Understanding Childhood Social Difficulties

One of the basic wishes most parents share is that their children get along, play, and interact well with others. For children who instead struggle with their peers, the earlier interventions start, the earlier they can catch up. Since both ADHD and autism impact relationships, sorting out the ‘why’ often guides what to do next.

Mindful Parenting for ADHD

Addressing ADHD requires perseverance, flexibility, responsiveness, and an ability to find moments of joy and success during challenging times. All of that is much harder to sustain when you’re mentally swamped by anger, fear, or exhaustion. With mindfulness, you promote your own resilience and well-being not only for your own sake, but because your child will benefit.

Mindfulness: The Antidote for Perfectionism

The concept of ‘mindfulness’ often congers up images of relaxation, stillness, or acting in some idealistic, staid way. There’s an assumption that it means being always calm, serene and in control. Because of this, it is occasionally portrayed as a set up for personal failure. Yet, that perspective misses the point of mindfulness in the first place.

Feed the Right Wolf

Fifteen minutes in the barber chair today, and the television news shows me a shooting and tornados and an accident at a local nuclear plant. I want to take action and make a statement when there is something to be done, and I hope others watching do the same - in many ways our world depends on it. But it's an awful lot to take in all at once.

Mindfulness and the Average Smartphone

Technology can provide organization, efficiency, and entertainment, but it can also distract, disorganize, and disorient. In spite of how it often feels, technology at its best aims to make life simpler. Instead of promoting distraction, it can help develop clarity and awareness in our lives. So here are some ways to cultivate mindfulness through technology.

Mindful Eating, ADHD and Nutrition

Even if someone with ADHD is not overweight, executive function may impact healthy eating. And poor eating habits do not only affect nutrition. Difficulty with planning, distractibility, and time management frequently have a domino effect.

Mindfulness, Little League, and Parenting

How much of our parenting time do we spend taking children to ball games, dropping them, and then waiting for the action to begin? And then once the so-called action begins, how much actually happens? The answers, at least until children get older, are an awful lot and not much. It’s all fun and games and bonding together, except when it isn’t.

Bull Durham, Mindfulness and Providers of Care

Choosing to break the self-perpetuating cycle of stress by paying attention to what it feels like to breathe allows the brain to settle. Since most of us don’t know a Crash Davis, we have to break ourselves out. Taking a moment to attend carries great benefit and does not require anything as extreme as eyelid breathing.

Putting Mindfulness on Your Agenda

Everyone experiences stress in some way or another, and people in caretaking roles do in particular. Our communities rely on individuals who choose these paths, and yet no one has the capacity to indefinitely give. So as a care taker, taking care of yourself is essential to sustaining your own well-being. Only then can you be at your best when interacting with others.

The House We Build for ADHD

You’re building a home and a family — one with ADHD in the mix. The sheer volume of information and misinformation about ADHD can compromise your designs and make your house seem built of straw more than bricks. But it needn’t be this way. Reinforce the foundation, build upwards to address the rest of ADHD, and your home can be as solid as every other one on the block.

Thoughts of and for Thich Nhat Hahn

Mindfulness represents something but changes nothing; being mindful changes an awful lot. What will be left behind if the headlines pass is that simple fact. Thich Naht Hahn has said it better than most for longer than I have been alive, though. So here are a few quotes about mindful family life to consider while wishing him a complete recovery....

Time to Put Your Kids on a Media Diet

Recent research, reported in JAMA Pediatrics, shows that parental guidance around media does work. In fact, that one variable alone has a positive result on multiple aspects of child development.

Autism: Early Intervention Makes a Big Difference

Recognizing more children with autism means more opportunity for intervention and a greater chance of a better future for these children. In fact, while typically considered a lifelong challenge, the possibility exists that some children improve not only emotional, behavioral and learning skills, but might even outgrow autism itself.

Rest Easy, Parents and Children

There’s no doubt about it: Bedtime epitomizes all the demands and challenges inherent to parenting. And yet, evidence also tells us that getting our little ones — even infants — to fall asleep by themselves and rest through the night is more than wishful thinking.

