Final Version of DSM-V

dsm5-apaHere is the final version of the DSM-V which changes the diagnosis of Aspergers to a form of Autism and does not include SPD, Sensory Processing Disorder.  This is a unfortuante lack of inclusion as SPD is diagnosed in occupational therapy circles but not in psychological circles and many therapists are not familiar with the difference between Aspergers and SPD.

Some children have sensory sensitivity with the way food tastes, strong smells, too tight hugs, tags on clothes, or overstimulation visually.  For instance, if a child is in a classroom where every wall space is littered with too much stuff, they may have a hard time with distractibility or may act out after prolonged periods of time in the visually over-stimulated room.  This behavior is often seen as ADHD or Aspergers when it is really SPD where too much information is taken in by the brain without the proper time to assimilate all of the information.  This is not a “slow” child, rather the child is unable to filter out unnecessary information as others unconsciously do.

Sadly, because the DSM-V does not include SPD, many child will continue to be misdiagnosed and most likely unnecessarily medicated.

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/12/02/final-dsm-5-approved-by-american-psychiatric-association/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Work Advice for Adults with ADHD

If you have ADHD or are married to someone with it, here is an excellent article outlining five things to keep in mind.  ADHD adults need structured flexible work environments which enable them to remain active during the workday.  This keeps boredom at bay and enables them to be more productive.

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/10/15/5-ways-to-pacify-hyperactivity-for-adults-with-adhd/?fb_action_ids=4497880318594&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

So You Don’t Think There Is Such A Thing As ADHD….

English: Symptoms of ADHD described by the lit...

English: Symptoms of ADHD described by the literature (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a great article to pass on to anyone who doesn’t believe that there is such a thing as ADHD.  Written by someone who has it from their own perspective rather than from the outside looking in.  Pass it on to any of your non-believing friends.

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-man/2012/10/you-say-theres-no-such-thing-as-adhd/

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

The Right Mindset Matters for Managing ADHD | World of Psychology

Great article for understanding ADHD better:

The Right Mindset Matters for Managing ADHD | World of Psychology.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Managing ADD/ADHD: Where are my keys?

Quite possibly my favorite trait of an ADD/ADHD person is their ability to misplace so many important things in a variety of places.  One would surmise that as time goes on, the number of places that their sun glasses, cell phone, wallet, homework or keys would land would be limited or at the very least consistent with previous locations but this is not the case.  Rather, those with an advantage of ADD/ADHD seem to have an unlimited number of new and creative locations for their most basic and most frequently used items.

Not only is the location of the keys creative, but at the moment of initial placement, it is also logical and systematic.  The difficulty lies in remembering the logic of the location instead of the actual location because the logic of the location is the right key needed to solve the end mystery.  This key concept can then be transferred to other traits of difficulty for those blessed with ADD/ADHD.

Bigger than life dreams.  Spend a little time asking a person with ADD/ADHD about their dreams for the future and you are likely to become almost intoxicated by their passion.  They seem to have an ability to see past the mundane to the larger picture and have no fear of inserting themselves at the center.  This ability can cause difficulty when they are so distracted by the future that they minimize the importance of doing the smaller tasks to reach the future.  For instance, a person who wants to attend Princeton University (big picture) needs to get good grades (medium picture) and their homework needs to be completed (smaller picture).  By applying the logic of achieving the larger picture to measurable medium and smaller pictures, the larger picture becomes more realistic to achieve.

Danger while driving.  Have you ever gotten into the passenger’s side of a car only to find yourself more frightened by the driver’s driving then going upside down and backwards on a roller coaster at 60 M.P.H.?  Not that every ADD/ADHD person is a dangerous driver, but they do tend to take a few more risks and are prone to become more distracted by their cell phone, other drivers, radio, and even just talking.  Amazingly, their quick reflexes and ability to think fast are precisely what makes them a better than average driver but that still does not minimize the anxiety you feel in the passenger’s seat.  Again, logic is your new best friend as you survey the car for any potential distractions and then systematically reduce the number.  Also, engaging an ADD/ADHD person in a conversation that they are passionate about will help them to better focus on their driving and as a side benefit, they sometimes slow down.

Non-stop channel surfing.  Once you surrender the TV remote to a person with ADD/ADHD you are not likely to get it back without a fight.  After all, there may be a better program on then the one already being watched and commercials are designed for channel surfing.  Just when you believe that they have decided on one station, wait a few more minutes and it will change again.  This constant checking of better stations plays out in other areas of their lives with the constant changing of passionate and almost obsessive interests from one to another.  Once again, logic can help as you gently and carefully display the already abandoned interests and inquire if selling of some of the old interests can help to fund the new interests.

