It Just Sounds Cool: Hemispheric Asymmetry

It Just Sounds Cool: Hemispheric Asymmetry

We take a lot for granted during our waking hours: our bodies’ automatic breathing, automatic walking, automatic speech production. In fact, a problem for people with ADHD is the automatic speech production — words get blurted out that they wish had some filtering before exiting their mouths. Both automatic and volitional actions start in our brains. While we often cannot “sense” this, when there is damage to the brain, we see the actions are impacted. A common trauma to the brain is a stroke. Depending on where the injury happens in the brain, different actions — speech, walking, memory recall

Synchrony, or Growing Out of ADHD

Synchrony, or Growing Out of ADHD

Synchrony of waves helps regulate the brain and behavior. Thanks to a parent who passed on a recent NY Times article about adult ADHD, and how some people seem to “grow out of it.” (See “A Natural Fix…”) The article described research being done at MIT, where researchers have found another tool to diagnose ADHD medically: look to see if the resting brain has a “default mode” where several regions of the brain are interacting with each other. This work is based on the premise that we have “brain waves“. What is a brain wave? Believe it or not, you’ve

Not Just a Pretty Face

Not Just a Pretty Face

Channing Tatum… so Hollywood, right? “I have never considered myself a very smart person, for a lot of reasons,” he says. “Not having early success on that one path messes with you. You get lumped in classes with kids with autism and Down Syndrome, and you look around and say, Okay, so this is where I’m at. Or you get put in the typical classes and you say, All right, I’m obviously not like these kids either. So you’re kind of nowhere. You’re just different. The system is broken. If we can streamline a multibillion-dollar company, we should be able

Upcoming Workshop on the Mindfulness Prescription for ADHD

Mindfulness Prescription for ADHD, and for Parents  Cultivate Compassion for Your Child and Yourself  Come discover this method to strengthen attention, manage emotions, and achieve your goals. Mindfulness has been established as a way to combat stress in everyday life. Parents of children with ADHD experience high levels of stress, which can be helped through these specific exercises of the breath and the body. We will be following Dr. Lidia Zylowska, MD’s mindfulness prescription for cultivating new habits to minimize the negative behavioral effects caused by ADHD. The method of self-care has been proven to be effective to reduce stress,

Floortime, or DIR: the politics of special needs

For those of you interested in people on the autism spectrum, you have probably heard of Floortime. For some of you, this may be a new term, which describes a treatment for people on the spectrum — but also people (usually young children) who have a sensory integration disorder. With Floortime (also called DIR), the child engages with the parent or other adult on the floor in communication activities to develop language, both receptive and expressive. I attended a screening of a fascinating film made by two parents of a boy who had autistic-like symptoms, who responded well to the

The Secret of Happiness

Hmm, this wasn’t entirely mindful, but I was preparing a meal and I put on the radio. The show happened to be on happiness, and the scientific bases of happiness. The biggest contributor to being happy was being “present”, to be doing what you “should” be doing. The opposite of happy was to be doing one thing but thinking of something else. Being mindful generates a state of happiness… not when your mind is wandering. Which sounds exactly like the mindfulness practice for controlling ADHD behaviors and emotions. All you need to do when you are worrying or feeling frantic

Mindfulness Prescription for ADHD

Does it sound crazy to ask someone with ADHD to practice … focusing on one thing? For a relatively long time? Yes, it is counterintuitive. However, there is strong evidence that this simple activity works to reduce the side effects from ADHD, and that it can be learned by almost anyone, including younger children. The important take-away is that it is a skill that can be used, and produced on demand in a stressful situation, to improve the outcomes of everyday frustrations. Look at the picture on top of the page: it is full of details, and it’s hard to

Flowing Thoughts, or the Curse of Cursive

My concern for all kids is whether or not they are developing a “flow” in their thinking and expression of their thoughts. Personally, I think there is a pervasive shift in the way we are communicating (a lot more oral communication and visual communication, and a lot less written). Are schools stuck in the old ways? But… how are we going to communicate / transmit ideas without being fluent written communicators? I don’t see how we can have logical arguments without being able to point to specific ideas or thoughts — it’s hard to know exactly what someone said or

Tending to Homework

Tending to Homework Have you ever raised vegetables in a garden? Let me describe the process… there are rewards, and there is work, and it is in fact a lot like doing homework. Gardens are places of intentions. It’s so exciting to mix up the fresh soil, and if you want to grow from seeds, you’ve had some fun shopping for seeds, fantasizing about the plants you’ll grow, the delicious food and meals you’ll be making…. Rewards will come in the future. Probably. There are some assumptions: you have, or can buy, some good, fertile soil; you have access to

Mindfulness from Tai Chi

Mindfulness from Tai Chi A recent article, published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, describes an experiment in which healthy young adults with inattentive type of attention deficit disorder showed improvements in specific tasks, after taking a Tai Chi class for 15 weeks. The results show improvement on the participants’ ability to focus, which leads the researchers to conclude that Tai Chi can help people with inattention improve in certain activities of daily living. That is, people are more “mindful” of what they are doing – a new definition of “staying on task.” This article intrigued me because it seems like