Monday, January 31, 2011

How to Teach a Child with ADHD to Give a Compliment

Why is it important for the child with ADHD to learn to give a compliment? Don’t children give compliments naturally?

Children without ADHD may in fact give compliments freely and easily, but children with ADHD typically do not. They do not realize and understand why it is important to give compliments to peers, and so they do not do so. Even though their parents and siblings give compliments and they seemingly observe them doing so, they do not internalize that social skill.



When I explain to children with ADHD with whom I work why it is important to give their peers compliments and teach them how to do so, I explain that giving compliments is all about being nice to someone. When a child is nice to another person, it makes him feel good. It may also be an indication to the other child that he is making an effort to make friends. Trying to teach a child with ADHD to behave nicely toward another child can be a challenge, however.


For example, I am having a difficult time trying to explain and convince a five-year-old whom I am teaching social skills to agree with me that even though someone may have annoyed him, he still should be nice to that person. He says that he cannot be nice to another child because this child does not listen to his teacher. He told me that the other child’s teacher gives him “strikes” every time he does not listen. When I asked him why it is his business if the teacher manages the other child’s behavior in this way, he laughed! He clearly only wants to be friends with children who behave; that is so interesting in consideration of the fact that he himself, a child with ADHD, as well as other children with ADHD, often has difficulty exhibiting socially appropriate behavior!


A child with ADHD has to be able to understand other people’s actions before he is able to give another person a compliment. How would he do so? The teacher can coach the child to follow these steps:

  • Watch the person, carefully
Ask yourself:
  •  Does the person have a new outfit on?
  •  Does the person have a new haircut?
  •  Has the person helped out a peer?
  •  Has the person helped out an adult?
  • Has the person performed a task well, such as getting a hit in softball at recess or making  delicious cookies for the class?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My blog is back!

If you have tried to access my blog and have not been able to do so, apparently there was some activity that alerted Google, to whom I have been in contact. My blog is back and running now, and you can expect a new entry later, as usual.

Please let me know if you have had difficulty accessing my blog by contacting me through the email address on my website, and I will contact Google again.

Thank you!

Dr. Rapoport

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How do you know if your child with ADHD experiences anxiety before they participate in a new activity?

Many children with ADHD experience anxiety that follows them everywhere. Clearly, not all children with ADHD have paired anxiety, but that being said, many of them do. You might be asking yourself that you start a new activity without any anxiety and your other children begin a new activity without any perceptible anxiety, so why does your child with ADHD have anxiety when he participates in a new activity? Oftentimes, there is no actual reason, except for the fact that anxiety may be part of a child’s symptoms of ADHD.

What are some signs that will alert you as to whether or not your child with ADHD experiences anxiety upon beginning something new? Here are a few signs:

 He refuses to go to the activity

 He goes to his room and refuses to come out

 He says, “I’ll go next time, but not today.”

 He shows some of the more typical external signs of anxiety, such as, shaking, perspiring, pacing, twitching, shortness of breath and/or an upset stomach

Oftentimes, parents do not wait for a professional to tell them that their child has a diagnosis of anxiety before having a conversation with their child about his anxiety. (However, it is ESSENTIAL to obtain a diagnosis from a professional if you suspect that your child has anxiety, in terms of what symptoms to anticipate, in addition to when, why and how to predict those symptoms, as well as to decide if medication is indicated.) What I mean, is that a parent typically observes a child’s symptoms of anxiety before anyone else does so. How can you help your child to diminish his anxiety? Check out my next entry…

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Question Hour

Ask your questions about ADHD today between 10:00 and 11:00 and you will recieve a quick reply.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bullying: After Reading some Actual Examples, how do you know if a Child with ADHD has been bullied?

We seem to be hearing about incidents of bullying more frequently lately. It is possible that better communication of such terrible incidents is available due to the Internet or seemingly, maybe more children are being bullied. No matter what the reason, parents and teachers must understand, accept, and act quickly to stop children from being bullied.



