Thursday, September 29, 2016

H ow to Raise a Good Human in a Digital World

How to Raise a Good Human in a Digital World
Real tips for teaching character to kids of all ages using media and tech.

As parents, we have many hopes for our kids. We want them to grow up to live happy, successful lives. We hope they'll find love, maybe have kids of their own, and pursue their dreams. But at the bottom of all these wishes is the hope that our kid turns into a decent human being -- someone who is kind, respectful, and honest.
How do you bolster these strengths as well as teach key skills such as teamwork, communication, and perseverance? For the most part, kids will learn these things by following your example and through experience gained at school and in their communities. But media is another entry point. Since movies, TV shows, books, video games, and social media are such a huge part of kids' lives, it makes sense that kids can learn important lessons about character through media.
Here are some specific things you can do or say to reinforce character:
Watch sports.
Not only can watching sports with kids be a really fun way to bond over a favorite team or player, it can be a perfect opportunity to point out character strengths from teamwork to perseverance. After cheering over a big touchdown or basket, point out how important the linebackers or passers were to the score: Even though they don't get all the attention, the team wouldn't be successful without the admirable work of supporting players.
Share social media.
From Facebook and Instagram to YouTube, social media is ripe with character lessons. If you notice a post, photo, or video of something especially touching or beautiful, share it with your kid and comment on how much courage it took for the poster to share their story or creative expression. Discuss the risks involved with putting yourself out there and how important it is to take (reasonable) risks to be true to yourself, even though you might face criticism.
Expand your horizons.
Watching documentaries or movies about people who live very different lives can trigger empathy, compassion, and humility. During a family movie night, choose something out of the ordinary -- a story about someone of a different race or religion, or about a community that's less fortunate than yours, or a subculture with different values or beliefs than yours -- and encourage discussion afterward.
Play video games together.
Gaming as a family offers the chance to practice teamwork, problem-solving, communication, and perseverance, while also having fun. Choose multiplayer games where gamers are required to work together to win. Model positive, respectful communication during the game (try "I need help over here" instead of "you idiot!"). If kids are trying over and over again to achieve a game goal, you can recognize their effort as well as their success.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

6 Common Assumptions About ADHD That Aren’t Helping Students

Casey Quinlan
Education reporter at ThinkProgress.

