Review: ‘Minimize the Madness: Taking the Mystery out of ADHD Medications’

I was recently given the opportunity to review Laurie Draper’s audio course: “Minimize the Madness: Taking the Mystery Out of ADHD Medications”. It is a solid audio course packed with information teaching anyone to easily understand how ADHD medication works.

If you are interested in learning more how the ADHD brain works and responds to medication, this is the audio course for you. It’s very important to note that Laurie Draper is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She is an ADHD coach with years of experience. If you have been busy Googling information about ADHD medication or ADHD symptoms, this course would provide you with a wealth of information with peace of mind knowing it came from a professional.

Laurie Draper’s audio course is a series of five 1½ hour audios in mp3 format with the option to pause and come back at any time. It was great that I could come back and finish the course at my own pace! Handouts are also available. When you register for the course, you will be given login information to access the links.

The course will cover five main topics:

  • The ADHD Brain and How ADHD Medications Work
  • Executive Functions and ADHD Medications: What’s the Connection
  • Stimulants, Non-Stimulants and Other ADHD Medication Made Simple
  • Top Three ADHD Medication Pitfalls: How to Know if Your ADHD Medication is Working for You
  • 13 Key Questions to Ask Your Doctor and Other Tools and Strategies for Making Sure Your ADHD Medication is Right for You.

I highly recommend that you hop on over to Laurie’s site to check out her ADHD medication audio course.

ADHD Medication: Vyvanse and Adderall XR

Today I wanted to briefly talk about ADHD medication for adults and children. I know there are some people who are anti-medication for ADHD. Unfortunately, there are people out there who think ADHD is not real. After witnessing the things I have witnessed, it pumps me up even more when someone tells me ADHD is not real. In addition, unless you are the person who has taken meds, please don’t say ADHD medications don’t work. I have noticed a considerable difference in one of my best guy friends after he started taking medication. In fact, I have several friends that finally decided to get help for themselves or their children, and they all wished they would not have waited so long.

My wish is that the people out there who say ADHD is not real would stop talking and actually be around an adult or child day in and day out that has ADHD and witness how the medication makes a difference. Obviously, I am not saying that ADHD medications works the same for everyone. But the people who find success in taking medication, should not be ashamed nor judged. At this time, my 7 year old son is not taking medicine. However, that does not mean he won’t in the future. When he feels or when I feel the ADHD is not under control, I will take him to be evaluated. Last year I wrote a post about him taking Clonidine for his tic disorder. The tics finally went away, so he is no longer taking Clonidine.

There are many people who need medication that would find success, but are too ashamed to get help. In high school, one of my guy friends was not taking medicine for ADHD but he really needed it. In the past month, he has started taking medication. For years it was obvious he had ADHD but didn’t realize it like those around him did. He tried Vyvanse and he immediately noticed a difference. However, he switched to Adderall XR due to the costs. He told me that he is more control of his emotions, that he can focus better, that he doesn’t feel like the background noise is interfering in his thoughts, that he can process information more clearly, that his thinking is more focused and can understand what people are saying without confusion. A lot of people don’t realize that emotions can be difficult to control for people who have ADHD. He has noticed a considerable change in how he responds to emotions. Both medicines worked well for him but he went with what is cheaper.

I do want to point out that no drug company has contacted me to write a review about the medicines. I am simply stating his experience with medication and hoped that people who are researching about medication, will see his experience as a success. The only downfall has been is he immediately noticed how mental health care is still not getting the attention it deserves. There still seems to be insurance companies that do not want to cover ADHD. In fact, after much research, I can tell you for a fact that many psychiatrists are not accepting insurance anymore due to insurance issues. This deserves a dedicated post about this issue in the future.

There are a lot of remedies out there that people use to try and help symptoms like using Focus Formula (which I have no experience with) or essential oils. In fact, I even wrote about how essential oils might be able to help certain issues like how to become more relaxed, but it is not a cure for ADHD. Many people have found success in changing their diet to help symptoms as well. With that being said, please seek help if you think you have ADHD. Talk to a professional and get evaluated. Don’t be ashamed to seek help. I promise that you will feel much better if you take care of yourself and get the help you need! :)

In the next week or two, I will be posting an overview to some excellent audio course I’ve been listening to about ADHD medication. I highly recommend it to learn about how ADHD medication works. Details coming soon! :) Update: Check out the audio course here!