If you are skeptical about whether or not children are being bullied, please read these stories from actual children who have been bullied. The names associated with these children are not their real names, but instead, are faux names.


This is a fact: Children with ADHD are often bullied or become bullies. The homeschool parents in my research and many others tried to prevent their children from being bullied as they had been in school by home schooling them. Of the children in my research, however, all reported being bullied when they attended school, as Daniel related:


Oh, um, this one kid, I was riding my bike down the sidewalk


onto Maple Street, and I come out of the gate. I turn and go


through this little area with trees. That’s where this little kid


jumped me. Well one day, I got past all that, and then crossed


the street. I have to turn again, go down the street, turn again,


coming through the gate that leads to this neighborhood. Well,


on the way down the road before the gate, this little kid, he


was riding a skateboard and like, he was just riding past me,


and like, he stopped and got off, and started riding very slowly.


Then he stopped and got off, and stood there and like tried


jumping in my way. So I had to turn around ’em real quick, and


I went kind of far, but then my pant leg got stuck in my chain.


So then I yanked that out. It embarrassed me. I started going


again. He caught up with me. He was just riding along the same


side as me pushing me, so I had to go on the grass and pedal a


lot faster.


As Daniel continued to talk to me, I had to hold back the tears. He told me in an emotionally laden voice another instance when he was bullied on the way home from school:


This one kid tried to steal my bike. He jumped on the back pegs


and started taking it from me, and whenever I’m coming home


from school, I have to be careful a lot because I’m riding my


bike. I was just walking my bike because they’re just too many


kids. I can’t ride around them, just walk it. And he jumped on


the pegs. I held a firm grip. He tried, like, yanking it out of my


hand. I ended up falling, and he fell along with the bike on top


of me, pressed it up against my chest. I couldn’t breathe.


Max spoke of his horrific experiences in one among several instances of his being bullied in school:


Actually, the boys make it a coincidence. You know how they’ll


have it so you forget your books and you’ll be made fun of?


When you’re not looking, they’ll take your books and hide


them somewhere. So when you’re in your darkest hour, when


everybody’s kind of laughing, like ohhhh, that’s when they’ll


turn on you.


Well, like one time when I was in the cafeteria with my


friends, with me and Bob one of the kids grabbed me and tried


to punch me. I mean, I don’t know why he grabbed me, I don’t


know why he tried to punch me, and then he was able to nick


me, and then later that day, when I was planning to get into the


portables, he came back up to me, he punched me. I didn’t do


anything; I just stood there.


One time, I tried fighting back but I started thinking about


my dad, and wondering, oh my gosh, what am I going to get


myself into? I’m going to have to face the wrath of my dad. So


I stopped, ended up being beaten up. I had to hide. They beat


me up like around the chest.


Yeah, I just want to be somewhere to fit. It’s like a circle,


everybody’s inside the circle except for me and some other


people. There are probably other people probably getting in,


they’re probably getting in, being happy and stuff and being


part of the crowd, while I’m still outside.


Do parents know that their children have been bullied? Some do. Daniel’s mom knew that he had been bullied and began to focus on the subject of bullying. However, she did not know how to start, as she told me later. Daniel always appeared to be confident and vulnerable at the same time. His confidence came in the form of jokes. His vulnerability came in the form of telling people about friendships that were either never made or made and never continued. Daniel’s mom told me about her and her husband’s focus on helping Daniel to handle the instances when he was bullied.


Daniel was having, was mostly having problems in middle school with bullying. He started coming home every day, and sometimes he came home crying. He’d come home with an asthma attack because the kids were jumping him, knocking over his bike, stealing his bike. My husband and I tried to encourage him to be tougher and stand up for himself but it’s not his nature. So, um, that was the main thing that I started to focus on.


