Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Major League Baseball Player's Struggles with ADHD

"San Francisco Giants center-fielder, Andrés Torres, came from humble means, found rejection, mockery, and disappointment, and struggled 10 years in the minors before becoming a major league baseball player.

Andrés has developed strategies and support systems that helped him to become a key player in the San Francisco Giants' 2010 World Series win. His story inspires hope and motivates others to embrace their own challenges and never give up on their dreams."

Please watch this amazing trailer from an upcoming video about the new New York Mets center fielder, Andres Torres, directed by Sundance award-winning director, Chusy Haney-Jardine.  In the video, Andres talks about his struggles with ADHD.

If for some reason you cannot access the video, please contact me.

Here is the youtube link:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What Difficulties do Children with ADHD Experience when they Converse with Children or Adults?What Interventions can we Try in order to Help them to Converse more Easily? Use Literature!!!

Don’t children with ADHD know how to converse with children or adults? Certainly they know how to speak to another person. However, what I mean by converse is to use words as a way of communication to another person. The way they converse is not always socially appropriate. Three things, among others, happen to children with ADHD when they begin to converse with children and adults.

 First, they have a difficult time listening to the other person, based on the fact that they typically have a difficult time attending to the person who is talking.

 Second, they feel a need to tell these people everything that they are thinking at the moment, instead of listening to the topic of the conversation.

 Third, when they want to respond to another person, they have great difficulty waiting for the other person to stop talking, so they tend to interrupt that person.

 Those problems, therefore, pinpoint three main difficulties that these children experience: they have difficulty listening to another person; they maintain a constant verbiage unrelated to the current conversation; and they interrupt whomever is speaking.

 Let’s tackle first things first. How do you teach a child with ADHD to listen? Here is one way:

 Start by finding out what specific learning style is the strongest one through which the child learns. In other words, the teacher should evaluate through which modality the child with

ADHD learns most effectively. Let us say, for example, that the child’s learning strength is auditory. Find out what kind of story (let’s assume that the child is of elementary age) the child likes. Either obtain a CD of the narrated story or, better yet, read the story on to an audiotape yourself. You can read a story into a voice recorder that has a USB drive and download it right on to your computer.

 Listen to the story with the child. Ask the child questions such as:

Ø  Who is the character you like the most? What is the first thing that happened to that character in the story?

Ø   What is the next thing that happened to the same character?

The answers to these questions reflect whether or not the child listened.

Ø  If he could not answer the questions, listen to the story again with the child.

Ø  Stop the audiotape or CD the first time something happens to that character.

Ø  Then ask the child, what just happened to that character?

Let me know if this intervention worked with your own child or with the child with whom you teach.

Monday, December 12, 2011

How is your Child and/or Teenager with ADHD Behaving with the Holidays Looming Closer?

Have you noticed that your child/teenager is exhibiting the following behaviors more than usual during this holiday season?

·         It has become more difficult for your child to get his homework done

·         He  does not complete all of his homework

·         He “jumps” around from place to place in your house

·         His grades are lower than they were in previous quarters

·         He is more tense and/or anxious

·          He is insistent on doing what he wants to do, i.e., video games, working on the computer, etc.

·         He has difficulty sleeping

·         When you are conversing with him, he goes from topic to topic, without completing his thoughts

·         He interrupts

·         He forgets about what he is required to do at home
Please send me your comments to my question, so that I can make some suggestions as to what you can do to help your child/teenager through this difficult time.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Look at a New England Patriots Player and his Lifelong Struggle with Bullying

What are some of the characteristics of someone who has been bullied?

Appearing to be different?
Short in stature?
A loner?
Negative body language, such as looking down when walking in the hallways of the school, or sitting with his shoulders slumped?

All of the above are characteristics of someone who has been or is being bullied, among many other characteristics…
Teaching a child to combat being bullied is very difficult. (Check out this blog post). It can be accomplished, however. That being said, learning how to stop being bullied is a long process. As part of that process, we teach the child to be assertive and communicate to the bully that the bullying behavior must stop.

