Paging Dr. Pepper: Is soda a treatment for kids with ADHD?

Paging Dr. Pepper: Is soda a treatment for kids with ADHD?

The Meadville Tribune ran this story earlier this month. The author says, “New research has found the Dr. Pepper may be a good option to help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) focus. In children with ADHD, that stimulant tends to act as a behavioral control. What is interesting about the brand Dr. Pepper is that it is one of the most caffeine-rich drinks available on the market. It contains up to 10 teaspoons of sugar, as well as phosphoric acid, a compound that interferes with the absorption of calcium, magnesium and zinc — minerals that children with ADHD need the most.” (http://www.meadvilletribune.com/news/lifestyles/paging-dr-pepper-is-soda-a-treatment-for-kids-with/article_423a82a2-9556-11e4-83a9-ffe6670cc3a3.html).

Some parents actually give their children coffee, but according to Dr. Larry Silver, MD, “Caffeine is a stimulant, and people have long wondered whether it could be used to treat ADHD. But two major studies have shown that caffeine is not an effective treatment. While some of the children in these studies did report less “sluggishness,” caffeine can cause agitation and an increase in heart rate in young children — even more of a concern for kids already taking a stimulant medication. Thus, any benefits your friend’s son receives are probably outweighed by health risks.” (http://www.additudemag.com/…/ask_the_add_medical_…/1564.html).

As a parent, you should be aware that while caffeine may provide a short-term effect, it will wear off quickly, most likely while your child leaves you and goes to school. This may prove to be a problem at school. The amount of sugar in soft drinks is also a health issue related to obesity. Overall, as Dr. Silver notes, it’s not a good idea even if it provides a short-term solution.

The Importance of Exercise

The Importance of Exercise

Childhood obesity is an ever-growing concern in our country. Many articles have been written substantiating the need for regular exercise for children over six years of age. In his article, Dr. Edward R. Laskowski of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, offers some great suggestions.

With the introduction of “off the shelf” video games, there has been an alarming increase in cases of childhood obesity. It is the norm for a child to come home from school and plop themselves in front of the TV for hours on end, with the only exercise happening is the thumb muscles on a controller.

Dr. Thomas N. Robinson, who works in the MPH Division of General Pediatrics at the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention in California, and is a member of the Pediatric Clinics of North America, points out the connection to television and obesity in his publicized study, “Television Viewing and Childhood Obesity.”

Many parents consider organized sports to be the form of exercise that is best for their child. While it certainly has its place, unorganized exercise is equally as important. Back in the day, the kids in our neighborhood couldn’t wait to get home from school to ride our bikes or throw a neighborhood football game together. After being cooped up in a classroom all day, we couldn’t wait to get outside and play. On her website, Emma Jenner, a trained childcare professional with 14 years of experience, explores the pros and cons of structured and unstructured play.

When you’re looking at a person struggling with AD/HD, it’s important to understand that asking that person to sit in a classroom or an office all day is like caging a lion. At some point, they need to get out and exert some of that pent up energy. Encourage your child to shoot some hoops each day after they get home from school, or stop by the local gym on your way home and work off some of the cobwebs.

Many people who have AD/HD and play organized sports struggle staying focused. Picture your favorite Little League player in the outfield playing with their shoelaces and not paying attention to the high-flying ball coming their way that will win or lose the game for the team. This player has lost focus on the game because they are “out in left field.” Just as with any other form of attention issues, it is possible to teach this player to focus where he/she needs to be. Many sports teams, including the US Woman’s Olympic Bobsled Team and NASCAR, have used Cognitive feedback training to help keep team members more focused.

When all is said and done, it’s time to get up off the couch. Incorporate at least an hour of exercise into your child’s schedule each day. Or for that matter, do it together. Take a bike ride, take a walk, shoot some hoops, play hopscotch. Whatever it is, just do it.

Barb Rollar

 

Martial Arts: Great Activity for ADD Children

5 reasons martial arts might just be a great activity for your ADD child:

  1. Exercise.  Though there are many mysteries surrounding attention challenges, one constant that almost all experts agree on is that physical activity helps.  Not only does it allow a child to burn off excess energy, it improves their overall health and well-being.  Children who exercise are shown to be happier in general, are more adapt at concentrating, and often sleep better.
  2. Camaraderie.  While the martial arts are generally not team sports like baseball or soccer, there is a substantial amount of social interaction.  Often students pair up to practice their techniques, and this shared experience often builds bonds of friendship.  On a larger scale, the class as a whole is collectively engaged in an endeavor that every member can identify with, allowing a child who might otherwise have difficulty socially, to “fit in.”
  3. Discipline.  One characteristic that is prevalent in almost every traditional martial arts school is discipline.  It is engrained in the culture of styles like Tae Kwon Do Karate and Kung Fu, with an emphasis on self-discipline above all else.  Being able to master one’s mind and body is paramount to learning the numerous punches, kicks and katas common in most schools.
  4. Confidence.  The martial arts often put a child in situations where they are challenged to excel, and success in such venues breeds confidence.  While this is true of many endeavors, the martial arts are unique in that an individual is taught to defend themselves if need be, and this often translates into a greater amount of confidence in situations that have nothing to do with self-defense.
  5. Patience.  Many children with attention challenges have a tendency towards impulsivity, but most martial arts schools adhere to a very structured training regiment, thus curbing impulsivity out of sheer necessity.  Also, since martial arts training is often done in a group setting, an attention challenged child is among others who also must be patient to succeed.