Other parents do not know that their children have been bullied, as Debra confirmed. I began to believe that many parents did not know that their children were the victims of bullying. How could that be? Children who have been bullied often keep it a deep, dark secret, fearing reprisal from the bullies if anyone finds out. Oftentimes, if children do not discuss a topic, parents do not ask important questions related to that topic.


One of the children to whom I teach social skills commented to me recently that “When I am teased it is not a big deal because it is nothing major; it is just for a laugh.” I was stunned that he had rationalized that being teased does not hurt feelings but just makes other children laugh! I then asked him if having other children laugh at him hurts his feelings. He said no. These children need to be taught how to approach bullies and diminish their negative impact if they are to have fun and succeed in extracurricular activities.


Teachers and parents must look for signs from children with ADHD that will give them a clue as to whether or not they have been bullied. One sign may be when a child who was previously energetic spends most of his time hiding in quiet places, or perhaps no longer talks and laughs at the dinner table. Another signal may be that he does not want to leave his house.


One hint: Every teacher and every parent knows each child with ADHD’s typical behavior. If the child’s behavior is aberrant from his everyday behavior, try to speak to the child when no one else is around. Perhaps buy a book about a child who has been bullied and see if and how the child responds. A good book that teachers and parents can read to children with ADHD from six to twelve years old that teaches children how to behave toward bullies is Blue Cheese and Stinky Feet by Catherine de Pino (2004).


Whatever you do, follow your hunches and do not ignore the child’s atypical or unusual behaviors. A teacher has the luxury of reading to small groups of children at a time so the child whom the teacher suspects has been bullied does not feel pinpointed or subjected to embarrassment. The teacher should suggest that the child with ADHD spend private time with him or her to discuss his experiences of being bullied and to guarantee confidentiality.


Whether or not parents or teachers know if children have been bullied, it is nevertheless humiliating and damaging to a child’s self-esteem if it is occurring. Additionally, even if parents and teachers know that a child has been bullied, they usually do not know how to teach these children good defensive techniques to protect themselves from this horrific experience.


Educators and parents must teach children who have ADHD to be proactive and to tell an adult immediately if children are bullying them. Additionally, educators and parents must teach children who have ADHD the methods of approaching and interacting with bullies so that they are able to stop the latter from harassing them. You will find some books on bullying listed in the Bibliography from my book, particularly some books on cyberbullying, which is a new added danger to children with ADHD. (http://www.amazon.com/ADHD-Social-Skills-Step---Step/dp/1607092808/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295624637&sr=8-1)


So, social skills deficits certainly are present in children with ADHD. These social skills deficits obstruct these children’s ability to make and keep friends and to have successful social experiences. We must all understand one thing: children with ADHD do not want to behave in a socially inappropriate way. They just cannot help it. They must be taught appropriate social skills over a long period of time to learn to regulate their own behavior, so they can make friends and experience successful social interactions.





Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Methods to Teach Children with ADHD to Give a Compliment

It might facilitate the child with ADHD’s understanding of the other child’s behavior for the teacher to take a video of the other child (with the parents’ permission). Show the video to the child with ADHD. Point out to the child with ADHD exactly what the child does that demonstrates that he is being helpful. This video can be a two- or three-minute video from any still digital camera to which the teacher has access. How should a child give a compliment?


The teacher, the teacher’s assistant, or an aide can serve as a coach to the child with ADHD and teach him to do the following:






✱ If the child with ADHD is interacting with the other child in some way, then the natural thing would be to give a compliment while they are interacting. If they are playing at recess, the child with ADHD can say, “Jess, your outfit looks cool,” for example. Presumably, the other child will say “Thank you,” and then the child with ADHD can say, “You are welcome.” Or . . .






✱ “Those are delicious cookies that you made. Can you give me the recipe?” Or . . .






✱ “What a great hit you made today at softball in recess. It helped us to win the game.”


