Clinical Psychology, School Counseling

Tic Disorder

Diagnosis

Tic disorders are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms. The child must be under 18 at the onset of symptoms for a tic disorder to be diagnosed. Also, the symptoms must not be caused by other medical conditions or drugs.

The criteria used to diagnose transient tic disorder include the presence of one or more tics, occurring for less than 12 months in a row.

Chronic motor or vocal tic disorders are diagnosed if one or more tics have occurred almost daily for 12 months or more. People with a chronic tic disorder that is not TS, will experience either motor tics or vocal tics, but not both.

TS is based on the presence of both motor and vocal tics, occurring almost daily for 12 months or more. Most children are under the age of 11 when they are diagnosed. Other behavioral concerns are often present, as well.

To rule out other causes of tics, a doctor may suggest:

Treatment and coping

Treatment depends on the type of tic disorder and its severity. In many cases, tics resolve on their own without treatment.

Severe tics that interfere with daily life may be treated with therapies, medications, or deep brain stimulation.

Therapies for tic disorders

Some types of cognitive behavioral therapy can help people manage the discomfort of a tic disorder.

Some therapies are available to help people control tics and reduce their occurrence, including:

  • Exposure and response prevention (ERP): A type of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps people become accustomed to the uncomfortable urges preceding a tic, with the aim of preventing the tic.
  • Habit reversal therapy: A treatment that teaches people with tic disorders to use movements to compete with tics, so the tic cannot happen.

Medication

Medication can be used alongside therapies or on its own. Medication typically reduces tic frequency, but does not completely get rid of the symptoms. Available medications include:

  • anti-seizure medications
  • Botox injections
  • muscle relaxants
  • medications that interact with dopamine

Other medications may help symptoms associated with tic disorders. For example, antidepressantscan be prescribed for symptoms of anxiety and OCD.

Deep brain stimulation

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an option for people with TS whose tics do not respond to other treatments and impact someone’s quality of life.

DBS involves the implantation of a battery-operated device in the brain. Certain areas of the brain that control movement are stimulated with electrical impulses with the aim of reducing tics.

Coping and self-help tips

Some lifestyle changes can help reduce the frequency of tics. They include:

  • avoiding stress and anxiety
  • getting enough sleep

It can be helpful to:

  • join a support group for people with TS and other tic disorders
  • reach out to friends and others for help and support
  • remember that tics tend to improve or disappear with age

Parents of children with tics may wish to:

  • inform teachers, caregivers, and others who know the child, about the condition
  • help boost the child’s self-esteem by encouraging interests and friendships
  • ignore times when a tic occurs, and avoid pointing it out to the child

Clinical Psychology, School Counseling

Kleptomania

Kleptomania is a condition in which an individual experiences a consistent impulse to steal items not needed for personal use or monetary value. The objects are stolen despite typically being of little value to the individual and are often given away or discarded after being taken.

Kleptomania involves experiencing tension before the theft and feelings of pleasure, gratification, or relief when committing the theft. The stealing is not done to express anger or vengeance or in response to a delusion or hallucination and is not attributable to conduct disorder, a manic episode, or antisocial personality disorder.

Occasionally the individual may hoard the stolen objects or surreptitiously return them. Although someone with this disorder will generally avoid stealing when immediate arrest is probable (such as in full view of a police officer), they usually do not plan the thefts or fully take into account the chances of apprehension. People with kleptomania commonly feel depressed or guilty about the thefts after they occur.

Kleptomania is relatively rare in the general population, with about 0.3 to 0.6 percent of people experiencing this condition.

Symptoms

People with kleptomania have an irresistible impulse to steal. These episodes of stealing occur unexpectedly, without planning. Often they throw away the stolen goods, as they are mostly interested in the act of stealing itself. Kleptomania is distinguished from shoplifting because shoplifters plan the stealing of objects and usually steal because they do not have money to purchase the items. Signs of kleptomania include:

  • Recurrent failure to resist stealing impulses unrelated to personal use or financial need
  • Feeling increased tension right before the theft
  • Feeling pleasure, gratification, or relief at the time of the theft
  • Thefts are not committed in response to delusions, hallucinations or as expressions of revenge or anger
  • Thefts cannot be better explained by Antisocial Personality Disorder, Conduct Disorder or a Manic Episode

The age of onset for kleptomania is variable. It can begin in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood and in rare cases, late adulthood.

Features

People with kleptomania typically exhibit these features or characteristics:

  • Unlike typical shoplifters, people with kleptomania don’t compulsively steal for personal gain, on a dare, for revenge or out of rebellion. They steal simply because the urge is so powerful that they can’t resist it.
  • Episodes of kleptomania generally occur spontaneously, usually without planning and without help or collaboration from another person.
  • Most people with kleptomania steal from public places, such as stores and supermarkets. Some may steal from friends or acquaintances, such as at a party.
  • Often, the stolen items have no value to the person with kleptomania, and the person can afford to buy them.
  • The stolen items are usually stashed away, never to be used. Items may also be donated, given away to family or friends, or even secretly returned to the place from which they were stolen.
  • Urges to steal may come and go or may occur with greater or lesser intensity over the course of time.

