ADHD Specialists: Who Makes the Diagnosis?

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Only certain professionals get the required training or exposure to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and it is only to these professionals that parents must seek help in diagnosing the child. These professionals include child psychiatrists, psychologists, developmental or behavioral pediatricians or behavioral neurologists.

A further criterion that could be helpful in choosing the best professional would be the relative familiarity of the doctor with the family. Thus, a family doctor or the child’s personal pediatrician is preferable over others. This is because assessment of the child’s behavior is better made by one who has more opportunities to observe the child and one whom the family knows and trusts. It is important to know this because the different qualifications of these professionals make some of them better equipped to meet a patient’s specific needs.

For example, child psychologists are good options because they are knowledgeable in therapy, making them very adept at developing ways to deal with the disorder. However, they are not medical doctors and hence, they cannot perform medical examinations nor prescribe appropriate medication. Thus, where the aim of the parents is the diagnosis and treatment of the child through medication, a psychiatrist may be a better option. Neurologists are also an option since they can diagnose and prescribe medication for ADHD, although they cannot provide therapy for the emotional aspects of ADHD.

Whichever type of professional the family finally chooses, all of them would basically follow the same process in ascertaining whether the child has ADHD or not. The first step is information gathering. This process involves the identification of the behavioral patterns of the child which will allow the professional to rule out other possibilities underlying the said patterns. In doing so, the professional might want to place the child in different settings in order to see how he reacts to them. It would also be possible for the professional to ask people to whom the child has been regularly exposed, like parents, friends, family and teachers, so as to be able to get relevant information. All these sources will enable the professional to make a profile of the child, making diagnosis easier. After diagnosis, treatment will follow, which could involve therapy or medication, depending on the type of ADHD the child has or what treatment is best suited for his profile.

ADHD and Your Teenager

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD follows a child through puberty. This is usually a turbulent time of a person’s life. The focal point of life shifts from home and family to friends and peers. Acceptance of peers becomes of paramount importance and self-esteem becomes more fragile. There is also a need to try new experiences, to test their wings and be more independent from their parents.

Puberty is double hard for a teenager with ADHD. Peer pressure, fear of failure and low self-esteem are the hallmarks of puberty and these are especially hard for one with ADHD to cope with. For most teenagers, there is tendency to test how flexible the rules can be or how often it can be broken with impunity. This is also the case of a teenager with ADHD. The problem might be that the parents themselves may disagree on how discipline must be administered. So, it is important that the parents agree on how the lapses in behavior must be handled.

Confusion must be avoided. It is more important that the rules be clear and straight-forward than with a child. Since the parent is dealing with an almost adult, it is important to explain to them why the rules exist and must be followed. Make a copy of the rules for both the household and out-of-the-house activities and post it in a visible area.

Teenagers must be assigned chores to do in the house. The assignment must also be posted in a visible area with a space to check-off those that are already done.

Keeping the communication between the parents and the teenager open is important. The parent must be prepared to discuss the issues in a teenager’s life. There will be demands for more independence such as a later curfew. Parents must be able to negotiate with the teenager, learning to concede on some point and not on others. They must be able to explain their reasons for their decisions. Also, they must listen to the opinion of the teenager and try to see their viewpoint on the matter at hand.

The ability to communicate is most helpful when rules are broken as they are wont to be. Punishments must be meted out but only sparingly. As a hot temper accompany a teenager with ADHD, a time-out may be used to give him time to settle down.

ADHD and Your Child

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is difficult to diagnose. Its main symptoms are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. These characteristics are present in every child to some degree. Parents may choose to ignore the symptoms thinking that their child may outgrow such behavior. In order to acquire the correct diagnosis, it is important to get the help of a well-qualified professional.

Generally, the symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are manifested much later. So, the quiet inattentive child that is prone to daydream is often less suspected of ADHD than the rambunctious disruptive one who is a “discipline problem”. But both of them may suffer from different kinds of ADHD. It is only when their behavior affects their performance in school and their relationship with their friends and classmates that they may be suspected to have ADHD. So, it is important for parents to keep a close watch over the manifestations of ADHD.

ADHD tends to have a negative effect in the child’s academic performance and social behavior. The child may have a problem realizing his full potential if his condition remains undiagnosed or parents did not make the necessary behavioral interventions. ADHD is a difficult but not an undefeatable obstacle.

An ADHD child may have a problem organizing. It is up to the parents to set up a schedule for their daily activities. Time for tackling schoolwork and recreational activities must be set-up. The copy of the schedule must be placed in a visible area either in a cork board in the child’s room or tacked to the refrigerator. Any possible deviations must be known as early as possible and the schedule adjusted accordingly.

