Healthy School Lunches

Healthy School Lunches

Earlier this month I wrote about the benefits of a healthy breakfast. It is equally as important to provide your child with a healthy lunch to continue to fuel their body throughout the day.

The Internet does not lack evidence that typical school lunches tend to be unhealthy. While it may meet nutritional requirements, school lunches are laden with salt, fat, and calories. Because of the large volume needed to serve the average school’s population, cheaper grade products are used to feed the masses. Animal-based products used in the school-provided lunches are generally processed and contain a great deal of sodium, sugar, and fat.

Granted, First Lady Michelle Obama has heightened awareness with her Let’s Move campaign. With more than 32 million children participating in the National School Lunch Program, the First Lady is passionate about providing healthier options for these students. When she started Let’s Move in February 2010, she was quoted as saying, “The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake.”

If you consider the research done on food options and AD/HD, every meal should be considered a “make or break” for your child’s school day. Lunches that are high in protein and complex carbohydrates allow AD/HD students to focus better in the classroom and avoid the afternoon slump.

Lunches supplied from home allow better control. There are a lot of foods that come prepared for ease in putting together healthy options. It’s important when picking out lunch options that you read the ingredients. It is best to avoid prepared foods that are high in salt and sugar and contain a lot of preservatives.

In her blog, Register Dietician Rachel Brandies, MS, RD offers some really great ideas for healthy after school snacks. If you keep healthy snack options in your home and avoid buying the not-so-healthy snacks, you’ll teach your child and yourself to eat healthier. Choose frozen juice bars or yogurt over ice cream. Choose a cup full of high protein cereal over cookies.

For more information on Health and AD/HD, join Gay Russell, LCSW for a FREE webinar entitled Fueling our Children for Physical, Mental, and Emotional Health, Combating the A’s with Nutrition: Anxiety, ADHD, Autism, Asperger’s, Anger, & Academic Challenges. The webinar is scheduled for January 22, 2015 at 11:00 am EST. Click here to register.

Clear Up The Clutter

Clear Up The Clutter

Clutter is a huge distraction for people with AD/HD, and can sometimes make the problem even worse. Consider this; picture your grandmother’s house with all the porcelain dolls, pictures, and knickknacks everywhere. Put your five year old in the middle of this environment and ask them to pay attention. Everything in that room is something they want to pay attention to. So if your home looks anything like this, removing the clutter can help.

Organizational training, like any other training, should begin in an environment that is conducive for success. In the initial steps of teaching a new behavior (i.e. organization), it is in a person’s best interest to be in the optimum environment possible. Therefore, we must consider removing the clutter.

Just as a coach would not allow a player to go into a big game without training and practice, we can’t expect our child to learn to filter distractions without training them to be organized under the best circumstances, and then introducing distractions as training goes along.

Let’s just say that your child’s room has a sports theme (or even a fairy princess theme). You’ve decked it out with bold colors, lots of wall art, and some really cool memorabilia. There’s also a comfy area with a TV and the latest gaming console—not to mention his dresser and storage bins for toys. And over in the corner, facing into the room, is a desk where your eight year old does his homework. You can’t understand why he/she is never able to complete their homework, or why it takes them hours to do so.

In addition to removing the clutter, cognitive training should be considered. For information on the best feedback cognitive training program, consider attending an informational webinar hosted by master educator, Peter Freer.

The truth is that, even with the best of intentions, you’ve provided an atmosphere that is so over stimulating that it is a major distraction, making it difficult for your student to concentrate. In an article in Additude magazine, Dr. Larry Silver offers some sound advice on dealing with distractions.

That’s not to say that your child will never be able to concentrate in that environment, but if you are dealing with someone with ADHD, you must start with baby steps. By removing some of the distractions, even if temporarily, you will set your child up for success. So clear the clutter for a time. Put all that great memorabilia in a closet and wait to bring it back out once your child can deal with the distractions.