Even though being assertive works in most instances to diminish the bullying that children must endure, in most cases, the bullying takes its toll on those who have been the targets of the bullying for their entire lives.
It is encouraging but rare to hear of someone who has achieved great success as an adult after he or she has been bullied for a large proportion of their life. These individuals appear to have some inner strength that is well beyond the guts and grittiness that characterizes those children who have not been bullied.

The following is an article that my son, Ian (who is the Patriots beat writer for the Boston Herald) wrote about Antwaun  Molden, a cornerback. He talked to Ian about his lifelong struggle with bullying.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Why are Children Bullied? Lea Michele: Bullied Into Changing Her Name

Why are Children Bullied?

There are many reasons why children are bullied, one of which may be because of their name. Lea Michele talks here about being bullied because of her real name.

Lea Michele: Bullied Into Changing Her Name

Michael Buckner | Getty
There's a reason Lea Michele is so convincing as a bullied teen on the hit show 'Glee,' -- the star reveals she was the victim of bullying in her real life, too! The taunts were specifically hurtful when they came to Lea's original last name, "Sarfati." In fact, the teasing got so bad that Lea took it upon herself to change her surname altogether!

"Sarfati, that's my real last name," the star of the movie 'New Year's Eve' told Jay Leno this week (Dec. 7). "I don't use it a lot because I got 'Lea So Fatty' [and] 'Lea So Farty' in school."

Naturally all that teasing took a toll of Lea, so when she saw the opportunity to switch up her God-given name, she took it! "When I was little and I went on my first audition, they were like, 'May we have your name?' I was like 'Lea Michele' ... and I've been Lea Michele ever since!'

The 'Glee' gal may have changed her name, but there's one thing Lea refuses to alter ... her nose! Even though the unique beauty reveals she was, and is, criticized for her prominent facial feature, she won't go under the knife to change it. "I'm proud to be on a positive show and to be a voice for girls and say, 'You don't need to look like everybody else,'" Lea tells Hollywood Life. "Love who you are!"

ADVICE FROM A CHILD WITH ADHD: How can Individuals who are Unfocused Successfully Complete the Many Jobs that they have to Accomplish at Home?

I was talking the other day with a child with whom I work about ways that she could go about diminishing her distractibility (she calls it being unfocused) at home. Specifically, we were discussing how she could successfully complete her many daily responsibilities, such as doing her homework, taking a shower, practicing her instrument, cleaning up the dinner dishes, working on the computer, etc., when she felt unfocused.

I told her that becoming unfocused or scattered (my term and not a scientific one that I then explained the meaning of to her) happens to everyone at one time or another. She said to me “But you don’t have ADHD!” I then told her that she was correct in that I did not have ADHD. However, I  explained to her that quite often when I have many jobs to complete, I start out doing one of those jobs, then leave that job incomplete, while I go on to another job, etc.

I asked her what I should do in order to successfully finish my numerous jobs. I was amazed by her response. She told me that “You need to do whatever you need to do very slowly, one thing at a time.” I was flabbergasted by her insight.

I then asked her if she could try using her own advice and she said “Sure, why not?” I also asked her if she had previously thought about how to successfully complete the many jobs that she has to do despite her feeling unfocused.

She told me that had never thought about how to do all of the jobs that she has to do in spite of feeling that way. Instead, she told me that she frequently becomes upset and overwhelmed as a response to having to complete so many activities. In fact, she told me that she often does not complete any of those activities.

 Just asking her how I could complete those tasks successfully helped her to try to adapt the method that SHE DEVISED to the activities that SHE has to accomplish. Wow! I LOVE learning from children and teenagers!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Staying Safe on the Roads: Driving with ADHD" Courtesy of the National Resource Center on AD/HD: A Program of CHADD

December 1, 2011

Staying Safe on the Roads: Driving with ADHD

One of the biggest rites of passage for young people in the United States is the day they receive their driver’s license and the promise of greater freedom with the car keys. Teenagers affected by ADHD are just as excited about driving as their peers, but their entry onto the road might not go as smoothly due to their symptoms.

Experts agree that parents need to take an active role in preparing their teens affected by ADHD and set ground rules for the privilege of driving. Parents must also take into consideration their teens’ abilities and level of maturity before handing over the keys.

