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News and Tips for Thriving with ADHD

Fall 2014 Newsletter Recap: Seasonal News and Tips for Thriving with ADHD

August 29th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

Springboard Clinic’s Fall 2014 Newsletter focused on taking advantage of the back-to-school vibe - even if you’re not a student, there’s something to be said about the optimism that comes with a new school year. So, whether you’re a student, parent, or well-intentioned adult, this issue offered tips, ideas, and sources of support that focus on making this school year one to remember!

What to expect:

  • Information about two new groups: a Parent Group starting in September, and a Kids Group starting in October!
  • 5 Tips for Starting Fresh
  • We share our Golden Moments from treatment
  • Information about ADHD, assessments, treatment, and coverage for Services

CLICK HERE to check it out!

How can I help my child understand their ADHD diagnosis?

August 26th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

When a child has an ADHD diagnosis, parents often have difficulty figuring out how to talk to them about it. We’ve already talked about the approach in our post called My child has ADHD – how do I talk to them about it? But what about helping your child understand ADHD and what it actually means?

The video below is a fabulous introduction to ADHD and the impact that it has on the brain. It’s a simple, straightforward explanation intended for children aged six to 12. Age brackets aside? This video is truly quite helpful for all ages in better understanding what’s happening up there when you have ADHD!

 

Did you find this video helpful?

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Tips for teaching students with ADHD

August 22nd, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

If you work with students, you might be interested in an article we found on the Scholastic website called 10 Common Challenges and Best Practices for Teaching Students with ADHD.

The article offers some great insight into working with ADHD students, as well as some unique tips and ideas from “veteran” teachers. Not only that, the message behind it is a good one: learning how to effectively reach students with ADHD students takes practice, consistent collaboration with support staff and families, and by “tweaking lesson plans and rearranging seating charts dozens of times.”

scholastic

 

 

Having worked with hundreds of children with ADHD, and hundreds of their teachers, what is Springboard’s #1 tip?:

Seek to understand ADHD on a physiological level, thus connecting attention issues with the brain. If you understand the root of symptoms as a physical limitation in the student’s brain, you’re going to much more easily react from a place of patience. If, however, you view your student’s symptoms as willful, deliberate behaviour, your natural reaction will be frustration and reprimand.

To quote another ADHD guru, Dr. Ed Hallowell, “The philosophy guides the outcome.”

 

Those things you got in trouble for at school? Your teacher might have been wrong!

August 15th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

If you’re like us (or a human being for that matter) you probably remember at one point getting in trouble for something like chewing gum or doodling in class. You may also remember being very annoyed by this, and maybe even thinking that your teacher was “out to get you.”

First of all, unless you had a truly horrid teacher, they were not in fact “out to get you” – for the most part they really did just want you to pay attention and learn. Problem was, however annoying to the teacher, the very things that got you in trouble might have actually been helping you.

Want to know more? Check out some excerpts below from Cracked.com’s 6 Beneficial Things They Made you Stop Doing in School

GumSPIT OUT THAT GUM!

“From the student’s point of view, that seems like an arbitrary rule. Who cares, as long as you chew quietly and don’t stick it in some other kid’s hair? Well, maybe they’re worried that chewing gum will make you too smart…chewing gum can and does help you focus and concentrate, not to mention relieve your boredom and tension…”

IpodPUT THAT IPOD AWAY AND CONCENTRATE!

“Kids tend to like their music, and they tend to like it wherever they are. This has been a source of annoyance for teachers since the days of the transistor radio…after all, what could be worse than a kid listening to noisy, thumbing beats when he or she is supposed to be studying? How could anyone possibly concentrate with that racket banging around their ears? Actually, not only is it possible to concentrate despite the loud music, the music actually helps…”

STOP FIDGETING AND PAY ATTENTION!

“You know that kid. Hell, there’s a good chance you were that kid. The one who wouldn’t sit still in class, constantly playing with whatever he happened to have lying on his desk. He, incidentally, is just doing what comes naturally…and making himself healthier in the process…”

DoodleSTOP DOODLING AND PAY ATTENTION!

“If you’re an adult, you probably indulge in idle doodling whenever a notepad and a boring meeting collide. If you’re a kid, it’s every time there is a boring lecture. Many tens of millions of stick figures and band logos have made their way onto the printed page thanks to this…then you got caught and your teacher showed the whole class that flying unicorn you had been idly crafting, to the amusement of everyone. Cue laughter, childhood trauma…It’s a bit unfair, really, because all you were doing was helping yourself concentrate on what the teacher was saying…”

*Editor’s note: If you recognize the above post, it’s because we originally included it in our Guide to Student Life and ADHD. We didn’t want others to miss out on it!

