Tag Archives: ADHD

Simple Stuff to Help Children Self-Regulate

Children gym fitness kid girl with small dumbbells vector. Fitness kid small dumbbells and sport girl. Little fitness kid girl and cartoon fitness kid girl. Sport dumbbells healthy lifestyle fitness.

Heavy Work = Self-Regulate

Proprioceptive receptors are located in the muscles, tendons, and joints.  These receptors respond to active movement and gravity.  Proprioceptive exercises involve deep pressure.  These exercises are a powerful tool to help children self-regulate.  Here are five simple exercises that can be incorporated into their school day.

  1. Wall Push-Ups. Place palms on the wall, bend elbows, and plant feet firmly on the floor.  Push against the wall for ten second.  Wall push-ups provide proprioceptive input into the arms, hands, and legs.
  2. Seated Push-Ups. Sit on the floor (with legs crossed) or chair (with feet flat). Push on the floor or chair with flat palms trying to slightly lift up the bottom.  Hold for ten seconds.
  3. Palm Push. Press palms together and hold for ten seconds.  Palm push provides proprioceptive input to the hands and helps balance the brain.
  4. Squeezes. Cross wrists and squeeze up from the wrists to your shoulders then squeeze down the arms again from the shoulders to the wrists.  Go up and down the arms ten times.  Squeezes improve attention, develop the brain, and provide proprioceptive input.
  5. Down Dog. Begin on hand and knees.  Spread the fingers wide and press the hands firmly into the mat.  Tuck the toes and bring the hips high while trying to push the heels toward the floor. Keep a slight bend in the knees and relax the head. Make it fun by wagging your tail.  Down Dog requires heavy work, which is movement that provides resistance to the muscles and joints. Heavy work develops the brain and helps children self-regulate.

Magical Discipline Strategies for ADHD

Magician's hands holding a magic wand and waving it over a magical top hat

Okay, I exaggerated it’s not magical, but these strategies are so simple, quick, and effective, they feel like magic. I have used the 1-2-3 Magic system for 17-years, both as a psychologist and as an early childhood coordinator. If implemented correctly it works just like magician casting a spell.

For now we are only going to discuss stop behaviors. Stop behaviors include: aggression, yelling, pouting, whining, and arguing. Basically any behavior you want your child to stop doing.

Using a counting system to stop unwanted behaviors in children with special needs requires modifications. Children with ADHD and autism typically have problems processing information given through auditory directions. Therefore, add visual supports or your child will look at you as if you’ve lost your mind!

Visual Supports Needed

  • Social Story. Children need the discipline procedure read to them with pictures of the time-out space, the timer, etc. The story needs to be very simple with only one to two sentences to a page.
  • Time Timer. The Time Timer is a timer that has a red disk that disappears as time elapses. The best part is no irritating ticking, distractions, or setup. Click here to watch a video on the Time Timer. http://www.timetimer.com

HOW TO WORK MAGIC

First, read the social story. Second, read the story often. Repetition is the key. Now comes the tricky part, implementation. When you see “Johnny” doing something he is not suppose to be doing say, “That’s 1.” If he doesn’t stop say, “That’s 2.” If he still doesn’t stop, say, “That’s 3.” Then walk him to his time-out place. This can consist of a square on the floor made of duct tape (thinking square), his room, or whatever place you deem the time-out spot. Once he calms down start the timer.   When the red is gone, time is up and Johnny is free. Sounds simple right? That’s because it is, but there are a few key components.

KEY COMPONENTS

  • Reduce talking too much. Only count.
  • Stay level headed. Show no emotion.

Still need help? Call the Mindful Child Aerial Yoga team at 913-660-8219 or sign up for one of our behavior management workshops.

The ABC’s of Yoga

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The ABC’s of Yoga for Kids is one of my favorite yoga books to use with children, including children with special needs such as ADHD and autism.  Children with special needs require simplicity and visual support.  This book has both.  Each letter of the alphabet is a different yoga pose.  Children are not only learning yoga, but their letters as well. The children love the colorful pictures and rhymes that describe how to get into each pose.  It takes approximately an hour to read the book if each pose is practiced.  I break it up into three sessions. It’s best to find proper alignment and hold the pose instead of rushing through them.

The benefits of yoga for children include:  balance, flexibility, coordination, and strength.  Additionally,  yoga promotes calmness and relieves stress. This books offers a multitude of wellness and mental health benefits and best of all it’s fun!

The ABCs of Yoga for Kids can be ordered online through Amazon.  Ready? Find your center, breathe, and soar.

Reference

Power, T. A., & Rietz, K. (2009). The ABCs of yoga for kids. Pacific Palisades, CA: Stafford House.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome

Intestines Sketch with Words

 “The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”

-Voltaire

The human body has an amazing ability to heal itself, given the right help.  The downside is nature is super slow.  Correcting nutritional deficits can take months if not years. Dr. Campbell-McBride has developed a nutritional treatment for psychological disorders based on the assumption that the association between physical and mental health, nutrient intake, and the condition of our digestive system is conclusive. This means that by fixing the child’s diet, hence the gut, cognitive and social impairments can be significantly improved.

WHAT IS GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME (GAPS)?

Antibiotic use has a serious damaging effect on the good bacteria in the gut.  This coupled with a diet filled with processed and fast foods give nourishment to pathogens or bad bacteria, which then grow into big colonies and take over areas of the digestive tract.  Yuck!

Gut flora is needed for appropriate digestion and absorption of food.  If the child’s gut flora is not balanced then the child will not digest or absorb foods appropriately, which will result in nutritional deficiencies.  Since gut flora is needed for a good immune system a cycle of infections and antibiotics follow resulting in further damage to the child’s digestive and immune systems. This results in allergies, asthma, and eczema. Additionally, without the good bacteria balancing out the bad bacteria the bad microbes begin to digest food in their own way making vast amounts of toxic substances, which are absorbed into the blood stream, carried across the blood-brain barrier, and into the brain.  Thus, the child’s digestive system becomes a source of toxicity.  This toxicity establishes a link between the gut and the brain forming the Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

HOW IS GAPS TREATED?

Dr. Campbell-McBride holds degrees in medicine and post-graduate degrees in both neurology and nutrition.  Dr. Campbell-McBride has a developed a diet to heal the digestive system.  She stresses eating foods in the form that nature made them.  No processed foods, please! Many of the chemicals in processed foods contribute to hyperactivity, learning disabilities, and psychological disorders.  The appropriate diet for GAP syndrome is one that avoids sugar, lactose, processed foods, grains and starchy vegetables.  In her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Dr. Campbell-McBride goes into great detail about diet and provides wonderful recipes. This book is a little technical, but a fantastic resource for parents.

Campbell-McBride, N. (2004). Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Natural Treatment for autism, ADHD/ADD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, and schizophrenia. York, Pennsylvania; Maple Press.

 

Research Participants Needed

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WHY PARTICIPATE?

Mental health disorders are rising in children and being referred to as an epidemic. Numerous studies have shown micronutrient deficiencies and poor diet quality are suspected of playing a contributory role in the escalation of certain disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism.   Conventional treatment for social emotional disorders in children typically involves medication, including stimulant medication and antidepressants. Medications only treat the symptoms of the disorder and not the cause. Parents are increasingly turning to complementary and alternative medicine to treat their children with a method that is individualized and holistic. Thus, the relationship between diet and mental health has become of increasing interest in recent years.

WHAT DOES THE STUDY ENTAIL?

I’m conducting research on the link between social emotional functioning and nutrient intake in children ages three to five-years-old. The information gained will offer an alternative or supplemental treatment modality to psychotropic drugs. Participants will be asked to complete a personality test and 3-day diet record.  If you are interested in being part of this study and learning more about your child’s nutrient intake and social emotional functioning please contact me as soon as possible at Tracy@mindfulchildwellness.com.

The Feingold Diet For ADHD?

Food additives prohibited

The concept that diet may be affecting children’s behavior gained public attention in the 1970s. In 1973, Feingold, pediatrician and allergist, created controversy at a medical conference by asserting that 50 percent of children he treated improved following an elimination diet of all artificial food colors, flavors, preservatives, and salicylates (Tomlinson, Wilkinson, & Wilkinson, 2009). I bet that was one hell of a medical conference!

Feingold reported food additives, including dyes and salicylates, which are chemicals that occur in some fruits, were the cause of behavioral problems in children. Since then, research has attempted to determine the validity of his claims in various ways. Studies have compared restrictive diets to regular diets or put children on restrictive diets and then gradually introduced food dyes or additives into the diet. Thus far, the studies have been inconclusive and leave multiple important questions to be answered.

 This is what a few of the researchers have reported. Mattes, Kavale, and Forness reviewed a slew of research pertaining to the Feingold diet and determined it was of no value and only helped a few children decrease hyperactivity. However, other researchers disagree (Rimland, 1983).   Reportedly, such a conclusion is not acceptable and an arbitrary negative conclusion. Rimland asserts that the studies reviewed had very small dosage levels of colorings and failed to recognize the role of the subject’s nutritional status. It is acknowledged that the Feingold diet may work for some children; however, it is not a cure all and does not work for all children. Additionally, most studies have only excluded a small number of colorings instead of the 3,000 additives in the Feingold proposal; therefore an actual legitimate comparison has not been made.

To some researchers, Dr. Feingold is considered a pioneer, for recognizing the nutrition and dietary sensitivity connection to behavioral problems. However, other researchers report his findings have not been replicated and lack reliability. Being a researcher, myself, I believe it would be extremely difficult to replicate Feingold’s findings. However, after studying hundreds of journal articles on diet and social emotional functioning, I consider him a pioneer and believe there is merit to his findings.

References

Feingold, B. (1976). Hyperkinesis and Learning Disabilities Linked to the Ingestion of Artificial Food Colors and Flavors. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 9 (9), 19-27

Rimland, B. (1983). The Feingold diet: An assessment of the reviews by Mattes, by Kavale and Forness and others. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 16(6), 331-3.

Tomlinson, D., Wilkinson, H., & Wilkinson, P. (2009) Diet and mental health in children. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 14(3), 148-155.

 

 

 

EMPowerplus To Improve Mental Health

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Research has shown that adding vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, iron, and omega-3 supplements to the diets of children with ADHD, depression, and autism, improved their social emotional functioning (Kaplan, Fisher, Crawford, Field, & Kolb, 2004; Shaw, Rucklidge, & Hughes, 2010).  Wait, say what?  How does that work?  Vitamins and minerals are precursors to neurotransmitters ( (brain chemicals that transmit information throughout our body and brain).  If our body is deficient in vitamins and minerals it can’t make neurotransmitters.  Neurotransmitters regulate our moods so not having enough can affect our mental health.

This is great information, but children won’t always eat their fruits and vegetables. Also, some children prefer a “sameness” of food items that limits their nutrient intake. This is where EMPowerplus can help. EMPowerplus contains 14 vitamins, 3 amino acids, 16 minerals, and 3 antioxidants and has been proven to improve psychological symptoms. And no, I do not work for EMPowerplus, I have just read the research.

The EMPowerplus website lists a multitude of research studies supporting it’s use for different disorders. Since not everyone enjoys reading scholarly research I’ve summarized a couple of the studies for you.

Kaplan et al. (2004) reduced psychiatric symptoms in children with behavioral disorders by introducing EMPowerplus for eight weeks. Six out the eleven children given the broad-based nutrient formula showed significant improvements. The findings of the study demonstrated improvement on attention, anxiety, delinquency, mood, and aggression. However, it should be noted that the sample size was small and parents gave ratings on all the outcome measures.

Rucklidge, Gately, and Kaplan (2010) found similar significant improvements in 120 children (7-18) with both pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD) and ADHD, and an alternative sample of 41 children with just ADHD, who were given EMPowerplus for 6-months. The symptom decrease for the entire sample (120 children) was a 59% reduction on the symptom checklist. Wow, a 59% symptom reduction!

As with any supplement if your child is on a psychotropic medication do not stop taking it or start any supplement without first discussing it with your physician. Also, it is best to obtain vitamins and minerals from whole food sources. Supplementing should only be considered when your child will not eat a wide variety of whole foods. The two supplementation solutions that are backed by the most research are Juice Plus+, which is a whole food, not a supplement, and EMPowerplus. Finally, don’t expect results to occur right away vitamin and mineral deficiencies can take months to correct.

Reference

Kaplan, B. J., Fisher, J. E., Crawford, S. G., Field, C. J., & Kolb, B. (2004). Improved mood and behavior during treatment with a mineral-vitamin supplement: An open-label case series    of children. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 14(1), 115-22.

Rucklidge, J. J., Gately, D., & Kaplan, B. J. (2010). Database analysis of children and adolescents with bipolar disorder consuming a micronutrient formula. BMC Psychiatry, 10doi:10.1186/1471-244X-10-74

Shaw, I., Rucklidge, J. J., & Hughes, R. N. (2010). A Possible Biological Mechanism for the B Vitamins Altering Behaviour in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Pharmaceutical Medicine, 24(5), 289-294.

 

 

Yoga To Improve Memory, You Betcha!

Meditating teenager

Yoga typically involves physical postures, breath control, and meditation. However, meditation can be hard, especially when offered in the traditional manner, which consists of remaining still and seated for a long period of time. OMMMMMMMM.