These responses will not be automatic with the child with ADHD, however. You will have to practice faux scenarios and teach the child with ADHD to role play so he learns how to give a compliment. Role playing is a skill that has to be taught to the child with ADHD so he can practice any of the social skills interventions that I discuss here. If the child with ADHD is not currently involved with the child in question but would like to give a compliment, how would he do so? In that case the child can try the following:






✱ Walk near to the child.






✱ Make a judgment, by evaluating the other child’s body language, if the other child is “available.” What do I mean by “available”? A child might be “available” if he has a smile on his face. The other child may also be “available” if he looks up in a forthcoming way when the child with ADHD approaches and says hello to the child or if he gives any indication that he would like to make a friend.






✱ If the child with ADHD deems that the other child is “available,” then he can offer a compliment, as above.


What are some other typical compliments that a child can give to another child? Here are some examples:






✱ “Those are cool sneakers? Where did you find them?”






✱ “I like your braids.”






✱ “That is a great jacket. I bet it keeps you warm.”






✱ “I like the star you painted. It looks like a real star.”






✱ “The name on your desk that you designed looks awesome.”


Your job as a teacher in this process is to make sure that the compliments one child is giving to another are not self-deprecating. The child with ADHD needs practice, practice, and more practice in order to learn how to give compliments fairly and gracefully, without showing any vulnerability.


Teachers can use puppets to instruct children with ADHD to practice giving compliments. You can make up little vignettes quite easily that will incorporate a child giving another child a compliment. Here are a few examples that you can try:






✱ Two children are making block buildings next to each other. One of the buildings is very high, built by stacking the blocks one on top of another by size order. What could the child who did not build the high structure say to the other? What could the child who did build the high structure say to the other?






✱ One child comes to school with new sneakers and a new book bag. What could another child say to him?






✱ One child comes to school with a new haircut after the weekend. What could another child say to him?






✱ On Friday afternoon, before leaving for home, one child cleans his desk and organizes his pencils, crayons, scissors, paper, and other materials in specific sections in his desk. What could the other child say to him?






✱ Even though the teacher did not ask her to do it, one girl made cookies for the whole class for someone’s birthday. What could another child say to her?






✱ The teacher hurt her arm the day before and is wearing a soft cast. One child helps her pick up papers that dropped on to the floor. What could another child say to her?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Teaching a Child with ADHD to Give a Compliment

Why is it important for the child with ADHD to learn to give a compliment? Don’t children give compliments naturally? Children without ADHD may in fact give compliments freely and easily, but children with ADHD typically do not. They do not realize and understand why it is important to give compliments to peers, and so they do not do so. Even though their parents and siblings give compliments and they seemingly observe them doing so, they do not internalize that social skill.

When I explain to children with ADHD with whom I work why it is important to give their peers compliments and teach them how to do so, I explain that giving compliments is all about being nice to someone. When a child is nice to another person, it makes him feel good. It may also be an indication to the other child that he is making an effort to make friends. Trying to teach a child with ADHD to behave nicely toward another child can be a challenge, however.

For example, I am having a difficult time trying to explain and convince a five-year-old to whom I am teaching social skills to agree with me that even though someone may have annoyed him, he still should be nice to that person. He says that he cannot be nice to another child because this child does not listen to his teacher. He told me that the other child’s teacher gives him “strikes” every time he does not listen. When I asked him why it is his business if the teacher manages the other child’s behavior in this way, he laughed! He clearly only wants to be friends with children who behave; that is so interesting in consideration of the fact that he himself, a child with ADHD, as well as other children with ADHD, often has difficulty exhibiting socially appropriate behavior! A child with ADHD has to be able to understand other people’s actions before he is able to give another person a compliment. How would he do so?

The teacher can coach the child to follow these steps:



✱ Watch the person, carefully.

✱ Ask yourself:

✱ Does the person have a new outfit on?

✱ Does the person have a new haircut?

✱ Has the person helped out a peer?

✱ Has the person helped out an adult?

✱ Has the person performed a task well, such as getting a

hit in softball at recess or making delicious cookies for

the class?

