Author Archives: joanjager@live.com

Response to Treatment Rating Scales

How will you know when you have the right ADHD medication and dosage?

TRACK YOUR OWN or your CHILD’S RESPONSE to TREATMENT!   

“You can’t notice small improvements or side effects without a monitoring sheet.”  The goal is to find the best results with the fewest side effects. Finding the right medication and dosage is seldom a straightforward process. It usually involves medication trials and may require many adjustments to dial in just the right combination.  The better you keep track of improvements or problems, the more likely to best the best results from treatment. Don’t waste time or suffer needlessly on the incorrect type and/or dosage of medication.

Prescribers may slowly increase the dosage, then back off when side effects begin to interfere. Other times, they will switch to a different type of medication altogether. It will depend on what you have to report. Even if you use supplements like Omega 3 Fatty Acids, how will you know whether they are helping if you don’t record what changes, if any, occur?  For more on the alchemy of prescribing ADHD medication, see ADDitude Magazine’s 10 Medication Fallacies even Doctors Believe.

Dr. Charles Parker.com and Core Psych have numerous articles and videos on the specifics of different ADHD medications and tracking individual’s response to treatment.  Try the comprehensive and unique book on the subject that is reasonably priced:  New ADHD Medication Rules – Brain Science & Common Sense.

Pencil-and-paper treatment monitoring system that David Rabiner, Ph.D. developed that can be downloaded for free at www.helpforadd.com/monitor.pdf.

Medication Effects Rating Scales Children and Adolescents or Adults – Record changes observed and any negative side effects   Arlington Center for ADD

Weiss Functional Impairment Rating Scale – Track your child’s emotional and behavioral response to treatment.

Real-life measures of the effectiveness of ADHD treatment – From “Talking Trash: Targeting ADHD Challenges by Gina Pera

Return to ADHD Screening Tests

Other tests include:

Screening Evaluation Forms – Printable – Children and Adults

Online ADHD Tests

Response to Treatment Rating Scales – Children and adults

FREE Professional ADHD Assessment Forms – Children and adults

 

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FREE Professional ADHD Assessment Forms

Professional ADHD Assessment Forms – No charge

Canadian ADHD Practice GuidelinesADHD Forms for clinicians from CADDRA – Rating scales for educators, children, adolescents, and adults from the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance

CADDRA ADHD Assessment Toolkit 2011 –  48 page PDF with recommended assessment forms, screeners, and rating scales from Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance.

 Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was designed as a brief behavioral screening questionnaire about 3-16-year-olds. It now has a version for 2 to 4-year-olds as well as one for over 18  – 25 questions – Choose from a wide variety of forms in a number of languages. Impact and follow-up versions are also available. Scoring is quite complex. Setting up an account to have them do it for 25 cents is TOO!

The Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale can be completed by parents and/or teachers to report the presence and frequency of symptoms of ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Conduct Disorder (Pelham, Gnagy, Greenslade & Milich, 1992)

The Impairment Rating Scale is a form that can be used by parents and teachers to indicate the impact of ADHD symptoms on important functional domains. (Fabiano et al., 2006)

The DIVA 2.0 – Diagnostic Interview for Adult ADHD. DIVA 2.0 is based on the criteria for ADHD in DSM-IV. It assesses ADHD symptoms in adulthood as well as childhood, chronicity of these symptoms, and significant clinical or psychosocial impairments due to these symptoms.

DIVA was developed in Dutch and translated into many different languages. Please donate to keep this instrument available at low costs for research and clinical assessment purposes.

 

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Online ADHD Tests

Online ADHD Tests

Return to ADHD Screening Tests

Other tests include:

Printable Screening Evaluation Forms (Print out and score yourself)

Response to Treatment Rating Scales – Children and adults

FREE Professional ADHD Assessment Forms – Children and adults

For Parents

Tests for both Parents and Children from WebMD (Link works)  – For you and your child – Online questions, includes short videos to inform you. Provides screening for symptoms and also accesses how well you’re doing with your current treatment.

For Adults

Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale – Developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Harvard University – 6 Questions with online scoring

ADDitude Magazine’s Adult ADHD Symptoms Test – Link works –  Online 31 question quiz with scoring

ADHD 10 Question Screener – ADHDCentral.com

Are you Totally ADD? (5-minute unofficial online test) May need to Copy and paste URL: http://totallyadd.com/totallyadd-unofficial-adhd-test/

Dr. Daniel Amen’s Adult ADHD Symptom Checklist Online version with scoring. (4-minutes) Includes Amen’s proposed 7 sub-types of ADHD.  After determining your type, you will receive a full, comprehensive report including an ADD Action Plan with natural and targeted treatments that you can start from home. (Don’t be surprised if your results show a lot of overlap.)

