5 Ways Mindfulness Can Help Self-Regulation in Children with ADHD

Mindfulness has become a buzzword as more and more people are looking for a way to combat stress and find peace within our busy lifestyles. Mindfulness meditation is a therapeutic technique derived from eastern philosophy that aims to reduce arousal, guide attention to the present moment, increase awareness and promote non-judgmental observation. Not only is mindfulness useful for bringing calm to our busy, anxious and hectic society, it is also an excellent therapeutic tool for children with ADHD to increase self-regulation and harness a greater ability to focus. 1. Mindfulness can strengthen the neurodevelopment of self-regulation When introduced at a young age, mindfulness has the ability to strengthen a child’s neurodevelopment of their capacity for reflective reprocessing. This means that a child’s ability to reflect. on and interpret their actions and the consequences of their actions can be heightened. By strengthening a child’s reflective reprocessing mindfulness addresses the core factor of self-regulation. 2. Mindfulness can aid in a child’s learning process experience increased levels of stress and anxiety compared to children without ADHD. Symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention, especially in the classroom, create a barrier to learning and increase anxiety for children, parents and teachers. With the practice of mindfulness meditation children with ADHD...

Stickley wins Gold!

We're pleased to announce that "Stickley Sticks To It!" written by Possibilities Team member Dr. Brenda S. Miles has been awarded the Gold Moonbeam for Mind-Body-Spirit/Self Esteem. "Stickley Sticks To It!" follows the adventures of Stickley the Frog as he makes a plan, sticks to it, and gets things done! Each year The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards are presented to authors, illustrators, and publishers of children’s books that not only celebrate the joys of childhood, but also help kids and families deal with its challenges. The Moonbeam Awards recognize and reward the best of these books and bring them to the attention of booksellers, librarians, parents and children. Congratulations Dr. Miles...

11th Annual CADDRA ADHD Conference

11th Annual CADDRA ADHD Conference   Friday, October 16th / Saturday, October 17th / Sunday, October 18th   Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel 1128 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 4R5 Canada This conference will focus on the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, adolescents and adults.Medical and health care professionals working in the field of ADHD will enhance their knowledge and skills by attending keynote talks, seminars and workshops scheduled in the two-day meeting. It will be preceded by two accredited pre-event options: ADHD Institute workshops or ADHD Research Day. Who Should Attend Paediatricians, psychiatrists, family physicians, psychologists, neurologists, nurse practitioners, social workers, other professionals and trainees. Conference Committee Doron Almagor, Lauri Alto, Matt Blackwood, Don Duncan, Karen Ghelani, Martin Gignac, Andrew Hall, Julia Hunter, Declan Quinn, Joseph Sadek, Derryck Smith. To register or for more information please click here....

ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Comorbidity and Treatment

Dr. Almagor, Possibilities Director and President Elect of CADDRA will be presenting at this year's CADDRA ADHD conference in Vancouver which runs October 16-18. Seminar Abstract. In recent years the link between ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been recognized as an increasingly important issue for consideration in clinical practice and research. Clinicians have long recognized that individuals with ADHD frequently exhibit the same type of social deficits associated with ASD. Conversely, individuals with ASD often display attention and hyperactivity issues common to ADHD. Neurobiological and genetic underpinnings linking these two disorders have been identified. The importance of recognizing commonalities will be examined. Methodology and issues associated with making comorbid diagnoses will be discussed. Treatment approaches will also be explored, including pharmacological trials and psychosocial strategies that acknowledge commonalities across these conditions. Learning Objectives. After this presentation, participants will be better able to: Appreciate the differential diagnosis of ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Assess issues and dilemmas in the diagnosis of comorbid ADHD and ASD. Discuss validated medical and psychosocial strategies in the treatment of comorbid ADHD and ASD. Audience: Psychiatrists, family physicians, pediatricians, psychologists, nurse practitioners, allied health professionals Knowledge Level: Intermediate, Advanced For a complete list of all seminars and guest speakers...

ADHD Research Continues

Dr. Almagor is currently helping to recruit participants for a joint research project being conducted by professionals from CAMH and York University. The purpose of the study is to better understand the performance calibration in children aged 8 -12 with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with/without Comorbid oppositional defiant behaviours and a community sample of typically developing children. See below for more information or click here to download the brochure as a PDF.   Purpose of Research: Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and disruptive behaviours tend to overestimate performance with scholastic achievement, social interactions, athletics, and behaviour, in comparison to parent and teacher ratings, despite experiencing difficulty in these domains. The current study aims to evaluate confidence in performance, termed performance calibration, as children complete tasks in general knowledge, mathematics, and emotional recognition. The goal of this work is to contribute to the current literature by providing a developmental lens to performance calibration, comparisons across groups and domains of performance, as well addressing the utility of in-vivo judgments about performance. Who Can Participate? We are seeking children with a pre-existing diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder made by a professional, with/without oppositional behaviours between the ages of 8-12 years old. What is Involved? The study has 3 components: Children will be asked...

