Apps for Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

According to Health Line, the United States alone has an estimated 6.4 million children that range in age from 4-17 that suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The symptoms of ADHD include trouble with organization, difficulty concentrating and staying focused, as well as issues remembering details. You could say that as a student-particularly in high school-with ADHD having these difficulties stands in the way of academic success. One of the most important things that you can do as a parent to aid in your child’s success is to help them get organized.

Doorways Arizona Blog: Apps for Students with ADHD

With help from the team at Health Central, we have outlined some invaluable apps that can help get and keep your adolescent student on track.

While the features may differ slightly amongst each app, the purpose of these apps is to keep your student on track daily by managing classes. These apps allow you to put in all pertinent information about your classes like teacher, assignments, test dates, project deadlines and grades and also set reminders.

Dropbox might be an online tool that you are familiar with. This tool allows you to store files and then access them from any of your devices. This can be helpful for your student because files saved to Dropbox can be accessed from a home computer and as well as say your student’s phone.

It is likely that your student has lots of ideas for an upcoming project, but just isn’t sure how to organize. What is great about this app is that it allows you to jot down your ideas and then it outlines them in a logical order.

This app allows you to keep all information in one spot, like images, web links, and notes. The best part is that later you can search and find the information that you need.

  • 30/30 for Apple Devices

30/30 is an app designed to help you manage time. This is great for students because it allows to you to allocate a certain amount of time to each desired task i.e. 30 minutes of English homework and it sets a timer and counts down the 30 minutes.

This is another document storage base. What’s really helpful about GoogleDrive is that it allows you to scan or type in additional important information.

This app is the modern-day family calendar. It allows you to add appointments, family functions, sporting events, etc. to your entire family’s calendar and hopefully avoid being told by your teen that they didn’t know they had a dentist appointment because you hadn’t told them.

These apps are merely organizational tools to help you and your teen achieve greater academic success. If you have additional concerns about your teen, please consult a health professional that specializes in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Tips for Helping Your Teen with ADHD

If your teen suffered from Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a child, they are likely still impacted in their teen years. The emotional and physical changes your teen is going through coupled with increased expectations socially and academically can make life difficult for a teen with ADHD. While your teen can handle more autonomy, as a parent, it is your responsibility to help your teen with ADHD to navigate the teen years. Here are some tips that can help.

Doorways Arizona Blog: Tips to Help Your Teen with ADHD

There are several areas that your teen might have difficulties with and that you should be examining. These include:

  • School work
  • Relationships with peers
  • Home life
  • Emotions
  • Behavior that is risky
  • Driving
  • Sticking to medicine regimen
  • Confidence
School Work

According to the Child Mind Institute, if teenagers are not getting the support they need, they are more likely to have lower grades and test scores. As a parent, you can help by making sure that your teen has access to special testing accommodations if necessary. Help your teen with organization to stay on track with homework assignments or consider a tutor or homework helper. The most important thing when it comes to school work is to check in with your teen and make sure they are staying on track and getting the help they need.

Relationships with Peers

Research has shown that teens with ADHD are likely to have problems with relationships and be subject to bullying. The reasons for this are likely just a lack of social skills and cues or impulsive acts. There are ways you can help your teen with friendships. Most importantly, get to know who they are hanging out with and encourage communication about any difficulties with peers they may be having. You can also encourage your teen to try a new activity to make new friends.

Home Life

CHADD The National Resource on ADHD,  suggests that households with a teen with ADHD are more likely to have conflict between the parent and teen. As a parent, you must make certain demands on your teen from completed chores, following house rules, and getting school work complete. While this can be stressful, it is important that you give your teen supervision and reminders to comply with necessary tasks. This can cause tension for both of you and can lead to more conflict. It is important to steer clear of negativity. In order to do this, make sure that the two of you have clear communication and that expectations are clearly stated. It is also important to wait to discuss things until everyone has calmed down.

Emotions

Emotions are going in all different directions during the teen years then add ADHD to that equation and your teen is likely to have more ups and downs. The Child Mind Institute suggests helping your teen by practicing strategies to cope and cool down.

Behavior That is Risky

Teens with ADHD are more likely to use alcohol, smoke, try illicit drugs and engage in sex earlier than other teens. As a parent, know where your teen is at and who they are with. Try to keep them engaged in structured activities. Also, talk to your teen about those issues and the risks involved. Don’t be afraid to tell them these are activities that you expect them not to engage in. Make them feel comfortable to talk to you about these issues.

Driving

For teens with ADHD, driving can have additional challenges. Difficulties stem from the impulsivity and inattention that teens with ADHD have. This can lead to more driving errors like accidents and tickets. It is important that your teen knows about good driving habits like wearing a seat belt, staying off their phone, and limiting passengers in the car to minimize distractions.

Sticking to Medicine Regimen

According to CHADD The National Resource on ADHD, almost half of teens with ADHD do not take their medication as directed. There are several reasons for this including teens thinking they don’t need it anymore or they could be giving it away or selling it. If your teen has decided they don’t want to take medication anymore, talk to their physician to see if a trial period could be beneficial. Talk to your teen about what the expectations are for them to remain off the medication otherwise they will have to resume. In addition, talk to your teen about the dangers of the medication for someone that has not been prescribed it and about peer pressure.

Confidence

Lastly, the most beneficial thing that you can do for your teen is boost their confidence. Show your teen love and support. Show them you believe in them and they can work through their struggles. Help them find their strengths and encourage them to engage in those activities they are successful at.

If you find that you are still having difficulty helping your teen with their ADHD, consider seeking the help of a professional who specializes in working with teens with ADHD.

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Raising Awareness about ADHD

Adhd

Be sure to know these tips about ADHD (Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

You might think the last thing the ADHD community needs is more news coverage since it seems to be in the press and on the television all the time. Unfortunately, when it comes to mental health problems that affect our lives, there is such a thing as bad press and most of the press related to ADHD is controversial or sensational rather than informative or factual. This is why it is more important than ever to use ADHD Awareness Month to educate and inform people about this very real condition that affects about 11% of American children.

While there has been a shift in society’s thinking about this condition in recent years and the focus of ADHD awareness campaigns is no longer whether or not it is a real condition, there is still work to be done.   Misinformation abounds and there is still a significant stigma attached to being diagnosed with the condition. This means that people who have the disorder and not getting diagnosed and those who are diagnosed aren’t getting the treatment they need. Working to resolve those two problems is the continuing goal of ADHD Awareness Month and The Many Faces of ADHD campaign.

In an effort to help educate and inform, here are some of the facts about ADHD that everyone should know.

Who Does ADHD Affect?

  • ADHD doesn’t discriminate. It affects people of every race, ethnicity, religion, age, and gender. Anyone can have ADHD.
  • ADHD doesn’t care how much money you have. People with ADHD are rich and poor, successful and unsuccessful, single, married, and divorced, thriving, and struggling.
  • In truth, there is no “typical” person with ADHD.

How do I get Tested for ADHD?

  • There is no ‘test’ for ADHD, doctors cannot talk a blood sample to determine if someone has it.
  • There are specific diagnostic criteria that mental health professionals and other practitioners use in order to diagnose the disorder.
  • The process of diagnosing the disorder can be complex, especially if there are other co-existing mental health conditions like anxiety or depression.
  • Diagnosis relies on anecdotal evidence and most practitioners use a variety of well-respected tools and tests as part of their diagnostic process.

Why Should Someone Get Diagnosed?

  • Unfortunately, most people with ADHD will experience difficulties because of the disorder.
  • It can cause significant problems in all areas of a person’s life including school, work, personal relationships, social development, and long term happiness.
  • Research has shown that diagnosis and treatment are the best way to avoid or overcome these challenges.

How is ADHD Treated?

  • ADHD can be treated using medications like, but not limited to, Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta.
  • ADHD can also be treated through participating in therapy, coaching, and behavior modification programs.
  • For most people with the disorder, a combined approach of therapy, skill building, medication, and coaching is the most effective way to treat the various symptoms of the condition.

For more information about ADHD or to find ways to participate in ADHD Awareness month, visit the ADHD Awareness Month website.

The ABCs of Children’s Mental Health

Mental Health Resources

Here are some great resources to help you understand the ABC’s of mental health (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

May is Children’s Mental Health Month which is a great time to talk about where parents can find more information about the mental health conditions their adolescents may be struggling with. While there is no substitute for the expertise and information provided by a qualified mental health practitioner, this version of the ABCs can help parents learn more about the mental health conditions commonly seen in teenagers so they have the information they need in order to know when it is time to seek help, what questions to ask, and how to ensure their child or teenager gets the mental health support and services they need.

