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Welcome to the Blog page of the American College of Pediatricians.  Each issue of the Blog is intended to assist parents, encourage children, and enrich the family.  Read our most recent issue below, and scroll to the bottom of this page to read earlier issues.

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Resources for Parents and Families of Autistic Children – Supporting Parents and Families with an Autistic Child (pt. 2)

Part 2: Resources for Parents and Families of Autistic Children

The information for this article is taken from a qualitative research study and report by Stephanie Williamson. The research focused on the coping strategies of 12 different mothers who had between one and three children with autism. Mothers, who are often the main caretakers of their child with autism, usually experience high amounts of chronic stress, and are often obligated to learn a new and different way of life in raising a child with autism. Both parents coping with the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may struggle with the loss of previous expectations they had for their child’s future and the worries about how things will work out in planning for a possibly very different future. Many parents with a child who has autism find that their greatest support comes from activities with extended family, support from a spouse and other relatives, as well as understanding and helpful friends. Having professional resources through the school, community, and private programs also make a big difference.

What do Parents of Autistic Children Find Helpful from Others?

  • Life as a parent of a child with autism is often extremely hectic, unpredictable, and without breaks. Parents caring for an autistic child appreciate hands-on help. Offering to trade babysitting or watching their other children so they can take their child with autism to therapy are great ways to lend a hand.
  • Avoid offering unsolicited advice about what remedies they should try; instead, offer a listening ear. Parents may not have time to cope with more ideas at once than the ones they are already trying.
  • Get to know the child with autism. Behind the disorder, they are an individual who you will likely come to love and enjoy.
  • Be understanding. Parenting a child with autism requires parents to sometimes do things that may not be understood by others. A child with autism may not understand about staying safe and not running into the street, may have difficulty controlling bodily functions, and will not understand what is socially acceptable. They can act impulsively and do things that endanger themselves. Others in the community can avoid being judgmental of a family dealing with these behaviors, and realize that they are not caused by a lack of appropriate parenting.  

Resources for Parents

Mothers who participated in the aforementioned study, emphasized that receiving a diagnosis of autism can be a lengthy process, but it is essential to have in order to begin getting help. One mother said, “Get the diagnosis. Do whatever you have to do to fight it… Because once you have that, the doors open… the diagnosis I think has helped us the most.”

The available community resources for children with autism may vary between different locations in the United States. Additionally, many therapy and support programs can be found through a child’s school.

More than likely, a parent with a child with ASD wouldn’t even have time to read all this information! But you can pass on the message by offering a helping hand for children with a unique and special life.


Autism Society (2016) What is autism. Retrieved from:

Autism Speaks Inc. (Apr. 26, 2017). Autism and health: a special report by autism speaks. Retrieved from:

Williamson, S.A, (2009) Approaching autism: a qualitative review of maternal and familial adaptation among families of children with autism. In All Theses and Dissertations. Retrieved from:

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What is Autism – Supporting Parents and Families with an Autistic Child (pt. 1)

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a developmental disability that effects millions of children and their families. Many of us are familiar with autism from children that we knew growing up, neighbors and relatives, or from characters in movies, books, or TV. Families that have a child with autism know that there is often a lack of understanding from others on what autism really is. The experience of having a child with autism is usually a huge source or stress to parents and siblings in the child’s family. The purpose of this collection of articles (parts one and two) is to share some useful information about autism, raise awareness of how to support parents and families who have a child with autism, and to share some helpful resources to these parents.

Part One: What is Autism?

In 2016, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued the newest report, showing that the rate for children with autism in the United States is 1 child in every 68 births. Boys are 4 ½ times more likely to have autism than girls. Children with autism grow, learn, and have individual interests like other children, but they think in a different way. Some are “high functioning” and may have regular or high intelligence, but lack the ability to communicate, understand social cues, and express themselves like other people. Others are lower functioning and exhibit delays in intelligence. The CDC estimates that a third of children with autism also have an intellectual disability, based on available data.