“Driving is a privilege, and with that in mind... they have to earn certain rights to drive,” says former CHADD president Beth Kaplanek, RN. Kaplanek addressed the issue of driving during an Ask the Expert chat in October 2008 (content available to CHADD members). “This is a non‐negotiable issue related to safety. If you as a parent feel the child is not ready for driving, you must step in. It can be a matter of life and death. Driving is serious stuff.”

Most states place certain limitations on young drivers, and it is essential that parents and teens know the law in their state (and surrounding states if relevant). These restrictions typically relate to hours when driving is not permitted, or whether underage passengers may be present without an adult also in the car.

In addition to what the law requires, parents and teens are encouraged by Russell Barkley, PhD, to enter into a written contract outlining the privileges and obligations of driving before teens have full independence. Barkley suggests that new drivers gain further privileges in three stages over the course of about 18 months provided they follow certain rules. One of these rules is that the teen will take medication as prescribed before driving; to date, medication is the only treatment known to improve driving behavior for those affected by ADHD. Other rules include keeping the radio low and absolutely disallowing the use of cell phones (especially texting) while driving. Barkley also suggests teens maintain a driving log, including when medication was taken, where the driver went and how far she drove, contact numbers for where the teen would be and when the car left and returned to the family residence. Parents should check the log regularly; privileges might be awarded or removed based on the log’s information.

“[Teens] must go to driver’s education,” says Kaplanek, “and know that driving is always a privilege. As a parent, model safe driving habits, consider postponing [driving] for a year if needed, and above all make it a rule that cell phones and texting are not allowed in the car. Create a plan, including time of day or high traffic times when kids can’t drive.”

Teens who abide by the contract see their driving privileges increase every six months. Teens who have difficulty following the rules can see those privileges curtailed or suspended until they display more maturity. After all, it’s better to have these privileges suspended by Mom and Dad than by a judge!

“Remember the issue of a maturity lag: a 16-year-old may be acting more like a 13-year-old,” Kaplanek reminds parents.

New drivers have the highest accident rates of all drivers and teens affected by ADHD are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents than their non-affected peers. Careful planning, drivers’ education and a gradual increase in privileges that correspond with improved skills benefits teen drivers and can help make driving a better experience for them and their parents.

National Resource Center on AD/HD: A Program of CHADD
8181 Professional Place, Suite 150
Landover, MD 20785

ph: 800-233-4050
Ask a Question about AD/HD
Privacy Policy

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Daily Distress in Moms of Children with ADHD"

This article was written by David Rabiner, Ph.D, and accessed from

Daily Distress in Moms of Children with ADHD

Parents of children with ADHD have been found to experience elevated levels of parenting stress and distress in multiple studies. This is not surprising given the greater challenges associated with raising a child who consistently exhibits high levels of ADHD symptoms.

Studies of child ADHD and parenting stress have typically relied on global and static measures of both children's behavioral problems, e.g., having parents complete rating scales and parents' reports of stress/distress. Correlating these reports provides useful information on how children's ADHD symptoms relate to parents' average distress level, but say little about the moment-to-moment fluctuations in parents' stress that may occur in response to fluctuations in their child's behavior. This dynamic aspect of the parent child relationship can only be captured by relating parents' stress to children's behavior as it occurs in real time.

Examining the ebb and flow of parents' distress in relation to children's behavior was the focus of an interesting study published recently in the Journal of Family Psychology [Whalen et al., (2011). Dissecting daily distress in mothers of children with ADHD: An electronic diary study. Journal of Family Psychology, 25, 402-411. Participants were 51 8- to 12-year old children with ADHD and their mothers (about 70% boys) and 58 comparison dyads where the child did not have ADHD. The authors had intended to include fathers but were unable to recruit a sufficient number. All children with ADHD were being treated with a long acting medication during the study and were reported by their mothers to be doing well on medication.

Over a 7-day period during nonschool hours, mothers and children rated their moods and behavior using Personal Digital Assistants, i.e., PDAs, roughly every thirty minutes when prompted by a beep from the device. Each time the beep occurred, mothers rated the child's level of attention/concentration, hyperactive-impulsive behavior, and oppositional behavior. They also rated how stressed, worried, worried about their child, and sad they were feeling in the moment. These ratings were averaged to obtain a measure of moms' overall distress at each recording point.

