Posts Tagged ‘be kind to yourself’

Managing ADHD Symptoms

Friday, February 3rd, 2017 by Karishma Bakshani

courtesy of pixabay

Parents are often uncomfortable with the idea of giving medicine to treat their child’s ADHD.  However, simple changes in diet and routine can often make the biggest impact!  Try some of these helpful tips.


  • Avoid  artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.  Many artificial colors and preservatives such as sodium benzoate and calcium proprionate  enhance hyperactivity in children.
  • Concentrate on high-protein, complex carbohydrate, unprocessed foods.  Avoid prepared foods that contain five or more ingredients.  Whole, unprocessed foods will provide the right kind of energy to maintain healthy energy levels and focus throughout the day.   Simple carbs like foods with high fructose corn syrup, sugar, candy, white flour or honey should be minimized.  These foods are likely to cause outbursts and mood swings.
  • Healthy fats– healthy fasts such as omega-3 are considered to be excellent brain food. These are found in olive oils, cold water fish like salmon and tuna, as well as in walnuts and Brazil nuts.


Most children need a consistent bed time to avoid being cranky and lethargic.  The importance of a regular bedtime routine is greater  for children with ADHD.  During sleeping hours, a child’s brain is strengthening neural connections and repairing daily damage.  Children who do not get enough sleep often seem disorganized and less attentive.  No amount of vitamins, tutoring, or exercise will help her development if she is not getting the correct hours of sleep for her age.  Try these tips to help make bedtime more effective for your children.

  • Avoid screens, even TV at least two hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid sugar snacks before bed. 
  • Dim lights and offer quiet activities such as coloring or reading.  Even just snuggling with a parent can be enough to calm a child after a long day of school and extracurricular activities.
  • Keep a set bed time routine that starts at the same time each day.  For example, your child should know that at 6:30pm each day, she will be expected to start getting ready for her bedtime at 8:00pm.
  • No matter how your day went, maintain peace and calm for your child.  The most important activity she will do each day is get the right amount of sleep.  Children can sense stress in their parents.  Take a minute to have a snack or do some stretches so that you can be the best version of yourself for your child.

Manage and Model Behavior

Children with ADHD have a hard time organizing their thoughts.  To minimize disruptive behavior, parents should be very clear with their expectations.

  • Be sure your child knows what behaviors are acceptable.  Your child should also be aware of the consequences of inappropriate behavior.  Whether you use a counting method, time-outs, or charts, be sure to be consistent and avoid negotiations with your child.  Negotiating behaviors and punishments can be confusing and can also open the door for children to test their limits with their parents.
  • Explain new environments and what will be expected from your child.  The rules that apply to a playground are different that the rules at a doctor’s office.  Be sure that your child is aware of the difference.
  • Model good behavior!  Have you ever said, “I don’t know where she learns these things?!!”  We don’t have to look far.  Children refer to examples around them.  None of us are perfect, but we can do our best to model kindness and respect for others.  You’ll be surprised how simply modeling the behavior you want to see can make all the difference!


Camp Academia, Inc.’s patented cognitive processing software, Brainjogging has helped students successfully manage ADHD and its traditional symptoms when used in conjunction with a healthy diet, and structured routine.  

Call to learn more at 1-888-7-I-LEARN.


What’s your gift?

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 by Karishma Bakshani

When you think of ADHD,  do you think of hyperactive children who need medication to calm down and focus?  Did you ever consider that within this “disability”, there could be an EXTRAORDINARY ability?

Yes, children diagnosed with ADHD have difficulty sticking to routines, concentrating, and keeping themselves organized.  Some of the world’s top entrepreneurs have ADHD, such as business mogul Sir Richard Branson, Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, and JetBlue founder David Neeleman.  All of them attribute their success in large part to their ADHD diagnosis!

Individuals with ADHD may not be able to sit calmly at school or at a desk job, but if they find something they love, they are able to focus for hours on end!  Additionally, ADHD-ers are often at their best in crisis mode.  They are out of the box thinkers that are able to intuitively reach a solution!  These are the people that make discoveries that change the world!!

Studies suggests that becoming an entrepreneur can be a positive career move for those with hyperactivity, fitting their specific talents and harnessing their highly re-active minds. The high energy levels associated with this trait can support those taking the initiative, being risk averse and running a business.

When JetBlue founder, David Neeleman was asked if he would rather be “normal”, or would he continue to have ADD,  Neeleman said, “I would take ADD.  I can distill complicated facts and come up with simple solutions. I can look out on an industry with all kinds of problems and say, ‘How can I do this better?’ My ADD brain naturally searches for better ways of doing things.”

The take-home lesson here is do not focus on what an individual cannot do.  Encourage them to enhance their gifts and strengthen their weaknesses.  You never know if the next Sir Richard Branson is living under your roof!


