Monday, May 6, 2024

Talking to Your Child About ADHD Diagnosis

Parenting


MBE Guest Post
by Dr. Katia Fredriksen and Dr. Yael Rothman
Pediatric Neuropsychologists

Readers Note: This guest post is for informational purposes only and it is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.


How to Share ADHD Diagnosis with Kids


Has your child recently been diagnosed with ADHD? And are you wondering if/how to share this information with them? Here we will explain why it is important for a child to understand how they think and learn, and we will share ideas for how to speak with them about their diagnosis.


Parents Daughter Hug Garden Gate



First, get comfortable with your child’s ADHD


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Before sharing information with your child, make sure that you have had a thorough discussion with the doctor/evaluator, that you have all your questions answered, and that you understand your child’s profile. 

Many parents are hesitant to share a diagnosis because they worry about their child’s reaction to being “labelled.” They fear that their child will feel badly about themselves and their abilities when they learn about their diagnosis. However, it is important to remember that children are often much more self-aware than we realize. They often have a sense that they are struggling with something, and without an explanation, they are unfortunately prone toward making negative self-attributions (e.g., “I can’t do anything right,” or “I’m not as good as my classmates”) and applying inappropriate negative labels (e.g., “I’m stupid”). 

Telling a son or daughter about their diagnosis (i.e., giving them an accurate and appropriate label to use) and explaining their individual profile of strengths and weaknesses and how they think and learn can help dispel misconceptions and create more positive self-attributions. For example, a child may feel it’s harder for them to read quickly because of attention problems, but still acknowledge to themself that they are a good reader.

There are also times when parents hesitate to share a diagnosis because they themselves have a similar profile and recall associated challenges from their own childhood. They may fear that if their child shares this profile, they are bound to have the same sorts of negative experiences. Fortunately, we have come a long way over the past decades in our understanding of neurodiversity, as well as how to support neurodiverse individuals. So, your child’s journey will likely be much smoother than yours was, especially with your understanding and support.

How to start the ADHD discussion


When the time is right, parents can enlist the help of their neuropsychologist, psychologist, or pediatrician to provide direct feedback to their child. Alternatively, the discussion may arise organically. For example, if your child expresses frustration about something such as constantly getting in trouble in class for speaking without raising their hand. Or maybe they're having difficulty paying attention in their "boring" history class. Whatever they're experiencing in the ADHD areana, this is an opportunity for you to initiate the conversation by sharing with your child something like, "I spoke with your doctor and learned why you might be having that/these experience(s).”

It is important to recognize and discuss the idea that we all have strengths and weaknesses and your child is no different. You can give examples from your child’s profile and even incorporate some of your own experiences to illustrate this, you might say, “you are so amazing at solving puzzles, which is not so easy for me.”

Then, going a bit deeper with explanations your child is able to understand, you can discuss how there is a name for what they're experiencing called Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. Check in with your child to see if they know anything about this diagnosis, and then educate them about it. You tell them that this means that it is harder for your brain to focus during activities that are less interesting to you”. This is an excellent opening for you to discuss and dispel any misconceptions they may have. 

Finally, talk about the next steps, and the plans that are being established to support your child. For example, they will be given extra breaks to move and stretch at school, and they will be meeting with their pediatrician to see if medication could help.


Different Thinkers ADHD Parenting Book

Review the notion of neurodiversity


We also encourage introducing the idea of neurodiversity or using the phrase "different thinkers." You can explain how neurodiversity is to human culture as biodiversity is to the ecosystem, helping your child understand that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways. That there is no single "right" way of thinking, learning, or behaving.

You can also emphasize that there are many strengths associated with having a different thinking brain. For example, research shows that individuals with ADHD are often more creative and can focus passionately on preferred topics. This can be an amazing advantage when channeled into their future careers. These kids can also be very resilient, are often more spontaneous and willing to take risks, and can possess abundant energy. Many famous people have discussed how their ADHD has benefitted their careers, including CEOS and entrepreneurs, athletes, actors, and journalists. 

Give your child time to process this information


To aid in the child's adjustment to their diagnosis by providing them with developmentally appropriate resources. Many children are relieved to learn why they have been struggling and to hear that there are ways to help.

However, keep in mind that your child may not initially identify with their ADHD diagnosis and may need more time to think and learn about it. If this is the case, begin by validating your child’s feelings and give them the space and freedom to process the information at their own pace. 

Regardless of your child’s initial reaction, this will be an ongoing conversation, which will evolve and mature as your child gets older. Encourage them to ask questions, and provide developmentally appropriate resources, such as our new book Different Thinkers: ADHD which explains brain development and ADHD for an elementary-aged child. You can also connect your child with peers or family members who have similar profiles, to provide them with a sense of belonging. 