Since organizing is a problem, the child’s things must be kept in one place particularly those needed for school. And the child must be trained to write down assignments and school projects. This will make it easier for parents to monitor the child’s progress in school.

As with a child without ADHD, rules must be set by the parents of an ADHD child. These rules must be simple, easy to understand and consistently followed in order that the child will not be confused of what behavior is expected of him.

The most important of all is that the parents must keep track of the child’s good behavior and reward it accordingly. A simple praise gives positive reinforcement to the child. Also you’ve got to learn to help your scpecial child. An ADHD child expects criticisms and so it is important to balance such with a little bit of praise when he is in his best behavior.

Helping an ADHD Child in the Family: What are Your Options?

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A child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may take medication and treatment prescribed by his doctor which can help him control some of his behavior problems. However, the needs of a child with ADHD do not end there. The family plays a vital role in the adjustment and development of the child. The family can do a lot to help the child forego of all his feelings of frustration and anger that may have accompanied the disorder.

Your Options in Managing Your Child’s ADHD Contidion

Counseling is one way by which both parents and the child can grow and learn how to deal with the disorder. The counselor, usually a mental health professional, can help them both develop new skills and attitudes which could help them better relate to each other. For the child, the counselor can help him learn how to feel better about himself. This is essential because a child with ADHD cannot but feel that he is not like other children and therefore inferior. The counselor can help the child in his problem by helping him find his strengths and adjust to his everyday problems. For the family, however, their need may consist in helping them develop a better attitude towards the child and ways of handling the child’s disruptive behaviors.

Aside from counseling, psychotherapy is also an option. This will work best with people who have ADHD but who accept themselves as having that disorder. Thus, in psychotherapy, the therapist will no longer address issues related to non-acceptance, but only those relating to coping with the disorder. Thus, the patient will learn how to discover his own self-defeating patterns of behavior and how to better handle their emotions.

Parents can also opt to join support groups which would allow them to connect with other parents who have the same problems regarding their own children who also have ADHD. These groups can be helpful in providing them avenue for sharing similar thoughts and experiences and newly discovered ways of combating the disorder.

Finally, chiropractic care, which involves improving the nervous system and removing any damages that affect mental, emotional, and physical health of the person, can be engaged in by a child suffering from ADHD. As ADHD involves a condition in the child’s brain function, a regular spinal adjustment can help in slowing down the degenerative properties of the brain.

Whichever option you choose, it is important that you make your child feel that you are doing this not because you don’t like him or cannot tolerate his actions. Make him feel loved at all times, and explain to him that these procedures are necessary to make him a better person as he grows up. But what if ADHD remains till his teenage years? Read my point of view.

Understanding ADHD: Symptoms and Causes

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ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition where a person finds it difficult to control his behavior and/or to pay attention. This condition usually becomes apparent in children during the period between preschool and early school years. ADHD is a behavioral problem which is caused by a genetic dysfunction. It is not caused by poor child rearing, as others might think.

Common Symptoms of Children with ADHD

Children with ADHD usually manifest inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These symptoms can be observed early in a child’s life. However, these symptoms are not conclusive, for they are not exclusively found among ADHD patients. Such symptoms are shared by ADHD with other disorders; thus, it is important that an able physician run tests on the child in order to be able to make an accurate diagnosis of his ailment.

The symptoms of ADHD may not manifest themselves all at one time. They may gradually reveal themselves, sometimes, over the course of many months. Sometimes, the symptoms may not even show itself until the lapse of a few years. Other symptoms may appear only because of certain stimuli or settings, which demand certain self-control on the part of the child.

Also, psychological considerations should also be ruled out first before concluding the existence of an ADHD. For example, a child can only have a discipline problem when he acts differently from other children in his class, and not necessarily an ADHD.

Thus, it is only in extreme cases such as when the child’s hyperactivity and poor concentration already starts to affect his performance in school, social relationships with other children, or behavior at home that ADHD may be suspected.

There is another difficulty in determining whether a child does have ADHD or not. ADHD, by nature, is not easy to diagnose. This is caused by the fact that the symptoms vary so much across settings, and that it shares these symptoms with many other types of psychological disorder. Thus, the assistance of an expert psychiatrist or pediatrician cannot be overemphasized, especially during the early detection of the disorder.

What are the Common Causes?

It would be in the best interest of parents with children who have ADHD or who are worried about their children having the disorder to know what causes it. Such knowledge would furnish them with the preparation against it that will enable them to avoid such possible causes.