Time for the Straight Talk on Time Outs

Recently published findings found the web is not dependable at all about the basic parenting tool of giving a time out. According to the authors, the odds of finding “complete and accurate information” were “near zero.” That’s a shame, because time outs are a proven parenting tool — when implemented correctly.

When Will We Ever Learn

I never imagined when we were drafting (Common Core) standards in 2010 that major financial support would be funneled immediately into the development of standards-related tests. How naïve I was. Realistically, at least half, if not the majority, of students are not going to meet those standards as written…

The ADHD Blame Game

Doubt about ADHD continues in spite of accumulating evidence about its medical basis. So much in print fans flames of distrust around global problems such as misdiagnosis and medication misuse. In reality, we have to separate the needs of individuals who have ADHD from societal concerns about people without ADHD ending up diagnosed or abusing prescription medication.

New Product Builds Better Brains

Did that tag line grab your attention? As parents, we’re under constant pressure to do whatever we can to give our children a leg up. Millions of dollars are spent marketing to us, most of it without any grounding in reality. What ‘new’ product does promote brain development? Apologies if you find it a stretch, but new books come out every week.

Mindfulness Means Nothing

I don’t work out because I want stronger lungs or legs or arms in particular. And I don’t practice mindfulness because I expect better focus or less stress or more responsiveness in isolation. I support a state of mental well-being through ongoing effort. That hopefully improves life not just for me, but for my family and anyone else who deals with me day-to-day.

Feed Your Brain, Feed Your Life

Our brains continually rewire themselves based on experience, a relatively new and remarkable finding. At any age anything we practice repetitively changes the brain. Analogous to physical exercise and the body, we can take advantage of this plasticity to affect our own basic neurology for the better.

TV Reality or Reality TV for Children?

For the sake of their children, parents need to assert themselves. In spite of public discussion suggesting there is an open question, a clear body of evidence defines the negative effects of media on children. Since educating parents to cut down on screen time has not made enough of a difference, perhaps the discussion needs to skew towards managing media content instead.

Headline Today: Misleading Reports Lead to ADHD Confusion

Skewed ADHD coverage undermines care and amplifies the difficulties for parents. There is much to refine about how best to diagnose and treat ADHD, and about the potential for medication misuse. Yet we leave families hanging when we falsely suggest ADHD is an artifact of a busy society, caused by parents, or that treatment is always ineffective or unsafe.

That’s ADHD Again? You Don’t Say!

Seen as a disorder of self-regulation, ADHD potentially impacts anything that requires planning and coordination — from sleep and eating habits to laying out a long-term science project all the way to how we speak and listen in conversation.

Who’s Got the Remote?

At five o’clock in the morning, a bleary-eyed crowd awaits our Delta flight, immersed in the sounds of a news report on the week-old Newtown tragedy. From eighty-four to forty-four to four years old, each person hears the same devastating story blaring from a television, sees the same horrendous images, and is forced to process it right now, whether they’d like to or not.

Wisdom in 4G: Here Today, Everywhere Tomorrow

With the Web, Twitter, texting, and camera-ready smart phones, in an instant we may know of anything done by anyone, anywhere. From the mundane to the frightening we have one-click access to everything. Whatever we do or say has the potential to zip around the globe with or without our consent. How can we live wisely in this social-media driven world?

Election 2012: Children On the Ballot

On your mark, get set, go. Off they race, the children of America, into our collective future. The end point of this particular race is a healthy, happy and productive adulthood. So here’s the question: Are the odds equal that anyone who puts in the effort will reach that finish line?

School Planning for Autism in 500 Words or Less

As long as a child continues to show symptoms of an autistic spectrum disorder of any kind, he or she requires continued services. To meet their long-term potential, we must define and develop a long-term plan that addresses the often subtle social and communication skills that lag behind peers.

ADHD Goes to School

When a child has a language delay, people tend to accept this fact at face value: Joseph is 6 but speaks like a 3-year-old. While understandably upsetting to many parents, no one expects Joseph to speak differently before he is able.