Autism is referred to as a “spectrum disorder”, because autism affects individual children in a wide variety of ways and different levels of severity. One child with autism may display very different behaviors and symptoms from another child. Many children with ASD have very focused interests and may “obsess” over a certain activity or topic. They can be very friendly and loving, or they may not show any interest in interacting with people at all. Individuals with ASD often have a hard time understanding sarcasm. The symptoms of autism are usually apparent before the age of three. The earlier autism is diagnosed, the more a child can benefit from early intervention and treatment. Some early signs of autism in a young child are:

  • Significantly delayed speech, or a loss of speech skills that were previously developed.
  • Lack of interest in social relationships, difficulty with social interaction, lack of eye contact.
  • Self-stimulatory behavior or repetitive behaviors, such as rocking back and forth or walking in circles.
  • Increase in tantrums, discomfort with sensory processing- extra sensitivity to sight, sound, and smells.

For a guide to typical developmental milestones for infants and young children, visit

Diagnosis of autism should be thoroughly completed by a medical team if there is a suspicion that autism is present. A delay in a certain area of development does not necessarily mean a child has autism, rather several screening tests are used to determine diagnosis.

Children with autism are more likely to also suffer from other health problems such as: sleep irregularity, anxiety, epilepsy, difficulty with eating, ADHD, depression, and gastrointestinal problems.

There is no known single cause for why autism occurs. Research is being done investigating the genetics, environmental substances, problems during pregnancy, and other possible factors behind autism. Brain scans show that there are abnormalities in the brains of children with autism that are not present in normal brains.

Because autism is so varied for different children and families, finding the right treatment for an individual child is varied as well. Children with autism can grow and enjoy life and become contributing, unique members of society, especially when they receive the right help. Early intervention, community support programs, and speech and occupational therapy are common therapy providers. School-age children with autism usually receive an Individual Education Plan (IEP) to set goals for their developmental needs, and may participate in regular classrooms with special supports or in a special education classroom. There are special private schools, which are specific for children with autism, as well.

See Part 2 of this article for guidelines in helping parents with children with autism and finding resources for support.


Autism Society (2016) What is autism. Retrieved from:http: //

Autism Speaks Inc. (Apr. 26, 2017). Autism and health: a special report by autism speaks. Retrieved from:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Dec. 5, 2016). Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Retrieved from:

Williamson, S.A, (2009) Approaching autism: a qualitative review of maternal and familial adaptation among families of children with autism. In All Theses and Dissertations. Retrieved from:

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Positive and Negative Reinforcement


When it comes to children, teaching them behaviors that they need to repeat and not repeat is never an easy task.

But what makes decisions on parenting a lot easier is understanding the benefits of encouraging or discouraging certain behaviors. Both positive and negative reinforcements are used for all age categories and levels of mental activity.  All of us can profit from reinforcement but especially developing children, teenagers, elderly, and those with psychological or developmental issues. They are all in need of positive and negative reinforcement to help accomplish certain tasks or milestones.

Borrowed from “Teaching Your Children Through Positive Parenting”

Positive reinforcement is defined by as “the offering of desirable effects or consequences for a behavior with the intention of increasing the chance of that behavior being repeated in the future.” Research on parenting consistently shows that positive reinforcement tends to be very beneficial to the development of positive behaviors and habits. So what are some examples of positive reinforcement?

  • Giving a child a compliment or candy for a job well done.
  • Getting paid for a completed task.
  • Watching your favorite TV show after doing all your homework.
  • Giving a dolphin a fish for doing a trick.
  • Awarding your dog a treat for sitting, laying, rolling over.
  • Getting a candy bar after putting money in the machine.

Now, negative reinforcement isn’t always a bad thing.  However, when used in an extreme manner, it can produce undesired behaviors. Negative reinforcement is defined as “the reinforcing of a response by giving an aversive stimulus when the response is not made and omitting the aversive stimulus when the response is made.”  The definition is a mouthful and alone doesn’t tell us exactly how this reinforcement is carried out, so here are a few examples of negative reinforcement used in a good way.

  • You say, “Thank you for helping me clean! I can finish now.” In the future, your child is more likely to clean because it wasn’t as difficult of a task as they thought.
  • Your child refuses to do their homework so you continue to ask them repeatedly to do it. They eventually do it so you will stop asking.
  • If you tell your child to take 3 more bites or they won’t get dessert, in the future they will know they can get dessert after only taking 3 bites.
  • Your child refuses to go to sleep, so you tell them he doesn’t have to wash the dishes the next day if he goes to bed on time. You are taking away something they hate in order to encourage going to bed on time.

