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5 Helpful Tips to Pass Midterms

Focus MD ADHD Tips to passing midtrems

It’s that time of year again, the most dreaded part of the semester for most college students, midterms. If you have ADHD, midterms can be even more stressful because lets face it, procrastination always finds its way into your study sessions. Before you start calculating how well you have to do on your exams, let us help take the stress out of midterms. Here are 5 helpful tips to help you study smarter and be successful on your exams.

Get plenty of sleep

Getting sleep is key to passing test
We have all pulled an all-nighter expecting to become an overnight expert in the subject; however, the truth is those last minute cram sessions are not good for your health or grades. When you don’t get the rest you need, you are unable to concentrate, stay productive or retain information. While all-nighters are an ode to college life, try to avoid them. It’s overstated, but nonetheless true; get plenty of sleep!

Get creative

Tips for studying, take good notes
No one said studying was fun, but you can make it more interesting. Boredom is the doorway to procrastination; so instead of forcing information into your head, try making what you’re studying memorable. What do we mean? When you’re highlighting use different colors for importance, make notes in the margins, doodle in your notes, read aloud or create funny ways to remember facts. Use your ADHD to your advantage.

Schedule study time

Schedule time to study will help you pass midterms
Many students with ADHD are quite intelligent; their downfall is poor time-management skills. The best way to stay on track is to think of college as a job. Plan to spend about 40 hours a week, this accounts for both class and studying. By scheduling time to study either in between or after your classes can better help you retain what you’re leaning.

Make a plan and stick to it

Make a plan to study for each class and you'll have no problems passing midterms
A skill college students with ADHD need to learn is how to assess and prioritize. Learning this concept will help you be less reactive and more proactive. Every week make a plan of what needs to be done. When you can assess what needs to be done versus what you could do, you’ll be able to prioritize what needs to be done first and take care of it.

Reward yourself

you study hard, now play hard!
When you have accomplished what you set out to achieve, you should reward yourself with something you enjoy. For example read for 2 hours then take a break and go get a cup of coffee with friends or catch a school baseball game. Whatever you choose, your reward should not be open ended; it should have a beginning, middle and an end.

Now get out there tiger, you’ve got midterms to conquer.

If you would like more information on ADHD and resources please visit focus-md.com or click here.

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Featured Doc Blog: How to Help a Child with ADHD Adjust to a New School Year

Dr. Joanna Ghegan in our Mount Pleasant, SC office recently contributed to an article in Lowcountry Parent Magazine.  This article describes 5 ways you can make sure your child has a great start to a better school year. Parents of children with ADHD understand the difficulties that come along with new routines (or getting back in a routine!), new teachers, and more advanced coursework.  You can find the original article here, or read below.

“For parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), facing those first few months of a new school year can be a challenge. Routines have changed, teachers are different and academic struggles may be more pronounced as coursework becomes more advanced.

But helping your children get comfortable in a new school year doesn’t have to feel like an uphill battle. Here are 5 ways to help your child with ADHD have better school year.

1. Confirm the ADHD diagnosis.

Usually a pediatrician or family doctor makes a diagnosis based on subjective questionnaires from parents and teachers, and that information may be conflicting.

“While those questionnaires are very important and part of the diagnostic process, it’s not enough information,” says Dr. Joanna Ghegan, a physician with Focus-MD in Mount Pleasant . In fact, that’s part of the reason she switched from a general pediatric practice to Focus-MD, which uses a FDA-cleared objective test to improve accuracy in ADHD diagnosis.

This computerized test objectively measures activity, attention and impulse control and compares each patient’s results with other kids of the same age and gender. “Including an objective measure of the patients symptoms helps prevent over-diagnosis of ADHD, which is a real comfort to parents,” according to Dr. Ghegan.

2. Adjust medications as needed.

Like all medications, ADHD medications can have side effects, but these can be avoided almost entirely by working closely with your child’s doctor to find the optimal medication and dose.

Teacher and parent input is critical and it’s important to listen to children and teens about their experiences with medication, both positive and negative, to get to the right balance.

“Having our objective testing to assess the effect of medication helps prevent over-medication and allows us to find the optimal dose more quickly that waiting for grades or subjective assessments”, says Ghegan. At Focus-MD physicians follow patients closely to monitor improvement in symptoms, academic and social progress and minimize side effects.

3. Go to bed early.

Many parents don’t always realize just how much sleep children need. While adults need 8 hours of sleep, children – especially ages 4 to 7 – require 11 or 12 hours of sleep.

