Understanding ADHD - Get Answers, Get Help, Get Moving

October is ADHD Awareness Month. Luckily for us, Dr. Ryan Thompson, the Founder and Medical Director of Mind Matters is an expert on the topic. Here, he will share the definition, the causes, and treatment strategies for those affected with ADD/ADHD. Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity, is a prevalent disorder affecting about 9% of children and 4% of adults in the US. Some features of ADD/ADHD include:

  • Inattention: difficulty with focus & attention, organization, performing sequential or sustained activities, struggling in conversations or listening to instructions.
  • Impulsivity: doing or saying things without considering the consequences, interrupting, blurting out answers, more accidents & risky behaviors, trouble controlling emotional responses, and/or appearing disobedient or rude.
  • Hyperactivity: constantly moving, squirming or fidgeting, talking excessively, humming or making inappropriate noises, and/or playing too rough.

Causes include:

  • Genetics: ADD/ADHD is often inherited. Siblings will have ADD/ADHD 32% of the time. A parent may be affected also 50% of the time. No single gene is identified as the cause and so there isn't just one type of ADD/ADHD.
  • Environment: Pesticide exposures either directly or through foods, lead, food dyes, prenatal tobacco and alcohol exposure, or possible screen time and air pollution.
  • Medical Risks: low birth weight/prematurity, head injuries, thyroid disease, iron deficiency, repeated ear infections, and some medications.

Treatment Strategies include:

  • Creating a Strategy: A comprehensive and well thought out plan is needed. Create a team with the individual, family, educators, therapists, and doctors. Awareness of the condition being treated and educating those surrounding the affected individual(s) greatly reduces the negative responses a child, or adult, will face on a day to day basis. Look at and prioritize all the treatment options available.
  • Family and Individual Therapy: Just making the diagnosis often creates conflict within the family; some are apt to believe and embrace the diagnosis, while others are resistant or resentful of their child being "labeled" with a disorder. Getting "everyone on the same page" is important to a successful strategy. Parent counseling to offer new approaches and to create consistency and harmony between parents is often necessary. Just knowing that the child has limited abilities to change his/her behavior and that it is not a defect in their moral being is helpful. Individual counseling to improve organizational skills and other "executive functions" are also useful.
  • Educational Team: A child with ADD/ADHD is often first seen as having concerns when they enter the school environment; their struggles are different and more profound than their peers. Working closely with the teacher(s) in a collaborative way can be vital. The process of creating a plan can be initiated by either the parent or an educator. Once made, integrating the educational plan with the therapist and physician involved is very helpful.
  • Nutrition and Lifestyle: Many relatively easy changes can be made that are often beneficial, often in combination. Effective diet modifications such as a high protein breakfast, avoiding artificial food colorings, and reducing processed foods are good places to start. Supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil, magnesium, zinc, pycnogenol, and more can be helpful. Lifestyle changes include simply reducing screen time such as TV, computer gaming, and smart phone use can all make a difference. Increasing exercise and unstructured outdoor activities are most effective.
  • Medications: Medications can be a useful part of a treatment strategy. There are a variety of medications which act differently in the brain and require someone familiar with the "art" of using them to tailor it to the needs of the individuals.
  • Other Treatment Options: There is a variety of other treatments available to including Cogmed, EEG Biofeedback, and Interactive Metronome Training.

Mind Matters is here to help with all of the above and more. Our team of professionals work together to provide comprehensive services to you. We understand the challenges that you are facing and are here to help. Please don't hesitate to call us at 209-728-2184. Learn more on our website www.mindmattersclinic.org.

If you don't face these challenges yourself, but, know someone who does, or just want to help others get the care they need, please donate to Mind Matters by mail, in person or via our website. 

THANK YOU

Fall into Autumn

Here we are again talking about change. The seasons are changing. Our schedules with the more relaxed days of summer are back to the tighter routines for school and the fall season. The changes of fall are, at least, somewhat predictable. Still, change affects each of us in different ways. Some welcome it and some struggle with it. However you deal with change, there is always a bit of the unknown to face.