As you can see, both positive and negative reinforcements can be used and produce both positive and negative behaviors. Parents generally tend to focus on the negative behaviors because they are more disruptive and sometimes unacceptable, especially in calm home or outside settings. As a parent, you are able to make the decision on how to use positive or negative reinforcement to help your child grow and develop.

As a final thought, The National Physicians Center gives this admonition,

“Please remember–if your children demonstrate negative behaviors, always give them opportunities to change that behavior–never leave them feeling hopeless.”

Click to to view the Physicians Center’s newsletter on positive and negative reinforcements and below are resources to help you better help each of your children through each phase of their life.


Baron, A., & Galizio, M. (2006). The Distinction Between Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Use With Care. The Behavior Analyst29(1), 141–151.

Lapham, P. (2014). Consequences. [Blog] Teaching Your Children Through Positive Parenting. Available at: [Accessed 24 Jul. 2017].

Whittle S, Simmon JG, et al.  Positive parenting predicts the development of adolescent brain structure:  A longitudinal study.  Develop Cognitive Neuroscience.  2014; 8: 7 – 17

The National Physicians Center, Prescriptions for Parents: Making Scientific Research Practical for Families, Encouraging positive behaviors in children and adolescents.

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What if my Child is Afraid of Going to the Doctor?

One of the troubling dilemmas a parent might deal with is the question of whether talking to their child about what will happen at the doctor’s office in the days before will just build more anxiety, or if it will help prepare them to be less afraid. While it can be detrimental to dwell on the worries of visiting the doctor before going, it can also be quite problematic if a child is brought to the doctor by surprise, or lied to about where they are going.  Several experts share the following advice on how to prepare your child for a doctor visit, without stressing them out even more.

  • One of the most important things parents can do is to be calm themselves. If a parent is anxious at the doctor, the child will get his cues from the parent and also be afraid. Find ways to deal with the apprehension you may have about your child’s doctor experience. Try not to let your child see these feelings.
  • Tell your child about the appointment a couple days in advance. Karen Stephens, director of Illinois State University Child Care Center, says, “A week’s notice is too long for young kids, because they forget easily, and a week gives school-age children too much time to fret and worry.”
  • Be very honest, but positive. Dr. Lindenberg, MD, a pediatrician at Scripps Coastal Medical Center advises, “Never lie to a child and never make promises that may be broken during a visit. For example, you shouldn’t promise that a visit to the doctor won’t hurt, because there may be immunizations or blood draws. What you can say is, “I don’t know if you will get a shot this time. If you do, it will be over very quickly and will probably feel like a pinch.”
  • Fears can be eased by helping a young child become familiar with the experience of a trip to the doctor office. You might consider letting them perform role plays with toy doctor equipment at home, observing the doctor visits of older siblings, reading helpful books about visiting the doctor, and briefly going over what to expect when you are there. During these activities, take a chance to explain some of the equipment that the doctor uses. The Fred Rogers website has a video about going to the doctor from the Mister Rogers television show that may appeal to little ones and ease their concerns at
  • “Research has shown that children who sit on a parent’s lap (rather than away from their parent on a table) while receiving a shot or medicine show less anxiety. (Probably because they feel more safe and secure)” (Stephens, K., 2007).
  • Make the trip a special and fun occasion. Allow your child to bring a special blanket or stuffed animal with them if it helps them to feel comforted. Avoid using bribes for children to behave, but it is helpful to make it a fun occasion by having a special activity afterwards or going for ice cream on the way home. Dr. Benjamin Kligler, an Associate Medical Director in New York City, says, “Instead of bribing or threatening a young child into going to the doctor, ask him what fun thing he would like to do afterwards. Use this as an incentive, rather than a reward for good behavior, because it’s normal for young kids to get upset during the visit.

One of the frustrating things about raising children is not being able to control the influences that come into their lives, sometimes creating false perceptions of the world. A child’s fear about going to the doctor is usually partially based on their observations of other’s reactions. An older sibling or neighbor might talk about being scared to get a shot at the doctor, and voila! Your younger child is likely going to be afraid too. Besides the influence of others, visiting the doctor is naturally a frightening experience for a child, especially on the first visit (at least the first visit they actually remember, that is).

Vaccines are often a cause of concern for kids and parents because they hurt and parents often don’t understand why it’s best that their children receive them. If you’re a parent with concerns regarding immunizations, click to view the ACPeds handouts on the Origin and Production of Vacciness in the United States and the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine.