Much research has been done to say that the mind of someone with AD/HD runs a million miles a minute. It’s not really a lack of attention, but the ability to pay attention to many things at once when the environment is very stimulating. We don’t need to teach them to pay attention in this environment. We must teach them to pay attention when things are less stimulating.

Attend an upcoming Play Attention webinar and learn how you can teach someone in your life to direct and sustain attention to low stimuli activities at will.

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

Have a Happy Healthy New Year

Have a Happy Healthy New Year
By Barb Rollar

When considering the diet of a child who struggles with AD/HD, there are numerous foods that can exacerbate the symptoms. Just like a food allergy, incorporating certain foods can be a trigger. Here are some simple tips that will help your child.

  1. Organic is best – By removing hormones and antibiotics that are often injected into animals, and pesticides used in growing vegetables, you’re improving the quality of the food going into your AD/HD child’s body. For more information on a healthy diet for someone with AD/HD visit http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-diets
  2. Remove processed foods – The human body is designed to break down food, take in nutrients, and eliminate waste. In other words, it’s designed to process food. If you put food that is already processed into the body, it has little to do. Therefore, metabolisms become sluggish. When you put foods into the body that it can break down, it functions properly.  In addition, most processed foods are high in sugar and salt, contain food dyes, and are high in carbohydrates, all which has been proven to trigger AD/HD symptoms. For more information on foods to avoid, visit http://www.activebeat.co/diet-nutrition/managing-adhd-15-foods-to-avoid/?utm_source=bing&utm_campaign=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_keyword=adhd%20diet%20for%20children
  3. Food Dyes, flavoring and preservatives – When purchasing food, read the labels. You’ll be surprised at the number of food dyes, flavoring and preservatives are in the foods we buy. My rule of thumbs was that if any ingredient started with the letter “x,” or if I was unable to pronounce any ingredient, it went back on the shelf.
  4. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store – If you think about the layout of your typical grocery store, the perimeter is where the healthiest foods are. Most grocery stores have the produce section, meat, deli, and dairy sections along the perimeter. The interior of the store contains aisles laden with high sugar content foods, processed foods, and lots of carbohydrates.
  5. Having a healthy diet may help alleviate some ADHD symptoms. Combining a healthy diet with attention training with Play Attention can be a powerful combination. Visit www.playattention.com

For more information on various food topics, visit http://www.playattention.com/category/adhd-diet/

 

ADHD, Conduct Disorder, Drugs, & Alcohol

ADHD, Conduct Disorder, Drugs, & Alcohol
New study sheds light on this alarming link

Read More: http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/12/11/young-teen-adhd-conduct-disorder-substance-abuse/78495.html

It’s not difficult to find ADHD teens who participate in risky behavior that includes excessive alcohol, drug, and tobacco use. Throw in conduct disorder and lives can spin even further out of control.

Conduct disorder is an emotional/behavioral disorder that (PsychCentral.com) involves specific repetitive behaviors. “These behaviors fall into four main groupings: aggressive conduct that causes or threatens physical harm to other people or animals, nonaggressive conduct that causes property loss or damage, deceitfulness or theft, and serious violations of rules time and time again.”

A new study by The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence links ADHD with conduct disorder, drugs, and alcohol.

They study examined data on more than 2,500 teens between the ages of 12 and 15. The scientists found that a teen with both ADHD and conduct disorder was 3 to 5 times more likely to use drugs and alcohol, and begin use at an earlier age than a teen without either disorder.

If the teen had ADHD alone, they had an increased likelihood of tobacco use, but not alcohol use.

“Early onset of substance abuse is a significant public health concern,” says William Brinkman, MD, a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the study’s lead author. “Adolescents who use substances before the mid-teen years are more likely to develop dependence on them than those who start later. This is why prevention is so important.”

