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
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Landover, MD 20785

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