Children used their eDiary device to rate their mood and behavior by indicating how angry, restless, impatient, and focused they were feeling each time they were prompted.

Moms and children were instructed to completed their diaries independently and privately without consulting each other so as not to influence one another's ratings. Compliance was excellent with mothers and children in the ADHD and comparison group completing ratings at over 90% of the prompts. Thus, researchers were able to obtain data that provided an especially fine-grained look at how mothers' distress varied directly in relation to children's behavior over the course of a typical week.

Additional Measures

The researchers also obtained measure of 'maternal risk' at baseline using a composite of mothers' self-reported ADHD symptoms, depression, and the intensity of child-related stressors that she experienced during the prior 6 months. Obtaining an estimate of maternal risk at baseline enabled the researchers to test whether mothers at higher risk were more negatively reactive to their child's behavior in the moment.


Baseline characteristics of mothers

Not surprisingly, baseline risk scores were substantially higher in mothers of children with ADHD compared to other mothers. These mothers were more depressed, reported more ADHD behaviors in themselves, and were experiencing significantly greater stress related to their children.

Question 1: Do ongoing child behaviors and maternal distress fluctuate together?

As expected, the answer to this question was clearly yes. In both groups of mothers, elevated levels of distress were reported during times when the mother perceived her child to be hyperactive, oppositional, or lacking in concentration. Similarly, maternal distress was higher when the child reported him or herself to be angry, impatient, or restless.

Question 2: Are mothers of children with ADHD more reactive to their child's negative behaviors?

Again, the answer was yes. The increase in maternal distress reported by moms whose child had ADHD was significantly greater when the child displayed negative behaviors/moods compared to the other mothers. Thus, even though distress increased during these times for all mothers, distress levels in moms in the ADHD group were negatively affected to a greater degree.

Question 3: Is the link between negative child behavior and maternal distress stronger in moms at higher risk?

The answer to this question was also clearly yes. Moms with higher baseline scores on the risk index reported greater increases in distress when their child displayed negative behaviors than did moms with lower risk scores. This was true for both groups of moms but recall that moms of children with ADHD had substantially higher risk scores to begin with. Thus, this was especially problematic for these mothers.

Summary and Implications

Results from this study go beyond prior research demonstrating that mothers of children with ADHD have higher parenting stress by documenting how this association operates during the ebb and flow of daily life. When children display negative behaviors or mood states, e.g. oppositional behavior, hyperactivity, anger, mothers' distress level increases significantly. And, these increases are greater in moms whose child has ADHD and who report higher rates of ADHD symptoms, depression and child-related stress to begin with. These moms appear to be especially sensitive to negative behaviors in their child and are prone to respond by experiencing increasing distress.

Results from this study have several important implications. First, the higher baseline risk scores in mothers from the ADHD group, and the greater reactivity of these moms to their child's behavior, highlights the importance of recognizing the impact that ADHD can have on parents and of providing parents with necessary treatment and support. Too often, children themselves are the sole focus of ADHD treatment and important issues that parents are struggling with do not receive sufficient attention.

Second, these findings highlight the particular struggles that mothers experience dealing effectively with the negative behaviors that occur more frequently in children with ADHD. Because such behavior triggers significant increases in what may already be high levels of distress, responding consistently in the ways that are often discussed in behavioral parent training programs may be especially difficult. This suggests that there would be important value in helping mothers develop skills to manage their distress in the moment, and to learn to recognize particular triggers of increased distress. This could decrease the ":..cumulative emotional toll of raising a child with a chronic disorder." And, reducing negative emotional reactions to challenging child behavior could make it easier for mothers to follow through consistently with behavioral strategies they are trying to implement.

In future work it would be important to include fathers so that the processes studied here can be investigated in dads as well. It would also be valuable to include larger number of females so that potential differences in mothers' reactions to sons and daughters could be investigated. Using these findings to develop ways to help mothers manage their distress in the moment would also be valuable to pursue.

