As summer vacations come to an end, the focus on back to school starts to take precedence in many homes. Some children are excited to see old friends, some look forward to the structure and balance that school brings. But for some kids that have attention issues or learning disabilities, it may not be something to look forward to. Sheri Rowney of Harmonized Brain Centers in Nashville looks at the problems and a potential solution.
Sometimes these kids dread having to go back into an environment where they struggle both academically as well as socially. They have to go back to being told to sit down and concentrate; quit fidgeting; quit being sensitive to others that are “teasing.” They may be constantly reprimanded for not having their work done in a timely manner, or not being organized like they are supposed to be. The struggle is real for these children and sometimes they feel like there is no one to help them; they feel defeated.
Kids with ADD and ADHD are often misunderstood and are classified as “lazy,” “unruly” or “the bad kids.” No matter how many times they are asked to do something, they forget or get distracted.
They are often loud and disruptive in class. They can get frustrated easily when they can’t figure something out quickly and often quit. Soon the notes start going home to the parents, so they get in trouble twice; both at school and at home. Parents often feel as defeated as their child; not knowing what to do to get them on track and acting like the “normal kid.” It’s a vicious cycle and often leads to tantrums and outbursts from both sides.
Another problem with these special kids is socialization with their peers. They are often labeled as being difficult; many times, they are isolated in the classroom as the teacher tries to maintain control of the class. Parents of other children may tell their child to stay clear of the trouble maker; don’t talk to them, just ignore them. This creates its own set of problems as they are not welcome to play groups, birthday parties or even just joining in on the playground. Often these children become victims of bullying; kids make fun of them for being different or for always getting into trouble. Self-esteem plummets and again, these children can feel defeated and less worthy than others in the classroom. It is a sad, cruel cycle that affects up to 30% of kids in school today.
As parents seek help, they are often directed to medication as the answer to helping their child become productive and accepted in their classroom. Stimulants are given through a variety of different named drugs that chemically change the brain and allow the child to focus better, be quieter and more adaptive to their environment. While this works for many, it is not without its own problems. Common side effects of the medication are moodiness, lack of appetite, lack of motivation. While they are able to concentrate better, their sleep may become disrupted and their normally happy disposition may change. The tradeoff can sometimes be difficult and the answer hasn’t always been clear as to what is best for the child.
There is another answer; LENS (Low Energy Neurofeedback System). This particular therapy is safe, free from chemicals and has been tried and proven to be effective in over 90% of clients since 1990. By using a small radio wave (less than what is in a digital watch), LENS disrupts the dominant brain waves in the brain and allows them to reset in a more normal, efficient pattern. After just a few treatments, children often report feeling more “clear,” more focused, more able to complete tasks without frustration and anger. They are able to make better decisions, become more sociable, more able to compromise with others. LENS is a permanent solution and can be done with just a short session, once a week for 10 to 12 weeks normally.
Harmonized Brain Centers in Nashville is committed to helping kids with ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, anxiety and depression. We know that LENS can help. We will work with your child to help them create new, better habits in school and at home; to socialize in a more communal fashion; to learn to curb their anger and frustration and vocalize their needs in a more positive manner. We can help your child be the best person they can be. Give us a call on 615.331.8762 or visit our website: www.harmonizedbraincenterstn.com to set up a no obligation, no cost consultation to see what we can do to help you help them.
Bullying find it, face it and stop it
• When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior, they send the message that it is not acceptable. Do:
• Intervene immediately. It is ok to get another adult to help.
• Separate the kids involved.
• Make sure everyone is safe.
• Meet any immediate medical or mental health needs.
• Stay calm. Reassure the kids involved, including bystanders.
• Model respectful behavior when you intervene.
Avoid these common mistakes:
• Don’t ignore it. Don’t think kids can work it out without adult help.
• Don’t immediately try to sort out the facts.
• Don’t force other kids to say publicly what they saw.
• Don’t question the children involved in front of other kids.
