Friday, November 27, 2015

ADHD Properly Diagnosed (James W. Forgan, Ph.D., and Mary Anne Richey)

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why seek a professional diagnosis? Why not just begin a homeopathic or behavioral treatment?” One dad, a prospective client of Jim’s, called and asked abruptly, “Why should I drop a grand with you to diagnose my son when I can just start counseling?” Jim explained that a thorough evaluation and proper diagnosis help determine the most appropriate treatment. 

Let’s face it: You can build a house without a set of plans. It may take a lot longer, cost a lot more, and have hidden problems, but it can be done. Likewise, do you think a smart general enters a war without a battle plan? Absolutely not. So why start treating your son for something you suspect but haven’t confirmed? 
The diagnosis serves multiple purposes. First, it may provide parents with a sense of understanding, which is often accompanied by relief. Parents may be relieved to know their child really does have something fundamentally different about his mind. The diagnosis also can help parents shift their mindset about their child. 

Second, the diagnosis may provide you and your son with access to school services. Most public and private schools require a professional diagnosis or an evaluation to provide any formal accommodations. Accommodations are adjustments such as extra time to complete tests or homework, seating near the front of the class, or frequent breaks. Furthermore, as boys with ADHD prepare to take college entrance exams, a diagnosis and a complete evaluation report by a qualified individual are required to receive accommodations. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How the Baby Product Industry Affects Your Child’s Development : Electronic Tablets and Smartphones

To add to all the electronic devices available, there are now interactive tablets to consider. Many babies and toddlers absolutely love playing with touch-screen technology—and it’s no wonder! The touch screen provides instant gratification with its cool images, movements, and sounds appealing to their senses. Understandably, many parents are thrilled with this interactive technology because, mostly through media ads, they’ve heard that babies can learn letters, numbers, words, and concepts. However, to date there is no research studying a connection between tablets or smartphones and infant learning.

Whether traveling in the car or waiting in the pediatrician’s office, it’s not uncommon for parents to hand over a smartphone, laptop, or tablet to their toddler. To parents, these devices act much like a babysitter, and with hundreds of apps available for young children, they’re increasingly appealing to little ones. Are there potential benefits or harms to babies being exposed to these interactive screens? Again, proper research hasn’t been completed, so there’s no scientific proof yet. For older children, the interactive element allows them to learn concepts such as cause and effect and sequencing, but for babies still experiencing critical brain development, long-term effects remain unknown.

Friday, November 20, 2015

How the Baby Product Industry Affects Your Child’s Development : Televisions and DVDs (Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L)

Consider the negative effects on the developmental process when a baby watches educational DVDs. While watching videos, he passively stares at a screen without moving or interacting with others, not to mention the over stimulation that can occur from the flashing images and sounds coming from the screen. A recent study found that for every hour each day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, babies learned 6 to 8 fewer new vocabulary words than babies who did not watch videos. So the more time babies spent watching videos, the fewer words they knew.7

Preliminary research also indicates that low academic achievement, limitations with attention span, obesity, aggression, and sleep impairments may be associated with overuse of childhood technology.8–12 Unfortunately, the average daily TV viewing time for children younger than 2 years in this country is 1 to 2 hours, and this time span typically increases with age.13

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How the Baby Product Industry Affects Your Child’s Development : Smart Toys (Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L)

Smart toys incorporate computer technology that allows the toy to respond to a baby’s actions in certain ways. These toys can light up, recite the ABCs, vibrate, and sing. When a little one is given a smart toy, his innate creativity and problem-solving skills aren’t required because all he has to do is push a button and wait to see what happens.

When you give a baby a high-tech toy, he is typically delighted and tries it out several times. However, once he figures out what it does, the toy usually falls by the wayside. At the end of the day, he’ll probably end up playing with the box the fancy toy came in more than the toy itself. A more desirable toy would promote interaction, encourage pretend play, and foster creativity. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

How the Baby Product Industry Affects Your Child’s Development : Car Safety Seats, Swings, Bouncer Seats, and Stationary Activity Centers (Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L)

Plastic devices such as car safety seats, bouncer seats, swings, and stationary activity centers keep a baby confined to one area; thus, if overused, they contribute to delays in developing motor skills. That’s because when a baby is positioned in one of these devices, he has limited use of the muscles in his trunk, neck, arm, and legs. Instead, he’s forced to sit with his hips, knees, and elbows bent.
Overuse of these products can even foster the development of flat spots on your baby’s head, called positional skull deformities (occipital plagiocephaly; you may also hear it referred to as “flat head syndrome”). When a baby’s head rests against the hard plastic surfaces of these devices for long periods, the excess pressure can lead to flattening of baby’s soft skull.4 Please note: It is absolutely necessary to use a car safety seat anytime your child rides in a motor vehicle, so any limits on use should only be outside the car. Also, it is best to take frequent breaks and limit travel time as much as possible in the early months of life.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

ADHD Is Real (James W. Forgan, Ph.D., and Mary Anne Richey)

At times you still may wonder, or have to convince a skeptical family member, whether or not ADHD is a fad or made-up disorder. Rest assured, ADHD is not a diagnosis contrived by parents or professionals looking for an excuse for a child’s behavior.

As a parent, the key to explaining ADHD to others is to first thoroughly understand it yourself. Professionals and laypeople use different words to explain ADHD. In his book, Dr. Larry Silver’s Advice to Parents on ADHD, Dr. Larry Silver (1999) described ADHD as a “neurologically based disorder” (p. 3). The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (2010) noted that “ADHD is a condition that can make it hard for a person to sit still, control behavior, and pay attention” (para. 4). The core symptoms of ADHD are developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. In line with this, the National Resource Center on ADHD (2008) defined ADHD as “a condition affecting children and adults that is characterized by problems with attention, impulsivity, and over activity” (para. 1). Russell Barkley, an eminent researcher in the field of ADHD, added that

Friday, November 6, 2015

Taking Charge of ADHD (James W. Forgan, Ph.D., and Mary Anne Richey)

We often advise parents not to worry so much about the label but to focus on proactive steps they can take to help their son. To raise a successful son with ADHD, you must start doing things differently from the day you find out your son has ADHD. 

Recognize That ADHD Is a Disability 

Even though your son may look fine on the outside, his mind is wired very differently. Taking a “disability perspective” provides understanding. You are taking a great step by reading this book and teaching yourself more about ADHD. Increasing your knowledge about ADHD is key to raising a successful son.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

“My Son Has ADHD. Now What?” (James W. Forgan, Ph.D., and Mary Anne Richey)

You may not always recognize boys with ADHD, but believe us, they are everywhere. The American Psychiatric Association (2000) stated in its text revision of the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that “The prevalence of Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder has been estimated at 3%–7% in school age children” (p. 90). That’s a lot of kids! 

Furthermore, some organizations say up to 9.5% of the population has ADHD. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (2011), 5.4 million children ages 5–17 have been diagnosed with ADHD by a healthcare professional. The CDC data showed that as of 2007, 2.7 million children in that age group were receiving medication for ADHD. 

Assuming these numbers are accurate, a teacher can expect that at least 2 children in a class of 20 students will have ADHD. On a sports team of 12 players, there will be at least one with ADHD. In a church with a youth population of 100 children, at least 12 will have ADHD. How many kids live in your neighborhood? In addition to your own son, there are probably some boys with ADHD living around you. Boys (and girls) with ADHD are everywhere.