ADHD · Parenting · school

How to Request a School Evaluation for your ADHDer

There are times in everyone’s lives when you have to make the hard decision.  A choice that you know is not going to win you any friends but in the end, it is the right decision to make.

I think this is the third blog I’ve done about my negotiations with the school.  Read more about it here and here.  Today I’m telling all of you I have made the decision to request a school evaluation for my ADHDer.  I know this isn’t going to win me any friends at the school…and this is a hard thing for me to do because I am a people pleaser.  But you know when you just have this feeling deep down inside that this is the right (although unpopular) path to take…that’s where I am.  It helps that I got validation from a few other experts that this is worth the fight.

So all my fellow ADHD warriors…here is my research on the best way to request a school evaluation:

There’s no Reason to Reinvent the Wheel

If you too have made the decision to pursue a formal evaluation from your kiddos school, Understood has assembled this fabulous collection of templates to walk you through the process.  Don’t forget to document, document, document!!

Someone just Point me in the Right Direction

Another quick read from Understood with a numbered list to get you through the requesting process.  I LOVE me a good check list!  I like their suggestions on follow through…too often I go through all the steps but fall short of following up.

One More Template for Ya…

This request for assessment is sort of a catch-all that combines a few of the one above.  Warmline is an organization I just found…seems like a gem:)

 

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Have you navigated through the school evaluation process?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

ADHD · Holiday · Parenting

A Survival Guide for the ADHD Household & the Holidaze

A quick show of hands…who has seen the new Bad Moms movie?  If you are not raising your hand right now, stop reading this and get yourself to the theater.  As a parent to an ADHDer this movie speaks your language.  While Christmas is most definitely the Superbowl for moms, a family touched by ADHD is playing with the odds stacked against them.

How do you survive?  And if you are really good even ENJOY the holidays?  Here a few of my tricks…

  1. Cue the Frozen soundtrack….”Let it Go, Let it Go!!”  I know you want the picture perfect holiday but let’s get real…what does that look like?  Your kids are already overstimulated this time of year so dragging them to a million holiday events and errands is only going to make the situation go from bad to worse.  If you just can’t seem to get the holiday cards out this year, skip it…or make it a Valentine’s Day card.
  2. What are your priorities?  Ask yourself, ask your kids and ask your significant other and then make a list.  Keep the list short and put those things on the calendar.  Then you know what you can say yes to when the evites start rolling in.
  3. I have waxed poetic about my love for my holiday binder before…but I have to give it another shout-out here.  Although I would love to say I have it all together but it’s not perfect.  But it is a place where I can go to find all my decorating ideas, favorite holiday recipes, and shopping lists.  Check out this article for a detailed breakdown of how to put one together.
  4. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.  My hubby is way more proficient at wrapping gifts than I am.  I’m very lucky that he jumps in to help with this task and it takes just one more thing off my plate.

The opening scene of Bad Moms where Amy is sitting in the aftermath of a holiday gone catastrophic can be avoided.  Let’s face it our households have enough crazy…and then there are the holidays where the crazy is turned up a notch!

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What tips or tricks do you have to keep your holidays on track?  Comment below to share your ideas.

Parenting · school

How to Get the Homework Done and Still Like your Kid (Part 1)

“NOOOOOO” he screams from the top of his lungs while throwing his body to the floor.  He gets up and starts to hit me.  Not hard but just enough so that I know that he is mad.  I take the abuse while giving him several warnings.  If he doesn’t stop he will eventually end up in timeout.

What caused this massive meltdown?  Nope, I didn’t take away his screen time.  I simply said, “It’s time to do homework.”  It’s not always this extreme but some version of this meltdown plays out multiple times per week in our house.

The battle lines are drawn around homework in so many homes around the world but I know this is extreme.  My son is a sweetheart and a cuddle-bug but homework brings out the worst in him.  Why do I put up the abuse?  I know we are working on it.

I’ve discussed the issue with his counselor and we are formulating a game plan.  My son has battled anxiety and there is a strong history of ADHD in our family.  Here are some strategies we are working on:

  1. Creating an environment for studying.  There are some good ideas here.
  2. Make it fun!  He was thrilled when we practiced spelling words by letting him draw the letters in salt that was poured into a cookie sheet.  Here’s a resource for more ways to mix it up..
  3. Let go a little.  Since he’s my second child I have learned to losen the reigns a bit.  Not everything has to be perfect.  As long as most of the work is getting done perfection isn’t worth the battle.

That’s all for right now for my little guy.  BABY STEPS!  I’ve shared an idea here before on how to use visual reminders.  Next week I will share some strategies that we use for homework with my older daughter.