Is your child just starting or returning to school? Is he/she in a new school? Are you starting a new job? Or maybe you haven't made any changes in your life but as the weather changes and daylight shortens, we are forced to adapt. Change can be particularly hard for a child with ADD/ADHD. Here are few guidelines for making the fall change a little easier for child and family:

  • Rules should be simple and clear. Establish rituals and routines for homework, bedtime, and quiet time for your child and try to stick to them every day.  You can lay out school clothes the night before and make sure his/her school backpack is all ready for the next day. By breaking tasks into manageable steps it can be less hectic and stressful the next morning.
  • If possible create a quiet place for your child to read, do homework, and just recoup from the chaos of the day.
  • Try to get outside and do some fun physical activity.  Your child will burn off some of that extra energy in a healthy way!
  • Bedtime can be a difficult time for those with ADHD. Getting a good rest is crucial to feeling less anxious and more focused. A soothing ritual/routine for bedtime may help your child to make that transition at the end of the day.

Try to remain positive and encouraging. Positive reinforcement of good behavior usually encourages more of that type of behavior.

You can’t do it all. Mind Matters is here to help. We have a medical doctor and professional therapists to work with you and/or your child. We also have a variety of educational programs for improvement with learning disabilities.                                                                                       To learn more about Mind Matters please visit our website: www.mindmattersclinic.org. or call us at 209-278-2184.

As always, if you would like to support us in our work we accept tax-deductible donations on our website, by mail, or in person. Thank you!         

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Journey of an ASD Diagnosis

Have you ever received a medical diagnosis that shook you to the core? Well then you know that often you must go through several stages before you come to some peace of mind or at least some resolution. This is often what goes on with a family who has just received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder [ASD]. Although each family member may react differently, many will initially feel disbelief, sadness, a feeling of loss and worry. Although the diagnosis can often bring a sense of relief because now there is a reason for your child’s difficulties, it is usually also overwhelming.

Time is essential in allowing all to fully grasp the diagnosis and what it means for the child and family. Stress can be added as more and more medical appointments, lengthy assessments, and tests are carried out. All of this is emotionally draining and overwhelming. You may fear the unknown and have great uncertainty about the future. Each person will cope differently; beliefs, experiences, and understanding about ASD will influence how each person reacts.

Early intervention is usually stressed by health care professionals, and, while excellent advice, it can cause pressure for the family to find the needed treatments quickly.

Feeling inundated just reading this? Well, help is on the way! Mind Matters has a free service for all families who have just received an ASD diagnosis. Our Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Sarah Krutsinger, provides a Family Needs Assessment [FNA]. Sarah listens, counsels, and provides local and other resources to help. Often Sarah can help with counseling sessions and/or she can make a referral to one of our other professionals to provide service and treatment. Mind Matters, as a comprehensive treatment center, can often help the child and family further when diagnosed with ASD, ADHD, or other learning disability.

If you or someone you know is dealing with an overwhelming diagnosis, please call Mind Matters at 209-728-2184 to find out more and make an appointment. Visit our website www.mindmattersclinic.org.

If you are interested in donating to Mind Matters to help keep the FNA free for whoever needs it, please consider donating on-line, by mail, or in person. Mind Matters is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Spring into Social Skills

With school almost out, warmer weather here, and local events abounding, we tend to get more social. We start to leave behind winter hibernating and cocooning and move outside to mix with more people. For many of us it is easy to be social and welcome seeing friends, old and new.  But, for those on the Autism Spectrum or dealing with ADHD/ADD it is not so easy and social skills impairments are a significant disability. Social skills doesn't just mean relating to "party" atmospheres, but refers more to relationships, jobs, and community living. To get along in our world you need to be able to communicate, relate, and interact in ways that engage others, not ways that alienate others or show indifference. 