Disciplining Children with ADHD: Explain Why Mama Says So

discipline-adhd-children

discipline-adhd-children

I wrote this post two years ago. I still agree with my overall message but I feel that I need to elaborate more. When I wrote this I felt like my oldest child didn’t listen very well to instructions. Now I noticed my daughter is acting the same way. Of course I thought I was doing something wrong. That I was not discipling correctly. In a way, that was true. I didn’t understand *why* they would freak out when I tried to discipline them.

It is hard for a child with ADHD to initially comprehend at first why they are being disciplined. Especially a young child. The reason why is because many times a child in his own mind has a logical explanation for why he did what he did. Many kids become argumentative and defensive when justifying their actions. It is important to explain why in simple terms. That phrase, “because mama said so”, doesn’t always fly too well. Although I understand why some parents say that, it is important to explain why mama says so.

This might be shocking but many times a child really doesn’t understand WHY you are disciplining. It is important to explain why because kids are learning and soaking in new information everyday. In fact, if you don’t explain why, it is possible your child might assume you are disciplining him for a different reason.

So what is the big mystery here? What I have learned now compared to 2 years ago is that my child internalizes discipline as him being a failure. He may be oversensitive and takes it to heart. It is important to make sure your child knows what he needs to do to correct his behavior and that you love him. That he is not a bad kid and it doesn’t reflect on who he is as a person. Has your child ever lost a game and got upset thinking that “they suck at everything?”. That is exactly how my son is and it hurts to watch him feel that way so I take these moments to help build is self esteem. There is more to this also. In another post I will talk about it, but dopamine and serotonin can play a huge part in their mood when disciplined (i.e, depression). My husband and I have had a life changing event in the past few months that made us realize that ADHD affects us more than we ever realized as a family.

Here is part of the post I wrote 2 years ago that might seem a bit out of place from the earlier portion of the post, but I will leave it here for you.

Wrong Way of Discipling a Child with ADHD

  • Your child exhibits negative behavior.
  • You tell your child stop .
  • Your child continues to do the bad behavior
  • You scream “stop that!”
  • Your child keeps doing it and asks “why?”
  • You scream “because mama says so!”
  • Your child doesn’t learn anything.

Correct Way to Discipline a Child with ADHD

  • Your child exhibits negative behavior.
  • You tell your child to stop.
  • Your child continues to do the wrong behavior.
  • You explain why your child should stop (because he could hurt himself, hurt someone else, i.e.).
  • Your child will either listen or continue to do the behavior. If your child continues, this is when you discipline appropriately (time out, etc).

With my son, there have been countless times I would discipline him by saying “stop that!” especially if he was yelling at his sister or kicking my seat. He would then cry and throw a fit, in which I would send him to his room. His temper would escalate, which is part of the reason he was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. However, it would have been best to tell him to stop yelling at his sister and then ask him why he was doing that. I would teach him the correct way to handle the situation after he gave me an answer, which is more beneficial than sending him to his room. This does not mean he should not be disciplined for his behavior.

Let’s say he was kicking the seat in front of him in the car, which is pretty annoying. To him, it just releases stress because many kids diagnosed with ADHD are fidgety. If I explain to him why it is annoying to ME then he can at least understand why I am telling him to stop. If I do not tell him why, he might not understand why he can’t release his stress of kicking the seat. To you it might be common sense, but some kids don’t have the cognitive skills yet to understand WHY things are the way it is. They honestly don’t think how it could possibly affect another person, so they might be shortsighted about the situation.

 

Teaching Children with ADHD Sight Words: Reading Strategy

teaching-kids-adhd-reading-sight-words

teaching-kids-adhd-reading-sight-words

Teaching children to read can be fun and hard at the same time. Children with ADHD sometimes have a hard time focusing. Sometimes they wiggle, squirm, and might need to be redirected several times. Does this sound like your child with ADHD? Fortunately, there are ways to make it more exciting for children to learn to read.

