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ADD Teens

4 Tips to Help Teens With ADHD Improve Their Grades

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 28, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

ADHDBoy2Every parent wants their child to do well in school and succeed in life. It’s challenging to watch your teen’s grades slip, despite the time, attention and effort you put into helping them improve. This can be even more difficult for parents of children with ADHD. If your teen has ADHD and you’re looking for ways to help them improve their grades, we’ve gathered some tips below.

Unique tools

Kids with ADHD simply do not learn successfully under conventional methods. So it’s wise to try unconventional study methods.

Create a word puzzle to help your child with a specific subject which they are struggling in. Rather than simply reading a book and quizzing them on the information, this is a fun way to study that doesn’t feel like school work.

Have your teen review the information they studied for a few minutes just before they go to bed can also help them remember the information and process it while they sleep.

Break it up

According to PsychCentral.com, cramming for an exam simply doesn’t work. It can put added pressure and anxiety on your teen, which hinders them from understanding and remembering information. Experts suggest breaking up study time into increments for better success. For example, if your child has an exam in a week, ask them to study for 25 minutes each day leading up to it, rather than for hours the night before.

Don’t put the phone away

This one sounds counterproductive, but it actually isn’t. If your child is one of the millions of kids today with a smartphone, don’t ask him or her to put it down just yet. The apps and resources in smartphones can actually be helpful to your child.

For kids with ADHD, planning ahead is crucial. At the start of the school year or even a particular week, have your child note key due dates in the calendar of their phone. Also, have them set up reminders with the alert feature so they never miss something important. This article offers more insight — though geared toward college students, middle and high school students alike can benefit from the tips.

When studying, however, ask your child to put their phone in airplane mode or simply take the phone until they are finished to avoid distractions.

Physical activity

Physical activity is helpful in reducing stress, clearing the mind and getting blood flowing. But for kids with ADHD — and kids in general who may be dealing with the pressures that come with being a pre-teen or teenager — physical activity is even more important. Some experts even say that movement is medicine when it comes to ADHD, helping to increase attention and improve mood.

Even if your child is not interested in sports, make it a point to incorporate a brisk walk, bike ride or even a game of catch into family time. This can help with bonding and also bring forth the aforementioned benefits.

Above all, keep the lines of communication open with your child, assess what’s working on a regular basis and adjust your strategy as needed. It can be tough to help children with special needs help themselves. But with preparation and creativity, it will be easier for the two of you to achieve success together.

Contributor:  Joyce Wilson taught for decades. Now happily retired, she spends her days sharing her teaching knowledge with today’s teachers and hanging out with her grandchildren. She and a fellow retired teacher created TeacherSpark.org to share creative ideas and practical resources for the classroom.

 

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Are Prescriptions the Only Way to Help with ADHD

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 17, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Uncategorized

Although the causes of ADHD are unknown there are several characteristics that have shown to play a role in the development of the disorder. For instance, if a parent has ADHD, their child has more than a 50% chance of also having the disorder.  ADHD is also linked to children with a low birth weight, children who experience head injuries at an early age, and children of women who smoke or drank during pregnancy. Although these risk factors have played a part in the development of ADHD, the causes are still unknown.

With the improvements of modern medicine, doctors have found ways to use prescription drugs as an ADHD treatment. There are both stimulant and non-stimulant medications to treat ADHD symptoms. Stimulants increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain to improve concentration, while non-stimulants affect neurotransmitters.

Although these medications have shown improvement in many situations, many people are uncomfortable with the idea of giving young children these medications. Luckily, there are other treatment options to try for children with ADHD to improve their focus before resorting to medications.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is often another commonly used way to cope with the symptoms if ADHD. Behavioral therapy helps children and their parents structure the child’s time more efficiently by increasing positive attention, establishing predictability, and creating routines. In most cases, rewarding kids for staying focused will yield better results than punishing them for being off task. It has also been beneficial for parents and teachers to periodically let the child know how they have been doing; for instance, if the child tends to interrupt others by announcing their thoughts frequently let them know every so often how they are doing, as opposed to ridiculing them every time they interject.

ADHD Coaching

David Giwerc, president of the ADD Coach Academy, defines ADHD coaching as an “ongoing collaborative partnership created to facilitate personal growth and awareness that leads to conscious choice, focused action, and a meaningful, rewarding life.” In this relationship the coach and client work together to achieve the client’s goals. ADHD coaching is used to correct certain behaviors and improve lives by deepening learning and improving focus. It focuses on improving inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity to help those with ADHD reach their goals.  Creating new experiences and applying those new ways of doing things consistently in your life will eventually create new neurotransmitter patterns in the brain.

Exercise

Exercise should be a crucial part in everyone’s life, but it is especially beneficial to children with ADHD. As most of us know, when we exercise it releases endorphins into our system; endorphins help regulate mood, elevate dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine levels. Since people who have ADHD have lowered levels of those brain chemicals, the boost in chemicals helps focus and lengthens attention span. Team sports or activities where children have to pay close attention to their movements are some of the best ways to improve social skills and work on channeling their energy. Some of these sports include ballet, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, and tae kwon do.