With earlier school start times, after-school activities and both parents working, many children are sleep deprived. A child with ADHD will benefit greatly from getting enough rest since sleep is proven to help with attention, focus and hyperactivity.

4. Cut down on screen time.

We could all probably benefit from less time spent in front of the TV or computer, but this is especially true for children with ADHD. Remove televisions and computers from your child’s bedroom to eliminate distractions during both sleep time and study time.

5. Stay organized.

For children struggling to stay focused, getting organized will help greatly. Have the child keep an assignment book for school, makes lists and use a calendar. This not only helps the child stay on track but will cut down on stress at home.

Gheghan also stresses the importance a good diet and exercise, which releases endorphins that aid in concentration and focus.

“It’s not just about handing out medicine,” she says. “We take a holistic approach to the patient and talk about lifestyle as well.”

Focus-MD is a medical practice in Mount Pleasant for children with ADHD and related problems. At Focus-MD, ADHD is treated like a medical problem, not a psychological one. Their team of qualified and experienced medical doctors is committed to providing the high-quality, individualized care.

Call (843) 593-9332 for additional information or to schedule an appointment.”

Dear Teacher: Working with My Son’s Tics

Dear Teacher: Working with My Son’s Tics | Focus-MD

 

This is the last part of the letter written by the mother of 9-year-old Josh to his teacher to give her some background knowledge on his dyslexia and ADHD. Here, she discusses his tics and how to best work with him in the classroom.

 

Dear Teacher,

Since we’ve given you an overview of Josh’s dyslexia and ADHD conditions, I’d like to also give you some information on his tics and how to work with him most effectively to make it a great year for the both of you.

Josh has occasional tics that are characterized by a brief hesitation accompanied by a rolling of his eyes. He may lose thought of what he was saying or doing during a tic, but he typically picks up where he left off.

Here are a few things to note about Josh’s tics and how to best work with him:

  • Acknowledgement of tics — Josh has not yet acknowledged his tic to us, so we do not make a big deal of them or draw attention to them. Essentially, we treat them like a blink.
  • Frequency of tics — Josh’s tics happen much more frequently during moments of high emotion, such as times of excitement, nervousness, anger, and frustration. We predict that his tics will be quite prevalent during the first week of school with the many new experiences.
  • Outbursts — Josh suffers in silence until he doesn’t. We do not expect many meltdowns/outbursts this year. But, when he does have an outburst, it will most likely not be about what it appears. Josh tends to stew about something until it results in an outburst that is not violent but is a clear refusal to do what he is told. They will likely surprise you and throw you for a loop!
  • Tolerance — We have and suggest a “zero tolerance” policy for obstinate behavior and outbursts. We know this can be difficult if the event is pulling on your heartstrings. We suggest clearly stating that the behavior is not acceptable and will keep him from participating in whatever class events are going on. If that does not calm the storm, he could be sent to the resource room to “get himself together.”
  • Initial challenges — Josh will tell you that he cannot or does not know how to do things for which he does not want to push through the initial challenge or frustration. It can be hard to decode this. We ask that you please require him to try. When he gains the confidence that he can do something that he thought he was incapable of, that smile will fill the room bigger than any other and will empower him to try again!

We want to thank you for being willing to take this time to learn about our son. We are grateful for your efforts and want you to know that we are always available to chat, meet, and collaborate. Our goal is the best and most productive learning experience for Josh, in the respect of you and your efforts to teach Josh and his classmates. Thank you very much!

Sincerely,

Mother

 

Josh’s mother took care to explain to his teacher how to best understand his conditions and how to work with him. With the start of the new school year, it is important to monitor changes in your child’s behavior and bring him or her to our office to readjust medications if needed. Contact us to help you and your child make this year a successful one!

 

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Dear Teacher: My Son Has ADHD

Dear Teacher: My Son Has ADHD | Focus-MD

 

Josh is a 9-year-old boy with dyslexia and ADHD, and is one of our valued patients. Last week, we shared the first part of a letter that Josh’s mother wrote to his teacher at the beginning of the school year concerning his issues with dyslexia. This week, we are sharing the second part of her letter as she discusses Josh’s ADHD.

 

Dear Teacher,

Josh is also diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a condition in which the brain is unable to properly regulate attention. Therefore, it is often the conception that children with ADHD cannot pay attention. Quite the contrary, they may simply pay attention to the “wrong” things. This also means they may not do a good job of regulating how they interact with the world.

