Archive for the 'ADHD' Category

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A little sugar with your behavior?

Just as I did on EBD Blog, I’m encouraging folks to read Dan Willingham’s blog entry for the Washington Post regarding the persistent myth that sugar causes children to act hyper. Jump right on over to Dan’s post to read his full deflation of this popular balloon, then you can go back and catch my antique take down on the same topic at “Sugar High?

ADHD-RD connection confirmed and refined

Writing in Pediatrics, Professor Kouichi Yoshimasu and colleagues reported that the chances of children and youths having reading disabilities is significantly higher among those who have ADHD than it is among the general population of children and youths. Furthermore, although boys are significantly more likely than girls to manifest reading disabilities among the general population, among children and youths with ADHD the chances of reading disabilities are about equal. However, because girls are so much less likely to have reading problems than boys, girls’ risk is much higher in relation to their female peers’ risk.
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Liz Ditz talks sense

Reporter Valle Dwight quotes LD Blog pal Liz Ditz extensively in “Searching for the miracle: Parents, in a desperate quest to fix what they’ve been told is broken in their children, are willing to try (or pay) anything to help their kids” available on Great Schools. Check on it. The article is worth a read. It fits right in with the emphasis on evidence-based treatments here on LD Blog.

Additional weak evidence about chiropractic treatment

Over the holiday weekend, Liz Ditz sent me the reference to a study that I have now downloaded and read. I’m reporting my notes here. I see that she has a related post over on her blog, I Speak of Dreams.

In “Developmental Delay Syndromes: Psychometric Testing Before and After Chiropractic Treatment of 157 Children,” Scott Cuthbert and Michel Barras present the results of an analysis of pretest-posttest scores for children who received chiropractic treatment at a clinic in Lausanne (CH). They reported that the children had higher scores after treatment, leading them to conclude that “This report suggests that a multimodal chiropractic method that assesses and treats motor dysfunction reduced symptoms and enhanced the cognitive performance in this group of children.”

Here is the abstract for this report. After it, I’ll explain why I find this study provides uncompelling evidence in support of chiropractic treatment for Learning Disabilities.
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Story comprehension in children with ADHD

Ursula Bailey and colleagues examined developmental changes in children’s comprehension of complex stories shown as television shows. They wanted to assess whether the comprehension of stories by children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) changed in the same way as the comprehension of stories by children without ADHD, and whether the comprehension of stories was affected by potentially distracting materials when the children were exposed to the story. The researchers showed 48 children with a diagnosis of ADHD (medication free for previous 24 hours) and 65 comparison peers the TV stories (13-min Rugrats episodes) when they were about 8½ years old and again when they were about 10¼ and under two conditions: while the children had toys available or when no toys were available., After the children viewed the stories, experimenters asked them to recount the story and then to answer questions about the story.
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Stick to your pans

Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver by
really short

Via a post by “Sixty-Five” at Life Begins at Sixty-Five, I learned of an article by Alex Witchel in the New York Times featuring the famous chef, Jamie Oliver. The 35-year-old Mr. Oliver has been a one-person juggernaut in the world of cuisine. Mr. Witchel’s story is about Mr. Oliver going to a metropolitan area in West Virginia (US) noted for the high rates of obesity among its populace; there he will promote the pleasures of home-cooked food.

As Sixty-Five noted, an interesting subtext to the story is Mr. Oliver’s schooling experiences. Mr. Oliver’s success comes against a back drop of Learning Disabilities. Here’s a snippet from the Times article to illustrate:
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Think Aloud redux

Over on Twitter, friend of LD Blog Liz Ditz retweeted this:

RT @Includekidswdis: Stop, Think, Do a program by Lindy Petersen http://is.gd/1FQ0h which can really help children with #ADHD

I took a quick look and immediately remembered the work of Bonnie Camp and her colleagues (especially Mary Ann Bash) during the previous millennium. Dr. Camp and her group developed, researched, and refined methods for teaching children with learning and behavior problems, including attention deficit disorders, to manage their behavior. The Think Aloud program was at the forefront of the cog-mod mania that swept through child clinical psychology and special education in the 70s and 80s.

