Wednesday, October 30, 2013

School ADDitude: Tips and Tools for Kids with ADD/ADHD

ADHD children can learn reading skills that will help them with homework.

Keeping your ADD/ADHD kids on track everyday is tough, getting them organized and on track with their SCHOOLWORK is nearly impossible.  We have shared many tools and tricks for dealing with homework and studying here on FPR.  To review all our Back to School posts check out:

Teaching Through Play: Car Game Math with ADD and Slow Learners


Back to School Planning for Kids with ADD, Trust Disorders and More



Teaching Through Play: Frying Pan Math Helps Kids with ADD


Focusing the ADD Brain: Interrupt Homework for Exercise


Q&A: “How Can I Get A Tutor For My FosterKids?” 


There’s an App for That: Modern Technology Tackles ADD and Autism Issues


 We have also found TONS of helpful info. on   If you aren't familiar with the site, and have a child or have ADD yourself, check it out. It's chock full of useful info.

Here is a great article on getting your kids organized with schoolwork. 

Help Your ADHD Child Organize Homework

Teach your child these after-school organization tips to help him learn to schedule and prioritize his daily homework assignments.

If your child has attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) or a learning disability, you may have gotten used to being the one who decides what he does, and when he does it. At some point, however, your child must learn to maintain his own schedule and set his own priorities. If he reaches high school without knowing these skills, he’ll have big trouble keeping up with assignments and extracurricular activities.
What does it take to get your child to assume control of his schedule? Create an ADHD school organization plan.
Step one is to get him into the habit of using a daily planner. Have him sit down with it after breakfast every morning, to review how his time will be spent that day, and which tasks he needs to accomplish. Make sure the planner accompanies your child to school, and that he writes down all test dates, due dates, assignments, and so on in it.

After-school review

When your child gets home from school, sit down with him and his updated planner. Together, review the homework assignments for the evening. You may be tempted to tell him what to do and when. Don’t. Instead, pose a series of questions to help him set priorities. You might ask, “Do you think you should start with those math problems? Or would it be better to do your math after you finish outlining that chapter in your science book?”
Feel free to make a helpful observation or two: “Last week you chose to work on your math first because you like it, and it’s easy for you. But I’ve noticed that you’re better at tuning in to details when you’re freshest, so you may want to make proofreading your book report the first priority today.”
There is no hard and fast rule about prioritizing. For some children, the best approach is to get the hard stuff out of the way first. For others, breezing through something easy is a confidence-booster that helps motivate them to plow through harder assignments.

Read the rest here

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Toy Reviews that Speak to You... "Toys Are Tools"

One of things that I'm most proud of is my magnetic chalkboard wall.  I love chalk.  I don't care about the dust.  I can't believe how easy and affordable it was to do this at home.  
My co author Diane stumbled upon a post on a Google Plus Page for ADD Moms the other day and saw a link to a website called Toys are Tools.

It took us a bit to figure out what this site was all about... It seemed to talk about toys, but also showed what seemed to be ways to make toys or play at home, and went into all the ways a game or toy "works" with your kids.   It looked a lot like a therapeutic treatment plan... talking about the toy/game and then breaking it down into goals and outcomes...

It didnt feel "sell-y" but gave a really USEFUL review of educational toys (really great for our troubled kids) and introduced us to a lot of interesting games and toys we just don't see around here.

Overall,... I think its worth a few minutes to check out. Bonus! There are giveaways.  :)

Here's a taste: From Toys are Tools

Toolbox Compartments

Toys are Tools understands that most toy stores categorize toys differently than we do.   You've seen it before, Action Figures, Pretend Play, Building Sets, Musical Instruments, and you may even find a category entitled "Learning" or "Educational."  That one always brings a chuckle because we think all toys have some learning value and the view of "learning" should not be limited to learning reading and math.  Likewise, the above named categories could probably all fall under the category of "Pretend Play" too.

We are doing something different here.  We think it is more helpful to parents and educators to look at toys in the way that it is most impactful to a child's life.  There are many uses for toys.  Toys are things we give to kids to encourage more exercise, to help them practice building and creating something in their minds, and/or help them connect with others.  Thus Toys are Tools categorizes the toys just as you categorize a toolbox, that is, we divide them up to show how it serves you and your child.  You will see that most toys have more than one feature and so you may find the same toy under different categories.

I can't believe how handy my husband is.  He bought the desk and plastic compartments at Home Depot.  I bought the chair online.  This is actually a closet in their room!  It took him less than one day and cost us less than 70 dollars.

Toys are Tools' Compartments:

Lose and Win Gracefully: Practicing good sportsmanship is sometimes easier with these games and toys under this listing.  If a child has challenges in this area, you can start here and work your way up to games are for some reason, tougher for a child to lose.

Think Like a Scientist/Engineer: We undervalue science education these days. I think that this is huge mistake and you are hearing this from a person who barely passed high school chemistry.  However, Number 1 loves this compartment and so thanks to him, I have found some of the most creative, well-constructed, challenging toys out there in the market.   These toys will be great for the child who likes learning by trial-and-error, experimenting, and tinkering. Some of these builder kids are said to have high visual-spatial intelligence.  You might also find that they like to break stuff "just to see how it works."  This kind of makes me crazy but I try to remember that kids don't get to exercise these skills enough in school.  I'm not sure why but it's not fair and so I'm going to encourage him to tinker away but not break anymore things.  Additionally, Toys are Tools believes that this compartment is also great for children who have difficulty in this area as long as the child is receiving supportive and knowledgeable guidance while playing with this toy.

My Body Needs to Move: These tools are for kids that need to move around more just as much it is for kids who have to get their energy out.  They are fun and easy ways to help kids burn some fuel.  These toys will focus on lots of areas like keeping fit, being balanced, and being coordinated (is your little one a little klutzy?). This category may likely morph into one or more categories later.