Sleep deprivation affects children differently than adults

Thursday, December 1st, 2016 by admin

If you have kids, then you know the horror of a sleep-deprived child!  We also know that we as adults need a good nights sleep to be our most productive.  However, a new study shows that sleep-deprivation affects children differently than adults.


“The process of sleep may be involved in brain “wiring” in childhood and thus affect brain maturation,” said Salome Kurth, Ph.D., first author of the study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.   A lot of important neural connections are made when children sleep.   According to his recent study,  when adults are sleep-deprived, damage is seen in the frontal regions of the brain.  However, when children do not get needed sleep, damage occurs in the parieto-occipital (language, math, spacial relationships, vision) region, in the back of the brain.  This correlates with the fact, that in childhood, sleep is needed for development of the posterior regions of the brain.

After staying up too late, both children and adults need a period of deep sleep to recover.  This recovery phase is characterized by an increase in an electrical pattern called slow-wave activity, which can be measured with a non-invasive technique called an electroencephalogram. With a large number of electrode channels distributed across the scalp, this method also detects which brain regions show more slow-wave activity than others.

Kurth and his colleagues at the University of Zurich, measured the deep sleep patterns of two groups of children.  One group had a  normal night’s sleep.  The other had been kept up past their bedtimes by reading and playing games with them.   After only getting half of a night’s worth of sleep, the children showed more slow-wave activity towards the back regions of the brain, the parieto-occipital areas. This suggests that the brain circuitry in these regions may be particularly susceptible to a lack of sleep.

In addition, the study also showed a correlation between deep sleep activity and myelin content in the brain.  Myelin is a fatty microstructure of the brain’s white matter that allows electrical information between brain cells to travel faster. It can be measured with a specific magnetic resonance imaging technique.  The higher the content of myelin in a region of the brain, the more the sleep loss effect is similar to adults.  Regions of the brain that are undergoing development, will be more affected by sleep deprivation.


How can we be sure that our child is getting enough sleep?

Creating the right bed time routine for your child can be tricky.  But if you make it simple and clear, it can be done!

  • Set up a routine from start to finish and be consistent in following each step.
  • Have your child start his bedtime routine at the same time each day.
  • If your child responds to visual cues, a chart might help!
  • Avoid video games.
  • Some children have food sensitivities that can irritate their digestive system and prevent them from getting a good night’s sleep.  Stop all snacks and meals 2 hours before bedtime if you think that might be the case.
  • Keep a journal to see what worked and what didn’t.

Children love predictability!  A bedtime routine often leads to better behavior because our kids will get needed sleep as well as know what to expect each day.






Mommy! Mommy!: Sharing “mommy time”

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016 by admin

Your daughter needs extra help with her reading homework, but at that very moment, your son has figured out how to build a car with legos. Where do you turn? Sounds like a day in the life of every mom, right!? When one child needs extra help in any area of his or her life, it is easy to forget that the other child (or children!) need your attention too! We assume they know we love them, but for most children our approval  and attention is a sign of our love.

So what do we do? Grow four more arms and another set of eyes? As helpful as that might sound, we have a better way! Why not include the other child? Are you showing your baby how to crawl? Have everyone crawl around the house to chase a ball. Maybe, your elder child needs help in math. Have a hands on math activity your youngest can do beside you while you assist the older child. Give praise to both as they complete their work.

At Camp Academia, siblings who see their brother or sister do Brainjogging want to be apart of the action! Why not teach them how to help instead of “shooing” them away.  In the picture below, the 4 year old little sister is holding her brother’s head, so he can do Brainjogging. (Brainjogging only works when you keep your head very still and only move your eyes!)


Kids can help too!


We can also make a child feel special by give her special mommy time. You can schedule a specific time for that child and have your spouse or another family member spend time with the other child or children. A special drive or a trip for ice cream can turn into a wonderful memory for a child!

How do you make time for your children? Do you give them individual time? Or do you find away to include everyone?

Here’s why we need to provide much needed support for children living in poverty!

Thursday, September 15th, 2016 by admin

Imagine living on a street filled with gangs and crime, going to school where teachers have no expectations of your potential, and then coming home to arguing, overworked parents. Unfortunately, that is reality for many children in America. Children living in poverty often have to deal with violence and malnutrition, and these factors contribute to physical changes in the brain regions involved with memory, decision making, impulse control, and judgement.

Why does this happen? Our body’s stress-response system has a direct connection to our brain development. Living in neighborhoods filled with violence and trauma causes the stress hormones, cortisol and epinephrine to be constantly released. These children’s brains are constantly in a state of flight-or-flight! Chronic stress impedes brain development and leaves the brain constantly disorganized.

The GOOD NEWS is there is a way to counter these negative effects!
1.  A strong support system at home and school gives children a sense of security. A child who comes home to loving, supportive parents can learn coping mechanisms and does not have to be in a constant state of stress.

2.  Schools can provide classes in social skills, empathy, and stress-relieving methods

3.  Cognitive behavioral therapy such as Brainjogging, can help to reduce the achievement gap in poorer communities.  Don’t underestimate the plasticity of the human brain.  When the right areas of the brain are targeted, new neural connections can be created!  Now you have a child who can learn and succeed!