For some more helpful tips and ideas on quelling your child’s fears (and any of your own) about doctor visits, view the following resources:

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Improving Your Toddler’s Aggressive Behavior

Toddlers are at quite the exciting stage of life! They are grasping the power of language, can navigate around more proficiently, and are realizing that they can make their own choices and exert their own influence on the world around them. Additionally, around age two, many toddlers hit the peak in the number of acts of physical aggression towards others (1). The sweet, cherub-cheeked little girl can shock her parents with a startling bite on the arm, during a sudden outburst from experiencing a disappointment.

Parents often struggle to understand how to stop the biting, hitting, kicking, and scratching that their toddler seems to be resorting to more and more. Its stressful for the whole family, hurts badly despite your child’s small size, and can be quite embarrassing right in the middle of the grocery store!

There are multiple possible reasons for a child’s aggressive actions, including fear, frustration, feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, jealousy, anger, and un-obtained wants. They feel completely out of control, and most likely do not want to harm their friends or family members. For toddlers, aggression sometimes results because they are unable to communicate their wants and needs verbally.

Claire Lerner, a licensed clinical social worker and child development specialist, wrote an article entitled “Aggressive Behavior in Toddlers.” About aggression, she counsels that, “Toddlers also don’t have the self-control to stop themselves from acting on their feelings. They are just beginning to develop empathy—the ability to understand how others feel. So, they cannot yet say, Mommy, I am mad that Zachary grabbed my favorite doll. But I know he just wants to play with me. So how about I offer him a different doll to play with? Instead, your toddler may bop Zachary on the head with a toy truck.”

For parents, it is very easy to feel angry when your child reacts aggressively. It can be very hurtful and confusing. According to Lerner, “Parents often expect that as their older toddlers become more and more verbal and advanced in their thinking skills, they are capable of more self-control than they really are. This stage of development can be very confusing because while your 2 ½-year-old may be able to tell you what the rule is, she still does not have the impulse control to stop herself from doing something she desires. At this age, emotions still trump thinking skills almost every time.”

Lerner recommends three general steps for managing a young child’s aggression. They are:

  • Observe and Learn. Consider what the underlying reasons for your child’s behavior could be. This might be a temporary occurrence with a playmate, or a deeper underlying issue. Also, watch for a pattern of common times and situations when the behavior happens. Also check yourself for how you respond and your ability to remain calm when the problems happen.
  • Respond to your child based on your best understanding of the behavior. It is most helpful to plan ahead for when aggression is likely to occur and take preventative measures. Distractions can be a good tool for helping your child avoid acting out. Help your child recognize his emotions and how he can cope more appropriately. Give your child an alternative where he can “channel his energy.”
  • Help your older toddler (2 ½ to 3), who is beginning to understand logic and rational thinking, learn from his actions. Guide your child in recognizing how her behavior affects others and herself and help her think about how they can act differently.

For the full article see:

Image from


  1. Lerner, C. & Parlakian, R. (Feb. 1, 2016). Aggressive behavior in toddlers. Retrieved from
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Benefits of “Baby Talk”: Infant Language Stimulation

When a new baby is around a group of adults, chances are that you will hear many people launch into an animated, high-pitched voice and make silly sounds that would be quite amusing out of context. It just so happens that this type of silly communication we use in fawning over babies is helpful to their learning. Sometimes referred to as “mother-ese” or even “baby talk”,

Infant-Directed Speech is the speaking style that adults often use to speak to their babies in a certain voice register, with exaggerated pronunciation of syllables, and a slower pace. 

This is something that most parents all over the world seem to naturally do, but research consistently proves that this manner of talking is beneficial for your young child’s language development. Babies’ brains are primed for the fast accumulation of words and language comprehension, but they need adults to talk to them and around them for them to learn. Experts say that babies need to hear a word about 500 times before they say them! (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 2015). Infant-directed speech is a way that adults make learning words and sounds a little easier.

  • Several studies have found results showing that babies will pay attention longer to an adult using infant-directed speech than to adult-directed speech (Spinelli, 2017).
  • Brain scans on infants revealed higher amounts of brain activity for babies listening to infant-directed speech, than for normal speech (Naoi, 2012).
  • Further research on infant-directed speech has found that children who were exposed to more infant-directed speech at age 1, tend to have a larger vocabulary at age 2 than children who were exposed to less. (Ramirez, 2014).