If the child with ADHD recognizes that the child with whom he is in an interaction exhibited the behavior just mentioned, then he can be taught to give a compliment. It is more important to teach this social skill if the child with ADHD does not understand how helpful the other child has been.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Method to Teach Children with ADHD to control their Temper with Adults

Before we discuss a specific method in order for a child to self-regulate his temper, it is important to point out that it is critical for the child with ADHD to understand that he must control his temper with adults. I am a firm believer in being honest and truthful to children with ADHD about exactly the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. They must try to figure out what upset them so much as to cause them to have a temper tantrum in front of an adult.

Let us discuss this plan in steps: You can obviously eliminate any steps that are unnecessary or those that are too numerous for a child with ADHD to remember. You may find that designing task card might be useful here.

1. The child begins to become upset more easily than usual.


2. He takes three big, deep breaths, counting as he is breathing in and out. He closes his eyes and thinks of something pleasant, such as going out to dinner with his parents or getting a video game as a present.


3. Despite trying to do one or all of the things in step 2, he feels his temper coming on.


4. He tries to go for a walk somewhere as an attempt to calm down. For example, he could take a walk down the hall or to another teacher’s room who has been responsive to him.


5. He seeks someone out whom he feels he can talk to about what has upset him. This person could be the school psychologist, a friendly teacher, the school nurse, or an older student who acts as a mentor. He talks to that person about what has upset him.


6. He feels calmer now.



Saturday, January 8, 2011

Policy Statement about Bullying from Arne Duncan

U.S. Department of Education Search




Key Policy Letters from the Education Secretary and Deputy Secretary

December 16, 2010





December 16, 2010



Dear Colleagues:



Recent incidents of bullying have demonstrated its potentially devastating effects on students, schools, and communities and have spurred a sense of urgency among State and local educators and policymakers to take action to combat bullying. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) shares this sense of urgency and is taking steps to help school officials effectively reduce bullying in our Nation’s schools. Bullying can be extremely damaging to students, can disrupt an environment conducive to learning, and should not be tolerated in our schools.



Along with our partners from the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Interior, Defense, and Justice, we are in the process of developing key strategies to support and encourage efforts to prevent bullying in our schools. Our ongoing work has included the first-ever Federal Bullying Prevention Summit in August, the launch of our interagency bullying-resource Web site, http://www.bullyinginfo.org, the continued support and growth of the Stop Bullying Now! campaign, and the development of research and guidance on bullying prevention. The Department also awarded eleven Safe and Supportive Schools Grants to states to develop measurement systems to assess schools’ conditions for learning, including the prevalence of bullying, and to implement programs to improve overall school safety.



Recent guidance includes a Dear Colleague Letter issued on October 26 by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) that explains how, under certain circumstances, bullying may trigger legal responsibilities for schools under the civil rights laws enforced by OCR and the Department of Justice that prohibit discrimination and harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and religion.1 Schools must protect students from bullying and harassment on these bases, in addition to any obligations under state and local law.



Numerous stakeholders, including the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of School Boards, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, individual State legislators, and local school districts, among others, have asked the Department to provide assistance in crafting effective anti-bullying laws and policies. In response, the Department has prepared the attached summary of examples that illustrate how some states have tried to prevent and reduce bullying through legislation. States and local school districts can use these examples as technical assistance in drafting effective anti-bullying laws, regulations, and policies. The Department will also be working to produce additional helpful resource information.



Forty-five states have already passed laws addressing bullying or harassment in school. Ultimately State officials will determine whether new or revised legislation and policies should be introduced to update, improve, or add bullying prevention provisions. It is our hope that this information will be of assistance to State officials and other interested stakeholders.



Though laws are only a part of the cure for bullying, the adoption, publication, and enforcement of a clear and effective anti-bullying policy sends a message that all incidents of bullying must be addressed immediately and effectively, and that such behavior will not be tolerated. State laws, and their related district- and school-level policies, cannot work in isolation, however. When responding to bullying incidents, schools and districts should remember that maintenance of a safe and equitable learning environment for all students, including both victims and perpetrators of bullying, often requires a more comprehensive approach.