Aug 17 2016 


The U.S. Department of Education released a letter to schools last week informing them of their obligations to identify and assist students with ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The guidance reminded schools of their obligations toward students with ADHD, since 10 percent of the department’s 16,000 Office of Civil Rights complaints involve allegations of discrimination against students with the disorder.
According to the department, the most common complaint is that students aren’t identified in a timely manner or evaluated properly. Schools often fail to distribute information to staff on how to identify students and provide them with the right interventions and allow financial considerations into decisions about identifying and helping students.
The guidance also challenges pernicious stereotypes and assumptions that set students with ADHD back. Teachers may assume that students who perform well on tests and on homework don’t need to be diagnosed, that girls don’t have ADHD, and that interventions should only allow for things like more time on tests instead of teaching kids skills to manage their time. There are also a lot of misunderstandings about what learning disorders such as ADHD are and how they work. Here are some of the most common assumptions:
We’re identifying kids of all races and ethnicities
A 2013 study found that black children were almost two-thirds less likely to be seen as having ADHD symptoms compared to white children, and Hispanic children, Asian children, and children of other races were about half as likely to have these symptoms noticed compared to white students.
Myles Moody, a Ph.D. student at the University of Kentucky’s Department of Sociology, has studied issues of ADHD diagnosis of black students, the school-to-prison pipeline, and parent-teacher relationships. Research has shown that black students in particular are more likely to receive suspensions and expulsions, that teachers can be racially biased in doling out discipline, and that black children are seen as older than they actually are.
“They’re not getting the help that they need and studies continue to show that there is a huge gap in assessments, and that black children are disproportionately under-diagnosed for the disorder, even though it hasn’t yet been proven that they are less likely to have the disorder,” Moody said. “I believe that this is a cause for concern. Many other scholars have been working in this area, and it certainly warants attention from policymakers, teachers and parents of children with ADHD. It’s a cause for concern for everyone.”
Moody added that there are a number of reasons why this might be the case, such as a tendency to pursue discipline over identifying behavior and offering help when it comes to black students, a lack of connection between parents and teachers in schools in low-income neighborhoods, and the distrust some black people may carry of anything having to do with diagnosis or assessment of behavioral issues.
Moody said that his recent research on relationships between parents and teachers required him to speak to teachers at schools in low-income neighborhoods. He said that distrust of professional medical scrutiny — due to a history of black people being subjected to experiments in the scientific community — doesn’t help either, and may contribute to teachers and family members seeing diagnosis as a “last resort.”
“I asked him, ‘How many referrals for assessment have you made as a teacher?’ and he replied ‘None, I refuse to,’ and the reasoning was he felt as though he wasn’t doing enough as a teacher to improve his classroom management and he wanted to try every option before he resorted to ADHD assessment. He saw ADHD diagnoses and treatment as a last resort and when teachers are looking at it as a last resort, it can be a huge barrier [to diagnosis], even though they may mean well and have good intentions,” Moody said.
Kids with good grades don’t have ADHD
The letter also knocks down the idea that students who are excelling academically wouldn’t have ADHD or need assessment for ADHD. Judith R. Harrison, an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University whose research focuses on special education, pointed out that grades are not always the best indication of what a student is learning.
“If a child has support at home with organizing their materials so they get to school and manage to turn all of their assignments in and their grades are good, they still haven’t learned to organize their materials, so it doesn’t really reflect what skills they’re learning,” Harrison said.
Students with ADHD may also have issues with learning certain social skills as well, Harrison said.
“They’re impulsive and they interrupt, not all, but as a group they tend to be loud and hyper. So if you’re working on a group project and someone in your group is demonstrating those behaviors, then it makes group work difficult,” Harrison said.
Girls don’t have ADHD
There is a tendency for educators to identify boys as having ADHD far more than girls because people most associate a hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD with ADHD. Girls, who are more likely to have Inattentive ADHD, which means they may be easily forgetful, disorganized, and don’t finish their work, may also try to cover up their symptoms because they are expected to perform better at school, experts say. These cultural expectations make it difficult for girls to ask for help or for educators to see them as being in need of help.
Rae Jacobson wrote about her experience with ADHD in New York Magazine last year. She wrote, “Beyond my failures at school and work, not being able to focus made me feel like I’d failed at being a girl. Having ADHD is challenging regardless of gender but in a world predisposed to undermining women, not having your shit together can feel like a dereliction of feminine duty.”
This under-diagnosis of girls is beginning to change, however. Diagnoses for girls have risen 55 percent from 2003 to 2011, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry and prescriptions for medicine for ADHD is increasing for women too. Since girls and women are often identified later, it has been beneficial to girls and women with ADHD that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was recently revised to show that ADHD symptoms could cause impairment before age 12 and explained how symptoms could appear in adolescence and adulthood.
It will fade over time
One of the challenges of identifying students is that parents may be reluctant to acknowledge the child’s struggles with attention and hyperactivity are more than a phase. According to a 2014 survey from the National Center for Learning Disabilities, parents surveyed said they assumed traits tied to learning disabilities in children ages 3 and 4 would go away and two in three were reluctant to ask about early intervention services.
Harrison said that assumption is becoming less of a problem but it is still there. The child’s symptoms may become less visible over time, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there and affecting the child’s ability to organize and concentrate on a task.
“That has been a common belief for years, that they grow out of it, and I think it’s worse for kids with ADHD because the hyperactivity tends to get better as they get older so what you physically see — the movement — would turn more into things like doodling instead of running around the room. So maybe it looks like it’s going away but the inattention is still there. I think we’re learning over time that it’s not going away,” Harrison said.
Accommodations are the only solution
Harrison said there is a tendency for schools to think about accommodations as the only way to help kids with ADHD do better in school, but Harrison said it’s just as important for kids to learn the skills to do things they find challenging, such as taking notes or figuring out how to organize a long-term project for example. One of the things that impressed her about the department’s letter was its choice to downplay accommodations.
“For example, if we think a kid can’t take notes we give them notes instead of teaching them to take notes, and there is no research to support that. None. So what I am trying to do is see if there are interventions we can use to teach those skills. It may take longer, it may be a struggle, but we need to teach them and have those accommodations but phase them out,” she said.
Everyone’s needs are the same
As the department makes clear in its guidance, not all children with disabilities and learning disorders benefit from the same interventions, and neither students with ADHD. The interventions should depend on an individual child’s needs, a directive Harrison was happy to see. For example, the department said that one student may need more time on an exam but another child may need a different testing format because they struggle with multiple choice questions. Some children may need behavioral but not academic interventions.
“They talk about not just using a laundry list of strategies. They talk about it being needs-based, which is huge, so what does this child need compared to this child? Because those things could be totally different. Not all strategies work for all students,” Harrison said.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Exercise Is ADHD Medication

Exercise Is ADHD Medication
Physical movement improves mental focus, memory, and cognitive flexibility; new research shows just how critical it is to academic performance.


Mental exercises to build (or rebuild) attention span have shown promise recently as adjuncts or alternatives to amphetamines in addressing symptoms common to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Building cognitive control, to be better able to focus on just one thing, or single-task, might involve regular practice with a specialized video game that reinforces "top-down" cognitive modulation, as was the case in a popular paper in Nature last year. Cool but still notional. More insipid but also more clearly critical to addressing what's being called the ADHD epidemic is plain old physical activity.
This morning the medical journal Pediatrics published research that found kids who took part in a regular physical activity program showed important enhancement of cognitive performance and brain function. The findings, according to University of Illinois professor Charles Hillman and colleagues, "demonstrate a causal effect of a physical program on executive control, and provide support for physical activity for improving childhood cognition and brain health." If it seems odd that this is something that still needs support, that's because it is odd, yes. Physical activity is clearly a high, high-yield investment for all kids, but especially those attentive or hyperactive. This brand of research is still published and written about as though it were a novel finding, in part because exercise programs for kids remain underfunded and underprioritized in many school curricula, even though exercise is clearly integral to maximizing the utility of time spent in class.