Studies have yielded many results as to the possible causes of ADHD; thus, it is impossible to pinpoint one particular cause which overshadows them all. Some factors are external, meaning they are outside the body mechanisms of the person; some are internal, meaning they are caused by factors which occur or have a relation to the body’s processes or organs.

One of the possible external causes of ADHD is the so-called environmental agents. These include the use of cigarettes and alcohol during pregnancy. Studies have shown that there is a high risk that mothers who smoke or drink alcohol will give birth to children with ADHD. Thus, it is best for mothers to refrain from doing both. Another external factor could be a child’s exposure to paint with high levels of lead, which causes toxic levels of lead to be found inside the child’s body. Therefore, it would be best if parents would tell their children to keep away from paint, plumbing, or other objects which might contain high levels of lead.

Examples of internal causes could be having brain injury, although only a relatively weak amount of evidence has been found to support this theory. Another could be a child’s introduction to food additives and refined sugar, which substances are believed to cause children increased hyperactivity.

Still another possible internal cause is genetics. This is bolstered by the fact that attention disorders are often observed to run in families. This study is actually relevant, particularly to parents who blame themselves for the disorder of the child, thinking that it was their fault. Although such is possible, it cannot be discounted that there might be other factors at play which should not be blamed on the parents. This is a positive supposition, since pointing fingers will accomplish nothing but further prevent the early treatment of the disorder.

Special Care for Special Children

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Does your child have a problem focusing? Is his language development delayed? Does he have problems making eye contact? Do you feel that his learning abilities are stunted? Does he have problems with his gross motor skills, writing, language, understanding, and/or toilet training? If you answer yes to all these questions, chances are you have a special child.

Common Mental and Developmental Conditions

Developmental disabilities such as autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s syndrome, Global Delay Development (mental retardation), and Attention Deficit-Hyperactive Disorder in children pose a problem for their parents who are faced with a dearth of services related to their treatment. Apart from the insufficiency of information to help guide them, parents also have to contend with the lack of special education programs, as well as some government’s limited health resources. Moreover, patients often have to shuttle from one hospital to another for consultations and sessions with various specialists, making treatment a tedious process.

Parents of children who have developmental disabilities should go to a Child Development Clinic which can cater to various developmental pediatrics concerns. When looking for a clinic, parents have to make sure that it has an interdisciplinary team of early childhood development specialists working together to meet each child-patient’s special needs.

Apart from a developmental pediatrician, a psychologist, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist, a guidance counselor, a pediatric neurologist, a chiropractor, and a psychiatrist form the team of child development professionals who can help the special child.

Early identification and early intervention is crucial. If intervention is performed during the early years, there is a greater chance of improvement because the brain is very receptive to various stimuli.

Dealing with Children with Special Needs

An individualized treatment plan aimed at responding to each child’s specific needs is also important. The best way to help a special child is to address specific weaknesses and work on his areas of strength.

It is important to train a special focus on tapping a child’s potential, maximizing his or her talents. Enroll him or her in a special school which can harness his gifts. Special children are known to be in drawing and computers. An individual education program composed of one-on-one training and rehabilitation sessions will help bring out the best in special children.

Comprehensive counseling should also be extended to parents and caretakers as the family’s involvement in the treatment process is vital. Their emotional support to the child’s development is crucial.

Caring for a special child is a lifetime process for which the family should prepare. Parents of special children should be patient and strong. Moreover, acceptance is key.

With love, support and encouragement from their families, special children will surely pull some pleasant surprises.

Ways to Improve Your Learning Ability

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A college student lamented that her seatmate a notoriously happy go-lucky lad always outdid her in their accounting exams. She said no matter how prepared she was for an exam; the guy just outscored her each time. Was he smarter than her?

Their IQs were said to be just about equal. The discrepancy could be attributed to the difference in their learning skills. His methods of studying had most probably been better than hers.

The ability to learn can be enhanced, contrary to popular belief that it is a fixed capacity. Check out the following ways to improve your learning ability:

  1. Set the time and place for studying. Make the environment conducive to learning. These will make you absorb better what you are about to study.
  1. Let people know you don’t want to be disturbed. Tell the household that if someone visits or calls you, let them wait for awhile until after you finished studying. It would be better if you will turn your cellphone off or post a “do not disturb” sign outside your door.
  1. Think of the benefits you will derive from learning a particular thing. Rewards are one of the best motivators to achieve your dreams.
  1. When you don’t completely understand a certain part of what you’re reading, it’s not bad to go back and reread it.
  1. Read slowly. Haste makes waste. Carefully digest the ideas and points in your reading materials.
  1. Criticize, analyze, form your own opinion about the information you have gathered.
  1. Use mnemonics. Mnemonics are memory enhancing techniques. In college, our management class came up the mnemonics “POS D CORB” which stands for planning, organizing, staffing, directing, controlling
  1. Create aids like diagrams, tables and outlines. Take note on vital points.
  1. Stop every now and then to ask yourself how you have been doing so far. It is important to keep track of your progress.
  1. Stick with the learning style you are most comfortable with.