If you wish to receive further technical assistance on addressing bullying, please do not hesitate to contact the Department’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools by visiting its Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osdfs/index.html or by calling at 202-245-7896.



I look forward to continuing our work together to ensure equal access to education and to promote safe and respectful schools for all of our students.





Sincerely,



/s/



Arne Duncan





Enclosure MS Word (100 K)



1The Federal civil rights laws enforced by the Department include Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. OCR’s Dear Colleague letter on discriminatory harassment under these statutes is available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201010.html. The Department of Justice has jurisdiction to enforce Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin.









Printable view





Last Modified: 12/16/2010



Student loans, forgiveness

Pell grants

Accreditation, schools

Grants

No Child Left Behind

More













Key Policy Letters





News



Press releases

Speeches

Media advisories

Secretary's schedule

Video

Newsletters

How do I find...



Student loans, forgiveness

Pell grants

Accreditation, schools

Grants

No Child Left Behind

More

Funding



Federal student aid

Apply for grants

Contract opportunities

Forecast of funding opportunities

Research & Statistics



Institute of Ed Sciences

Education statistics

Evaluation reports

Nation's Report Card

Doing What Works

State information

State ed data

Policy



Recovery Act (ED)

Obama ed plan

Recent guidance

Guidance documents

Policy by program

NCLB policy letters

No Child Left Behind

Programs



By subject

By title

By CFDA#

Search

About ED



Initiatives

ED offices

Senior staff

Political appointees

Contact

Boards, committees

Budget, performance

Annual reports

Jobs at ED

Inspector General

FAQs

Online services

Open Government

White House Initiatives

Recursos en espaƱol

Site Policies and Notices



FOIA

Privacy

Security

Information quality

No FEAR Act data

Improper payments

Help

Other Sites



Whitehouse.gov

Recovery.gov

USA.gov

ExpectMore.gov

Benefits.gov

Policy Statemnt frm Arne Duncan on Bullying

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/secletter/101215.html

Friday, January 7, 2011

National Research Council Urges Greater Focus on Math in Early Childhood Classrooms than Literacy!

NRC Urges Greater Focus on Preschool Math (Courtesy of Education Week)


By Sean Cavanagh


Early-childhood education, whether delivered through federal preschool programs or other means, needs to be revamped to place more emphasis on math instruction and prepare adults to cover that material more effectively, a new report concludes.


The report, released today by the congressionally chartered National Research Council, reiterates a point commonly made by early-childhood advocates: that mathematics is often neglected in prekindergarten settings, in contrast to the heavy focus placed on literacy.


That neglect stems in part from preschool instructors’ lack of comfort with math, as well as parents’ fear of that subject, the authors say.


“It’s fair to say the attention is almost entirely on reading and literacy, without recognizing the importance of math,” said Christopher T. Cross, who co-edited the report and chaired the committee that produced it.


That lack of attention comes despite research that shows many young students arriving in preschool with an ability, and a willingness, to tackle math lessons, added Mr. Cross, the chairman of Cross & Joftus, an education policy consulting company based in Washington and California.


“There’s a natural curiosity about mathematical things,” he added, “even if they don’t call it math.”


Patchwork System






The consequences of not providing an early math foundation to disadvantaged students, given their more limited opportunities to learn the subject away from school, can be especially great, the authors found. At the same time, high-quality math instruction can help overcome “systematic inequities in educational outcomes and later career opportunities,” they say.


The report focuses primarily on children between the ages of 2 and 6, according to the NRC.


The system of early-childhood education in the United States is a “loosely sewn-together patchwork” of programs and services, as the report describes it. About 60 percent of preschool-age children are in “center-based” care, including services run through the federal Head Start program; roughly 21 percent receive some sort of home-based care; and about 20 percent have no formal child-care arrangements, according to the NRC report.


