school:

1.    Psychological Assessment

It is important for a parent who is suspecting that their child is suffering from ADHD to take the child to a professional for an assessment. The assessment is the first step towards supporting the child to have a successful school life.  After identifying the particular challenge the child is facing, the professional can empower the parent on how to support the child at home and in school.

2.    Meet with the Teacher

The child needs support from the teacher. The school teachers are essential in the success journey of the child. The parent should have a meeting with the teacher to brief them on the psychological condition of the student.  The parent can also empower the teacher on some of the support techniques that have been beneficial of their child.

3.    Establish a Rewards System

A child with ADHD often has a compromised ability to grasp future consequences and rewards.  Therefore, a more immediate and concrete reward system can be of great benefit to an ADHD child. For example, after every completed assignment, the child can get an reward. The short term rewards can help the child to be more focused in pursuing.  Your child’s therapists can be an important resource for helping you develop an effective positive reinforcement behavioral plan.

4.    Home environment

A structured, consistent, positive and nurturing environment that a parent provides for their child at home and after school is key for success. Positive attention and support, a consistent routine, clear expectations of the child and realistic expectations from the parent will help the child both cope with their school stress and develop the skills, behaviors, and motivation to succeed.

5.  Get Professional Help

At Pathways Neuropsychology Associates we are here to help you help your child succeed and reduce both the parents and the child’s level of stress.  ADHD/Executive Functioning Coaching and Parent Management Training teach evidenced behavioral strategies and compensatory strategies to increase school success. Psychotherapy and biofeedback teach and enhance coping and stress management skills.  A thorough assessment helps identify your child’s strength and weaknesses, rules out any other academic, behavioral or emotional factors contributing to their difficulties and directs treatment strategies.

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with ADHD & brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

The post Tips for Parents Supporting Children with ADHD appeared first on Pathways Neuropsychology Associates.


Source: Pathways Neuropsychology
Tips for Parents Supporting Children with ADHD

Plan Ahead to Help Your Child with ADHD: Tips for Mastery of the Classroom Experience

Plan Ahead to Help Your Child with ADHD: Tips for Mastery of the Classroom Experience

adhd evaluation

Children with ADHD benefit from knowing what to expect before they arrive to the classroom. This will not only prevent any potential issues (e.g., behavioral, academic) during the first days or weeks of school, but it will also provide the child with a much-needed boost of self-confidence, as they won’t be as overwhelmed with their new classroom environment, new teacher(s), classroom rules, peers, and the numerous other distractions and challenges they will face.

Children with ADHD thrive in structured environments and when they are provided clear and specific instructions. Unfortunately, your child’s academic environment won’t always (or consistently) provide these things, but you can create a sort of classroom crash course for your child in order to provide that sameness and structure that he/she needs.

Creating a behavioral plan with your child and practicing the techniques and strategies in the plan ahead of time is like taking a practice makes perfect approach: You and your child will understand and rehearse the objectives on the plan before he/she is presented with the situation and repeated exposure to the behavioral plan objectives will help your child master these tasks before school starts.

The behavioral plan can be tailored to your child’s unique needs, but oftentimes includes objectives such as impulse control strategies (e.g., reducing interrupting/talking out of turn), managing restlessness/fidgeting, following directions (e.g., listening skills), and getting homework/assignments completed on time.

Below is an example of one component of the behavioral plan that you and your child can create and practice together so that you can both start the school year prepared, confident, and ready to get the most out of the academic experience.

Managing restlessness/fidgeting in the classroom

  • Provide your child a “stress ball” that can be used at home when the child is participating in an activity that involves staying seated and concentrating
    • This will teach your child to get used to squeezing the ball when he/she becomes restless in class
  • Practice deep breathing exercises at home
    • Take about 15 minutes every day for you and your child to practice diaphragmatic breathing, where you take several deep “belly breathes,” in through the nose and out through the mouth
    • Instruct your child to practice this breathing exercise when he/she feels like “moving around” while doing a seated activity at home that requires sustained mental effort (e.g., put your child to do a series of math problems or writing exercises so that he/she learns to anticipate when it’s time to take a break for deep breathing)

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with ADHD. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

If you would like additional information on relaxation exercises, contact PNA for an appointment for a biofeedback session for your child

 

The post Plan Ahead to Help Your Child with ADHD: Tips for Mastery of the Classroom Experience appeared first on Pathways Neuropsychology Associates.


