Tips for Getting Your Child to Bed

School is starting soon, and parents will be in the yearly struggle of getting students to bed earlier.  This is a little more difficult with ADHD children.  Here are some tips from Terry Matlen of ADDConsults:

There are many studies that show the difficulties children with ADHD – and their parents- face at bedtime. Typically, the child’s ADHD medication has worn off, causing his symptoms to reappear, often with a vengeance [these swings don’t happen with children doing Neurofeedback :-)]. As he becomes more hyperactive and impulsive, his body needs just the opposite: rest

What is a parent to do?

** 10 Tips for Getting Your Child to Bed **

  1. Insist that all electronics and other stimulating toys and activities stop one hour before bedtime.
  2. Have a schedule and stick to it with rare exceptions. Post the schedule (in more than one place). For younger children, use diagrams or pictures from magazines.

Clearly state each step of the bedtime routine:

  • What time the child must stop playing
  • Any chores needed to be done (i.e. putting toys away)
  • Snack time, if needed
  • Wash up, brush teeth, shower
  • Change into pajamas
  • Lights out
  1.  Warm milk, warm baths– they really do work.
  2. Even older children love one on one time with parents, whether it’s reading a book together, or sharing the day’s activities. Even many teenagers find this time together calming and special.
  3. Reward your child for every positive move in the right direction. For younger children,  keep a jar and add coins to it every time he follows the bedtime schedule.
  4. Remember that children with ADHD get bored with routines quickly and though you want to try and make them the same each night, you’ll need to be creative in making that  happen. Once, I was so desperate to get my child to bed, I turned it into a Scavenger Hunt. I wrote each bedtime step on an index card and hid them. Each contained a clue where to find the next card, plus instructions on what needed to be done to get ready for bed. Another parent wrote all the bedtime routines on her child’s bathroom mirror using whiteboard markers. Think of other creative, novel ways to keep your child on track.
  5.  Get help! There was a time when things were so difficult in my home, that I hired a sitter a few nights a week to help me. It truly saved my sanity. Insist that your spouse/partner also help. Consider trading off bedtime and morning responsibilities with your partner so neither of you becomes burned out.
  6. Sometimes the child seeks out stimulation by engaging parents in bedtime wars. Change YOUR habits- try different tactics that remove you from the scene as much as possible. You might be surprised that your child actually gets sleepy when the conflict with you disappears.
  7. Try sensory products . When my daughter was very young, I purchased a special tent that sat on top of her bed. She loved to curl up with her stuffed animals. The security of the tent encompassing her had a calming effect. You can also purchase a weighted blanket- these, too often have a calming effect on children with ADHD. Or…pile a lot of regular blankets on her.
  8. De-clutter your child’s room so that he isn’t stimulated visually by all the “stuff” in there or tempted to start playing with toys in the middle of the night.

Many children with ADHD simply cannot unwind at the end of the day. When their daytime meds wear off, their behaviors often become unmanageable and sleep impossible. Discuss with your child’s doctor whether a bedtime medication might be needed to help ease him into sleep. [Or do Neurofeedback!  I had one young client do Neurofeedback early one evening.  Parents reported that he fell asleep in the car, which had never happened before!  He slept through the night! As the number of sessions increased, the better his sleep became.]

Remember: you can’t force your child to sleep and you should never suggest that. But you can insist he stay IN bed and rest. Then let nature take its course.

 

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The Efficacy of Antidepressants

A newly published study found that people taking antidepressants felt worse in the long term, than people who did not take any medication for their depression.  This study followed 15,000 people over a 9 year period.  It seems that antidepressants make the condition worse in the long term.  This study, coupled with an earlier study that showed antidepressants, especially SSRI’s, actually do the opposite of what they were thought to do at the cellular level, shows the ineffectiveness of medication in treating depression.  More natural therapies such as exercise, diet modification, psychotherapy, and neurotherapy are more effective, especially in the long term.  Both studies suggest that the use of medication for chronic depression may be effective only in the short term.  The studies can be found here and here.

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The Problem with SSRI’s in Treating Depression

SSRI’s, (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft,  have been around for more than 50 years and have been readily prescribed to treat mild to moderate depression, even though their effectiveness is questionable.  The idea behind SSRI’s is that depression is ’caused’ by a lack of serotonin in the synapses between brain cells.  It was thought that SSRI’s would increase the amount of serotonin by  inhibiting the process of cellular re-absorbtion.  However, recent research has shown that the brains of people with depression do not have less serotonin than neuro-typical brains, but more!  So, in effect, those people taking SSRI’s are making things worse, which could help explain why those taking SSRI’s for the first time feel more depressed the first two weeks after starting SSRI’s.  Click here to read more of the research.  Is there an alternative to depression meds?  Absolutely!  How about teaching the brain to function better?  We do this with Neurofeedback.

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Are All Mental Illnesses Related?

