Hallowell Connections Color
Summer 2006 Newsletter )
Summer 2006
In this issue
  • FAQs
  • The Summer Vacation: Smart Strategies for Students with AD/HD
  • In the News - Adult ADD
  • New Course - ADHD for Parents and Educators
  • Clinician & Program Spotlight: Olga Soler and the Dore Program
  • Greetings!

    Welcome to the Summer 2006 issue of the Hallowell Connections Newsletter. We hope you have a relaxing summer; we'll be here to respond to any comments or questions that you'd like us to address in future issues. As always, feel free to forward our newsletters to others who might be interested in learning more about Hallowell Connections. - Melissa Orlov, Newsletter Editor


    Question: What is the difference between Asperger?s Disorder (AS) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)?
    Children and adults with Asperger?s Disorder (AD) are often misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and vice versa. Both diagnoses share some similarities, and it is possible for a person to have both diagnoses, but there are distinct differences between the two conditions.

    ADD is primarily characterized by restlessness, impulsivity and distractibility. It is marked by hyperactivity and/or inattentiveness. Socially, ADDers typically talk too much and interrupt others, but are usually very engaging and interactive.

    The major distinction between AS and ADD is that in AS there is a marked impairment to initiate and sustain connection with others. People with AS do not demonstrate or read nonverbal behaviors such as eye contact, facial expression, vocal inflection and gestures that help regulate social interaction. Vocabularies may be extraordinarily rich and some AS children sound like "little professors". However, persons with AS can be extremely literal and have difficulty using language in a social context. AS persons have difficulty with transitions or changes and prefer sameness. There is also a tendency to demonstrate an obsession with repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. Many persons with AS exhibit exceptional skill or talent in a specific area. It's important to remember that the person with AS perceives the world very differently. These persons may be perceived by others as being aloof, ?in their own little world? and oblivious to the feelings of others. Many behaviors that seem odd or unusual are due to those neurological differences (believed to be a right hemisphere dysfunction) and not the result of intentional rudeness or bad behavior. Because of their eccentricities, ASers easily become victims of teasing and bullying.

    The confusion between ADD and AS results from some overlapping features. Both disorders are characterized by reduced performance on tasks of executive function and information processing. Both ADDers and ASers may have difficulty making and keeping friends, but for different reasons. Intelligence scores are often in the superior to exceptionally high ranges. Because both groups have unique difficulties ADDers and ASers may be seen as anxious. And, like ADD, AS is most certainly not the result of "improper parenting".

    A complete neuropsychological evaluation is recommended as a way of determining a differential diagnosis. Treatment may involve medication, but the most successful treatment approach is with social skills groups. ASers need to learn how to demonstrate and read subtle non-verbal messages, friendship skills, anti-bully tactics, and stress reduction. A coach or therapist who specializes in executive function can be a helpful addition to the treatment team.

    By Rebecca Shafir, Hallowell Center, Sudbury, MA

    The Summer Vacation: Smart Strategies for Students with AD/HD

    School is over. Your children do not have homework until September! Hopefully they had a good year and can enjoy a well-deserved vacation.

    Or maybe they didn?t have such a wonderful year. The expected B for your son in History turned into a C- after finals. Or the A your daughter thought she would receive in Math became a B because half her homework assignments were late.

    What can your child accomplish in the coming summer months to start the 2006-2007 academic year in good shape?

    1. Your child or adolescent should review the year with you, his/her counselor, or coach at the Hallowell Center. The last thing children want to do is dwell on their challenges, but they don?t want to forget the specifics or have to dig up papers and marks in the Fall to see what went well and what didn?t.
    2. See if your child can isolate WHY certain subjects and activities were successful so the pattern can be continued in the coming year.
    3. If some subjects, activities, or settings presented challenges, make a list of these and brainstorm ideas of what will help to prevent the same occurrences in the coming academic year.
    4. Think about technology. No more excuses about losing assignments, forgetting deadlines or losing slips of paper! You can buy or learn to use a personal digital assistance (PDA) and try it out over the summer so you will be all ready for the fall. Will a PDA or other organizer work well for your adolescent? See if he or she can learn to use it and give it a try.
    5. Does your child use digitally recorded books? Children with a learning disability may be eligible to obtain books from Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic (www.rfbd.org). Teachers can assist with signing up if necessary. Students can save a lot of time and also understand the material better if they hear it as well as read it.
    6. Kurzweil (www.kurzweiledu.com), Dragon Dictate (www.dragontalk.com), and Inspiration (www.inspiration.com) are three of many available programs that can also assist with reading, writing and organizing papers.
    7. If your adolescent is a rising senior, use the summer to start the college personal statement. If your adolescent does not know the colleges where he or she will submit applications, it may seem a little too early to do this. BUT, an increasing number of colleges use the Common Application (www.commonap.org), so printing out a copy of the Common Application and working on it as well as one or two of the essay questions over the summer puts your student way ahead. That way the family eliminates some of the stress of the Fall when your son or daughter will be a senior and VERY busy finalizing the college list, visiting schools, having interviews, and STILL trying to have a good semester academically.

    When your student and you have done everything listed above, then you can relax. Just stay focused!

    By Renee LeWinter Goldberg and Marvin Goldberg, Hallowell Center Educational Planners

    In the News - Adult ADD

    The Boston Globe recently ran a good article about adult ADHD that includes scientific information as well as the criteria doctors use to diagnose ADHD. You may be interested in it for your own use or to send to someone else whom you feel could learn a bit more about ADHD. The link to the online version of the article is below.

