Tag Archives: Adhd

The Meaning Of Gifted

Attention Deficit Disorder has been called many things: A curse, a disability, a problem, pure bone lazy.

Dr. Kevin Ross Emery, an expert on child and adult ADD/HD, wants to add another term: gift.

“However well intended, society’s collective attempts to medically treat and otherwise manage ADD/HD individuals often negatively impacts their self-worth and self-esteem and significantly hinders their ability to reach their full potential,” Dr. Kevin said. “Indeed, the stakes are high when it comes to finding a successful treatment plan, particularly for children.  Those who face criticism from parents, teachers and others for perceived laziness and bad behavior may face a lifetime of emotional problems.”

Not only that, the researcher and author said in a press release sent to Stately Dude Manor, but that constant harassment, no matter how well intentioned, can have the effect of blunting the sharp edge of the “gift” conferred by their ADD/HD.

“The loss of this population’s insights, brilliance and creativity–their greatness–is all too often sacrificed in order to help them ‘fit in’ to society. We as a culture need to celebrate and nurture those living with ADD/HD as they are so that they can, in turn, love and respect themselves and realize their full capabilities…to the benefit of us all.”

So Dr. Kevin, who actually likes to be called Dr. Kevin, got together with some coders and created the Managing the Gift smartphone app. It’s designed to provide educators, parents and caregivers a better understanding of ADD/HD, so as to counter the more common, negative labels that create such negative presentiment.

According to the press release I was sent: The pioneering Managing the Gift App goes well beyond with highly detailed, custom-tailored reports that help caregivers understand precisely how to best parent, guide, support, feed and educate each specific child living with ADHD, ADD or HD.  To facilitate this, among other features, the App uniquely offers a proprietary, personalized “Paint Your Child’s Portrait” interactive tool that reveals and defines a child’s distinct “ADD/HD personality” and, based on the individualized results, provides an expansive custom report that provides caregivers with valuable behavioral insights to recognize, utilize and maximize what Dr. Kevin calls the child’s “ADD/HD greatness.” The information gleaned from the custom-tailored reports also helps caregivers make critical decisions about diet, guidance and other common areas of concern and confusion, while also providing tools and techniques to help ensure the child flourishes amid the unique capabilities and aptitudes identified through the App.

The Managing the Gift App is compatible with any iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch with iOS 5.1 or greater and is available for free in the iTunes Store. The optional “Paint Your Child’s Portrait” feature reports are offered through the App for an additional nominal fee.

I’ll be straight with you dudes. I’ve not tried the app. I wish I had, but real life has been kicking a certain dude’s butt quite severely lately.

The reason I’m running this press release is that I love the idea behind the app. All three of my young dudes were diagnosed with ADD/HD and all three of them have been seen in a poor light at times because of it.

But I’ve also seen some amazing bits – some astonishing creativity – that I don’t see in undiagnosed young dudes and dudettes. It’s hard when you’re constantly being told that there’s something wrong with you. I’m all for something that says they aren’t just as good as the other kids in their class, they’re better. And they can get even better than that.

So take this as a qualified endorsement. I love the idea behind the app’s creation. Now it’s up to you dudes to let me know if the app lives up to its promise.

For more information on Emery (a.k.a. Dr. Kevin), or his books “Managing the Gift of your ADD/HD Child” and “Managing the Gift: Alternative Approaches to Attention Deficit Disorder,” you can find him at www.MyDrKevin.com.

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The Stars Like Grains Of Sand

There’s a very good chance, if the doctor to whom I’ve been talking for the last little while, that autism and autism spectrum disorders like learning disabilities and Asperger’s Syndrome aren’t caused only by genetic factors.

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Picture courtesy of autism.lovetoknow.com

Dr. Robert Melillo, founder of the  Brain Balance Achievement Centers, an internationally recognized expert on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and author of the recent book,  Autism: The Scientific Truth About Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders–and What Parents Can Do Now, stressed that people with an ASD must have a genetic predisposition. That is, the genes that can cause ASDs are there in the person’s body, but it’s a whole host of environmental factors that actually triggers the disease process.