I know it is important for parents to limit how much screen time young children have on the computer. One the best uses of screen time is to play learning games. Did you know there are tons of free apps and games to play that teaches sight words? My son used the following websites at school and at home for free: Starfall, ABCya, Fun4theBrain. On your cell phone or iPad/Kindle/etc go to your app store and search for reading or sight word games.

Roll a Sight Word

Learning sight words can appear boring to some kids. The key is to make it fun and exciting, which is why it can be fun for kids to use mommy’s iPad sometimes. Another way to make reading more exciting is by using rewards. Many kids with ADHD need an external motivator, like earning a reward. I recently came across a sight word game called Roll a Sight Word from I Can Teach My Child. On her website, you can find the top 100 sight words and the printable worksheets you will need for the Roll a Sight Word Game. You will also need dice.

teaching-adhd-children-reading

To customize this game better for kids with ADHD (although the game is pretty good on its own), giving a reward each time a child knows a sight word will help tremendously. The object of this particular sight word game is to memorize and to practice writing sight words needed for reading. When a dice is rolled, a child must find a sight word that is made up of how many numbers the dice rolled.

If the number 5 is rolled, the child must find a sight word with 5 letters. If the child can correctly say the sight word, this is when you should offer a reward. Each time my son was able to find and say a sight word out loud, I gave him a treat. Some people might give stickers, candy, etc. My mother gave me M&Ms that day, so I did give him one  M&M for each word (and no, we didn’t go over ALL the words). I limited the amount of words so he wouldn’t eat too much sugar, especially food dyes. :)

My son also didn’t fight writing down the sight words because he was able to suck on an M&M while writing. The key factor is to reward a child with ADHD as he answers correctly or in increments. What are some rewards you can think of to use for this sight word reading strategy?

 photo source

Incase you missed this post before (originally posted March 2013), click here to read how to teach kids to read part 2.

If you are interested in paid for materials, here are some ideas:

Sight Words Level A Pocket Flash Cards: Includes 56 2-sided cards.

Educational DVD Collection Reading Program Early Learning Kit 


Sight Word Readers Parent Pack: Learning the First 50 Sight Words Is a Snap!

 

Essential oils used for stress relief and tension

Have you heard about using essential oils to help ADHD symptoms?  I’m researching the oils right now so today starts my journey documenting what I learn: the truth about essential oils and ADHD.

You’ve probably heard about essential oils on your Facebook page. You’ve probably seen articles about them. Well, I jumped on the bandwagon and started using essential oils. To be honest, I never heard of essential oils until last year but they have been around forever.

Oils are not a cure for ADHD. Consultants for any MLM company (including me!) should never claim or suggest that the products can cure, alleviate, treat, prevent, or diagnose a disease, symptom, or injury. In fact, you can read what we are allowed to say right here. If you don’t want to read the whole PDF, it says right there that we can’t suggest that oils can treat or alleviate ADHD. So please be careful when doing your research.

Frankincense

Useful for visualizing, improving one’s spiritual connection, and centering, it has comforting properties that help focus the mind and overcome stress and despair.

Peace and Calming

When diffused, it helps calm tensions and uplift the spirit, promoting relaxation and a deep sense of peace. When massaged on the bottoms of the feet, it can be a wonderful prelude to a peaceful night’s rest. Peace & Calming may be especially calming and comforting to young children after an overactive and stressful day.

Lavender

Lavender is an adaptogen, and therefore can assist the body when adapting to stress or imbalances. It is a great aid for relaxing and winding down before bedtime, yet has balancing properties that can also boost stamina and energy.

Valor®

Valor is an empowering combination of therapeutic-grade essential oils that works with both the physical and spiritual aspects of the body to increase feelings of strength, courage, and self-esteem in the face of adversity. Renowned for its strengthening qualities, Valor enhances an individual’s internal resources. It has also been found to help energy alignment in the body.

Have you used any of these oils before?

Want to buy Essential Oils?

I recently signed up for Young Living because I wanted to diffuse lavender to help me sleep. However, there are oils also sold on Amazon. I do plan to buy some of those oils also to compare to the YL oils. I will keep you posted.