Always keep in mind that while difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in children can result in challenges, there are also many advantages to having a different thinking style. Different thinkers can and do make wonderful things happen!



Pediatric Neuropsychologists Katia Fredriksen, Ph.D and Yael Rothman, Ph.D
Katia Fredriksen, Ph.D and Yael Rothman, Ph.D


About the Authors of this Guest Post 


Pediatric Neuropsychologists, Katia Fredriksen, Ph.D and Yael Rothman, Ph.D, are authors of the book Different Thinkers: ADHD (Boys Town Press, 2024). This is a resource written especially for elementary students in a relatable way that they will understand. When also read by moms and dads, this title can also serve as a good launching point for a family discussion about ADHD.

Dr. Fredriksen received a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from University of Massachusetts Boston. Her clinical training included inpatient and outpatient psychotherapy and asssessment with children, adolescents, and adults. Her graduate work focused on health behaviors, including sleep and substance use. She completed her post-doctoral training at a Boston-area private practice where she focused on autism, genetic disorders, learning disorders, and attention and executive functioning in a pediatric population. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at national and international conferences. Dr. Fredriksen continues to lecture to parent groups and professional organizations.

Dr. Rothman spent a year teaching young children with autism prior to earning a doctoral degree from Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Children's Hospital, Washington, D.C., she was a pediatric neuropsychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine. She currently works at Stixrud Group, Silver Spring, Maryland, conducting comprehensive evaluations for children, adolescents, and young adults with a range of conditions impacting learning, behavior, and/or socioemotional functioning. In addition, she has done clinical research with a primary focus on autism spectrum disorders and has presented at conferences worldwide. Dr. Rothman has also published more than a dozen articles in medical journals and given lectures to parents and educators.


DISCLOSURE: MBE participates in the Amazon Affiliates program and receives a small bit of compensation, at no extra cost to buyers, when readers click on links in this post which result in a purchase.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Earth Day Family Events Southern California

Eco Lifestyle


Earth Month Kids Events in LA, San Diego


For those of you with kids who either live in or are visiting Los Angeles or elsewhere in Southern California during April there are lots of fun, educational Earth Month and Earth Day not to be missed experiences (both free and admission-based) you'll want to know about so you can take advantage of them. Just for you, MBE has curated our picks for the best green lifestyle experiences that we think will appeal and be enjoyed by all: moms, dads, kids, and extended family to enjoy together.


Young Girl Holding Globe


Earth Day (April 22) is an awesome learning opportunity for children and their parents to think about how fragile our planet is and what we can collectively do to do our part to help save the world from an ecological point of view. But did you know that Earth Day isn't just for kids? In fact, caring for and protecting Mother Earth is so important to us all, that there is also Earth Week (April 22-26) and Earth Month (the entire month of April), making the Earth-friendly opportunities to everyone of every age.

Netflix Earth Fun Across the US


For starters, families in Southern California, as well as nationwide will definitely want to download and print out the free Netflix Earth Week Playbook. If you're a Netflix subscriber you'll also want to check out all the platform's movies and shows on sustainabilitysuitable for all ages that you can watch as a family including The Sea BeastOur Planet, and Down to Earth with Zac Efron. For more details visit NetflixFamily.com

 

Free Earth-Friendly Activities in SoCal


Saturday, April 20, 4 to 7 pm

Crossings at Corona in Corona hosts Celebrate Our Earth Family Fun Day. This free event includes a reptile encounter, music by a DJ, craft for kids to make, pop-up shops, and a live musical performance for all at 6 pm. Event Details

Saturday, April 20, 11 am to 5 pm

San Diego EarthFest, an event by Vegan Food Pop-up, takes place in Balboa Park at Park Boulevard and Presidents Lawn in San Diego. Enjoy the beautiful outdoor park with free entry and parking, live music, speakers, kid-friendly activities included. 100+ vendors plus International Food Court.



Kids Adults Celebrating Earth Day
Valencia Town Center Free Earth Day Event


Saturday, April 27, 11 am to 2 pm

Valencia Town Center, in Valencia in the Santa Clarita Valley just north of Los Angeles, invites the community to celebrate Earth Day with a FREE event with some really fun-filled and educational activities. Located on the lower level near H&M, kids of all ages who attend will have the opportunity to color their own reusable pot and bag to take home, along with a packet of flower seeds to plant at home (while supplies last). 

Other festivities at Valencia Town Center include an ice cream cart giving away free chocolate, vanilla, and fruit-flavored vegan ice cream and the famous Cow Mascot from Chick-Fil-A making an appearance in costume to greet and pose for photos with attendees. Rounding out the other activities are a live DJ, face painting, a photo booth, retailer and restaurant participation, and while supplies last some Earth Day-themed treats. For more information visit Event Details


Goodwill of Southern California Booth



Earth Day SoCal Events With Admission



Saturday/Sunday, April 20-21, 10 am to 5 pm

Visit Goodwill of Southern California (Booth 155) at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at University of California (USC) where you'll be able to shop for gently used books at bargain prices. Just for stopping by the booth, get a free coupon good for one book at any Southern California retail store location and enter to win a Goodwill of Southern California gift certificate.