Newsweek August 2016, “Growing up poor is so stressful, it can affect brain development” Erika Hayasaki

Planes, Trains, and Autism!

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 by admin

Traveling with children is stressful!  Traveling with a child on the autism spectrum can be terrifying!  However, with a little planning and preparation, you can have that family trip you have been too scared to plan!


1. If your child gets overwhelmed by crowds, noises, and lights, DON’T have your first trip be to a big theme park! Maybe try an island vacation, or a local beach or even just a nearby city with kid-friendly activities.

2. Start reading about where you are going. If you decide to visit San Diego, get a map and some guidebooks and start planning all the places you will visit. Plan on visiting one tourist site each day and one park or playground where you don’t have to be so structured. Plan your meals too! Children in general like to know what to expect, and children with autism feel a lot more in control and calm when they know where they are going and what is expected of them.

3. Start talking about rules and routines. The airport can be a very overwhelming place even for adults! Draw a picture of the layout of your nearest airport and go through what will be expected from your child at each point. What happens when we check in our bags? What happens when we go through airport security? What do we do when we are waiting at the gate? If you map these routines out for your child, he will know what to expect and will be less likely to have a meltdown! One mom referred to the security check as the “Magic Gate”. Her son knew that when he passed the “magic gate” he would be allowed on the plane!

4. If your child has any allergies or food sensitivities, be sure to take his food along. No amount of planning can stop a hungry and tired child from having a meltdown! Be prepared and be happy!

5. When your child is using his best behavior, PRAISE, PRAISE, and PRAISE him some more! WOW! You were so sweet to wait patiently while mommy checked in our bags! Praising reinforces the good behavior and you are more likely to see that good behavior again!

6. Try to keep a schedule on your vacation that is similar to your routine at home. If you do any at home therapies or your child has any favorite toys. Be sure to bring them a long within reason. Your child will appreciate the familiar activities and toys when he is away from home.

7. Pick your battles! You want your child to listen and follow directions. But parents need to realize that what they think makes perfect sense, doesn’t always make sense to our little ones. Especially when your little one has processing issues, you might have to explain your point another way, or even let it go, if your child is getting visibly upset.

8. Have fun!! If you are on vacation, and you are not having fun, something is wrong! Family vacations are for relaxing with your loved ones. Plan your day and prepare your child, but also be flexible if things don’t go exactly the way you planned. Each vacation will be better than the last! Bon voyage!


Friday, December 18th, 2015 by admin





The most common ADHD medications:

• Boost alertness
• Increase focus and attention

BEWARE OF THE SIDE EFFECTS! ALERT WHEN? FOCUS WHERE? Medications do not dictate with priority! “Stimulants in ADHD medications that boost alertness have a detrimental effect on sleep.” Katherine Kidwell, University of Nebraska

Before turning to medication, try other solutions:

• Journal sleep habits for two weeks to determine if poor sleep habit may be causing ADHD-like behavior in your child.
• Take a look at CURRENT routines and schedules
o Consider whether the lack of structure is the culprit
o REMEMBER, children feel secure with scheduling
• Try a more structured environment.
o Clear schedules
o Definite snack and dinner times
o Clear instructions for children to follow
o Clear homework location and expectation
o Clear bedtime routine including quieting down time with activities such as audio books, reading, or coloring.

After your child is prescribed medication:
• Journal sleep habits for two weeks
• Be sure to follow up with your child’s pediatrician and inform him of any noticeable changes, both good and bad!

Sleep is extremely important at any age. A good night’s sleep allows the body to rest and repair itself and the brain to retain all the information learned during the day and prepare for new information the next day!

“Common ADHD Medications Do Indeed Disturb Children’s Sleep” – by Aimee Cunningham NPR November 24, 2015

Recognize the Good!

Thursday, July 25th, 2013 by admin

Do you notice that your children use negative self-talk? Do they call themselves dumb or stupid? Children are not wired to bad-mouth themselves. It is an unhealthy habit, but one that can be broken!

The good news is that simply starting fresh can change this behavior! Help your children start anew by giving them positive feedback for a job well done; for an answer they pulled from the back shelf of their memories; for the joke they were able to tell start to finish; or for remembering to return their books and movies to the library. Teach them that it’s time to start saying “Good for me!”

And to make it stick, use this little physical movement in addition to the positive self-talk. When your children have done something desirable – behaved in a positive way, kept quiet when they would normally have made a unwelcomed comment; or remembered something important for the day, teach them to kiss their hand and tap their head – up where their brain lives. Yes, kiss the brain for a job well done! Give this strategy a go and see how the brain responds. You all may be surprised when you notice the desirable behavior continuing to improve! Positive strokes are important for our emotional and mental health. You can help your children do this – and modeling is a great way to start – go ahead, kiss that beautiful brain of yours!