 

Michael Smith

 

Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still in School Today

Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still in School Today
Get an answer from an occupational therapist

Read the full post at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/07/08/why-so-many-kids-cant-sit-still-in-school-today/

We wanted to run this again for those who’ve missed it. Very good information. Additionally, this article is now further substantiated by recent research published in the journal Pediatrics which says that children who participated in regular physical activity had far better cognitive performance and brain function. The authors, University of Illinois professor Charles Hillman and colleagues say their research, “demonstrate[s] a causal effect of a physical program on executive control, and provide support for physical activity for improving childhood cognition and brain health.” Yet, schools cut PE and recess out. Read on…

Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist, wrote a blog post for the Washington Post. She asserts that the general trend of more seat work and less physical education and recess could be culprits.

A pediatric occupational therapist says schools keep kids in their chairs far too long.
washingtonpost.com

Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still in School Today

Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still in School Today
Get an answer from an occupational therapist
Read the full post at:
We’ve gotten many new friends on our FB page. We wanted to run this again for those who’ve missed it. Very good information.

Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist, wrote a blog post for the Washington Post. She asserts that the general trend of more seat work and less physical education and recess could be culprits.

Aging and Cognitive Decline

Aging and Cognitive Decline
Can omega 3 fish oil help?

Read More: http://www.hngn.com/articles/36256/20140716/fish-oil-supplements-reduce-cognitive-decline-older-adults-study-finds.htm

As we age or watch our parents age, we commonly see memory loss, and lower cognitive function. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are common — almost everyone knows or is related to someone who is afflicted.

A report published on June 20, 2014 in the Journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia describes a protective effect when using fish oil supplementation. The protective effect actually allows older men and women to preserve brain volume and cognitive function.

The study spanned five years and included 193 Alzheimer’s disease patients, 397 individuals with mild cognitive impairment and 229 cognitively normal individuals. The older men and women who used fish oil had better scores of cognitive function at any time over the course of the study.

What can we take away from this research? It’s preliminary and we need more studies, but this study validates previous research on fish oil supplementation. Will it cure dementia or Alzheimer’s? No. Is there a chance that it will assist us in maintaining brain function? Yes. Is it inexpensive? Yes. Is it worth using? You must decide.

Previous research has also shown a positive effect for brain function of ADHD children. Again, not a cure, but it may help.

Exercise and diet do play significant roles in brain health. One cannot forget those as well.

Avoid Summer Brain Drain!

How to avoid summer vacation cognitive loss Summer vacation means sleeping late, staying up late, and doing very little except enjoying time out of school. However, did you know that the average student loses one to three month’s math and reading gains made over the prior year? Academic losses are so common among students that educators have given the phenomena a name: Summer Brain Drain.

This makes starting the following school year difficult.

Summer Brain Drain may even be worse for ADHD students already having trouble at school.

Going to school daily provides schedules and routines. The summer break means those routines aren’t there. Expectations are lowered or relaxed. Even sleep schedules are often totally abandoned.

Unfortunately, exercise is often replaced with computer time, watching movies, or playing video games with friends. That’s a bad idea. While there’s nothing wrong with playing video games or watching movies, sedentary activity must always be balanced with exercise. This is especially important for an ADHD student.

So here are some tips that should help prevent Summer Brain Drain:

• Take advantage of the summer months to start your Play Attention program (800.788.6786). Summer is a great time to start Play Attention because you will have the time to get a solid routine, begin strengthening cognitive skills, and work on eliminating distracting behaviors. Play Attention is the only program available that integrates feedback technology, attention training, memory training, cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. This guarantees you will have the most complete program available with the best possible outcomes.

• Organize your life and set a consistent routine with ADHD Nanny (www.adhdnanny.com). This is a fantastic online program for consistency, rewards, and taking the stress off mom!

• Read. Decrease reading losses by developing a fun reading plan with your child. Select reading level appropriate books and have fun discussing them and even acting out some scenes!

• Plan trips to the library for story telling, selecting a new book, or even just browsing the magazine selection.

• You’ll likely go to the mall, grocery store, or gas station over the summer. Make these math trips! Use numbers found at these locations to create on the spot games with prizes. Even you car’s trip meter can be of service for math problems.

• Set a routine. Sleeping late is fine as long as it’s balanced with proper exercise and proper bedtime. Remember your teen will need far more sleep than your 6 – 12 year old.