ADHD

Bipolar Disorder

  • Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens: A Parent’s Guide from the National Institute of Mental Health
  • Children and Teens with Bipolar Disorder from WebMD.com
  • Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology
  • Children and Adolescents with Bipolar Disorder from the National Alliance on Mental Illness

Bullying

Cutting and Self Harm

  • Understanding Teen Cutting and Self Injury from Parenting.org
  • Self Injury and Cutting from the Mayo Clinic
  • Self Injury in Adolescents from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology
  • A Silent Cry for Help: Understanding Self Harm from Psychology Today

Depression

Eating Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children and Adolescents from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology
  • OCD in Children and Teens from the International OCD Foundation
  • Child and Adolescent OCD from the National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • OCD in Teens from Beyond OCD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Suicide Prevention

  • Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide website
  • Preventing Youth Suicide – Tips for Parents and Educators from the National Association of School Psychologists
  • Teen Suicide is Preventable from the American Psychological Association
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
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Top 4 Things Parents Can Do to Support Their ADHD Teen

Do you know how to help your child with ADHD? (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Do you know how to help your teen with ADHD? (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Teenagers with ADHD have a lot on their plate.  The teen years are hard enough without also having to deal with the challenges and obstacles that can come along with an ADHD diagnosis.  One of the most important things that parents of ADHD teens can do is to be as supportive as possible of their child as they navigate through these years.  A supportive parent is one who works to increase their understanding of the condition, their understanding of how the condition impacts their child, and to assist their child in finding resources and strategies for managing the disorder.  Being a supportive parent does not mean making excuses for bad behavior, allowing teens to blame their condition for their problems, or failing to hold teens accountable because they have ADHD.  You can support your ADHD teen by focusing your energy and following these tips.

1.     Be Positive

You child’s feelings and thoughts about their ADHD are likely to mirror your own.  This means that if you look at this condition as a disability that will keep your child from achieving the things you want for them; they will look at it that way too.  Adolescents with ADHD are constantly being bombarded by negative messages from the world around them and what they need from their parents is positive input to help counteract all the negativity.

2.     Focus on Strengths

Your teen will spend a lot of time focused on all the reasons that ADHD makes their life difficult and challenging, they don’t need their parents to be focused on those aspects of the condition too.  One of the most supportive things you can do is to focus on the strengths and gifts ADHD gives your child.

3.     Listen, then Talk

Unless you have ADHD as well, you and your child are living in different worlds.  You cannot possibly understand what it is like to live in your child’s world which means listening to them is critically important.  One of the things ADHD teens, regardless of their symptoms, struggle with is that others don’t see the world through their eyes and don’t get things the way they do.  This can be very alienating, especially when the most consistent message they get is that they are thinking, seeing, or doing everything wrong.  Rather than trying to get your child to see the world your way, be supportive by acknowledging that they come at things from a different direction and listen so that they feel heard and know that they are not alone.

4.     Know What is ADHD and What is Not

One of the things many parents of ADHD teens struggle with is remembering that some of their behavior issues are not their fault.  ADHD symptoms and the struggles they cause for teenagers can look a lot like regular teenage acting out.  Parents can do their teens a great disservice if they are unable to differentiate between unacceptable teenage behavior that their teen can easily control and behavior resulting from ADHD symptoms.  Understanding that these are different and dealing with them as different issues is one of the most important ways parents can be supportive of their ADHD teens.

 

ADHD Treatment Options: A Primer for Parents

English: Medicine "Strattera" (eg. u...

The non-stimulant Strattera is a type of medication used to treat ADHD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You just found out your teen has ADHD, now what do you do.  If you are like many parents, you go to Google and type in “help for ADHD” and you are immediately presented with a page of links full of contradictory information, widely varying recommendation, and a lot of people touting medication-free alternatives to treatment.  ADHD, more than most other teen mental health conditions, can be overwhelming for parents to deal with simply because of the amount of information available and the controversy that often surrounds what is right or true, and what is not.

It is hard enough for many parents to get their heads around the diagnosis without having to wade through a sea of conflicting opinions and contradictory information to figure out how to get their teenager the help that they need.

To help parents figure out the best next steps for their teens, here are the most widely accepted and commonly used treatments for teenagers with ADHD.  It is important to note that most treatment plans will use a combination of approaches in order to get the most benefit.

Therapy

Many teenagers with ADHD can benefit from working with a therapist or other mental health practitioner, especially if they focus on helping teens with ADHD.  This avenue helps teenagers understand how their ADHD is impacting their lives and helps them deal with any emotions they are experiencing from their symptoms or diagnosis.  This can include negative messages they have received from parents, teachers, and other caregivers around their intelligence or abilities.  This treatment may also include brainstorming strategies for how best to manage symptoms.