Social Scene Helpers: I rather be the host or helper at a party than just go as a guest.  This doesn't mean that I can't enjoy myself as a guest but I find myself stuck with a bit of social anxiety right before I go to a place where I am talking to people for open-ended goals like "mingling" or "catching-up" - it's just so scary! Sometimes it helps if I have a job or a prop (like a dog, a new bag, etc.)  For kids, I think it's the same and so this is quite likely my favorite category.  You will often find me at a playground with Number 2 toting a bag of props on hand.  They can help Number 2 make friends because it gives him the opportunity to hold something and feel less vulnerable in an intimidating setting.  It also acts as a conversation piece and gives him the opportunity to share it too.

It's not enough to have waterproof paper in the tub!  Oh no!  I had to use it as an opportunity to leave messages for my kids.  I don't want to be bathing them forever!  Toolbox category: I Can Take Care of Myself

I Can Take Care of Myself:  I find teaching this trait to children increasingly challenging as our lives become busier with afterschool classes, homework, and  meetings with families and friends.  I find myself too much in a hurry sometimes to teach very basic self-help skills, especially if they are having trouble with it.  Sometimes kids get these skills by osmosis but if they don't, consider toys in this category to be your assistants.  It is worth your while.  I used to work with teenagers who sometimes couldn't figure out that using an alarm clock would help them get to school on time.

Fertilize Responsibility and Courtesy:  I find that it is hard to teach these things but for my kids, I need to make sure they really get this because it will help them build self-esteem and good relationships.  Toys that fall in this category will hope to act as catalysts in learning these traits and values.

More Make Believe Please: I've seen Number 1 and Number 2 really struggle in this area even if they have a real talent for it.  It's hard to explain but regardless, most if not all experts can't stress enough the value of pretend play.  To be sure, we agree that it helps kids with skills in problem-solving, sharing attention with other children, self-reflection, and expression.

Work Experience:  I am still figuring out this feature but truth be told, my child learns great when he's working and sometimes toys or toy-like things involves hard work!   You can liken it to volunteer work which is something not mandatory, definitely not play, and yet very rewarding.  Some may call at least one aspect of this kind of education, kinesthetic learning.  I wonder if that has anything to do with how we'll never forget our first slow dance because every point on our bodies registered information and so your brain recalls it to you with all those facets in mind.

Read More: Here

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ask FPR: How to Deal with Sexualized Behavior When You Don't Know History

 by John and Diane

We often get messages from our readers here on FPR, and take time to answer to the best of our ability, after some time goes by we like to erase any personal data, and share the exchange with everyone, as we know that for each One parent that asks a question, at least a dozen more have the same issue.

Here is an issue we cover over and over again, but it never hurts to talk about again, maybe in a new way.  Sexualized behavior in foster (or adopted) kids is difficult, and even more so when you are unaware of any sexual abuse history in the child's past.  New foster parents are often afraid and unsure as to how to handle this behavior, and if it's paired with an attachment disorder (and commonly manipulative behavior) the complexity of the situation goes up ten-fold.

The below is part of an ongoing exchange with a parent of a couple of foster children. She also had biological children in the house.  The discussion revolves around a 7 year old foster daughter. The child may or may not have an attachment disorder.

Q: The 7 girl we have is demonstrating very sexualised behaviour ie drawings,verbal, acting like a teenager we do not know her past other that there were 5 older brothers what advice can you give us thanks 

A:  FPR:  

My first bit of advice is for self-protection for the men and boys in the house.. your husband and any brothers in the house. You want to have cameras in the public areas in the house because undoubtedly at some point she may accuse someone of something untrue and you want to be able to prove that it didnt happen.

You need to get her counseling as well, if she isnt in any yet. This is a huge red flag and I would guess as you probably have already, that she had been sexually abused by someone earlier in her life.

Children who have been sexually abused will role play the sexual abuse with other kids in the home and the other kids will not understand what is happening, so they get caught up in it, so counseling help is necessary for the whole family.

Don't hide the situation from the whole family. Have a family meeting about it and talk about it frankly, (that she is drawing these things.) Let her know that she is not going to be punished for drawing things like that, but she cannot act out anything like that. Talking about these things is important to protect her and the rest of the kids in the house.

 Check out the blog post "Putting a Bounty on Bad Behavior"

 Don't over react to her acting out sexual behaviors, treat it like anyother bad behavior. Talk with your husband and have a safety plan in regards to your husband and sons where you don't put him in situations where she could accuse him of stuff... if this isnt nipped in the bud she could accuse him of something inappropriate by the time she is 13.

 I have dealt with sexualized boys and girls in my home, and it can get scary fast. You really have to document everything and be sure to get counselors involved now so that it is documented that you are working on these things.

 Talk frankly with her about masturbation and things like that as she had already been sexualized so, the cat is out of the bag, so to speak... but let her know you won't tolerate the behavior in the home (public areas) or from her at her age (having sex or acting out her drawings.)

Use the House Rules we have on our blog with the Sexual Issues additions and the Bounty on Bad Behaviors info. with the sexual issues addressed as well so that everyone in the home, the kids, know to tell you when something happens.

Re: the masturbation etc.. realize you can't stop things like that.. you want to control it.. the location where its happening,  Let her know that its ok to do in a private area, be blunt, because its a natural behavior when kids are exposed to sexual abuse.  But only IF you do come across it.
I also have a few books listed on the blog on this topic as well.. look under the Recommended Books area towards the bottom of the blog home page.

Do you have a problem you can't find an answer to? Send us a message here or on our FB page and we will do our best to help you find an answer. 

Attribution Some rights reserved by Ivan McClellan Photography