Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Myths and Facts about ADHD

Those of us who are diagnosed or have children who are diagnosed with ADHD know that numerous myths about ADHD have been circulating for many years.  Have you heard these myths before? “ADHD is not a real disorder.”  “ADHD is somebody’s fault.”  “ADHD is an excuse for poor behavior.” This chart summarizes commonly spread myths as well as facts to counteract them.  First and foremost, be assured that ADHD is a real disorder with serious consequences if not addressed.

 Image result for teen multi-tasking

ADHD Myths and Facts

                              Myths                                                                                              Facts

ADHD is not a real disorder.
ADHD is a genetic based brain disorder with serious consequences if not treated. The American Psychiatric Association defines ADHD as “a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.”
ADHD is somebody’s fault.
ADHD is not caused by poor parenting, sugar, food allergies, vaccines, or poor teachers.
Parents give their children with ADHD a pass and are too lenient with them.  If parents were stricter, their children would be better behaved.
The problem is rooted in brain chemistry, not discipline. In fact, when parents are overly strict and punish a child for things he cannot control, the symptoms can become worse.
You grow out of ADHD as a teen or young adult.
Many people do not grow out of ADHD and need strategies to cope throughout their lives. The majority of those who have ADHD in childhood continue to have it into adulthood.
Everybody has a “little ADHD”
People can have some symptoms of ADHD, like poor organization or poor focus, without having ADHD. Those diagnosed with ADHD have persistent symptoms that disrupt their lives.
If someone with ADHD can focus on one thing, she can focus on anything if she really tries.
ADHD is an interest-based nervous system. Someone with ADHD can focus intensely (hyper-focus) on something that is interesting. The same person may find it impossible to focus at all on something that is not interesting. It’s not that they won’t focus; they can’t focus.
Some kids are just lazy, and ADHD is an excuse.
There are biological reasons for behavior, and some associated with ADHD are focus, motivation, impulse control, planning, and organization, all which work together to help people get things done.
We can manage ADHD symptoms on our own.
The lives of people with ADHD can improve greatly by seeking help.  Professional interventions, such as coaching, tutoring, behavior modification therapy, and drug therapy are appropriate treatments.
ADHD does not usually occur with other conditions.
Up to 2/3 children with ADHD have one or more coexisting conditions such as learning disabilities, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and sleep disorders.

               Cheryl Gedzelman, President, Tutoring For Success
                    ADHD Resource Group of Northern Virginia http://www.adhdnova.org

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How to Prepare for the SAT and ACT

Is your child a college bound junior?  If so, it is time to tackle the SAT and/or ACT test.  Although a three-hour-plus challenging test is overwhelming to many students, if you take the time to break it down, it will be manageable and rewarding.

If you plan to take the SAT or ACT this spring, we recommend beginning to prepare as soon as possible.  These are not tests that you can cram for.  The best way to begin is to take a practice test from an official test prep book or online. 

It can be overwhelming to take the test all at once, and it’s not necessary.  You can take one section per day, which shouldn’t be difficult to fit in.  Then check your answers and go over every answer, using the explanations from the back of the book.  At this point, you should have a good idea of which areas are your strengths and which areas are your weaknesses.  If you take both the SAT and ACT, you may get an idea of which test is a better match for you.  If you work with a tutor, the tutor can go over the questions and answers with you.

We don’t recommend taking the test cold.  You probably already did this with the PSAT.  If you take the time to prepare, your score will be higher, and if you reach your target the first time, you may not need to re-take the test.  There are many ways to prepare:

1.       Use a prep book to brush up on material and practice.
2.       Go to an SAT or ACT class.
3.       Set up private tutoring sessions.

Students who are very self-motivated, whose PSAT and sample SAT or ACT scores are already near their targets, may be able to prepare independently.  To figure out your target score, look at the score ranges for the colleges you are interested in attending.  You want to strive to score in the top 50% of your desired college.

Students who get motivated and energized from working with their peers may do well in a class.   Since classes typically spend an equal time on each section, they work best for students who need a great deal of preparation and practice in each section.