• Get outside…a lot. Working in the yard promotes better attention. No kidding! Being in a green environment has been shown to decrease attention problems, so get outside and play!

• Establish a balanced diet. The high fat, high sugar diet commonly consumed in the US has been shown to contribute greatly to attention issues as well as obesity. Avoid too much fast food even though it’s convenient. Dinner time at the table with a balanced meal promotes both family harmony and good health.

ADHD Nanny
www.adhdnanny.com
ADHD Nanny is the premiere online…

ADHD Linked to Teen Obesity

Could ADHD make your teen fat?

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/10/adhd-increase-risk-of-obesity_n_4921150.html

In new research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 7,000 children in Finland were studied to determine whether ADHD symptoms at age eight were linked to greater chances of being obese by age 16.

The results showed that children who had ADHD symptoms at a young age were nearly twice as likely to be obese as teens. This was true even after taking into account childhood weight.

“In general, people think of children with hyperactivity as moving around a lot and therefore should be slim,” senior author Alina Rodriguez said. However, “Children with ADHD are not more likely to participate in physical activity, as we show in our report.”

Previous studies have demonstrated a link between obesity and ADHD, yet the exact cause remains undetermined.

Children today often spend a lot of time indoors and in front of a screen whether it’s TV phone, or computer. Research has shown that the greater the time spent in front a screen, the greater likelihood the child will be obese and have decreased academic performance.

Secondly, ADHD children often lack social skills and by middle school, this becomes readily apparent. They tend to isolate themselves from other children who may ridicule them. Impulse control and lack of social skills may keep them away from team sports. So it’s important to help them select an activity that they can excel in. Individual sports like martial arts, swimming, or tennis can be great avenues to physical fitness and better self-esteem.

ADHD Organizational Tips for the New School Year

ADHD Organizational Tips for the New School YearIn a new school year, auditory processing is the first point of failure for an ADHD child. When the teacher says, “Take out your textbook, a sheet of paper, and a pen, then turn to page 38,” your child likely won’t have heard anything after, “Take out your textbook.”

This is due to their brains’ inability to process multiple auditory pieces of data. Play Attention has 4 different games that teach this ability (see http://www.playattention.com/adhd/auditory-processing/).

You can try this strategy with younger children:

1. Make a game of it, just you and your child. Simon Says is a perfect way to get them to understand their capabilities and weaknesses. Begin by just saying, “Simon Says…” and then performing one simple posture. For example, you say, “Simon Says,” and then touch to your nose. Be certain your child can follow. Then increase the complexity to two movements like touching your head with your left hand and patting your stomach with the right hand.

Attempt this with auditory prompts that start with one command and then increase. Eventually, you should try to trick your child into a move that you don’t command. For example, you say, “Simon Says, stand on one foot and put your hands on your head.” However, you place your hands on your stomach. This will train your child to follow auditory cues instead of visual prompts which are seldom used at school.

Offer prizes when your child reaches certain benchmarks you both agree to attain!

Auditory Processing I | Play Attention
www.playattention.com
The Auditory Processing exercise develops your ability to follow directions. Your goal is to gradually increase the number of auditory sequences of information you can absorb, process, and carry out.


Introducing Dear Sheer Genius

Dear Sheer Genius,

We are pleased to introduce our new advice column, Dear Sheer Genius. This advice column will be sent out every week and we invite all of you to write to our very own attention specialist, Sheer Genius. You may write Sheer Genius and ask questions about Play Attention, attention problems, education, behavior shaping, parenting concerns, peer relationships etc.!

Sheer Genius is here to help!

Who is Sheer Genius?

Sheer Genius is the virtual member of the Play Attention family. His outstanding knowledge and experience is incorporated into Play Attention to help guide you through our program every step of the way!

How do I submit a question?

To submit your question please click here or email sheergenius@playattention.net. If your question is selected you will receive a personal email from Sheer Genius and your question/answer will be posted on our website as well as our Facebook page. We will only use your first name if you provide it.

Sheer Genius looks forward to hearing from you!

Photo: Introducing Dear Sheer Genius,
We are pleased to introduce our new advice column, Dear Sheer Genius.  This advice column will be sent out every week and we invite all of you to write to our very own attention specialist, Sheer Genius.  You may write Sheer Genius and ask questions about Play Attention, attention problems, education, behavior shaping, parenting concerns, peer relationships etc.!
Sheer Genius is here to help!
Who is Sheer Genius?
Sheer Genius is the virtual member of the Play Attention family. His outstanding knowledge and experience is incorporated into Play Attention to help guide you through our program every step of the way!
How do I submit a question?
To submit your question please click here or email sheergenius@playattention.net.  If your question is selected you will receive a personal email from Sheer Genius and your question/answer will be posted on our website as well as our Facebook page.  We will only use your first name if you provide it.
Sheer Genius looks forward to hearing from you!