Tips

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...

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...

A rundown on “The Explosive Child” by Dr. Ross Greene, PhD.
A rundown on “The Explosive Child” by Dr. Ross Greene, PhD.

Review submitted by Danielle Burgess, MSW Candidate University of Toronto Behavioural challenges, whether at home or at school, are one of the most common reasons parents consult with the physicians and therapists at the Possibilities Clinic. Although not a substitute for seeing a therapist, the book “The Explosive Child” by Dr. Ross Greene, Ph.D. contains suggestions parents can put into action immediately. From the outside, the child who reacts to a simple request with a tantrum might seem defiant, badly behaved. While traditional wisdom might tell parents to get firm, set boundaries, or give kids rewards and consequences to change their behaviour, Dr. Ross W. Greene Ph.D. pushes back on these notions. In his book “The Explosive Child” he offers his thoughtful proposition: kids do well if they can. Imagine for a moment that the same child had a learning disability instead of challenging behaviour. Would boundaries and consequences help them learn to spell or do long division? On a cognitive level, kids with behavioural challenges lack skills like frustration tolerance, adaptivity and problem solving. Dr Greene explains that kids would prefer to handle themselves in more adaptive ways, but sometimes don’t simply because they lack the skills to. He shows parents how...

12 ADHD Tips for Happy Holidays!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… and possibly the most stressful. Here are some things to keep in mind while you’re managing the holidays and kids with ADHD. 1. Here’s a biggie to start… There is no real evidence to indicate a link between ADHD and sugar. There are personal accounts of a connection, but so far no solid scientific study to back it up. Best advice? Use your best judgment. You know your child best. There are other reasons you might want to consider limiting your child’s sugar intake of course like basic health and well being. 2. While there is no definitive scientific link between sugar and hyperactivity - there is some evidence of one between food dyes and an increase in ADHD symptoms. That being the case, keep in mind that most candies - candy-canes included - contain artificial dyes and it might be a good idea to limit their intake. Some children seem to be very sensitive to these effects and some not at all. You know them best so go by your past experiences to do what’s right for YOUR child! 3. Get moving! Instead of staying cooped up inside with family or video games, send...

Halloween tips for Parents of kids with ADHD
Halloween tips for Parents of kids with ADHD

Halloween is fast approaching as you can see by the drawings on our office chalkboards (thanks to all the kids who drew us some spooky masterpieces!) Like all children, kids with ADHD can’t wait to head out into the evening looking for ghostly adventure! To help you make the most of the spookiest night of the year here are some halloween tips for parents of kids with ADHD courtesy of Possibilities' own Dr. Almagor. First – remember - Halloween is supposed to be about having fun. Let your child enjoy Halloween. The last thing you want is to let them feel excluded because they have ADHD. If you’re worried about candy overload remember there’s more to Halloween than candy. Focus on the costumes, the decorations, the stories, the adventure of being out and about after dark – for some kids this is the coolest thing of all. Second - Take a moment to get in the right headspace… as a parent you’re probably focusing on all the challenges (aka hassles) the night presents like buying the candy, getting costumes together, leaving the office on time… you’re exhausted and you haven’t even knocked on the first door yet! The best way to handle the...

Autism meets Siri – and the result will make you smile.
Autism meets Siri – and the result will make you smile.

If you didn't love Siri before you may just fall for her now. Siri, for those of you who don't own know, is the helpful built-in artificial intelligence that comes as part of the Apple OS on iPhones and iPad everywhere. She speaks 9 languages (so far) and is called upon often by people like me to find out about the weather, to check when I have to be at the dentist and to locate the nearest Starbucks is. But I have to admit - after reading this article from the New York Times - I may be greatly underestimating Siri's power. Dr. Almagor asked me to post a link to this article in advance of an article we are working on reviewing the apps that available to help in the treatment and education of kids with autism spectrum disorders and ADHD. It's the story about when Autism meets Siri, and how technology is encouraging a 13-year old boy to connect in ways his mother never dreamed of...

ADHD Students: Tips to help create a more focused classroom
ADHD Students: Tips to help create a more focused classroom

ADHD Students and Teachers - This one is for you! It's back to school and the Huffington Post pulled together a great list of ADHD tips that may help teachers who have ADHD students in their classrooms. Here are a few of the tips they mention but you can see the complete list by clicking here. ADHD students need structure - Make lists, tables, reminders and previews to help them keep up. Make sure ADHD students sit at the front of the class or even better arrange the seats in a circle. This lets ADHD students stay focused because someone is always looking at them. Make eye contact, as often as possible. Use names. Nothing gets your attention quicker than your teacher calling your name. Make sure they get out and enjoy recess. Physical activity is vital for mental focus. Stay alert to situations that might cause over stimulation. Make large tasks smaller by breaking them down into smaller more manageable sections. Reward good behaviour with positive feedback. A pat on the back goes a long way to keeping ADHD students engaged. Incentivize – remember how you loved getting that gold star or being able to erase the chalkboard. ADHD students...