The improvements in this case came in executive control, which consists of inhibition (resisting distraction, maintaining focus), working memory, and cognitive flexibility (switching between tasks). The images above show the brain activity in the group of kids who did the program as opposed to the group that didn't. It's the kind of difference that's so dramatic it's a little unsettling. The study only lasted nine months, but when you're only seven years old, nine months is a long time to be sitting in class with a blue head.

t may potentially be advisable to consider possibly implementing more exercise opportunities for kids.

read more:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

probiotics for Depression

Evolutionary Psychiatry

Feb 21 2016 

A few weeks ago the first video in our monthly series with Dr. Drew Ramsey came out on Medscape Psychiatry, discussing some of the highlights of brain food and the microbiome from research in 2015. Some interest expressed in the comments focused on one of the last studies we mentioned, published late in the year in the journal Nutrition: “Clinical and metabolic response to probiotic administration in patients with major depressive disorder: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.”

There are a number of fascinating things about this paper, which to my knowledge is the first trial of probiotics in people with major depressive disorder specifically looking at biomarkers of inflammation and depressive symptoms. 40 patients total so not huge, but bigger than most pilot trials. They used three strains of probiotics in a capsule (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidobacterium bifidum, two billion colony forming units of each), and checked not only records of diet, but also serum glucose and other measures of metabolism along with a lab test that looks at inflammation called C reactive protein.
Probiotics are anti-inflammatory microbes that seem to affect the gut in a positive way, decreasing stress signaling in the body and possibly even increasing the transformation of the amino acid tryptophan to serotonin in the brain. In both their anti-inflammatory capacity and their serotonin capacity, probiotics have *some* overall effects similar to antidepressants such as SSRIs, but so far I’ve seen no literature to suggest that probiotics could cause problems such as serotonin syndrome, anxiety, jitteriness, or an increase in suicidal thoughts, or an uncomfortable discontinuation syndrome that SSRIs can sometimes cause when stopping the medication too suddenly.

for more info:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD
French children don't need medications to control their behavior.

In the United States, at least 9 percent of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and are taking pharmaceutical medications. In France, the percentage of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than .5 percent. How has the epidemic of ADHD—firmly established in the U.S.—almost completely passed over children in France?
Is ADHD a biological-neurological disorder? Surprisingly, the answer to this question depends on whether you live in France or in the U.S. In the United States, child psychiatrists consider ADHD to be a biological disorder with biological causes. The preferred treatment is also biological—psycho stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall.
French child psychiatrists, on the other hand, view ADHD as a medical condition that has psycho-social and situational causes. Instead of treating children's focusing and behavioral problems with drugs, French doctors prefer to look for the underlying issue that is causing the child distress—not in the child's brain but in the child's social context. They then choose to treat the underlying social context problem with psychotherapy or family counseling. This is a very different way of seeing things from the American tendency to attribute all symptoms to a biological dysfunction such as a chemical imbalance in the child's brain.
French child psychiatrists don't use the same system of classification of childhood emotional problems as American psychiatrists. They do not use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM. According to Sociologist Manuel Vallee, the French Federation of Psychiatry developed an alternative classification system as a resistance to the influence of the DSM-3. This alternative was the CFTMEA (Classification Française des Troubles Mentaux de L'Enfant et de L'Adolescent), first released in 1983, and updated in 1988 and 2000. The focus of CFTMEA is on identifying and addressing the underlying psychosocial causes of children's symptoms, not on finding the best pharmacological bandaids with which to mask symptoms.
To the extent that French clinicians are successful at finding and repairing what has gone awry in the child's social context, fewer children qualify for the ADHD diagnosis. Moreover, the definition of ADHD is not as broad as in the American system, which, in my view, tends to "pathologize" much of what is normal childhood behavior. The DSM specifically does not consider underlying causes. It thus leads clinicians to give the ADHD diagnosis to a much larger number of symptomatic children, while also encouraging them to treat those children with pharmaceuticals.
The French holistic, psychosocial approach also allows for considering nutritional causes for ADHD-type symptoms—specifically the fact that the behavior of some children is worsened after eating foods with artificial colors, certain preservatives, and/or allergens. Clinicians who work with troubled children in this country—not to mention parents of many ADHD kids—are well aware that dietary interventions can sometimes help a child's problem. In the U.S., the strict focus on pharmaceutical treatment of ADHD, however, encourages clinicians to ignore the influence of dietary factors on children's behavior.
And then, of course, there are the vastly different philosophies of child-rearing in the U.S. and France. These divergent philosophies could account for why French children are generally better-behaved than their American counterparts. Pamela Druckerman highlights the divergent parenting styles in her recent book, Bringing up Bébé. I believe her insights are relevant to a discussion of why French children are not diagnosed with ADHD in anything like the numbers we are seeing in the U.S.
From the time their children are born, French parents provide them with a firm cadre—the word means "frame" or "structure." Children are not allowed, for example, to snack whenever they want. Mealtimes are at four specific times of the day. French children learn to wait patiently for meals, rather than eating snack foods whenever they feel like it. French babies, too, are expected to conform to limits set by parents and not by their crying selves. French parents let their babies "cry it out" (for no more than a few minutes of course) if they are not sleeping through the night at the age of four months.
French parents, Druckerman observes, love their children just as much as American parents. They give them piano lessons, take them to sports practice, and encourage them to make the most of their talents. But French parents have a different philosophy of discipline. Consistently enforced limits, in the French view, make children feel safe and secure. Clear limits, they believe, actually make a child feel happier and safer—something that is congruent with my own experience as both a therapist and a parent. Finally, French parents believe that hearing the word "no" rescues children from the "tyranny of their own desires." And spanking, when used judiciously, is not considered child abuse in France. (Author's note: I am not personally in favor of spanking children).

