ADHD is a hot topic these days. Diagnosis is on the rise and more and more parents and professionals are trying to determine effective interventions. This article offers a great option for parents and kids. It appears that exercise may help modulate a child's behavior so that they can better attend during more focused, singular tasks. What I like about this article and exercise as a form of treatment is that it is sustainable. ADHD often persists into adulthood and this allows children a way to help modulate their behavior throughout their lives. Another thing I like about exercise is that it is natural. I am not suggesting that exercise should replace medication, but exercise may offer an additional way for children to help focus. Moreover, exercise is good for kids in general! And it allows kids with ADHD to self-treat without standing out from the crowd. The exercise actually alters a child's brain chemistry in a way that helps them focus. I would imagine that this is good for all kids, not just ones with ADHD. So check out the article and let me know your thoughts. Enjoy!
I have been quite the delinquent poster. I apologize. It has been a very busy few weeks. But I knew that I needed to make time to post something this week because it is a very important week. It is School Psychology Awareness Week! Even though I no longer practice in a school, education is never far from my mind in my treatment of children, parents, young adults-everyone! Education is an important part of everyone's life and understanding what goes on in schools and how it shapes and molds people is an important part of treatment. I want to wish my fellow school psychs out there a very happy week! I hope it is filled with baked goods and accolades because we do not get enough of that. School psychologists are such an integral, but often overlooked, part of a school. I have had several people tell me that they did not know that their school had a psychologist. It sure did and although you did not know that person personally, their presence and impact was definitely felt. Psychologists are no longer just testing machines who determine whether or not a child receives special education. We work to support teachers with challenging behaviors, serve on school improvement boards, consult daily with administrators and staff. We impact the culture of the school; helping to make it a more welcoming and inclusive place for all students and families.
To those of you who have worked directly with a school psychologist, please take a moment to thank them for all of their hard work. It doesn't have to be something large and grand (although that never hurts), but just a simple 'thank you' means a lot. And if you have never worked with the school psychologist at your child's school, take the time to find out who that person is. Get to know him or her and what he or she does. You never know when you may need to reach out.
Thanks School Psychologists for all of the hard work that you do. I highly value the work that I have done in the schools as it has greatly prepared me to understand what children truly need when they receive services from outside providers. I hope that everyone who reads this highly values that work as well.
School Psychology Awareness Week 2014 is from November 10th to November 14th. For more information about school psychologists and the amazing work that they do, please visit the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) website: http://www.nasponline.org/about_sp/who-are-school-psychologists.aspx Strive. Grow. Thrive!
It happens to every parent. The weekend comes and you don't have any plans for the kids. Realizing that allowing the kids to tear up the house all weekend is not an option and that if you have to take them to the same park that you took them the last 15 weekends, you are going to drive yourself crazy. You live in a great area and you know there are things to do, but you don't know what they are. And the idea of spending 2 hours on Friday night researching these options does not sound appealing.
Anyone who works with adolescents knows that many teenagers use marijuana. Some teenagers use marijuana very regularly-daily-and that number is on the rise. So what are the implications of that? Many people feel that because marijuana is 'natural' that it is not potentially dangerous and that it does not affect the brain. This article tells us something different and also discusses some of the social, economic, and racial implications of increased marijuana use. If you have a child over the age of 10 (yes 10-this stuff comes up much earlier than you think) or if you are a user yourself, I urge you to listen to this interview and get some more facts about the affects of marijuana use. And if you feel that you or your child needs help reducing or eliminating their use, contact a physician who may then refer you to a program or a psychologist trained in helping those with substance use/abuse.
I know this is a controversial topic, so let me know what you think in the comments, tweet me @fpschDrSweeney, or contact me directly. Enjoy and share!
This is a quick update from the FDA. They now warn against treating children with behavior and mood problems with drugs. I am reading between the lines a bit here, but I think that inherent in this warning is that children may need to talk to someone instead. Depression, behavior issues, and other mood disorders are very treatable and children can benefit from working with a psychologist. If you have concerns about your child, feel free to contact me or another psychologist. Treatment can make a significant difference in the life of a child who is struggling. Even if they do not meet criteria for a psychological disorder, it can really help for your child to develop coping skills.
Check it out and comment, tweet, or contact me directly. Enjoy!
I keep articles that I want to blog about and I found this one hidden away. It is a great follow-up to my previous posts. There appears to be evidence that spanking actually alters a child's brain chemistry in negative ways. Spanking-especially harsh and other forms of corporal punishment-may effect a child's prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain that contributes to planning, memory, organization, and motivational behaviors. Lower grey matter in this area may be linked to depression, executive functioning difficulties, and even IQ. Check out the article and leave comments below, tweet me @fpschDrSweeney, or contact me directly. And, as always, if you find that you need support coming up with effective alternative ways to discipline your child, contact me, another psychologist, or a behaviorist. Enjoy!
