July 15, 2014
Donna Mac is a Clinical Therapist at a therapeutic day school, and has worked with a wide variety of young people with ADHD for over 15 years. She is also the mother of identical twin girls who were diagnosed with ADHD when they were three-years-old. She lives this diagnosis every day and has become quite an expert on the subject as well as empathizing with parents on a personal level. On The Woodbury Report
, Donna joined host Lon Woodbury to discuss the issues surrounding children and teens who have ADHD and are in treatment versus those children and teens who have gone without treatment for their diagnosis.
"ADHD is a self-regulation defect giving those diagnosed with it the inability to remain focused. Although the onset of ADHD is typically prior to age 4, children are often be diagnosed too early. The misdiagnosis can be from moving around so much as if they were little wiggle worms…but all little kids need to move and don't want to sit still. The flip side to this is under diagnosis. Parents don't know that kids this young can have ADHD or they think that they are bad parents or have a bad kid. Therefore it is important to go through a professional who specializes in the brain function, like a psychiatrist, rather than a pediatrician. For ADHD you want an accurate diagnosis."
There are several signs that parents can look for. These signs should occur for at least six months on a consistent basis:
- Dangerous play in inappropriate and unsafe ways
- Putting themselves in danger, such as darting into the street
- Prolonged tantrums lasting up to 30 minutes and possibly several times a day
- Aggressive behavior especially with other children
- Other kids don't want to play with them
For a teen who goes a without the proper treatment, there are adverse effects. These include:
- Social Issues: overreacting, impulsiveness, low self-worth, becoming argumentative due to impulse controls, and often unplanned pregnancies and STD's,
- Trouble with the law: riskier behaviors, aggressive behaviors, substance abuse, and higher arrest rates.
- Education and occupational issues: high suspension rates, higher dropout rates, poor attendance, messy work spaces, task completion, time management, struggle to work in teams or to follow policies, depression, and low self-worth and self-esteem.
Donna also supplied a list of activities that can help those with ADHD, especially when combined with therapy.
- Balance based activities such as yoga, gymnastics, bicycling, and/or martial arts.
- Nature just spending two hours a day outside can help to regulate the brain.
- Cardio exercises to increase focus and decrease impulsivity
- Nutrition omega 3's, zinc, magnesium, protein
- Chiropractic care
Donna also wanted to expand the benefits of children swinging in the park. Just 20 minutes for young children can provide up to 6 hours of benefits for the ADHD brain. Knowing the benefits of this, Donna has an indoor swing in her daughter's room, hanging from the ceiling!
For more tips with working with ADHD brains in children or teens, please visit her website.
Listen to the full interview here: ADHD Results: With and Without Treatment
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