October is ADHD Awareness Month

October is awareness month for ADHD. We wanted to share some resources for understanding ADHD whether it’s for yourself, for you to share with family members, or with your child’s school.  Having awareness and understanding is the first step in helping a child. 

Read here for understanding symptoms of ADHD:

http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/About-ADHD.aspx
Here it uncovers myths and misunderstandings about ADHD:

http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/About-ADHD/Myths-and-Misunderstandings.aspx
The Science of ADHD:

http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/About-ADHD/The-Science-of-ADHD.aspx

ADHD and Advocacy:

http://www.chadd.org/Advocacy.aspx
Can your child with ADHD receive an IEP or a 504 plan? 

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/add.index.htm
For an excellent magazine on ADD, check out ADDitude:

https://www.additudemag.com
The three types of ADHD:

https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/add-adhd/the-3-types-of-adhd
A fabulous website for information on learning and attention:

https://www.understood.org/en
A quick one minute video summarizing ADHD:

http://totallyadd.com/adhd-awareness-minute-no-music/

If you have questions about where to start or how to continue on your journey with ADD/ADHD, our door is always open! Please reach out to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Please visit ADDitude’s website for more truths about ADHD. https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-is-not-fake/

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OG Tutoring

The Orton-Gillingham approach was originally used to teach people with dyslexia how to read.  However, this systematic, multi-sensory approach truly benefits all learners.  If your child is struggling to read, please contact me for further information about tutoring using the Orton-Gillingham approach.  Filling in the gaps and teaching necessary reading skills to your child will benefit him/her throughout their life.  Having the ability to pick up a book, read it and get lost in the story is a true gift.  I would love to help your child succeed! If you would like more information about tutoring or what the Orton-Gillingham approach is, you can reach me at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  Please put OG Tutoring in the subject line.

With Appreciation,

Christina

 

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Resources

Good morning!  We wanted to share some websites that we either subscribe to or have read useful articles from.   If you have a favorite site, please share it with us in the comments or e-mail it to us! We love keeping up with new information.

The Wrightslaw website can be overwhelming, but there is a lot of useful and important information to be found here.  They also have the option to subscribe to their newsletter on their homepage.  Here is a link to their website http://wrightslaw.com

This website provides information for ADD/ADHD for parents and caregivers http://www.chadd.org

Autism Speaks and TEACCH is another excellent resource https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/teacch

You can visit the NC DPI website for Exceptional Children here http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov

We have shared ECAC’s website in the past and we wanted to make sure if you’re new to our website that you have this link as an available resource in our area http://www.ecac-parentcenter.org

This website not only gives information but links to other websites relevant to EC needs in North Carolina http://www.disabilityrightsnc.org/education-self-advocacy-resources

Here is a copy of the latest handbook on parent’s rights and responsiblities http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/parent-resources/ecparenthandbook.pdf

 

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

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Communicating an “Invisible Disability”

We are aware of the challenges of communicating an “invisible disability” with a teacher, administrator and even a relative.  What do we mean by “invisible disability?”  This refers to a disability other people can not easily see, and often times, they will unknowingly bear judgment towards the parent and/or child.  The disability may be ADD/ADHD, anxiety, Asperger’s Syndrome, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, etc.  Unfortunately, we may hear teachers or relatives imply the child needs more discipline or will offer an opinion about how to parent.   Usually there’s a “therefore…” thought that follows. People who don’t deal with invisible disabilities on a daily basis often want the child to perform to their expectations. Their individual awareness of what the child struggles with becomes apparent. If you pull back and look at the situation, often these statements from other adults are coming from a place of their personal awareness, social expectations and individual experiences they have had in their lives.  Often, as adults, we struggle seeing beyond our own personal experiences.

So, how do we communicate with people who do not “see” the disability? This is especially important if they have an influence in the child’s life (such as a relative or teacher).

As a parent, you are in the role of helping your child succeed.  First, you are gaining information about your child and his or her disability.  As you work with other professionals, attend classes, and build your child’s team, you are creating a shift of awareness within yourself.  Understanding where your child’s strengths and weaknesses lie and setting goals to further help your child will create a shift within your family.