Structured Adult ADHD Self-Test (SAAST): Test Yourself for ADHD – 22-question self-test differentiates between two distinct components of ADHD diagnosis (namely, inattention together with hyperactivity/impulsivity) and is also sensitive to factors which typically preclude a diagnosis of ADHD.

Adult ADHD Spectrum Self-Test is designed it to help you assess the full spectrum of ADHD traits, including both strengths and challenges. 55 yes or no questions. Informal assessment designed by therapist Don Baker.

Screening Test for Women – Sari Solden on ADD Journeys

ADHD Self-Test for Women – 15 Questions – ADDitude Mag

23 Signs you Don’t have ADHD – Copy and paste URL: http://totallyadd.com/23-signs-you-do-not-have-adhd/ – A humorous ADHD test.  – From the always entertaining Rick Green of TotallyADD

Yet another Totally ADD Unofficial ADHD Test in a 30-minute video – Link works or Copy and paste URL: http://totallyadd.com/totallyadd-unofficial-adhd-test/ Find out if you might have ADHD. And have fun at the same time. (If you make it to the end, you deserve a prize.)

 

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ADHD Screening Evaluation Forms

Return to ADHD Screening Tests

Other tests include:

Online ADHD Tests

Response to Treatment Rating Scales – Children and adults

FREE Professional ADHD Assessment Forms – Children and adults

Screening Evaluation Forms (Print out and score yourself)

For Parents and Teachers

SNAP IV – 18 questions – Teacher and Parent Rating Scale by James Swanson, Ph.D.

Vanderbilt Assessment Scale

Extensive SWAN Scale – Strengths and Weaknesses of ADHD Symptoms and Normal Behavior – 90 questions – 30 for strengths

SWAN Strengths – 18 questions to discover your child’s strengths

Child and Teen ADHD rating scale IV (home version)
• ADHD rating scale IV (school version)
• ADHD rating scale IV (self-report version) – All have 18 questions

Is it ADHD? Center for Disease Control – 18 questions – Print out to discuss with your doctor

ADD (ADHD) Checklist for Girls – 11 questions by Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D. and Patricia Quinn, M.D.

ADD (ADHD) Self-report Questionnaire for Teenage Girls – 35 questions – Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D. and Patricia Quinn, M.D.

Symptom Tracker – Discussion Guide for Children and Adults – 18 questions – Vyvanse

 

Evaluation Forms For Adults (Print out)

6 Questions for recognizing ADHD in AdultsProposed version of the WHO Adult ADHD Self-Report screener listed below. Developed in 2017 by researchers to reflect DSM-5 criteria. Free Printable 

Adult ADHD Self-Report Scales (ASRS-V 1.1) Printable 6 question Screener Printable 18 Question version. Developed in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Workgroup on Adult ADHD at Harvard University –  Quick and easy tests screen for ADHD symptoms in adults.  The ASRS-V Screeners are also available in over 20 languages through Harvard’s website. *Adult ADHD Self-Report – 6 Questions with on-line scoring *

Russell Barkley’s Proposed Adult Checklist – Page 10 from a Sample Chapter from Barkley’s “Taking Charge of Adult ADHD” (2007) See pages 5 and 6 for additional symptoms.

Dr. Daniel Amen’s Adult ADHD Symptom Checklist – 100 questions

Symptom Tracker – Discussion Guide for Children and Adults – Vyvanse

 

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ADHD Awareness: Knowing is better. ADD freeSources Newsletter

ADHD Awareness:

Understanding + Intervention = Positive change

 Welcome to fall everyone,

Parents take a front seat this month, but we’ve got a little something for everyone.

  • ADHD Awareness – Where can I learn more? and What does it mean for you?
  • Interventions to help increase performance
  • Being an effective advocate for your child
  • Homework strategies
  • 2 short informative, but fun videos for both children and adults.

October is ADHD Awareness month As the official website attests, “Knowing is better.”  They cover basic information, provide personal stories,  and are sponsoring a video contest that’s sure to entertain.

Try to find time for the ADHD Awareness Expo, from October 2nd – 17th. Watch at least a one or two of Tara McGillicuddy’s interviews with top names in the field at this FREE online event. Sign up now.  Videos are pre-recorded and available for 24-hours after 12 noon each day.

Another online event is ADDA’S Daily TADD Talks! TADD recordings are like TEDTalks, but about various ADHD topics and only 9 minutes long . You’ll also be able to see many of these speakers in person at the International Conference on ADHD November 9 – 12 in Atlanta! Consider this an appetizer!

ADDitude Magazine offers advocacy and stigma-busting tips in their ADHD Awareness Month Toolkit and by sharing 31 truths about the condition. ***My own ADHD Awareness board on Pinterest also offers a lot of good material.