In addition to the Head Start program, which serves an estimated 908,000 students, many children in center-based care are enrolled in state-funded preschool, as the report points out. A number of states have moved to fund preschool programs for low-income families in recent years.


It follows that bringing about the changes in preschool teachers’ training and professional development, Mr. Cross said, would likely require action from several players, including federal officials who administer Head Start, professional associations, and state licensing programs.


“It’s a complex set of actors who would have to implement this,” Mr. Cross said.


Whole Numbers, Geometry


The report recommends that providers of early-childhood education revise their math curricula, based partly on research on children’s cognitive development. States should overhaul their standards and guidelines to reflect that research, and so should publishers, the authors say.


But the report also goes further, calling for early-childhood programs to focus on developing students’ skills in a number of specific areas of math, which the authors see as crucial. Those topics include whole numbers, operations, geometry, and measurement.


In order to give early-childhood providers direction, the report’s authors felt “we couldn’t be too abstract,” Mr. Cross explained. The report explores strategies for exploring that material in an age-appropriate way.


The authors also call for new course requirements for early-childhood teachers, with a focus on crucial math content, and on honing teachers’ ability to deliver math instruction in different settings—to individual students, for instance, and to large and small groups of them. It also calls for new professional-development efforts, to help teachers already working in preschools.


Parents can also be encouraged to promote early math learning, the report says. Early-childhood providers can do more to provide guidance to families working with children at home; there also needs to be an expansion of informal math instruction through media and technology, the authors say.


Christina Satkowski, a program associate in education policy at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, said interest in promoting more focused, early-childhood math instruction has received considerable attention from state officials, academic researchers, and others in recent years.


An important, next step is to provide stronger links between early-childhood math content and later grades, she argued.


“At the moment, many pre-K and early-childhood programs are disconnected from the K-12 system,” Ms. Satkowski said in an e-mail. “This report emphasizes the needs to create a seamless pre-K to 3rd grade continuum of math learning.”


Working Math Into Play


The National Research Council, headquartered in Washington, is one of several nonprofit institutions charged with providing advice to Congress, as part of the National Academies. The early-childhood study received funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Head Start; the agency’s Office of Planning Research and Evaluation; and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which has provided funding for coverage of math and science issues at Education Week.


Ms. Satkowski said she believed the report could broaden understanding of how many different routes into math are available to teachers and parents.


“[E]arly math instruction doesn’t have to be flashcards and worksheets,” Ms. Satkowski explained. “A good pre-K or kindergarten teacher knows how to effectively integrate math into child-initiated play activities with questions about the number of rocks in their pail, the relative size of the two spiders they drew,” and other means.


Vol. 28, Issue 36





Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Especially for Teachers: How Children with ADHD can Control their Temper with Adults

When you, as the child’s teacher, see a child with ADHD becoming frustrated and showing his temper, you probably ask yourself, “How in the world does this child have the ‘wherewithal’ to show his temper with me, his teacher?” Well, believe it or not, I can guarantee you that the child with ADHD does not want to show his temper with someone with whom he may be embarrassed to interact later. Not that this is an excuse, but all of a sudden, everything builds up and becomes overwhelming in these children’s lives.

Think of a soda bottle that has been filled up to the top and then shaken up. What happens when you try to open it, especially if you try to open it too quickly? I am only too familiar with this happening to me at the wrong time and in the wrong place. The soda bubbles overflow uncontrollably. (It happened to me in the former Shea Stadium. I am sure that you can imagine that the man in front of me who was sprayed with my soda was not pleased!) In the same way, when children with ADHD become overwhelmed by perhaps too many instructions, too many transition changes, or being rejected by another child, they may “bubble over.” What can the teacher do? Can the teacher see the warning signs coming?