As a therapist who works with children, it makes perfect sense to me that French children don't need medications to control their behavior because they learn self-control early in their lives. The children grow up in families in which the rules are well-understood, and a clear family hierarchy is firmly in place. In French families, as Druckerman describes them, parents are firmly in charge of their kids—instead of the American family style, in which the situation is all too often vice versa.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

MAP: How Did Your Child's Elementary School Do on State Tests?

By Nigel Chiwaya | August 10, 2016

NEW YORK CITY — Every single elementary school district saw improvement on the elementary school state exams this year, but how did your child's school do?
DNAinfo New York mapped out the test results below, coloring each school based on the percent of students in third through eighth grade that passed the English Language Arts (ELA) or math exam. Click on your school to see how it fared on each exam along with where it ranked among schools in its district.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña touted big gains in English Language Arts and math test scores for third through eighth graders when the results were released last month. Citywide, the number of students who scored at a proficient level reached 38 percent on the ELA exam and 36.4 percent on the math exam.
Citywide, Manhattan District 2 and Queens District 26 performed the highest on the tests. The best performing school was the Baccalaureate School for Global Education in Astoria, which saw more than 96 percent of its students pass both exams and ranked first in the city in math and second in English Language Arts.
Check the map below to see where your child's school scored on the exam:

for more:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Why It Doesn’t Pay to be a People-Pleaser

By Christine Carter | August 9, 2016 | 26 Comments

Christine Carter always tried to meet other people’s expectations—until she realized how out of sync with her own wants and needs she’d become.

People ask me all the time what the secret to happiness is. “If you had to pick just one thing,” they wonder, “what would be the most important thing for leading a happy life?”
Ten years ago, I would have told you a regular gratitude practice was the most important thing—and while that is still my favorite instant happiness booster, my answer has changed. I believe the most important thing for happiness is living truthfully. Here’s the specific advice I recently gave my kids:
Live with total integrity. Be transparent, honest, and authentic. Do not ever waiver from this; white lies and false smiles quickly snowball into a life lived out of alignment. It is better to be yourself and risk having people not like you than to suffer the stress and tension that comes from pretending to be someone you’re not, or professing to like something that you don’t. I promise you: Pretending will rob you of joy.
I’ve spent the better part of my life as a people-pleaser, trying to meet other people’s expectations, trying to keep everyone happy and liking me. But when we are trying to please others, we are usually out of sync with our own wants and needs. It’s not that it’s bad to be thinking of others. It’s that pleasing others is not the same as helping others. 

Live with total integrity. Be transparent, honest, and authentic. Do not ever waiver from this; white lies and false smiles quickly snowball into a life lived out of alignment. It is better to be yourself and risk having people not like you than to suffer the stress and tension that comes from pretending to be someone you’re not, or professing to like something that you don’t. I promise you: Pretending will rob you of joy.

I’ve spent the better part of my life as a people-pleaser, trying to meet other people’s expectations, trying to keep everyone happy and liking me. But when we are trying to please others, we are usually out of sync with our own wants and needs. It’s not that it’s bad to be thinking of others. It’s thatpleasing others is not the same as helping others. 
People pleasing, in my extensive personal experience, is a process of guessing what other people want, or what will make them think favorably of us, and then acting accordingly. It’s an often subtle and usually unconscious attempt at manipulating other people’s perceptions of us. Anytime we pretend to be or feel something that we aren’t, we’re out of integrity with ourselves.
And anytime we’re doing something that is more about influencing what others think of us than it is about authentically expressing ourselves—even something as simple as a Facebook post that makes it seem like we are having a better day than we actually are—we end up out of integrity with ourselves.
Being out of integrity has pretty serious consequences for our happiness, and for our relationships. Here’s what happens when we aren’t being authentic.

for more:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Why Do Students Cheat?


JULY 19, 2016 9:57 AM


Zachary Goldman, a 2016 graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is a former teacher and educational data analyst and a City Year AmeriCorps alum. Follow him on Twitter at @Zachary_Goldman.
In March, Usable Knowledge published an article on ethical collaboration, which explored researchers’ ideas about how to develop classrooms and schools where collaboration is nurtured but cheating is avoided. The piece offers several explanations for why students cheat and provides powerful ideas about how to create ethical communities. The article left me wondering how students themselves might respond to these ideas, and whether their experiences with cheating reflected the researchers’ understanding. In other words, how are young people “reading the world,” to quote Paulo Freire, when it comes to questions of cheating, and what might we learn from their perspectives?
I worked with Gretchen Brion-Meisels to investigate these questions by talking to two classrooms of students from Massachusetts and Texas about their experiences with cheating. We asked these youth informants to connect their own insights and ideas about cheating with the ideas described in "Ethical Collaboration." They wrote from a range of perspectives, grappling with what constitutes cheating, why people cheat, how people cheat, and when cheating might be ethically acceptable. In doing so, they provide us with additional insights into why students cheat and how schools might better foster ethical collaboration.