Some signs of social skills impairments include:

  • failure of normal back and forth conversation - am I talking too much or too little? am I speaking too loud or too soft?
  • abnormalities in eye contact and body language - look at me, but, when am I staring? what is my body saying to the listener?
  • absence of interest in peers - sharing is for mutual enjoyment and interest; not just my interest.
  • how do I find a friend? keep a friend?
  • how do I avoid being bullied or being a bully?

How can we help? Social Skills Groups/Classes are structured, small group sessions that teach social concepts and practice them with other children of similar abilities. Here at Mind Matters we follow the curriculum created by Michelle Garcia Winner. but adapt it to what is needed for each group. These groups are creative and fun! Social skills learned are also reinforced at home and at school so that they become "generalized"  and can be used in many situations. Mind Matters offers these classes regularly. We are now also offering one-on-one social skills training for those who aren't quite ready for group dynamics. This summer during the second and fourth weeks of July we will be offering social skills ...

Visit us at www.mindmattersclinic.org or on Facebook or call us at 209-728-2184 to learn more or to sign up for a social skills opportunity.

Enjoy spring and get ready to spring into social skills!

Hop, Skip, Jump, Run & Walk at the 6th Annual Mind Matters Off the Beaten Path Walk/Run for Autism Awareness Clinic Fundraiser, April 22, 2017.

 

April 22nd, Saturday from 8-11 Mind Matters is holding the 6th Annual Mind Matters Off the Beaten Path, Walk/Run for Autism Awareness Clinic Fundraiser!

This is a fun activity for people of all ages. The event starts in beautiful Murphys Park where we will have music, warm-up group exercises, and face-painting for children and those young at heart! You can walk or run [or hop, skip & jump!] for the 5K distance, but, the 10K will be a timed race. There will be awards for 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place for each age group; female and male. Age groups are 0-19 years, 20-39 years, 40-59 years, and 60 years and over. 

Cost is $30 for those 8 years old and up [7 & under free]. The first 100 paid registrants are guaranteed a t-shirt. The sizes to choose from are M, L, or XL and are a unisex style.

How to Register: 

  • Call us at 209-728-2184, 9 AM to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. 
  • Online Registration webpage, by clicking HERE.
  • Mail a check and application form (download application here) to:   

Mind Matters
150 Big Trees Road, Suite D,
Murphys, CA 95247

So come join us from 8am-11am with the walk/run starting at 9am, awards ceremony at 10:30am and the event ending at 11am. Help support Mind Matters and its clients and have some fun and get some exercise at the same time!

Thanks and look forward to seeing you there!

The Courage to Love

Of course we all think of love in February; Cupid, hearts, and chocolate are all around, but, I have been thinking about how love sometimes takes courage. As you know Mind Matters serves those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADD/ADHD, and other Learning Disabilities. However, it is not just the client that we serve. It is the whole family and extended family who often need our support, guidance, and professional expertise. These are the people that I am thinking of when I say sometimes you need courage to love.

Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, sister, brother; these are the brave ones. These are the people who get up every morning ready to love whether or not the person they are loving recognizes that feeling. Maybe the child or partner doesn't feel that emotion and/or know how to return the feeling. Maybe he/she does everything possible, intentionally or not, to make you not love her/him. Yet everyday Mom and others will get up and face the challenge with an open heart, a loving heart, and courage. Courage to face the immediate challenges of getting ready for school, work, or just the day. Courage to face others stares and lack of understanding. Courage to do what is best for each moment of the expected and unexpected. Courage to learn more skills and courage to come to Mind Matters, sometimes from as far away as the Bay Area, to engage with us in our comprehensive services and treatments. So, it is to our clients and their families that I, and all of us here at Mind Matters, send our love this February.

Please join me in love and support for the courageous ones. If you would like to make a donation to help with financial aid and scholarships for many of our clients, please click on the Donate button on our website - it is easy and you can even sign up to make a hassle-free monthly donation.

