The ADDed Benefits of AD/HD: Book Review

By Leslie Lindsay

So, you were blown away by Dr. Taylor’s interview yesterday, right? Want to know what we thought about his book, THE SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR KIDS WITH AD/HD (Free Spirit Press, 2013)? Of course you do!

You’re in luck. I don’t think I can say enough nice things about Dr. John Taylor’s SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR KIDS WITH AD/HD. Seriously. As a father of 8 (three of whom have been diagnosed with AD/HD), a psychologist and somewhat of a pioneer in AD/HD work, Taylor certainly knows how to *tailor* hard-to-process information for the younger crowd.

The book isn’t big, but it really doesn’t need to be (save all of the nitty-gritty reading for mom and dad; this book is intended for the kiddos). My daughter is 9.6 years old and in the 4th grade. We’ve known she’s had AD/HD since–well, forever–but it wasn’t officially diagnosed till she was 5. While THE SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR KIDS WITH AD/HD is definitely written at her level, we actually read the book as a family out loud, at night, before bed. And I would highly recommend doing it that way–it’s a valuable resource for all family members, including sibs who don’t deal with AD/HD personally. It helped our daughter’s younger sister understand some of her quirks and nuances.

As a parent, I definitely gained more tools and ideas for dealing with behavior, meltdowns, and understanding the unique perspective that is the child with AD/HD. Here’s what else I liked: the way “family” is addressed. Dr. Taylor has a wonderful way of including family/parents as not ‘just” mom and dad, but also takes into consideration that not all children reside with biological parents. He states, “the adults in your life,” and may not be limited to mom and dad, but perhaps foster parents, grandparents, and aunts/uncles, which is definitely a plus.

For more information, please see:

Free Spirit Publishing

Dr. John Taylor

[ Special thanks to Dr. Taylor and Free Spirit Press for providing this lovely book.]

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The ADDed Benefits of AD/HD: Meet Dr. Johnathan Taylor

By Leslie Lindsay   

I am delighted to introduce Dr. John Taylor, a nationally known AD/HD specialist and president/founder of ADD-Plus for our new series, “The ADDed Benefits of AD/HD.”

He’s the father of eight (!), three of whom have been diagnosed with AD/HD. In addition, he has written thirteen books on the subject and countless publications and journal articles. I think the guy knows what he’s talking about!

If you’re just now joining us here at SPEAKING OF APRAXIA, then don’t be alarmed…you are in the right place! This is where we talk about all things childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). Just for this series, we’re focusing on one of the very common conditions that often accompany CAS: AD/HD.

Leslie Lindsay: Thank you for agreeing to be with us today, Dr. Taylor! I think many parents have questions and concerns about AD/HD. What are some of the most common myths you’ve heard about the diagnosis and what message might you to parents?

Dr. Taylor: The most common myths about ADHD include:

(1) diet has nothing to do with symptom picture;

(2) toxic chemical exposures have nothing to do with symptom picture;

(3) sugar doesn’t make them worse and has a “bad rap” as a symptom exacerbator;

(4) AD/HD doesn’t exist and is a falsehood promoted by the pharmaceutical industry to make more profits;

(5) the only locus of abnormality is within the brain;

(6) it can’t be accurately diagnosed until the child is six years old;

(7) the child’s most common problems are behavior control problems;

(8) the problems it generates within the family are mild and easily eliminated by mediocre-level parenting.     

My messages to parents include exploding the above myths and conveying the contrasting realities. Nutritional manipulation, especially trickle-feeding of protein foods, is one of the strongest and safest ways to reduce symptoms, at least for 60% of children with ADHD. Toxic chemical exposures drive up symptoms in about 80% of children with ADHD, according to a massive amount of research over the last 35 years (over 400 studies in journals). Sugar is a villain, but a weak one easily compensated for by protein; man-made sugar substitutes are usually a worse option; natural stevia is the best sweetener and doesn’t worsen ADHD symptoms. The loci of abnormality for most children with ADHD are six organ systems: brain, digestive tract, skin, immune system, blood sugar control mechanism, and blood itself (two abnormalities recently detected). Accurate diagnosis, if the diagnostician follows my guidelines, is highly probable by age two for those with a moderate to severe level of ADHD. The most common problems are academic, with 80% of children with ADHD benefitting from special academic methods or accommodations; 40% of them have learning disabilities. The most common complaint they actually make when interviewed by mental health professionals is that they don’t have enough friends. Family stressed generated by ADHD are severe, and I often refer to ADHD as a family splitting force; prevention of such damage to the relationships within the family is seldom if ever accomplished by mediocre parenting performance.