I first became aware of ADHD when I read You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Crazy, or Stupid by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo. I ended up crying through most of the book. I had always known that I was a bit “different,” but never knew there was an actual name that described my personal foibles and disappointing failures. Amazingly, I found a wonderful Adult ADHD support group with a library of books, audio and video tapes in my hometown.Thus began a life-long path of learning to understand and live with ADHD.

II’ve collected a number of resources to inform and support diagnosis, treatment and other necessary services for children and adults with ADHD. I would get numerous calls a day asking for help to find Treatment and Support. This section also includes a money concerns section with sources for more affordable medications and mental health care.

Read the entire newsletter here>>>> ADHD Awareness: Understanding+Intervention = Positive Change

 

 

Enjoy the cooler weather,

Hope you are well and ready to learn,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources

ADD freeSources on Pinterest

Facebook page

(Photo courtesy of ohmega 1982/FreeDigitalPhoto)  Modified on Canva – http://www.canva.com

The ADHD Manifesto by Andrea Nordstrom of The Art of ADD

 

ADHD Awareness – Understanding + Intention = Positive Change

October is ADHD Awareness month. As the official website attests, “Knowing is better.”  They cover basic information, provide personal stories,  and are sponsoring a video contest that’s sure to entertain. Try to find time for the ADHD Awareness Expo, from October 2nd – 17th. Watch at least a one or two of Tara McGillicuddy’s interviews with top names in the field at this FREE online event. Sign up now.  Videos are pre-recorded and available for 24-hours after 12 noon each day.

Another online event is ADDA’S Daily TADD Talks! TADD recordings are like TEDTalks, but about various ADHD topics and only 9 minutes long . You’ll also be able to see many of these speakers in person at the International Conference on ADHD November 9 – 12 in Atlanta! Consider this an appetizer!

ADDitude Magazine offers advocacy and stigma-busting tips in their ADHD Awareness Month Toolkit and by sharing 31 truths about the condition.

***My own ADHD Awareness board on Pinterest also offers a lot of good material.

I first became aware of ADHD when I read You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Crazy, or Stupid by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo. I ended up crying through most of the book. I had always known that I was a bit “different,” but never knew there was an actual name that described my personal foibles and disappointing failures. Amazingly, I found a wonderful Adult ADHD support group with a library of books, audio and video tapes in my hometown.Thus began a life-long path of learning to understand and live with ADHD.

I’ve collected a number of resources to inform and support diagnosis, treatment and other necessary services for children and adults with ADHD. I would get numerous calls a day asking for help to find Treatment and Support. This section also includes a money concerns section with sources for more affordable medications and mental health care.

In ADHD Awareness: What’s Next?  Coach Jennie Friedman of See in ADHD describes the benefits of providing new understanding about ADHD.  “The latest and greatest information will be available to everyone with Internet access.  Myths will bust, and more people will get over the stigma that surrounds the condition.  And more people will discover that they or someone they love has ADHD.”

“But, just knowing about ADHD isn’t enough.” Becoming aware is just the first step to getting effective treatment for ADHD, The benefits can be life-changing, but there are a number of practical and emotional issues involved in the process…. The way that ADHD affects each individual varies and the specific areas in which there’s struggle are unique to each person.” There are no hard and fast rules.”

Kristi Lazzar. writing for ADHD New Life Outlook, says, “It’s so important to get diagnosed…Everything about yourself that you, or others, never understood starts to make sense.” In Learning to Accept Myself After my ADHD Diagnosis, she wrote, “I could finally be myself and stop wondering why I couldn’t be like everyone else. I could stop the self-loathing. I now had a name for my behaviors, which gave me something to work with…  It’s okay if I have my quirks — it’s who I am. Getting a diagnosis gave me that, and I will be forever grateful.”

 

To explore further, see my Pinterest boards, ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment, Undiagnosed + Untreated ADHD = Unfortunate, and ADHD from the Trenches.

 

Another featured author this month, Mary Fowler, shares ADHD challenges and accommodation strategies in her mini-workshop for teachers. First, we must understand,” she explains, that most ADHD management is not a problem of knowing what to do. It’s a matter of doing what we know.” Mary describes in detail many specific tools to help children “do what they know” through simple support techniques in Increase On-Task Performance for Students with ADHD 

But, DO NOT expect that using these ideas just a couple of times will change their behavior in the near future. That’s like expecting a child in a wheelchair to get up and walk up the stairs because they’ve used a ramp for a while. People with ADHD need Point of Performance or P.O.P. interventions to “do what they know” It’s not a lack of knowlege, but  an inability to perform mundane or confusing tasks at an assigned time that is affected by ADHD.

