Dr. Katz recently returned from the ASD meetings in Boston and wanted to share some information regarding ASD.
What is ASD? Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterized by problems with social communication, unusual behaviors such as fixed interests, being inflexible, having repetitive behaviors, or abnormal responses to sensations. Communication problems include difficulty understanding and responding to social cues and nonverbal communication such as gesture and tone of voice, which can result in challenges in making or keeping friends. Although people with ASD may want to make friends, difficulties in understanding social norms or correctly interpreting language and facial expressions can get in the way.
In recent years, it has become clear that individuals with ASD, despite sharing some behavioral challenges, can be quite different from one another. Some people with ASD may be very intelligent, while others may have advanced vocabularies and others may speak very little or not at all. Thus, people in the same family with autism or who share the same genetic risk factor(s) can end up with very different symptoms and outcomes.
While there is no “cure” for ASD, there is medication available that can help with the host of other difficulties that can as problematic as the symptoms of ASD itself. Anxiety, mood instability, impulsivity, hyperactivity, sleep problems, and even aggression and self-injurious behavior can occur in some people with ASD. Medication may be helpful in treating the symptoms of some of these associated conditions. Unfortunately, no medication has shown to offer clear improvement for the social communication impairment or restricted, repetitive behaviors that make up the core issues of patients with ASD.
Sitting down with Dr. Katz to discuss whether it is a good idea to try medication for certain troublesome symptoms in the patient with ASD is always a good idea.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a disorder that is most often diagnosed in childhood, is characterized by trouble paying attention, impulsiveness, excessive activity, and problems controlling behavior that isn’t age-appropriate. It’s a disorder that parents may be hesitant to consider because its symptoms are easily attributed to a child acting like a child. But if symptoms persist, or increase, it is something that parents should definitely talk to their child’s pediatrician about.
If you think that your child may have ADHD, your pediatrician will likely refer you to a mental health specialist for a diagnosis, unless he or she has experience with ADHD.
The first thing your doctor or mental health professional will do is assess your child’s behavior. This should be done comprehensively – by talking to you, observing your child, reviewing medical records, talking with your child’s teachers (or at the minimum having them complete standardized evaluation forms about your child’s behavior), and possibly talking with other adults who are part of your child’s life.
Your child’s doctor may decide to perform a non-invasive brain scan to assist in the diagnosis. The scan measures theta and beta brain waves, which tend to have a higher ratio in children and adolescents with ADHD than in those without it. This scan is approved for use on children between the ages of 6 and 17 years-old. The scan itself is not definitive in diagnosing ADHD, it should be used in conjunction with medical and behavioral observations and reporting.
It’s difficult to determine if children under 6 suffer from ADHD because the behavior of children that young can look like ADHD and yet be completely normal. In order for your child to be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms must be present for a certain period of time, and they must be affecting your child’s life (school, home, recreational activities, etc.). That’s not an easy thing to evaluate in very young children, so most diagnoses of ADHD occur sometime after children hit the 6 years-old benchmark.
ADHD is a treatable disorder that you and your child’s doctor can manage. It is most commonly treated with a combination of medication and behavioral therapies, but there are also some things that you can do at home to help your child. Following a routine every day, praising and using positive reinforcement, making sure your child gets enough sleep and eats a healthy diet, and most of all, modeling good behavior, are all things that are beneficial to children with ADHD.
All preschoolers can be challenging, but some parents of ADHD preschoolers feel lost about how to handle things. However, you can see immediate results with these five easy parenting tips for ADHD preschoolers.
1: Be consistent
One of the most important things that parents of ADHD children must do is to determine what behavior is acceptable and what behavior is unacceptable early on. Like neurotypical children, ADHD children benefit from consistency--punishing them for certain behaviors one day and then ignoring those behaviors the next day prevents them from understanding the importance of avoiding that behavior.
2: Develop a Points System
Conversely, it's important to notice and reward good behavior in order to instill positive modification. One of the ways to make this system of positive and negative reinforcement concrete is to develop a "points" system in which children earn points for good behavior. You can then allow them to redeem these points for fun activities such as playing video games or watching television.
3: Offer structured choices
While the aforementioned boundaries are important, it is equally important to give ADHD children enough time to actually make the right decision. A simple way to get them in the habit of good behavior is to offer structured choices--that is, they get their choice of two or three things that need to be done. For example, if you ask a child if they want to do their homework, they may honestly answer "no." However, if you frame the question as whether they would like to complete their math or science homework first, you help to steer them towards positive choices.
3: The Power of Positive Attention
Children with ADHD crave lots of positive attention. You can use this to promote good behavior by going out of your way to notice and praise the child's good behavior. For instance, as the child works on their homework, go out of your way to encourage them by noting their hard work and how close to completion they are.