Students critiqued both the individual decision-making of peers and the school-based structures that encourage cheating. For example, Julio (Massachusetts) wrote, “Teachers care about cheating because its not fair [that] students get good grades [but] didn't follow the teacher's rules.” His perspective represents one set of ideas that we heard, which suggests that cheating is an unethical decision caused by personal misjudgment. Umna (Massachusetts) echoed this idea, noting that “cheating is … not using the evidence in your head and only using the evidence that’s from someone else’s head.”
Other students focused on external factors that might make their peers feel pressured to cheat. For example, Michima (Massachusetts) wrote, “Peer pressure makes students cheat. Sometimes they have a reason to cheat like feeling [like] they need to be the smartest kid in class.” Kayla (Massachusetts) agreed, noting, “Some people cheat because they want to seem cooler than their friends or try to impress their friends. Students cheat because they think if they cheat all the time they’re going to get smarter.” In addition to pressure from peers, students spoke about pressure from adults, pressure related to standardized testing, and the demands of competing responsibilities.
Students noted a few types of extenuating circumstances, including high stakes moments. For example, Alejandra (Texas) wrote, “The times I had cheated [were] when I was failing a class, and if I failed the final I would repeat the class. And I hated that class and I didn’t want to retake it again.” Here, she identifies allegiance to a parallel ethical value: Graduating from high school. In this case, while cheating might be wrong, it is an acceptable means to a higher-level goal.

for more:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Patterns and Strength of Familial Aggregation of ADHD

Patterns and Strength of Familial Aggregation of ADHD
Dinko Kranjac, PhD, Medical Editor

August 24, 2016

In the largest longitudinal study to date, Swedish researchers affiliated with the Karolinska Institutet and Örebro University showed that familial aggregation of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increases significantly along with increasing genetic relatedness. These new findings were published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
The available data indicate that ADHD is one of the most prevalent developmental disorders, and that approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD in 2011. It is well established that boys are more likely than girls (13% vs. 6%) to receive the diagnosis.

In the current nation-wide cohort study, investigators identified relative pairs of twins, full and half siblings, and full and half cousins who were born in Sweden between 1985 and 2006 in order to estimate the strength and pattern of the familial aggregation of ADHD in a large, population-based family sample.

“While twin studies have repeatedly reported high heritability estimate of 70% to 80% for ADHD and the significance of both additive genetic and non-shared environmental factors to the phenotypic variance in ADHD, the relative importance of shared environmental factors on the variance remains under debate,” the authors noted in their publication.
Investigators linked 3 different registers (The Medical Birth Register, The Multi-Generation Register, and The Swedish Twin Register) in order to identify monozygotic twin pairs (n=8 618), dizygotic twin pairs (n=26 458), non-twin full-sibling pairs (n=2 030 117), maternal half siblings (n=315 267), paternal half siblings (n=312 593), full cousin pairs (n=4 612 179), and half cousin pairs (n=958 457).
They used the Swedish National Patient Register, the Prescribed Drug Register, and the Clinical Database for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Stockholm in order to identify individuals diagnosed with ADHD (31 865 individuals were diagnosed during the follow-up).
Researchers estimated the cumulative incidence of ADHD up to 20 years of age in all siblings and all cousins, and measured the strength of familial aggregation of ADHD by using hazard ratios (ie, the rate of ADHD in relatives of persons affected by ADHD compared with the rate of ADHD in relatives of persons not affected by ADHD). They included the following covariates in their analyses: birth year, sex, maternal and paternal age at childbirth, and maternal and paternal psychiatric history.
Findings indicate that, “For siblings and cousins of ADHD-affected index persons, the cumulative incidences of ADHD diagnosis at age 20 were 25.3% and 10%, respectively.”
With regard to the strength of the familial aggregation of ADHD among relatives of varying degrees of genetic relatedness (GR), birth year-adjusted hazard ratios (HR) were estimated to be: [monozygotic twins, GR=100%, HR=70.45 (95% CI=38.19-129.96); dizygotic twins, GR=50%, HR=8.44 (95% CI=5.87-12.14); full siblings, GR=50%, HR=8.27 (95% CI=7.86-8.70); maternal half siblings, GR=25%, HR=2.86 (95% CI=2.61-3.13); paternal half siblings, GR=25%, HR=2.31 (95% CI=2.07-2.58); full cousins, GR=12.5%, HR=2.24 (95% CI=2.11-2.38); and, half cousins, GR=6.25%, HR=1.47 (95% CI=1.35-1.61)].
“Indeed, our finding that the familial aggregation was significantly higher in maternal half-siblings than in paternal half-siblings suggests that part of the familial aggregation was due to shared environmental factors,” and “This is because the two types of half-siblings are equivalent in their genetic sharing, but maternal half-siblings tend to share more environmental factors related to pregnancy, including intrauterine environment and perinatal conditions,” investigators mentioned.
In order to examine the relative importance of genetic and environmental components to the burden ofADHD, investigators used decomposition methods to “decompose the variance in the liability to ADHD into additive genetic, dominant genetic, shared environmental, and non-shared environmental components.”
It is worth noting here that decomposition method is an econometric technique that is commonly used to examine wage differentials between men and women. This approach allows researchers to better understand intergroup differences (eg, rate of labor force participation for women versus men) by identifying the sources of the gap in wage earnings. In this example, the purpose of this technique is to explain the distribution of wages by a set of factors that vary systematically between men and women (eg, differences between men and women's career choices, work experience, labor force participation, etc.).

