Copyright 2011 or Lyons
Wednesday 20th of March 2019
Issue 3042 / zero cents

Things children with ADHD would like their teachers to know

Posted by on March 27th, 2012 |

1)   I really do forget things – I’m not trying to be smart, sassy or arrogant. I simply do not always remember. The myth that if it is important enough I will remember it is just that, a myth.

2)   I am not stupid.

3)   I really do complete my homework. It is easy for me to lose papers, leave them at home and otherwise not be able to find my homework at the proper time. Completing homework in a notebook is much easier for me as it will not get lost as easily. Loose papers are difficult for me to keep track of.

4)   If I ask the same question over or ask many questions, it is not out of arrogance. I am trying hard to understand, comprehend and remember what you have said.

5)   I want to do well. I have struggled with schoolwork for many years and it is frustrating to me. My goal is to do my best.

6)   ADHD is not an excuse. ADHD really does exist and it does affect my thinking process. I would like to be “normal” and be able to remember and process information quickly. I do not enjoy being “different” and made fun of for my differences.

7)   I need your help to succeed. It isn’t always easy for me to ask for help and sometimes asking makes me feel stupid. Please be patient with my attempts and offer your help.

8)   Please be sure to talk with me in private about behaviors or actions that may not be appropriate. Please do not humiliate me, insult me or call attention to my weaknesses in front of the class.

9)   I do better with a detailed plan and knowing what you expect. If you should change plans in the middle to adapt to some outside influence, please help me to adapt. It may take me longer to adjust to the changes. Structure and guidance are my best allies.

10) I don’t like having “special accommodations.” Please do not draw attention to them and help me to succeed with the least amount of attention drawn to my ADHD.

11) Learn about ADHD. Read information and find out all you can on how kids with ADHD learn and what you can do to make it easier for them.

12) Always remember that I am a person with feelings, needs and goals. These are as important to me as yours are to you.

Emotionally Safe Use of the Internet and Technology

Posted by on March 19th, 2012 |

Dharun Ravi, who was convicted of using a webcam to spy on his roommate, was incredibly computer savvy. But not yet emotionally mature enough to understand the implication that technology can have on our lives. Through his knowledge of the Internet, he was able to observe his roommate engaged in homosexual activities. Through his use of social media, he was able to project his thoughts and feelings not just to friends, but anyone with access to his Twitter page.

Although this is a tragedy for Ravi, his late roommate, Tyler Clementi, their families and Rutgers University, it is also an opportunity to talk with your children about technology, the Internet and how to use them. One of the challenges parents face when talking to their children about technology, is that young people are often more computer savvy than their parents. It’s difficult to keep up with the rapid changes in technology and children are often a few steps ahead of their parents.

There are many guides for safe internet use which include ideas such as having the computer in a common area, using parental controls, knowing your child’s password and limiting time on the computer. The emotional effects of technology use are discussed less often. Here are some guidelines and talking points for emotionally safe Internet and computer use for children and teens:

1) Children (and adults) often say things through text, email or social networking that they would never say to someone’s face. The lack of an immediate reaction means that people can be emotionally detached. If we had to see the pain in someone else’s face, we probably wouldn’t send that text or email to begin with. Remind your child that they should NEVER say anything via technology that they wouldn’t say to a person’s face.

2) Children (and adults) sometimes don’t remember that anything that is put on the Internet can be either passed along or reach an unintentional recipient. A good deal of cyber bullying can come in the form of texts or emails being passed along. Remind your child that anything that is put in writing can be passed along.

3) The relatively anonymous nature of the Internet can breed a false sense of security. Children often don’t realize that their movements on the Internet as well as deleted texts or emails can all be tracked and retrieved. In the Ravi case, computer savvy as he is, he attempted to cover his tracks, but was caught which was considered tampering with the evidence.

4) What if your child is the recipient of on-line or cyber bullying? First of all, acknowledge the pain that your child is experiencing. Sometimes if the bullying takes place over the Internet, it can be more painful than if it was face to face. Your child may have the urge to retaliate on-line. It’s important to discourage this as it can only make things worse (your child’s response may be forwarded to classmates or others.) If the bullying has happened in the context of school, you may need to get the teacher or principal involved to address cyber bullying to the students in general. If you feel it is appropriate, encourage your child to address, in a safe place, the bully face to face. Practice what your child will say and coach your child about the different responses he or she may get. It may also be necessary to contact the bully’s parents who may not be aware of their child’s inappropriate use of the Internet. It is important to involve your child in confronting the situation. You are trying to send them the message that they are capable and can be instrumental in managing conflict. Although it may be parental instinct to jump in and take control, it is important that your child also has a role in managing the situation.

It’s important to talk with your children about the emotional impact the Internet and computers can have on real life relationships and friends. While technology will continue how we communicate, the nature of family relationships and friendships remains the same. Now is the time to talk with your children about this important issue.



Understanding the Socially Awkward Child

Posted by on March 13th, 2012 |

Difficulty reading social situations, precocious early reading ability, sensory sensitivity, well developed vocabulary, needing extra structure to complete school work…smart kids who may be behind the curve as their peers socially mature.  Children who may have trouble understanding nuances in speech and body language. Honest to a fault and prone to believing everything friends or others tell them. These are kids who may frustrate their parents and teachers, as they are so smart yet “not living up to their potential.” These are kids who may have no or just a couple of friends and not understand why. They may feel overwhelmed by the noises, lights or even the other children in a classroom.

All these characteristics are part of a misunderstood learning disability referred to as a Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD). For years, these children were misdiagnosed as having behavior problems in the classroom, having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or having anxiety problems. While in fact what these children were struggling with was difficulty reading their social landscape. I am sometimes asked the following question “Is NVLD on the spectrum on autism?” While this is an area of controversy, my belief is that on a scale of 1 to 10, if severe autism was considered to be a 10 then Asperger’s Disorder would be a 5 and NVLD would be more like a 1. Children with NVLD can share some characteristics of Asperger’s, namely difficulty with social interactions, but often the commonalities end at that point.

When families come to our clinic with a child who is struggling with this set of issues, they are often relieved to find that there are constructive ways to help a socially awkward child or a child with NVLD. Children can be coached about how to approach social situations, what to say and how to respond to other children’s quick responses. Occupational Therapy can help decrease sensory sensitivity. Parents can be coached to learn more about NVLD and to realize that their child is not demonstrating certain behaviors (difficulty getting out the door for school, sensory sensitivity, concrete thinking) in a willful or defiant manner. These children are just overloaded by the amount of stimulation from their environments. Creating a predictable and structured environment will greatly help the child with NVLD (as it would any child)! Teachers can be educated to help kids with NVLD manage and plan their workloads…as well as keep an eye out for any social coaching that could help with friendships at school.

In the past, these children were little understood, but now we have lots of tools to help them achieve their goals and help their families in the meantime. In my practice I’ve seen many children overcome much of their NVLD, to the point that they no longer meet criteria for the diagnosis. So this is all good news for families of children with NVLD.

Parent Coaching – could it be right for your family?

Posted by on March 13th, 2012 |

Many times, parents call my office and describe an issue their 3-6 year old may be having. They describe separation anxiety, hitting siblings, talking back to parents, difficulty with transition, inattention, and problems in the classroom amongst other issues. They also mention their frustration with their child’s behavior. They are at the end of their rope and often say, “we just don’t know what to do any more!” And then the follow up question I usually get is, “But what can a clinical psychologist do by talking or playing with my child?”  Which is when I explain that I can help the family as a whole. A parent coach listens to concerns, takes time getting to know the child, makes suggestions and gives constructive feedback.

This is not a “Super Nanny” approach to psychotherapy, but instead a holistic, family-centered therapy where everyone is listened to and can feel safe. In parent coaching there are no fingers being pointed – no judgments. Just problem solving! Thinking of what has worked in the past with your child and what hasn’t. The goal is to develop a plan that works with everyone’s personality style and comfort level. While behavioral plans are often implemented, parent coaching is creative and decidedly not “cookie cutter.” The realities of a family’s life are taken into consideration. Certain things (such as a 7 pm bedtime when parents don’t return home until 6:30 pm) may be ideal, but just not possible. Once a plan is in place, families or sometimes just parents, return on a weekly basis to tweak the plan and discuss what still needs to be changed. Although my door is always open, the goal is to gradually decrease parent or family meetings. I find that parents find renewed confidence and can begin to more greatly enjoy their time with their children. As for children, they seem to feel calmer and safe when limits are put in place. As a whole, families are happier! Call us at 773-244-3151 if you think that Parent Coaching could help your family.