As awareness increases you will be setting up expectations and goals at home.  What do you expect as a parent?  How do you communicate and help your child with these expectations at home?  What are your expectations and goals for yourself? A plan will begin to form based on your new knowledge. Your parenting style may change.

Hold true to your plan even if a grandparent, aunt or uncle can not understand it.  Remember, they have awareness based on their experiences.  You may choose to give information to a family member along the way, but we recommend doing so with an open heart instead of a goal of creating a shift in them.

When working with teachers and school staff, understand two things: one, they are working with your child from their experiences and training, and two they may see your child in a different light. Difficulties you experience at home may not be the same as what they are experiencing  at school. Share your knowledge; but listen to theirs as well.  Share evaluations and your home experiences but also remember to be open to  hearing about situations from school.  You both may have different perspectives, but work towards coming together for the benefit of your child.

With your child’s teacher, come up with a plan for school.  Be specific in your expectations.  Are you hoping to have your child’s teacher gain more awareness of how your child thinks socially?  Or are you wanting them to help your child experience more academic success?  We have found that you will have more success  communicating with your child’s school when you have one or two specific goals in mind.

In closing, we are aware that “invisible disabilities” are very real.  They affect our children differently in different environments.  The level of impact one of these disabilities has on a child can be significant in all areas of their life.  Ultimately, you are creating a shift in thinking within yourself, creating goals and expectations for your family, bridging a gap with your child’s school, and holding true to your plan when around extended family.  Although these areas can be challenging, consistency with your overall plan will reap the greatest reward.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

 

Communicating with Your Child’s Teacher

This morning while drinking my morning coffee, I was reading an article from Additude magazine that I thought you may be interested in as well.   This magazine, can be found either online here http://www.additudemag.com/index.html/ or you can order a copy of the magazine to be delivered to your house.  Personally, I struggle visually navigating their website but they do have some really good articles and tips on how to help with ADD/ADHD symptoms for children and adults.

The article I was reading this morning talked about writing a letter to your child’s teacher expressing your child’s strengths and needs.  You can write a letter like this anytime of the year.  Who else knows him/her as well as you?

Here’s a copy of the article I was reading. You can download a copy of the template and individualize it for your child….http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/12267.html

 

With Appreciation,

Christina

 

Middle Schoolers OTB (Outside The Box) Club

Please click here for the registration form registration-for-middle-school-otb-club

Middle school can be a challenging time socially.  It can be especially challenging understanding the “hidden” social rules, nonverbal language and all of the “grey” areas that exist.  Beginning in January, we will host a middle school hang out for teaching, learning, and practicing all of those grey areas in a fun environment.   The classes will be the second and fourth Friday of every month from 6:30-7:30 p.m.  Each class, of no more than ten, will be a diverse group of students.  The mixture of 6th-8th graders will be students who need to strengthen their overall social skills with kids who have strong social skills.  We feel it is important to be able to support this age range in more of a natural environment with peers so they can have help in bringing awareness and strengthen  self-monitoring skills to “grey” area situations.  For example, grey areas may consist of times such as losing a game, having someone being perceived as “cheating”, or knowing how to start and hold a conversation socially with a peer or group of peers.

The cost for each class is $20.00.  Upcoming dates are listed below. Registration will remain open unless a class becomes full.  Any full classes will be listed on our website. You may register ahead of time to reserve your child’s spot. You also have the option of registering the week of the class (as long as it is not full).

To register, please fill out at least one registration form found in the link above and e-mail it to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  We will send you a PayPal link to complete your registration. All classes are held at 9700 Research Dr., Suite 132, Charlotte, NC 28262.

Upcoming Dates:

January 13th

January 27th

February 10th

February 24th

March 10th

March 24th

We are excited about this particular group of classes as we help support our middle school children gain tools in being more successful socially in their natural environments! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to drop us a note at confidentsolutions7@hotmail.com.