Josh’s ADHD is different from many of his peers in its severity. He was diagnosed when he was very young and had challenges in preschool that resulted in some social delays. These are improving but are still clearly present nonetheless.

Here are a few notes about Josh and his ADHD:

  • Frustration tolerance — Regulating responses to frustration (which can include pushing through new types of math problems or even a change in the lunch menu) are a particular challenge for Josh. We have been working on managing his frustration for years by encouraging open communication with phrases such as, “I am frustrated because…”
  • Front-loading — We have learned that front-loading Josh with what is and is not happening is beneficial to his behavior. However, we also warn him often that plans may change. As parents, we do understand that life is full of surprises, and we do not expect you to front-load Jake constantly, yet do want you to know this trick for when it would help you.
  • Impulse control — Impulse regulation is another challenge of ADHD and one that is monitored very effectively by Josh’s medication. However, as his medication is kicking in and wearing off, you may see an increase in impulse control as a challenge for him.
  • Josh’s medication — ADHD medication is always a moving target. It is a constant struggle between finding the right amount to boost Josh’s focus to learn and make friends but that still allows him to be a 9-year-old boy. Additionally, there is always the challenge of timing: when it kicks in and when it wears off.

While we are aware that it is not your job to gauge Josh’s medication effectiveness, your feedback can help us to make the adjustments to make both yours and Josh’s lives easier.

 

Does this parent’s letter remind you of your child? Bring him to our office to be evaluated, and we will help get him on the right track to make this school year a successful one! Check our blog again next week to see what this mother has to tell her son’s teacher about his tics and how to best work with him.

 

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Dear Teacher: My Son Has Dyslexia

Focus-MD | Dear Teacher: My Son Has Dyslexia

 

With the start of the new school year, children are excited to get back to pencils, paper, and of course, the playground. However, children with behavioral issues such as dyslexia and ADHD may be dreading the start of another challenging year.

Josh is one of our wonderful patients. He is a 9-year-old boy with both dyslexia and ADHD. Josh’s mother wrote this letter to her son’s teacher to introduce her to the learning challenges and social difficulties that Josh faces. Take a look at the first part of this letter, where she discusses his dyslexia.

 

Dear Teacher,

It was a pleasure to meet you last week. Josh is very excited about starting the school year. I put together some notes for you about Josh’s behavioral conditions and some things that we believe might benefit you to know as you teach him this year. We strongly believe that it is our responsibility to arm you with as much information as possible to facilitate both yours and Josh’s success this year.

Within the past few weeks, we have discovered that Josh has dyslexia. While we are learning more about dyslexia daily, some of these symptoms that you might see in Josh are:

  • Sequencing — Josh struggles to keep track of proper sequences of tasks or instructions. I have seen this in how he tackles a chapter book — read and flip, read and flip, in no apparent order.
  • Word replacement — Josh often replaces words or phrases with synonyms when reading.
  • Name and term recall — Remembering names of classmates is a huge challenge for Josh. He also has difficulty recalling names of items that have similar application (i.e., mustard/ketchup, bagel/waffle). This has begun to cause him frustration to the point at which he will say, “I’m not good at remembering names…” and then give up trying.
  • Difficulty with reading — Josh never made the expected comfortable transition to reading chapter books last year at school. He can typically read the words he needs to read, but the pieces do not come together comfortably when he reads longer stories.
  • Difficulty with simple math word problems — Josh loves math and is happy to sit for hours doing fact worksheets. But, common word problems that assume a level of intuition or assumption are a huge challenge and frustration to him.

 

If you think your child displays these symptoms and may be dyslexic, schedule an appointment with us to have him or her evaluated. Check back next week to read more of this parent’s letter, when she discusses Josh’s ADHD.

 

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Back To School. Back To An ADHD Routine.

Focus-MD | Back To School. Back To An ADHD Routine.

By James Wiley, MD, FAAP

 

It’s back to school time, and that means it’s time to get back into a routine. One of the most important routines to focus on is bedtime and awakening time. Summer tends to shift bedtime later, and it definitely shifts awakening time later for most kids, especially teenagers. So, in order to adjust the sleep cycle, we recommend beginning to wake a little earlier each day and going to bed a little earlier each night.

One of the things that you have to do in order to accomplish this is to restrict those electronics your child or teenager takes to bed with them. That sometimes meets resistance. Whether you have ADHD or not, a good night’s sleep is essential for attention — but it is especially important for ADHD patients. The ADHD brain is very hard to slow down and it takes time to adjust. So, begin now to shift that sleep cycle back to the school year pattern. You’ll be glad you did.