Holiday Dress Rehearsal

Holiday Dress Rehearsal
Practice behavior and manners before your visit

You hope that all will go well on the way to grandma’s house. Things go well in the car, but as the door opens at her house, your child turns into a Tasmanian Devil! A whirling dervish of mayhem that grates on family members and causes you unneeded embarrassment and stress. Here are some tips that can help prevent your child turning into a Tasmanian Devil.

1. Schedule, schedule, schedule. You and your child can sit together in a quiet place and draw a timeline with pictures. Start with a drawing of your car at your house with the time you’ll be leaving placed just below the car. Mark a point on the timeline where snacks will be eaten, where you’ll stop for lunch, take a restroom break, etc. Encourage your child to document your trip on the timeline including sights along the way, unique cars they see, towns you pass, etc. This gives your child structure, a sense of participation, and keeps him occupied.

2. New or different environments can cause rambunctious behavior. It can be difficult for your child to control himself with the added excitement of the holidays. To minimize inappropriate behaviors and maximize holiday cheer, rehearse the event before hand. Assign family members a part in the rehearsal; you and your child will play yourselves. Select one other family member to play the role of the friend or family member whose house you’ll be visiting. Brainstorm with your child Act I, Act II, Act III, and Act IV. Act I, driving to person’s house. Act II, being greeted at the door and spending time with the host prior to dinner. Act III, dinner. Act IV, activity after dinner and goodbyes. For each Act, discuss expectations and timelines. After this discussion, you should act out and rehearse each part of your ‘play’. Take the opportunity to redirect when behaviors are inappropriate and provide positive feedback when your child displays desired behaviors during your rehearsal. An interactive dress rehearsal will allow your child to develop a clear understanding of expectations over the holidays.

3. Use a secret code. A word like “snowball” or a gesture like touching the tip of your nose can be your secret code to your child that means they need to adjust their current behavior. Allowing your child to practice this during your dress rehearsal can be fun and will keep you from having to yell or discipline your child in front of family.

4. Make the most of your child’s talents. Recite a poem, do magic tricks, take care of a younger child, present the host with some artwork they did while waiting for dinner, set the table, or sing holiday songs.

5. Prep other family members you’ll see over the holidays, and ask them to provide positive praise for good behavior. This can make a world of difference.

Remember this is a very exciting and stimulating time. If you have a child that is easily overexcited, the holidays can easily exacerbate this. A little preparation clearly defining your expectations can lead to a far merrier and less stressful holiday season.

Tips for the Thanksgiving Table

Tips for the Thanksgiving Table
Make Thanksgiving special (and maintain your sanity)

Holiday excitement can make it difficult for your ADHD child to adjust his/her behavior. A little early planning can keep your child’s behavior in check. You can do this by providing your child with some special responsibilities that will not only help you, but will also make your child feel like he or she is part of the family experience.

Make setting the dinner table your child’s Thanksgiving job. Giving him this very important job will keep him occupied and give him something to be proud of. It also provides an opportunity to practice skills such as planning, organization, and memory!

Steps to help you plan ahead:

1. Discuss. Start talking to your child about his Thanksgiving job at least a week before Thanksgiving – no surprises on Thanksgiving Day!
2. Brainstorm. Make a list together outlining everything that will be his responsibility to place on the table.
3. Display. Post the list somewhere that is easy for him to find and read.
4. Arrange. Make certain your child’s items are easily accessible and sequential. For example, we will start at this time, we will do this first, then this, then this…
5. Rules. Make certain your child has guidelines to follow. You must follow the list. Cross items off the list after you have placed them on the table. If it is not on your list, then it is not your responsibility.
6. Praise! Make certain family and friends provide your child with lots of positive reinforcement for a job well done!
7. If all goes well, he can be the host who serves appetizers.

A little effort goes a long way. Your planning can keep you child in the moment, focused, and well behaved. We seem to always catch them ‘being bad.’ Create an environment where you can catch them ‘being good.’ Setting this tone at the holidays keeps the tears away and everyone happy. It will definitely reduce your stress level and increase your sanity!

Impulsivity and Calling Out in Class

Impulsivity and Calling Out in Class
Is it effective for ADHD kids?