 

With Appreciation,

Wendy and Christina

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Upcoming events 

 

 

Registration for Holiday Session

Registration is now open for our next session of our social skills groups.  The time around the holiday seasons can be stressful for children and families.  The focus of this session will be teaching children how to effectively communicate at home around family and utilize tools to help reduce stress.  As your child learns new vocabulary and skills, you will also learn more about teaching and reinforcing social skills at home to help support your child.  We are aware that siblings can sometimes feel confused, left out, or even frustrated.  This is why we are including a sibling class with this session so they have time for questions and develop their own “toolbox” of strategies that they can use at home as well.

Your child does not need a diagnosis to attend these classes. However, this class is designed for students with diagnoses such as Asperger Syndrome, ADHD/ADD, or any child needing to learn how to “think” about thinking as well as understand more about the complex social world in which we live.  While times of movement will be available, students must be able to sit in a room with a small group for one hour. If you have questions if your child would benefit from this session, please don’t hesitate to e-mail us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com. We’d love to help answer any questions!

The dates and agenda for the classes are as follows:

November 13th: Children will learn tools how to effectively communicate at home and around extended family, friends, or school. They will learn how to get their mom/dad/caregiver’s attention when multiple people are around.  The focus of this class will be self-awareness and communication tools.

November 20th: Children will be learning how to start and continue a conversation with a relative/parent/caregiver whether they are talking on the phone or meeting together for the holidays.  They will learn skills to have a “peaceful” holiday and begin learning how to “catch” themselves doing something well.  The focus of this class will be self-awareness, self-monitoring, and communication tools.

December 4th:  All groups will be led for a short mindful meditation in learning how to center themselves and be able to utilize this tool as a way to reduce stress or anxiety.  Children will begin to recognize the first signs of  when they are feeling overwhelmed and when they need to utilize a tool or ask for help.  The focus of this class will be communication, self-awareness, and tools for reducing stress or anxiety.

December 11th: Children will learn how to set up a space for himself/herself at home that he/she can use when feeling overwhelmed or need a break.  The children will review how to communicate to parents/caregivers when they need help or use a tool.

For this session, there will be three groups that will meet.  A sibling group (which is optional), a parent group (required with the session), and your child registering for the social skills group (up to five children per group).

K-2 meets from 2:00-3:00

3rd-5th meets from 3:30-4:30

6th-8th meets from 5:00-6:00

The cost for the child and parent classes is $150.00.

The cost for the child, parent, and up to two siblings is $200.00.

All classes are held at 8401 Medical Plaza Drive, Suite 120, Charlotte, NC 28262.

To register, please fill out the attached registration form registration-for-holiday-session and e-mail it to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  Please be sure to indicate on the form whether you are signing up for the sibling portion as well.  Once we receive your registration form, we will e-mail you a PayPal link to reserve your spot in the class.  The classes will be kept small to benefit children and families with no more than five children for the main class.

 

holiday-registeration-wm

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

 

Executive Functioning Skills

Executive Functioning Skills are important in helping a student successfully navigate his or her school day.  So, what are they exactly  and how do they look within a classroom? Collectively, these skills are what helps a student regulate his/her own behavior.  Here is a breakdown of the skills: planning, organization, time management, working memory, and metacognition.   Let’s talk in detail about each one a little further.

Planning is what we use to decide what is important to focus on and what is not important to focus on.  This is what helps a student reach the completion of an assignment in school.  When a student is weak in this skill,  a teacher will frequently say that he/she is unable to complete classroom assignments independently.  He/she may possibly be working on a different task (such a drawing or writing) during math time.

Organization is shown when a student can easily locate all of his/her materials needed for an assignment.  For example, a student who is strong in this skill will be able to independently find the writing notebook, a pencil, collect a new graphic organizer, and overall be prepared for the assignment.

Time management is when a student shows they know how to judge how much time he/she needs to complete an assignment or a classroom project.  It’s typical to see a teacher help with this area during class by posting how much time the students have for an independent assignment or group work.  If a student is weak in this skill, you may see him/her struggling to pace the time to finish all parts of the assignment to completion.  When the time is up and the teacher transitions to the next subject on the classroom schedule, a child who is still working on the beginning of the last assignment would be showing a weakness in time management skills.

