Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sue Scheff: ADHD is Real - by Connect with Kids

“Kindergarten is when we started with the diagnosis. His kindergarten teacher noticed it, said he just couldn’t focus, couldn’t stay on task.”

– Katherine, mother

Hundreds of thousands of kids have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and many are taking stimulant medicine to help them succeed in school. Will these kids have to take pills for the rest of their lives? New research says maybe not.

Nine-year-old Mitchell has ADHD.

“Kindergarten is when we started with the diagnosis. His kindergarten teacher noticed it, said he just couldn’t focus, couldn’t stay on task. So we took him to his pediatrician and he noticed it right in his office and said, ‘Let’s try to get him on some medicine,’” says Katherine, Mitchell’s mother.

Since then, Mitchell has been on a stimulant ADHD medicine. But will he need the medication forever? Not necessarily, according to new research. Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health performed brain scans of more than 400 children. They found that children with ADHD had a three-year delay in development of the frontal lobe -- the area of the brain responsible for attention and planning.

“This study is important because now it links the behavioral disorder with a more medical or organic finding on brain development. I think it should also help parents to feel that it is a true disorder and is something that we’re trying to treat and to help the children get on task,” says Thomas Burns, Psy.D., Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

What’s more, says Burns, that three-year delay means some children with ADHD may outgrow their disorder.

“There’s a subset of kids that appear to catch up over time and for those children, it would fit with a small subset of the kids diagnosed with ADHD that appear to grow out of it in their teens,” says Burns.

Mitchell hopes he’s one of those kids.

“I think I might outgrow it,” says Mitchell.

”Yes, I’m thinking with our help we can overcome it and eventually get him off the medicine,” says Katherine.

Tips for Parents

Children with ADHD have impaired functioning in multiple settings, including home, school and relationships with peers. If untreated, the disorder can have long-term adverse effects into adolescence and adulthood. (National Institute of Mental Health, NIMH)

NIMH reports that symptoms of ADHD will appear over the course of many months, and include:

Impulsiveness: a child who acts quickly without thinking first.

Hyperactivity: a child who can't sit still; walks, runs or climbs around when others are seated; talks when others are talking.

Inattention: a child who daydreams or seems to be in another world, is sidetracked by what is going on around him or her.

If ADHD is suspected, the diagnosis should be made by a professional with training in ADHD. This includes child psychiatrists, psychologists, developmental/behavioral pediatricians, behavioral neurologists, and clinical social workers. (NIMH)

For children with ADHD, no single treatment is the answer for every child. A child may sometimes have undesirable side effects to a medication that would make that particular treatment unacceptable. And if a child with ADHD also has anxiety or depression, a treatment combining medication and behavioral therapy might be best. Each child’s needs and personal history must be carefully considered. (NIMH)

Some people get better results from one medication, some from another. It is important to work with the prescribing physician to find the right medication and the right dosage for your child. For many people, the stimulants dramatically reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve their ability to focus, work and learn. The medications may also improve physical coordination, such as that needed in handwriting and in sports. (NIMH)


National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sue Scheff: Troubled Teenagers? See How the Teenage Mind Works

The Teenage Brain

Are you dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of raising a teenager? Teens are impulsive, stubborn and moody. A troubled teenager will yell at you one minute and hug you the next. What’s a parent to do?

Get The Teenage Brain and see the latest research to help you understand defiant teenagers and how their mind actually works.

You’ll improve your parenting skills and learn how to influence troubled teenagers and how to better communicate with them.
Find out what makes defiant teenagers tick.

New research shows that there are clear-cut, physical differences between an adult’s brain and a teenager’s brain – differences that explain typical “teen behavior.” The Teenage Brain is a compelling video program that gives families with troubled teenagers hope while providing the latest facts, tips from experts, advice from health practitioners, stories from teens themselves and much more.

When it comes to teenagers, you can never have enough parenting skills.

If you have teens, part of your job is to develop their mind. New research shows that you can actually shape the structure of your child’s brain – so shouldn’t you understand how troubled teenagers' or defiant teenagers' brains work? Now you can.


Connect with Kids is a wealth of information for parents. I refer parents to them daily and I am always impressed with their valuable new weekly parenting articles and DVD’s. In today’s world of teenagers - parents need to be a step ahead!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts: Teenagers Cutting Themselves by Connect with Kids

The Enemy Inside

It’s hard to understand teenagers cutting themselves, but kids do deliberately burn, scratch and cut themselves until they bleed. Even the kids involved with teenage cutting can’t tell you why it makes them feel better… at least for the moment.

They can tell you that it’s addictive and scary.“Cutting” is the most popular form of self-injury today, and it is on the rise among adolescents.

Teenagers cutting themselves is a sign of emotional pain but it can also lead to major physical injury… and even death in some cases. The addictive nature of this condition allows it to spin quickly out of control.How can you help prevent teenage cutting?

The first step is communication, but talking about teenage cutting isn’t easy.
The Enemy Inside can help.

Compelling true stories from kids who struggle with self-injury will help explain why kids do it, why they want to stop – and so often why they can’t.

You’ll also hear expert advice for parents, teachers and counselors, on how to help prevent this kind of self-harm cutting and how to suggest healthier alternatives.

Order your copy of The Enemy Inside to learn what you need to know about teenagers cutting themselves and to see why Connect with Kids programs have been shown to improve youth behavior and increase communication between parents and children.

As a Parent Advocate, this is one of the most serious concerns parents can face when their teenager starts self mutilating. Parents need to be aware of the signs, reasons and most importantly reach out for help.