Causes

The cause of kleptomania is not known. Several theories suggest that changes in the brain may be at the root of kleptomania. More research is needed to better understand these possible causes, but kleptomania may be linked to:

  • Problems with a naturally occurring brain chemical (neurotransmitter) called serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate moods and emotions. Low levels of serotonin are common in people prone to impulsive behaviors.
  • Addictive disorders. Stealing may cause the release of dopamine (another neurotransmitter). Dopamine causes pleasurable feelings, and some people seek this rewarding feeling again and again.
  • The brain’s opioid system. Urges are regulated by the brain’s opioid system. An imbalance in this system could make it harder to resist urges.

Kleptomania is rare overall, but more common in females than in males. People with kleptomania often have another psychiatric disorder, such as depressive and bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders, substance abuse disorders, and other impulse-control disorders. There is evidence linking kleptomania with the neurotransmitter pathways in the brain associated with behavioral addictions, including those associated with the serotonin, dopamine, and opioid systems.

Some clinicians view kleptomania as part of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum of disorders, reasoning that many individuals experience the impulse to steal as an alien, unwanted intrusion into their mental state. Also, other evidence indicates that kleptomania may be related to, or a variant of, mood disorders such as depression.

Treatments

The treatment for kleptomania may include a combination of psychopharmacology and psychotherapy.

Psychological counseling or therapy

Counseling or therapy may be in a group or one-on-one setting. It is usually aimed at dealing with underlying psychological problems that may be contributing to kleptomania. Possible treatments include:

  • Behavior modification therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
Clinical Psychology, School Counseling

Somnambulism ( Sleepwalking)

What Is Sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking is very common in kids. Most kids who walk in their sleep only do so occasionally and outgrow it by the teen years.

Kids tend to sleepwalk within an hour or two of falling asleep and may walk around for anywhere from a few seconds to 30 minutes. It’s difficult to wake someone up while they’re sleepwalking. When awakened, a person may feel groggy and disoriented for a few minutes.

Despite its name, sleepwalking (also called somnambulism) involves more than just walking. Sleepwalking behaviors can be:

  • harmless — like sitting up
  • potentially dangerous — such as wandering outside
  • inappropriate — like opening a closet door and peeing inside

No matter what kids do during sleepwalking episodes, though, it’s unlikely that they’ll remember ever having done it!

Still, some simple steps can keep your young sleepwalker safe while traipsing about.

What Causes Sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking is far more common in kids than in adults. It may run in families, so if you or your partner are or were sleepwalkers, your child may be too.

Things that may bring on a sleepwalking episode include:

  • lack of sleep or fatigue
  • irregular sleep schedules
  • illness or fever
  • some medicines
  • stress

What Happens During Sleepwalking?

Getting out of bed and walking around while still sleeping is the most obvious sleepwalking symptom. But young sleepwalkers may also:

  • sleeptalk
  • be hard to wake up
  • seem dazed
  • be clumsy
  • not respond when spoken to
  • sit up in bed and go through repeated motions, such as rubbing their eyes or fussing with their pajamas

Also, sleepwalkers’ eyes are open, but they don’t see the same way they do when they’re awake. Often, they think they’re in different rooms of the house or different places altogether.

Sometimes, these other conditions may happen with sleepwalking:

  • sleep apnea (brief pauses in breathing while sleeping)
  • bedwetting (enuresis)
  • night terrors

Is Sleepwalking Harmful?

Sleepwalking itself is not harmful. But sleepwalking can be hazardous because sleepwalking kids aren’t awake and may not realize what they’re doing, such as walking down stairs or opening windows.

Sleepwalking is not usually a sign that something is emotionally or psychologically wrong with a child. And it doesn’t cause any emotional harm. Sleepwalkers probably won’t even remember the nighttime stroll.

How to Keep a Sleepwalker Safe

Sleepwalking isn’t dangerous by itself. But it’s important to take precautions so that your sleepwalking child is less likely to fall down, run into something, walk out the front door, or drive (if your teen is a sleepwalker).

To help keep your sleepwalker out of harm’s way:

  • Try not to wake a sleepwalker because this might scare your child. Instead, gently guide him or her back to bed.
  • Lock the windows and doors, in your child’s bedroom and throughout your home, in case your young sleepwalker decides to wander. You may consider extra locks or child safety locks on doors. Keep keys out of reach for kids who are old enough to drive.
  • To prevent falls, don’t let your sleepwalker sleep in a bunk bed.
  • Remove sharp or breakable things from around your child’s bed.
  • Keep dangerous objects out of reach.
  • Remove obstacles from your child’s room and throughout your home to prevent a stumble. Get rid of clutter on the floor (in your child’s bedroom or playroom).
  • Install safety gates outside your child’s room and/or at the top of any stairs.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

There’s usually no need to treat sleepwalking unless the episodes are:

  • very regular
  • cause your child to be sleepy during the day
  • involve dangerous behaviors

If the sleepwalking happens often, causes problems, or your child hasn’t outgrown it by the early teen years, talk to your doctor.

For kids who sleepwalk often, doctors may recommend a treatment called scheduled awakening. This means you will gently wake your child up a little before the usual sleepwalking time, which can help stop sleepwalking. In rare cases, a doctor may prescribe medicine to aid sleep.

What Else Should I Know?

To help prevent sleepwalking episodes:

  • Have your child relax at bedtime by listening to soft music or relaxation tapes.
  • Establish a regular sleep and nap schedule and stick to it — both nighttime and wake-up time.
  • Make your child’s bedtime earlier. This can improve excessive sleepiness.
  • Don’t let kids drink a lot in the evening and be sure they go to the bathroom before going to bed. (A full bladder can contribute to sleepwalking.)
  • Avoid caffeine near bedtime.
  • Make sure your child’s bedroom is quiet, cozy, and comfortable for sleeping. Keep the noise down while kids are trying to sleep (at bedtime and naptime).