“What you need to know about Attention Deficit Disorder:

  • Accept that supports may be needed throughout the school day, month, year,
  • or even across the lifespan of a person with ADHD.
  • Interventions have to happen in the here and now on an as-needed basis.
  • Their use often requires coaxing and coaching from an external source (teachers, parents, peers, visual cues, and/or technology).
  • The strategies ONLY work when they are used.”

Although Mary’s advice is quite useful the classroom, the same understanding of ADHD and principles for getting things done remain true for all ages. It is well worth reading for yourself as well as sharing with your child’s school

Advocacy and Homework

If your child is struggling at school, you’ll find that “most teachers appreciate your clearheaded understanding of your child’s problems and any possible interventions you can suggest,” says Mary Fowler in 8 Tips to Help you be your Child’s Advocate. One parent also recommends  Sentence Starters to Use When Talking to Teachers from Understood for Learning and Attention Issues. These are great ideas for developing better communication with your child’s school.

For children and parents who dread homework, see Strategies to Make Homework Go More Smoothly. It provides routines and incentive systems to help kids complete AND turn in their work. Peg Dawson, EdD, of Child Mind claims ”This is the best guide to helping kids do homework successfully that we’ve seen.” For a printable version to share, download the ADHD: A Primer for Parents & Educators from The National Association of School Psychologists. 

 

VIDEOS

I really like The ADHD Manifesto, by Andrea Nordstrom of the Art of ADHD. Andrea is a professional ADHD Coach for adults wanting to turn their amazing ideas into reality.

The Art of ADD is not about being normal or fitting it. It’s about being ADD and using that medium to create a masterpiece out of your life. We don’t do life the normal way, we do it the ADD way! (3-minutes)

 

The ADHD Poem by slam poet IF – 4-minute spoken word poem by IF.  “My childhood tasted like chaos…At 8, I was diagnosed a disaster… a Hurricane… Having ADHD is like being an exclamation point in a world of commas. … But, isn’t being different the one thing we ALL have in common?”

 

You’ll find an animated version of the ADHD Poem on IF’s home page.

 

 

Until next month,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources

       

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(Photo courtesy of pakorn/FreeDigitalPhoto)

 

 

 

ADHD Awareness Knowing is better ADD freeSources Newsletter

OOPS ! The link to the Newsletter is incorrect. This one works:

 ADHD Awareness: Understanding+Intervention = Positive Change

 

ADHD Awareness:

Understanding + Intervention = Positive change

 Welcome to fall everyone,

Parents take a front seat this month, but we’ve got a little something for everyone.

  • ADHD Awareness – Where can I learn more? and What does it mean for you?
  • Interventions to help increase performance
  • Being an effective advocate for your child
  • Homework strategies
  • 2 short informative, but fun videos for both children and adults.

October is ADHD Awareness month As the official web page attests, “Knowing is better.”  They cover basic information, provide personal stories,  and are sponsoring a video contest that’s sure to entertain. Try to find time to watch at least a one or two of Tara McGillicuddy’s interviews and treatment options at the FREE online event, the ADHD Awareness Expo, from October 1st  -17th. Sign up now.   My own ADHD Awareness board on Pinterest also offers a lot of good material.

I first became aware of ADHD when I read You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Crazy, or Stupid by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo. I ended up crying through most of the book. I had always known that I was a bit “different,” but never knew there was an actual name that described my personal foibles and disappointing failures. Amazingly, I found a wonderful Adult ADHD support group with a library of books, audio and video tapes in my hometown.Thus began a life-long path of learning to understand and live with ADHD.

Read the entire newsletter here>>>>THIS LINK WORKS NOW! 

 ADHD Awareness: Understanding+Intervention = Positive Change

*Find one of the videos below: The ADHD Manifesto by Andrea Nordstrom of The Art of ADD

 

Enjoy the cooler weather,

Hope you are well and ready to learn,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources

ADD freeSources on Pinterest

Facebook page

(Photo courtesy of ohmega 1982/FreeDigitalPhoto)  Modified on Canva – http://www.canva.com

                                               

 

 

 

ADHD Awareness – What next?

 By guest author, ADHD coach Jennie Friedman

 

October is ADHD Awareness Month. The latest and greatest information will be available to everyone with Internet access.  Myths will bust, and more people will get over the stigma that surrounds the condition.  And more people will discover that they, or someone they love, has ADHD.

We now know a lot about ADHD. It is a neuro-developmental disorder, which impacts the executive functions, a construct used to explain how the brain matures. (Editors note: With ADHD there is about a distinct delay in the development of self-regulation of one’s emotions and actions.) These impaired functions of the brain are associated with activation, focus, effort, emotions, memory, and action. In other words, most of the skills needed for building self-control.