Students who prefer individual attention and students who need more help in some areas than others do well with one-to-one tutoring.  We sometimes receive requests for only math and science or only reading and writing.  Other students need all areas, but more time in some than others.

We recommend an average of 8 weeks of tutoring, for 1.5 to 4 hours per week.  However, the amount of prep time you need totally depends on how far you are from your target score.  Most students take either the SAT or ACT or both at least twice and tend to do better the second time. 

Whether you take a class or sign up for one-to-one tutoring, your educational sessions must be coupled with individual practice in between sessions to get your money’s worth.  Practicing problems and going over the answers is just as important as working with a tutor.

For more information or to discuss your own situation, please call Tutoring For Success at 703-390-9220. 

Here is a list of registration and test dates for both the SAT and ACT.  Both have late registration dates for an additional fee as well.  To get your first choice of test location, sign up as soon as possible; for best results, begin preparing as soon as possible

Friday, February 9, 2018

Getting Accommodations via 504 Program

Does your child’s homework take too long? 

Is he disorganized or distracted at school? 

Has your child been diagnosed with ADHD, Executive Function Disorder, or other disability?  If so, she may be eligible for accommodations under the Section 504 plan.  Many of these accommodations are instrumental in helping children succeed in school. If you think your child would benefit from any of the below accommodations, talk to your child’s counselor.  If your child has not been diagnosed with any disability, but you suspect one, talk to the counselor about getting an evaluation.  You can also get an evaluation from a private therapist.  For advice about your child’s particular needs and recommendations, call Tutoring For Success at 703-390-9220.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Optimism for 2018

Optimism for 2018 -

The World is a Better Place than Ever

Does it ever seem like the state of the world is going downhill?  Luckily, current facts and statistics demonstrate that this is not at all true.  In fact, there is every reason to believe that the world is improving, and this is because of the many hard workers who constantly strive to make the world a better place.

According to Nicholas Kristoff in his January 6th article in the New York Times Sunday Review, “2017 was probably the very best year in the long history of humanity….Every day, the number of people around the world living in extreme poverty (less than about $2 a day) goes down by 217,000, according to calculations by Max Roser, an Oxford University economist who runs a website called Our World in Data. Every day, 325,000 more people gain access to electricity. And 300,000 more gain access to clean drinking water….As recently as the 1960s, a majority of humans had always been illiterate and lived in extreme poverty. Now fewer than 15 percent are illiterate, and fewer than 10 percent live in extreme poverty.” See full post here

These gains are extraordinary.  Mr. Kristoff goes on to say that last year he wrote an article saying that 2016 was the best year in human history.  And next year he expects even more gains.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been instrumental in improving lives in the developing world.   Through the data and first-person accounts from six contributors, the 2017 Gates Foundation report showcases the stunning progress the world has made in the past generation: cutting extreme poverty and child deaths in half and reducing HIV deaths and maternal deaths by nearly half, among many other accomplishments.

Like me, perhaps you read and watch the news too often, and too much of it is terrible – earthquakes, mud slides, fires, hurricanes, etc.  The latest politics is often depicted as horrific, and war with North Korea may be imminent.  But then we see that North Korea is talking to South Korea and will join the Olympics.  And many companies, foundations, and leaders throughout the world have been taking steps and making progress towards combating climate change and improving lives throughout the world.

Almost none of us have the extensive resources of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, however, we all can do something to contribute to society, through our jobs, volunteer work, and monetary contributions.  To make a difference, we need to find our passions and invest our energies towards improving the world.

Our family did one small thing to help local families in 2016, which is ongoing.  Through a non-profit organization called “A Simple Gesture – Reston (www.coolgreenbag.org),” we contribute one stocked grocery bag, which is picked up at our front porch, every two months to help fill the food banks in our local area.  There are so many contributions that families and individuals of all ages can make to make a difference, and giving usually feels better than getting.

So this new year, we can put in our best efforts, and it will make a difference.  Happy New Year!

Cheryl Gedzelman, President, Tutoring For Success