The next time you see your nighttime wanderer, don’t panic. Just steer your child back to the safety and comfort of his or her bed.

Clinical Psychology, School Counseling

Exam Phobia

Many people experience stress or anxiety before an exam. In fact, a little nervousness can actually help you perform your best. However, when this distress becomes so excessive that it actually interferes with performance on an exam, it is known as Exam Phobia.

Symptoms of Exam Phobia

The symptoms of Exam Phobia can vary considerably and range from mild to severe. Some students experience only mild symptoms of test anxiety and are still able to do fairly well on exams. Other students are nearly incapacitated by their anxiety, performing dismally on tests or even experiencing panic attacks before or during exams.​

  • Physical symptoms of test anxiety include sweating, shaking, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, fainting, and nausea. Milder cases of test anxiety can cause a sense of “butterflies” in the stomach, while more severe cases can actually cause students to become physically ill.
  • Cognitive and behavioral symptoms can include fidgeting or outright avoidance of testing situations. In some cases, test anxiety can become so severe that students will drop out of school in order to avoid the source of their fear. Substance abuse can also occur since many students attempt to self-treat their anxiety by taking downers such as prescription medications and alcohol. Many people with test anxiety report blanking out on answers to the test, even though they thoroughly studied the information and were sure that they knew the answers to the questions. Negative self-talk, trouble concentrating on the test and racing thoughts are also common cognitive symptoms of test anxiety.
  • Emotional symptoms of test anxiety can include depression, low self-esteem, anger and a feeling of hopelessness. Students often feel helpless to change their situation or belittle and berate themselves for their symptoms and poor test performance.

Causes of Exam Phobia

There are several potential causes of Exam Phobia, including:

  • A history of poor testing outcomes. If you’ve done poorly on tests before, either because you didn’t study well enough or because you were so anxious, you couldn’t remember the answers, this can cause even more anxiety and a negative attitude every time you have to take another test.
  • Being unprepared. If you didn’t study or didn’t study well enough, this can add to your feeling of anxiety.
  • Being afraid of failure. If you connect your sense of self-worth to your test scores, the pressure you put on yourself can cause severe test anxiety.

Ways to Help Overcome Exam Phobia

Fortunately, there are steps that students can take to alleviate these unpleasant and oftentimes harmful symptoms. Some ways to help overcome test anxiety include:

  • Relaxation techniques like deep breathing can help you to relax before and during a test.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep and eat healthy meals.
  • Work on developing good study habits and make sure you are well-prepared for tests. One good way to do this is to reward yourself for goals you set as you study.
  • Don’t connect your self-worth to the test’s outcome. It’s one test and your worthwhileness as a person is not dependent on grades.
  • Focus on the test and try not to get distracted.
  • Stay positive.
  • If you need extra support, make an appointment with your school counselor.
Clinical Psychology, School Counseling

Treatment For Learning Disability

People with learning disabilities and disorders can learn strategies for coping with their disabilities. Getting help earlier increases the likelihood for success in school and later in life. If learning disabilities remain untreated, a child may begin to feel frustrated with schoolwork, which can lead to low self-esteem, depression, and other problems.

Usually, experts work to help a child learn skills by building on the child’s strengths and developing ways to compensate for the child’s weaknesses. Interventions vary depending on the nature and extent of the disability.

Special Education Services

Children diagnosed with learning and other disabilities in most states, territories and provinces can generally qualify for special educational services. Educational laws typically require that children with specific learning disorder be given the same opportunities that children without the disorder have.

In most locations, children become eligible for such services in preschool or in the first years of formal schooling since research has shown that the early intervention can be key.

Interventions for Specific Learning Disabilities

A learning disability cannot be cured. However with timely intervention and support, children with learning disabilities can be successful in school. Parents and teachers are the first persons to notice that the child is finding it difficult to read, write or learn. If you think that your child may have a learning disability, seek help from a mental health expert or other trained specialists for the required intervention program or therapy.

Note: Early detection can help the child benefit from treatment or therapy. Neglecting the condition may affect the child’s ability to cope with the condition.

If your child has a learning disorder, your child’s doctor or school might recommend:

  • Extra help: A reading specialist or other trained professional can teach your child techniques to improve his or her academic skills. Tutors can also teach children organizational and study skills.
  • Individualized Education Program (IEP): Your child’s school or a special educator might develop an IEP that will describe how a child can best learn in school.
  • Therapy: Depending on the learning disorder, some children might benefit from therapy. For example, speech therapy can help children who have language disabilities. Occupational therapy might help improve the motor skills of a child who has writing problems.
  • Complimentary/alternative therapy: Research shows that alternative therapies like music, art, dance can benefit children with learning disabilities.

Parents and experts need to set goals and assess if the child is improving with the selected mode of intervention and support. If not, alternative methods can be chosen to help the child.

Below are just a few examples of ways educators help children with specific learning disabilities.

For children that have specific language disorder with impairment in reading:

  • Special teaching techniques. These can include helping a child learn through multisensory experiences and by providing immediate feedback to strengthen a child’s ability to recognize words.
  • Classroom modifications. For example, teachers can give students that need it, extra time to finish tasks and provide recorded tests that allow the child to hear the questions instead of reading them.
  • Use of technology. Children with impairment in reading may benefit from listening to books on tape or using word-processing programs with spell-check features.