Note: Once children are above the age of 3, they benefit more from being spoken to in a normal tone of voice. They can recognize what “baby talk” is and don’t benefit from knowing that they are being spoken to like a baby- they want to feel big! Additionally, as they are already developing language acquisition, they learn from observing your modeling of how to talk and communicate in the proper way. Avoid using incorrect terms for things, like mimicking how they say “basketti” instead of “spaghetti” (even if it is absolutely adorable) so you can help them hear the correct word.

Tips for Helping Your Infant or Toddler Develop Language

  • Use “self-talk.” Narrate your day to day activities for your child as you go. It may seem funny to talk to your child before they can answer back, but they are listening! For example, say “Now I’m getting a new diaper!” during diaper changing, or “I’m cooking soup for dinner!” in the kitchen. They need to hear the different sounds of speech and associate words you say with what they see you do. Children typically learn language comprehension at a faster rate than they learn language production. They may understand a lot more than they can say. Some research shows that babies can understand many words at 7 months old and “practice them in their brains” (Shere, 2014).
  • Label what a child is doing and objects of interest for them. This is called “parallel talk”. For example, say, “You found the ball!”, when they reach for the ball. Use simple phrases for actions, such as saying “coats on!” when getting ready to go outside. (Walker & Bigelow, 2012).
  • For children under age 1, you can talk to them often and repeat simple sounds for them, letting them watch your mouth as you do. Repeating sounds such as “ba ba ba ba” or “da da da da da” breaks down language into a much simpler form for them. This may come through imitating the sounds that your child makes.
  • Read books with your child, starting at a young age. Help them come to learn that books are wonderful and fun. Use thick, board books that are less breakable for young toddlers and let them handle them. They might want a certain story to be read over and over again!
  • Singing songs and teaching children nursery rhymes are valuable learning tools because of the repetition of sounds. Children can learn songs at a young age. Music can teach them vocabulary, rhyming, math, social skills, and other things!
  • Follow what a child seems interested in and talk about those things. They will learn more as you use words to contribute to what they are already playing or show responsiveness to. (Walker & Bigelow, 2012).
  • When a child begins to make one or two word phrases like “Dog!”. Expand their words by adding detail and sentence structure. Say, for example, “Yes, that’s grandpa’s dog! He is little!”

So how can you help your baby or toddler develop language skills at an appropriate pace?

Talk to them and talk a lot! The more you engage them in the use of language the more easily and quickly they will be soon be speaking to you.

For more information, see the following resources:

A quick and helpful video from licensed speech pathologist, Kimberly Scanlon, author of the book, My Toddler Talks.

For a helpful guide on promoting language development for your infant and toddler, see: –

Watch this video: for a guide on the developmental milestones in language during your baby’s first year of life.

Video on research from San Diego University about how a child’s early language comprehension affects their later development:


Albert Einstein College of Medicine. (Apr. 15, 2015). Developmental Milestones: Baby Talk from First Sounds to First Words. Retrieved from:

Skanlan, K. (Jun 26, 2013). Speech Therapy for Toddlers: 5 Great Tips! Retrieved from:

  1. Naoi, Y. Minagawa-Kawai, A. Kobayashi, K. Takeuchi, K. Nakamura, J. Yamamoto, S. Kojima. (2012). Cerebral responses to infant-directed speech and the effect of talker familiarity Neuroimage, 59(2), 1735–1744.
  2. Ramirez-Esparza, A. Garcia-Sierra, P.K. Kuhl. (2014). Look who’s talking: Speech style and social context in language input to infants are linked to concurrent and future speech development. Developmental Science, 17(6), 880–891

Shere, J. (Nov. 7, 2014). Baby talk. In A Moment of Science. Retrieved from:

Spinelli, M., Fasolo, M., & Mesman, J. (2017). Does prosody make the difference? A meta-analysis on relations between prosodic aspects of infant-directed speech and infant outcomes. Developmental Review, 441-18. doi:10.1016/j.dr.2016.12.001

Walker, D. & Bigelow, K. (2012). Strategies for Promoting Communication and Language of Infants and Toddlers. Juniper Gardens Children’s Project. Retrieved from:

Photo obtained from


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The Scoop on ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a topic filled with diverse opinions. To some, it seems like a modern trend that can hardly count as a real diagnosis. For parents of children with ADHD, it is often a central focus of their lives, the cause of much stress, concern, and early grey hairs. Others struggle with the understanding of what causes ADHD and whether or not medications are the sole best way to remedy it.

