Archives for September 2010

"ADHD Transformation" Calls for Smart Parents

Dr. MaryJo WagnerDo you want good grades higher test scores, better behavior, family harmony for your child? Want to help your ADHD kids but don't know how?

Get answers with a Complimentary "ADHD Transformation" call with me, Dr. MaryJoWagner. Apply Now!

What Causes ADHD?

I've heard teachers say, "All the kids in my class have ADHD." Of course, that's not true but I'm sure it must seem like it.

And how many times have you said "Oh, I was just so ADHD today"? Or maybe you've said, "If my kids would just stop running around like they have ADHD"?

ADHD is a common term. Some of us, especially those with kids who aren't working up to their potential, use the term "ADHD" or "ADD" all the time.

Usually we mean that our kid is being hyperactive and can't pay attention. Or our child is dreamy and never seems to know what's going on.

In addition to how often we use the terms, it also seems like every expert (and lots of non-experts) has their pet theory of what causes ADHD.

A few of these theories that have been blamed for "causing" ADHD include

When It Isn't ADHD: Ryan's Story

Ryan and his dad had another argument tonight about math homework.

Dad's yelling at Ryan. Ryan's crying. And Mom's telling Dad to stop yelling at Ryan while trying to get Ryan to stop crying.

Ryan was pretty sure he had homework, but he wasn't sure what it was.

Ryan feels terrible. Not only has he made a mess again with his math homework but his parents are fighting. And it's all his fault.

This year Ryan is getting up out of his seat whenever he feels like it and disrupting other kids. So he's getting in trouble at home for that too.

Sometimes Ryan's Mom emails the teacher and gets Ryan's homework. But she can't do that everyday. And Ryan needs to be more responsible.

At Back-to-School night, Ryan's teacher suggests testing him for ADHD. She thinks maybe he needs to be on ADHD medication.

Dad, annoyed by the whole thing, starts asking more questions. He wants to know exactly what Ryan is doing and what Ryan isn't doing. Need to solve this homework problem and this behavior problem right now before this business with Ryan gets out of hand.

Then the clue! Ryan's teacher says,

Getting the ADHD Diagnosis Right: What to Say to Your Child’s Pediatrician

At least 63 common conditions can cause behavior that looks like ADHD. In other words, you or your child's teacher might think that your child has ADHD when in fact they have something else.

It’s easy to make the wrong diagnosis and well-meaning parents, teachers, even pediatricians are doing it everyday.

Misdiagnosing ADHD remains a serious problem because the wrong diagnosis often means a prescription for powerful stimulant drugs that your child doesn’t need.

If your child is taking a drug she doesn't need because of the wrong diagnosis, she could have side-effects, sometimes serious, to these drugs.

As a parent, when your child’s teacher says "I think Angela has ADHD," ask the teacher to describe Angela's specific behavior. Ask if Angela acts this way in other classes. Did she act this way in class last year.

Always keep in mind that teachers are not medical doctors or trained in psychology, much less psychiatry. They do not qualified to diagnosis ADHD, anymore than they are qualified to diagnose pneumonia, cancer, or brain tumors. That is not their job.

If the teacher says that he doesn't think Angela has problems in other classes and didn’t have a problem last year, then you know it’s a

ADHD or School?

Caitlin’s teacher called. Caitlin was acting up in class, wasn’t paying attention and often didn’t bother finishing her work. Sometimes she just "zoned out."

Caitlin’s teacher was concerned.

She knew that Caitlin was one of the brightest kids in her class. Knew Caitlin could do excellent work. Could get straight As.

Then the teacher suggested to Caitlin’s Mom that she thought Caitlin had ADHD.

That Caitlin should be tested. Perhaps put on a drug for the disorder. Caitlin’s Mom was stunned. How could she have missed this?

So what should Caitlin’s parents do? Agree with the teacher? Tell the pediatrician that the teacher said their daughter has ADHD? Ask for a prescription?

If Caitlin’s parents do a bit of homework—even a quick internet search—they’d soon discover that ADHD isn’t something a child (or an adult) has just at school or just at home or just when they go to Grandma’s house.

Children with ADHD have this behavior in at least two different environments and often in almost every situation--except for playing video games and doing things they're passionately interested in.

In Caitlin’s example, school was the only place she exhibited ADHD behavior, and she didn’t show any of these tendencies in school last year. So Caitlin’s folks can rule out ADHD.

But what’s going on instead? Why is Caitlin acting up at school?

Turns out Caitlin is

Oprah Gives to Denver Charter | Are Charters Best for Your Child?

Oprah Winfrey Gives Money to Denver SchoolOprah Winfrey just gave $1 million to the Denver School of Science & Technology, a high performing charter school. I live in Denver. Of course, I’m thrilled.

But charter schools have become a political football. Many conservatives like them a lot and some liberals, including teachers’ unions, on the other hand, often don’t like them.

But some liberals who don’t like charters are annoyed at other liberals like Oprah and Barack Obama who do like charters.

Read the "Wall Street Journal," you’ll find charter school success stories. Read the "New York Times" and you’re more likely to read charter school failure stories.

Everybody's right. Some charter schools, Oprah’s choice in Denver and the new charter schools in New Orleans, for example, are excellent schools.

Other charter schools have proven no better and sometimes worse, much worse than their traditional neighborhood public schools.

And sometimes a great charter school is a lousy choice for your child. An open, loosely structured school environment won't work for

ADHD or Stress?

Jerrod’s pediatrician took him off stimulant drugs for ADHD—and all the other medications he was on.

Jerrod had been excessively hyperactive and impulsive, unable to focus on even the simplest schoolwork.

The drugs helped hyperactivity but Jerrod still didn’t pay much attention to school. His grades were still lousy.

Some days the combination of drugs made Jerrod sleepy and spaced out. At least he wasn’t getting into trouble every day.

Now Jerrod’s a happy 9-year-old, doing much better in school than last year, and rarely gets into trouble. What happened?

ADHD or Lack of Sleep?

Some kids have ADHD. Some kids act like they have ADHD but they don’t really have it. What’s going on? Could be that these kids simply aren’t getting enough sleep!

Lack of sleep is so common and so serious now that teachers report kids in their classes falling asleep at school!  How can your child learn math if they just fell asleep while the teacher was explaining how to do long division?

Motivation, alertness, and memory are three of the most important factors that help kids learn, get good grades and high test scores. If your child is sleepy at school, their motivation, alertness and memory are pretty low.  Lack of sleep from pre-school through college is at epidemic levels.

Researchers are reporting that the average child is

Dr. MaryJo Wagner Says "No" and Looks Like a Flake!

By now, dear readers, you're well aware that I've been blessed with this thing they call ADHD. And oh, what a gift--I'm creative, have lots of brilliant ideas, am optimistic, funny, and pretty sharp.

Most ADHD kids and adults fit that description.

But thanks to an overload of brilliant ideas which is often accompanied by a complete lack of

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