Source: Pathways Neuropsychology
Plan Ahead to Help Your Child with ADHD: Tips for Mastery of the Classroom Experience

Why Your Child’s ADHD Evaluation is Not One and Done

Why Your Child’s ADHD Evaluation is Not One and Done

adhd evaluation

While ADHD is typically a chronic condition, it is by no means static. Symptoms will evolve as children grow and transition from one grade to the next. With a new classroom and another year of maturity under a child’s belt, the problems in the classroom experienced last year might not be the same as this year. In order to best tailor your child’s ADHD treatment, an important part of his or her diagnosis is to continue to reevaluate them each year.

Let’s consider exactly why this might be.

A large component of tracking child ADHD is receiving feedback from their teachers on the children’s behavior in the classroom. This is often done by a scale measuring attention difficulty. However, this subjective scale brings its limitations. First, the way teachers rate on the scale may vary from person to person. One teacher may be apt to give lower scores while another teacher may be prone to giving higher ones. Secondly, children are growing and experiencing different stresses from year to year, all of which will affect their symptoms. From one grade to the next, a child might have matured, a significant source of stress at home may have dissolved that year or perhaps a new one arose, or maybe they are eating and sleeping better. There are many factors that can affect their behavior during this influential time of their lives. A study by Dr. David Rabiner and his associates found that of elementary school children rated as having significant attention problems one year, more than 50% were not rated as having the same symptoms the following year. The bottom line is, the feedback from the teachers won’t necessarily carry over uniformly during classroom transitions.

As much as we wish it would slow down, your child is growing fast! Just like those old pair of shoes, your child may outgrow his or her treatment over time. How do you know if your child needs a new fitting? The best way to assure your child is receiving exactly the type of care he or she needs, stay on top of their symptoms and continually evaluate that your child’s symptoms are being addressed adequately.

source

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with ADAH & brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

The post Why Your Child’s ADHD Evaluation is Not One and Done appeared first on Pathways Neuropsychology Associates.


Source: Pathways Neuropsychology
Why Your Child’s ADHD Evaluation is Not One and Done

Promising Medication Tested Successfully on Adults with ADHD

Promising Medication Tested Successfully on Adults with ADHD

adhd medication evaluation psychologist toms river nj

A New Medication for ADHD on the Horizon 

Psychologists may have a promising new ADHD medication option to prescribe: mazindol CR. Mazindol CR, also known as NLS-1, is a treatment produced by the Switzerland-based company, NLS Pharma. It would be a revolutionary addition to the ADHD medicine cabinet because unlike current options on the market, mazindol CR is a non-stimulant. Many patients do not take well to stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate or amphetamine. Pending successful completion of the last stage of testing, NLS-1 could open up a new door for countless people with ADHD symptoms. 

Let’s look at the numbers from the Phase II part of the trial*:

● 85 adults with ADHD took part in a double-blind, placebo controlled trial for 6 weeks

● 55 percent of participants taking NLS-1 said their symptoms decreased by at least 50 percent

● 70 percent of participants taking NLS-1 said their symptoms decreased by at least 30 percent

● Less than 25 percent of participants taking the placebo reported a 30 percent or greater improvement, making the results statistically significant

● Benefits were experienced within 1 week, which is ⅙ of the time other non-stimulants take to activate

The results also mentioned that the side-effects were “very-well tolerated”, although it was unclear exactly what the side-effects are, or the quantity of them. Nonetheless, the trial showed exciting results that may change the way psychologists prescribe medicinal ADHD treatments.

*NLS Pharma, 2017. NLS PHARMA UNVEILS POSITIVE PHASE 2 DATA FOR NLS-1 (MAZINDOL CR) IN ADULTS WITH ADHD, DEMONSTRATING SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT IN SYMPTOMS. Stans/Switzerland & Miami. Web. source

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

The post Promising Medication Tested Successfully on Adults with ADHD appeared first on Pathways Neuropsychology Associates.


Source: Pathways Neuropsychology
Promising Medication Tested Successfully on Adults with ADHD

Fidget Spinners for Children with ADHD?

Fidget Spinners for Children with ADHD?