With love and gratitude, thank you.

To a Successful New Year!

January, the beginning of a new year, seems like a great time to think about success. What does success mean to you? What successes have you had in the past? What goals/successes lie ahead for you? We, at Mind Matters, find success when our clients find success. I'd like to share two examples of recent successes here at Mind Matters:

One is from a mom about her son who has been diagnosed with Autism and ADHD. He has been taking our Fast ForWord class for about two weeks. Fast ForWord is a computer-based, scientifically proven program developed by Scientific Learning (www.scilearn.com). The program is a reading and language intervention program that improves auditory/visual processing skills which leads to academic achievement, while building self-confidence along the way. We offer Fast ForWord here at the Clinic, at home with professional guidance, and at a Sonora location. Please call the office at 728-2184 for more information and assessment. Bob [not his real name] is also taking our recommended supplements daily. Mom and his teachers have already noticed a change! Bob has been communicating more understandably at school. He is not repeating and repeating another person's words while not making any sense [called echolalia and a symptom of his disorder]. Bob is more focused on his homework and doing the work willingly - wow! Math and reading have both significantly improved. Mom is thrilled!

The second success is reported from a dad about his son, Marty [not his real name]. Marty has been doing Cogmed, a program that helps improve attention, planning, and organization by improving working memory. Marty has completed 12 sessions of Cogmed and the change has been remarkable. Marty is now keeping his room clean, getting out of bed and ready for school the very first time he is called, and generally being more responsible for his own actions. His grades are all A's and B's and assignments are all handed in! The family and Marty are very happy!

Please see our website (www.mindmattersclinic.org) for more information about these classes and call us to sign up.

We hope this is just the start of successes for our clients and through our comprehensive services we can help more clients to achieve their maximum potential. If you would like to be a part of someone's success, please consider giving a one-time and/or monthly donation to Mind Matters. We accept cash, checks, and credit cards and more. See our website for easy ways to give or mail us a donation. 

Thank you and we are grateful for the support we get from community and beyond.

 

December Reflections

Well, here it is almost the end of 2016 and the end of my first year as executive director for Mind Matters. For me, it has been a year of transition from board member to staff member, a year of learning, and a year of rewarding experiences with staff, board, community, and clients.

Two major changes for the Clinic were the departure of long-time MFT and Clinical Director Susan Deax-Keirns and the addition of Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Dr. David Simons.

  • Susan had been with Mind Matters since its inception, 9 years ago! She started as a MFT Intern and. once fully licensed, became our primary therapist. She also served as a most compassionate and professional Clinical Director for many years. Susan now has her own private practice in Murphys and although we miss her feisty enthusiasm as well as her knowledge, we applaud her and her new venture.
  • Dr. David Simons is the very first Clinical Psychologist to work at Mind Matters. He has brought over 30 years of experience in counseling and is quickly becoming our expert in Autism Assessment and Evaluation. His addition has allowed Mind Matters to offer more in-depth services to our clients and he is a welcome addition to our team.

This year we have also been able to bring back our popular and successful Social Skills Groups. Social Skills focuses on teaching positive social behaviors and providing social coping tools to those children most at-risk. Studies show a significant decrease in violent and negative behaviors, as well as increases in emotional well-being, academic success, and social harmony when this social skills program is implemented early especially for marginalized youth and individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ADD/ADHD.

Another highlight for Mind Matters was holding our 5th Annual Off the Beaten Path Walk/Run. It didn't rain! and it was a fun time for all, with the event bringing in $6,000 for the good of our clients and programs. We were chosen for a fundraising reception night at Sonora Repertory Theatre's production of A Christmas Story. Again the weather was great and with a fun play for viewing, yummy hors d'ouevres and drinks to enjoy, and a super theme-based basket of goodies for the raffle, new and continuing friends of Mind Matters enjoyed a wonderful evening out and raised $6,000 for a good cause.