One very important environmental trigger, he said, is stress in parents. Not just job-stress, but a more pervasive stressed caused by constant activation of the body’s sympathetic nervous system, or the flight or fight response. This stress, he said, not only causes inflammation in the parents’ bodies, which certainly isn’t good, but it also can change how their genes work without changing the actual genetic code.

When our bran and body are active and we’re healthy, our brain inhibits our fight or flight system in our body, what’s called the sympathetic nervous system,” he said. “If our body is working correctly, the stress levels go down. It lets us sleep better and eat better and we keep our stress response very low.”

The problem with that stress response, Melillo said, is that it can produce hormones which interacts with already extant genes, which then can cause a diminished cognitive response.

“If the adult has increased stress hormones, which can mask the effect of the gene for brain activiey, it doesn’t affect you much since the adult brain is already mostly already formed,” he said. “But if you pass that along in a turned-off position to your child, it will have a major impact.”

That, Melillo said, is from where the increase in ASD diagnoses is coming, a stressed-out population constantly teetering on the verge of flight or fight.

Sounds pretty horrible, actually. Still, all that bit is really some pretty good news. Which is that, if one of the major causes of ASD manifestation is parental stress and other environmental factors making an impact on the parents, there is every possibility that ASDs can be, if not cured, then severely ameliorated, Melillo said.

“One of the reasons I wrote the book is that most people are completely unaware that you can prevent it,” he said, speaking about his first book on the subject, Disconnected Kids: The Groundbreaking Brain Balance Program for Children with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Neurological Disorders.

So there are things parents can do to reduce the risk of having an ASD child, as well as, according to Dr. Melillo, reduce the impact of an ASD on a child already on the spectrum. Still, I wondered, are there certain types of people who might be more inclined than others to having a child on the spectrum?

As it turns out, yes, there are. And I’ll be back on Tuesday with out last post on Dr. Melillo and autism to tell you dudes about it.

 

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Testing, Quick And Dirty

A frightening statistic: According to the latest research, between 30 and 50 percent of all people diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorder also have some kind of learning disability. That’s a whole lot of little dudes and dudettes with a whole lot of challenge.

It’s not everyone, though. And one of the problems with this pair of comorbid disorders is that it’s difficult to determine if it’s only one of them or both. We found that separating out the two of them was almost impossible until we had each of the little dudes tested specifically to determine if they had a learning disability.

But first, before we kicked in for the expensive tests, we ran the idea past our doctors, a couple of teachers and the like to see if they had any concerns of idea that it could be a learning disability.

Now, for those of you who are worrying about this with your little dudes or dudettes, ADDitude magazine has come up with a relatively easy-to-give quick-and-dirty diagnostic test for your kid.

LD is a neurologically based disorder that results in problems processing and using information. Different children have different patterns of learning strengths and weaknesses; there is no one profile that describes all children. With that caveat, the magazine then goes into a checklist of some symptoms that could indicate your child has an LD. The questions are divided up between preschool, elementary school, middle school and high school.

Some of the statements from elementary school, k-4: My child has problems with rapid letter recognition and with learning phonemes (individual units of sound).My child has trouble blending sounds and letters to sound out words or remembering familiar words by sight. 

As you can see, it’s an exceedingly basic checklist, but it does have some quite specific markers for which you should be on the lookout.

Of course, once you decide that there is reason to worry that your child has an LD, the question arises: What next?

Well, according to the article, the best thing for you to do then is to go back to your child’s teacher. Discuss your concerns with the teacher and, if the teacher agrees with you there is a concern, you both can go talk to the special ed teacher to request a formal evaluation. If you don’t want to go through the school, you also can take your child in for an education/psychological evaluation with an outside professional.

Either way, the best thing for you to do is make sure, by setting up a thorough, professional evaluation what issues your child has. Only by knowing these issues can you begin to address them in an academic setting.

Of course, this is only a possibility. Most times, it probably will end up that your child has been goofing off a bit much or something like that. Still, I can tell you from personal experience that, if your child does have an LD, bringing in caring classroom teachers and special education teachers is definitely the way to go.

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