ADHD awareness

May 15, 2008

Teaching Your Child with ADHD How to Read

Filed under: ADHD,parenting — by buyangyang @ 7:16 am
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posted on kids and reading

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are medical conditions that make learning to read truly difficult for both the affected children and those who care about them.

To understand what it’s like to have ADD or ADHD imagine being stimulated by everything you see, hear, smell, taste, etc. Rather than being able to selectively ignore a noise or a strong odour, you become distracted by such common occurrences. Consequently, it’s tough to maintain any sense of focus on even the smallest tasks like tying your shoes or peeling a banana, let alone learning the alphabet and sounding out or recognising words.

Though many youngsters with ADD and ADHD are given medications to help calm the symptoms of their disorder and lessen the impact that everyday stimuli have on their senses, prescriptions cannot entirely erase the effects of the condition. This means that teachers and parents must implement very specific strategies when working with ADD and ADHD kids.

Some of the best practices concerning teaching the ADD or ADHD student to read are listed below. Be certain to employ creativity when dealing with your son, daughter, or student who has ADD or ADHD. The more you can uncover what “works” for him or her, the easier the process of learning to read will be on everyone involved.

Practice Reading in a Calm Environment

The dog is barking. A lawn mower is running outside. The telephone is ringing. The teapot is whistling. While many children naturally tune out such distractions, the boy or girl with ADD or ADHD will not be able to do so. Instead, he or she will become almost obsessively fixated on the new sounds, much to the frustration of the teacher.

In order to get the best results from your ADD or ADHD pupil, it’s essential that the learning environment be as calm as possible. For instance, the hour before bedtime might be a good opportunity to work with a child one-on-one in a very quiet surrounding when he or she is less “rowdy”. That way, he or she will be more inclined to focus on the task at hand.

Teach Reading in Small “Chunks”

The ADD or ADHD child isn’t happy to sit for more than a few minutes at a time, so reading lessons need to be short and to the point. If they become too involved or require large amounts of time, the young person will lose interest and effectively tune out the teacher or parent.

Even if you spend just five minutes working on reading, then allow your child to spend another fifteen minutes playing before returning to the lesson, progress can still be made. Many ADD and ADHD kids are quite intelligent; thus, they can absorb and retain information, even if it is presented to them in a piecemeal fashion.

Incorporate the Computer

Though the computer cannot teach your child to read, it can be a huge asset in the process of becoming literate. Many ADD and ADHD children are fascinated by technology and will actually sit in front of a computer for longer than they will sit in front of a human. You can use this to your advantage.

Obviously, it’s not feasible for them to sit at the computer too often, but if your ADD or ADHD son or daughter finds computer games interesting, there are many “learning to read” CDs and DVDs on the market. Just make sure that you look over them before he or she does to ensure they are exactly what you want and need.

Give Lots of Rewards and Positive Feedback

Having a “label” such as ADD or ADHD does little for a child’s self-esteem. Therefore, it’s important for any instructor, mum, or dad to consistently encourage the ADD or ADHD student who is learning to read.

Even simple milestones such as remembering the sound that “b” makes can be celebrated in small ways. Perhaps an extra squeeze is all your pupil needs to feel like a star. Or maybe you want to give extra “stay up past bedtime” minutes to the student who is really trying hard to be a top-notch reader.

Regardless of how you choose to say, “Good job,” make sure that you remaining upbeat and optimistic. The process of teaching an ADD or ADHD boy or girl to read isn’t necessarily going to be simple, but the rewards at the end of the journey are enormous.


May 13, 2008

Lifestyle Factors That Can Affect ADHD

Filed under: ADHD,children — by buyangyang @ 3:26 am
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By Amy Paturel, M.S., M.P.H.

As posted in

Diet and pollutants can worsen symptoms of ADHD

An increasing number of children are kicking, screaming, hitting, and otherwise acting out. Some are so violent that they can’t be in the same room with other children. The reason: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition that affects up to 5 percent of children. While some people think that sugar, TV, and video games are to blame, experts claim there’s no evidence to support such theories.

“We seem to keep revisiting these urban legends when the research has overwhelmingly been either inconclusive or contradictory,” says Floyd Sallee, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati. But there are other environmental factors that do have an effect:

Several studies have shown that children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy display more signs of attention deficit and are more likely to exhibit learning problems in school. “The risks aren’t only posed by mothers smoking but also, more alarmingly, by exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy on into the first year of life,” says Sallee. Why? Nicotine exposure in the womb and during early ages is toxic to developing brain tissue and may have sustained effects on behavior.

While fetal alcohol syndrome is not directly related to ADHD, its symptoms — inattention and cognitive impairment — are similar to those of ADHD. Drinking during pregnancy can certainly increase the risk that the child will develop ADHD or ADHD-like symptoms. In adults who have ADHD, drinking can exacerbate symptoms, especially as regards impulsivity.

Heavy Metals

“There’s a known relationship between lead toxicity and detrimental effects on the functioning of a child’s central nervous system that look like ADHD,” says Sallee. “We’ve cleaned up the lead in gasoline, but there’s a lot of lead in the environment — for example, in paint.” And it’s not just lead. Heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury (which is harbored in large predatory fish like swordfish and mackerel) have similar effects. Pregnant and nursing women as well as children should avoid these fish.

More than 30 years ago, Benjamin Feingold, M.D., suggested that food additives — colorings, flavorings, and related substances — have a pharmacological effect and may influence hyperactivity in children. After reviewing a series of studies, however, the National Institutes of Health concluded that food additives affect only a small number of children with behavioral problems. That said, a balanced, healthy diet does improve focus by stabilizing blood sugar levels, a key to managing ADHD symptoms.