In sum, results from this study highlight the links between mothers' distress and children's negative behavior and the fact that these links are stronger in families where a child has ADHD. As the authors conclude "This type of information can help guide not only interventions targeted on improving quality of life in families of children with ADHD, but also programs to help all parents recognize and manage the daily stressors of child rearing."


Thanks again to Cogmed for supporting this issue of Attention Research Update

Information presented in Attention Research Update is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Although newsletter sponsors offer products and services that I believe will be of interest to subscribers, sponsorship of Attention Research Update does not constitute a specific endorsement or guarantee of any company's product or services.

(c) 2011 David Rabiner, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2011 by David Rabiner

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Anxiety, Manipulation or Both? What should a Parent do?

Here is the scenario: Your teenager with ADHD has fallen behind in some of his subjects, and has finally agreed to stay after school for extra help, which is a huge, positive decision on his part. In order to stay after school, however, he has to take the late bus home.

He has already successfully taken the late bus home several times. One day, he goes on the bus and there is a new driver who seemingly to your child, does not know the route as well as he should. In fact, your teenager tells you that he had to tell the driver how to get to his house. He then tells you that he is very annoyed because his stop is the last one on the driver’s route.

He goes to school the next day when he is supposed to stay for extra help again. When it comes to the time that he is supposed to take the late bus home, he starts continuously leaving voice mail messages and text messages for you, becoming more and more anxious with each message. The messages that he leaves for you state that he is afraid to take the late bus home. He tells you over and over again that he is afraid to take the bus because the driver does not know the stops, and that he wants you to pick him up immediately.

You finally go to pick him up, but you ask yourself: Will this be a constant problem that may only be solved by my picking him up, instead of him taking the late bus like the other students? Is your teenager manipulating you? Did he not say that he was annoyed because his stop was the last one?

Is it possible that he just does not WANT to take the bus and is more comfortable when you drive him home? Do you not have a right to stay at your job and finish the work that YOU have to do, or go to do some errands in a relaxed and less stressful rush than hurrying to his school to pick him up?

What should you do? Should you pick him up the two or three days that he stays after school for help? If you do so, will you allay his anxiety, or will you prevent him from dealing with his anxiety over a problem that may not be as looming as his perception of it. (You already called the school bus company and the supervisor told you that the driver is new, but knows the location of all of the stops.

Have any of you experienced this problem? What strategies did you use?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

ADHD, Anxiety, Learned Helplessness and their Impact upon Academics

What happens when children with ADHD become teenagers with ADHD, in terms of their ability to complete their academic work? In elementary and middle school, the quantity of school work that is required by children may seem to be more than when we were growing up. However, the quantity and quality of academic work that is required of teenagers in high school grows exponentially with each year. The symptoms of these teenagers’ ADHD impact their academic work to an even greater extent than in the earlier grades. Additionally, if a teenager is characterized by ADHD and anxiety, their executive function difficulties become all the more complicated. Let me give you an example.

One of the teenagers with whom I work who has ADHD and anxiety, had an assignment in which he was required to write a continuation of what he thought might have have happened next in a Shakespearean play that his class had been reading. The students were not required or even asked to write this scene in Elizabethan English. This young man is a voracious reader and has a reading level that is well beyond his years, both in terms of decoding and comprehension  

However, his anxiety froze any ability that he might have had to write the required scene. I worked with him and together we traced what he could write. For example, if the main character had stayed in the room instead of running out, what might have happened next. We talked about several scenarios and he chose one.

He was supposed to go home and tell his Mom (who acts as a scribe for him due to the fact that he has a written language disability) what he wanted to say. Then, she would type the scene for him. You may be asking yourself why he does not type on the computer himself. He types very slowly, so for now, we are having his Mom write/type these assignments for him, just at the very least, to get him to complete his assignments.

We had an overall power outage this past week due to the October snowstorm, so he did not have school. The afternoon of the first day back at school, I met with this teenager, and asked if he had completed the English assignment. He began to behave in a very immature way, rolling his top lip over his bottom lip, and making sort of whining sounds. He finally told me that he had not done the English assignment. I asked why he had not completed the assignment.