If you want to join Young Living or purchase directly through Young Living, here is my member ID: 2528344. Click HERE to join. My member ID should be autofilled, if not, just type it in. You can also buy Young Living products on Amazon from a 3rd party seller it looks like. I will say that if you are very interested in the YL oils that it will be cheaper in the long run to become a member directly from YL to the autoship discounts.

Some things to know about Young Living.

  • As always, please read safety guidelines before using any oils.
  • It is recommended that oils be spread with a carrier oil. 

Survey for adults who grew up with ADHD

Did you grow up with ADHD as a child? Are you now an adult and see how ADHD affects your life? If so, do me a huge favor and fill out my friend and author’s survey about growing up with ADHD. Penny Williams is well known in the ADHD community and the author of  What to Expect When You’re NOT Expecting ADHD: A 9-step plan to master the struggles and triumphs of parenting a child with ADHD and Boy Without Instructions. She also is the co-founder of the Happy Mama Retreat.

A little about the survey by Penny Williams:

ADHD Adult Survey: Advice for Parents of Kids w/ADHD
Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey about your ADHD. I am working on research for my 3rd book, a compilation of advice for parents of children with ADHD, from adults who grew up struggling with ADHD. Your answers should be for your entire childhood, up to 18 years of age. If you feel a question is not applicable, please use the “other” option to give that answer.

Complete the survey HERE.

Thanks for your help!

ADHD and hyperfocusing

Many people who have ADHD struggle with hyperfocusing.  A person who has ADHD may think strongly or hyperfocus on one particular issue of a situation. According to Additude Magazine, “the focus is so strong that they become oblivious to the world around them”. From what I’ve seen personally, when someone with ADHD tries to divert his attention, he would risk getting anxious and frustrated that he is being pulled in different directions.

This can affect relationships, friendships, marriages, work, or any aspect of life. I don’t think many articles talk about how ADHD and hyperfocusing can cause frustrations. On a personal note, sometimes I have felt that I was being ignored by my spouse or that he didn’t care about what I had to say. The reality is that I needed to be more understanding how ADHD plays a role in his thinking. I needed to work on not being so impatient just as much as he did. Both of us would get frustrated at each other about the situation. Just because he is hyperfocused on something, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care about me. It just means this is how he processes information.

For example, if your spouse with ADHD is in the middle of studying for an exam, and you interrupt him to ask something as simple as what he wants for dinner, it could possibly set him off and he loses all concentration or at the very least become frustrated at you for asking. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Multitasking is not everyone’s strong suit but generally someone diagnosed with ADHD is not able to multitask the most efficiently because of their desire to hyperfocus (yes, this is a generalization, everyone is different). Time management is an important strategy for everyone to learn, but especially individuals with ADHD. Additude Magazine recommends to think about singletasking instead of multitasking. Be efficient in one goal at a time and do it well. Eliminate distractions and get enough sleep.

I also think it is important for everyone involved to come up with a plan on how to respond to each other when a situation like this occurs that could lead to frustrations (like the studying example above). Patience and understanding will go a long way. For children who have ADHD and hyperfocus, it is always best to give them a quiet room to study and to limit interruptions.

If you have experience with this situation, I would love to hear from you!

 

Homeschooling a Child with ADHD

Are you homeschooling your child that has been diagnosed with ADHD? If so, I would LOVE to hear about your experiences. My son is doing well academically at school. He is in the 2nd grade and in our state’s “gifted” program. However, in the past two years I have developed an interest in homeschooling. I realize this is not something everyone wants to do, nor is it financially possible for everyone.

I have many reasons as to why I do not want to homeschool at least for now, but it doesn’t stop me from reading about it for hours each week. I am not sure why I keep reading about it when right now I mentally could not do it (so beyond sleep deprived with my youngest child, etc). What I find appealing about homeschooling is the flexibility in schedule, being able to not be in a classroom all day, help tailor his education to his needs, give one on one attention, and much more. Why I couldn’t homeschool right now is the aforementioned sleep deprivation, fear of not providing everything my child needs to know, and fear of my child feeling like he “missed out” on the school experience.