• Don’t talk to the kids involved together, only separately.
• Don’t make the kids involved apologize or patch up relations on the spot.
• Talk with your kids about cyberbullying and other online issues regularly.
• Know the sites your kids visit and their online activities. Ask where they’re going, what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with. Tell your kids that as a responsible parent you may review their online communications if you think there is reason for concern.
• Have a sense of what they do online and in texts. Learn about the sites they like. Try out the devices they use.
• Ask for their passwords, but tell them you’ll only use them in case of emergency.
• Ask to “friend” or “follow” your kids on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so.
• Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or cell phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having.
Support kids who are bullied
• Listen and focus on the child. Learn what’s been going on and show you want to help.
• Assure the child that bullying is not their fault.
• Know that kids who are bullied may struggle with talking about it. Consider referring them to a school counselor, psychologist, or other mental health service.
• Give advice about what to do. This may involve role-playing and thinking through how the child might react if the bullying occurs again.
• Work together to resolve the situation and protect the bullied child. The child, parents, and school or organization may all have valuable input. Be persistent. Bullying may not end overnight. Commit to making it stop and consistently support the bullied child.
Avoid these mistakes:
• Never tell the child to ignore the bullying.
• Do not blame the child for being bullied.
• Do not tell the child to physically fight back against the kid who is bullying. It could get the child hurt, suspended, or expelled.
• Parents should resist the urge to contact the other parents involved. School or other officials can act as mediators between parents.
Addressing bullying behavior
• Parents, school staff, and organizations all have a role to play. Make sure the child knows what the problem behavior is. Young people who bully must learn their behavior is wrong and harms others.
• Show kids that bullying is taken seriously. Calmly tell the child that bullying will not be tolerated.
• Work with the child to understand some of the reasons he or she bullied. For example:
• Sometimes children bully to fit in. These kids can benefit from participating in positive activities. Involvement in sports and clubs can enable them to take leadership roles and make friends without feeling the need to bully.
• Other times kids act out because of something else—issues at home, abuse, stress—is going on in their lives. They also may have been bullied. These kids may be in need of additional support, such as mental health services.
• Zero tolerance or “three strikes, you’re out” strategies don’t work. Suspending or expelling students who bully does not reduce bullying behavior. Students and teachers may be less likely to report and address bullying if suspension or expulsion is the consequence.
• Conflict resolution and peer mediation don’t work for bullying. Bullying is not a conflict between people of equal power who share equal blame. Facing those who have bullied may further upset kids who have been bullied.
• Group treatment for students who bully doesn’t work. Group members tend to reinforce bullying behavior in each other.
Courtesy: www.thebullyproject.com. This site has a huge amount of information about bullying, how to prevent it and how to deal with it.
Preparing your Child for a new school
1. Knowing as much in advance is the key: Attend the school orientation together. Know where the key areas of the school are: Bathrooms, cafeteria and auditorium, the first classroom. If schools assign a ‘buddy’ to assist your child during the first few days or weeks, then sign up for it. Knowing where things are and how the school works should alleviate some of your child’s fears.
2. Sign up for extracurricular activities your child will enjoy or has some talent in. If they know they can shine at some-thing, it will give them confidence.
3. Talk about it with your children: Whether your child is worried about making new friends, losing touch with old ones, or simply finding their locker on the first day of school, odds are you can help.
4. Remind your children about other (successful) “first times” they’ve experienced in their lives and how well they handled them.
5. Find any excuse to socialize. Social-izing on home turf is often easier for kids and socializing one-on-one can be less intimidating than trying to break into a new group. Hosting a party is a great way to ingratiate oneself with a crowd.
6. Be patient. It can take weeks for things to settle down. If after six months your child is still very unsettled, you should talk to your child’s teacher and the school counselor. Finally:
7. If your child is an existing student, ask them to help a new kid at the school by making an effort to welcome them and see if they are OK, or need any help.