Secondary Conditions

ADHD does not occur in a vacuum. In fact, many researchers believe it is a syndrome or cluster of behaviors rather than a single disorder. In a study of 152 parents with ADHD, 87 percent had at least one psychological disorder, such as depression, multiple anxiety disorder, or substance abuse. “When the brain is abnormal on one circuit, there’s a propensity for further abnormality — sort of a chain reaction of negative events,” says Sallee. “If you’re depressed, you don’t pay attention and you have difficulties with performance” — symptoms that are similar to those of ADHD. It’s the same thing with insomnia. After all, sleep deprivation makes the best of us cranky, inattentive, and irritable. Even in a person without ADHD, insomnia and depression can result in behaviors that are not all that different from those of a child with ADHD — irritability, inability to focus, inattention, and so on.

This section created and produced exclusively by the editorial staff of © 2008; all rights reserved.

May 10, 2008

How is ADHD discovered?

Filed under: ADHD,children — by buyangyang @ 3:04 am
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According to add-adhd, the study of the attention disorder, including perception and learning disabilities related to the brain and its functioning, had its first serious beginnings in the 1930’s. Prior to that time, science had amassed two significant sets of data associated with brain injuries that provided similar sets of behavioral and cognitive results. First, in World War I and in the early years of World War II, many soldiers were found to have developed serious learning, behavioral and attention disorders, following their sustainment of serious head injuries. Second, the severe encephalitis epidemics of 1916 and 1917 left many of those who survived with a level of permanent brain damage that resulted in learning, behavioral and attention disorders similar to those seen in the injured soldiers.

Also during the 1930’s, another scientist who was studying language and reading difficulties in children identified behavioral, learning and attention disorders that were similar to the symptoms identified for persons who had sustained brain injuries or brain damage. This study was significant to the development of an understanding of the various forms of attention disorder since scientists soon began to theorize that brain damage could occur due to less visible factors such as lack of oxygen during birth, high fevers during infancy, genetic predispositions, etc. In general, the collection of symptoms identified for all of these populations of patients included hyperactivity, perception problems, language delays and disorders, distractibility and inattention, and poor coordination and motor skills. From the 1930’s through the early 1960’s, the patient and the syndrome were identified as “brain injured.”

During these studies in the late 1930’s, the use of amphetemines was also first identified and used successfully to improve the behavioral and learning abilities of these various “brain-damaged” patients.

The next major leap in our understanding of the various forms of attention disorder occurred in the 1960’s. Scientists at this time introduced the term “minimal brain dysfunction” or “MBD” and characterized the syndrome with the most commonly recognized symptoms at that time, including hyperactivity, wide mood swings, inattention and distractibility, impulsivity, and memory and learning disorders.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s, there was also significant progress in the educational approach to MBD children. Educational experts reconized the key issues of distractibility and inattention in the MBD students and began their first experiments with reducing excess stimuli in the classroom such as colors, noises and the behaviors of others in the classroom in order to improve the focus of the MBD child. In 1973, Public Law 94-142 was passed and guaranteed a free and appropriate education for handicapped children equal to the quality of eduction provided to other children.

From 1968 to 1994, the definition of the various forms of Attention Disorder were refined by the medical community and documented by the American Psychiatric Association in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), with the following refinements over time:

1968: The term “hyperkinetic reaction to childhood” was adopted to describe the symptoms previously defined for MBD.

1980: In the DSM 3rd edition (1980), the term “Attention Deficit Disorder” was introduced and included two forms of the condition (with or without hyperactivity) with the following criteria: presence of hyperactivity, inattention and/or impulsivity, occurring before age 7, present for at least 6 months, and not caused by other mental disorders.

1987: In the DSM-III-R, the term applied was “Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder” and included a single specified threshhold for a positive diagnosis based on the total number of symptoms falling within the areas of hyperactivity, inattention and/or impulsivity.

1994: In the DSM-IV, the term “Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder” was retained, but the age criteria was removed and a “settings” criteria was added. Per the DSM-IV criteria, the ADHD symptoms must appear in 2 out of the 3 settings of home, school, and work. The DSM-IV Criteria is the criteria currently used today by medical practitioners in diagnosing ADHD.

May 9, 2008

ADHD Delays Growth of Certain Brain Areas

Filed under: ADHD,children — by buyangyang @ 5:42 am
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as posted in

While some regions of the brain mature a few years late in youngsters with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), their brains do develop in a normal pattern, concludes a study by researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

They found that the delay in brain maturation in children with ADHD was most prominent in regions at the front of the brain’s outer mantle (cortex), which is involved in thinking, planning and attention.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brains of 223 children with ADHD revealed that half of 40,000 cortex sites attained peak thickness at an average age of 10.5, compared to age 7.5 in a group of children without ADHD.

However, both youngsters with ADHD and those without the disorder showed a similar back-to-front progression of brain maturation with different regions peaking in thickness at different times.

“Finding a normal pattern of cortex maturation, albeit delayed, in children with ADHD should be reassuring to families and could help to explain why many youth eventually seem to grow out of the disorder,” research team leader Dr. Philip Shaw, of the NIHM Child Psychiatry Branch, said in a prepared statement.

The study was published this week in the online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

These findings support the theory that ADHD is caused by a delay in cortex maturation, the researchers said. They plan to investigate the genetic roots of this delay and methods of promoting recovery from ADHD.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about ADHD.

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