According to former FDA commissioner, Dr. David Kessler, all mental illnesses are related.  Revealed in his new book, Capture: A Theory of the Mind, Dr. Kessler explains that mental illnesses are misguided neuro-networks that keep firing in a maladaptive pattern in response to certain stimuli.  This reactive pattern is often times caused by trauma, usually experienced in early childhood.  He calls this ‘capture’.  Medications only dampen the feeling produced.  What must be done, according to Dr. Kessler, is that the maladaptive pattern needs to be replaced by a more positive pattern.  How does one do this?  Enter Neurofeedback, which helps rewire the brain, and psychotherapy, and Yoga and proper meditation.  Even more effective is a combination of those!  Hear more about ‘capture’ from Dr Kessler:

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The Problem with Multiple Concussions – Diagnosing CTE

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Boston University School of Medicine is heading up 50 medical researchers in a massive 7 year study into the brain disease CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, the brain dysfuction made famous in the movie Concussion.  Typically, CTE can only be diagnosed in brains after death, and is typically caused by a series of head injuries, with or without concussion symptoms.  CTE is most evident in football players and other athletes.  There are several questions that this research endeavor will explore.  One of them is why do some NFL players experience CTE and others not?  How much an effect does genetics play in CTE (there are former NFL players who have had multiple head injuries and did not have CTE).  Does the age at which a person experiences head trauma have an effect on CTE later in life?  And the biggest question is how can we diagnose CTE before death.

The research team is recruiting 180 former NFL and college football players to study their brains.  Lead researcher Robert Stern, Ph.D. is aided by former NFL player Tim Fox, who is 62 years old and believes he has some symptoms of CTE.  You can hear more about this study in an NPR All Things Considered interview here.

This study may help decision makers in age group to high school to college football.

If you suffer a concussion, or any kind of head injury with symptoms, look into Neurofeedback as a way of relieving those symptoms.

 

Neurofeedback is non-obtrusive and fun!

Neurofeedback is non-obtrusive and fun!

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Five Drug-Free Treatments for ADHD

Medication is not the only treatment for ADHD!

Dr Daniel Amen recommends 5 Drug Free Treatments for ADHD

They are:

  • Neurofeedback – Brain training using EEG Neurofeedback – effective, but takes several sessions, no side effects
  • Nutrition – High protein, low carbs is a good start.  Sometimes children react negatively to certain processed foods, such as those with artificial coloring, gluten, or dairy
  • “Then What?” – question to ask yourself if you do a behavior
  • Exercise – A healthy brain loves oxygen and aerobic exercise helps get more oxygen to your brain cells, also helps the body to regulate chemicals in the body
  • Meditation – calms the body and the brain

Read Dr. Amen’s article here

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Study Shows Link Between Maternal Stress and Childhood ADHD

A study published in The Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry suggests that there is  a relationship between maternal stress during pregnancy and childhood ADHD.  Which kind of makes sense.  There is an increasing amount of stress for expecting mothers during these times:  money worries, Zika virus, presidential elections, ect, and an alarming increasing rate of childhood ADHD!  How can an expectant mother deal with all this stess?  First, turn off the TV!  Second do Neurofeedback and learn meditation!  I wonder what a generation of children whose mothers did Neurofeedback and meditation during pregnancy would look like?  Hmmm…read the published study here.

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Study Shows that Brains of College Athletes with Prior Concussions Show Long Term Changes

A new study just out shows that University athletes with a history of concussions had deleterious changes in size, blood flow, and connections in their brains months, and even years, after the injury.

The study used advanced MRI to examine the brains of 21 male and 22 female athletes, of which 21 had prior concussions, and 22 had no history of concussions.

They found the athletes with a history of concussions had:

  • Brain shrinkage in the frontal lobes, the part of the brain involved in such things as decision-making, problem solving, impulse control and the ability to speak fluently. The brains of athletes with prior concussions showed a 10 to 20-per-cent reduction in volume compared to those with no concussions.
  • Less blood flow (25 to 35 per cent) to certain areas of the brain, mainly the frontal lobes, which are very vulnerable to injury because of their location at the front of the brain. Reduced blood flow is associated with a longer recovery
  • A greater number of concussions was associated with reduced brain volume and blood flow
  • Changes in the structure of the brain’s white matter, the fibre tracts that connect different parts of the brain

Read the full study here.

Neurofeedback helps in concussion recovery!

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What’s it Like to Have ADHD

If you are a parent, a teacher or caregiver for a child with ADHD and have ever wondered what it is like to have ADHD, here is a video for you (scroll down to the third video)! If you have ADHD, watch this video and you may see some of yourself, and know you are not alone. #ADHD #Neurofeedback

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Stop the ‘Summer Slide’

Many studies show that students who don’t exercise their brains during the summer can lose up to two months worth of valuable, hard-won learning.  This is especially true for students who struggle with ADHD and/or coexisting learning disabilities. (Don’t believe me?  Ask any teacher!)  It is crucial that these students engage in educational activities year round to help them retain what they’ve worked so hard to achieve.  But, even though school has stopped doesn’t mean learning has to stop also!  Here are some ideas to help keep your child learning through the summer (adapted from ADDitude Magazine):

  • Read Everyday – whether it’s a popular fictional book, a National Geographic for Kids or Sports Illustrated for Kids, all reading is good.  Also be sure to discuss with your child what they have read to check for comprehension.  Some local libraries have summer book challenges.
  • Stress-free Writing Projects – Make these fun (don’t worry too much about spelling!).  Write out a script for a video project (‘What I did on my Summer Vacation); send emails to friends and family, or start a video blog.
  • Review Math Skills with Games – Board games like Monopoly, Mastermind, and Qwirkle require math skills.  There are also online interactive math games like FunBrain, Cool Math 4 Kids and more that make math fun.
  • Practice Public Speaking – Make some how-to videos or presentations such as a cooking recipe, building a go cart, a magic trick or acting out a part of a book or play.
  • Take Learning Outside – Making videos and reading can all be done outside.  Swim some, read some at pool side!
  • Do Neurofeedback – Give your child’s brain a real workout!  Neurofeedback can help improve focus and decrease hyperactivity and anxiety.  Click here to see how Neurofeedback can help with ADHD.

 

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