When working with teens, it sometimes still shocks me the look they get on their face when discussing their phones. It's a combination of fear and anger combined into one look. As someone who can still remember the bag cell phone, it is quite amazing how technology has changed over the years. Wow, now I really feel old! For parents trying to balance the progression of technology with their child, it can be like a mine field. It can be so difficult because phones are not just used for texting , they are also using it for school purposes (research, teacher websites, etc.). Jodi Gold, a psychiatrist writes in her book "Screen-Smart Parenting" that at ages 11-14, children increase their screen time by 3 hours. If you consider multitasking, this increases by 4 hours. This means with this age group, they are using screens 8 hours and 40 minutes a day, with 12 hours of exposure! More importantly for teens, this is their primary communication with their peers. The phone has replaced the mall. This is why often you will be shocked as a parent their response to having phone privileges lost. I highly recommend reading Dr. Gold's book along with this article: http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2014-8-19-when-come-between-teens-and-phones
Often I meet with families, and their children are struggling through high school. These students often are very intelligent but are challenged by executive function deficits. They do their homework, but do not submit it. Finish their exams, but make "silly" mistakes as they often tell me, or do not have time to double check their work. Students with ADHD are eligible for 504 plans, and sometimes if they have other learning challenges, can be eligible for an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Please do not think your child is not eligible because of their intelligence level being too high, this is not true! I really like this site, especially in providing information for high school students. I think their interpretation of high school being like 6 or 7 part time jobs with 6/7 different bosses is a great metaphor for what our students are experiencing. I have several students that go to multiple teacher sites daily, just to get their teacher assignments or announcements. This is not multiple clicks off the school website, but actually different websites with different logins. This can be a nightmare! Extended test times, modified homework or extended submission time, are just a few examples of accommodations. Take a look and see if any of these accommodations would benefit for your child.
Special mini-conference event co-sponsored by
NoVaDC CHADD & the ADHD Resource Group of Northern Va
Date: Saturday, October 17th, 8:00am – 1:30 pm
Location: ARGOSY University in Rosslyn (1550 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209- 7th floor)
Conference Highlights: Discover the latest in treatment and valuable information for adults, children, and families living with ADHD and related disorders. This conference includes access to ADHD interventions and local resources. Topics include family, community, co-occurring conditions, outreach to underserved populations and adults with ADHD. Topics will be of interest to mental health professionals, educators, coaches, ADHD advocates, parents of children with ADHD and adults with ADHD.
For Conference Registration click on https://adhdconnections2015.busyconf.com
For Conference Schedule and Topics see
I was at the office the other day, and a colleague shared with me the neatest new product I’ve seen in awhile and immediately I thought how great it could be with individuals that have ADHD or Executive function challenges. Now I know I’m not the first person to think this, but it really is a wonderful product. It’s called “tile", and while working along with an app, it helps locate missing items. Can you imagine the time you could save, not looking for things! It can be attached to usbs, purses, cell phones, book bags, basically anything you can stick this little tile to. It works on Bluetooth and it lasts for about a year without charging or replacing batteries. After a year, the company will help you recycle the old one and replace it with the most updated model. If you are unable to locate an item, you just click on the app, and it helps you locate the missing item. It’s both android and apple compatible and each app can support up to 8 tiles. I added this to the new resource page on the website, so please make sure to check out the other resources I have listed there.
Executive Function seems to have become the new buzz phrase in the last few years, but actually it has been around for a long time. Executive Function (EF) is not a single concept; in fact it’s an umbrella term for many domains such as organization, memory, self-control, attention control, initiative, planning and many others. It is the cognitive processes that assist us in achieving our goals. It begins during infancy, develops throughout childhood and continues until early adulthood. EF skills are associated with the frontal lobe, and often you will hear EF being used interchangeably with frontal lobe function.
Many children have EF deficits; in fact a child does not need to have a diagnosable disability. Whereas ADHD is one group that usually has EF deficits, it can also be found in children born premature, those with Autism, head injuries, stroke, depression, and learning disabilities. Individuals can be diagnosed with EF deficits with testing by neuropsychologists and psychologists. Neuropsychologists tend to be more flexible with their battery of testing and will have more test instruments to fully examine all the domains. Just because a neuropsychologist does not find any EF deficits does not mean that are not EF deficits.
I think one of the most frustrating things about EF deficits is that it’s not considered a disorder. It is not in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), and also is not specifically used in IEPs (Individual Education Plans) or 504 plans in the education systems. Because of this, it is difficult to get assistance for students with these deficits. Another aspect that is important to remember is that EF and intelligence is not the same thing. Just because a child has a high IQ (intelligence quotient), doesn’t mean that they have intact EF. The same can be said for a child with a low IQ, they can have strong EF skills.
So, here is a real life example of how we use our EF skills everyday. You’re on your way to work where you will be presenting at the weekly meeting. While driving, you receive a call from your child’s school and they are sick and need to be picked up. Unfortunately your spouse is on travel out of the state. Immediately you go into problem solving mode, figuring out how you will attend to your child while still being at your presentation. You also have to think about a plan for a possible doctor appointment, and an afternoon missing work. Lastly, you have stay calm enough to give a presentation after a plan has been set. So here we can see several of the processes of EF put into motion. We have the switching from work mode to parent mode, organizing a plan, initiating the plan, self-monitoring throughout the process, and emotional self-control.
As you can see above, we use our EF everyday, you can only imagine what it is like for your child when they are in the middle of a video game and you ask them to pack their book bag for the next day.
Depending on the domain where the difficulties are, tips can vary. Here are a few though:
-For those children that have difficulties staying on task, use a timer and make sure to take breaks according to a child’s age.
- Schedules really help to keep children on track, make sure to review them several times throughout the day.
-Written and oral instructions. For the little ones you can pictures instead of words.
- Use calendars for long term assignments, activities, and due dates.
-Reward your child, it’s important for them to associate positivity with their success in things.
The holiday season can be overwhelming for any child, let alone a child with ADHD or Autism. There is the anticipation and excitement for the holidays, having time off from school, days and nights of company, food, and so many other things. With all of these things to look forward to, this can also bring ciaos and even frustration to parents. Considering that children with ADHD and Autism thrive on structure, this time of change can be quite difficult for them. So here are a few things that can be helpful to get through the holidays.
1. Have a family schedule posted on the refrigerator or somewhere easily accessible to everyone. Use different colors to post visitors, family outings, etc.
2. Besides having a schedule posted, verbalize the plan of the day to your child.
3. Make sure to include down time for your child between events.
4. Have activities planned for when the child begins to get bored. This can be art activities (with new or unique items), games, watching a favorite holiday show. It’s important to have things pre-planned and prepared to go in a second before things get out of hand.
5. Have your child make table seating cards or signs for guest’s bedroom doors.
6. Have a pre-planned cooking activity for your child.
7. Make sure to continue behavior plans.
8. Review rules and consequences before going on an outing or having visitors. Explain to your child that other households may have different rules, and they will need to follow the rules of the home they are visiting.
9. Continue medication schedules, this may be a tempting time for a medication holiday, but this stimulating time of year is not the best time to do this.
10. Find time for physical activities with your child, perhaps taking a walk or even going to a pool to swim. Give them an outlet for their physical energy.