sierra foothills

Understanding ADHD - Get Answers, Get Help, Get Moving

Matters on My Mind

October 2017 - 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

To a Successful New Year!

Matters on My Mind. 

January 2017 - 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

Matters on My Mind. 

December 2016 - 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

Matters on My Mind. 

November 2016 - 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

Matters on My Mind. 

October 2016 - 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.

 

 

 

"Off the Beaten Path" A Success!

We want to thank all of our sponsors and runners for making the 5th annual Off the Beaten Path, walk/run for Autism Awareness a success! More than $4,500 was raised to provide financial aid for families who could not otherwise receive our services. Thank you for your support.