Working memory is how our brains hold information in our minds while performing a more difficult task.  We do have the ability here to “pull up” past learning experiences and apply them to a task or an assignment.  For example, we see this in the classroom when a student is asked to write a narrative.  While writing, the student is putting the idea down on paper while remembering to use punctuation, correct use of grammar, and spelling.  All of those tools are working together.

Metacognition is when a student has the ability to have a “bird’s eye view” of himself or herself.   When this skill is strong, a student would be able to observe how he/she is problem solving and even question himself/herself in how he/she did.

There are more executive functioning skills that we use when we face a new problem or want to achieve a goal. They are: response inhibition, emotional control, sustained attention, task initiation, flexibility, and goal directed persistence.

Response inhibition: This is basically the skill of thinking before you act.  When a student is able to “pause” and think before saying or doing something, than that student would be strong in this skill.

Emotional control:  This is when a student can manage his or her own emotions so he/she can complete a classroom task or assignment or successfully reach his/her own goal.

Sustained attention:  If a student has a strength in this skill, then he/she is able to attend to a task within the classroom even with distractions around him/her and feeling tired or bored.

Task initiation: This is when a student can successfully start an assignment without procrastination.  You may see a weakness in the classroom if, after the teacher has given directions to begin a task, a student is walking around looking for a pencil, sharpening the pencil, asking to go to the bathroom, talking to a peer, etc.

Flexibility: This skill involves a student being flexible in a change in the classroom routines, a mistake in his/her work, or any setback or change that may occur during their day.  A student who may show weaknesses in this skill would become rigid or upset if a change occurred suddenly during an assignment or in the schedule.

Goal directed persistence: This skill involves a student having the ability to follow through to finish a goal that he/she set for themselves or possibly by the teacher without  getting discouraged with a competing interest.

Honestly, we could talk for days on this topic.  🙂 When a student is weak in one of these skills, it affects his/her overall school day as well as at home.  It’s important, as parents and educators, to recognize where a child’s strengths and weaknesses are in relation to these skills so we may help support and strengthen these skills.  When we allow these skills to continue to be weak without any support,  it’s common to see an increased problem in school as the child grows and attends higher grades.  For example, “organization” in first grade may look like a child leaving behind a parent letter or forgetting to unpack his book bag at school (or when he comes home from school).  Leaving the skills to continuously be weak, in high school, “organization” will look like a messy book bag with a lot of difficulty finding assignments, turning in assignments, and forgetting about assignments. If these skills are strengthened over time, we will see a child who can manage time, projects, and maintain sustained attention. Additionally, once our children understand why they have trouble turning in assignments, keeping track of materials, or finishing activities then they can begin to work to change these behaviors to new behaviors with which they are happy. This enables students, parents, and teachers to partner together to teach the whole child.

If you would like to read more about executive functioning skills, we have a few recommendations.

Here are a couple of fantastic reads:

https://www.amazon.com/Executive-Skills-Children-Adolescents-Second/dp/1606235710/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475534746&sr=8-1&keywords=executive+skills+in+children+and+adolescents

https://www.amazon.com/Smart-but-Scattered-Revolutionary-Executive/dp/1593854455/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1475534746&sr=8-2&keywords=executive+skills+in+children+and+adolescents

https://www.amazon.com/Coaching-Students-Executive-Practical-Intervention/dp/1462503756/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1475534746&sr=8-3&keywords=executive+skills+in+children+and+adolescents

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/brain-based-teaching-strategies-judy-willis

http://adayinourshoes.com/measurable-iep-goals-address-executive-functioning-deficits/

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Social Skills Class for Parents and Children Coming Soon

We are currently organizing a social skills group for elementary aged children.  This class will be perfect for children diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, and Asperger Syndrome. In partnership, there will be a parent class that meets at the same time.  This class will be a  six-week session.  It will provide children  the opportunities to grow in their social understanding with real life application.  The parents will have the opportunity  to connect with each other as well as learn the tools to implement strategies with their child at home. Please check back soon for specific updates on the location, time, and details of the group.  This is a class you won’t want to miss!

As a reminder, we love hearing from you! Please e-mail us with your thoughts and ideas at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy