Mom Psych

Education: Special Needs


Dyslexia and the Brain: Research Shows That Reading Ability Can be Improved

Study: Mistaking OCD for ADHD Has Serious Consequences

Tourette's, OCD, ADHD: Closer Together Than We Thought

Yale Researchers Spot Attention Deficits in Babies Who Later Develop Autism

Annie Murphy Paul: Why Floundering Makes Learning Better

TED: Sir Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity

Mental Disorders as Brain Disorders: Thomas Insel at TEDxCalTech

Pets Increase Social Behaviors in Children with Autism

Special Needs Digest



adhd meds and bullying


ADHD Meds May Be a Prescription for Bullying

ANN ARBOR: November 20, 2015--Kids and teens who take medications like Ritalin to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are twice as likely to be physically or emotionally bullied by peers than those who don't have ADHD, a new University of Michigan study found.

At even higher risk were middle and high school students who sold or shared their medications--those kids were four-and-a-half times likelier to be victimized by peers than kids without ADHD.

The main findings are the same for both sexes, said the study's lead author.
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Positive Reinforcement Plays Key Role in Cognitive Task Performance in ADHD Kids

BUFFALO, NY; July 30, 2015—A little recognition for a job well done means a lot to children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)—more so than it would for typically developing kids.

That praise, or other possible reward, improves the performance of children with ADHD on certain cognitive tasks, but until a recent study led by researchers from the University at Buffalo, it wasn’t clear if that result was due to heightened motivation inspired by positive reinforcement or because those with ADHD simply had greater room for improvement at certain tasks relative to their peers without such a diagnosis.
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Children with Disabilities Benefit from Classroom Inclusion


Language skills improve when preschoolers with disabilities are included in classes with typical peers

COLUMBUS, OH; July 28, 2014—The secret to boosting the language skills of preschoolers with disabilities may be to put them in classrooms with typically developing peers, a new study finds. Researchers found that the average language skills of a child’s classmates in the fall significantly predicted the child’s language skills in the spring—especially for children with disabilities. The results support inclusion policies in schools that aim to have students with disabilities in the same classrooms alongside their typically developing peers, said Laura Justice, co-author of the study and professor of  teaching and learning at The Ohio State University.
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MRI Technique May Help Prevent ADHD Misdiagnosis

Oak Brook, IL; June 17,2014—Brain iron levels offer a potential biomarker in the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and may help physicians and parents make better informed treatment decisions, according to new research published online in the journal Radiology.
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Study Finds ADHD and Trauma Often Go Hand in Hand


Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder experienced more adversities than those without ADHD

VANCOUVER, BC; May 6, 2014—When children struggle with focusing on tasks, staying organized, controlling their behavior and sitting still, they may be evaluated for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Clinicians, however, shouldn't stop there, according to a study to be presented Tuesday, May 6, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
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Paying Closer Attention to Attention


Attention problems may be overreported in children with fetal alcohol syndrome disorder

April 24, 2014—Ellen’s (not her real name) adoptive parents weren’t surprised when the school counselor suggested that she might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Several professionals had made this suggestion over the years. Given that homework led to one explosion after another, and that at school Ellen, who is eleven, spent her days jiggling up and down in her seat, unable to concentrate for more than ten minutes, it seemed a reasonable assumption. Yet her parents always felt that ADHD didn't quite capture the extent of Ellen's issues over the years. Fortunately the school counsellor was familiar with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). When she learned that Ellen's birth mother had consumed alcohol during pregnancy, she raised the possibility that Ellen's problems could be attributable to FASD and referred her for further assessment.
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'Brain Training' May Overcome Tics in Tourette Syndrome, Study Finds

April 17, 2014—Children with Tourette Syndrome (TS) may unconsciously train their brain to more effectively control their tics.
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Stimulants Used to Treat ADHD Influence BMI Growth Patterns Through Childhood With a BMI Rebound in Late Adolescence


ADHD Stimulant treatment initially slowed BMI Growth: Findings are first to link childhood ADHD treatment to possible later obesity

March 17, 2014—A new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that children treated with stimulants for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experienced slower body mass index (BMI) growth than their undiagnosed or untreated peers, followed by a rapid rebound of BMI that exceeded that of children with no history of ADHD or stimulant use and that could continue to obesity.
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Continued Increases in ADHD Diagnoses and Medication among US Children


New study led by the CDC reports that half of US children diagnosed with ADHD received that diagnosis by age 6

Washington D.C., November 22, 2013—A new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) found that an estimated two million more children in the United States (U.S.) have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) between 2003-04 and 2011-12. One million more U.S. children were taking medication for ADHD between 2003-04 and 2011-12.
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Study Finds Brain Differences in Children with Nonverbal Learning Disability


Study finds an association that raises new questions about ADHD

Philadelphia, PA; November 20, 2013—A Michigan State University researcher has discovered the first anatomical evidence that the brains of children with a nonverbal learning disability—long considered a “pseudo” diagnosis—may develop differently than the brains of other children.
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Do Sunny Climates Reduce ADHD?