All of the contradicting, heated opinions and research can leave a parent overwhelmed with how to best help their ADHD child succeed. Some assume that it is just poor parenting behind diagnoses of ADHD, and this only adds to the feelings of guilt and confusion for anxious parents.

ADHD Basics

ADHD is considered a developmental disorder, or set of characteristics, that develops in childhood, typically before age 13. It is not considered something that adults can develop, who did not already have it in childhood. The main symptoms of ADHD are:

  • Difficulty with impulse control, delayed gratification, and resistance to distractions.
  • “Excessive task-irrelevant activity” (Barkley & Murphy, 2006) and restlessness. Children with ADHD often display fidgeting and other movements that are unrelated to the task at hand.

Those with ADHD also may display difficulty in regulating emotions, impaired problem-solving, and struggles to maintain motivation to complete tasks that they do not find interesting.

What is the Difference Between ADD and ADHD?

ADHD is considered the official term in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, those diagnosed with ADHD do not always have the “hyperactivity” symptoms, and commonly use the term ADD. In other words, ADD merely refers to ADHD without hyperactivity. Formerly, there were two separate diagnoses for ADHD and ADD, but now they are both officially lumped together as ADHD and “ADHD, inattentive subtype”, although the term ADD is still widely used.

Other Facts about ADHD

  • The majority of research shows that the use of stimulant medications to treat ADHD leads to the best and most lasting results.
  • Many doctors recommend that improving nutritional diet, exercise, and adding structure to a person’s schedule will enhance the effectiveness of medication and improve focus overall.
  • The Centers for Disease control recommends that children ages 6 and up receive behavioral therapy in combination with medication for ADHD. Less than 1 in 3 receive this ideal approach, with many receiving only medication.
  • “Because behavioral therapy is the safest ADHD treatment for children under the age of 6, it should be used first, before ADHD medication for those children,” according to researcher Ileana Arias.
  • It is estimated that genes and heritability account for 80% of the development of ADHD.
  • ADHD may be underdiagnosed in girls and in minorities. They may display less of the hyperactivity component and be able to hide their inability to focus through the desire to appear compliant.
  • Children who have ADHD are more likely to also have depression (20-30% of those with ADHD) and anxiety, as well as other mental and emotional disorders.
  • ADHD in children does not always include behavioral issues and defiance. It also can be displayed in forgetfulness and difficulty in following through with a task.

Suggestions for Parents of a Child with ADHD

The National Resource Center on ADHD recommends that the first ways parents can begin helping their child with ADHD are:

  • Avoid self-blaming. This will “waste your limited emotional energy” (National Resources Center on ADHD, 2017). ADHD is a health disorder and is not the cause of imperfect parenting. There is much research showing that most ADHD cases are genetically linked.
  • Research and learn about ADHD. It is important to be careful to separate inaccurate or incomplete information from true information. Focus on scholarly and reputable websites.
  • Make sure your child’s assessment is comprehensive. Rule out the possibility of other disorders being the cause of symptoms, and include medical, educational, and psychological evaluations.
  • Be actively involved in your child’s education as an advocate. Keep careful records of all your child’s evaluations and records. Be involved in the creation of your child’s Individual Education Plan, if he or she has one, and work with teachers and school staff as a team.
  • Reach out for help from support groups, counseling, and classes for behavior management. Never try to face the situation alone. Seeking out others who can understand will relieve a lot of stress.
  • Focus on your child’s strengths. Help your child understand that you will love them unconditionally. Set aside a regular time when you can spend one-on-one time with your child with positive interactions. Notice even the small accomplishments your child achieves.

Despite the challenges associated with the negative side of ADHD, through treatment and a few lifestyle adjustments, children and adults with ADHD can find great success and fulfillment in life.

For more information


Fink, J. W. (2016). Inside ADHD. Scholastic Teacher, 125(4), 41.