With that being said, let’s talk about socialization. I do not buy into the argument that homeschooled children are not socialized. I absolutely believe homeschoolers are socialized assuming the kids actually see other children or other people. I don’t know about you, but I was one of the kids who was bullied by a few select kids every year for years. So my socialization in school had some good memories but many negative moments. Let’s just say I have no desire or interest in ever attending my high school reunions, which is sad. Homeschoolers can participate in groups, co-ops, take classes through university model schools, etc. For example, a school next to us allows homeschoolers to take one or as many classes as they want for their grade level. My point is that homeschoolers can absolutely be socialized too!

I love lurking on Practical Homeschooling’s Facebook page. If you are interested in homeschooling, I would start there as a source of information. I don’t know much else about homeschooling except what I read online, and three friends of mine started homeschooling in the past year. I would love to hear from you if you have homeschooled your child with ADHD. Let us know how it is working for you and your child!

Legos, Minecraft and ADHD: Perfect Christmas Gifts?

construct-o-mech-lego-movie

My son is obsessed with Legos. I don’t know if obsessed properly describes his addiction to Legos and Minecraft. He is 7 years old and can easily put together the Legos for older kids, probably like most Lego lovers. If I allowed him, he would probably watch Minecraft videos on YouTube or play Minecraft all day long.

For Christmas, he of course wants yet another Lego set. He actually only plays Minecraft on our first generation Kindle, so he wants to play it on a bigger screen. We own a Wii, and unfortunately there is no Minecraft game for Wii. We do plan to buy him the Minecraft game on the computer. I find it ironic in a way that a child diagnosed with ADHD, can totally sit for hours and play Legos.

Besides a Lego set and Minecraft, I am not sure what else to get him. He mentioned he wanted another Puppy Surprise or Kitty Surprise. Before you say they are “for girls”, well, he loves them. He has one and his sister has one. I had them growing up. I am trying to score the dalmatian Puppy Surprise or the calico Kitty Surprise. At Costco, I saw several awesome toys that I am considering for Christmas. I can’t remember what they were though!

The point of this post was to get gift ideas for Christmas especially for a child who has ADHD and gets distracted easily. What are some ideas that you have for Christmas gifts that will hold a child’s attention? Some may think these toys are only geared towards boys. I do know a few girls who play with Legos and Minecraft also! However, I would love to hear from moms who have girls diagnosed with ADHD also!

And for fun, here is my son’s latest Lego set from his maw maw: Construct-O-Mech from The Lego Movie
construct-o-mech-lego-movie

When Your 7 Year Old Says He Wants to Die

This year my son started 2nd grade. Things have been going great academically. However, in September, out of the blue, my son said that he wanted to die because he felt that nobody likes him. Like any parent, that concerned me to no end. He was with my in-laws the day he said it, so I wasn’t present. I did of course talk to him about it when he got home.

The truth is there are many days when he says “wow mommy, everyone seems to like me and know who I am!”. He will come home from school and tell me that when he walked down the hall or in the cafeteria other children will excitedly say hi to him. So it surprised me when he said that he feels like nobody likes him. I was able to link the days he says that nobody likes him to days when something negative happened with another child.

He is a very caring child. He has had some issues with particular kids at school, being taunted on the bus, and the entire class laughing at him before because he couldn’t spell the word “special” on the board. (Yes, true story. Apparently one student in the class was the ring leader and taunted him saying “Look, he can’t even spell special!”. So the class joined in and laughed and pointed at him. My heart aches for any child taunted at school). I have several examples.

Because I am not an expert at dealing with this, I found some resources below that discuss what to do when your child says that he or she wants to die. Although I am a (unemployed) school counselor, I feel like in addition to talking to your child’s school counselor or teacher, you should talk to a pediatrician or psychologist that specializes. I am assuming many of you are here because your child has ADHD. If so, ADHD is usually linked to other disorders like OCD or even depression. If so, you definitely want to mention that your child mentioned “wanting to die”  to your child’s doctor.

Kids will say things that they don’t mean all the time; however, I’m in the camp that in this situation that it is better to be safe and speak to someone about it. Also, monitor and keep talking to your child about it! Let them know that you are a safe person they can talk to!

Chicago Parent

The Guardian

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