Medication

There are two different types of medication used to treat ADHD, stimulants like Adderall and non-stimulants like Strattera.  Medication can help teenagers manage their symptoms and make it easier to learn the skills they need to be highly functional at home and school.  Because of the unique nature of ADHD, not all medications work the same for all people.  In order to find the most effective medication, your child’s psychiatric provider may try different types of medication and different doses to determine the best fit in terms of benefit versus side effects.

Behavioral Training and Skillbuilding

Behavioral training may also be referred to as coaching.  This can be provided by the same mental health practitioner that is providing therapy or it may be provided by an ADHD coach or special education teacher through the school.  This type of treatment helps teens develop the skills they need to overcome any challenges they face and leverage any gifts they have because of their ADHD.

Parenting Education and Support

In addition to the treatment options that focus specifically on the teenager with ADHD, it is also important for some parents to learn more about the condition and receive supportive services in order for them to be able to help their child.  Many children and teens with ADHD do not respond the same way as neurotypical adolescents do to standard parenting strategies like discipline.  For this reason, providing parents with ADHD-specific parenting strategies and information can be very beneficial to improving overall outcomes.

When it Comes to Information, More is Not Always Better – Part 1

English: internet Español: internet

One of the benefits about the information age is the unlimited access to information with the click of a mouse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the best things about living in the information age is that we have almost unlimited access to information with the click of a mouse or a few simple keystrokes.  For parents who are struggling to understand their teenager’s behavior, this can be a great asset.  Unfortunately, one of the worst things about living in the information age is also the fact that we have almost unlimited access to information with the click of a mouse, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  While the access itself may seem like a godsend, the truth is that even though we have access to more and more information every day, not all of it is good, not all of it is vetted, and unlike the encyclopedias of the last century, it is often hard to find definitive sources that you can trust.  For parents, more information is not necessarily beneficial if it isn’t good information.  To help, we have pulled together the following list of sources that provide reliable information on teen mental health issues that parents can trust.

This collection of information can help parents identify areas of concern and answer questions about the different mental health challenges teens may face.  However, always remember that there is no substitute for the expertise and information provided by a qualified mental health practitioner.   This information can be helpful in increasing parental understanding and awareness but if you suspect your teen is struggling with a mental health condition, make an appointment with a therapist, counselor, or other mental health provider as soon as possible so that your teen can get the help and support they need to overcome the challenges they are facing.

Depression

  • Teen Depression: A Guide for Parents from HelpGuide.com – Good resource that aims to help parents increase their understanding of teen depression.  Also provides details on signs, symptoms, and effects of teenage depression and information on the differences between depression in teens and in adults.
  • Depression in Teens from Mental Health America – Offers insight into the causes of teen depression and outlines treatment options.
  • Teenage Depression: Prevention Begins with Parental Support from the Mayo Clinic – Provides ideas for how parents can best support their teenager after a depression diagnosis.
  • Helping Your Teen with Depression from Medline Plus which is provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. – Gives parents an overview of treatment options, talks about medication, and offers details parents can use to determine when it is time to reach out to a professional for help.

Suicide Prevention

  • Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide website – This site offers a wealth of resources and information about suicide prevention including a video specifically for parents called “Not My Kid.”
  • Preventing Youth Suicide – Tips for Parents and Educators from the National Association of School Psychologists – Gives a clear concise list of warning signs to watch for and actions to take.  Explains the role the school should play in suicide prevention.
  • Teen Suicide is Preventable from the American Psychological Association – Offers insight into the research on preventing teen suicide.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  – Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Eating Disorders

  • Eating Disorders: Tips to Protect Your Teen from the Mayo Clinic – Gives parents an overview of what contributes to the development of eating disorders and an idea of the short and long term consequences of these disorders.
  • What are Eating Disorders? From the National Institute of Mental Health – Provides a good overview of disordered eating and a breakdown of signs, symptoms, and treatment for each primary disorder.
  • National Eating Disorders Association website – great resource for a wide range of information from statistics to symptoms to research.
  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAND) website – resource for a broad range of information related to eating disorders.

ADHD

 

The Many Faces of ADHD

Teenagers playing soccer in the rain

ADHD Awareness Week runs from October 14-20, 2012 (Photo credit: marlon.net)

The 2012 ADHD Awareness Week campaign seeks to educate and spread understanding about who ADHD affects.  For many who live with this condition, their families, and the providers that work with them, this is a very welcome change.  For years, most ADHD awareness efforts have been focused on dispelling myths, correcting misinformation, and legitimizing this real, brain-based disorder that affects millions of Americans in the collective minds of the public.  The shift in focus for this year’s campaign signifies that the most important thing we need to talk about regarding ADHD is no longer whether or not it is real.  It means we can start talking about who is impacted, how it helps and hurts them, and what can be done to help those with it thrive in all areas of their life.