MeditationRecent studies have shown that meditation can also help reduce the symptoms of ADHD.  It can help improve attention, anxiety, organizational skills, emotional control, memory and behavior regulation. Meditation teaches children and adults how to pay attention and not act on their impulses. Eventually the child learns how to think through their impulsive actions with meditation before executing them. There are many meditation classes offered at yoga studios, but it can also be practiced just as easily at home. There are also many guided meditations on YouTube to follow if you are uncomfortable leading your own or your child’s practice.

Sleep 

The amount of sleep a child usually gets can also affect their ADHD symptoms. Studies have shown that children who get an extra 30 minutes of sleep are less restless and impulsive. One of the issues with sleep is that children with ADHD can sometimes have issues calming down and actually falling asleep. Some ways to help children fall asleep are, establishing a consistent bedtime routine, having the child sleep in a cool, dark room, and using melatonin or essential oils. Also make sure to eliminate any screen time an hour or more before it is time for bed. The blue light that is radiated from most electronic devices can delay the release of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone.

By implementing some of these activities into a routine schedule, your child with ADHD can start focusing better; not to mention the bonus of your child not having to use medications. But keep in mind everyone is different, so if one method works for one child, it may not work for another, and some children may still need medication to help their ADHD symptoms.

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Contributor: Bobbi Phelps produces content on behalf of the ADHD specialists at Cerebrum Health Center. An avid writer and learner, she loves to use her skills for engaging others in important topics in creative and effective ways. When she is not working, she loves exploring, hanging out with her dogs, and binge watching shows on Netflix. Tweet her @Bobbi_Phelps or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Risky Use of Stimulants and Teenagers

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 10, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

TeensADHDMedsBy Constance Scharff, PhD

Prescription ADHD medications like Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse are becoming increasingly popular for overworked and overscheduled college students. ADHD stimulants strengthen the brain’s inhibitory capacities, by increasing the amount of certain neurotransmitters, like dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Students like these drugs because they enhance their study efforts.

Prescription “study drugs” are commonly abused to increase concentration for last minute cramming or paper writing. The numbers vary significantly by school, with the greatest proportion of users at private and “elite” universities. Some researchers estimate about 30% of university students use stimulants non-medically.

Students believe that they take these stimulants for the “right reasons,” to be more productive in classes and to stay afloat in a flood of intense competition. In the competitive atmosphere at many schools, students seldom take the time to consider short or long-term risks of taking these drugs, nor understand how certain stimulants may interact with other drugs.

Sean McCabe, research associate professor at the University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center said:

“Our biggest concern is the increase we have observed in this behavior over the past decade. College students tend to underestimate the potential harms associated with the nonmedical use of prescription stimulants.”

While students’ knowledge of the health dangers are limited, even less consideration is given to the illegality of use. Obtaining stimulants from friends with prescriptions, as the vast majority of college students do, seems less dangerous and illegal than buying drugs off the street. Yet these drugs are illegal if used other than intended or by someone other than the person to whom they are prescribed. These drugs are Schedule II substances, on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list right next to cocaine and morphine.

Colleges and universities need to increase awareness about the abuse of these drugs and prompt broader discussion about misuse of medications like Ritalin or Adderall for study purposes. Prevention education for all students may help inform many that these drugs are highly addictive and can have serious side effects. A medical professional or counselor can provide help and support if a student you know is abusing these drugs, along with more information if needed.

BookEndingAddictionAbout the author: Constance Scharff has a Ph.D. in Transformative Studies, specializing in addiction recovery. She is the Senior Addiction Research Fellow and Director of Addiction Research at Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center, and co-author of Ending Addiction for Good with Richard Taite.

 

If your teen is struggling with drug use, please don’t hesitate to get help immediately. If you have exhausted your local resources please contact us for options on residential treatment.

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ADHD and Teens: From Adolescence to Adulthood

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 15, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

ADHDTeenBoyAttention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common diagnosis today when it comes to children.

Years ago, kids would be labeled troubled and sometimes even kicked out of school for their behavior that in many cases, they simply were unable to control.

I know this firsthand since my son went through three different schools (and this was in kindergarten) before we had him properly tested and finally diagnosed. I was someone that refused to give into those labels – but when you reach your wit’s end, you need to understand that ADHD is not something that is terminal or even bad, it’s treatable and in reality – once you figure it out, it’s manageable.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that these children are not intelligent, or on the low end of the IQ side.  Quite the contrary. They are typically exceptionally smart. My son is now an Occupational Therapist – had a full academic scholarship through college and has always been extremely intelligent.

Parents assume that if we ask if a child is ADD or ADHD we are asking if they are special needs or handicapped, this is not true.

Today many adults are now recognizing that they have symptoms of ADHD that have been untreated. In our generation, we didn’t know a lot about it. Today we do.