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What homework headaches do you face with your ADHD kiddo?  Please feel free to share in the comments below.

ADHD · Parenting · Uncategorized

How to Calm Crazy Kids and Feel Like a Good Parent

Are you the parent of those kids that run up and down the aisles of the grocery store?  Do you get the evil eye from the person in front of you at the theater, on an airplane or any other sort of seated public appearance?  Are you worried about what the neighbors might think as the high pitched shrieks of laughter or screams of sibling rivalry bellow from behind your walls?

You are not alone!  Last week my 10 year old daughter and I were hanging out on the pool deck as my son swam laps with his swim team.  It was a special day because later that evening we had tickets to watch Shawn Mendes and Charlie Puth perform.  I was on edge anticipating the ADHD induced sillies to rain on our parade.  My girlfriend and her 2 younger boys came over to say hello.  Her boys were fresh out of the pool and wrapped up in towels to dry off.  Pickles (no, not her real name) walked over to greet them.  I was far enough away to not be able to hear what was going on.  I observed her running circles around the 7 year old boys and repeatedly sticking her face just inches from theirs.  I could tell from their body language that they were less than amused.  Engaged in conversation with my girlfriend this scenario continued for several minutes. Finally I was able to call her name and redirect.

When we were back in my car and safely out of the public eye, I asked her what was going on??

She replied, “I’m just so excited about the concert.”

“I know sweetie. It was obvious from their body language that the boys weren’t happy with your behavior” I responded.

“I know,” she said, “but I didn’t really care.”

SIGH!  I’ll count this as a small win because a few years ago she would have been oblivious to the body language.

I took a deep breath.  I went in knowing this day was going to be a challenge.  The concert tickets were a gift for her birthday (9 months ago) so the buildup of excitement was a lot for any child to handle but Pickles was dealt the ADHD card so regulating her emotions was an even bigger challenge.  I reminded myself of the special parenting approach for my daughter and forged ahead determined to face each moment as it presented itself.  We were making memories!

Shawn
Token Shawn Mendes shot…he’s such a cutie!

The concert was so much better than I had ever expected.  Yes, there were many moments of complete and total unbridled craziness.  I had to remind myself several times to stay calm.  Screaming is never the answer but that is hard to remember when your daughter is screaming at the top of her lungs and bouncing off hotel beds.

How to Parent thru the ADHD Induced Wackiness (or any other moment when you need the kids to turn it down a notch)

This recent “win” gave me the idea of making note of what works to help calm the crazies when it appears like you fed your child a bowl full of sugar for breakfast (and my loyal readers know I would never do such a thing):

  • Get the Wiggles Out
    • If my kids are bouncing off the walls at home and it’s just too much for me to handle I will give them an activity to get that energy out like run 3 laps around the pool or drop and give me 10 burpees
  • Redirecting
    • Going back to my concert example above there are times when you can’t send your kid off to burn up energy.  Try refocusing their attention by playing a game like rock-paper-scissors, freeze dance or charades.  It has to be something entertaining enough to draw their attention.
  • Self Calming
    • I’ll be honest this one is the most difficult for me to execute.  I’m not going to give up because in the long run this is the most effective tool to teach our kids in order for them to succeed in life.  The one tactic I have had the most success with is what we call “snake breathing.”  Teach your child to take a long slow breath in through their nose and then slowly exhale through their mouth while making a hissing sound.

What do you think?  Would this work for your kiddos?  Is there a trick you have up your sleeve to calm the crazies?  Please share your win or struggle by commenting below.

ADHD · Parenting · Uncategorized

Can I Keep my Cool During Summer?

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I have such a love/hate relationship with summer.  I love the warm nights hanging out by the pool.  I love the break from homework and stresses of school.  I love the family vacations.  I hate the lack of structure and unpredictable schedule.  I hate the never ending sibling rivalry.  I hate the numerous daily requests to play with any device.

I could go on and on but you get the gist.  I want to take a second here to apologize for my lack of posts here on ADHDaze.  This summer schedule really has gotten the best of me plus I’m working on another big project that I will announce soon!

I wrote about my plans for summer earlier here but this time around I’m in the thick of it.

This is going to have to be a quick post because it’s just minutes until I have to leave again to get the kiddos from camp.  Here are a few things that are helping me keep my cool. Although I have to admit I’ve lost it a few more times than I would like to admit.

Time Timer

We have a firm rule in our house…no more than 1 hour of screentime per day!  This hasn’t slowed the ENDLESS requests I get to watch tv, play on the iPad, play on my phone etc. etc.

time timer
The Time Timer is a good visual reminder of how much time is left for watching TV

I dug our Time Timer out of retirement and started to use it as a visual reminder of how much time is left before the screens go dark.  I can’t say this has eliminated all meltdowns but certainly minimized them.