For children that have specific language disorder with impairment in written expression:

  • Special tools. Teachers can offer oral exams, provide a note-taker, and/or allow the child to videotape reports instead of writing them.
  • Use of technology. A child can be taught to use word-processing programs or an audio recorder instead of writing by hand.
  • Other ways of reducing the need for writing. Teachers can provide notes, outlines, and preprinted study sheets.

For children that have specific language disorder with impairment in mathematics:

  • Visual techniques. For example, teachers can draw pictures of word problems and show the student how to use colored pencils to differentiate parts of problems.
  • Use of memory aids. Rhymes and music are among the techniques that can be used to help a child remember math concepts.
  • Use of computers. A child can use a computer for math drills and practice.

Other Treatments

A child with specific learning disorder may struggle with low self-esteem, frustration, and other problems. Mental health professionals, including school counselors or psychologists, can help the child understand these feelings, develop coping tools, and build healthy relationships. Children with specific learning disorder sometimes have other conditions such as ADHD or Anxiety Disorders. These conditions require their own treatments, which may include psychotherapy and medications.

Clinical Psychology, School Counseling

Types of learning disabilities

Dyslexia

“Dys” means difficulty with and “lexia” means words – thus “difficulty with words”. Originally the term “Dyslexia” referred to a specific learning deficit that hindered a person’s ability to read. More recently, however, it has been used as a general term referring to the broad category of language deficits that often includes the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words as well as the ability to read and spell words accurately and fluently. When breakdowns occur in these foundational reading skills, dyslexic students often struggle to understand what they read as well as develop vocabulary at a slower rate.

There are two types of learning disabilities in reading. Basic reading problems occur when there is difficulty understanding the relationship between sounds, letters and words. Reading comprehension problems occur when there is an inability to grasp the meaning of words, phrases, and paragraphs.

Signs of reading difficulty include problems with:

  • letter and word recognition
  • understanding words and ideas
  • reading speed and fluency
  • general vocabulary skills

Dysgraphia

“Dys” means difficulty with and “graphia” means writing – thus “difficulty with writing”.  The term dysgraphia refers to more than simply having poor handwriting. This term refers to those who struggle with the motor skills necessary to write thoughts on paper, spelling, and the thinking skills needed for vocabulary retrieval, clarity of thought, grammar, and memory.

Learning disabilities in writing can involve the physical act of writing or the mental activity of comprehending and synthesizing information. Basic writing disorder refers to physical difficulty forming words and letters. Expressive writing disability indicates a struggle to organize thoughts on paper.

Symptoms of a written language learning disability revolve around the act of writing. They include problems with:

  • neatness and consistency of writing
  • accurately copying letters and words
  • spelling consistency
  • writing organization and coherence

Dyscalculia

“Dys” means difficulty with and “calculia” means calculations and mathematics – thus “difficulty with calculations and mathematics”. This term refers to those who struggle with basic number sense and early number concepts as well as have difficulties with math calculations and math reasoning.

Learning disabilities in math vary greatly depending on the child’s other strengths and weaknesses. A child’s ability to do math will be affected differently by a language learning disability, or a visual disorder or a difficulty with sequencing, memory or organization.

A child with a math-based learning disorder may struggle with memorization and organization of numbers, operation signs, and number “facts” (like 5+5=10 or 5×5=25). Children with math learning disorders might also have trouble with counting principles (such as counting by twos or counting by fives) or have difficulty telling time.

specific learning disability types Beautiful Lindsey Lipsky M Ed on

Other types of learning disabilities and disorders

Reading, writing, and math aren’t the only skills impacted by learning disorders. Other types of learning disabilities involve difficulties with motor skills (movement and coordination), understanding spoken language, distinguishing between sounds, and interpreting visual information.

Learning disabilities in motor skills (dyspraxia)

Motor difficulty refers to problems with movement and coordination whether it is with fine motor skills (cutting, writing) or gross motor skills (running, jumping). A motor disability is sometimes referred to as an “output” activity meaning that it relates to the output of information from the brain. In order to run, jump, write or cut something, the brain must be able to communicate with the necessary limbs to complete the action.

Signs that your child might have a motor coordination disability include problems with physical abilities that require hand-eye coordination, like holding a pencil or buttoning a shirt.

Learning disabilities in language (aphasia/dysphasia)

Language and communication learning disabilities involve the ability to understand or produce spoken language. Language is also considered an output activity because it requires organizing thoughts in the brain and calling upon the right words to verbally explain something or communicate with someone else.

Signs of a language-based learning disorder involve problems with verbal language skills, such as the ability to retell a story and the fluency of speech, as well as the ability to understand the meaning of words, parts of speech, directions, etc.

Auditory and visual processing problems: the importance of the ears and eyes

The eyes and the ears are the primary means of delivering information to the brain, a process sometimes called “input.” If either the eyes or the ears aren’t working properly, learning can suffer.

Auditory processing disorder – Professionals may refer to the ability to hear well as “auditory processing skills” or “receptive language.” The ability to hear things correctly greatly impacts the ability to read, write and spell. An inability to distinguish subtle differences in sound, or hearing sounds at the wrong speed make it difficult to sound out words and understand the basic concepts of reading and writing.