Which of these strategies do you think is the most helpful for your focus?

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What to ask before booking a Psychoeducational Assessment

August 12th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

If you’re looking into a psychoeducational assessment for yourself or your child, there are certain things to consider before taking the plunge.

First of all, what is a psychoeducational assessment? One definition (among many available online) states that it is an “estimate [of] an individual’s abilities and educational achievement levels.” In an nutshell, this means that it is a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in several domains – including cognitive ability, academic achievement, information processing, and more.

What else should you know before booking a psychoeducational assessment? Below are 5 questions to ask before committing to anything:

  1. Who will be conducting the testing? Only a psychologist can formally sign off on a psychoeducational test, so the testing would need to be conducted by, or under the supervision of one.
  2. What type of tests will be conducted? Similarly, what will the assessment be looking for?
  3. Does the report include recommended accommodations for work/school? An assessment should be considered a stepping stone to moving forward. Find out how the clinical team approaches recommendations and accommodations so you know what sort of support will be offered when all is said and done.
  4. What happens after the assessment? This question is similar to the one above. Getting a diagnosis is only the first step to getting help. Find out if they provide follow-up support once your assessment is complete. Better yet, can you continue to work with the assessment team for treatment?
  5. Is there any help with funding? Private insurance and OSAP can be potential sources of financial support for an assessment, so find out if the clinic can help with this. Otherwise, you’re looking at anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000.

Getting a psychoeducational assessment can be an expensive but worthwhile investment. We hope these suggestions will help you make an informed decision.

For more information about psychoeducational assessments, check out:

ADHD Assessments vs. Psychoeducational Assessments: What’s the difference?

Should I get an ADHD Assessment or a Psychoeducational Assessment?

Had a psychoeducational assessment done in the past? We want to know: Do you understand the information provided in the report?

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All Dogs have ADHD

August 8th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

all_dogs_have_adhdAll Dogs have ADHD is a simple, easy-to-read book that offers children a refreshing take on what it’s like to have ADHD. Written by Kathy Hoopmann as a follow-up to All Cats have Asperger Syndrome, the book uses photographs of dogs to help explore a variety of characteristics that will be familiar to children (and adults) with ADHD, such as feelings of restlessness, excitability, getting easily distracted, and more. All Dogs have ADHD not only offers insight and understanding into the day-to-day highs and lows of life with ADHD, but is also a powerful source of helping ADHD children feel understood.

This is a book we highly recommend – if you’re in the clinic come check it out at our boutique!

New study: ADHD medication not associated with suicide

August 5th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

According to a recent study published by the British Medical Journal, there are no associations between ADHD medication and suicide attempts or suicide. This is reassuring news to those who may have heard otherwise. Prior studies – which have often been criticized for having too small sample sizes or flawed methodology – have hinted that ADHD medication might actually raise the risk of suicide.

The current study, led by Henrik Larsson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, reviewed the national patient registry information for nearly 38,000 individuals in Sweden diagnosed with ADHD that were or were not taking ADHD medication. Not only did the records not show an increase in instances of suicidal behaviours when patients were taking ADHD medication, they actually found a decrease in instances for those taking ADHD medication vs. not. That is, the results hint that there may actually be a “protective effect” – as described by Larsson – in taking ADHD medication.

For more information about the study, check out the article published on the Karolinska Institute’s website: Dismisses link between suicidal behaviour and ADHD drugs

Do you think ADHD medications are safe?

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ADHD Apps: An introduction to location-based reminders

July 29th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

In our ever-evolving world of smartphones and technology (that this writer can’t even begin to fully understand), the search for ADHD apps is becoming increasingly important to our clients. If there are apps out there that can help with our everyday frustrations, why not take advantage of them?

First of all, what is an ADHD app? Well, by our definition, an ADHD app is an application for your smartphone (or computer) that appeals to an ADHD-style brain. It doesn’t have to be created specifically for an ADHD individual, but it does have to be “ADHD-friendly.” For some examples, please check out our previous blog entry: ADHD-friendly apps that help with time management and organization.

ADHD appNow, on to location-based reminders. Location-based reminders are our go-to suggestion when asked about ADHD apps. The idea behind it is great: You can set a reminder for yourself, but instead of setting a specific time, you set a location using your GPS – when your phone picks up that you’ve arrived at that specific location, the reminder pops up.

As another option, you can set the reminder to pop up when you leave a specific location. Want to remember to pick up the dry cleaning on the way home from work? There’s an app for that! Set the reminder for your work address, and watch the reminder pop up as you leave the building!