(Editors note:  It’s not that someone with ADHD cannot pay attention or focus. It’s just that imprtance is NOT a factor that helps motivate or activate action.  Someone with ADHD can find it hard to direct and regulate their attention.  On the other hand, both children and adults may over-focus on something, like with video games or on Facebook. But they will often struggle with homework, fail to turn in finished work or have a bedroom strewn with items from their latest interests. Adults may fail to open their mail, pay the bills or run out of gas once a month. Now, this may happen to everyone occasionally at some time. But to be diagnosed with ADHD, they must occur quite frequently with actual impairment at school or work, at home, and/or in social situations.)

Change is possible though. The ADHD brain works by its own rules. There’s a perpetual need for stimulation or novelty seeking behavior that’s characteristic of the condition. Creating structure and developing routines helps, as does an interest in the task or subject, a sense of urgency, or immediate consequences or rewards for their actions to help successfully manage their life.

When someone with ADHD is not engaged, their symptoms include:

  • Distractibility
  • Poor Memory
  • Poor Listening Skills
  • Restlessness
  • Time Blindness
  • Intense Emotions
  • Chronic Procrastination
  • Poor Organization Skills

But, just knowing about ADHD isn’t enough. There’s a process involved after you first become aware. First, there is the issue of getting a diagnosis. Then comes the process of getting treatment, Medication, therapy, coaching, and/or other tools and strategies only work when they are used. (Editor’s note: And treatment is only effective when it is used according to how the ADHD brain works. Many will not understand the delay in development and may expect behavior typical of a someone older and believe that criticism, sarcasm, and/or punishment will work to change behavior.)

Some newly diagnosed people will mourn that they had not been aware of ADHD sooner. Others experience a sense of relief, that finally there’s an explanation, a reason, and it’s not their fault. There is also the question of who to tell and what can you expect from them. There’s your partner, the family, friends, coworkers, and others who will either be told or not and all of the rigmarole involved in deciding who knows what. Lastly, there are the challenges that persist after diagnosis and treatment and how to go about finding those solutions. It’s a lot to deal with.

Ultimately, there’s always going to be a lot of confusion surrounding ADHD. How it affects each person is unique to them. True, there are broad commonalities among the ADHD population. There’s the unusual way they process time, as well as how they have trouble prioritizing and organizing. And there’s the issue of not staying motivated and engaged with something; everything becomes boring at some point, and that’s when they can easily shut down. But the degree to which these things affect the person vary and the specific areas in which there’s struggle are unique to each person, so there are no rules. That’s why ADHD so confounding.
You should know that developing coping skills is ongoing. There’s no magic bullet to solve any of the challenges of ADHD because they vary from individual to individual. (Editor’s note: Although, utilizing their unique personal talents, interests, and strengths can be very helpful.) And, on top of that, many times, when a solution to one challenge comes about, it’s only a temporary Band-Aid until a newer, more interesting fix can be found. Each “fix” builds upon the other. 

Now you know the process to ADHD Awareness. Hopefully, this article will lessen some of the confusion. Enjoy the process.  Learn and grow in confidence that you CAN handle this.

Do feel free to comment below if you still have questions and/ or something to share.

By the author of A.D.H.D. A Different Hard Drive?  ADHD coach and podcaster, Jennie Friedman. Originally published as The Process to ADHD Awareness Month http://www.seeinadhd.com/process-to-adhd/

Hire Jennie as a personal coach or choose her reasonably priced group coaching program, Reach Further.  Listen to Jennie’s podcasts at See in ADHD as well as at Technicolor Mindset which offers group coaching for entrepreneurs and other professionals.

(Photos courtesy of pakorn/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva http://www.canva.com

Book photo courtesy of Amazon – Free with unlimited, $4 on Kindle and $10 in paperback

 

 

8 Tips to Help you be Your Child’s Advocate

By Mary Fowler

1. Be knowledgeable and stay informed.

  • Most teachers appreciate your clearheaded understanding of your child’s problems and any possible interventions you can suggest.
  • Read and keep up to date on new research.

2. Use knowledge to help, not to hammer.

  • Knowledge helps create solutions for problems. But sometimes knowledge can be used to beat up on people who “should know better.” That’s like calling someone a “stupid idiot.”
  • You want to help by sharing your knowledge.

3. Speak up, not out. Good communication skills are crucial for effective advocacy.

  • Always be polite and respectful, even of people who don’t seem to warrant your respect. Act as if they might rise to the occasion one day.
  • Be aware of your tone, volume, and body language. Don’t make accusations. If you feel you’re going to lose it, excuse yourself. Nothing gets solved during a shouting match.

4. Know your intention. Before meetings, have an agenda.

  • What are your child’s needs?
  • What do you hope to accomplish?
  • Is there a specific problem that needs attention?
  • Put your energy there.