The Board of Directors has been busy developing a fund development plan, a scorecard/strategic plan, and expanding their numbers to better round out their skill set. As always, the Board remains dedicated and active in making Mind Matters the best it can be.

Last, but, certainly not least, we have been able to serve over 350 clients with comprehensive treatments and services. Definitely the most rewarding memories of 2016.

Hope your year was a good one, and from all of us at Mind Matters, we wish you a most happy and loving holiday season!

 

Matters on My Mind: Thanks & Giving

Family, friends, food, and thankfulness - what a wonderful celebration! Here at Mind Matters we are very thankful for so much:

  • First and foremost we are thankful for our clients and patients, those that come on their own and those that come as a family - extended, blended, and nuclear. It brings us joy when a client tells us "I can't remember a time when we have been so hopeful for what the future holds. Mind Matters is the perfect blend between modern medicine and holistic methods."
  • Our donors - individuals, family foundations, and businesses. We could not provide services to our clients and patients without our generous, sustaining, and supporting donors. Mind Matters funding is comprised of 1/3 private pay & 2/3 donations & grants. We need your support.
  • Board support - we have a dedicated and active board who work hard as ambassadors for Mind Matters. They contribute freely of their time, talents, and their dollars.
  • Staff - Medical Director/Physician, Dr. Ryan Thompson, Clinical Director/Clinical Psychologist, Dr. David Simons, Licensed Clinical Social Work, Sarah Krutsinger, Educational Services Coordinator, Cheri Tichenor, Learning Specialist, Marianne Hale, Receptionist/Bookkeeper, Cristi Canepa all work compassionately and professionally to provide comprehensive services and treatments for our patients & clients to become a happier and more productive member of his or her community!

This is the Mind Matters team and we need each of you and are thankful for each of you every day! So from me, Trudy Lackey, Executive Director and all of us who are part of the Mind Matters neighborhood, we wish you a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

Matters on My Mind: October is ADD/ADHD Awareness Month

Since October is designated ADD/ADHD Awareness Month, I thought I would write a bit about these disorders. ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are both prevalent. In our tri-county area of Calaveras, Tuolumne, and Amador there are over 2,500 incidences. This indicates 11% diagnosed, a 33% increase in the last 12 years. Here at Mind Matters 43% of our clients are being treated for ADD/ADHD.

What are some signs of ADD/ADHD?

  • Inattention: difficulty with focus & attention, trouble getting organized, being easily distracted, and/or finding it difficult to perform sequential or sustained activities.
  • Impulsivity: doing or saying things without considering the consequences, interrupting and blurting out, tendency to have more accidents & risky behaviors, and/or having trouble controlling emotional responses.
  • Hyperactivity: constantly moving, squirming, or fidgeting, talking excessively, humming or making inappropriate noises, and/or playing too rough.

What causes ADD/ADHD?

  • Genetics: ADD/ADHD is often inherited. A sibling will also have ADD/ADHD 32% of the time, while a parent will also be affected 50% of the time. There is not just one gene, but, rather multiple genes that have been identified as contributing to the conditions.
  • Environment: Possible exposures(directly or through food) include pesticides, lead, food dyes, prenatal tobacco & alcohol exposure, and/or air pollution. 
  • Medical Risks: low birth weight/prematurity, head injuries, thyroid disease, iron deficiency, repeated ear infections, and some medications.