Visual processing disorder – Problems in visual perception include missing subtle differences in shapes, reversing letters or numbers, skipping words, skipping lines, misperceiving depth or distance, or having problems with eye–hand coordination. Professionals may refer to the work of the eyes as “visual processing.” Visual perception can affect gross and fine motor skills, reading comprehension, and math.

Common types of learning disabilities

Dyslexia – Difficulty with reading

  • Problems reading, writing, spelling, speaking

Dyscalculia – Difficulty with math

  • Problems doing math problems, understanding time, using money

Dysgraphia – Difficulty with writing

  • Problems with handwriting, spelling, organizing ideas

Dyspraxia (Sensory Integration Disorder) – Difficulty with fine motor skills

  • Problems with hand-eye coordination, balance, manual dexterity

Dysphasia/Aphasia – Difficulty with language

  • Problems understanding spoken language, poor reading comprehension

Auditory Processing Disorder – Difficulty hearing differences between sounds

  • Problems with reading, comprehension, language

Visual Processing Disorder – Difficulty interpreting visual information

  • Problems with reading, math, maps, charts, symbols, pictures
Clinical Psychology, School Counseling

Learning Disability (LD)

What are learning disabilities?

Learning disabilities, or learning disorders, are an umbrella term for a wide variety of learning problems. A learning disability is not a problem with intelligence or motivation. Kids with learning disabilities aren’t lazy or dumb. In fact, most are just as smart as everyone else. Their brains are simply wired differently. This difference affects how they receive and process information.

Simply put, children and adults with learning disabilities see, hear, and understand things differently. This can lead to trouble with learning new information and skills, and putting them to use. The most common types of learning disabilities involve problems with reading, writing, math, reasoning, listening, and speaking.

Children with learning disabilities can, and do, succeed

It can be tough to face the possibility that your child has a learning disorder. No parents want to see their children suffer. You may wonder what it could mean for your child’s future, or worry about how your kid will make it through school. Perhaps you’re concerned that by calling attention to your child’s learning problems they might be labeled “slow” or assigned to a less challenging class.

But the important thing to remember is that most kids with learning disabilities are just as smart as everyone else. They just need to be taught in ways that are tailored to their unique learning styles. By learning more about learning disabilities in general, and your child’s learning difficulties in particular, you can help pave the way for success at school and beyond.

CAUSES

Experts say that there is no single, specific cause for learning disabilities. However, there are some factors that could cause a learning disability:

  • Heredity: It is observed that a child, whose parents have had a learning disability, is likely to develop the same disorder.
  • Illness during and after birth: An illness or injury during or after birth may cause learnign disabilities. Other possible factors could be drug or alcohol consumption during pregnancy, physical trauma, poor growth in the uterus, low birth weight, and premature or prolonged labor.
  • Stress during infancy: A stressful incident after birth such as high fever, head injury, or poor nutrition.
  • Environment: Increased exposure to toxins such as lead (in paint, ceramics, toys, etc.)
  • Comorbidity: Children with learning disabilities are at a higher-than-average risk for attentional problems or disruptive behavior disorders. Up to 25 percent of children with reading disorder also have ADHD. Conversely, it is estimated that between 15 and 30 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD have a learning disorder.

Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities and disorders

Learning disabilities look very different from one child to another. One child may struggle with reading and spelling, while another loves books but can’t understand math. Still another child may have difficulty understanding what others are saying or communicating out loud. The problems are very different, but they are all learning disorders.

It’s not always easy to identify learning disabilities. Because of the wide variations, there is no single symptom or profile that you can look to as proof of a problem. However, some warning signs are more common than others at different ages. If you’re aware of what they are, you’ll be able to catch a learning disorder early and quickly take steps to get your child help.

The following checklist lists some common red flags for learning disorders. Remember that children who don’t have learning disabilities may still experience some of these difficulties at various times. The time for concern is when there is a consistent unevenness in your child’s ability to master certain skills.

Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities: Preschool age

  • Problems pronouncing words
  • Trouble finding the right word
  • Difficulty rhyming
  • Trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, days of the week
  • Difficulty following directions or learning routines
  • Difficulty controlling crayons, pencils, and scissors, or coloring within the lines
  • Trouble with buttons, zippers, snaps, learning to tie shoes

Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities: Ages 5-9

  • Trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds
  • Unable to blend sounds to make words
  • Confuses basic words when reading
  • Slow to learn new skills
  • Consistently misspells words and makes frequent errors
  • Trouble learning basic math concepts
  • Difficulty telling time and remembering sequences

Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities: Ages 10-13

  • Difficulty with reading comprehension or math skills
  • Trouble with open-ended test questions and word problems
  • Dislikes reading and writing; avoids reading aloud
  • Poor handwriting
  • Poor organizational skills (bedroom, homework, desk is messy and disorganized)
  • Trouble following classroom discussions and expressing thoughts aloud
  • Spells the same word differently in a single document

Identifying a learning disability 

Identifying a learning disability is a complex process. The first step is to rule out vision, hearing, and developmental issues that can overshadow the underlying learning disability. Once these tests are completed, a learning disability is identified using psychoeducational assessment, which includes academic achievement testing along with a measure of intellectual capability. This test helps determine if there is any significant discrepancy between a child’s potential and performance capability (IQ) and the child’s academic achievement (school performance). 