He told me that he had asked the teacher in the learning center for help, but that she had helped him with another essay that he had not completed that was worth 100 points. I then redirected the conversation to find out the reason why he had not done the assignment. It appeared that due to the anxiety of the assignment, he just could not get himself to do it.

He told me that more straight- forward assignments, such as math or social studies were not a problem for him. He then told me that when he had to make things up, i.e., in this case a scene from a play, that he could not do it himself. I truly believe that this young man’s anxiety caused a type of writer’s block.

I have to tell you about another problem that I truly believe contributed to him not completing this assignment. He definitely has a type of learned helplessness, in addition to his ADHD and anxiety. He has learned over the years that he thinks that cannot accomplish certain things, which I believe is more directly related to his anxiety than his ADHD. Therefore, he will only complete those tasks with help.

When he first had this assignment, his first comment to me was “I can’t do this assignment. Ms. Smith will help me in the learning center.” The question was: How could I get him to do the assignment himself?  I told him that he could most certainly complete this assignment. However, there was no way that he believed what I said. I gave him several reasons why he could complete the assignment, but he did not agree with any of them.

I explained to him that this assignment was really no different than the scenes that he had made up with his brother when they were young and used imaginative play. I finally used humor to help him to understand that he could complete his assignment. He laughed, but still stated that he could not do the assignment.

Yesterday, I spoke to him in a very direct manner and told him that oftentimes teachers do not understand the impact of either ADHD or anxiety, in terms of students having difficulty completing assignments due to those issues.  They certainly understand that teenagers with ADHD need some help.
I continued our conversation by saying that since this is high school, however, the teachers also assume that students have learned self-regulatory skills which help them to complete and hand in all assignments on time. I then told him that I do not blame those teachers, because all assignments should be handed in on time by every student in the class.

In an effort to move this fifteen year old young man past his learned helplessness, I also told him that it is possible that some teachers might think that he was being lazy, or perhaps that he simply did not want to do the required work. He thought about what I said and was upset at the thought of the teachers thinking in that way. However, he still insisted that he could not do that English assignment.

I told him that he is so bright that his teachers expect him to hand in all of the assignments on time. I told him that he is the same as everyone else, in terms of handing in assignments. Then, he said to me, “But I am not the same as everyone else. I am different.” Before I give you my opinion of this young man’s comments, what do you think????

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Do Children with ADHD have a Developmental Delay that will Diminish as they Mature? YES!!

“Since its earliest description, there has been debate as to whether the disorder is a consequence partly of delay in brain maturation or as a complete deviation from the template of typical development” (Shaw et al., 2007, p. 19649). In a study funded by the NIH, Shaw et al. (2007) found, in groundbreaking research, “that in youth with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder brain (ADHD), the brain matures in a normal pattern but is delayed three years in some regions, on average, compared to youths without the disorder.” The areas of the brain that reflect difficulties for children with ADHD are those that control self-regulation in their thinking, attention, and planning. Therefore, the maturation of the brain is quite normal, but merely delayed, which should assure teachers and parents alike that these children’s symptoms should diminish as they mature because at some point, the child will have normal brain maturation. This new information should offer teachers and parents great optimism concerning the academic prognosis of children with ADHD. So have the symptoms of ADHD changed? Most certainly not. However, perhaps we are beginning to gain a clearer understanding of ADHD that will help teachers to instruct children with ADHD in a more effective way.

Thet title of the Shaw et al. (2007) article is Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is characterized by a delay in cortical maturation.

If you would like me to email the actual article to you, please contact me, and I will be happy to do so.

Child Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Room 3N202, Building 10, Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892; and §Montreal Neurological

Institute, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 2T5

How do Children with ADHD Build Good Character?

Good character? How do we describe good character? Of course, everyone defines good character differently. I would include the following, among others, in a list of traits that describes  a  person
 of good character:
  • Being considerate of others
  • Being kind to others
  • Following through on what you say you are going to do
  • Being honest
  • Being reliable and dependable
  • Thinking about others’ needs before satisfying your own needs
  • Being fair to others in social interactions

How do children build good character? One way is for parents to model good character. However, we all know that children with ADHD are distractible and may not have focused on their parents’ modeling of those positive behaviors. You can try to write social stories with children who have ADHD about incorporating the above qualities within their behavior. You can also role play with these children as well, giving them opportunities to behave as someone who is exhibiting the positive behaviors that are associated with good character.

