Hallowell Connections Color
October Newsletter )
The Power of Connection October, 2008
In this Issue
  • FAQs: Studying, Help for College, Fish Oil
  • Demystifying Specialized School Admissions
  • New Law Boosts Coverage of Mental Health Care - In Some Cases
  • In the News: Smoking and ADD
  • Great Reading: Stress Management Action Plan; Creativity; Memory
  • Hallowell Lectures in November
  • Groups and Events
  • We often get questions about "how much" treatment parents should consider for their chlidren. Dr. Hallowell believes that no person, young or old, should be required to take medication and that there are many promising alternative treatments available. At the same time, more than 70% of patients do find that medication helps relieve symptoms. This month there is further research to suggest that symptom relief is important - see our article on the connections between ADD symptoms and smoking dependency.

    I was reminded of what a life-changing moment seeing Dr. Hallowell speak in person can be when I ran into a stranger in the bagel shop recently and we started talking about ADD (this seems to happen to me a lot!). She had just seen Ned speak that week, and was reassessing her feelings about ADD as a result. So, I'm starting a new section in this newsletter that will list where Dr. Hallowell will be speaking the following month. This information has always been available on the main Hallowell website, but my hope is this will provide an easy way to ask "Is he speaking nearby?" and, if so, know to go to our link. Let me know if you find this helpful.

    The holiday season is fast approaching, and the financial markets are in turmoil, adding to an already potentiallystressful time of the year (and, yes, often joyful, too!). Please try to take care of yourselves with good nutrition, sleep and stress reduction techniques such as meditation or exercise. As bigger forces roil around us these techniques can help us all get through in a more healthy way.

    Melissa Orlov, editor

    FAQs: Studying, Help for College, Fish Oil

    Q: Can you suggest a source for me to contact in regards to my son and college? He has a very difficult time organizing his priorities and time. I had heard that there is some type of organizer who might work with him via the internet or by phone?

    A: An organizational coach or an ADD coach might be the right person to work with him. If you look up the ADD coaching associations online you will find a number of resources for finding coaches. Interview any prospective coach to make sure they understand your son's goals, as well as have demonstrated experience with clients with ADD.

    Q: Dear Dr. H - I am doing a science project on multi- tasking. I tested my classmates using math tests and different music (Rock and Classical) and silence to see how they affected their scores and time needed. I found:

    • rock music made them work faster but with less correct answers
    • classical music took longer but the test results were the best
    • when the room was silent, it took them longest to complete the test and the results were just a little better than with the rock music.

    Does this make sense to you?

    Answer from Dr. H: Dear J - what an awesome science project!!!

    Your results make perfect sense to me. I have long known that I do my best work with classical music playing in the background. I always do my writing with classical music on. If the room is silent, I get distracted by the silence! I think the classical music enagages that part of my mind that would otherwise be distracting me. It also makes sense that Rock music distracts even more than silence. It is because Rock music pulls your attention away because of the words and because of the quality of the sound. So your results make perfect sense to me!

    Q: How many milligrams of fish oil would Dr. Hallowell recommend for a 9 year old each day? I've heard that choosing a supplement that has 3X EPA to DHA is the right way to go, but have not seen a dosage recommendation.

    A: The ratio of AA (arachidonic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is important - the ratio should be between 1.5:1 and 3:1. You can get a blood test to measure this ratio in your blood in order to create an ideal custom dosage, though it may be hard to find as the test is not widely available yet (hopefully more so in the future).

    Without the blood test, it is safe to advise that a child take up to 2.5 grams per day and an adult up to 5.0 grams per day of an omega-3 supplement like fish oil, provided that it is toxin free. To check on the toxicity of specific products, go to this independent website for toxicity checks against IFOS (International Fish Oil Standards).

    Demystifying Specialized School Admissions

    In an ever-changing educational environment, students and families are more often than ever considering options for private schooling to help address learning and attention issues. But what do you need to know about specialized day and boarding school options from an admissions standpoint? A former admissions director with tenure in both specialized day and boarding schools and now educational consultant, Joshua Doyle, M.Ed., helps demystify the admissions process for you as a parent or professional making decisions in the face of student struggles.

    The following are Josh's top tips for navigating the admissions process for specialized schools:

    1. Assessment - It is vital that, before embarking on a search for a specialized school, your child has received updated cognitive and achievement testing. Most schools will not consider a student unless the testing has been done in the past 2-3 years. In more cases than not, a school will require the submission of a full Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC- IV).
    2. Research - The admissions process for you and your child can prove to be overwhelming and emotionally exhausting. Nevertheless, it is important that you all do a significant amount of research on the schools before applying. All specialized schools cater to different students in varying ways and it is up to you to understand the realm of possibilities.
    3. Retention of Students - It is important to know how many students decided not to return to their school. If the number is higher than 10%, ask why that percentage of students didn't return. Examples of questions you can ask about retention are in the resources area of www.drhallowell.com under "education/schooling".
    4. Outcomes Studies - Ask a school if they have done outcome studies on their students' progress. Many schools have done clinical studies that will give specific data on the reading gains their students have made since they have been attending school. Remember, though, anecdotal information is not a good substitute for hard data.
    5. Specialized Schools vs. Traditional Private Schools - In order to meet enrollment goals, many traditional schools are choosing to admit students with learning differences these days. It is very tempting for families to consider these schools because they have a more traditional private school setting and culture. However, not all of these schools have the expertise and/or proven methodologies "in-house" to academically assist these students. It is important to be cautious and ask detailed questions when considering traditional private schools for your child with specialized needs if the school does not have a proven history of working effectively with this sub- population. Some questions that can open up a discussion about supports for your child are, again, available at www.drhallowell.com
    6. References - Always ask the school for at least 3 parent references and in doing so make sure each has had their child in the school for at least one full academic year. It may also be helpful to request parent references that are from the same geographical area in order to be able to control comparisons in relating to local school

    Joshua Doyle, M. Ed. focuses on specialized placements as an educational consultant with The Goldberg Center for Educational Planning. If you have further questions for Joshua, please feel free to email him directly at josh@edconsult.org. The full text of the article from which this was taken can be found in the resources section of www.drhallowell.com under "education/schooling".

    New Law Boosts Coverage of Mental Health Care - In Some Cases

    Several readers have forwarded questions and information about the new legislation passed as part of the financial bailout package that requires that mental health insurance options be boosted.

    However, the new law is complicated by the fact that it doesn't apply to all insurance plans nor to all mental health disorders.

    The best explanation we've seen of how the law might affect you was printed by the Wall Street Journal on October 16th. To read it, go to this link.

    In the News: Smoking and ADD

    ADHD Increases Nicotine Dependence - Massachussetts General Hospital researchers published a report in the Journal of Pediatrics suggesting that young people with ADHD are not only at increased risk of starting to smoke cigarettes, and start at an earlier age on average, but also become more seriously addicted to tobacco than their non-ADD counterparts.

    Researchers believe that there may be interplay between the dopamine system (which regulates "reward" and mood and is a key part of ADHD) and another system in the brain related to smoking may be involved in the link.

    Of particular interest to our readers, the studies suggest that the more severe the ADD symptoms, the more serious their dependence upon nicotine became. This may suggest yet another reason to work with children to treat ADD symptoms in childhood in ways that are effective for them.

    In addition, the research suggested that environmental factors, such as living in a home where others smoke or having been in the womb when their mother smoked also contribute to a vulnerability to smoking.

    Great Reading: Stress Management Action Plan; Creativity; Memory

    Stress Management Tips - Jennifer Koretsky, ADD author, writes a nice blog around topics in her book "The Maverick's Guide to Adult ADD". I haven't read her book yet, but enjoy stumbling upon her blog entries from time to time. Here's one about how people with ADD might approach managing the stress they feel around the current financial situation.

    Malcolm Gladwell on Late Blooming Creativity: I'm a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell. Author of the best- selling book, "The Tipping Point", his analysis of how things work in society is always fascinating.

    In the October 20th New Yorker, Gladwell published a fascinating article about how late blooming creativity is a process of lengthy experimentation and discovery. He contrasts this with child prodigies, which use a completely different creative process. He also notes that "late bloomers" require some sort of patron to sustain their exploration.

    How does this relate to our readers? I know many people with ADD and other learning issues who take a long time to get to their sweet spot, but when they do succeed, they are amazing. The article might inspire you to reconsider whether or not to discourage those ADD dreams. Or, in any event, it's pretty fascinating stuff!

    For the complete article, go to this page at the New Yorker.

    Forgetting is the New Normal - ADD brings with it memory issues that are often exagerated, particularly in short-term memory. But as we age, we all lose memory. This article, from the May 08 issue of Time Magazine explains why and what to do about it.

    Hallowell Lectures in November

    People often ask us to let them know when Dr. Hallowell might be speaking in their area, so we are starting a new part of the newsletter to provide that information. Dr. Hallowell will be speaking in the following cities during the month of November. The events in all of the cities listed are open to the public in one way or another:

    • Oct. 29 - New York, NY
    • Nov. 2 - Needham, MA
    • Nov. 7 - St. Paul, MN
    • Nov. 19 - Potomac, MD
    • Nov. 20 - Kensington, MD
    • Nov. 22 - Cambridge, MA

    To find out the exact details of any of these events, please go to our events listing at www.drhallowell.com

    Also - don't forget about Dr. Hallowell's seminar on Upwrapping Your Teen's Gifts. The seminar will be held outside of Boston, at Bentley college on April 11 from 9am-1pm. To register and for more information, go to www.drha llowell.com.

    Groups and Events

    To find out about groups happening at the New York Hallowell Center, please call 212-799-7777. Current groups include those for parents, women only, young adults and children (social skills).

    For information about upcoming groups at the Hallowell Center in Sudbury, MA, please call 978-287-0810.

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    phone: 508-545-2250 Hallowell Connections or 978-287-0810 Hallowell Center (medical)
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