I admit it. I feel guilty about my lack of posts lately. So I'm doing back-to-back posts. It's a great follow-up to my previous post and my radio appearance. It's a list of effective child discipline techniques organized by age. Check all of them out-you never know what may work best for your own child. And of course, if you are feeling overwhelmed, a consultation with your child's pediatrician or psychologist may work wonders. Working with a psychologist does not necessarily mean that you are going to meet every week for the next 2 years. One or two meetings of consultation may be all you and your family need.
Enjoy the article and let me know your thoughts!
Hi everyone! Sorry that I have been so delinquent with posting. I hope that you all enjoyed the radio show. It was a lot of fun and the host-DeShuna Spencer-was lovely and gracious. She really has a fantastic show. I hope you all will check it out. Here's a link: http://deshuna.com/radio-show/
Anyway, the show was really interesting. We had a wide variety of callers. Some who felt that children needed to be physically punished in order to learn discipline, some who felt that physical punishment was not the answer, and some who were beat as children and felt they turned out fine. It was interesting and challenging for me to hear their stories. Although I acknowledge that people have different opinions for different reasons, I stand firm with what I tried to say on the show. Physical punishment is not the way to teach your child discipline. Talking to a child, explaining things to them (in a developmentally appropriate way), and providing natural consequences is the most effective way to produce behavior change. Physical punishment does not actually get rid of a behavior; it suppresses it. It teaches kids that it is ok to get physical when you are angry. It teaches kids that they are not in control of their own behavior-that someone else needs to control it for them. And real beatings-not a quick spanking, but as some listeners said,beating with an electrical cord or a switch-is dangerous. It leads to all kinds of negative outcomes for children. But most of all-it's scary for children. In the place that they are supposed to feel safe and unconditionally cared for. Additionally, if you use an instrument-a switch, a cord, a belt-to hit your child it's not legal. It is child abuse and anyone who works with your child is legally mandated to report it if it is suspected. It is also illegal to leave a mark on your child.
If you want your child to learn and feel in control over his or her own behavior, talk to them. Teach them the correct way to act. And do it with love because fear and respect are not synonymous. Fear teaches your child that you are scary and that you will not always protect them. It can greatly damage relationships, which nobody wants.
Here is a link to the show: http://www.empowermagazine.com/empowerhour/. It is the October 2nd show. It was my first show, so I was nervous, but I hope that my message got through. Hitting your child is not just dangerous, it is ineffective. I hope that the show helps you explore new avenues for discipline. If you need help, contact a psychologist or another behaviorist. Parenting is overwhelming and determining the best way to parent your unique child can be exhausting. No one is perfect and there is no shame in contacting a professional.
As always, let me know what you thought! Comment below, tweet me @fpschDrSweeney, or contact me directly!
So I have some exciting news to announce! I will be on the emPower Hour on Thursday, October 2nd on 89.3fm! The show is on at 2pm and we will be discussing child discipline. I will be on from 2-3pm so if you are in DC please tune in. If you are busy at that time, the shows are archived so you can listen to them later. I hope that you all really enjoy the show. It is my first radio show so I am really excited about it. Here is a link to the show: www.empowermagazine.com/empowerhour. And here is a link to the station: http://www.wpfwfm.org/radio/
I will also do a follow-up blogpost after the show. So anyone who missed it can check out my post and get a synopsis about the show. You can also visit the show's website for information about the show as well. I would also love for you guys to comment below, tweet me @fpschDrSweeney, or contact me directly to tell me more about what you'd like to hear on the show.
So set a reminder for this Thursday, October 2nd at 2pm and tune into 89.3fm. It should be an interesting and informative show!
I have been meaning to post about these two articles on ADHD. As many of you know, ADHD stands for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. There are three types-predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, predominantly inattentive, and combined. Just an FYI-there is no disorder known as ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder. It is a pet peeve of mine when people say that. ADD is no longer in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and hasn't been for quite some time. Usually when people say ADD, what they really mean is ADHD-inattentive type. Semantics, I know, but it still irks me when it's used incorrectly.
But I digress. These two articles take two very different approaches to the etiology of ADHD-or how it develops. Because diagnosis and recognition of ADHD are on the rise, this is a hot and heavily studied area. One article discusses the environmental aspects that may be contributing to the increased diagnosis of ADHD. The other talks about the neurology, or what the disorder looks like in someone's brain. I won't comment very much on these two articles-I would rather that they speak for themselves. Read both and tell me what you think in the comments.
Be sure to check back in the next few days as I will have a special announcement to make! Until then, enjoy the articles and share with others!