5. Stay focused on your intention.

  • Don’t get side-tracked by emotional issues that may come up in conferences or phone calls. Either you or the school personnel may have an agenda.
  • Stick to the agenda of solving problems and meeting needs. The meeting will move more smoothly.

6. Use conflict resolution skills. Don’t get too invested in the belief that your way is the only way.

  • Conflict resolution is a negotiation. Both parties have perspectives and issues that belong on the table.
  • Look for ways to solve the table topics that create wins for all. Avoid the
    “I win/you lose” agenda.

7. Bring a skilled advocate to meetings. It can be intimidating to deal with school staff on your own, especially when you’re first learning about ADHD and feel as though you are in over your head.

  • Parent/child advocates can help you. Look to your local disability support groups to
    find these names.
  • Find your local disability support groups by reading newspaper calendars, asking school personnel or your child’s treatment professionals, or by searching the Web.

8. Keep good records.

  • Get a large three-ring binder.
  • Fill it with records of anything pertaining to school: report cards, meetings, phone
    contacts, evaluations, intervention plans, and so on.

 

By Mary Fowler http://www.maryfowler.com

Mary trains educators and parents on ADHD, emotional challenges, and classroom management practices. An internationally recognized expert on ADHD, she is the author of four books, including the bestseller, Maybe You Know My Kid (3rd edition), Maybe you Know my Teen, the original CHADD Educators Manual,  and 20 Questions to Ask If Your Child has ADHD.

Reprinted, with permission of the author, from 20 Questions to Ask if Your Child Has ADHD© 2006 Mary Fowler. Published by Career Press, Franklin Lakes, NJ. All rights reserved.

 

 

“Think of this book as facts with personality. Answers are written in an easy-to-read, conversational style from a parent who’s been there”. Organized into four easily manageable categories:• General/Medical Information • Social/Emotional Well-being • Home Issues • School Issues. ($10 on Kindle – $13 for paperback)

 

 

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Increase On-Task Performance for Students with ADHD

By Mary Fowler

 

Whenever I present a workshop for teachers, I ask audience members to describe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in their own, non-clinical words. It’s been compared to a remote that never stops switching channels, the Energizer® bunny, loose papers in a strong wind, being lost in the fog, and electricity without a cord. Their similes capture the essence of the core symptoms of ADHD: inattention and /or impulsivity and hyperactivity. They also help us imagine what it must be like to have ADHD. They foster empathy and a desire to help.

Still, in the day-to-day grind of teaching, when problems emerge, our best intentions and sensitivities are tested. Wiggling, fidgety, loud, disorganized, disruptive, hurried, careless and off-task behavior coupled with messy, incomplete, or missing work are tough challenges in the classroom, even on a good day.

The chronic nature of ADHD school-related issues has been known to frustrate more than a few teachers (and parents). This frustration may have to do with the expectation that interventions can cure ADHD. They don’t and they can’t.

Here’s the real deal: the manifestations of ADHD are seldom (if ever) fixed once and for all because these problems often arise from environmental expectations, conditions, and triggers. Thus, these students are highly susceptible to the world around them and the world within them.

Most ADHD problems can be called “POP” or “point of performance” problems where students have difficulty being on point or on task.

What is on-task performance?
• Doing what you are supposed to be doing.
• When you are supposed to be doing it.
• In the way you are supposed to be doing it.

The “what” or “it” can be following a rule, working on a task, using a social skill, etc.

Some students lack the necessary skills to perform appropriately. Generally students with ADHD know what they are supposed to be doing. It’s just that where the rubber meets the road—at the point of performance—they lose traction and don’t do what they know. Distractibility, hating to wait, restlessness, losing materials, or missing pieces of the whole interfere with their best intentions to do what is expected and to do it well.

Typically, the off-task or off-rule behavior of students with ADHD is not a matter of choice. It’s a symptom of ADHD and an indicator that an intervention is needed. Here’s the good news: ADHD point of performance problems can be managed effectively (not to perfection). Most ADHD management is not a problem of knowing what to do. It’s a matter of doing what we know.

Here’s what you need to know and accept about ADHD interventions and strategies:

  • They have to happen in the here and now on an as needed basis.
    • They work when they are used.
    • Their use often requires coaxing and coaching from an external source (teachers, parents, peers, visual cues, and/or technology).
    • They may be needed throughout the school day, month, year, or lifespan.

Teachers often ask, “Shouldn’t these students learn to use these interventions on their own?” The point is this, if they didn’t have ADHD, they would be doing what they know! We can provide self-awareness and self-management strategies. Still, these students (and adults) will require coaching to do what they know.

In students with ADHD, “think first” or “wait” do not enter into the self-control picture. So what can you do?

