I have had a very busy month so the monthly mentions are fewer this time round!
To attend online:
Did you know that October is ADHD Awareness Month? This month I am recommending you sign up early for the Beyond All Limits – ADHD Online Conference. Are you a parent, carer, teacher, adult or teen with ADHD in your life?
Do you want to learn more about ADHD and sick of spending hours searching through the internet? Do you want to learn from reputable specialists in ADHD?
Well, look no further! You have access to over 20 speakers and topics on ADHD!
Normally, you would pay hundreds of dollars to have a 30 - 45-minute consultation with an ADHD specialist, here you can see them in one spot and have any questions you have answered, all for less than the cost of just one specialist! And I am one of those specialists, talking all things neurofeedback.
This month’s read is a book called ‘He's Not Lazy: Empowering Your Son to Believe In Himself’ by Adam Price, a child psychologist. On the surface, capable teenage boys may look lazy. But dig a little deeper and you’ll often find conflicted boys who want to do well in middle and high school but are afraid to fail, and so do not try. This book can help you become an ally with your son, as he discovers greater self-confidence and accepts responsibility for his future. Full disclosure, I haven’t read this book entirely but the premise is amazing and Adam Price PhD comes highly recommended so I am crossing fingers this is going to be a winner!
I happened to be channel surfing the other night and this show came up on the ABC. It is called Catalyst and it takes you to the heart of the biggest science stories from Australia and around the world, revealing the latest understanding of how science affects our lives – from deep inside the human body to the furthest reaches of outer space. In this episode, titled ‘Staying Younger for Longer: Brain’, Dr Sarah McKay uncovers the revolutionary new science that promises to keep your brain healthy into old age - and uncovers the drugs that hope to defeat many of the diseases of ageing. Knowing what I do every day, you must know I am also going to recommend neurofeedback training with NeurOptimal!
As a parent who has one child with anxiety and another with ADHD, I watched Tuesday night’s episode of A Current Affair with interest. My concern with the show was that it didn’t present both sides of the story, to medicate or not to medicate. I have been down both paths – one child was medicated and the other wasn’t – every child is different and every child will respond differently to medication. Parents should be supported to understand all the different treatment methods available and be given options to try. Once they find the treatment that works for them they should be supported because all any parent wants is the best for their child. We shouldn’t be shaming anyone for the educated choices they make for their child.
At the age of five years old, my son suffered a traumatic event. It started a period of severe separation anxiety and the onset of panic attacks. After seeing a psychologist weekly for nine months, she admitted to making no progress. She felt he was too traumatised to even start healing. She consulted with a children’s psychiatrist and the decision as made to put him on an SSRI anti-depressant, Citalopram. Initially, I baulked at giving a five-year-old an anti-depressant and my husband was adamant that we don’t go down that path. I sat with the medication in my cupboard for about three weeks, wrestling with what to do. Eventually, my mother said to me, “if he had any other medical issue, would you give him the medication?”, “of course,” I said. So that day I started giving him the tablets.
He didn’t have any noticeable side effects which was a relief and most importantly his panic attacks lessened in frequency and duration. Because his body was now able to cope, his psychologist worked with him every week for two more years and within those two years, he was no longer taking any medication. He was taught coping mechanisms which he still uses today as a strapping 25-year-old!
My daughter was diagnosed with combined ADHD at the age of 11. She was prescribed Ritalin which she started taking immediately. She was taking the short release tablets so had to have half a tablet at 7am, another half at 11am and then one at 3pm. Immediately her concentration and focus improved but her sleep and appetite were affected. We dropped the 3pm tablet so she could at least eat a good dinner and sleep at night. She only took the medication on school days however as she entered puberty we started to notice she was becoming zombie-like. Teenage girls sometimes have too many emotions but she was showing few, if any. As she was old enough to articulate herself, she said she struggled to feel anything.
With both my children we overhauled their diets, with my daughter being gluten and dairy-free, and we incorporated exercise into their lives. I had done some research and had discovered neurofeedback as an alternative treatment for ADHD. Neurofeedback is considered by the American Association of Pediatrics as a Level One treatment for ADHD and focuses on training the brainwaves to run in balance. I found a therapist and she began weekly neurofeedback sessions. Within five sessions she no longer took her Ritalin. She was focused and managed to finish high school and go on and complete a Bachelor’s degree at university.
I now offer neurofeedback myself to other families as I saw the awesome results we had with my daughter. It also helps with anxiety as we can attest to when my son’s panic attacks started again as an adult, he has managed them with neurofeedback. With my clients, I see different responses, as some children stay on medication and others move away from it. Every brain is different!
I would like to add that my son as an adult now takes a low dose anti-anxiety medication as he still suffers from PTSD however he is not crippled by his anxiety anymore. My daughter started taking Straterra this year as her anxiety was starting to impact her life. The psychiatrist she saw recommended a non-stimulant and it has definitely helped her. She was also diagnosed with PTSD.
I reiterate that every brain is different and everyone’s environment is different. Do what you need to do in order to bring about the best results for your children.
This month’s mentions include a search engine, an audiobook, a film and a candle!! It’s like a trip down the centre aisle of Aldi!
Ecosia – Plant trees while you search the web
I can’t remember who told me about Ecosia but when I looked into it I was intrigued.
Ecosia, the search engine that plants trees, want to do their share to find and support innovative solutions to as many problems as they can. As part of their vision to reverse the tide of deforestation, they want to plant one billion new trees by the year 2020. So far they have planted over 62 million trees!
What Were You Thinking: Inside the Adolescent Brain by Dina Temple-Raston
As someone who is intrigued by the human brain, this audiobook/podcast was so fascinating. There are only six chapters, each lasting about 45 minutes, and each chapter is a separate story. Journalist Dina Temple-Raston shares the stories of adolescents who made astonishing choices - from joining ISIS to planning a school shooting - that led to disastrous results. To help understand what they were thinking, she talks with friends, family, and the teens themselves. Plus, she dives into the latest science on adolescent brains to explore innovative ways to help them choose more wisely.
Some Coffee Science
‘Being prompted to think about coffee elevates your physiological arousal and focuses your mind, no ingestion required’ is a claim being made by some researchers. They measured the arousal levels of people based on actual ingestion of coffee versus just thinking about it or smelling it. So, if you need a caffeine burst to beat your mid-afternoon slump, but you don’t want to risk a sleepless night, try burning a coffee scented candle in your office! Dusk has an amazing smelling coffee scented soy candle.
‘Gifted’ on Netflix
I came across this film purely by chance and I loved it. It’s the kind of film that stays with you for a while after you finished watching it! The plot presents a parenting conundrum: if a child is inordinately skilled in some area, do you do them a disservice by failing to nurture that skill or by prioritizing that skill over just being a kid? A brother has been entrusted by his sister to raise her child just before she dies, and he's determined to honour her wishes by keeping his niece safe from the pressures of the world as long as he can. The toughest piece of the equation is that since the child is only seven, she has no agency here. The adults have to decide her path for her.