Saturday, September 10, 2016

This Men Created a Font to Show What Reading With Dyslexia Is Like for Him


Daniel Britton, a graphic designer from Kent, England, was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was 18 years old.
While attending the London College of Communication to study graphic design, he decided to take a school project and turn it into an opportunity to allow his friends, family and colleagues to see the world from his perspective.
“My problem with dyslexia is that it’s greatly misunderstood and miscommunicated,” Britton told The Mighty. “Since it’s an invisible disability it’s hard to empathize or help someone because you can’t see or feel what their problem is.”
So Britton created Dyslexia, a typeface that recreates the frustration, embarrassment and difficulty of reading with the condition.

He did this by removing about 40 percent of the lines from a regular typeface, making it more difficult to read.

A comparison of regular text and the Dyslexia font.

Britton wants to recreate this experience for people who don’t have dyslexia so they can be more understanding and gain perspective.
“It’s a tool for raising awareness,” Britton told The Mighty.”I thought it could help a few people.”

After completing the project for his college class, Britton showed it to family and friends and finally felt understood. For the first time, they could all comprehend the difficulties he’d faced all his life.
“It gave them that lightbulb moment of, ‘OK, I get it now,'” Britton told The Mighty. “To hear that they understood was all I needed. I’d finally managed to get someone to empathize with my situation.”

Britton says the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive since his project was first published online a few weeks ago. He’s received emails from people all over the world who say his font has helped them understand the struggles of loved ones with dyslexia or that it has helped them get others to understand their own difficulties.

He hasn’t yet begun the process of turning it into a purchasable typeface but hopes to be able to someday soon.
And for young people living with dyslexia who find it difficult to keep up in school, Britton has this to say.
“When you find out you’re dyslexic, it’s hard, but if I had the option to chose, I’d choose dyslexia every day,” Britton told The Mighty. “The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. You’re going to have to work ten, 15 even 20 times harder than everyone else, but you’ll learn to solve problems in a completely different manner. In the end, it’s really, really gratifying.”

To check out more of Daniel Britton’s design work:

Friday, September 9, 2016

Medicating Children With ADHD Keeps Them Safer

New research suggests that medication can reduce risky behavior in teenagers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD

Updated Aug. 17, 2016 10:23 a.m. ET

If a pill could prevent teenagers from taking dangerous risks, would you consider it for your children?
I’d be tempted. My skateboard- and bicycle-riding son was hit by a car—twice—when he was a teenager. I would have welcomed anything that could have averted those dreadful phone calls from the emergency room.
While some bumps and scares are inevitable for active guys like him, serious misadventures with long-lasting repercussions are often par for the course for a subset of them—those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. But a new article suggests that early medication can significantly cut the odds of bad things happening later.
Affecting nearly 9% of all Americans between 4 and 18 years of age, ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders and also one of the most misunderstood. Its symptoms color almost every aspect of a child’s life—from being able to focus in school to making and keeping friends, reining in fleeting impulses and assessing risk and danger.
Indeed, accidents are the most common cause of death in individuals with ADHD, with one 2015 study of over 710,000 Danish children finding that 10- to 12-year-olds with ADHD were far more likely to be injured than other children their age. Drug treatment made a big difference, however, nearly halving the number of emergency room visits by children with ADHD.
Medicating children to address problems with attention and self-control remains controversial. ADHD isn’t visible, like chickenpox, nor immediately life-threatening, like asthma. Its distortion of a child’s ability to meet adults’ expectations creates an atmosphere of frustration and blame. So it’s not often taken for what it really is: a neurodevelopmental disorder with genetic roots.

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

What Teens Need Most From Their Parents

New research suggests ways parents can play a positive, active role in the lives of adolescents. WSJ's Sue Shellenbarger joins Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero and explains why parents should stay close and be more emotionally

 Aug. 9, 2016

e teenage years can be mystifying for parents. Sensible children turn scatter-brained or start having wild mood swings. Formerly level-headed adolescents ride in cars with dangerous drivers or take other foolish risks.
A flood of new research offers explanations for some of these mysteries. Brain imaging adds another kind of data that can help test hypotheses and corroborate teens’ own accounts of their behavior and emotions. Dozens of recent multiyear studies have traced adolescent development through time, rather than comparing sets of adolescents at a single point.
The new longitudinal research is changing scientists’ views on the role parents play in helping children navigate a volatile decade. Once seen as a time for parents to step back, adolescence is increasingly viewed as an opportunity to stay tuned in and emotionally connected. The research makes it possible to identify four important phases in the development of intellectual, social and emotional skills that most teens will experience at certain ages. Here is a guide to the latest findings:
Ages 11 to 12
As puberty takes center stage, tweens can actually slip backward in some basic skills. Spatial learning and certain kinds of reasoning may decline at this stage, studies show. Parts of the brain responsible for prospective memory, or remembering what you are supposed to do in the future, are still maturing. This may be why a teen may seem clueless if asked to give the teacher a note before school.
Coaching tweens in organizational skills can help. Parents can help build memory cues into daily routines, such as placing a gym bag by the front door, or helping set reminders on a cellphone. They can share helpful tools, such as task-manager apps.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Inner Strength: This Is The Research-Backed Way To Increase Grit

Ever feel like you just wanna give up on something? How can you develop the inner strength necessary to achieve your long term goals?
Turns out that grit — the perseverance that keeps us going — is a lot more important than you might think. In fact, it’s the best predictor of success among West Point cadets.

