I have been intending to write this blog post for some time but have struggled with just what to say and most importantly, to advise. Many parents, including me, debate how much screen time to allow their children. Moreover, it is difficult to monitor what kids are watching or doing on smart phones, tablets, computers, and TV. Parents worry about the effect of screen time, video games of all sorts, and how to make sense of it all. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently revised its decade-old policy regarding screen time, recognizing that the previous "2 hours a day" rule no longer applies, especially given the amount of screen time required for school work alone. AAP recommendations now include having a "media plan" for your child, including turning off screens well before bedtime, and promoting a healthy "media diet". I applaud the AAP recommendations but also understand just how difficult it is to get a child away from a screen, as well as the effect of screen time on the brain. Here are some thoughts:
Whether you are a college student or the parent of an elementary age child, middle- or high schooler, you have many options for how you spend your summer. If issues such as ADD, ADHD, learning problems, focus, or behavior problems are interfering with academic achievement, consider investing some time this summer that can have big rewards in the next academic year. Neurofeedback (NFB) is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for the treatment of ADHD, and numerous studies over many years have shown the effectiveness of NFB in the treatment of a wide variety of issues that affect learning, behavior, and social interaction. Getting to appointments during the summer is a usually a little easier without the pressure of school schedules, sports, and other activities. Enjoy the beach and the sun this summer! But also make a plan for a better school year next September. Call or email us for more information or to schedule an appointment.
An estimated 6-9% of all children have symptoms diagnosable as ADD or ADHD. While we often think of these conditions as affecting only kids, an estimated 60-70% of kids with ADD/ADHD continue to have symptoms into adulthood. ADD and ADHD are the result of dis-regulation in the brain. The dis-regulation can be over- or under-activity in different parts of the brain. Neurofeedback (NFB) helps achieve regulation and therefore, restores balance and optimal functioning. Symptoms of childhood ADD/ADHD include problems paying attention, impulsivity, and problems sitting still or being quiet. Symptoms in adults include anxiety, chronic boredom, chronic forgetfulness and lateness, depression, anger, and procrastination. Compared to other adults, those with ADD/ADHD miss more days of work, have more co-occurring conditions (for example, depression, anxiety, substance abuse), and have higher medical costs.
Call or email the office for more information or to schedule a pediatric or adult assessment.
Below are links to (1) a study published in the journal Pediatrics showing sustained effects of NFB with a group of 100 7-11 years olds and (2) a study published in the Journal of Adult Development showing the positive effects of NFB with adults with ADD/ADHD.
Did you make your best decisions as a teenager? By the time you were 18? Few people would agree that they did. The human brain matures by around age 25, though we think of adulthood as beginning at 18 due to milestones at that age such as graduating from high school and being able to vote.
Food for thought: Help the kids in your life understand that they will be able to make increasingly important decisions as they get older and that you and other adults will be there to guide them, but that they will not "be an adult" until age 25. This helps set important expectations for kids. I have done this with my son, who is now 7 and very excited to get older, and it has led to some good conversations about the decisions he gets to make, how he is making many more decisions now than he did even a couple of years ago, and when he will get to make certain decisions he is particularly interested in (such as setting his own bedtime!).
Here is more reading on the topic from the National Institute on Mental Health:
JoAnne McFarland O'Rourke