4: Accentuate the Positive, Ignore the Negative
By paying more attention to good behavior and less attention to negative behavior, you can use your child's desire for positive attention to help modify behavior. Remember that younger children will respond more positively to touch, while all ADHD children will benefit from you noticing and praising their strengths on a daily basis.
5: Be Flexible
These rules, like those you set for your own child, should be considered flexible. While consistency and rules are crucial for any child, those with ADHD don't always adapt to changes as quickly as neurotypical children. If you are too strict, too soon, it may keep them from learning.
A common behavior disorder, ADHD, affects approximately 10% of school-age children. A nondiscriminatory disorder, ADHD sufferers span across every race, socioeconomic, gender, IQ, and religious barrier in existence. Nevertheless, some claim that ADHD is not a legitimate disorder. A controversial condition that many are starting to suspect is fictitious, there are few disorders that elicit such fierce debate as that of ADHD. The following is a close look at ADHD as well as why it is certainly a real disorder.
First off, there is significant evidence that suggests that ADHD is a real disorder. For instance, the fact that every single mainstream medical, psychological, and educational organization in the United States has long since concluded that ADHD is a "real, brain-based medical disorder". Moreover, it has also been asserted, by these same organizations that have labeled it a disorder, that both children and adult sufferers of ADHD tend to get better with appropriate ADHD treatments.
One of the main reasons there is a growing number of people who believe ADHD to be a 'made-up' disorder, receiving a diagnosis can be much more complex than that of other common disorders. In order to be diagnosed with ADHD, one must display a number of symptoms that affect areas of their lives (work, school, and leisure etc.) for a certain period. Moreover, this process is further complicated due to the fact that many of the most common symptoms of ADHD can exist on their own, independently of this disorder. In addition to that, there is no one set test or criteria being used in order to diagnose this disorder. This means, rather than there being a cut and dry assessment by which to gauge one's likelihood of suffering from this disorder, there are many factors that must be considered before zeroing in on ADHD.
Another reason many people do not believe ADHD is a real disorder is because it is typically accompanied by other disorders. For instance, anxiety disorders, depression, and sleep disorders are all common ailments that tend to coexist with ADHD. It is also imperative to point out that ADHD is not benign. Those who suffer from unchecked ADHD are likely to have issues with their careers, relationships, the law, and much more.
Overall, although many question the existence of ADHD, it is clearly a real disorder with a host of side effects. Should you suspect you our a loved one is showigns signs of ADHD, please contact us.
Some adults may have trouble paying attention to conversations. They find themselves chronically late for appointments. They also make costly mistakes that can negatively impact their lifestyle, like paying their bills late or not at all. Time after time, people attribute this behavior to becoming forgetful, but it could be that these individuals suffer from adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as Adult ADHD.
Although ADHD expresses itself as a behavioral disorder in children, adults, too, can suffer from ADHD. Adults who are inattentive, inconsistent, or hyperactive may be suffering from ADHD.
Since many adults may have not had access to medical professionals who were well-versed in diagnosing and treating ADHD while they were children, many may still be undiagnosed. And yes, ADHD begins in childhood and persists throughout a person’s life.
After living with ADHD for so many years, many adults have grown to live with the condition. Many people develop coping mechanisms to deal with their day-to-day problems.
All too often, adults only visit their doctor about their symptoms after a child or a grandchild has been diagnosed. With an earlier diagnosis of ADHD, life can become easier and health problems associated with the condition can be treated.
For people who think they suffer from Adult ADHD, it’s never too late to get medical advice. The following are some common symptoms many people experience who are suffering from ADHD.
Marital problems: Although there are many factors that contribute to marital problems, a person suffering from ADHD will find that they have difficulty in their marriage. They may find that they can’t commit, or they lack the ability to listen to their partner’s concerns.
Lack organizational skills: Individuals who are disorganized or who have trouble finding important documents around their home may suffer from Adult ADHD. With the inability to remain focused, they can easily get sidetracked while carrying out a task, which may lead to their homes being constantly in disarray.
Poor listening skills: When talking to a person with ADHD, many people find that they have to repeat what they say. Often, they don’t recall stories shared by their friends or family members. During the course of the conversation, their attention may have strayed to something else, preventing them from truly comprehending what was said during the conversation.
People who have Adult ADHD have options. Advances in the medical field go beyond developing coping mechanisms to deal with the condition. ADHD Doctors can give their patients appropriate medication and therapeutic services to help them get beyond their condition. The first step for people who suspect they have ADHD is to visit a local ADHD specialist who can diagnose their condition using multiple tests, and then give them the Adult ADHD treatment they need.