We certainly try to find these “trigger” behaviors, those that “seem” to happen before the child has a temper tantrum. It is difficult to know, sometimes, however. Something, perhaps an altercation with another child, may have occurred the day before or a couple of days before and the child with ADHD may be reacting now. Or, perhaps the child has become overstimulated with events or activities or changes in events and activities that typical children seem to manage quite well. Anyway, realistically, what can the teacher or parent do when the child with ADHD shows his temper?

Children with ADHD need structure and consistency in order to keep their life in order. In the same way, when their life is becoming or has become disorganized, they need consistency as well. That consistency should come in the form of a plan for them so they can learn to self-regulate their behavior. It is especially important for children who are older than elementary school age to learn to self-regulate their “out-of-control” behavior. How would it seem if a twelve-year-old child threw himself on the ground in the center of town and had a temper tantrum?

Before we discuss a specific method in order for a child to self-regulate his temper, it is important to point out that it is critical for the child with ADHD to understand that he must control his temper with adults. I am a firm believer in being honest and truthful to children with ADHD about exactly the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. They must try to figure out what upset them so much as to cause them to have a temper tantrum in front of an adult.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Does your Child Become Frustrated Easily? What can you Do?

I spoke to a parent today who has a child with ADHD. She told me that her child becomes frustrated very easily. (Does that sound familiar??) For example, when he went skiing recently, his ski came off and he sat down and cried. After a ski instructor came to see him whom he liked, he finally stopped crying. Also, I have another parent who told me that her child hits and shoves the person with whom he becomes frustrated.


I really would like this blog to be a forum for ideas, so that parents can learn from each other as well as from me. Therefore, before I tell you what methods I would use, please comment here on some methods that you have found to be successful in order to diminish some of the frustration that children with ADHD experience.

Thank you.

Dr. Rapoport

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Teach your Child with ADHD to Pay more Attention to his Grandparents

Of all of the entries that I have written, this one could be the most important.


Your attitude regarding the value you place on the importance of family in your lives will be seen as a model for your children with ADHD. Oftentimes, we hear ourselves saying, “I have so much to do for work,” or “I have so much homework,” or “Oh, I will call later,” and do not call. We seem to live in a world where many people are so self-absorbed that they simply do not think of others as much as they could and/or should. Each of our roles in our lives is constantly changing.

For example, if you have aging parents you will soon see a role reversal in your lives. Your parents used to take care of you. All of a sudden, you are taking care of them. This new role may conflict with your role as a parent to your child with ADHD, which is a challenging role in itself, so let us see how we can avoid that clash.


As we multitask in 2011, it is vital to teach your child with ADHD that there is plenty of time in a day for you to pay attention to both your child and your parents. If it seems as if you do not have the time, between your work, your child’s homework, spending time with your spouse as well as enjoying some private time, find five minutes in your day when you and your child interact with your parents in some way. Remember that your child with ADHD will emulate how you interact with your parents.

This is imperative: In order to avoid a conflict between yourself and your child with ADHD, involve your child in supporting your parents. In that way, you will all be a team working together, instead of taking on all of the responsibilities associated with taking care of your parents alone.

By designing a schedule of the care-taking responsibilities that are associated with your parents, you will teach your child with ADHD the value of being organized, which these children need to learn as part of improving their executive function. What would be included in that schedule?

You could include visits, phone calls, etc. Without an organized schedule, we might think that we have called or visited our parents one day, but often have not done so. However, you do not have to visit your parents every day. Remember that much of the support that senior citizens need is emotional. In essence, they just need to know that someone is listening to them. You can call or fax or even have your child write and send an old-fashioned letter via snail mail. (post office)

Remember, a little attention goes a long way with your parents and your child’s grandparents. One important benefit for your child with ADHD paying more attention to his/her grandparents is that they will undoubtedly be very much appreciated by them, which will add to your child’s self-esteem. Everyone benefits from praise, but children with ADHD are even more in need of praise when they behave in an appropriate way, instead of constantly hearing criticism when they exhibit inappropriate behavior.