Study finds an association that raises new questions about ADHD

Philadelphia, PA; October 21, 2013—Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is the most common childhood psychiatric disorder. Scientists do not know what causes it, but genetics play a clear role. Other risk factors have also been identified, and many individuals with ADHD also report sleep-related difficulties and disorders. In fact, sleep disorder treatments and chronobiological interventions intended to restore normal circadian rhythms, including light exposure therapy, have been shown to improve ADHD symptoms.
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Research Unravels Genetics of Dyslexia and Language Impairment

June 13, 2013—A new study of the genetic origins of dyslexia and other learning disabilities could allow for earlier diagnoses and more successful interventions, according to researchers at Yale School of Medicine. Many students now are not diagnosed until high school, at which point treatments are less effective.
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90 Percent of Pediatric Specialists Not Following Clinical Guidelines When
Treating Preschoolers with ADHD

New Hyde Park, NY; May 4 , 2013—A recent study by pediatricians from the Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York examined to what extent pediatric physicians adhere to American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) clinical guidelines regarding pharmacotherapy in treating young patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The results showed that more than 90 percent of medical specialists who diagnose and manage ADHD in preschoolers do not follow treatment guidelines recently published by the AAP.
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Learning Styles? Or Learning Skills?

by Jack Taulbee, Ed.M., M.A.

April 29, 2013—For many years, educators have taught that children have specific learning styles that affect how they relate to presented information. It’s true that the brain can acquire bits of information through different modalities, and it’s also true that we may each start with some personal ideas about which we prefer. But as neuroscience learns more and more about how the brain works and how it changes, it is becoming clear that some of education’s favored concepts need updating. Fortunately, there is a great deal of research available about how children learn best, and also of how the brain overcomes limitations. Knowing these concepts can help you work with your child through the interference of learning disorders.
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You Don't Have to Be a Perfect Parent to Be a Good Parent

April 12, 2013—Working with so many parents over the years, and as a parent and now grandparent of special needs children myself, I have learned that one of the biggest emotional hurdles for parents to overcome when dealing with a special needs child is that we will all too often feel like failures because we cannot make our child, and their world, perfect.

As parents we will feel responsible for making the disorder go away, and since we can’t make that happen, we feel compelled to immediately resolve every single problem that arises due to our child’s disorder. We feel that we personally have to fix it all; and we're driven to persist until everything feels restored to normal.  But, of course, that is not humanly possible. Unfortunately, this way of perfectionist thinking becomes self-defeating and eventually leads to a letdown, because given those parameters, failure is inevitable.
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Closer Personal Relationships Could Help Teens Overcome Learning Disabilities

AFTAU, February 28, 2013 In addition to struggling in school, many learning disabled children are known to face social and emotional challenges including depression, anxiety, and isolation. Often beginning early in childhood, they become more pronounced during adolescence, an emotionally turbulent time.

For these youngsters, more positive relationships with the significant adults in their lives—including parents and teachers—can improve learning and "socioemotional" experiences, says Dr. Michal Al-Yagon of Tel Aviv University's Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education.
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Is It Really Bad Behavior? Finding the Positives through Reframing

Sure, all kids will need their behavior corrected at times. But special needs children sometimes receive far more than their fair share of criticism.

According to special needs educator Jack Taulbee, "the obstruction for most special needs children is that they, and the people around them, are so focused on the weaknesses caused by the disorder that the child’s good qualities are overlooked. The challenge for adults is to avoid the predictable path of looking at the disorder’s symptoms pessimistically and to begin instead down a new road—that of focusing on the positive aspects of a child’s actions. This is called reframing."

Taulbee offers tips to help parents and teachers see the positive potential in challenging behaviors, and advocates for helping special needs children see, and become motivated to enhance, their strengths.
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Will Things Ever Be Normal Again? Dealing With the Emotions of Change

Family dynamics can alter dramatically when the onset of a serious neurological disorder manifests itself in a child.  This is because to one degree or another, the changes that occur from the child’s disorder also affect every other member of the family.

This is why after diagnosis parents often ask me, “Will things ever be normal again?”  Perhaps what they really mean is, will things ever be easy again?
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Unstructured Structure: Accomplishing Daily Routines

Special needs children who suffer from various neurological disorders can often benefit when the adults in their world offer them an unstructured-structure approach.
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Are You Listening?

Parents and teachers who want to connect with any child must listen first if they want to encourage a positive relationship. But this is especially important for children with special needs. In this article, special needs educator Jack Taulbee, Ed.M., a person of special needs himself, explains why this is so important and offers encouragement and insight to help parents communicate more effectively with their special needs kids.

To really connect, says Taulbee, listening must go far beyond simply hearing the words children speak to us.
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Make It Stop Bothering Me! Sensory Defensiveness: A Touchy Situation

Children with s ensory defensiveness, or exceptional sensitivity to sight, sound, taste, touch or feel, are "wired" differently than others. While it was once believed that most would simply grow out of the problem, Temple University researchers have found that this is simply not the case. If children don't learn how to ease the brain's emotional response to sensory stimuli, they often find themselves vulnerable to additional problems in adulthood: problems that will have a major impact on many important life choices. How can parents support their children as they learn to manage sensory defensiveness? Jack Taulbee offers insight gained through personal experience.
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What Can Medications Do for My Special Needs Child?

Parents often voice concerns about medicating for learning disabilities and other special needs, which is understandable considering the potential side effects that accompany the benefits of any medication. Of course, the first step in making decisions about medication is to become educated about the goals and expectations involved. Understanding the purpose and limitations of medications can help parents with choices concerning their child's symptoms.
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