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August 2011 Newsletter
August 19, 2011
Fall is the time of new beginnings for those of us with children.  This newsletter provides several great perspectives on how to help your child or children get off to a smooth start.


We also have some videos with this newsletter, including the one from Dr. Hallowell to the right.  Just click on the image.


We're excited to announce that Dr. Hallowell has just released a new app for the iPhone that allows people to determine if they might benefit from getting an evaluation for ADHD.  More information about this is in the newsletter.


Finally, if you have questions for our Q&A, make sure to send them in. 


Melissa Orlov, editor


Dr. Edward Hallowell, M.D.


Watch clips of  

Dr. Hallowell on ADD/ADHD




Q: Can you tell me if there is a connection between allergies or asthma and having ADHD?


A:  Yes, indeed, there is a connection between allergies, asthma, and ADHD, but it is not a causal connection. There is a much higher incidence of allergies and asthma (as well as a host of other conditions and quirks, such as early ear infections, bedwetting, sleepwalking, migraine syndrome, night terrors, sleep disorders, thyroid disorders, left-handedness or mixed dominance, poor hand-eye coordination, poor handwriting, and klutziness) in people who have ADHD than in the general population. But it's simply an association, not a cause.


Remember, also, the upside! People with ADHD tend to be more creative, tenacious, entrepreneurial, jovial, forgiving, charismatic, original, and fun than the general populace as well!

 - Ned Hallowell


Q:  In one of the weekly "Crazy Busy" tips, you wrote about how we need to protect our time, and say "No, thank you," to many people and activities sometimes. You said that once we allow ourselves to spend time with projects, people and ideas that nourish us and help us to grow, we will look forward to each day more than we do now. My question to you is "How do you keep your family from interrupting?"      


A:  It depends upon whether or not ADHD is present, but one important part of civil conversation is both people having enough time to participate (and not have to rush through the conversation).  If ADHD is present and the conversation may "wander" a bit, it's even more important to take the time to reach a satisfactory conclusion.  And, with ADHD, other issues may need to be factored in. For example, interruption is probably part of a larger symptomatic issue - impulsivity, which can be targeted as a symptom in treatment, with progress measured against improvements in this area.

- Melissa Orlov


Q:  For students with ADHD heading off to college for the first time in the fall, do you have suggestions for keeping prescription stimulant medications secure in the dorm setting?


A:   For parents, it is a good idea to have a conversation with your teen before they head off to college in order to talk about this issue.  Encourage your son or daughter to tell friends who ask to share their medications that these meds can be dangerous when used casually, rather than under a doctor's care, and are off limits.  (Though they work very effectively to treat ADHD, they are controlled substances for a reason!)  Encourage your child to not share information about meds, including their location.


Only keep one month's supply. If your student is concerned that other students may "help themselves", keep a one or two week supply in dorm, the rest at the health center.  (And set an alarm or reminder to go get the next two week's supply before they are due to run out!) 


Keep medications in a drawer, out of sight. To remind oneself to take them, put an empty daily pill box in with your toiletries or on the dresser where it will remind you each day.

- Melissa Orlov  


Can Transcendental Meditation Reduce Symptoms of ADHD in Young Teens?

A recent exploratory study suggests that Transcendental Meditation may help teens reduce stress, anxiety and ADHD.  Here is the official "scoop" - This study explored the feasibility of using the Transcendental Meditation® technique to reduce stress and anxiety as a means of reducing symptoms of ADHD. The Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique is practiced sitting with eyes closed, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, for 10-20 minutes each session depending on the age of the practitioner. During the meditation session the active mind settles down to a silent yet fully awake state of awareness. Transcendental Meditation is characterized by activation in frontal and parietal attentional areas of the brain responsible for attention, executive function, and emotional stability. Students ages 11-14 were taught the technique, and practiced it twice daily in school. ADHD inventories and measures of executive function were administered at baseline and three months later. Results showed statistically significant reductions in stress, anxiety, and improvements in ADHD symptoms and executive function.

See the study to learn more. 


Help Your Child Ace Their Homework

School is around the corner and homework is soon to land on your kitchen table.