There is good new for those of us who find the traditional practice of meditation difficult. Researchers discovered that moving meditations are just as beneficial. Subramanya and Telles (2009) conducted research on a yoga practice that involved cycles of yoga postures and supine rest (lying with face up), which is referred to as cyclic mediation. This was compared to a simple meditation in corpse pose or shavasana. The cyclic meditation or moving meditation subjects demonstrated improved memory scores following the yoga practice and a decrease in state anxiety.

Similarly, researchers examined the relationship between yoga, relative to aerobic exercise and found that performance after yoga boosted accuracy and reduced reaction times on inhibition and working memory tests more so than aerobic exercise (Gothe, Pontifex, Hillman, & McAuley, 2013). It is hypothesized that this increase in cognition is due to yoga’s practice of combining specific postures with regulated breathing and meditation. The combination of these techniques initiates active attention or mindfulness, which is linked to increased cognition.

This is big news for children with ADHD and learning disabilities who struggle with working memory. Before starting homework or taking a test hit the yoga mat and jumpstart the brain. Actually, a mat isn’t even needed. A child can do simple seated poses while staying at their desk. Voila! Your child is set for success.

References

Subramanya P, Telles S. (2009). A review of the scientific studies on cyclic meditation. Int J Yoga, 2, 46-8

Gothe, N., Pontifex, M., Hillman, C., & McAuley, E. (2013). Acute effects of yoga on executive function. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 10, 488-495

Try this for Breakfast to Boost Mental Health!

Spinach smoothie

Super Quick and Tasty Smoothie

Getting children to eat a healthy breakfast can be challenging. This green chocolate smoothie is loaded with nutrients and best of all it’s quite tasty!

Spinach is considered to be a super food, which means it is loaded with vitamins and trace minerals.   Research has shown children with ADHD and autism have deficient iron, magnesium, and zinc. Iron and magnesium are important for mood and sleep regulation. Good news is spinach is a great source of both iron and magnesium!

Apples are full of antioxidants, including vitamin C and B-complex vitamins. Vitamin C helps block damage from free radicals (damaged, problematic cells) and enhances the immune system. B-complex vitamins help keep us calm and are good for the nervous system.

Bananas are high in potassium and contain tryptophan. Tryptophan, an amino acid, improves mood and memory. Additionally, the London Imperial College found that children who ate a banana a day had a 34% less chance of developing asthma. Wow, improved mood, memory, and ability to breathe all by eating a banana!

Start your child’s day off right by giving them a green smoothie. Remember to buy organic to avoid pesticides. If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, think of what an apple, spinach, and a banana can do!

INGREDIENTS

2 bananas, cut up and peeled

1 apple, cubed and cored

1 tablespoon flax seed

1/3 cup coconut water

2 tablespoons cacao powder

½ bunch spinach, rinsed and stems removed. If you have a Vitamix blender include the stems for extra health benefit.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add bananas and apples to the blender first.
  2. Next add spinach and flax seed, pushing it into the bananas and apples.
  3. Finally, add coconut water, cacao powder and a few ice cubes, blend.
  4. Optional. Drinking a thick smoothie is good for oral motor sensory input. To thicken do not add coconut water. Drink through a straw to maximize sensory input.

Reference:

Okoko, B., Burney, P., Newson, R., Potts, J., and Shaheen, O. (2007) Childhood asthma and fruit consumption. European Respiratory Journal, 29 (6), 1161-1168.

Mindful Child Wellness, LLC 2014, All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means: electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

Be a Cobra to Relieve Stress

Casa Somerset Yoga-5

 COBRA

 Children love to slither on the floor and pretend to be snakes, but what parents do not realize is being a cobra has multiple benefits. Slithering around on the floor builds upper body strength and coordination.   Exhaling out a “hisssss” releases tension and coordinates breath with movement.

Cobra is a great pose for all children, including those with developmental delays, ADHD, and autism.  Cobra integrates the Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex, which is a primitive reflex that has a role in development.  This means it has an important therapeutic role.  So by all means have snake races with your children!  Not only are they  fun, but it’s an aiding in their development.

 BENEFITS

  • Relieves stress, tension, and fatigue
  • Strengthens back and spine
  • Integrates primitive reflexes
  • Opens chest and lungs

HOW TO BE A COBRA

Lay on your belly with your legs together. Put your hands under shoulders and elevate your head and chest. Exhale out a “hisssss” then lower down to rest in the grass. Try it again. This time move your head from side to side as you hiss. Try it a third time. This time slither forward only using your hands and arms to move (works best on slippery flooring). Teach cobra to your friends and have a race!

 SHOW  US

Post your best cobra on Mindful Child Wellness Facebook page for a chance to win the pose of the month contest. Ready…