Managing ADD/ADHD behavior is more effectively done if you spend a little time trying to find the logic in their thinking before you respond to help.  More importantly however is for you not to help unless they ask for your help as many with ADD/ADHD value their independence and would prefer to look for their keys by themselves even if they are grumbling about the keys being lost.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Managing ADHD: Getting Ready to Begin to Prepare to Start

One of the many challenges of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is taking the first real step in beginning a task or assignment.  There are the many sort of, kind of begins such as organizing your desk, sharpening all of your pencils (because one is never enough), going to the bathroom, adjusting the lighting, and checking your email again but in actuality, you have not really begun the task or assignment.  Rather you have gotten ready to begin to prepare to start the task or assignment and before you know it, time disappears and nothing is accomplished.

Sadly enough the rituals that you spent all of your time engaging in prior to beginning a new task or assignment and often repeated the very next time you begin to prepare to start.  Or worse, new rituals are added to the list even further delaying your start.  In the long run, such delays can negatively affect your work performance, a school grade, a messy garage or the other ten projects that are in limbo.  The pile up of tasks then becomes overwhelming which adds to increased discouragement, anxiety and can even spark bursts of anger.  There is hope.  Whether you have ADHD or are related to someone with ADHD these tips will help you to actually start and complete the new task or assignment.

Identify your anxiety.  One of the reasons you are delaying the start of a new task or assignment is the fear of increased anxiety.  Each new task or assignment carries with it expectations of thoroughness, completeness, and timeliness.  If you postpone starting, then in theory you are postponing the anxiety and fear of unmet expectations.  In reality however, you are increasing your anxiety because you are lessening the time you have to complete the task or assignment.  If instead you view each ritual as stealing time away from you, the desire to keep performing the ritualistic behavior will diminish.  In addition, taking several deep breaths and intentionally relaxing the muscles in your body can minimize some of the anxious feelings while beginning.

Live by the clock.  By setting time limits for how long you will work on a task or assignment or how long you will indulge yourself in ritualistic behavior, you self govern your own behavior rather than being governed by someone else like a boss, spouse, parent, or teacher.  In the end, you are in charge of your own behavior and while the temptation may be great to ignore the clock, it is an unbiased opinion as to your progress or lack of progress.  If for instance you give yourself ten minutes to engage in ritualistic behavior and one hour to begin the task or assignment, then you have taken control of both situations.

Stop narrating your progress.  A co-worker, friend, spouse or sibling does not want to hear that you gave yourself ten minutes to do your rituals and now you are going to start on the task or assignment.  Looking for praise and most likely not receiving it based on you past behavior will further discourage you from returning to work.  Instead, reward yourself.  Knocking off five minutes from your task or assignment, taking a walk, and doing another ritualistic behavior in-between blocks of time designated for work, are all good ways to reward yourself that do not involve others.

Yes, it is very hard to change the way you have been doing things for so long and adjust to new ways of thinking or performing tasks or assignments.  But in the end, a finished project without the increased anxiety, excessive rituals, unmanaged time and constant narration will bring you satisfaction for a job well done without all of the stress.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

ADD/ADHD Students – Successful School Strategies

The school year is starting again with another opportunity to grow academically and personally.  For most ADD/ADHD students however the new school year can be intimidating with different teachers and a new schedule.  Here are a couple of tips for making the most of the new school year.

  1. Set your alarm for 30 minutes before you think you need to wake up.  This gives you time to find all of the things you need for the day.
  2. Have a list in plain view of what special item is needed daily.  For instance, band is on Tuesdays so you need your instrument; gym is on Mondays so you need a change of clothing.
  3. Start your day off right with a good breakfast high in protein and low in sugar.
  4. Get a planner that has enough space to write down assignments yet is small enough to carry around.
  5. Mark the days off and half days in your planner for the entire year.
  6. Take the syllabus from the class and mark any due dates in your planner now.
  7. Keep the syllabus from each class at the beginning of your binder so you can remember what is expected during the year.
  8. If on a block schedule (classes are every other day), mark the days for the entire year in the planner.  Keep another schedule and post inside your locker door.
  9. If on a block schedule, have two 3-ring binders: one for one day, the other for the other day.
  10. If classes are every day, keep two 3-ring binders: one for the morning, one for the afternoon.
  11. Have blank paper in your binder to doodle or draw during class, this will help to keep your focus.
  12. Taking notes during class will also minimize the distractions and help you to focus (these are not notes that you pass to your friends!).
  13. Keep a paper clip in your pocket to play with when you get fidgety.
  14. Minimize bathroom breaks as it takes even longer to regain your focus.
  15. Most teachers will work with you if they understand your struggle, so be honest with them.
  16. Bring homework with you to your classes in case you have some free time.  School time is the best time to complete homework because your focus is the best.
  17. Do a physical activity immediately after school, no video games or homework.  Save that for later.
  18. Do homework after a meal and after some physical activity, but before playing.
  19. Make sure you have a fun activity at the end of the day; this is your down time.
  20. Go to sleep at regular times whether you are tired or not, routine and proper sleep increases your ability to focus.

While these steps will not guarantee good grades, they can help to improve your performance.  More importantly, as you learn to minimize the challenges of ADD/ADHD, your confidence will improve and this may be your best year yet.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.