 

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5 Quick Low-Tech Tips to Help Start Your School Year Off Right

Focus-MD | 5 Quick Low-Tech Tips to Help Start Your School Year Off Right

By James Wiley, MD, FAAP

It’s back to school time, and we at Focus-MD do more than just prescribe medicine to treat ADHD — we also like to provide tips and tricks on how to manage life with ADHD. So, to help you and your child start the school year off right, here are five quick low-tech tips:

1. Have extra pencils, erasers, pens, and paper.
These are all inexpensive tools. Make sure you have plenty on-hand so that you don’t hear, “I can’t find my pencil” or “I can’t get started because I don’t have a pencil.”

2. Have these tools in multiple colors.
ADHD brains love color, and a great system to begin to teach your child now is to highlight the important points. This way, when it’s time to go back and study, they’re ready to go.

3. Use a simple index card.
Boys resist using planners, and it frustrates teachers and parents to no end. Boys really do have trouble with planners a lot of times. But, what they will use is a simple index card. Some school uniforms have a pocket, so the index card fits in there nicely. Have them go ahead and write the four or five subjects they’re going to have homework in on that card. And, yes — I know moms are going to accidentally wash some of them, but it’s still good to teach them that technique!

4. Use Post-It notes.
Have your child write themselves notes. Remember that if you write the note, you’re doing the executive function in the reminding. But if the child writes something on the Post-It note, then they can remember without you nagging.

5. And finally, gather the things they’re going to need for school onto a “launch pad.”
Have them create it. Remember, kids don’t play as often in a playhouse that dad builds by himself — they’re going to want to be involved in the creative process. So, if you want your kid to get organized, have them design their own system. One great way is to find a piece of paper or poster board and have them create a space in which they gather the things they’re going to need for that day (AKA a “launch pad”). Whether that be their phone, their shoes — whatever it may be — they begin to learn to put those things together in one place. It works for NASA, and it’ll make your school year go much better.

 

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5 Things Teachers Should Know About ADHD in the Classroom

Focus-Md | 5 Things Teachers Should Know About ADHD in the Classroom

By James Wiley, MD, FAAP

It’s back-to-school time, and as the father and brother of teachers, I get to hear firsthand the joys and struggles educators face in the classroom. One challenge is managing hyperactive and impulsive behavior in the 10% of students that have ADHD. Here are 5 tips that will help you keep your sanity and make your students with ADHD (and their parents) eternally grateful.

1. Let them move
Research is in! Kids with ADHD perform better and learn more if they can wiggle while they work. Help them find less disruptive ways to do just that! A fidget pal — like an eraser or a small stress ball — can be helpful, but some kids will need more. Allowing students to sit on exercise balls has been helpful for some. Consider allowing students to stand at desks in the back of the room or have a walking and listening track if you find you have a kid that has to move. Incorporate stand up and stretch breaks into instruction.

2. Encourage PE and recess
Kids who get recess do better on standardized tests than those who don’t. If you restrict these high-movement times, then be prepared to face the repercussions. The need for the ADHD brain to move is cumulative — that is, it builds over the day. PE and recess allow a pop-off valve for that energy. Restriction from these activities due to behavioral issues or unfinished work is counter-productive.

3. Preferential seating
Some kids with ADHD get distracted visually and need to be in the front. For the ones more distracted by sound, consider letting them sit in the back of the class — these are the kids that are always looking behind them when you place them in the front closer to you so that they can listen better! Separating a child from his/her peers in a chair away from the action can lead to stigmatization and give a subconscious green light for bullying that child. Any changes in seating should be done privately and never in front of the other students or out of frustration. One thought is to move everyone around — that way no one is singled out, and the wiggle worm just happens to land in the seat you want him/her in! Don’t hesitate to rearrange if it doesn’t help.

4. Catch them being good and be specific on the negative behaviors
Kids with ADHD hear a lot of negative messages. When they have success controlling their behavior or completing their work, make sure to notice, and be easy on the frowny faces! Equal is not always fair. Most of God’s children, including the grown-up kind, will work more for encouragement and praise than for correction and discipline. When there are behavioral problems that need to be addressed, BE SPECIFIC. “He was blurting out answers and out of his seat a great deal today” is much more helpful than “Terrible day!” Consider identifying three problem behaviors and giving a daily grade of 1-5, with 1-2 being problematic, 3 being average and 4-5 being great! Parents can then see how their child is doing in the classroom and reinforce or discipline as indicated.