Here is another method that you might try, which involves an open-ended questioning of the child with ADHD: Ask the child with ADHD the following questions based on certain scenarios. The topics listed incorporate the qualities of having good character that I delineated above.

Being considerate of others: You are traveling on a bus. You have a seat, but an older woman does not have a seat and has to stand. What could you do to show consideration to this woman?

Being kind to others: A child in school has asked to play with some of the other children. He walks by them as they are playing kickball. He asks if he can play and they say “We have the teams picked already.” What could you say to the child who was rejected in order to show how
the other children could have behaved toward him in a kinder way?

Following through on what you say you are going to do: On Fridays after school, many of the children have playdates. Sam’s (the child with ADHD) mom made plans for him to play with Eric right after school. In fact, they were supposed to travel to Sam’s house on the school bus. As
the boys were playing in recess in school, Sam said to Eric, “I do not want to have a playdate today. I want to play my video games by myself.” What would you do to teach Sam how to rectify the situation when he did not do what he said he was going to do? What would you instruct Sam to say and to do next time?

Being honest: You are walking down the hallway of school and see a five dollar bill on the floor. What would be the honest thing to do?

Being reliable and dependable: Maria and her parents had a fifteen-year-old dog who had trouble walking due to arthritis. Both of her parents worked late, but Maria came home from school at 4:00 every day. What should Maria do each day when she comes home that would be reliable and dependable?

Thinking of others’ needs before satisfying your own needs: Every day when Erin walks off the bus, she runs home to go on the computer and plays computer games. Steven, a classmate of hers, is also on the bus. He has a club foot that has not yet been operated on. Steven has difficulty getting off the bus and has to walk home by himself because his mom worked. He walked home very slowly, and by the time he approached his house, it was almost dark outside. What is it that Erin could do that would involve thinking of others’ needs before satisfying her needs in this situation?

Being fair to others in social interactions: Jim is playing Monopoly with Phil. Jim has played Monopoly for a long time with his brothers. Phil, however, does not have much experience playing Monopoly or any other board game. What could Jim do to behave fairly with Phil in their social interactions, as they played Monopoly?

Monday, October 31, 2011

In Response to my Own Blog Entry/Question: Have you Emailed a Teenager with ADHD and Received no Response?


Before I drive back home from the Starbucks in which I am sitting, due to the power outage in our area, I have to tell you a great, short story. In my previous post, (to which I refer above), I have had a difficult time getting the children with whom I work to either email or text me. 

Last night, I learned that sometimes due to an emergency situation, things change. I have a Russian Tortoise whom we added to our household in 1991, whose name is Leonardo. At any rate, I really like this guy and want him to survive as long as possible. (I know that some of you are surprised that I am into turtles. I have always been so, ever since I was a child). My house began to get very, very cold because we lost our power on Saturday at about 2:00 P.M.

After finding out from our wonderful power monopoly, Con Edison, that we would not get our power back until Wednesday, November 2, I knew that Leonardo would never survive the freezing temperatures in my house until Wednesday. I had gone into his room to check on him earlier and he seemed warm, but when I went in to check on him a few hours later, he was very cold. I called one of the families with whom I work, who lives close to me and asked them if they could take Leonardo until our power returned.

They were so gracious and agreed to take him, immediately. I brought the turtle over to their house and both of the kids were enthralled not only with him, but additionally, with the idea of taking care of him.
I began to realize that this would be the best social skills lesson ever! This was certainly a lesson in responsibility. First of all, the child with whom I work had to keep their cat (aghhhhh) away from Leonardo. Second of all, he had to attach two different heater lights, one that was for the daytime and the other that was for the nighttime.

This Really is a Huge Deal!!