    New Course - ADHD for Parents and Educators

    Drs. Hallowell and Ratey will be teaching a 7-week teleconference on ADHD specifically for parents and educators. Sessions are:

    • What is ADD, Really?
    • Getting a Complete, and Accurate, Diagnosis
    • The Biology of ADHD for Non-Scientists
    • An Overview of Effective Treatment - There's More to It Than You Think
    • School Success with ADHD
    • Everything You Need to Know About Medication
    • Alternative and Complementary Treatments

    The course runs once a week, starting October 18th at 8:00 EST and lasts 75 minutes per session. There will be readings and recordings of the sessions included in the tuition of $55 per session (total tuition is $385)

    Please visit our educational website for more information, and pass information about this course along to anyone else whom you think might have interest in it. The link is below.

    Clinician & Program Spotlight: Olga Soler and the Dore Program

    Olga Soler, Program Specialist with the Dore Program at the Hallowell Center, acquired the experience she needed to become a Dore Program Specialist from a varied background. She was in the professional theater where she received movement training at the Herbert Burkoff Studio, the Martha Graham Dance Studio and the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in New York. She received a BS in Education with a psychology minor at Southwestern University in Texas and a BA in Communications at Atlantic Union College in MA. She taught Kindergarten to middle school for several years and also worked extensively with the early childhood population in many creative venues. The fusion of psychology, movement and education enabled her to put together two programs of her own, ?Dance Alive? and ?Trauma Drama? which have been featured at many wellness conferences across the country and in the UK. Dore Centers were a natural progression from that since Dore uses exercise to stimulate the cerebellum with remarkable results for those with ADD and ADHD difficulties.

    Below Olga answers questions people most often ask about the Dore Program:

    1. How does the Dore Program work? It is a scientifically well-established fact that exercise affects the brain in many positive ways. We at Dore have put together a research-based program of exercise that stimulates the Cerebellum. We use balance equipment and ocular motor testing equipment to monitor the progress of our clients and prescribe exercises at progressively advanced levels that actually cause this vital part of the brain to grow and perform more efficiently. This has marked positive affects on people with dyslexia, ADD and ADHD difficulties.

    2. Why the Cerebellum? Research shows that the cerebellum is responsible for much more than we had thought formerly. It is prominently involved in regulating the fine motor functions, balance and coordination, short-term memory, and the functioning of executive skills like motivation and organization. It has much to do with concentration and verbal fluency as well as the ability to put thought to paper. It has been shown with SPECT and PET scan imaging that the cerebellum is underdeveloped in people with dyslexia, ADD and ADHD as well as other disorders like dyspraxia, dysgraphia and aspergers.

    3. How do these exercises help the cerebellum? These exercises help the cerebellum in much the same way that other exercises do, by creating neuropathways in the brain to the functions we want to see go into automaticity. The brain has been seen to have neuroplasticity well into a person?s later years. That means that the brain can learn and retrain and remodel itself virtually all our lives. When we repeat a certain action enough times, it creates a path in our brain that can be accessed quickly when we need the information. This is known as automaticity. The cerebellum is responsible for the automaticity of the brain. When it is working well, it puts what we learn into automatic memory for easy access. Much like a librarian puts books on the shelves in the right sections of the library so we can find them when we need them. When it is not working well, we see many of the symptoms of ADD and ADHD and more.

    4. Can the program be done when someone is on medication? The program can be done with or without medication but many clients find that because of the program they eventually can be released by their physician from the need for stimulant meds related to ADD and ADHD. We always recommend consulting the physician before removing meds at any time during or after the program.

    5. How many exercises do you have and how long do they take? We have more than 300 exercises but no one is required to do all of them. We only prescribe the ones that are right for the patient at the stage of development he or she is at. You are required to do the exercises ten minutes twice a day with 4 hours between the two sessions. If you do them in the morning it sort of calibrates you for the day so morning is good for many people. Doing them just before homework or heavy reading or writing is also good. You will have to do the program for at least 18 months to two years in order to get the maximum benefit. It isn?t a quick fix but we have not seen any regression in people who do the program according to our criteria. We have seen many people experience remarkable improvements in reading, writing, math, concentration, coordination and sports ability. Best of all as far as we can see the results are permanent.

    6. Are the exercises difficult to do? You will need to have enough mobility to be able to bend and stretch, but most ordinary adults and children can do them without too much trouble.

    7. Is anyone suitable for the program? There are certain conditions that make people ?not suitable? such as current vertigo or epilepsy, but when they do the free initial screening we can determine their suitability.

    8. How do we start and where do we go from there? You start with a free initial screening. If you are suitable, we set up a first appointment that usually last 3 hours. At this time we will test your balance on our posturography equipment (the kids call it the space machine because the prototype was designed by NASA) and your ocular motor functions. We will also do a dyslexic screening and you will also be examined by a doctor. After this you will receive your exercise prescription for the first 6 weeks. You will do these at home with supervision or with special accommodations for people who do not have a helper. At that time you will come in again and get reevaluated (one hour appointment) for another prescription of exercises and so on every 6 weeks till you are done.

    For more information and/or to make an appointment please call the Hallowell Center in Sudbury at (978) 287-0810.

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