The best predictor of success, the researchers found, was the prospective cadets’ ratings on a non cognitive, nonphysical trait known as “grit”—defined as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”
Stanford researcher Catharine Cox studied 301 eminent historical figures. What conclusion did she come to? Persistence beats smarts.
“…high but not the highest intelligence, combined with the greatest degree of persistence, will achieve greater eminence than the highest degree of intelligence with somewhat less persistence.”
So we all need more grit. But how do we get there? I decided to call an expert…
In 2013 Angela Duckworth was awarded the MacArthur “Genius” Award for her work on grit.
She’s a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Here’s her TED talk:

Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit 
you tube link

Monday, September 5, 2016

5 Science-Backed Ways Taking a Break Boosts Our Productivity

11/16/2015 08:30 am ET | Updated Nov 16, 2015

How many times do you sit down to get work done and find yourself “working” and yet getting little completed?
Do you set aside big chunks of time to get work done, only to end up feeling like you’ve barely made a dent in it? Do you have that one task that always seems to get pushed off to the next day? Do you end your workday feeling drained rather than satisfied with what you’ve accomplished?
This is a sign that you aren’t taking enough breaks — or aren’t taking them effectively. We prize this idea of being busy, and see taking a break or getting distracted as a problem.
In reality, rest and relaxation are tools our bodies and minds are trying desperately to get us to use.
Most of us are aware that taking breaks from physical activity is necessary to recuperate and prevent injuries. Taking breaks in our mental work is equally helpful, and can be a great boost to our productivity as well.
1. Taking a break once an hour increases our work productivity.
Recent studies show that those who give in to some kind of diversion or distraction once an hour perform better than those who just keep at it without a break. After awhile, our brains numb out a bit to the constant stimulation, and we become unable to continuously treat the task as important. Taking a break allows us to come back to the job at hand with renewed energy and sense of purpose.
2. A break can serve as creative fuel.
No matter how much you love your work, we cannot keep creating when we are on empty. Something as simple as a ten minute conversation with a friend, or watching an inspiring video can give us a much needed boost, or point us in a new direction if we’ve been stuck. It is difficult to see things from a new perspective or find new insights when we come at it the same way all the time. Talking a step away — literally or figuratively — might be just what we need to recharge.
3. Physical movement keeps us from being mentally stagnant.
We are not designed to sit around all day. As difficult as being sedentary is on our bodies, it’s not helpful for our creativity and productivity either. Getting up for a few minutes and getting our blood flowing and some more oxygen to the brain is a necessary piece of the work day.
4. An afternoon tea break gives us more than a caffeine boost.
The health benefits of tea stem from more than just the antioxidants in it. Taking the time away from your work, as mentioned earlier, is the first step in the right direction. Instead of the immediate gratification of a fast food snack, tea takes time. The process of making and drinking a cup of tea makes us slow down and gives us time for a much needed pause; a small amount of caffeine and hydration are a big help too!
5. Playing hard helps us with working hard.
If you know you typically have an afternoon energy slump, consider a lunchtime workout. Studies have shown that a moderate level of cardio activity can boost creativity and productivity for two hours afterward. Plus, the change of scene and focus may just be the shift you need for your next breakthrough at work.
The next time you feel guilty about taking a break, consider how much more effective it may make you in the long run.

Sunday, September 4, 2016



Attention implies singularity. As in, if you’re paying attention to lots of things—that’s not truly paying attention. It’s an understatement that focusing on one thing at a time can be difficult. But it’s kinda the big key to succeeding at work and in life. It’s hard to do anything, let alone do it well, if you can’t concentrate on it.
The good thing about focus is that it’s a learnable skill. It takes practice and it takes experimenting with different methods, but you actually can improve your ability to do it. And you can do it without downloading any apps or studying up on hacks.
You can start teaching yourself by checking out these four surprisingly simple approaches.


What’s Stopping You: Technology
A study done by Larry Rosen, PhD, at California State University looked at how long students could pay attention to a specific task. The average length of time they could concentrate on what they were studying? Three minutes. The culprit? Technology. Every time something bings, beeps, or flashes, you’re no longer 100% focused on what you were doing.

The Fix: Turn Off Your Notifications
With that in mind, the next time you sit down to focus, turn off your notifications for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, email, Dropbox, Tinder—that’s right, every last one.
In the two years since I’ve killed all notifications on my devices (except phone calls—but thankfully those rarely happen), I’ve managed not to miss or forget anything. Your likes, tags, comments, and messages will all still be there when you’re ready to look.
Try it, even for a day or just a few hours. Turn off anything that breaks your attention, including your Wi-Fi if possible. And then (hopefully) you’ll notice that the world didn’t stop when the notifications did. But you did happen to get a lot more accomplished.