Most importantly, enjoy your study habits and make most out of learning. Always be guided by your goal in life to motivate you to do your best at all times.

The Role of Chiropractic Care in Boosting Learning Capabilities

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Last time we talked about the ways to improve learning abilities and I hope that was a useful read to you. Now, if you feel that one or more of your children are having difficulty embracing their learning capabilities, you should not lose hope. Neither should you stop helping them try. Instead, as parents, take it as a challenge to find ways to develop their brain functions well and motivate them to learn more.

With your spouse, relatives, and kids’ teacher, encourage and assist them to develop their intellectual abilities so that they can keep up with other children of their age.

Here are several important guidelines on how to properly guide and assist slow learners.

  1. First, you have to accept the fact that your child is slower than his classmates, neighbors, or siblings. If you keep denying such truth, you may not be able to advance with the situation and do appropriate measures.
  2. Recognize that your child may not be headed for a very high or prestigious college career, so avoid expecting too much. Since you know what his real status is, hope for something achievable or realistic for him.
  3. Listen to what teachers tell you about your child. They can usually be more objective than you are since they know how he is performing in class. Ask them for advice on how to encourage the child to study more at home.
  4. Be patient and keep your cool when teaching your child. After all, being either overly hostile to too indulgent toward shim will not help with his limitations.
  5. Feel good about and appreciate your child’s achievements and put an emphasis on his strengths and assets. Reward him for every good thing he does, even with simple praises and hugs, so that he can associate good work with likability.
  6. Understand that your child’s need for guidance, support, planning, and stimulation are of the same level as what your other children require from you.
  7. Accept the fact that what your child learns and how he absorbs them may be different from the manner, rate, and content of others. Thus, you need to demonstrate more repetitions and show patience as often as needed.
  8. Most importantly, never miss a chance to show your love, care, and understanding to your child. Never make him feel that he is such a failure and has no hope in becoming a better person.If anything, you need to be his teacher, guidance counselor, and best friend.

The Role or Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care, as part of positive neuroplasticity or an approach to achieving improved memory and cognitive functions, can be an effective and powerful method to boost brain functions and encourage slow learners to achieve significant learning capabilities.

Chiropractic adjustments aim to reduce stress on the body and any damage present in the nervous system. Malfunctions in the nervous system can affect the learning capability of an individual, thus, it is important to bring it back to its proper health state. Through regular chiropractic care, the degeneration of the brain function can be slowed down and increases the chances of boosting learning capabilities.

Improving Brain Function with Chiropractic Care

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All your body functions are influenced by your brain, your body’s epicenter of functionality. We normally associate the brain with actions like memory and emotion, but the brain controls so many other things such as posture and balance, digestion, immune response, hormone production and sexual function. The brain has the ability to form new neural connections and reorganize itself. It is called neuroplasticity.

Negative Neuroplasticity

As we age, our brain starts to wear down through a process called negative neuroplasticity. It causes memory loss, decreased mental acuity and dementia.

It is extremely important to maintain our brains in good working condition. However, even regular brain exercise or activities to work out our brains like solving a crossword or number puzzle are not sufficient to reverse the effects that time has caused. Factors like noise, weather, pollution, chemicals from the intake of food and other substances, and negative emotions create physical, chemical and emotional stressors that can cause damage to the neural pathways in the brain. These stressors, when left unstopped will accelerate brain degeneration process and memory loss. Negative neuroplasticity weakens not only the brain but nerve function as well, causing the functioning of the entire body to be affected negatively. Removing the damage brought by those stressors is the only option to slow the process down.

Although there is no definite cure for this degenerative process, chiropractic care can rewire the brain and rejuvenate it.

Chiropractc Care and Positive Neuroplascticity

Positive neuroplasticity is possible to achieve for improved memory and cognitive functions, optimized healing and elevated mood. There are several ways positive neuroplasticity can be stimulated. Chiropractic care is one of the most effective and powerful methods to do this and boost brain function as well as healing.