Why is this so great for an ADHD brain? Individuals with ADHD tend to be very focused on the “now” – what’s right in front of them. Anything else tends to fall in the category of “not now.” Let’s say you want to remember that dry cleaning, so you set a reminder for 5:00 when you’re done work. But what if you’re running late? What if the reminder pops up, it’s briefly in your “now,” you dismiss it, go back to work, and the reminder quickly shuffles into the “not now”?

This is where location-based reminders come in - they help ensure that whatever it is you want to remember will pop up at the moment where you actually want it to be in your “now.”ADHD apps

Where can you find location-based reminders? As you might have guessed, there isn’t one specific app for this. At the risk of being vague, they now seem to be available on most reminder apps. If you have an android phone, an example of an app where you can find location based reminders is Google Keep. If you have an iPhone your hunt will be a little bit easier – location-based reminders are built-in to the operating system’s Reminders app.

If you haven’t already discovered the joy that is a location-based reminder, check it out! Once you get the hang of setting them it will be well worth your effort!

Have you already tried location-based reminders?

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Vitamin D and ADHD: Get outside this summer!

July 22nd, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

Exercise has long been our go-to recommendation for clients with ADHD looking for an alternative, or supplement, to medication. Stimulating the body’s core also stimulates the pre-frontal Vitamin Dcortex, the part of the brain affected by ADHD. In fact, Springboard’s medical director, Dr. Ainslie Gray MD, can actually reduce a patient’s dosage of stimulant medication if s/he is getting at least 20 minutes of exercise each morning.

With or without ADHD, we all know that exercise is important. That being said, it’s one thing to intend to get outside and exercise; it’s another altogether to actually go out and exercise. Well, we’ve got good news!!

Just getting outside might help ADHD, no exercise required (but still recommended)!

Vitamin D and ADHD:

Some studies show a lower concentration of vitamin D in people with ADHD. We found an article that explores this connection and offers evidence that increased levels of vitamin D could have a positive effect on symptoms of ADHD.

Some quotes from the article:

(1)  “Vitamin D can boost levels of the antioxidant glutathione in the brain….[A]ntioxidant deficits can worsen ADHD symptoms, and fatty acids (namely omega-3′s) are frequently administered for ADHD and related disorders.”

(2)  “Perhaps the strongest correlation, however, may be between vitamin D and depressive-like symptoms, particularly those associated with seasonal affective disorders (SAD)…In other words, vitamin D supplementation may be particularly useful in individuals with ADHD who also have co-occurring depressive or anxiety-ridden symptoms.”

(3)  “In this study we found a lower prevalence of ADHD in areas with high solar intensity (SI) for both U.S. and non-U.S. data. The preventative effect of high SI might be related to an improvement of circadian clock disturbances, which have recently been associated with ADHD.”

READ the full article here.

5 ADHD-Friendly Tips for Surviving a Boring Meeting

July 18th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

Most of us know the feeling of being in a boring meeting that doesn’t seem to end. It can be dreadful. That being said, meetings are a fact of life in a work environment – at one point in your work life, you’re going to be stuck in a boring meeting.

If you have ADHD, the tagline for the video below by TotallyADD.com says it all: “By adulthood, the hyperactivity of childhood seems to disappear…But it may actually turn into restlessness, stress, fidgeting, frustration, anger, or impatience making a business meeting pure torture!”

If you have a meeting coming up and you’re anticipating having a tough time time getting through it, here are 5 ADHD-friendly tips to consider:

  1. Take notes. Even if you never read the notes again, the act of writing can help engage your focus and get you through a meeting with a lot less headache. If distracting thoughts or ideas come up (e.g. stuff that doesn’t have to do with the meeting), write those down as well – the sooner you get them out of your head, the sooner you can get back to the task at hand.
  2. Participate. Being an active participant in a meeting ensures that you’re going to be more engaged with what’s going on and less likely to check-out from boredom. That being said, if you tend to dominate the conversation in meetings, you might want to consider participating on paper – write down your questions and comments, and be selective about what you end up saying out loud.
  3. Use a fidget “toy”. Contrary to what you might have been taught growing up, fidgeting (in a controlled way) can actually help you better focus on a primary task (e.g. paying attention during a meeting). A fidget toy doesn’t have to be obvious – something as subtle as a stress ball or an elastic band can do the trick.
  4. Stand up if you need to. If the vibe in the meeting allows for it, get up and move around – this can do wonders in helping you re-engage your focus. If you get the feeling this won’t be received particularly well, excuse yourself to go the washroom – that way you can take a quick walk to re-energize.
  5. Be proactive. Anticipate your needs before you go into the meeting. Take a walk around the block before it starts. Always get distracted because you’re thinking about lunch? Grab a pre-meeting snack. Need to mentally prepare yourself to go into the battle zone? Now’s the time to give yourself a pep talk. Whatever works!

 

 

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