Amazon to the Rescue (again)

Another lifesaver has been Alexa.   The kids love to use their Echo Dots to play music, play games, check the weather and so much more.  Just yesterday, they figured out how to call each other from one dot to the next.  This provided at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted entertainment (without a single sibling squabble).  It’s been helping me to build my shopping list.  Hubby often forgot (thanks ADHD) to write things down on the list when he’s cooking…now all he has to do is ask Alexa to add it to the list.  GENIUS!!

What’s working for you this summer? 

Please, please, please share your successes

 

ADHD · Parenting

5 Ways to Enjoy Summer with your ADHDer

Anyone else feeling the anxiety of those last few weeks of school?  Not only is our calendar booked almost every single night with baseball games, Open House, choir performances and on and on…but the open ended days of summer loom on the horizon.  Don’t get me wrong I love summer just as much as the next girl but as you know the freedom of unstructured days can spell disaster for a kid with ADHD.

Here’s my top ten list of things you can do to make your summer more enjoyable (or at least minimize the meltdowns)

1. Yep you guessed right….Structure:

I know creating structure comes more naturally for some but if you can even say keep a regular bed and wakeup time Monday-Friday that will help.  Baby steps people!!

2. Camp

Since Pickles is now 10 years old I have had some experience chauffeuring her around to various camps.  I have adopted the philosophy that we have to strike a balance of time at camp versus just time to chill.  Local day camps give kids a chance to develop their strengths and gain self confidence.  I am interested in the idea of sleep away camps and I’ve had my eye on this one.  If the staff and camp are informed of the unique challenges for your kid it can be an amazing experience that will help them grow.

3. Academics

Wait!  Don’t stop reading yet…hear me out on this one.  Many kids with ADHD also struggle with other developmental and learning delays so incorporating a little academics throughout the summer month will help keep them from suffering a “summer setback.”

4. Make a Bucket List

In these last few weeks before school or during the first few days of summer have your kids write down (or brainstorm with you) a list of everything they would like to do this summer.  Of course, make sure they know this is just a wish list but it will make it easier for you to plan some activities.

5. Visit your Local Library

I’m blessed with two little bookworms and a local library with a super cool summer reading program!!  Honestly, my kids beg to go to the library and I try to indulge them each week over the summer (if we are home) but it helps that it is convenient.  If you don’t have a library that is convenient Barnes and Noble is has a summer program for you..

That’s all for this week I have to get back to conquering the calendar.  Please take a minute to join our email list so you don’t miss a thing here at ADHDaze.

 

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ADHD · Parenting

Here’s a Quick Way to Head Off Homework Headaches….Take 2

update: I posted this about a month ago but didn’t realize the video was marked private on YouTube.  Oopsie:)  Here it is again for all of you to see.  I have to admit I’m not always on top of updating this board with our daily schedule but I have been using it for daily reminders for things I need to discuss with the family. BONUS!!!!

Homework …ugh Homework!!! It’s not a fun topic in any household but if you throw in ADHD or some other learning disability it can go from bad to worse. QUICKLY. I get it.

My little guy is only 6 but already the homework headaches have begun. He has not been diagnosed with ADHD but we started behavioral therapy with him at the beginning of the school year since we were seeing signs of anxiety.  His therapist had mentioned creating a daily schedule (similar to what he sees at school).

Check out this video (my first one EVER!) to see my solution.

 

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My dream is that this visual calendar will ward off the major meltdowns that occur anytime the word homework is heard in our house.  Fingers crossed! Please comment below if you try this…and how it works for you.

ADHD · anxiety · Parenting

The Secret about Anxiety (and It’s Link to ADHD)

There’s this really cool train museum not far from where we live.  Inside there’s a kids area with the most elaborate train table setup I’ve ever seen.  About 5 years ago, when Pickles was only 5, we found ourselves there to meet a playgroup on a very rainy day.  The place was PACKED!!  Suddenly she turned to me and said, “mommy I can’t breathe.”

It was a panic attack and I knew it because this wasn’t the first time.  I knelt down beside her and could feel her heart racing and see her gasping for breath.  I calmly told her to close her eyes and just listen to my voice.  I reassured her that everything was ok, held her close and kept repeating myself.  As soon as I saw her breathing become more regular we quickly packed up and headed home.

 

Anxiety, ADHD’s Partner in Crime

Wikipedia defines comorbidity as “the presence of one or more additional diseases or disorders co-occurring with a primary disease or disorder; in the countable sense of the term, a comorbidity is each additional disorder or disease.”

What does that mean?

It means if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD it’s likely they have more than just that challenge to face.  In Pickle’s case, in addition to ADHD she has anxiety and Tourette’s.  There was an OCD diagnosis thrown at us at one point but I’m not convinced.

After doing a deep dive into the world of ADHD, I consider her lucky.  Here’s a list of common comorbid diseases.

Blog Anxiety Pinterest
That is a disturbing list of enemies

Now What?

My philosophy has been knowledge is power.  Keep an eye out for the symptoms of the conditions listed above.  If you suspect you might be facing one of these disorders, do your homework.  You will be better prepared to take on whatever you are up against.

Keep in mind that treatment for one disease might have a chain reaction for another.  For example, Pickles was diagnosed with Tourette’s a few years before her ADHD diagnosis.  When we finally decided to use medications, her tics were really really bad:(  We started out with this in mind and her doctor chose a medication that was less likely to increase her tics.

 

It’s not fair!  ADHD is a big enough challenge but to continue to layer on top these other diseases??!!  Yep, but you do not have to face these challenges alone.  Please follow along with my blog and we can face these demons together.

ADHD · Parenting

10 Ways to Prepare for Your Road Trip: ADHD Style

We are about to take off for Spring Break. So ROAD TRIPS are on my mind. As a kid my parents would take us on epic road trips traveling all across the country for weeks on end. These always made for the best memories (and stories).

I’m not sure my family is quite up to that kind of marathon bonding time but I am determined that we can pull off a week. Here’s a quick list of how to plan a successful roadtrip for your family while keeping their ADHD symptoms in check.

  1. Food Pack plenty of healthy snacks. It’s hard to eat healthy on the road.  And what would a vacation be without a daily indulgence?  With all these stumbling blocks it helps to have some familiar and healthy foods stashed in your car or purse for a healthy refuel.
  2. The License Plate Game We have a long drive ahead of us tomorrow.  I know there will be plenty of movies to pass the time but this classic always seems to break up the trip a bit for us.
  3. Magnet Coloring Ok fellow parents this looks super cool and I know my kiddos would love it but we are about 24hours away from departure and I’m not so sure I’m going to pull this off.
  4. Familiar Objects My kids have never been attached to a blanket or a stuffed animal but this is the stuff I am talking about.  Just a little piece of home to make them feel more relaxed.  I won’t be leaving home without a few of their favorite books.
  5. Audiobook Another tactic to break up the long drive is we all decided on a book we would like to listen to during our journey.  We chose the Roald Dahl audio collection.
  6. Make a Plan Kids with ADHD do better when they know what to expect so to the best of your ability include them in making plans and limit the surprises.
  7. Sweet Dreams Our family is so much nicer to be around when we are all well rested!!  This can be a challenge for Pickles (my daughter with ADHD) because even in the best environment she has troubles falling asleep.  I make sure to pack her sleep mask and white noise to ensure a good night’s sleep.
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    Little surprises (bribes) make everyone happy campers. 
  8. The Toy Box This box only gets a seat in the car during long road trips.  I stock it with small gifts the kids can unwrap at key moments (like right before I sense a meltdown is going to hit).  This time I’m making sure to stock it with some sensory toys like stress balls.
  9. Sick Sacks We don’t leave home without them!!  Knock on wood we haven’t had an incident in quite some time but there were a few years there where any long road trip involved at least one puker.  I think it has something to do with sensory issues???
  10. Downtime The last one is the hardest for me.  In order for your ADHD kiddo to have a good trip you have to let them have some time to decompress.  This is hard for me because I really want to cram some action packed fun into every moment but this is a recipe for disaster.

Anyone else have some fun plans for Spring Break??  Ok, enough procrastinating I really need to go finish packing.

ADHD · Parenting

Here’s a Quick Way to Head Off Homework Headaches

Homework …ugh Homework!!! It’s not a fun topic in any household but if you throw in ADHD or some other learning disability it can go from bad to worse. QUICKLY. I get it.

My little guy is only 6 but already the homework headaches have begun. He has not been diagnosed with ADHD but we started behavioral therapy with him at the beginning of the school year since we were seeing signs of anxiety.  His therapist had mentioned creating a daily schedule (similar to what he sees at school).

Check out this video (my first one EVER!) to see my solution.

 

 

To create your own fancy dry erase schedule you will need:

  • a frame
  • pretty paper
  • scissors to cut the paper to fit the frame
  • a dry erase marker
  • a dry eraser

My dream is that this visual calendar will ward off the major meltdowns that occur anytime the word homework is heard in our house.  Fingers crossed! Please comment below if you try this…and how it works for you.