ADHD: Commons Myths about ADHD and Teens

Guest Blogger, Jasmine Hall, from OnlineClasses.org, has asked me the share her recent article that I believe many of my readers will find value with.  ADD/ADHD is a subject that many parents and experts have debated for years.  As a son with ADHD, I know firsthand how difficult it can be, and how solutions are different for every family.

10 Common Myths About ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been the subject of scrutiny in recent years due to the perception that it’s a faux-disorder. A patient isn’t diagnosed after an X-ray or blood test, but rather with a behavioral evaluation that considers his or her unique situation. The lack physical evidence fuels the skeptics despite the fact that many of them lack experience in dealing with the disorder. Just ask a parent of a child or an adult who suffers from ADHD, and they’ll tell you that it’s more than just the occasional loss of concentration — it hinders their ability to function to their potential, in school and social situations. The following myths have been perpetuated by people who don’t understand ADHD but have been debunked by doctors, mental health professionals and people who live with the disorder.

  1. ADHD isn’t a real problem: It’s a common opinion that disorders like ADHD were devised by drug companies in order to make a few extra bucks, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it’s a recognized disorder by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Medical Association (AMA), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a majority of national psychiatric and psychological organizations. Acknowledgment of ADHD is almost unanimous by mental health professionals and researchers who have studied it.
  2. ADHD is an excuse: As previously mentioned, ADHD is a legitimate disorder, and one that can hinder a person’s ability to reach their full academic and personal potential. Symptoms include: difficulty focusing on one thing, difficulty learning something new or completing a task, listening problems, general confusion and disorganization, the inability to sit still, the constant desire to be in motion, excessive talking, the inability to remain quiet for even short periods of time, and poor impulse control. A comprehensive list of symptoms is available by clicking the link.
  3. Strict discipline can solve childhood ADHD-caused problems: Many people claim that strict discipline can solve a child’s behavioral problems caused by ADHD. Some skeptics tend to view it as a generational problem, asserting that children are spoiled and need to be more harshly punished for their actions. The truth of the matter is that children with ADHD lack sufficient impulse control and excessive punishment can prove damaging to their mental health. And while it’s important to set clear expectations and establish structure, it’s also essential that parents remain patient with their children.
  4. All ADHD sufferers are hyperactive: Although constant hyperactivity is the primary problem associated with ADHD, it’s not the only symptom. Inattentive-type ADHD, or ADHD without the “H,” has become more recognized by the medical community in recent years. A person can control their impulses while being inattentive, which can lead to substandard academic performance. Even shyness is characteristic of inattentive-type ADHD sufferers; children with the disorder require positive attention, as low self-esteem may become an issue.
  5. ADHD indicates a lack of intelligence: A Yale report published in 2009 showed that about three of four people with ADHD and an IQ score of more than 120 experienced difficulties with memory and cognitive tests. On the other hand, people without ADHD with similar IQ scores didn’t have as many problems. ADHD doesn’t discriminate based on IQ score. People of all intelligence levels have it; many just need assistance in harnessing their capabilities.
  6. ADHD medication causes a drugged feeling: A doctor or mental health specialist will determine the appropriate treatment for ADHD based on the unique needs of the patient. Side effects are closely monitored and if a medication has an adverse effect, the dosage will be lowered or it will be changed to something more suitable. The stimulant that’s typically prescribed comes in different forms, including capsule, pill, patch and liquid. Some have short-term effects while others have long-term effects. In short, there’s not one treatment that’s applied to everyone.
  7. ADHD can be diagnosed through a medication trial: Psychostimulants have the same effect on people without ADHD as they do on people with ADHD, so a noticeable difference in behavior subsequent to taking a medication isn’t a true indicator that a person has the disorder. A person who thinks they may have ADHD should consult a doctor or mental health specialist, and he or she will make an assessment with the assistance of diagnostic criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association, or the American Academy of Pediatrics if a child is being examined.
  8. ADHD diagnoses have become too common: According to the CDC, just three to seven percent of school-aged children had ADHD in 2006. Between 1997 and 2006, diagnoses of ADHD increased by an average of just three percent each year. A 2005 report by the CDC indicated that 4.4 million children aged four to 17 were diagnosed with the disorder, and just 2.5 million of them were prescribed medication. What’s more, many medical professionals and researchers assert that girls and minorities are underdiagnosed.
  9. ADHD is limited to children: Many children who endure ADHD still battle it well into adulthood, and many adults will be diagnosed for the first time years after they’ve entered the real word. Instead of forgetting homework assignments, failing to complete in-class assignments and inefficiently studying, they may forget an appointment, produce at a slower rate than their peers, and exhibit a general lack of preparation. In many cases, the result is job instability and a lack of career fulfillment, which can affect their overall quality of life. Adults who think they may have ADHD shouldn’t hesitate to visit a doctor or mental health specialist.
  10. People with ADHD can’t succeed: The lengthy list of talented people who have ADHD includes 14-time gold medalist Michael Phelps, four-time Super Bowl champion Terry Bradshaw, Kinko’s founder Paul Orfalea, and Virgin Group founder and billionaire Richard Branson. Additionally, great innovators, thinkers and leaders from the past are said to have shown symptoms of the disorder, like Albert Einstein, Beethoven, Charles Schwab and John Lennon. Given the sheer amount of people who have overcome ADHD to achieve their dreams, it’s clear that it doesn’t have to be an impediment to success.
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Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: How to help your ADHD child cope with the stigma

bookunderstandingADHDDuring my years as a parent of an ADHD child through Elementary and Middle School, I know firsthand the struggles that some of these kids can have. One of the hardest days was when my son was “labeled” as a shrimp by his peers, or worse when he had to go down to the nurses office for his noon medication. I am not quite sure parents realize just how difficult this is for young children.
As a Parent Advocate, I make it my job to find information and educational material for parents raising kids today.
In my networking, I was introduced to Kara Tamanini, Therapist and Author, specializing with ADD/ADHD children. She created a website with a wealth of information that is user friendly and easy to understand. I find many websites about ADD/ADHD are a bit over-overwhelming; however Kids Awareness Series has easy to understand articles and advice.
With Kara Tamanini’s  permission, I am sharing her latest tips on how to help your child cope with an ADHD stigma as school is opening.  Be an educated parent.
1.) As a parent, the first thing you need to do to reduce the stigma of ADHD, is to not make a big deal about it. Watch and control your reaction about the symptoms of ADHD when they rear their ugly head. You making a big deal about having ADHD or that they have to take medications or an alternative treatment (natural vitamins or therapy) will only increase the challenge that they are already fighting.
2.) Don’t tell your child not to tell anyone! This definitely sends the message that having ADHD is something to be embarrassed or ashamed of.
3.) If your child is embarrassed to take medications for ADHD at school then work with your child’s pediatrician or psychiatrist on finding a way for your child to take medicines before or right after school. Many children and especially older children and teenagers are embarrassed in front of their friends no matter what you say to them about taking medication.
4.) Remind your child regularly that ADHD is merely a different way of thinking about things and that their brain works differently. Don’t treat ADHD as something awful, I have found that ADHD has many positive aspects and treat it as a gift. Do not treat your child differently because they have ADHD and expect less of them, they will act accordingly and will lower their own expectations of themselves.
5.) Determine as a parent whether or not you plan to share a diagnosis of ADHD with your child or teen’s school. Parents often differ in this regard on whether or not they want their child’s teacher and school to know of an ADHD diagnosis. I highly recommend to parents that they share their child’s diagnosis of ADHD with the school and discuss strategies that need to be implemented for your child in the classroom. Your teacher should also not lower his/her expectations for your child. Yes, the ADHD child may have to have a modified curriculum, but it does not mean that they cannot learn like everyone else.
6.) Talk openly with your child about an ADHD diagnosis in order to take away the stigma of the diagnosis. Boost their self-confidence and explain how those around them may perceive their ADHD behaviors. Unfortunately, many children at your child’s school will discriminate against a child that has ADHD and often because ADHD children struggle socially, they have difficulty making and keeping friends. Encourage your child to participate in activities that will raise their self-esteem and emphasize their positive attributes. When you see your child doing something good or helpful, point it out.
7.) Encourage your child to be around other children that have similar strengths and weaknesses. ADHD is a common problem and your child may benefit from attending a social skills or an ADHD group with children that are experiencing similar struggles. Psychological treatment is also another option, where your child can learn self-confidence, coping skills, social skills, and parents can learn about how to manage negative behaviors associated with ADHD.
8.) Children and parents need to surround themselves with individuals that are positive and supportive of ADHD. The last thing a child needs to hear is that, “ADHD is not a real diagnosis, it’s just an excuse to misbehave.” This a very common misconception among the general public and many parents will experience this very thing as will their children.
9.) Lastly, use the resources that are available to you. Discuss with other parents, teachers, family members, or a local or national support group about your child’s ADHD. Information for parents and educating those around you about what ADHD is and how it affects your child and adults is the best weapon against the stigma of ADHD. Get your child the help they need at school so that they are NOT discriminated against.
Let’s start off this school year the right way and give your child every opportunity to learn and be successful!

For more info: Kids Awareness Series, Understanding My ADHD.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Parenting the ADHD ODD Teen

ADHD behavior issues often partner with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) — making discipline a challenge. Try these strategies for parents of ADD kids.

Every parent of a child with attention deficit disorder knows what it’s like to deal with ADHD behavior problems — sometimes a child lashes out or refuses to comply with even the most benign request. But about half of all parents who have children with live with severe behavior problems and discipline challenges on an almost daily basis.

Read Entire Article Here.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff The Best of 2008 Parenting Sites and Books

Well, 2008 is finally behind us! Many would say it was not the best year economically, with stress of finances, the frustrations of getting our kids/teens to comprehend the serious of it all. Personally I am very excited about 2009 – especially this fall, my second book will be released and it is going to be HOT! It is hush hush for now, but it will be explosive for sure!

Let’s take a look at 2008 and some of the great parenting sites and books we have:

ADDitude Magazine – All about ADD/ADHD!
PE4Life – Teaching our Kids the Importance of Physical Education
Connect with Kids – Great Articles and DVD’s for Parenting of all ages
Inhalant Abuse – Learn more about this growing problem among teens.
Love Our Children USA – Great information on keeping our kids safe today.
iKeepSafe – Promoting Parenting Education on Keeping Kids Safe in Cyberspace
Feingold Program – Fantastic information on alternative ways to treating ADD/ADHD
Education.com – It’s all about kids of all ages!
Safe Teen Driving ClubLearn how to keep your teens safe on the road.
Next Generation Parenting – What’s next?
OnTeensToday – Vanessa Van Petten has great insights on teens today.
Thinking Forward – A parent’s guide to middle school years.
Break Free Beauty – Teen Body Image by Sarah Maria

Beautiful Boy by David Scheff
It All Started with Pop-Tarts by Lori Hanson
A Relentless Hope – Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression by Gary Nelson
You’re Grounded by Vanessa Van Petten
Parent Survival TrainingDr. David Lustig
SOS – Students Guide for Saying NO to Cheating – by Lisa Medoff
SOS – Students Guide for Peer Pressure – by Lisa Medoff
Preventing Addiction by Dr. John Fleming

Oh, don’t forget my own book release in July 2008 – Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-Of-Control Teen published by Health Communications, Inc. Watch for fall 2009 as they release my second book!

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: ADHD School Behavior

How teachers and parents can inspire better ADHD school behavior with help from these impulse-controlling exercises for children with attention-deficit.

 

 

 

 

The problem: The student with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) interrupts the teacher and classmates by calling out answers or commenting while others are speaking.

 

 

The reason: Children with ADHD have difficulty controlling their impulses. Scientists believe that a problem with dopamine, a brain chemical, causes them to respond immediately and reflexively to their environment — whether the stimulus is a question, an idea, or a treat. That’s why they often seem to act or talk before thinking, and ADHD school behavior suffers as a result.

 

 

The obstacles: Children with ADHD may not be aware that they are interrupting. Even if they are, they have difficulty understanding that their behavior is disturbing or disruptive to others.Simply telling them their behavior is wrong doesn’t help. Even though they know this, their impulsivity overrides their self-control. Many ADHD children can’t understand nonverbal reprimands, like frowning, either.

 

 

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) ADHD Awareness Week

This is a great website and informational resource for parents with ADD/ADHD students – being an educated parent helps you to help your child!  As a parent with an ADHD child, I have learned so much here. 

 

Happy ADHD Awareness Week!

 

As you know, this week is all about spreading attention-deficit truth and support. So, to that end, ADDitude has created a new ADHD Information Center that we hope people will use all year to…

  • Dispel common myths about ADHD
  • Fight ADHD stigmas
  • Explain the facts about ADHD
  • Find support from other ADHD adults and parents
  • Revel in all the great things about ADHD

We hope you will share our ADHD Information Center with your readers during this ADHD Awareness Week, and also pass along the following personal diary entry from author, ADHD spokesman and ADDitude contributor Jonathan Mooney:

 

“Cheers, fellow ADDers! Be proud of the gifts ADD affords you: a gusto for life, a capacity to dream large, the ability to set goals — and the energy to meet them. In being comfortable with yourself, you can change how the world perceives ADD and recognizes its strengths.

This September, recount your successes and what makes you stand out from the crowd—like the time you put your mind to it and ran an eight-minute-mile marathon or completed the Sunday crossword puzzle before your second cup of coffee.

Have a sense of humor about your ADD: Toast yourself at dinner for not having misplaced your keys in the morning or for having remembered to take your debit card out of the ATM. Let yourself—and others—laugh to take the pressure off of being perfect.

By celebrating your small feats, you will be able to tackle bigger challenges. Even a simple change in language can transform your self-esteem and others’ perception of your accomplishments. Use “and” more than “but.”

For example, I could say, “I finished this article, but it was three weeks late.” That statement discounts my accomplishment, as if the final product were flawed. I prefer, “I finished this article, and it was three weeks late.” The second statement is equally true, and it doesn’t diminish all of the work I put into it. Next time, I can say, “I will be on time!”

Use this month—this year, every year—to share your pride over the gifts you have. The world’s appreciation of ADD depends on your feeling good about yourself, so tell your friends, family—even the bagger at your local grocery store—all about your condition, especially if they know little about it.”

To read the remainder of this article, “Smile – It’s ADHD Awareness Month!” visit http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/4000.html

Best,

 

www.ADDitudeMag.com

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Positive Parenting Tips for ADHD Children

By ADDitude Magazine
Five Tips for Smoother Mornings

Shift as many tasks as you can to the night before. Sign permission slips, make sure book bags are packed, and leave everything by the front door, in a “launch pad.”

If your child takes ADHD medication, wake him up half an hour early to take his pill. Then, let him fall back asleep or just relax. By the time he needs to start getting ready, his medication will have kicked in.

Draw up a checklist that spells out your child’s morning routine (“get dressed,” “come to the kitchen for breakfast,” and so on), and have her check off steps as she completes them.

Use a timer to remind your child when it’s time to move on to the next task. This will keep you from micromanaging his routine, and give him more control over his own schedule.

The morning rush is already hectic, so don’t add extra stimuli to the mix. Leave the television and the computer off until your children are out the door.

Five After-School Strategies

Establish a start time for homework, and stick to it. Some kids work better after a little downtime; others find it harder to switch back to “school mode.”

Find the homework environment that works with your child. The kitchen table is often the ideal homework station-there’s plenty of space to spread out books and you can stay close by.

ADHD kids can have trouble staying focused for long periods, so let your child take frequent, short breaks. A five-minute break for every 20 minutes of work should be sufficient.

Get your child in the habit of packing her completed homework in her book bag as soon as she’s finished, before moving on to any other activity.

Have fun afterward. Your child is more likely to apply herself if she knows that a fun activity, such as playing a game or watching TV, will follow homework.

Five Ways to Ensure Happy Meal Times

An all-carb breakfast is a recipe for inattention. Make sure your child eats plenty of protein, along with complex carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, and/or vegetables.

Keep a supply of grab-and-go breakfast foods, like protein bars, hard-boiled eggs, and cartons of yogurt, on hand, in case you fall behind schedule.

Create a “Top-10” list based on family members’ favorite meals that you can cook over the course of a two week-period. Soliciting everyone’s input means everyone will be happier around the dinner table.

Share the responsibilities for dinner preparation. Younger children can set the table, older kids may appreciate the responsibility of helping to prepare the meal.

If your child’s medication impacts his appetite, keep meal times flexible. If he doesn’t eat much for lunch, for example, give him a hearty snack rather than make him wait.

Five Keys to the Bedtime Routine

Wind down slowly over the course of an hour or so. Find the bedtime routine that works-bath, brush teeth, 20 minutes of reading, lights out to soft music-and stick to it.

Set a realistic bedtime. Put your child to bed too early, and there’s a chance that he’ll remain awake-and restless-for a long time.

Enforce bedtime consistently-on weekends, too. Letting your child stay up late on weekends will disrupt his circadian clock; on Monday, he’ll wake up with something akin to jet lag.

If your child gets up, tuck her back into bed and gently but firmly remind her that it’s time to go to sleep. Reassure her that you’ll be nearby.

Keep in mind that some ADHD kids are kept awake at night by restlessness and mental activity caused by a lack of medication. If you suspect this in your child, ask her doctor about an evening dose.

Learn more at www.additudemag.com