ADHD is about brain chemistry and gene expression, not about being lazy or not trying hard enough. Don't ask your ADHD child to "try harder" - ask her to "try differently" - choosing approaches that are shown to work for those with ADHD. Here are some helpful hints you may not have considered:

  1. Keep your homework history to yourself. Don't admit that you had difficulty in a subject when you were in school. This can give children good excuses to not try their best. Instead, talk with his teacher and explore resources online for different ways to learn the material.
  2. Avoid words and comments that shut down your child's attempts at persevering. Instead of saying "wrong, failed, you don't get it do you?" or "why don't you just pay attention next time?" say something like, "I see how you're trying to figure this out. Let's try another way."
  3. Have your child explain back the problem to you, after you helped him solve it. Then have him work through similar problems speaking aloud the steps using your example as a guide.
  4. Effort is more important than smarts. Don't tell your child how smart she is. If you do this when they succeeds on a homework task, you are setting them up to think they are stupid when they fail. Instead, tell your child "good effort, good job" or "you've learned a lot."
  5.  Set up enough time for homework. Many children lack an internal clock and need ways to pace themselves. Sit down with your child and line up the homework assignments and figure how much time to devote to each. Agree upon a time to break for a stretch or snack break. Select the easier tasks to be done later in the evening when fatigue sets in. Some children may do better with shorter assignments in the morning. Larger projects need to be broken down into steps with a chunk of time given to each step.   

Rebecca Shafir M.A., C.C.C. can be reached at www.mindfulcommunication.com
or (978) 255-1817



Teens and Computer Use 

Recently, a concerned parent wrote Dr. Hallowell with this question about teen computer use.  We thought our readers would be interested in his answer.


Q:  What, if anything, do you suggest I do about my 18 year-old son who is, it seems, addicted to the computer, spending at least 75% of his waking time on the computer? Until three years ago, I restricted both my sons' computer time but now that he is 18 I feel that is not right.


There is so much he loves and has loved to do, that does not involve the computer, that is simply being ignored and will one day be gone as interests and passions.


Can you help me with this?

Do I let go entirely?

Do I do something?

What do I do?


A:  Compulsive use of computers or other "electronic devices" is common not only in the world of ADHD but in the world period.  Electronics are the newest addiction.  I am sure electronics addiction will be in the diagnostic manual soon.


People with ADHD are at greater risk for developing this compulsion, if not addiction, for the same reasons they are at greater risk for developing addictions to drugs, alcohol, risky behaviors, gambling, sex, shopping, spending, eating, or any other substance or behavior that can be taken to extremes.  They are using the activity or substance to scratch the itch at the core of ADHD.  To read more about this, get my book DELIVERED FROM DISTRACTION.  I devote an entire chapter to dealing with the itch at the core of ADHD.


Your son is indeed too old for the kinds of limits one would set with younger kids.  However, it is imperative, in my opinion, that you engage him in a discussion.  Be careful that the discussion not become a struggle.  He will fight valiantly to preserve his habit, as he is getting major dopamine rewards from it, the same rewards any addiction provides.  He will use all the tricks conventional addicts use: denial that he has a problem; rationalization as to why he should be able to continue his habit; avoidance of discussing it in a mature fashion; anger if not rage when it is suggested he change his behavior; and lying and manipulation to preserve the habit.


I'd suggest you get a professional to meet with you, his dad, and him.  If he refuses, bribe him.  Do whatever it takes to get the discussion going. He is wasting precious time on the computer.  Life's clock keeps ticking.  Intervene before, years from now, he asks you why you didn't.


Interview with Dr. Hallowell on Relationships   Relationships take work, focus and intention, but busy lifestyles, children, demands of the job and technology can chip away at the focus. Communication360 interviewed Dr. Hallowell about what happens when your distracted in your relationship. To listen to the interview go to webtalkradio.net


Dr. Hallowell's Self Assessment Quiz iPhone AppDo you think you or someone close to you may suffer from ADHD? Visit iTunes to download the newly released app.  


ADHD Awareness Week, October 16 - 22, 2011- The ADHD Awareness Coalition asks "What Can You Do To Help Get The Word Out?" 