What’s Stopping You: Your Job Involves a Variety of Tasks
Let me guess: You wear a lot of hats at work. That’s the norm now. Tom DeMarco, co-author of a book about productivity called Peopleware: Productive Products and Teams, states that it can take 15 minutes or more to regain the same intense focus or flow as before the interruption.
So, every time you switch tasks, your brain needs at least that amount of time to get back into the work. If you switch tasks just four times in a morning, that’s an hour of total focus you’ve lost.

The Fix: Batching Your Work
“Batching” builds off the idea of only working on one kind of task at a time. Rather that jumping from one project to another, you do all related tasks in a set amount of time. By “batching” the work you have to accomplish, you don’t have to constantly shift gears.
So, grouping all the writing I have to do into a morning means I can write five to six articles in one fell swoop. Perfect. Then I’ll typically spend the afternoon programming websites for clients, moving my brain into that mode for hours at a time.


What’s Stopping You: Daydreaming
Paying attention to the work at hand, instead of daydreaming about what will come of that work, is always a challenge. Too often, we get sucked into imagining that what we’re working on will become the next big thing or go viral or make us millions. While it’s a nice thought, it’s also not getting you any closer to making it a reality.

The Fix: The Pomodoro Method
The Pomodoro method is the notion that short, but laser-focused, bursts of attention lead to much greater productivity. It’s simple—you set a timer for 25 minutes, you turn off or silence all other distractions, and you work on a single task. When the time’s up, you can take a short break (for daydreaming) before moving onto another task.
The more attention I pay to what I’m working on, the faster (and better) it gets done. Instead of thinking about all the items on your list and getting stressed or simply getting lost in thought, try to think about just the one at hand.


What’s Stopping You: You Think You’re a Robot
Too many productivity tips don’t take this into account: We need to sleep, eat, take breaks, and move. As humans, our attention spans need variety, and we can’t always control our thoughts or motivations. No matter how motivated or focused you are, you can’t stay that way forever.

The Fix: Act Like a Human
It might seem counterproductive, but I’m much more likely to get my work done quickly (and well), if I take breaks away from my desk. Studies back this up. Whether you’re taking nature walks, doing five minutes of stretching, or sitting on the porch and drinking coffee (instead of slurping it while compulsively working), all of those breaks contribute to being able to focus better.

That’s it. No special programs, secret life hacks, or pricey apps. You simply need to give your brain a task, space, and rest—it will reward you for it by gifting you with productivity.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Living with Adult ADHD > The Organized Life Decision Making Made Easy

Decision Making Made Easy
Find making a decision to be challenging? Afraid to make the wrong choice? Learn how to decide -- even under pressure. Plus, how to make decisions that can boost your productivity and your mood!

Our high-speed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) brains seem incapable, at times, of keeping things simple. We want to buy a new smart phone, so we go online to see what's available, and we get a case of attention-surplus disorder. We dig up so much information that we can't make a decision. We are overwhelmed.
Sometimes our difficulty making decisions extends to the things that should be dealt with now -- like a leaky faucet. We don't know which faucet to buy, so we let the old one drip for months until we have a flood underneath the sink. But decision making doesn't have to be a challenge: Here's how some of my ADD/ADHD clients became more decisive.
Decision-Making Process

Susan, a recently retired government employee, wanted to move back to a small town in North Carolina where her parents and friends live. She knew that it was the right choice, but instead of looking for a place to live, she spent weeks surfing the net for lighting fixtures, kitchen cabinets, flooring. She came to me for help. We discovered two approaches that moved her forward.

Consider Pros and Cons: The first strategy was to talk about the kind of house she wanted to live in. Hearing herself say things aloud made the decision-making process easier, since she was able to rule out options. Renovating an older house or building a new one seemed attractive when Susan thought about it, but lost its appeal when I asked, "How long do you think that will take?" She realized that a condo was a better choice.

Prioritize: The second strategy was to identify what she valued most -- spending time with family and friends and staying active. She decided that having a large living/dining area to entertain company was more important than having three large bedrooms. And she wanted a condo near a bike path or a gym. This thinking narrowed her choices. One condo that she had ruled out now seemed more appealing. She bought it.

Think Long-Term, Big Picture: Terry, a recent graduate who is starting her first job, uses the same strategy in helping her make decisions. Before making any choice, she asks herself, "Which is the healthiest choice I can make for my physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being?" Before she identified self-care as being more important than financial success and professional accomplishment, deciding on anything was stressful. Terry worked late, and regretted missing her yoga class or not spending time with friends. What's more, staying late hurt her performance at the job the next day. She told me, "Making decisions based on what is best for me has helped me get my work done faster and better. Taking care of myself is the way to gain an edge professionally."
Make Choices With Confidence: Tom was clear about what he wanted. But he couldn't move forward because he feared it wasn't the "right" choice. I suggested that he list his fears and ask himself, "What's the worst that could happen?" As we discussed ways to deal with each thing that could go wrong, Tom realized he was smart enough, and emotionally resilient enough, to deal with anything that might occur. This took the fear out of his decision making.

Avoid Acting on Impulse: Because ADHDers make impulsive decisions that sometimes backfire, deciding not to decide is a good choice, too. I sometimes realize several weeks later that many of my "great ideas" aren't worth pursuing. Everything that pops into our heads needn't be attended to. It's important to be able to make decisions, but it's equally important not to make ones that will take us off course.