The Journal Learning and Individual Differences published research titled ADHD and academic attainment: Is there an advantage in impulsivity?

Read More: http://dro.dur.ac.uk/9246/1/9246.pdf

Dr. Peter Tymms, DurhamUniversity’s (http://www.dur.ac.uk/) leading education expert, analyzed test scores spanning more than 500 British schools and found that ADHD students who shouted out answers scored better than their quiet peers.

Scores were significantly better; louder ADHD students were about nine months ahead of quieter classmates in reading and math. Tymms says the findings raise questions about how best to teach youngsters with ADHD.

Prof Tymms said, “Children with ADHD symptoms who get excited and shout out answers in class seem to be cognitively engaged and, as a result, learn more. Perhaps those children also benefit from receiving additional feedback and attention from their teacher.”

For most teachers, having children shout out answers in a classroom setting is not practical; other children don’t have time to reflect and then think of an answer. Shouting often interrupts the thinking process. However, research tells us that ADHD children who shout out answers in class often learn quicker than their quieter schoolmates.

Tymms’ study also seems to suffer from the problem of antecedence (think chicken and egg). Do these children do better because they call out, or do these children call out because they are cognitively ahead of their peers and are bored?

Is there a middle road? Perhaps setting a game format for review of classroom material in which it is fair to call out answers would assist ADHD children in learning quicker (think Jeopardy). At home, parents could allow their child to call out answers when doing homework.

This also raises the question whether we should teach ADHD children to be able to control their impulsiveness and to think before acting regardless of their cognitive abilities.

Auditory Processing Problems & ADHD

Auditory Processing Problems & ADHD
Washed a broken paint can?You stand in front of your husband. He’s looking you in the eye. You explain that the washer broke today and you need him to call a repair man. He squints at you and asks, “You washed a broken paint can?” His tone is displeased and he glares at you as if you were an alien.

You take a deep breath and slowly enunciate it, “I NEED YOU TO CALL A REPAIR MAN.”

He asks, “For what?” Your head drops. You shake your head in frustration staring at the floor.

ADHD is not just an inability to sustain and direct attention. It often involves a variety of other cognitive impairments. When other conditions occur with ADHD, it’s termed co-morbidity. Co-morbid auditory processing difficulties often occur with ADHD. Attention is a critical component of processing information we hear with our ears. This process can become disrupted when ADHD is present. The ADHD person either hears only bits and pieces of the information, or sometimes the information may seem garbled like multiple radio stations playing over each other.

The dynamics of living with an ADHD person are stressful. Couple that with auditory processing issues and the stress level is often magnified. To be clear, frustration is on both sides; the ADHD husband truly thinks you are not speaking clearly, and you think he’s not listening to you. Feelings of frustration, disinterest, lack of compassion, lack of understanding, and even abandonment sometimes follow.

An ADHD child with an auditory processing condition can also be frustrating. You ask him to go to his bedroom, put his pajamas on, brush his teeth, and get in bed. You go to his bedroom an hour later and he’s sitting on the edge of the bed playing a hand held video game. He never put on his pajamas, never brushed his teeth, and he’s obviously not in bed. Your frustration increases as this behavior appears to be pure defiance. An argument typically ensues. If you understand it’s not defiance, you can approach this situation differently. He just didn’t process what you said after, “Go to your bedroom.” You’ve got to admit, he did make it that far. Multiple step directions are difficult for ADHD persons and should be avoided. Giving simple directions and having the person repeat them often helps get things done efficiently. It will also help you maintain your sanity.

There are steps you can take to improve auditory processing, and they can be life changing. Simply understanding your spouse or child will greatly reduce your frustration, however you can do more.

ADHD does not have to be a struggle. No one knows your ADHD life better than you. No one knows how to improve it better than us. See www.playattention.com. 800.788.6786

ADHD Attention Deficit Training Neurofeedback Tool | Play Attention
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