Written by: Chrissy Sunberg, M. Ed., AAC
The winter has finally arrived. For some families this time of year is welcomed and for others it can be dreadful. As for my family, we welcome it with open arms. It gives us a chance to slow down and relax on a Saturday afternoon. If you know me, you know that I love Netflix. There is nothing better than enjoying a good movie with my family, making popcorn and sipping hot chocolate. This has been a family tradition for us since my kids were younger. I think we had the opportunity to view every age appropriate tv show and movie. Comedies, dramas and educational shows/movies. I’m excited to share with our readers educational tv shows for children that have learning challenges and for the families that support them. Enjoy!!
First, I want start with my favorite web-site about movies, tv shows, books and so much more, www.commonsensemedia.org. This site provides reviews on movies from parents and kids, tips for parents on watching age appropriate movies, tv shows, books and video games.
Oldies but goodies:
Another thing I want to mention is that certain tv shows can promote learning and social skills for children that may have a hard time reading social cues, understanding sarcasm and reading a room. I suggest sitting with your child and making the learning experience more interactive. While watching you may want to discuss with them how to read facial expressions and explain what each situation means. Some questions you can ask are:
Photo from: Pexels
Written by: Psychology@Pepperdine Staff
Psychology@Pepperdine, the online Master's in Applied Behavioral Analysis program from Pepperdine University
"Does your child get distracted easily and need to be repeatedly reminded to complete a simple task? Does their room look like it’s been hit by a tornado and they are constantly misplacing personal items? Do they have emotional outbursts when plans suddenly change?
For parents, many of these behaviors may seem familiar. But many typically developing children are able to improve their self-management skills, or executive functions, as they grow older and take on more responsibility. Some, including children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, traumatic brain injury and other learning disabilities, have a harder time and may face executive function deficits."
Today's blog defines emotional regulation and executive functioning. Furthermore, it discusses how teaching children with special needs emotional self-regulation skills can help them better manage emotional responses, and contains strategies to help your child enhance their emotional regulation skills!
The Daily Habits of Organized Kids: Simple, effective ways to keep your family organized and stress free
Written by: Dr. Liz Matheis and Featured by: Brain Azium
"Though they may insist otherwise, children with ADHD desperately need and often thrive with reliable daily routines — particularly in the morning and at bedtime. Why? Many children with ADHD exhibit executive function deficits, which means they have a hard time organizing tasks in their minds — making it difficult to figure out how much time it will take to brush their teeth, take a bath, or choose an outfit."
Today's blog discusses strategies to relieve stress and create structure in your home. Establishing routines for homework and other daily tasks can help you and your children deal with the demands of everyday life!
Written by: Dr. Rick Manista
If you are suspecting that your child may have ADHD, you may begin to also notice signs of anxiety. Anxiety can sometimes look like ADHD, and ADHD can lead to the experience of anxiety. That is, your child may be preoccupied with anxious thoughts in class, which could look like he is being inattentive. An anxious child may need to leave the classroom because she is feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work or what other kids may be thinking about her. She may need to fidget because her anxiety is high and she needs a place to let go of the negative energy.
Likewise, we have seen many adolescents and young adults with ADHD who become anxious when given a long-term or multi-step assignment. A young woman worries about how she is going to write the 5 page paper that is coming up at the end of the week, so she either does it within the last hour before it’s due, or she doesn’t work on it at all. A young man can’t keep track of all of his school demands and social demands so he ends up not going to class or meeting up with friends.
Let’s break it down…
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder is a condition where children, adolescents and adults have difficulty sustaining attention and controlling their impulses (Gargaro et al, 2011). According to the DSM-V, it’s broken down into 3 categories: hyperactive and impulsive, inattentive or combined.
When we break it down, we have our children and adolescents whose attention is wavering all within the same 20 minutes, and/or they have a hard time sitting still and become physically overwhelmed if they are unable to move. This is often seen by the classroom teacher as the child who is falling out of his seat, or calling out or runs across the classroom to sharpen his pencil once he notices that his pencil point is low.
This can make being a member of the class quite difficult because of the need to move, the need to work for small spurts of time, and the struggle to wait one’s turn or raise one’s hand. This can lead to overreacting in situations, having difficulty with organizing and finishing tasks, and having too much energy.
Children with ADHD typically meet all developmental milestones, but many of our kids aren’t picking up on the social cues and non-verbal language between their peers. They miss the cues and either join the situation too late or make statements or comments that are not related to what’s really going on.
Or, if you have a hyperactive child, he may be trying to impress with his athletic skill or is jumpy and touchy, which over time, begins to turn off his peers. Whereas he was once funny, now he’s just annoying.
Generalized Anxiety is the experience of anxiety over several situations but not limited to one. If your child is preoccupied with his thoughts or is afraid of what others may be thinking, it will be that much more difficult to see or read social cues. Someone with Autism may not be able to take perspective or think abstractly, while someone with ADHD may not be focused enough to read a social cue.
Garcia-Winner and Crooke (2015) label this world based anxiety. Our social world is constantly changing. Children who have difficulty reading social situations can become easily confused with what is expected with them, what is coming next and what someone’s else intentions are. This can make them worried about new experiences, changes in routine and challenging social situations. Social Stories and Visual Schedules can be quite helpful.
Another reason for anxiety is difficulty communicating with others. When children have challenges expressing themselves and relating to others, they can have negative social experiences. This can cause social anxiety, where children may be afraid to interact with a person, feel uncomfortable when they are speaking, and be judging themselves after talking to someone. Social skills training can help children be able to read social cues and give them the confidence to participate in social situations.
For children with ADHD can experience changes in their mood. This can give them difficulties socializing with peers and succeeding in the classroom. This can cause them to have negative feelings towards themselves. Inability to focus can also extend to their ability to process emotions. Not being able to track and understand their feelings and triggers can cause them to get stuck. Counseling and mindfulness can help children with ADHD process and express their emotions.
ADHD can cause children to not be able to focus on their emotions and their environment. This can cause them to have negative experiences and experience anxiety. Helping them focus through social skills and mindfulness can give them strategies to reduce anxiety and give them more success academically and socially.
Garcia-Winner, M., & Crooke, P. (2015, September 18). Updates on the social thinking's cascade of social attention: A conceptual framework to explore a system's approach to social communication. Retrieved October 15, 2018, from https://www.socialthinking.com/Articles?
Gargaro, B. A., Rinehart, N. J., Bradshaw, J. L., Tonge, B. J., & Sheppard, D. M. (2011). Autism and ADHD: how far have we come in the comorbidity debate?. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 35(5), 1081-1088.
Written by: Ariana Eunjung Cha from The Washington Post
Over the past two decades, U.S. parents and teachers have reported epidemic levels of children with trouble focusing, impulsive behavior and extreme amounts of energy. A number of researchers have proposed that lack of sleep can lead to challenging behaviors that mimic ADHD.
This blog discusses the various opinions and research on this controversial topic, and what it could mean for our children and their treatment.
If you have Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) or if you have a child with AD/HD, you know that school is a difficult place to be. Why do I say that? Well, because teachers in the average school setting expect that students are able to sit down, take out their notebooks, listen to a lesson, take notes, maintain an organizational system that will allow for homework to be completed, returned and turned in, as well as plan ahead for upcoming project, assignments, and tests. And by the way, you can use some technological devices, but don’t even think about taking out your cell phone. Wow! Most adults still struggle with these types of tasks, and therefore rely on other people, post-its, secretaries, and all sorts of devices to get through the day.
One young man describes his experience with inattention as an inability to stay focused in class because he becomes internally engrossed in his own thoughts. He doesn’t remember what triggers his drifting nor does he know what pulls him out of it. He appears like he is attentive but because he is not impulsive or hyperactive, he is perceived as paying attention. However, his experience is that he misses large amounts of information in class. He also misses information in his conversations with his peers, parents, etc, etc. He can be perceived as forgetful, unmotivated or even lazy. But is he really? No, he needs strategies to help him get through his day…
So, how do does one manage all of the academic and life demands? Here are a few strategies:
Tag it, Clip It, Post It
If you are struggling to remember to do something at home or in school, like write down your homework in your planner, place a visual cue on the top loop of your backpack. One particular young man attached a lock to his back pack and each time he looked down, he saw it and it reminded him to take out his daily planner and write down his homework assignment.
Use whatever you have or anything you find to be interesting or strange – like a clothes pin, a ribbon, or whatever else you can think of. Use post-its to write down reminders in prominent areas (e.g., on your mirror with a note that says, “Pack sneakers in backpack).
Set your alarm – yes, you can use your cell phone to set an alarm that can be used to remind yourself to take your medication at the same time each day. Set it and forget it!
Use the stop watch on your phone to time a break so that you return to an assignment in 10 minutes instead of 60 minutes. Set your cell phone alarm to give yourself 30 minutes to work on a writing assignment before taking a 10 minute break.
Color code each of your subjects (e.g., History-blue, English-red, etc). Cover your books in covers that correspond with the subject and use folders, binders, etc that are the same color. That way, each time you open your locker, you see red and that means English book or notebook. No words to process, only colors
Now that you have color coded your subjects, create a white board schedule of the month and write down all of your homework assignments, papers, and projects in the color that corresponds with the subject. One quick glance at your white board and you know which assignments are coming up based on the date and color.
Do you have a daily planner on your phone? Great –use it! Many people DETEST the paper and pencil based daily planner but are more than happy to write down assignments into their phone and reference their phone often.
Do you have an upcoming dentist appointment you don’t want to miss, put it into your phone and now you won’t forget it.
This is just a small sampling of the different types of strategies that students with AD/HD can use to stay organized and encourage follow-through and completion of assignments.
There are many more and many can be tailored to your specific interests and areas of strength. Think outside of the box – it’s what you do well without even trying!
In the interest of your well-being,
Dr. Liz Matheis
Dr Liz Matheis and her team specialize in assisting children and their families with Anxiety, Autism, AD/HD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Struggles