Saturday/Sunday, April 20-21, 10 am to 4 pm

Los Angeles Zoo hosts Wild for the Planet with fun and educational programming that's all about wildlife conservation and environmental sustainability.  Special zoo happenings  featured this weekend include interactive activities, live entertainment, book readings, animal presentations, an Earth Expo and other presentations on why protecting our planet's diverse ecosystems and the species that all live here is so important. Earth Day weekend activities are included with regular zoo admission. For more information see Event Details


Woman with Bicycle in front of Bike Shop
Mommy Blog Expert at Skypark Santa's Village



Saturday/Sunday, April 20-21, 10 am to 3 pm, park closes at 6 pm

Skypark at Santa's Village in the San Bernardino Mountains (elevation 5700 feet) located near Lake Arrowhead, is celebrating with Earth Day Weekend offering eco-friendly fun kids activity sheets, Meadowlands to Orchards tours, a Conservation Talk with Jeremiah, and a Seed Bombs Craft project. Most of the same activities will repeat both days. Earth Day Weekend activities are included with regular Skypark at Santa's Village admission which includes rock climbing, a zip line, roller skating and more. Bike Trails and rentals are also available to park guests for an additional charge. Event Details

Sunday, April 21, 11 am to 3 pm

Earth Day at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles offers special nature and Earth kid friendly programs including live musical performances in the museum's Nature Gardens, exploring the gardens for a scavenger hunt, hands-on activities like creating native seed balls (while supplies last), the chance to create a nature journal and sketch plants, upclose encounters with behind-the-scenes museum collections, an opportunity to learn at a special Science of SpongeBob exhibit (as well as a photo booth opp for attendees to pose with SpongeBob and/or Patrick Star) thanks to museum partners Nickelodeon and more. Earth Day activities included with regular museum admission. Event Details

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Bear Finds Eggs Kids Book Review

Books


by MBE Kids Editor
Rachel Marks

Children's Book Review


Thanks to the publisher Simon and Schuster, the new book Bear Finds Eggs by New York Times best selling author Karma Wilson has brought immeasurable joy to our evening family reading time. 


Bear Finds Eggs by Karma Wilson Kids Book


MBE partnered with Simon and Schuster, post contains affiliate links

My hubbie, as you can see from the photo, had as much fun reading Bear Finds Eggs (2024, Simon and Schuster) as our kids enjoyed listening to him reading to them at storytime at the end of the day. Stay tuned for a @mommyblogexpert Instagram Reel to be published soon featuring this devoted father reading to his little ones.

As a mom, I appreciated its engaging story and charming illustrations by illustrator Jane Chapman who has once again teamed up with the author for the newest title in the beloved Bear book series. The plot this time around centers on Bear and friends who go on a seek-and-find adventure together to help Mama Meadowlark find her lost eggs. This made for a real fun read-aloud experience and provided some great moments for interaction with my kids.


Cozy Kids Book Reading Nook


A Book That Appeals to Kids, Parents


The heartwarming gesture of leaving treats for anticipated baby birds created a sweet theme throughout the book celebrating the arrival of Spring making this a heartening story to share. The rhythm and rhyme in the storytelling were ideal for repetitive reading sessions, holding up well to frequent repetitions. Realistic and beautiful illustrations of animals against calming green backgrounds and vibrant flowers sparked curiosity in my children about different species.

While the overall simplicity aligned with a picture book for my two younger kids, the eleventh-book-in-the-series context (the title's target child audience is actually ages 4-8) left them with some minor curiosities about the diverse group of animals and questions about the meadowlark's lost eggs. Nevertheless, the focus on friendship, kindness, helping others, and welcoming new life in springtime remained among the highlights.

Without a doubt, Bear Finds Eggs was a hit for us parents. Similarly, the title also received a resounding seal of approval from each of our children: sons Izzy (age 5) and Ori (age 3), and Arya, our 16 month-old daughter who just started walking. The vibrant pictures and engaging storyline captivated their attention, making it a beloved choice for our family reading time, showcasing its broad appeal on different levels across a range of young children's age groups.


Bear Finds Eggs by Karma Wilson Illustrated by Jane Chapman


Bear Finds Eggs is available direct from the publisher Simon and Schuster and in stores where books are sold. Bear Finds Eggs can also be purchased on Amazon in hardcover and paperback, and is available instantly as a download to Kindle

DISCLOSURE: MBE participates in the Amazon Affiliate program and we receive a bit of compensation, at no extra cost to you, when you click through to Amazon to make a purchase of this book.