A POP intervention wouldn’t try to curb the need and impulse to call or blurt out. Instead, the teacher would direct the student to write down the thought. Or, if the student has difficulty writing or is a young learner, you might anticipate and call on this student frequently (or immediately). Or, use a silent signal as a cue to wait. Silent signals work because they are visual and thus don’t compete with the words the student is trying to keep in mind the way your verbalization does.

For the case where the student is unsure or anxious about what to do, you may assure the student that individual attention will always be given as soon as everyone else is on track.

You might also try a technique known as the two-response answer method. Let students know ahead of time that you will be asking every question twice—even if the first answer given is correct. This method encourages students to listen to one another, signals students to wait, and allows students who might not volunteer to participate. It also allows you to call on reluctant students and gives them an opportunity to shine.

Raising a hand before speaking is a behavioral expectation. Behavioral expectations are but one type of POP problem. Off-task behavior is another. The first type of problem may be a nuisance, but it doesn’t generally have a significant impact on academic performance. Off-task behavior, however, is a significant academic issue. It affects all aspects of the learner’s performance, especially the quality and quantity of task output.

The GPS (global positioning system) is a navigational system that works in the here and now. It is goal-oriented. It is problem-driven and solution-focused. When a driver needs to know how to get somewhere, the receiver calls upon every positioning satellite in the sky to devise a meta-strategy—a plan. The GPS then monitors the course as the car moves along. The “voice” gives corrective feedback whenever necessary.

Let’s say you want to drive across the swamp. The GPS doesn’t wrestle with alligators it meets along the way. It doesn’t get hung up in the past and the future. The GPS lives entirely in present time and its aim is to get you to your destination (across the swamp) even if that means charting a new course.

Though I sometimes worry that one day my GPS will go “bonkers” because I’ve gotten so far off track, to date my receiver hasn’t lost its cool or showed any irritation. No yelling, no blaming, no shaming, no name calling, no idle threats, no long diatribes. When I miss a turn or get off track—it simply says, “Recalculating.”

Students with ADHD go “bonkers” when improving off-task performance requires teacher-driven “recalculations.” If you find yourself wrestling with alligators and drowning in the swamp, there’s an easy solution. Let go of the alligator: be goal oriented, problem-driven, solution focused and flexible. Be prepared to go back to the drawing board.

Remember, students with ADHD either lose sight of the goal (they fail to focus and sustain), or they’re not sure what the goal is (they have difficulty selecting the most important versus the most interesting information). These behaviors are not a matter of choice but rather an outcome of the neurological underpinnings of ADHD. Most students with ADHD don’t require different teachers. They require cool, calm, “recalculating” teachers who use effective and hands-on approaches.

There are three essential GPS components for all ADHD interventions:

  1. The scaffold—these are the structures, strategies, supports and skills you put into place that enable the student to improve performance. ADHD strategies are not so much an issue of knowing what to do but of doing what you know. ADHD scaffolds work when you use them. They belong in the here and now. Teachers often say to me, “If I do this for a student, then next year…” Or, “If I make this accommodation, what will happen when she gets to elementary school and beyond?”

Sadly, I have to report that when scaffolds are not used, student outcomes become predictably grimmer as time goes by. Furthermore, most adults with ADHD continue to need interventions and accommodations and some will seek the services of ADHD coaches.

  1. Ongoing monitoring—sometimes we select the wrong intervention. In general, ADHD interventions fail because their use isn’t monitored or adjustments are not made along the way. That approach is akin to fixing a leaky faucet valve without adding a washer or using plumber’s thread as a sealant. Monitoring behavior guides and directs the performance along the path. Be sure that you don’t confuse monitoring with “gotcha” or “see—nothing ever works with this student!
  2. Positive feedback—I once asked a student, “What does ADD mean?” He replied, “It’s just another way to call a kid ‘bad.’ I think ADD should stand for Adult Deficit Disorder.”

It’s no wonder that he came up with this answer. Recent research as reported by Dr. Sydney Zentall notes that 75 percent of the daily feedback received by students with ADHD is negative. Positive feedback helps them stay on the appropriate behavioral path and serves as a key performance motivator. Feedback encourages, appreciates, and supports the person.

In addition to using the global meta-strategy described above, here are some specific strategies you might try for some of the typical behaviors that interfere with performance.

For stimulation seeking—a lot of “off task” ADHD behavior has to do with stimulation seeking and the way stimulation affects the brain’s ability to focus and sustain performance.

The general principle of ADHD intervention for stimulation seeking is not to restrict it. Instead, allow stimulation seeking on terms that work for the classroom situation.

What do these students need to do?

