Monday, December 30, 2013

 

UGG Boots, Skinny Jeans, and ADHD


By Kate LeFebvre, OTR
A Communication in Motion
         
                    I’m sure you've heard about the increasing rate of ADHD diagnosis over the past decade or so.  I’m equally certain you've heard references to it as a trendy disorder, over-diagnosed by doctors that cater to yuppie parents.  Perhaps the motivation ascribed to these parents was to explain behavior problems created by lack of discipline, to get medication to sedate the kids and make parenting easier, or to obtain accommodations to give their children a leg up in school.  I won’t argue that ADHD is never misdiagnosed, or that there aren’t parents out there who have shopped around for a doctor who would label their child with something – anything.  ADHD, however, isn't just another chevron or moustache*.  Trendy or not, this condition is a real neurological disorder that causes major difficulties in the day-to-day lives of those it affects.
                I recently spoke with a woman who discovered as an adult that she has ADHD herself, as does one of her children.  She described her fears that, had they not been diagnosed, she would believe she was a bad mother, her child wouldn't have learned to slow down enough to speak and read, she could have been prescribed ineffective and potentially dangerous medications, and her children would have been considered “the behavior kids.”  Learning about ADHD allowed her and her family to develop coping strategies so that they can be successful, independent, and, most importantly, happy and fulfilled.
                This family’s lives were changed – at home, at school, at work – because of being appropriately diagnosed with ADHD.  Armed with this knowledge about how their brains function, she was able to seek therapies that made a world of difference.  She and her child now have the tools to manage the symptoms of their disorder and prevent it from interfering with the things they want and need to do.  So the next time you hear of another child who’s been diagnosed with ADHD consider that, although it may seem  as ubiquitous as a fleece North Face jacket on a college campus, this is a legitimate medical condition.  ADHD calls for compassion, accommodation, and coaching – not derision and dismissiveness.


* Moustaches?  Who comes up with these things?

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Edited, Posted, and Recorded by Noah Morse

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Monday, December 16, 2013

 

Holiday Gifts and Tips

By Kate LeFebvre, OTR/L
A Community in Motion

Looking for a few last-minute gift ideas for your child with special needs?  Here are a few of my picks for therapeutic toys your child will be happy to see under the Christmas tree!

For fine motor skills:

For visual processing skills:

For executive functioning skills (planning, organization, and sequencing):
  • Lego sets
  • Craft kits
  • Guess Who
  • Children’s cookbook

For gross motor skills:

For calming sensory input:

Photo Credit: http://www.sfgate.com/blogs/images/sfgate/parenting/2008/12/23/santa240x272.JPG

Also, be sure to check out Ten Tips for Surviving Christmas with ADHD.  This is one of the most practical, specific “surviving the holidays with special needs” guides I have seen.  Most of the information is relevant for children with a variety of other diagnoses (especially autism spectrum disorders or sensory processing issues) and can be adapted for whatever holiday or special event your family has planned.

And perhaps consider skipping that visit to Santa...


Wishing you an enjoyable, calm holiday season!

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Click for a read-aloud version of this post!

Edited and posted by Noah Morse

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Monday, December 2, 2013

 

The Time I Broke My Mother’s Finger – and OT Fixed It

by: Kate LeFebvre OTR/L
A Community in Motion

It was spring of my junior year in high school, and I had the dubious pleasure of taking the SAT IIs; something I had all but forgotten existed until I recalled this story.  Not yet having a driver’s license, I waited outside the school when I was done, pacing back and forth across the concrete until my mom arrived.  At some point, it would seem I stepped in a sticky wad of fresh chewing gum.  I climbed into the passenger’s seat unaware and assumed my typical (and I should note, not terribly safe in the car – don’t do this at home!) posture with my feet tucked up under me.
I suppose it comes as no great surprise to mothers everywhere that I wasn't the one to clean up the resulting gooey mess on the minivan’s upholstery.  In the process of scrubbing some unknown person’s used gum, Mum applied perhaps a bit too much elbow grease.  The result was mallet finger, a tendon injury that prevents the last joint of the affected finger from fully straightening.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mallet_finger.jpg
       My mom went to see her primary care physician, who told her there was nothing to be done and her finger would never be straight again.  Unsatisfied, she convinced him to write a referral to occupational therapy.  Her OT, specializing in hand therapy, provided exercises to strengthen and repair the damaged tendon.  With a combination of clinic visits and home exercises, my mother restored full range of motion to her finger.  Now she not only has ten equally straight fingers, full function in both hands, and a story to tell about those darn careless kids, but she also had the opportunity to go back to her doctor and say “I told you so.”  Sounds like an OT success story to me!


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