Paying attention to developmental milestones can help you identify learning disorders

Paying attention to normal developmental milestones for toddlers and preschoolers is very important. Early detection of developmental differences may be an early signal of a learning disability and problems that are spotted early can be easier to correct.

A developmental lag might not be considered a symptom of a learning disability until your child is older, but if you recognize it when your child is young, you can intervene early. You know your child better than anyone else does, so if you think there is a problem, it doesn’t hurt to get an evaluation. You can also ask your pediatrician for a developmental milestones chart.

Inspirational Motivation, Motivation

The Respect Given By The Mother Nature to a Woman

I , myself , Rizwana Abdul Salam had a past in which I cursed myself for putting my soul inside a cage that is created by me itself and blaming Almighty for creating me as a girl. Without knowing the immense power of a woman who is the immense reservoir of potentials that can never end . Instead I always admired about the power and strength of a man. There was nights where I dreamt about me changing to a boy and releasing my soul from the cage which I , myself has built around. I thought myself as a bird without wings. Instead of working hard to achieve my dreams I was sitting and blaming myself . Each time I was promising myself that because I am born as a girl , I am weak and if I go behind my dreams definitely I will fail ; a mass failure that will lead to death . Every night while going to bed I used to pray to Almighty to turn me to a boy when I wake up the next day . The next day I used to cry aloud by looking into the mirror and realising that I am still a girl without wings who is eager to fly like an eagle at higher sky.

When I reached my puberty , things went even worst . My period cramps kept me cursing myself being a girl .My period cramps was so painful that I missed most of my school functions and exams due to the fear of overflow . During my periods I was constantly tensed to go out, fearing that my dress my spot blood and others will make fun of me. I feared to ask a pad to a male shopkeeper . I feared to carry a pad in my bag fearing that my male friends would spot it . I again and again cursed myself without knowing the importance of puberty or motherhood. At times I was so jealous of boys ,who never and ever need to know the pain of period cramps or pregnancy .And of course like other girls I too was so feared in getting pregnant where we should bear the pain of 57 Unit of pain where a human can bear only 45 Unit of pain . And this 57 Unit of pain was equal to 20 bones getting fractured at a time. Getting pregnant was one of my nightmares.

During the time when I completed my 12th grade from Muscat I was in a process to settle in India . And the very next day I am hearing the newspread of Delhi Gang Rape in which a 23-year-old female was beaten, gang raped, and tortured in a private bus in which she was travelling with her friend. Medical reports later said that she suffered serious injuries to her abdomen, intestines and genitals due to the assault, and doctors said that the damage indicated that a blunt object (suspected to be the iron rod) may have been used for penetration. That rod was later described by police as being a rusted, L-shaped implement of the type used as a wheel jack handle. Here raised my next fear the fear of sexual abuse .I was so scared and I was constantly thinking about the pain that the 23 year old female went through when an iron rod was inserted to her genitals.This fear haunted me like a demon throughout my life. This fear made a bigger cage around me . I was scared to get out from my house alone moreover to travel in a public bus . I was in a dilemma whether to settle in India or to go back to Muscat where sexual abuse was so rare as they have a very good and fast system of punishment .But something pulled me back is the fact that India was my motherland and as every other human being I too love to stay at my homeland. But the cage became stronger and stronger when many cases of sexual abuse was filed in India and where punishments took a long period of time.

When the wheel of the time passed by a small wings was sprouting in me . It may be due to the strength I got from my courageous mom who is is a very successful business woman along with my dad; who is the greatest man in the world I have ever seen who gave all the support to my mother in her career. Or by hearing hundreds of speeches addressed by Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey who went on working hard to fulfill their dreams of educating the world wide girls as they believed that educating girls makes a better and stronger communities around the world. Day by day my wings started growing but the trouble was that I don’t know how to fly . If my wings was built by great womens like my Mom, Michaela Obama , Oprah Winfrey , Kamala Surayya etc… etc where the list never ends the one who taught me to fly was my dad and my husband. They both supported me in each and every nook and corner on the path to my dreams. My dad was the person who supported me to built my career as a Software Engineer and my husband was the person who supported me to chase my dreams on the path of psychology . Both of them as a very big role on helping me to overcome my fears .

Once I was cursing myself of being a women and now I am proud to be a women . What made me so ? Of Course my family has a great role but apart from my family , it may be the light that entered to my life through the wounds that my life has granted me.What I have learned from FEAR is that fear is nothing but an entrance exam in your life to face the reality and it is an energy drink that can rise you to your potential. I overcame my fear by letting it go and as well as by helping others to let their fears to vanish into nowhere .I was feared; on being a girl but now I came out from the cocoon with fully developed wings that made me fly with the proudness of being a women.

Once, one of my psychology trainer quoted that a person should only be passionate in “A DREAM” and not in “MANY DREAMS”. And he reminded me either to put software engineering nor psychology down so that I can concentrate on a particular DREAM and I would be fully accomplished on my particular Dream with all my energy.This statement may be true or false . But it ruined my sleep for days and weeks . And I came to a conclusion that “I am a woman , a woman is always multitasking ….as a mother, as a sister , as a wife , as a daughter , as a student , as an employ and the list goes on … Then why can’t I add some more duties to my list ? Of Course I can because I am a woman , the reservoir of endless energy . I maybe slow in accomplishing my duties but definitely will do them all . If I , my mom and every other women on earth can do her household and workplace duties with her periods or bearing her baby in her womb with immense pain and discomfort then what else to say ? We are capable of multitasking even in pain and without taking a day’s leave , that is the respect given by the mother nature to women around the globe .”