Leslie Lindsay: For me, I hear a lot of, “S/he’s just being a typical, energetic kid.” How can we tactfully point out that ‘no, there is something else going on.’ And frankly, whose business is it, anyway?

Dr. Taylor: The three most common diagnostic run-arounds these parents receive in the early years of trying to discover what is wrong are (1) “Boys will be boys” (75% of these children are male); (2) This is just a phase; s/he’ll grow out of it”; and (3) The child’s aberrant behavior is the parent’s fault as in being too lax and spoiling the child or being too firm and failing to support self-esteem enough.

To get beyond these simplistic off-the-mark conclusions, document evidence that the child is showing key ADHD symptoms to a significant degree. To make this issue even more confusing, all ADHD symptoms come from the range of “normal” experience, so that it is safe to say that everyone has some of the symptoms at some time or other. The diagnosis is, in fact, that these symptoms occur too much, at too great an intensity, in too great a number to be passed off as “normal.” A great place to start for a hyperactive child is a screening checklist for hyperactivity. A very accurate one is available free of charge as a download from my website.

As to whose business it is, it is definitely the parent’s and child’s business to become aware of, and thoroughly knowledgeable about, any significant medical or psychiatric condition the child has. If the child has ADHD, it is therefore also the child’s “business.” That’s why I wrote the book for children with ADHD to read, as a source of wide-ranging insights and assistance for their daily coping at home and at school.

Leslie Lindsay: Let’s talk about girls. I happen to have a 9-year old daughter with AD/HD who is very bright, creative, and inventive. In fact, she talks about being an inventor/engineer or artist when she grows up. Yet, it’s my understanding that girls often are hard to diagnose because they present with slightly different symptoms than boys. Can you explain the differences between how each gender presents?

Dr. Taylor: Your daughter is typical of most children with ADHD. There are six talent areas to hunt for, and they spell MADAM-C. They are mechanical, artistic, dramatic, athletic (the least common of the six) musical, and computer skills. Hyperactive girls tend to be tomboyish, and there is apparently an underproduction of or blocking of estrogen-related phenomena in both boys and girls with ADHD. Girls with ADHD are more likely to be regarded as distractible and being chatterboxes, while boys are most distinctively seen as aggressive and hyperactive. Whereas only 20% of hyperactive children are girls, about 40% of kids with “pure” ADD (without the hyperactivity) are girls. Among children with ADHD, girls do better socially and academically than boys do. They’re also less likely to become substance abusers and delinquents during adolescence than boys with ADHD.

Leslie Lindsay: Okay, full disclosure: when I was a child/adolescent psych R.N., it was one of my worst fears I’d have a child with AD/HD. Looking back, I sort of cringe at that fear. We can’t control these things anymore than can control the color or hair or eye color our kids have. That said what advice would you give to a mother parenting a daughter with AD/HD?

Dr. Taylor: My advice would be to follow all the guidelines in the various chapters of my comprehensive guide for parenting any child with ADD, “Helping Your ADD Child.” The chapters on enhancing the child’s self-esteem, improving the child’s social skills, getting the best professional help, reducing symptoms by the four avenues (physiological, psychological, sensory-motor, and academic) and regaining family harmony would be relevant. Interview your daughter once a month about how her life is going, detecting any problems and making sure her emotional needs are being met well.

Leslie Lindsay: Yet when we try to encourage our kids to be themselves, to do their best, to highlight their gifts, we still get frustrated. What would you identify as the common “problems” parents and their AD/HD kiddos have with one another? And how can we overcome them?

Dr. Taylor: Self-esteem and its attendant issues are at the root of much of the conflict in families with children who have ADHD. Use “Super Strokes” (download from my website, “ADD Extras”) and avoid praising and similar judgmental methods that aren’t powerful enough to bolster the sagging self-esteem characterizing most children with ADHD. Having the once-a-month personal private interview is also a valuable tool to reduce parent-child conflict in these families. A common problem is the parent’s feeling forced to nag and remind; many of these parents have told me statements such as “If I don’t nag him, he won’t get it done.” Yet nagging is a parenting error to be diligently avoided. My various resources explain how, but the important thing is to get out of the nagging role. Tell your child once then follow up with some sort of action; in other words, speak with the tongue in our shoe, not just a constantly wagging tongue in your mouth. The launch of each day is also a problem time for many of these families. The majority of hyperactive boys and girls are yelled at most mornings before they get out the door to go to school. The consequent toll on their self-esteem and their ability to cope with the stresses of the school day is devastating. Plan for an orderly launch of the day; set things out the night before, and have a peaceable breakfast available for the child. 