Reducing stress on the body, particularly on its nervous system, is the primary aim of chiropractic care. Positive neuroplasticity can be had through spinal adjustments, which can slow the degeneration of the brain function and lessen mental decline.

The benefits of chiropractic adjustments are highlighted in the results of a study that was presented at the International Research and Philosophy Symposium. It was held at the Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic. The study revealed that chiropractic adjustments lead to significant and quick improvement in all aspects of brain function. The study was conducted over a period three years with 100 volunteers. In this study, post-electroencephalogram (EEG) scans were used to measure brainwave pattern changes. The brain function of these volunteers were monitored before chiropractic adjustments were done and after the chiropractic treatment. Using EEG, the brain function was measured using four primary frequencies, namely, Alpha, Beta, Theta and Delta. These waves reflect the different modes of the brain, as follows:

  • Alpha waves – meditative, healing and relaxing mode
  • Beta waves – active and busy mode
  • Theta – relaxation, light sleep and conceptual development mode
  • Delta – repair mode, deep sleep and energy storage

A notable increase was seen in the Alpha brainwave patterns. Alpha brainwaves are associated with a high degree of relaxation, healing and health. A relaxed brain facilitates a stronger memory – both short-term and long-term – and a more efficient thought-life.

Results of scientific and medical researches such as this, continue to confirm and reinforce what the practitioners of chiropractic have known for more than a hundred years – Chiropractic care removes the stress in your nerve system and revitalizes the brain for a healthy function and normal healing.

The brain and nervous system are immensely important to our overall wellbeing because they control all bodily function. Memory loss, depression, health problems and so many other issues can arise from a stressed brain. A relaxed brain on the other hand, can bring about improved cognitive abilities, stronger memory and a more positive outlook in life, which can all contribute to better life quality. Let chiropractic care be a part of your regular wellness program. Chiropractic adjustments can help you achieve optimal healing, improved brain function and neuroplasticity.

 

Can Chiropractic Improve Children’s Learning Disabilities?

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The World Health Organization’s defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Based on this definition, many children are not completely healthy because of the increasing prevalence of learning disability.

In the U.S., between 3% and 10% of school aged children are affected by learning disorders and dyslexia. Others have low self esteem and motivation level, loss of interest in academics and lack of social interaction.

Disabilities in Children

In a 2006 study “Participation and Activity Limitation Survey,” Statistic Canada reported an increase in disabilities among children 14 years and younger. 202,350 children or 3.7% of the more than 5.4 million children in the survey reported having some kind of disability in 2006. This was an increase from the figures in 2001, which was at 3.1%.

From the same report, in this group of children with disability, 69.8% of those aged 4 years and under had chronic health condition, with asthma, allergies, autism and attention deficit disorder (ADD) being the most prevailing health conditions.

For children between 5 to 14 years old, the study showed that 66.6% of them were with chronic health conditions, while there are 69.3% of children also in the same age group affected by learning disabilities.

There was a significant rise in learning disabilities overall, for children and adults alike, from 2001 to 2006.

Chiropractic Care for Children with Learning Disabilities

Most of the adults who visit chiropractic office come with pain complaints like headaches, neck pain, and back pain. Most children brought to the chiropractors’ clinic are without pain conditions, but health conditions such as allergies, asthma, digestive problems, bed-wetting, ADD/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism. Chiropractic has been helpful with these kinds of health conditions for children. Chiropractic is however, not a therapy or treatment for these health conditions.

In chiropractic care, the spine is assessed to find subluxations or spinal misalignments. This is important because the communication to and from the brain depends on the state of the spinal alignment. When there are spinal misalignments, the nerve input can become altered and can cause all sorts of problems to the body. The chiropractor applies a specific chiropractic adjustment to rectify a spinal misalignment, which effectively removes nerve interference on the system. This results in an improved nerve input both to and from the brain. At this point, the body is now in a position where it can function optimally and allow its natural healing capability to go to work. The brain controls all body and healing function. This is the reason why chiropractors see many people, children and adults alike respond favorably to various health conditions.

In 2007, a literature review study was made by Dr. Yannick Pauli, a Swiss chiropractor, and President of the Swiss Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Dr. Pauli specializes in pediatric care for children with learning disabilities and behavioral disorders. The study appeared in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research. It suggested that chiropractic approaches may positively impact individuals with learning disabilities and also dyslexia. Correcting spinal misalignments or vertebral subluxations has a lot to do with bringing back normal function to the nervous system of the child.

Chiropractic adjustments offer a bright prospect for a positive solution to your child’s learning problems and other brain functions in general without negative and harmful side effects. It will improve your child’s nervous system function so he can perform better on every level.