Fidget Spinners for Children with ADHD

You probably have heard of the craze: fidget spinners! The spinning toys come in a variety of colors and cost only a few dollars. Despite causing nuisance to many adults and school teachers (they are even banned in some school districts!), some experts say these toys can benefit some children with ADHD. Children with ADHD can be fidgety, from tapping feet to bouncing on seat. The proponents of fidget spinners say that the toy can benefit these children stay focused. However, there are many skeptics in the ADHD community. Most importantly, there are no studies or scientific evidence showing the benefits of fidget spinners. If your child appears to benefit from the toy, talk to his or her teacher. However, fidget spinners are not going to be a sufficient replacement to professional ADHD treatment anytime soon.

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with ADHD & brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

The post Fidget Spinners for Children with ADHD? appeared first on Pathways Neuropsychology Associates.


Source: Pathways Neuropsychology
Fidget Spinners for Children with ADHD?

The ADHD Lifestyle Part II: Exercise

The ADHD Lifestyle Part II: Exercise

adhd treatment Pathways Neuropsychology Associates | Psychologists | Toms River, Manahawkin, Freehold, NJ

What if there was a way to treat ADHD without taking a trip to the pharmacy? Believe it or not, this idea is not too farfetched. Many doctors describe exercise as a natural “medication” that can treat ADHD symptoms effectively. While exercise will most likely not replace traditional treatment options, it can be used as a strong compliment. In fact, exercise often affects the same core component as the stimulants do: one’s executive functions. Memory, inhibition, attention, and prioritization are all examples of executive functions. When one has a strong grip on executive functions and becomes less impulsive, there is a greater chance of behavioral and academic success.

So how does this “medication” work? Again, let’s look to stimulants to find our answer. When children take Ritalin or Adderal, the activity of the neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine are increased. Exercise is a natural way to modulate dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine activity and availability in the brain. When these neurotransmitters are increased, one experiences heightened attention and overall greater use of executive function. If your child is struggling in school, it is a smart idea to look into organized athletic activities that involves consistent participation. It does not matter exactly which sport. Anthything from gymnastics, to karote, to cross country will provide the type of sustained aerobic activity that will be beneficial to your child. More likely than not, you will see increased improvement in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy and/ or pharmaceuticals!

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with ADHD & brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

The post The ADHD Lifestyle Part II: Exercise appeared first on Pathways Neuropsychology Associates.


Source: Pathways Neuropsychology
The ADHD Lifestyle Part II: Exercise

Does My Child Need Ritalin for ADHD?

Does My Child Need Ritalin for ADHD?

ADHD ADD ritalin ADHD evaluation testing

Especially for young students with behavioral or academic problems, stimulant medications are thought of as a one-size-fits-all “easy fix.” A parent might be tempted to pursue this route out of legitimate concern for a child and the conception that a pill can be the miracle cure.

But not so fast!

At Pathways, we recommend a comprehensive ADHD evaluation and counseling before starting stimulant medications. Why? First, the presence behavior and academic problems may not necessarily mean one has ADHD. ADHD is a specific developmental disorder relating to executive functions sn emotional control. Depending on the case, stimulant medications may have no positive benefit or, worse, lead to adverse responses. Second, medication is only one piece of the ADHD puzzle. Behavioral counseling and management is an important component of comprehensive ADHD treatment.

Last year, the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology published a paper indicating that stimulant medication is more effective as a supplemental treatment complementing behavioral counseling and management in children ages five to twelve. The results of the studies challenge the extreme reliance on stimulant medications at high doses. When parents were counseled to practice behavioral modification before the start of Ritalin treatment, children displayed more positive results in behavior at school compared to children receiving Ritalin alone. Behavior modifications are based primarily on a reward system and positive feedback. Under this parenting technique, children are rewarded for positive behavior and are taught to delay immediate gratification to get certain tasks complete.

In addition to seeing greater results in school, combination therapy that incorporates counseling and medication turned out to be more cost-saving than treatment and monitoring alone. This may be because treatment is more efficient when tailored to patients’ needs and responsibilities are also slowly taken up by the parents.

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with ADHD & brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

The post Does My Child Need Ritalin for ADHD? appeared first on Pathways Neuropsychology Associates.


Source: Pathways Neuropsychology
Does My Child Need Ritalin for ADHD?