THINK ALOUD is a psychoeducational training progtam designed to enhance social and cognitive problem solving skills for increasing prosocial behavior and decreasing impulsivity. Much of the program content was chosen to correct cognitive deficits displayed by young aggressive boys. (1,2) Research on verbal mediation indicated that before internal controls could be established, many children needed first to establish effective control by verbalizing aloud then fading to a silent level. The Think Aloud Program was designed to teach children a problem solving process (including problem identificaton, generation of alternative solutions, predicting consequences and evaluating outcomes), how to verbalize aloud, how to apply this process in both cognitive and social situations, then move to silent direction and control of behavior. The original research with the program was conducted in two controlled trials and one refresher program with pairs of 6-8 year old boys rated as hyperaggressive by their teachers. (3,4,7,8,9,12) The manual for this program, along with details of research findings, is presented in Think Aloud: Small Group Program (11).

The numerals in the quote are footnotes (not surprisingly). They refer to only a few of the dozens of sources Dr. Camp provides.

Although it is a bit rough as a Web site, Dr. Camp has created an Internet site for Think Aloud. It features citations for those sources as well as some of the original materials. In addition, she has made some new materials for the program available as downloads.

Link to the Think Aloud site.

Preschool attention predicts early literacy skills

Christie Walcott and colleagues reported that children whom preschool teachers rated as having attention problems had lower scores later on phonemic awareness, letter knowledge, and rapid naming. Here’s the abstract.

Objective: The link between significant attention problems and reading difficulties among school-age children is clear, but few have examined the impact of early inattention on preliteracy development. This longitudinal study examines this link. Method: A total of 47 children had repeated measures of teacher-rated attention problems and three key preliteracy skills (phonemic awareness, letter knowledge, and rapid naming) in both preschool and kindergarten. Results: Teacher-reported attention problems in preschool significantly and negatively predicted both phonemic awareness and letter naming scores 1 year later, even after controlling for initial language ability and preschool performance on these tasks. Levels of preschool inattention did not significantly predict rapid automatic naming 1 year later. Likewise, preschool preliteracy scores did not predict attention problems in kindergarten. Conclusion: Early attention problems may interfere with the acquisition of certain preliteracy skills. Implications of these findings and directions for future research are presented.

Walcott, C. M., Scheemaker, A., & Bielski, K. (2009). Research brief: A longitudinal investigation of inattention and preliteracy development. Journal of Attention Disorders, 13, [online first, so no page numbers yet]. doi:10.1177/1087054709333330

Functional Disconnection Syndrome

Here’s one for the faithful: “functional disconnection syndrome.” Let Dr. Kurt W. Kuhn, D.C. and Ph.D. explain:

Functional Disconnection Syndrome is a condition where there is a functional breakdown in the neurological pathways of the body causing the brain and its neural net to function asynchronously, at a decreased frequency of firing or at a functional level that is below that required for higher cognitive and health requirements.

A quick review of the medical literature will find the term “functional disconnections” used for all sorts of conditions that are the affect [sic] of neurological dysfunction. Symptoms ranging from behavioral and learning problems to pain and conditions of reduced general health. Functional disconnections can be caused by genetic, environmental, nutritional, stress, toxins, spinal subluxations and other causes.

Just for grins, I took the challenge. I searched the health sciences databases available via EBSCO, the venerable information management system that says it works with 79,000 publishers. I found one citation referring to “Functional Disconnection Syndrome”; it was a case study describing a psychiatric problem of a 23-year-old woman (Simon, Walterfan, Petralli, & Velakoulis, 2008, Neuropsychobiology, 58).
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BrainBalance Music

In yesterday’s post, I asked what folks thought about a therapy that was described using terms such as “brain,” “balance,” “comprehensive,” “individualized,” “neurobehavioral,” and etc. I promised to explain more about this therapy. Here’s what I know:

What is it?

The descriptors are associated with BrainBalance Music, a product of Dr. Robert Melillo and Lisa Erhard. The main Web site for the product is called “i-waveonline.com,” but there are others.[1] Sometimes the name of the program is written without a space (BrainBalance) and sometimes it has a space (Brain Balance). I’m not sure which way to present it.

The therapy apparently requires that one listen to various audio recordings, sometimes with one earpiece removed and sometimes with the other earpiece removed. The recordings are entitled “Woman Breathing”; “Peaceful”; “The Gargle Guy”; and “Wolves & Whales.” The Web site has samples.
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