ADHD Tips

8-WEEK MINDFULNESS & EMOTION REGULATION WORKSHOP FOR CHILDREN
8-Week Mindfulness & Emotion Regulation Workshop for Children

8-Week Mindfulness & Emotion Regulation Workshop for Children 8-11 years old Starts Thursday, Feb. 16th for 8 Weeks from 6-7:30 PM Ends April 13th with no session March 16th due to March Break 8 x 90-minute sessions. Cost: $375 Reserve your spot today by calling us at 416-482-5558 or email This eight-week program will engage children in mindfulness-based activities and introduce them to emotion regulation coping skills. Through mindfulness exercises, children will learn strategies to help cope with attention difficulties, anxiety and hyperactivity. The interactive group format will engage children in a fun and relaxing way to boost confidence, reinforce positive behaviour and promote positive social behaviours and well-being. What to expect from this workshop: Improve Focus By learning how their brain responds to stress & by practicing strategies to calm their mind, your child can become better at self-regulating. Taking Action Mindfully Learning to express gratitude and compassion, your child can build the awareness and understanding of others' feelings. Sharpening Your Senses By mindfully observing their senses, your child will become adept at sharpening their attention and enhance memory and creativity. Understanding Emotions: As your child learns new ways to cultivate a positive mindset, they prime their brain for learning and for building healthy relationships. Reserve your spot today by calling us at 416-482-5558 or email    ...

FOUR WAYS TO MAKE ANY TOY EDUCATIONAL
Four Ways to Make Any Toy Educational

Seems to me there is a whole lot of pressure on parents to buy toys that are “educational.” With the holidays around the corner, you might be looking for that perfect educational toy to complete your shopping list. In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t know what the heck an educational toy is. Really, I don’t. But from the looks of it, a toy is “educational” because 1) someone says it is, 2) it’s sold in a fancy store with other “educational” products, and 3) you’re told, more or less, “buy this toy and you’ll stimulate your child’s brain.” Sadly, these toys aren’t cheap, especially those backed by experts selling fun-tastic fertilizer for growing brains destined for the Ivy League. Thankfully, I can forgive my parents for failing to buy me fancy, educational toys. Instead (how dare they?!) they bought me, well, toys. Plain old regular toys. And sometimes they didn’t buy me toys at all (the nerve!). Sometimes I played with pots (gasp!), yarn (yikes!), and, wait for it, sticks (noooooo!). All these items were toys, if I chose to impose my imagination on them, and my parents made sure I did so by granting me free, unstructured time...

HOME DESIGN FOR ADHD & BEST PRACTICES
Home Design for ADHD & Best Practices

Well, the 2017 IKEA catalog has arrived and already I feel a love-hate relationship brewing. Sure, a love-hate anything is probably not healthy, but let me clear my cluttered desk with a quick swoop of the arm (oops—grab coffee cup before it topples) and settle into my quiet chaos as I explain. The IKEA brand boasts clean lines and organized living, not to mention fabulous meatballs and short pencils you can pop in your pocket if you choose to walk away with something other than furniture on a visit to any IKEA store. Seeing everything in its proper place—on shelving and on hooks, in bins and in baskets—is truly inspiring, and definitely worth loving on page after glossy page. But picture-perfect configuration can be deflating, too, (hence the hate part) if you scan your home and are smacked with strewn knapsacks, a scattering of shoes, and a tornado of toys. It’s easy to grant yourself a pass, and that’s more than fair. Comedian Phyllis Diller once said, “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.” How true! And with limited hours in any day, it goes without saying that meal prep, bath...

Helping Your Child with ADHD: Techniques to Regulate Emotions
Helping Your Child with ADHD: Techniques to Regulate Emotions

ADHD and Emotion Regulation: Emotion regulation is our ability to provide adequate control over emotional responses. While difficulty with emotion regulation is not a symptoms of ADHD, individuals with ADHD tend to get flooded or overwhelmed with emotions. Strong and intense reactions can sometimes have positive consequences, such as getting really excited about a family trip, but these reactions can also make getting through the day a challenge. Emotion regulation is a skill that can be learned, often with the help of parents or other adults. Here are some strategies that may help at home or at school: Provide as much consistency as possible. Regular mealtimes and sleep schedules are essential for children's emotional and physical development. Talk about your feelings when appropriate. Encourage your children to talk about their feelings. Label your child’s feelings and discuss emotions as they arise in books or television shows. Model emotion regulation. What strategies do you use when you are feeling frustrated or worried? Practice deep breathing. This is a tool that the whole family can practice and it can be used anywhere! If you are looking for more support, psychotherapy using collaborative problem solving or cognitive behaviour therapy may help your child and family. What is...

Tips To Help You Have A Better Day With Your ADHD Child

Parenting an ADHD child can be one of the most rewarding yet challenging experiences in your life. Here are some ideas to assist you. 1)Provide structure and routine. Children with ADHD need help with organization and following through. They do better when rules and expectations are clearly stated. Behaviour charts are a good way to establish clear rules and encourage compliance. Children love to earn rewards, and they will feel proud of themselves for being successful. 2) Catch a kid doing something good. Children with ADHD thrive on positives. Unfortunately, they often experience the opposite. Praise your child efforts as well as the outcomes. This focus is important to build confidence, encourage the child to try new things and set a tone for positive interactions. There are many strategies that are important, but they won’t be effective in the long run if the child does not feel worthwhile, valued and confident. 3) Set situations up for success. ADHD children need to be reminded of the rule/expectation before doing it. This is because they often rush into situations without thinking things through. For example, before a friend comes to visit, remind him or her of what to expect and how to respond. Role play...

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...

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...