When it comes to ADHD, there is no discrimination and no bias based on race, ethnicity, religion, age, or even gender.  Anyone can have ADHD.  It is not a white disorder.  It is not something only boys get.  It is not more prevalent in the U.S. than the rest of the world and it is not a condition confined to childhood.  The faces of ADHD are young and old, black, white, and brown, male and female.   They are also rich and poor, successful and unsuccessful, single, married, and divorced, thriving, and struggling.  The many faces of ADHD show us that there is no “typical” person with the condition.

One of the reasons it is so important to understand the diversity of the ADHD population is to help increase the likelihood that those with the condition will be diagnosed.  The clearest path to living successfully with ADHD is proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.  If people are not aware that ADHD can affect them or their families, it is less likely that they will seek diagnosis, pursue treatment, and take advantage of those things that can help them manage their lives more effectively.  Adults who believe only children have ADHD may not recognize the signs in themselves of their partners.  Parents who think only boys have it may not realize their daughter’s struggles in school are not just bad behavior.   Raising awareness about the many faces of ADHD means we can open the door for more people to get the support and assistance they need to be the best they can be.

ADHD Awareness Week runs from October 14-20 this year and will feature educational opportunities and events across the country.  Take a few minutes this week to learn more about ADHD including the signs and symptoms, the process used for diagnosis, and recommended treatments.  The information available about ADHD has increased significantly in recent years as our understanding of the condition has expanded.  Many things that were “true” for many years have been replaced by new facts based on better science.  From who has it to how it’s treated, the world of ADHD has come a long way in recent years and by raising awareness, educating others, and encouraging people to be informed, those with the disorder are already making the world a little easier to not only survive in, but into a world where people with ADHD can thrive.

 

Physical Fitness and Your Mental Health

May is National Physical Fitness Month (NPFM) which provides us with a great opportunity to talk about how physical activity, healthy eating habits, and mental health are connected.   The purpose of NPFM is to encourage all Americans to pursue a life filled with physical activity and proper nutrition in order to live healthy lives.

Physical fitness and daily activity are critical to maintaining overall health and the need to encourage activity is more true for teenagers today than at any point in the past.  Between processed foods, sugary soft drinks, increased use of technology, and a lifestyle that is generally more sedentary than that of generations past, it is no wonder that the obesity rate in teens (and everyone else) is on the rise.  The best way to fight this problem is to encourage our teens to adopt a lifestyle that is centered on physical fitness and healthy eating habits.

The benefits of physical activity don’t stop at improving our teenager’s physical health; it can also play a big part in managing mental health.   Unlike obesity, physical activity and healthy food aren’t a way to cure or combat some of the most prevalent mental health conditions our teens face, but being active can help alleviate and manage symptoms.   Treatment recommendations for depression, bipolar, anxiety disorders and ADHD all include physical activity as one of the key components of treatment.   When you consider the entire picture, it is easy to see that helping the teenagers in our lives increase their physical activity is a win, win, win.

Here are some great ways to get teenagers involved in more physical activity.

  1. Make physical activity a priority for your family.  Active parents provide great role models for active teenagers.
  2. Plan family time around active pursuits.  By making the time you spend as a family time you spend being active, you are building stronger bodies and stronger bonds.
  3. Look for physical activities that can be incorporated into your daily routine.  For example, if there are places you can walk to, walk instead of driving.
  4. Plan parties and family gatherings that include physical activity.  Setting up a volleyball net at the graduation party or holding a birthday party at a roller rink are great examples of how to make this work.
  5. Use local resources.  If you live somewhere that people love to go hiking, try hiking.  If you have access to lakes or rivers, try kayaking.
  6. Leverage everyone’s interests.  If you can find physical activities that are also interesting to your family members it will be easier to incorporate them into your overall routine.
  7. Keep it simple.  Physical activity doesn’t have to involve a ton of equipment or expensive fees.  It can be as simple as an after dinner walk, playing Frisbee in the park, or going for a bike ride.
  8. Pick weatherproof activities.  It is definitely easier to be physically active when the weather is right and it’s fun to be outside.  But once it gets too hot, too cold, or there is inclement weather, you can get knocked off your routine.  Find activities that your family can do together no matter the weather.

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