Man maybe stronger than women . I do agree with that but if you want to know the strength of a woman go and grab her child , the immense tank of strength will overflow within her that could destroy everything on earth to protect her child .This too is a respect given by the mother nature to women around the globe . Nature has not only given this respect to human beings but to all feminine living beings . Go and grab a puppy from a mother dog , you will understand the inner meaning of my statement . I end by saying that ” Women need not want respect from men , because she is always respected by the mother nature the only thing she needs is the support to fly higher and higher ………….”

Clinical Psychology, School Counseling

ADHD Turns Onto …

Cantwell (1988) discusses the relationship of ADHD to conduct, affective disorders and later substance abuse disorders.  Dykman (1993) found that children with ADHD who were also hyperactive and aggressive were at increased risk to have oppositional and conduct disorders.  Lilienfeld, (1990) reviewed the literature on ADHD and antisocial behavior. 

The ADHD and Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) Link

ODD is related to a child’s conduct and how they interact with their family, friends, and teachers. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder.These conditions are different, but can occur together. Some seemingly defiant symptoms may be related to impulsivity in ADHD. In fact, it’s believed that about 40 percent of children with a diagnosis of ADHD also have ODD. Though, just like ADHD, not all children diagnosed with ODD have ADHD.

A child who only has ADHD may be full of energy or get overly excited when playing with classmates. This can sometimes lead to roughhousing and causing unintended harm to others.Children with ADHD may also throw tantrums. But this isn’t a typical symptom of the disorder. Instead, the tantrum can be an impulse outburst due to frustration or boredom.If the same child has ODD, not only do they have issues with impulse control, but also with an angry or irritable mood which can lead to physical aggression.

These children may have tantrums due to an inability to control their temper. They may be spiteful, upset others on purpose, and blame others for their own mistakes. In addition to getting overly excited and hurting a classmate while playing, they might lash out and blame the classmate and then refuse to apologize.It’s important to note that traits of ODD and ADHD can also occur with learning disabilities and other conduct disorders. Care should be taken by a provider to get a clear picture of the overall symptoms before making a diagnosis.

The ADHD and Conduct disorder (CD) Link

Among individuals with ADHD, conduct disorder (CD) may also be present, occurring in 27 percent of children, 45–50 percent of adolescents and 20–25 percent of adults with ADHD. Children with conduct disorder may be aggressive to people or animals, destroy property, lie or steal things from others, run away, skip school or break curfews. Adults with CD often exhibit behaviors that get them into trouble with the law.

Children with coexisting conduct disorder are at much higher risk for getting into trouble with the law or having substance abuse problems than children who have only ADHD. Studies show that this type of coexisting condition is more common among children with the primarily hyperactive/impulsive and combination types of ADHD.

The ADHD and Antisocial Personality Disorder Link

Antisocial Personality Disorder is one of the most researched disorders in connection with ADHD and is the adult version of Conduct disorder. Lilienfeld, (1990) reviewed the literature on ADHD and antisocial behavior.  Findings from longitudinal, family and adoption, neuropsychological, psychophysiological, and other laboratory studies reviewed indicate that childhood ADHD is associated with adult disorders characterized by antisocial behavior

 Antisocial Personality Disorder most closely resembles the hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD.  Both ADHD and Antisocial personality have difficulties with impulse control.  There is a risk taking, thrillseeker component to both, but the individual with Antisocial Personality disorder will typically have less regard for their own safety and the safety of others than the person with ADHD.  In contrast, the adult with ADHD is often times overly sensitive to the reactions and feelings of others and may feel remorseful to the point of becoming depressed over his/her impulsive actions. 

Unlike some of the other disorders we have been discussing in the differential diagnosis section, Antisocial Personality disorder is not easily and quickly treated.  The personality disorders in general are long standing patterns of behavior and personality that have developed over a life time.  Individuals with personality disorders are so familiar with the symptoms and behaviors that they are not distressed by them.  Many times it is a significant other who will request that the personality disordered individual seek treatment, or in the case of Antisocial Personality, it is often times due to legal difficulties.  Relatively long term therapy can alter the patterns of behavior, and if the individual has ADHD and Antisocial Personality disorder, medications may help control the level of impulsive behavior. 

Clinical Psychology, School Counseling

Treatments For ADHD

Whether or not your child’s symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are due to ADHD, they can cause many problems if left untreated. Children who can’t focus and control themselves may struggle in school, get into frequent trouble, and find it hard to get along with others or make friends. These frustrations and difficulties can lead to low self-esteem as well as friction and stress for the whole family.

But treatment can make a dramatic difference in your child’s symptoms. With the right support, your child can get on track for success in all areas of life. If your child struggles with symptoms that look like ADHD, don’t wait to seek professional help. You can treat your child’s symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity without having a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder. Options to start with include getting your child into therapy, implementing a better diet and exercise plan, and modifying the home environment to minimize distractions.

If you do receive a diagnosis of ADHD, you can then work with your child’s doctor, therapist, and school to make a personalized treatment plan that meets his or her specific needs. Effective treatment for childhood ADHD involves behavioral therapy, parent education and training, social support, and assistance at school. Medication may also be used; however, it should never be the sole attention deficit disorder treatment.