The ADHD Lifestyle Part I: Diet

The ADHD Lifestyle Part I: Diet

The ADHD Lifestyle Part I: Diet

The brain is vital organ that, like the other organs in the body, depend on nutrients for healthy function and endurance. Those with ADHD are even more dependent on proper nutrients and sleep. Cognition, memory, and mood may all be affected by eating well. More importantly, unhealthy eating and poor sleep can exacerbate ADHD symptoms and make a profound difference in academic success. Studies have shown that the elimination of processed sugars and other unwholesome foods improve ADHD symptoms in the majority of study participants. Why does diet make such a profound impact? Food influences the chemicals in the brain that are involved in ADHD. Importantly, serotonin and dopamine are the major players here. In addition to influencing ADHD symptoms, serotonin levels can also influence sleep behavior.

While not technically a drug, healthy nutrients in everyday food can be thought of as a potent “medication” that may profoundly impact the performance of one with ADHD. In this light, it is important for one to take his or her “daily dose.” This includes plenty of drinking water, complex carbohydrates, and lean protein gradually and consistently taken in on daily basis. Such behavior will increase positive sleeping behavior while keeping serotonin and dopamine at advantageous levels. Conversely, simple sugars like candy or soda, may create an initial spike in these neurotransmitters, but this will be followed by a sharp decline that will leave on craving even more unhealthy food. The result is a “domino effect” and putting the brain in a chemical state that may strengthen the negative behavioral symptoms of ADHD.

Three quick pointers:

*Drink plenty of water and avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol. Importantly, stay hydrated while avoiding sugary drinks. Sugar drinks are a waste of calories!

*Eat smart: not all calories are the same! It is important to intake a proper amount of daily calories to feed the brain. However, not all calories will affect ADHD symptoms uniformly. Unfortunately for those with ADHD, impulsive tendencies often lead to consumption of simple carbohydrates such as soda, candy, and processed snacks that cause sharp unsustainable increases in blood sugar. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, will have result in more favorable and sustained neurotransmitter levels. Foods high in protein will help control blood sugar levels. When one consistently practices good habits, some of the cravings for “junk food” will be better controlled. Go for those sweet potatoes and blueberries next time you are at the grocery store!

*Get sleep! Food and sleep are intimately related and, together, they both profoundly affect the behavioral and emotional state of those with ADHD.

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

The post The ADHD Lifestyle Part I: Diet appeared first on Pathways Neuropsychology Associates.


Source: Pathways Neuropsychology
The ADHD Lifestyle Part I: Diet

Defining ADHD in Light of Brain Injuries

Defining ADHD in Light of Brain Injuries

brain injury adhd

According to the most recent studies, experts define ADHD as a developmental disorder affecting proper use of executive functions. One can think of executive functions as the brain’s “command center,” controlling focus, organization, memory, action, and effort. In short, it is the self-management system of the brain that is tasked with operating unconscious decisions in daily life. As a developmental disorder with a hereditary component, ADHD will present itself as the brain is maturing in childhood. ADHD symptoms are chronic and will often interfere with daily functioning in routine tasks. However, these impairments are situation-dependent. For instance, one with ADHD may show reduced symptoms for an extremely exciting and adrenaline-inducing task, but show carelessness for more mundane, yet essential, tasks.

One of the controversial questions facing experts is: is it possible for adults to develop ADHD later in life if it is truly a developmental disorder? What is definitely true is that adults with no childhood ADHD will report ADHD symptoms later in life: problems starting tasks and projects, estimating time, prioritizing schedule, and completing work without procrastination. Specifically, adults that have experienced menopause or a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are more likely to present with ADHD-like symptoms. Regardless if one wishes to define these cases as ADHD, it is true that events preceding and during adulthood can affect brain function and chemical balance enough to severely impair executive functions. However, treating an adult with TBI and ADHD-like symptoms may add an extra layer of considerations and complexity. For instance, a lot of traditional ADHD treatments may exacerbate TBI symptoms and make the overall condition worse.

A 2015 study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research links TBI with ADHD-like symptoms by interviewing patients in Ontario, Canada. However, the results are not black and white. Some interpret the data and conclude that TBI’s influence the brain’s chemical and structural makeup lead to ADHD-like symptoms. TBI, in these cases, transform one’s psycho-neurological makeup leading to ADHD in adults. Other doctors, however, argue that ADHD patients are more likely to partake in high risk behavior that would lead to TBI’s in the first place. It is a classic debate of the chicken and the egg. Proper classification can be tricky, as both TBI and ADHD exhibit symptoms such as impulsive behavior, memory impairment, organization, and use of executive functions. One who is experiencing ADHD symptoms with a TBI should seek professional consultation to make sure both are treated sufficiently without stressing one or the other.