Here’s an interesting infographic – at the end you will see a list of successful people that have ADHD. ADHD is not a bad thing – your child/teen can and will be successful if they are diagnosed with this – they only need to be treated to learn how to manage it.

ADHD: From childhood to adolescence to adulthood
Infographic courtesy of Rawhide.

Is your teen struggling with ADD/ADHD and you’ve exhausted your local resources? Is their behavior escalating into risky actions outside of academic underachieving? Contact us for options and resources.

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ADHD Teens: Parenting Battles

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 25, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

screaming-teen-boyYears ago before there was the diagnosis of ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) most kids were simply labeled troubled or out-of-controlled kids.

They were banished from classrooms, sometimes humiliated by teachers, scolded by their parents and worse – they were never given an opportunity to make friends or learn since it was difficult for them to focus and control their behavior.

When puberty set in, the next label was/is defiance (ODD).  Now we have the typical teen behavior compounded by ODD (oppositional defiance disorder). Some came up with conduct disorder.

Parents struggled and teens are frustrated — the vicious cycle continued.

Today there are medications to help with ADD/ADHD, however when a child reaches their teenage years, sometimes they refuse to take their medications – or worse, they abuse their medication.

The parenting battle begins.

ADHD teens often need more parenting. The problem is that parents of attention deficit teens often overreact to their sons’ and daughters’ behaviors.  – ADDitude Magazine

Living with a teen that goes off their medication can literally be a nightmare.  The defiant and disrespectful behavior leaves parents living at their wit’s end.

These are highly intelligent children that are spiraling out-of-control, not able to work to their academic potential (underachieving), not making good choices, and are becoming a person that you barely recognize.

It can be frustrating to parent’s when others refer to their ADHD child as being handicapped or less-than, since it’s quite the contrary.  ADHD students are usually have a very high IQ, it is a matter of having them focus (and turn in their homework).

If you are struggling with an out-of-control ADHD teen, and have exhausted all your local resources, contact us for potential options.  Sometimes therapeutic boarding schools can help your teen get back on the right track.

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ADHD and ADD Teens: The Abuse of Adderall

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 22, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

ADHDBoyHaving a teen diagnosed with ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is nothing to be ashamed of.   It makes me cringe when parents assume that teens with ADD/ADHD are not intelligent children – on the contrary, most are highly intelligent.  The problem is they lack the focus to work to their potential.

This is why sometimes they are prescribed medications to help them focus.  Today there are a wide range of prescriptions to choose from.

One of the hardest parts of ADD/ADHD teenagers is experiencing the ODD (opposition defiance disorder) that usually sets in through those puberty years – in combination with the typical teen behavior.  Your house can feel like a war-zone.

  • Defiance
  • Disrespect
  • Attitude
  • Rage, anger and sometimes violence

Some parents have said they feel, at times, like they are actually be held hostage in their own home.

TeensSharingAdderallThe abuse or misuse of Adderall is that some teens are not using it as it is prescribed by their doctor and some are sharing it with their friends. This has been an ongoing trend that is happening with teens:  the abuse and misuse of ADD/ADHD drugs such as Adderall.

Also keep in mind, if you suspect your teen is using marijuana or any other street drug or drinking, contact the doctor that is prescribing the medication for your teen.  Let them be aware of your teen’s behavior so you will know the possible side effects or if your teen should stop taking the medication while they are going through this negative time of their life — and you seek alternative help for them.

 

Teens and young adults often abuse Adderall when they feel the weight of a tight schedule that includes school, homework, sports/extracurricular activities, standardized testing prep, college applications, work and more. Intensive focus and the ability to sustain a high level of energy for long periods without the need for sleep means that many teens turn to the drug to help them get through overwhelming times at school – but unintentionally develop a dependence upon Adderall and are incapable of quitting without medical intervention and treatment.  When talking to your teen/young adult about this, make sure they understand that unless any prescription drug is prescribed directly to them, not only should they not be taking it due to health reasons, but it is also illegal. – PACT Coalition

Know the facts:

  • One in four teens report lax parental attitudes toward prescription drugs as compared to parental attitudes about illegal drugs, showcasing a dangerous and untrue belief that prescription drugs are “safer” than illegal drugs.
  • About 33 percent of teens surveyed felt that using prescription drugs without a prescription was acceptable.
  • Approximately 20 percent of the teens who admitted to abusing prescription drugs used the drugs before reaching the age of 14.
  • About 26 percent of teens surveyed stated that the use of prescription drugs such as Adderall was acceptable when the drug was being used as a “study aid”

AdderallAdderallA few signs of Adderall usage include:

  • bad temper or extremely emotional
  • weight loss
  • outbursts of aggression
  • fast talking/difference in energy
  • paranoia
  • inability to sleep
  • noticeable changes in appearance
  • in some cases the onset of more serious psychiatric symptoms.

If you feel your teen is abusing prescription drugs, get help immediately.  If you have exhausted your local resources, contact us for information on residential therapy options. Don’t wait for a crisis to happen.  Be an educated parent about how these programs can help you if you need them.  We can assist you in these questions.

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