  • ADHD expert Roland Rotz suggests “fidget to focus,” or allow movement through stability balls, treadmills, or frequent breaks. You can also provide manipulatives, such as stress balls, toy animals, or plastic tangles. (AKA as fidget toys or tools)
    • Add or allow arousal ingredients to tasks. (Reduce arousal if it’s too high with quieting activities.)
    Use color (e.g., overlays for the last third of a reading page).
    • Use manipulatives (or fidgets) for tasks—Legos®, Wikki Stix, or colored markers.
    • Switch between high interest/low interest tasks.
    Create interactive lessons with games.
    • Eliminate rushing by removing all external incentives to finish quickly.

For getting and keeping their attention—students with ADHD, like all living beings, are always paying attention. The question is what’s getting their attention? The attentional problems of these students tend to rotate around three concerns: figuring out what to pay attention to, determining what’s important versus what’s interesting, and staying the course until completion of the goal. These learners will find it difficult to set goals, prioritize, and say “No” to distractions. Once their minds wander, they often can’t find their way “home”—home being where they are supposed to be focusing their attention. Home may be obvious to you, but it is not to them.

What can you do to get and hold attention?

  • Add interest and novelty to all tasks.
    • Talk less and do more.
    • Use silent signals to redirect attention.
    • Use specific directives
    Simplify visual presentations.
    • Make task structures clear.
    • Highlight directions and give them one at a time.
    • Microsize—break all tasks down into manageable parts, monitor each phase, and provide positive feedback.
    • Use self-monitoring strategies—tracking time on task, timers, graphing daily performance.

For working memory and executive function issues, imagine if you had trouble saying “No” to distractions but still had to keep certain information in your mind so you could complete a task. For instance, you’re silently reciting a new phone number you want to program into your phone and the phone rings. If you’re at all like many people, if you haven’t written that number down, you know where it goes—somewhere far and away probably never to return again.

Now imagine that you have ADHD and your attention constantly gets pulled to an internal or external distraction and needs to be redirected. Like these students, you’d probably lose a lot of information from your mental desktop—that place known as working memory. You can tell working memory (or working with memory) has been disrupted when you catch yourself saying, “Now, where was I?”

Working memory allows us to hold information in mind while we work with bits and pieces of it or with something else entirely until we are ready to come back to the info on the mental desktop and use that information to complete a task. This can be tough enough for many of us. Now, add some impulsivity—the hate to wait and rush through without thinking through—part of ADHD. Couple that with some hyperactivity and shifts in attention and focus. The effect is not surprising. Working memory affects many aspects of task performance for students with ADHD.

To my mind, working memory issues certainly make a compelling case for having a “GPS system” in the day-to-day management of ADHD issues.

What can you do?

  • Externalize. If it can be held in mind, it can be written down to hold it in place—dry erase boards, cue cards, posted formulas, rules, etc.
    Use models, rubrics, timelines, planners, graphic organizers, checklists, daily action plans, and step-by-step guides.
  • Use color—it attracts attention, categorizes, distinguishes objects, and helps with organization.
    • Design and monitor organizational routines—and make time for them to be used.
    Post the daily schedule.
    • Provide note-taking assistance to the degree necessary.
    Use peer support when appropriate.
    • Train mnemonic strategies, e.g. POW—plan, organize, write.
    • Make and use flash cards.

ADHD is not easy to manage. Yet, it is a highly manageable condition. We can’t cure it, but we can enable students to reduce any disabling effects of this condition. We simply have to do what we know. “Doing what we know” may seem like a Herculean task. In practice, it’s using an ounce of prevention rather than a pound of cure.

In all my workshops, I invite teachers to commit to this simple intention:

I will act as though what I do makes a difference.

When we are not making the difference we want to make, we don’t change the people around us. If we change what we do, the people around us change as a result.

 

Share what you did with me and I’ll pay your experience forward. Write mary@maryfowler.com

 

By Mary Fowler http://www.maryfowler.com – Mary trains educators and parents on ADHD, emotional challenges, and classroom management practices. An internationally recognized expert on ADHD, she is the author of four books, including the bestseller, Maybe You Know My Kid (3rd edition), Maybe you Know my Teen, the original CHADD Educators Manual,  and my favorite introductory book for parents 20 Questions to Ask If Your Child has ADHD.

 

Reprinted with permission. Original source: How to Increase On-Task Performance for Students with ADHD?  Originally published in the New Jersey Education Association’s Review in March, 2010 www.njea.org/njea-review

 

 

20 Questions to Ask If Your Child has ADHD  – “Think of this book as facts with personality. Answers are written in an easy-to-read, conversational style from a parent who’s been there”. Organized into four easily manageable categories:• General/Medical Information • Social/Emotional Well-being • Home Issues • School Issues. ($10 on Kindle – $13 for paperback)

 

 

 

(Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freeDigitalPhoto) Modified on Canva – http://canva.com