As I was leaving, I told him that I was going to give him another responsibility in addition to taking care of Leonardo. I told him that this added responsibility was to text me to tell me how Leonardo was doing. This may not seem like a huge deal to many of you. However, this child has always been too anxious to text anyone! He has a great phone and certainly knows how to text, but he has never done so. Last night, around 8:30, I received this text from the child with whom I work:

“Leonardo is okay. He seems bored. I’m having him stay in my room tonight with the door shut. Don”t worry about Lucky (the cat).”

Then, just now, I received this text:
“Leonardo is doing great. I have him next to me so I can watch him and my cat is locked out of the room.”

I guess that sometimes when something is so hard for a child to do and he realizes that others are depending upon him to do so, all of a sudden, it becomes easier to do so. I am so happy that this child finally texted and communicated with me. After all of my requests, who ever thought that an October snowstorm would get him to do something that he previously just could not get himself to do? Great story??

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Hurtful Moments: Teenagers with ADHD who are Ignored by their Peers

The teenage years are filled with experiences with peers that are both exhilarating and hurtful. There is no reason to talk about the exhilarating moments, because they speak for themselves. However, the hurtful moments need to be discussed.

The first place to begin our discussion is that teenagers with ADHD oftentimes misread their relationships with peers. In other words, they may think that they are a peer’s best friend even though that person does not think of them as their best friend. Just hanging out with someone does not mean that they are best friends. But your teenager says, “I have known her since kindergarten!” In the same way as people’s interests change, their friendships change, as well.

The vital issue here is that teenagers with ADHD have to learn to understand who are their friends, who are their acquaintances, and most importantly, who does not want to be either a friend or an acquaintance. Sometimes, this misreading of their relationships with peers may be self-protective.

Oftentimes, however, it may be that due to their ADHD, they do not have a worldview of their behavior. In other words, they do not see how others are observing their behavior. Other teenagers may be giving the teenagers with ADHD cues, so that they will understand that they do not want to interact with them. For example, an acute cue is that they do not invite that teenager with ADHD to their party.
A more subtle cue might be that when they are at a school football game, the teenager with ADHD might quickly walk up to the other teenagers and say hi and receive no response…none. Being ignored is one of the most hurtful things that can happen to a teenager, nonetheless, a teenager with ADHD who so desperately wants to make friends.

For example, the teenager is standing there waiting for their peers to talk to them and instead, they continue talking to their other friends, and ignore the teenager with ADHD in an obvious way. If the teenager stays there for some time, they begin to realize that they are being purposely ignored. Not only is the teenager with ADHD embarrassed, but additionally, they do not know what to do. Do they try to talk anyway? Do they walk away?

What ideas do you have as to what teenagers with ADHD should do after they realize that they are being ignored by their peers?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Have you Emailed or Texted a Teenager with ADHD and Received no Response…Why does that Happen?

Teenagers are literally and figuratively attached to their cell phones. That being said, they seem to find it difficult to email or text adults. Let’s talk about some possible reasons for this lack of communication.

Perhaps this difficulty has to do with anxiety concerning whether or not those conversations will be confidential.

Perhaps as fluid as the conversation between teenagers with ADHD and the adults may be, by the time that the teenager emails that adult, he does not know what to say.

Perhaps teenagers with ADHD have more difficulty writing about themselves than they do talking about those issues.

Perhaps they forget to write back.

Perhaps they are not aware of email courtesy; when you receive an email, you write a return email. (Many people are not aware of email courtesy, however!)

Have any of you experienced this problem and been
successful in getting teenagers with ADHD to email or text
 you back? Please tell us about it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Come to Hear me Speak this Friday at 8:00 A.M. at the NY State CEC Conference in Rochester, N.Y.

Come to Hear me Speak this Friday, 8:00 A.M., at the N.Y. Council for Exceptional Children N.Y. State Conference, Rochester, N.Y.

I am presenting at the New York State Council for Exceptional Children Conference this Friday from 8:00 A.M. to 8:50 A.M. in Rochester, N.Y.

The conference is being held at the Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside, 120 East Main Street, Rochester, New York 14604, USA. The phone number of the hotel is 585-546-6400.

I am presenting in the Fitzhugh Room.

Here are two links to the conference FYI:

If you follow my blog, please come up to speak to me after the presentation!!!