Leslie Lindsay: Your book, THE SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR KIDS WITH  AD/HD is designed for kids ages 8-12 and contains “kid-friendly tools for making each day great.” Can you describe some of those tips and tools?

Dr. Taylor: I wanted my guide to be frankly helpful and usable by any child who has ADHD, with or without the “hyperactivity” component. One “tool” is a four-step procedure I developed by working directly with kids who have ADHD to improve their decision-making. Hyperactive kids make decisions carelessly and impulsively, and kids with “pure” ADD make their decisions too slowly and too cautiously. Two more “tools” are my nutrition and sleep guidelines; most parents of these kids don’t understand how to manipulate sleep and nutritional variables to reduce the symptoms. Other tools include a fun idea list of things to do when they become bored or are stuck inside on a rainy day. There are dozens more of these unique “tools” that don’t appear in generic books for these kids.

Leslie Lindsay: Many thanks for being with us today, Dr. Taylor! What a fantastic education.

Dr. Taylor: Thank you. This is an important topic, and these children and their families need this information.

For more  information on Dr. Taylor, his publications, and worksheets/screening tools, please visit: ADD-Plus

Bio: Regarded as an innovator in the field of ADD, John F. Taylor, Ph.D. is a family psychologist and father of eight children, three of whom have ADD. His practice has focused for over twenty years on children and adolescents with ADD/ADHD. He authored one of the first books devoted to ADD/ADHD family relationship issues (THE HYPERACTIVE CHILD AND THE FAMILY). His recent book “Learn to Have Fun with Your Senses” helps children with ADHD, autism, and other conditions featuring impaired sensory processing.

A prolific developer of techniques and resources for ADD/ADHD as well as a captivating speaker, he has often been featured at conferences and on nationally broadcast talk shows. He has authored numerous books and parent educational materials as well as many articles in professional journals, including the “Sharpening Your Counseling Skills” column in the journal PRACTICAL IDEAS FOR COUNSELORS. A consultant and item writer for the recently published Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-3), he is listed in WHO’S WHO IN THE WEST and WHO’S WHO AMONG HUMAN SERVICE PROFESSIONALS, and THE INTERNATIONAL WHO’S WHO OF PROFESSIONALS.

Among Dr. Taylor’s over 200 creative articles, audio and video productions and books are

  • The Hyperactive Child and the Family
  • A.D.D. School Success Tool Kit Video
  • The Answers to A.D.D.Audiotape Series
  • The Attention Deficit Hyperactive Student at School
  • Anger Control Training For Children and Teens
  • Person to Person: Awareness Techniques
  • Social Skills Solutions Video
  • Why Can’t I Eat That?
  • Diagnostic Interviewing of the Misbehaving Child
  • Intimate Encounter
  • Understanding Misbehavior
  • Motivating the Uncooperative Student
  • Family Power Series
  • Counselor Survival Guide Series
  • From Defiance to Cooperation

New Series: The ADDed Benefits of AD/HD

By Leslie Lindsay

Having a child with AD/HD can be exasperating. It can also be unbeliably amazing. Having a child with both apraxia and AD/HD can be a little overwhelming at times.

Welcome to a new series over here at Speaking of Apraxia.

I’ve been thinking about this one for a long time. It’s been four+ years that we’ve known, without a doubt that our oldest daughter Kate has AD/HD. We were in the throes of apraxia at the time and while that was  a perfectly acceptable topic to blog about, my hubby said, “Okay…so now we know [what’s going on with Kate], but no blogs about it, okay?”

Uh, sure. Being a momma who often copes through writing, this was like saying, “and by the way, honey no more football on television.”

But I agreed. At the time.

And now, four years later and several different AD/HD meds on-board, Kate’s diagnosis doesn’t seem to be such a stigma.

In fact, AD/HD is pretty common. It’s also the second common co-occuring disorder with apraxia. The first seems to be sensory processing issues tied with autism. You can think of it being on a spectrum on neurobehavioral concerns, a package deal so to speak. It doesn’t mean your child with CAS will definitely have AD/HD or sensory processing issues, autism, anxiety, or any other alphabet soup of concerns. It just means it’s a possibility.

The series isn’t all gloom and doom. It’s about celebrating our kids’ unique constellation of qualities: creativity, ingenuity, energy, and sparkling disposition. AD/HD can be a blessing (often in disguise), so it’s up to us parents to help those fantastic traits shine.