5. Never mention medication in the classroom
Asking a child about medication in the classroom or in front of a peer is a serious violation of privacy. Most teachers reading this will certainly agree! But from what kids say, it happens all too frequently, and it is devastating for them and often leads to problems with medication non-compliance. It’s much better to say, “You seem distracted today” or “You’re active today” than to ask about medication. If there needs to be a conversation about medication, remember to do it in private. Finally, please share concerns about medication side effects or lack of effectiveness of medication with the parent (or physician with parental approval). You are with the child eight hours a day, five days a week for nine months (as you no doubt know!), and your professional opinion counts!

Watch the late Rita Pearson’s Ted Talks video Every Kid Needs a Champion. She says it best.

 

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5 Helpful Tips to Pass Midterms

Focus MD ADHD Tips to passing midtrems

It’s that time of year again, the most dreaded part of the semester for most college students, midterms. If you have ADHD, midterms can be even more stressful because lets face it, procrastination always finds its way into your study sessions. Before you start calculating how well you have to do on your exams, let us help take the stress out of midterms. Here are 5 helpful tips to help you study smarter and be successful on your exams.

Get plenty of sleep

Getting sleep is key to passing test
We have all pulled an all-nighter expecting to become an overnight expert in the subject; however, the truth is those last minute cram sessions are not good for your health or grades. When you don’t get the rest you need, you are unable to concentrate, stay productive or retain information. While all-nighters are an ode to college life, try to avoid them. It’s overstated, but nonetheless true; get plenty of sleep!

Get creative

Tips for studying, take good notes
No one said studying was fun, but you can make it more interesting. Boredom is the doorway to procrastination; so instead of forcing information into your head, try making what you’re studying memorable. What do we mean? When you’re highlighting use different colors for importance, make notes in the margins, doodle in your notes, read aloud or create funny ways to remember facts. Use your ADHD to your advantage.

Schedule study time

Schedule time to study will help you pass midterms
Many students with ADHD are quite intelligent; their downfall is poor time-management skills. The best way to stay on track is to think of college as a job. Plan to spend about 40 hours a week, this accounts for both class and studying. By scheduling time to study either in between or after your classes can better help you retain what you’re leaning.

Make a plan and stick to it

Make a plan to study for each class and you'll have no problems passing midterms
A skill college students with ADHD need to learn is how to assess and prioritize. Learning this concept will help you be less reactive and more proactive. Every week make a plan of what needs to be done. When you can assess what needs to be done versus what you could do, you’ll be able to prioritize what needs to be done first and take care of it.

Reward yourself

you study hard, now play hard!
When you have accomplished what you set out to achieve, you should reward yourself with something you enjoy. For example read for 2 hours then take a break and go get a cup of coffee with friends or catch a school baseball game. Whatever you choose, your reward should not be open ended; it should have a beginning, middle and an end.

Now get out there tiger, you’ve got midterms to conquer.

If you would like more information on ADHD and resources please visit focus-md.com or click here.

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How To Ease The School Year Transition

Going back to school after a long summer can be very challenging for children to cope with. Add that transition to the anxieties that accompany ADHD, and you child is really dreading going back to school and changing his or her summer routine.

But as the parent, there are steps that you can take to make the transition as easy as possible for your child. You can lessen the blow of a new teacher, classroom, and schedule by easing into the process. Here’s how:

  • Talk with your child’s teacher to see if it is possible to meet him or her a few days before school starts. Meeting the teacher before the first day of school will help your child because it will be one less new face, and an authority figure that your child can start to feel comfortable around. This will also give you an opportunity to talk to the teacher about any extra needs your child will need in the classroom, like tips you’ve learned on how to keep him or her focused, and what to do when he/she gets off track.
  • A week or so before school starts, have your child go to bed and wake up around the time he or she will sleep and wake up during the school year. You can go so far as to get dressed and eat breakfast all in a similar structured time-frame as the pre-school adventure. Starting this structured morning will ease the transition from morning cartoons to scarfing down breakfast and running out the door.
  • Begin a nightly reading time to mimic homework time at night. This will again, ease into the school lifestyle, and will start the routine of quiet work-time in the evenings.

Keeping structure and easing into the transition from the summer lifestyle to the school year will help you and your child adjust to all the adventures that a new school year brings.

If you would like more information on ADHD and resources please visit focus-md.com or click here.

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