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

The post Defining ADHD in Light of Brain Injuries appeared first on Pathways Neuropsychology Associates.


Source: Pathways Neuropsychology
Defining ADHD in Light of Brain Injuries

Parenting a Child With ADHD

Parenting a Child With ADHD

adhd evaluation

Do: Educate Yourself About ADHD 

A great (and immensely important!) starting point for a parent is understanding what ADHD is and what it means to you and your child.  It is important to realize that the behavior of a child with ADHD is a result of a developmental disorder that affects executive functions. He or she cannot just “snap out of it”.

While professional help is very important, here are some good starting books to help you start your education about ADD/ADHD:

“Smart but Stuck: Emotions in Teens and Adults with ADHD” by Thomas E. Brown, PhD

“New ADHD Medication Rules” by Charlers Parker, MD

“ADHD: What Every Parent Needs to Know” by Michael I. Reiff, M.D.

“Nowhere to Hide: Why Kids with ADHD and LD Hate School and What We Can Do About It” by Jerome J. Schultz, Ph.D

“Driven to Distraction” by Ned Hallowell, MD and John Ratey, MD

Dont: be a downer

Being negative can make one lose perspective and overshadow the positives. Tomorrow is always a new day.

Do: be your child’s advocate

It can be tough for a child to realize that he or she may not be meeting expectations.

Your child needs a proud supporter, one who nourishes and sports the uniqueness and talents. Believe in your child and fight for your child’s success, whether it is talking to school administrators or tutor.

Dont: be militant and take everything personally

Most children will protest and talk back to their parents. While strict limits and discipline must be employed, too harsh of an effort to mute your child can be damaging. This can suppress the spirit and will of a vibrant child. Make sure to set reasonable limits when it comes to disciplining behavior and focus much more on positive attention and positive reinforcement.

Do: trust your child to make choices

Provide opportunities for your child to make choices. This will provide a sense of independence while teaching the value of decisions and consequences. For instance, you can ask your child “would you rather start your HW now or practice your guitar first?”

Don’t: lose control over relationship with child and stay calm

While a child with ADHD may act disorderly, a parent must never lose their grip and authority. Do not be intimidated just because you may feel overwhelmed or frustrated. Patience can be a virtue, but it is ultimately up to the parent to make the rules for acceptable behavior. Try to be accommodating and flexible but make sure to set personal parenting limits of what is “crossing the line.”

Do: Promote Patience

Having ADHD can be very frustrating. Make sure your child understands that success is gradual. Help set incremental goals such as “high marks on the next three English tests” before jumping to grander goals. Over time, the bar can be set increasingly higher.

In addition, set up an organized household with limited distractions. It is beneficial to have a quiet space that is neat and free of messes and distractions such as television and video games. This organization will set good example and reduce any additional burdens a student with ADHD may encounter with unnecessary disorder.

Don’t: Try to fix everything at once 

Parenting a child with ADHD is a marathon, not a sprint. Personal time for yourself can be extremely beneficial in preventing “burnout.” Relax. Go to the gym. Go on a walk. Get proper sleep. The better mindset you are in, the better job you will do parenting. Be confident in yourself and in your child. Positive change will come with gradual persistence.

Do: focus on the basics and set rewards!

Exercise, sleep, and a healthy diet are key ingredients for improved behavior. Poor sleep, poor nutrition, and insufficient exercise can make ADHD symptoms worse. Recreational sports, family hikes, and routine bedtimes are all good ideas. Set a good example!

In addition, make sure your child is rewarded for positive steps in right direction. Children with ADHD are highly sensitive to cognitive reward responses. Positive feedback can reinforce good behavior. For instance, you can make a marble jar that is filled with a marble for each high test mark, positive teacher review, etc. Once the jar is filled, you can reward your child with an agreed upon prize.

Do: seek expert help

Dr. Gordon is an experienced ADHD expert. He is devoted to helping you learn more about ADHD and find solutions for each individual’s need!

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

The post Parenting a Child With ADHD appeared first on Pathways Neuropsychology Associates.


Source: Pathways Neuropsychology
Parenting a Child With ADHD