We’ll meet with a few experts in the world of childhood AD/HDDr. John Taylor who has written several publications on the topic, including a kids guide to dealing with AD/HD, Penny Williams–a veteran momma of a boy with AD/HD (among other things), and also the author of BOY WITHOUT INSTRUCTIONS (she also has a longtime relationship with ADDitude magazine and another book coming out in November). We’ll hopefully meet Dr. Patricia Quinn who is in the throes of getting her next book out on the subject…and I should have one hot off the press to share with you.

In the meantime, let me know if you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see on this series. I love hearing from you!

[world AD/HD image retrieved from www.oakvillechitchat.com on 9.25.14]

Super-Sport Saturday: Being a Team Parent

By Leslie Lindsay

Ah…it’s the weekend. The sky is blue, the temperature is perfect and your little one has a game. Could the world look any sunnier?

Yes! If your child’s team wins.

But wait. That didn’t come out right. Well, yes…it did. Everyone likes to win. It feels innately better than losing.

Last weekend, all of those elements came together. Sun. Weather. Winning. The trifecta of youth sports. We celebrated at a nearby Italian restaurant and my hubby patted our redheaded soccer star on the back and said, “We can go out to dinner/lunch” after a winning game. She grinned. Her eyes sparkled. “And I get to pick the place, right”

“You bet!”

And so while we all noshed on breadsticks and pesto, it was really Kelly who was the winner.

Or was it?

Sure, there’s a sense of shared comraderie in winning a game, even for us parents and sibs. But what if my daughter’s team had lost? We would have gone home, tails tucked between our legs and had Ramen noodles. Or cereal.

Kelly loves to get feedback on her game. Not all kids do. But for my daughter, she wants to know who we liked best for that game. I think what she means is, who supported teamwork, who played well. Not all kids like this. Some kids just want the game over and they want to get back to the business of being a kid.

Makes sense, right?

We give the feedback. “Well, Cameron was a really good goalie today,” we might say. “Sam was fast.” …”Carly could have helped on defense better.”

But most of all, we tell our daughter that she played well. The number one thing we can say to her is this, “I love watching you play.”

Maybe the game was a bust. But we can still enjoy watching our little sweeties running around a field or court, right? (by the way, this “I love watching you ____” works well for *anything*. I love watching you work is great for homework).

Here’s another thing we need to remember as parents on the side-lines: learn the names of kids on the team. Shout their names out too, not just your kiddo’s name. Same goes for getting to know the parents. Tell them their kid did well. And remember, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. [IMAGE DESCRIPTION]

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.</aFor some really great articles on the subject, check these out:

What Make Night Sports Parent.

How to be a Successful Youth Sports Parent

Parents Ruin Sports for Kids by Obsessing About Winning

[bottom image of boys soccer retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/10/parents-ruin-sports-for-their-kids-by-obsessing-about-winning/280442/ on 9.20.14. Top soccer image from author’s personal archives.]

Super-Sport Saturday: What it Means to be a TEAM

By Leslie Lindsay

So you kid’s on a team. Yahoo! About a month ago, my hubby and I were having dinner at a delightful little restaurant. And as it goes with dates, we often talk about the kids–more specifically it was a little combo convo about his work and our daughter’s competitive soccer team.

We decided that there are a myriad of benefits for kids to be involved with a team sport. He was on one as a kid…but I was not. I felt like I was missing out on something. Sure, there’s the social component about it, but that wasn’t it. Not entirely. We thought, too that for our kids to be successful in business, they not only need to be immersed in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) world, but also need to be team players. Yes. That’s true.

While I no longer work as a nurse, there was definitely some teamwork going on there…docs and RNs…psychologists, and well, managing a whole team of nurses to get the job done. Now, I may sit behind computer and piece together stories, but even that requires a team (social networking, anyone?).

So, here it is–the ABC’s of being on a team, whether for sport or life:

A: aerobic athleticism. Advancement.

B: boredom buster. Brainstorming.

C: Collegiate. Collaboration.

D: drive. Determination. Development.

E: experintial learning. Endurance.

F: Friendshop. Fun. Flexibility.

G: Goal-setting and attainment.

H: Hand-eye coordination. Humor.

I: individual work is great…but collaboration even better

J: journey.

K: kinship and not just blood.

L: learning something new. Leadership.

M: muscle memory.

N: new experiences. Novelty.

O: outlet for engery. Optimism. Objective.

P: problem-solving. Peer review.

Q: quick-thinking. Quest for knowledge. Quest to improve.

R: relaxation…especially afterwards!

S: scholarship.

T: time-mangagement.

U: understanding and support for others.

V: victory!

W: we all succeed

X: excitement for the end result.

Z: zippier work. Hopefully.