Sign Up for Two Weekly Emails Dr Hallowell's CrazyBusy Tip of the Week offers helpful insight and tips on how to deal with being crazy busy, our modern epidemic. Melissa Orlov's Marriage Tips offers tips for thriving in your marriage. Both are short, and chock-full of helpful information. To watch Dr. Hallowell describe strategies for handling your fast-paced Crazy Busy (Overstretched, Overbooked, and about to Snap!) life, watch his video

In the News

ADHD Effect Wins Gold Medal - The ADHD Effect on Marriage won the Book of the Year gold medal for best new psychology book released in 2010 from Foreword reviews.  (It was also a finalist for the USA Book News best non-fiction book of 2010.)  If you haven't read it yet, consider getting a copy at Amazon.com.


Coach's Corner

"Back to School" is here...and there are many an "ADHD family" that are dreading having to navigate schedules, homework and extra-curricular activities once again. Many of my clients would rank this as the #1 source of stress, especially in the beginning of the new school year with many new transitions. It is understandable to feel stress when there doesn't seem enough time to do homework, teenagers aren't getting enough sleep and morning comes along all too soon. Here are some strategies that may be helpful to have your home running more smoothly this school year:

  • Post a large family calendar with practice times, music lessons, etc. This can help organize homework time, for example, if your child has a Boy Scout meeting at 7 pm, you can make sure that homework is complete and dinner is prepared before the meeting.
  • Set phone reminders on your Smartphone for doctor's appointments, parent-teacher meetings, tutoring sessions, etc.
  • Let your children know how long their homework takes each night so they develop "a sense of time." If they know their math homework averages, 30 minutes each night, it will help with planning and structuring their schedules after school. In addition, setting a timer for each hour will help them to understand what the passing of an hour feels like.
  • Often children with ADHD need a break or time outside when they get home from school. Try to allow your child this "downtime" about the same time each day, so they will develop a set routine and know what you will expect.
  • For older children, using a daily planner is essential for keeping track of what needs to be done. Encourage them to check it every day at a designated time after school so they know what needs to be done. Many schools often post homework assignments on the internet, so encourages them to check the teacher's websites if they are unclear about what they need to complete.
  • Is your family saying often, "It's 6 pm, what's for dinner?" Try meal planning over the weekend or at least having quick essential foods on hand to start the week. Many of my clients use a slow cooker.
  • Lastly, sleep is crucial! For elementary school children, 9-10 hours is optimal and 8-9 hours of sleep for middle school and high school. Turn off electronics at least an hour before bedtime.

Always keep in mind your child's energy level and if medication needs to be dispensed before beginning homework.  


Christine L. Robinson, M.Ed. is a Certified ADHD Coach and Educational Consultant at the Sudbury, MA and New York City Hallowell Centers who helps families with school planning and special education, and coaches teens and adults with time management, organizational solutions and life transitions. Contact her at 978-287-0810 or Christine@ADDActionCoach.com.

Upcoming Events

Free ADHD Adult Support Group, Every Other Tuesday  Sudbury Hallowell Center. No registration necessary and free to the public. 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm, For more information: Call Rebecca Shafir 978-287-0810  

The ADHD Effect In-Depth - Start Turning Around Your Relationship, Sept 12 - Oct 26, by phone. An in-depth phone seminar with Melissa Orlov to help couples learn what they need to know and do to change the course of their marriage for the better. Seven evenings at 8:30pm EST. For details, go to this link       

Virtual AD/HD Conference including presentations by Dr. Hallowell and Melissa Orlov, October 3-6. This easily accessible phone conference features over 22 experts in the AD/HD community for days of information, resources, connection. Learn more here.  

Unwrapping the Gift: Embracing learning Differences through the lifetime, October 4, Northshore Boston, MA. 3:30 - 5:00 pm. Event is Open to the Public. For more information, contact Northshore Education Consortium www.nsedu.org or MarianMyers at mmyers@nsedu.org    

Delivered from Distraction, October 12, Charlottesville, VA. Hosted by Little Keswick Foundation for Special Education at Piedmont Virginia Community College, Earl V. Dickinson Building. 7:00PM - 9:00 PM. The Event is free and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. For further information visit the WEBSITE.    

Quick Links
·  Hallowell Centers Sudbury, MA

·  ADHD and Marriage Blog and Forum

·  Hallowell Center New York

·  Dr. Hallowell's website
email: morlov@hallowellconnections.com
phone: 508-545-2250 Hallowell Connections
web: http://www.drhallowell.com