Treatment Strategies

  • Create a Strategy: This complex disorder requires a comprehensive and well thought out plan. Create a team with the individual, family, educators, therapists/clinicians, and doctors. Keeping everyone in the loop greatly reduces stress and any possible negative responses the person may face on a day to day basis.
  • Family and Individual Therapy: Get "everyone on the same page" so that strategies will be successful. The diagnosis itself often creates conflict within the family; some are apt to believe and embrace the diagnosis,while others are resistant or resentful of being "labeled" with a disorder. Individual counseling to improve organizational skills and other "executive functions" are useful. Parent counseling can offer new approaches and help create consistency and harmony between parents.
  • Educational Team: Often ADD/ADHD in children is first seen when they enter the school environment; their struggles are different and more profound than their peers. Working closely with the teacher(s) in a collaborative way can be vital. The process of creating a plan for school based assistance can be initiated by either the parents or an educator. Potential options include: Student/Child Study Team (SST/CST), further educational & behavioral testing, informal or formal 504 accommodations, and/or an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
  • Nutrition and Lifestyle: Effective diet modifications include: high protein breakfasts, avoiding artificial food colorings, food allergy elimination diets, reducing processed foods, and eating organic foods. Typical supplements include: omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil), magnesium, zinc, pycnogenol, pyridoxal 5 phosphate (P5P50), and melatonin. Lifestyle changes include: reducing screen time in front of television, computer gaming & smart phone use while also increasing any form of exercise and unstructured outdoor activities.
  • Medications: Medications can be a useful part of a treatment strategy. There are a variety of medications which act differently in the brain and require someone familiar with the "art" of using them to tailor them to the needs of the the individuals. Medications include stimulants, non-stimulants, and anti-depressants. All have risks of side effects which need to be clearly explained.
  • Other Treatment Options: A variety of other treatments available include: Cogmed, EEG Biofeedback, and Interactive Metronome Training.

Finding Help

Mind Matters is a Comprehensive Treatment Center serving individuals and families affected by ADD/ADHD and more. Check out our website for more information or to make a donation www.mindmattersclinic.org or call our office at 209-728-2184. Get Answers   Get Help   Get Moving

Thank you to Dr. Ryan Thompson, Medical Director and MD at Mind Matters Clinic for providing the information for this blog.

 

 

 

Matters on My Mind: Cool Classes for the Fall

Cooler days and nights, school in session, and the start of new classes at Mind Matters!

Fast ForWord for Success:

Is your child struggling to read at grade level? He/she is not alone; not being able to read at grade level is one of the most troubling problems facing young students. Mind Matters can help! Using the innovative approach of Fast ForWord, a proven online intervention that dramatically improves language and reading achievement, key pathways to the brain are strengthened and your child starts to experiencesuccess at school, often reading at or above grade level in just one eight-week session. 

Fast ForWord starts September 19th and runs through November 11th, Monday-Friday, from 4:00-5:00pm at Mind Matters in Murphys. Call us at 209-728-2184 to sign up now.

Mind Builder moving to Achieve:

Want to play fun, highly motivating games and activities that target and strengthen areas of the brain affecting learning efficiency at the same time? Join us in a 30 minute private session and engage in Mind Builder, a unique learning system that treats Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, learning disabilities, and reading challenges.

Mind Builder's one-on-one half hour sessions begin on October 4th and go through October 27th on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Mind Matters in Murphys. Call us at 209-728-2184 to reserve your time now.

Social Skills Groups promoting Social Success:

Social skills help us determine which behaviors to display in order to help us achieve our social goals. Learn self-awareness, perspective taking, and social management in order to relate to others, how to maintain friendships, and work effectively as part of a team. The Groups are open to children between the ages of 6-14 years. Parent Support is an integral part of our program.

Social Skills Classes begin on October 3rd and run through October 27th for ages 9-14. Classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays with ages 9-11 at 4:15 and ages 12-14 at 5:30pm at Mind Matters in Murphys. Call us at 209-728-2184 to sign up now.

Want to make some positive changes in your life with the change of the season? Questions? Contact us for more information or to sign up for classes. Financial aid may be available.

Thanks for reading my blog. Please feel free to share this information with others who would be interested.

 

 

Matters on My Mind

Many of our clients are affected by Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders [ADD/ADHD], and the transition from summer vacation to back to school and back to work can be a rough time. All of us feel the change and often some concentration on making our diet and nutrition a little better can make a big difference.