For more information about the benefits of working on a  team, please see:

“How Kids Benefit from Team Sports” from “She Knows”

“Why I Don’t Want my Kids to Play on a Team Sport” from the WSJ

“Finding the Right Team Sport for your Child” from Parenting

Next week: Being a Winning Sport.

 

Super-Sport Saturday: New Series All About YOUR All-Stars

By Leslie Lindsay

Welcome to a new series this fall!  For the next three weeks, you’ll find a special-edition sports section in your in-box. Think of it as a little pre-season warm-up. Topics served:

  • The cost of competitive/traveling sports
  • The Team Approach
  • Being a Good Sport

If you’re thinking I’m all about apraxia over here, well you’d be right–and wrong. You see, my daughter is now 9 years old and in the 4th grade. Gosh, where did time go?! She’s doing remarkably well with her apraxia, and so we thought we’d branch out a bit. Cause ya know…there’s so much more to her lovely sweetness than CAS. I bet the same is true with your little people, too.

Just recently, my youngest daughter donned her shin guards and pulled her red hair into a ponytail. It was laced with soccer balls. The colors matched her jersey perfectly. I parked the van and punched the automatic sliding door button. She clamored out and onto the soccer field where someone (a stranger–gasp!) pinned a number to her jersey.

For the next hour, she dodged cones, dribbled, and assertively made her presence known to other team players. I leaned in close on the sidelines, a saggy pink game chair holding a cup of liquid Klonopin Starbucks in my hands. Would she make the team? chest felt tight. My palms grew damp. I followed her on the field, her tiny feet pounding the grass, a swoop of Nike cleats.

Towards the end of this “casual try-out,” a burly coach came by us parents. He had on a Cardinals cap, and so immediately–being a “Show Me” girl myself–I relaxed. “Okay, parents! Listen up. We have a list of numbers we’re going to be reading off. If you  hear your daughter’s number, then we’re extending an invitation for her to be on the team.”

Numbers? Oh dear God…what was her number?! I don’t even remember. A muffle of digits rattled off by the man in the Cardinals cap. What was my daughter’s number? Another mom noticed  my restlessness. “Go onto the field and read her number!”  I did. She was 803. Or was it 804? My palms slickened. I wiped them down the front of my capris. “Can you read the numbers again?” I asked Cardinals man.

He didn’t hear me. Instead, his focus was on telling us about the next steps. “You’ll have 24-hours to decide if you want your daughter to be on the team. Just respond to the email invitation.”

Can you read the numbers again?

I was in a full-fledged panic.

My daughter came up to me then, “Did I make the team, momma?”

I don’t know.

Read the numbers again. Please.

Forget it. I’m a visual person. Let me look at your stupid clipboard. I peered over. He pulled back slightly, shielding the clipboard. “Tell me the numbers again. I missed it.”

He looked down at my daughter, her knees dirty, the laces on her Nike cleats loosened slightly. “Oh yeah…we’re taking her, too.”

“Seriously? You’re not just saying that cause she’s standing right here?”

“No, no. We’re not that way. If she wasn’t selected, we’d tell you.”

“So am I on the team, mom?”

“You. Are. On. The. Team!”

Small problem: the darm “club” costs and arm and a leg and our first born, whom thankfully isn’t you. So, I guess you’re in.

There’s a cost involved with these extracurricular activities…be that the cost of time, effort, financial, emotional, social…well, they’re all there. As with anything, the pros and cons ought to be weighed.

We talked with our daughter, gauging her interest, her passion, her dedication. We’re talking soccer 3 days a week. It’s a family committment. We have to drive to and from practice, games, schedule our dinner around it, homework too. Would it be worth it?

In the end, we decided the pros outweigh the cons and so now consider ourselves a “soccer family.”

If you’re faced with a similar situation, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

  • Who will be the primary “planner/manager” for the athlete in your family? Does that person have the time and skills to fit this into his or her schedule? This may mean keeping the calendar up-to-date, social media notices, ordering uniforms.
  • How will a sports committment impact your family life? Other children? Are games and practices held at reasonable times? Places?
  • What kind of travel is involved? Local communities only? State-to-state? Car? Air? Approximate costs?
  • Will there be enough time for homework, friends, just “being a kid?”
  • What kind of committment are you as parents/guardians looking for? Stay for the season? Win every game? A college scholarship? It may be good to lay out your expectations now–with the flexibility that these things can change.

Next week: What it means to be on a team.

[soccer image retrieved from www.nymetroparents.com on 9.4.14, kid with soccer ball retrieved from villagesofwestcreek.com on9.4.14]