CADDAC Invites You to Participate…

Making decisions about the treatment of behavioural problems in children is very difficult for most parents, who experience uncertainty regarding the use of psychosocial and pharmacological therapies, and who may feel overwhelmed.   CADDAC invites caregivers to participate in a one-day meeting of clinicians, researchers, parents and representatives from the Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada and Tourette Canada to discuss the creation and use of decision aids for parents of youth with disruptive behaviour disorders. The goal of this one-day meeting is to discuss the use of decision aids for families to help reduce decisional conflict and encourage active decision-making. Participants will receive an honorarium of $200 for transportation costs to the meeting and child care expenses. This study has been approved by the University of Calgary Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, September 23rd at the Tourette Canada headquarters at 175-5945 Airport Road, Mississauga, starting at 9:30am. Please contact CADDAC by email or phone if you would like to participate, 905-471-3524 or heidi.bernhardt@caddac.ca The meeting will be divided into two parts. PART ONE Interactive educational discussions of the rationale for the creation of decision aids for families with youth with disruptive and aggressive behaviour. PART TWO Small group interviews involving up to 7...

iNeedtofocus: ADHD in the age of Tablets

“Difficulties with attention? Yes she does, but not all the time. She can pay attention to her tablet for hours” - are the words we often hear from parents who visit our clinic. These parents are not strangers to the mesmerizing power of tablets, which seem to draw the attention of children like moths to their iridescent glow. Many have experienced the profound ability that tablets have to calm fussing babies, enrapture busy toddlers and entertain children and teens who otherwise can’t seem to focus for long enough to finish their math homework. But what is the nature of the power that these tablets seem to wield on children’s attention? And what is its relationship to ADHD? Those who are reading this are likely from a generation when the mode of play was tinker toys rather than tablets. The launch of the first ipad was in 2010, meaning that these devices, Ontario’s most popular hand-held object next to a Tim Horton’s double-double, are also younger than the average child we see at our clinic! Because of their newness, the literature on these devices and their impact on ADHD is scant, often leaving more questions than answers. But this is not to...

Schooling Your Child’s Education: Getting the System to Work for You

All children in Canada have the right to public education, but getting educational needs met is easier for some than for others. Special ­needs children may require adaptations to the curriculum or extra support from paraprofessionals. Often, advocacy and collaboration with schools will be necessary for parents of these children, but both these tasks require some knowledge of how to navigate the system. Many of the parents who come to our clinic find that this can be a complex and frustrating process. As such, we’ve outlined some basic tips for parents below. Whether you’re just familiarizing with your child’s school or already have them on speed­ dial one, having good communication and a good sense of your child’s learning needs can only help your child have the best experience possible in the public school system. 1. Terms of the Trade: know the ABC’s of IEP’s (etc). Like all institutions, the education system has it’s own lingo and set of acronyms which aren’t necessarily obvious. Below is a list of some common terms you might encounter: Term Definition IEP (which stands for: “Individual Education Plan”) A plan which outlines the special educational programs and services that the child will receive. Psychoeducational Assessment An assessment completed or supervised by a registered...

Welcome to the ME Zone! An Introduction to Mindfulness Training for Kids

Lots of children, and children with ADHD especially have difficulty maintaining attention and staying focused; struggle to understand and regulate intense emotions, and act in impulsive ways. With all of the demands and excitements of everyday life including school, friends, family, technology, games, sports etc. it can be hard for any child to focus on one thing at a time and to be fully present in their everyday life. With ADHD the ability to stay focused and be present is that much more difficult. Difficulty with attention and over stimulation can also make self-regulation difficult for children with ADHD leading them to have difficulty regulating their emotions and behaviours. Mindfulness meditation is a therapeutic technique derived from eastern philosophy that aims to reduce arousal, guide attention to the present moment, increase awareness and promote non-judgmental observation. Emerging research in the field of mindfulness meditation for ADHD demonstrates that mindfulness training has the ability to strengthen attention, executive functioning and emotion regulation for individuals with ADHD. The use of mindfulness training is increasingly being applied to work with children with ADHD. When children with ADHD are exposed to mindfulness training at a young age, mindfulness has the ability to strengthen a child’s...

The Pros and Cons of ADHD Medications

On March 30th, 2015, Health Canada released an alert emblazoned with the headline "ADHD drugs may increase risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours in some people; benefits still outweigh risks." Since the release hit the newswires and the media outlets, our clinic has been contacted by patients and their families who are justifiably concerned and in some cases quite alarmed. I’d like to take a moment to do what I can, as a medical doctor and as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist specializing in the field of ADHD, to answer those questions and calm any fears you may have. Let me state clearly and for the record, that Health Canada warnings are not a cause for panic. They’re meant to raise awareness of “possible” risks associated with medications, whether they be for ADHD, high blood pressure, or any other medical condition. They are meant to make patients aware so they can then better manage their condition with the help of their doctors and their families. In terms of ADHD specifically, however, this release gives us the opportunity to address and examine the important issues, facts and misconceptions surrounding ADHD treatments. What they said… The main points made in the Health Canada release address...