Professional treatment for ADHD

Although there are many ways you can help a child with ADHD at home, you may want to seek professional help along the way. ADHD specialists can help you develop an effective treatment plan for your child. Since ADHD responds best to a combination of treatments and strategies, consulting several specialists is advisable.

To find ADHD treatment providers, you may want to contact your primary care physician, your child’s pediatrician, local hospitals, or clinics. Other sources for provider references include your insurance company, officials at your child’s school, or a local parent support group.

Child and adolescent psychiatrists:

  • Diagnose ADHD and prescribe medications

Psychologists:

  • Diagnose ADHD and provide talk therapy
  • Help people with ADHD explore their feelings

Cognitive-behavioral therapists:

  • Set up behavioral modification programs at school, work, and home
  • Establish concrete goals for behavior and achievement
  • Help families and teachers maintain rewards and consequences

Educational specialists:

  • Teach techniques for succeeding in school
  • Help children obtain accomodations from school
  • Advise families about assistive technology

Behavioral therapy for ADHD

Behavioral therapy, also known as behavior modification, has been shown to be a very successful treatment for children with ADHD. It is especially beneficial as a co-treatment for children who take stimulant medications and may even allow you to reduce the dosage of the medication.

Behavior therapy involves reinforcing desired behaviors through rewards and praise and decreasing problem behaviors by setting limits and consequences. For example, one intervention might be that a teacher rewards a child who has ADHD for taking small steps toward raising a hand before talking in class, even if the child still blurts out a comment. The theory is that rewarding the struggle toward change encourages the full new behavior.

Behavior Therapy for ADHD in Children

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are three basic principles to any behavior therapy approach:

  1. Set specific goals. Set clear goals for your child such as staying focused on homework for a certain time or sharing toys with friends.
  2. Provide rewards and consequences. Give your child a specified reward (positive reinforcement) when he or she shows the desired behavior. Give your child a consequence (unwanted result or punishment) when he or she fails to meet a goal.
  3. Keep using the rewards and consequences. Using the rewards and consequences consistently for a long time will shape your child’s behavior in a positive way.

As parents, you can set up a customized behavioral modification program for your child who has ADHD with the help of a behavioral specialist such as a cognitive-behavioral therapist. A cognitive-behavioral therapist focuses on practical solutions to everyday issues. This kind of therapist can set up a behavioral modification program of rewards and consequences for your child at home and at school and support you in shaping your child’s behavior.

Patience is key with behavioral therapy, since people with ADHD are notoriously variable in their symptoms. One day, your child may behave beautifully, and the next, fall back into old patterns. Sometimes it may seem as if the training is not working. However, over time, behavioral treatment does improve the symptoms of ADHD.

Social skills training

Because kids with attention deficit disorder often have difficulty with simple social interactions and struggle with low self-esteem, another type of treatment that can help is social skills training. Normally conducted in a group setting, social skills training is led by a therapist who demonstrates appropriate behaviors and then has the children practice repeating them. A social skills group teaches children how to “read” others’ reactions and how to behave more acceptably. The social skills group should also work on transferring these new skills to the real world.

For a social skills group near you, ask for a referral from your school psychologist or a local mental health clinic.

Parenting tips for children with ADHD

If your child is hyperactive, inattentive, or impulsive, it may take a lot of energy to get him or her to listen, finish a task, or sit still. The constant monitoring can be frustrating and exhausting. Sometimes you may feel like your child is running the show. But there are steps you can take to regain control of the situation, while simultaneously helping your child make the most of his or her abilities.

While attention deficit disorder is not caused by bad parenting, there are effective parenting strategies that can go a long way to correct problem behaviors. Children with ADHD need structure, consistency, clear communication, and rewards and consequences for their behavior. They also need lots of love, support, and encouragement.

There are many things parents can do to reduce the signs and symptoms of ADHD without sacrificing the natural energy, playfulness, and sense of wonder unique in every child.

Take care of yourself so you’re better able to care for your child. Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, find ways to reduce stress, and seek face-to-face support from family and friends as well as your child’s doctor and teachers.

Establish structure and stick to it. Help your child stay focused and organized by following daily routines, simplifying your child’s schedule, and keeping your child busy with healthy activities.

Set clear expectations. Make the rules of behavior simple and explain what will happen when they are obeyed or broken—and follow through each time with a reward or a consequence.

Encourage exercise and sleep. Physical activity improves concentration and promotes brain growth. Importantly for children with ADHD, it also leads to better sleep, which in turn can reduce the symptoms of ADHD.

Help your child eat right. To manage symptoms of ADHD, schedule regular healthy meals or snacks every three hours and cut back on junk and sugary food.

Teach your child how to make friends. Help him or her become a better listener, learn to read people’s faces and body language, and interact more smoothly with others.

School tips for children with ADHD

ADHD, obviously, gets in the way of learning. You can’t absorb information or get your work done if you’re running around the classroom or zoning out on what you’re supposed to be reading or listening to. Think of what the school setting requires children to do: Sit still. Listen quietly. Pay attention. Follow instructions. Concentrate. These are the very things kids with ADHD have a hard time doing—not because they aren’t willing, but because their brains won’t let them.

But that doesn’t mean kids with ADHD can’t succeed at school. There are many things both parents and teachers can do to help children with ADHD thrive in the classroom. It starts with evaluating each child’s individual weaknesses and strengths, then coming up with creative strategies for helping the child focus, stay on task, and learn to his or her full capability.