Hallowell, E.M. (2017), ADHD overview: Top ten questions on ADHD. Retrieved from:

  1. A. Barkley & K. R. Murphy (2006) Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A clinical workbook (3rd ed.). New York: Guilford Publications. Copyright 2006 by Guilford Publications. Reprinted with permission.
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Talking to Teenagers about Drugs & Alcohol


Parents are arguably the most important person on a child’s side in helping them to avoid addiction to alcohol and harmful drugs. Teenagers who have regular, serious conversations about drug prevention with their parents are around 50% less likely to use drugs than those who don’t, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health of 2012. (5)

Click for original infographic with sources

Knowing when and how to talk about such a deep subject with a child, whether they may be using drugs or not, is difficult. It takes courage and careful listening for your child. The following are some tips on talking to children about drugs, taken from some leading websites in teen drug prevention.

How to Talk to Your Teen about Marijuana (and other Drugs)


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Young Children and Sports

There are many benefits to sports programs for youth. Children learn new skills, sportsmanship, work ethics, responsibility, and teamwork. They gain physical strength and agility, as well as overall improved health.  They learn to win graciously (we hope) and accept and learn from failure. They get a chance to socialize, make new friends and just have fun!

But there are always hazards to any sports activity.

In recent news, reports have emphasized the problem with concussions. How can you help your child properly prepare and train to avoid injury?

  • Make sure your child has and uses the proper equipment to protect them from injury.
  • Make sure your child eats a healthy diet. The food they eat becomes fuel for their bodies. To participate in sports they need to be healthy on the inside as well as on the outside.
  • Make sure they are getting enough sleep. This helps their bodies regain the strength they lost during the day.
  • Encourage your child to play a variety of sports. This provides the benefit of varied activity while facing additional physical and psychological demands from intense training and competition.
  • Limit the amount of time your child spends training or practicing a sport.
  • Do not encourage a child to “work through” an injury. Make sure the injury is checked out by a doctor if necessary and give the child adequate time to heal.
  • Before practices and games make sure your child warms up their muscles.

Children should take responsibility for eating well, keeping hydrated, doing the proper stretching exercises, and getting the rest they need.  They should also report any pain or unusual symptoms to their parents or coach.

Parents take the responsibility of their child having a complete physical, providing proper nutrition and hydration, and following any directions given by the coach or doctor.  They are also responsible for providing any protective gear and equipment needed such as proper shoes, shin guards, mitts, masks, padding, etc. If child sustains an injury, they should see that proper medical help is sought.

Coaches should conduct practices in a safe manner, providing adequate rest and recovery, hydration, and requiring proper safety gear and equipment, and instruction on how to use the gear and equipment properly.  Coaches should follow up on any injuries sustained during practice or play and bench any player that might have sustained a serious injury.

Sports organizations should provide materials and instructions about age requirements, safety and safety equipment, as well as insurance requirements. Teams should be divided into age or gender appropriate categories.

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to let your child venture out and participate.

Just be prepared!

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Being a Responsible Citizen by Strengthening Marriage and Family


Alan J. Hawkins, a professor at Brigham Young University, wrote an article entitled “Responsible Citizenship to Strengthen Marriage and Family” that was originally published in the Marriage and Families journal in 2006. The following is from his article.

“Citizens of democratic governments enjoy great freedoms, but they also carry a burden of responsibility… All citizens should bear the burden of good government… There are many causes related to family life that need our involvement. One of the most crucial, contemporary challenges is the need to strengthen the institution of marriage.

He states that there are many people in the US that still want and believe in traditional marriage and families, but “the divorce and sexual revolutions have diminished the institution of marriage.”

To aid in this effort of strengthening marriage and families, Hawkins lists four ideas that can readily be applied to supporting any good cause. Here is what he says…

  • Be informed. “Our active participation in public life will be more effective when we take the time to study the issues, learn about relevant research, and stay current. Fortunately, this is easier to do than ever before with the widespread availability of the Internet. There are many good websites to visit to gain current information and research about marriage and family issues.”
  • Collaborate with other like-minded individuals and groups. He says that sometimes we may need to start our own initiative when no one else is working in that area, but more often than not, there are established initiatives that would benefit from our added efforts. He cautions that sometimes we have to compromise when joining another group, but we can keep our beliefs by supporting other groups that help promote all the measures we are concerned with.
  • Strive to avoid contention and never promote it. “This can be difficult when we are involved with moral principles to which we bring a lot of passion.” But it is always worth the effort to be peaceful with those that disagree with us.
  • Our desires to help strengthen other marriages and families in our communities should not come at the expense of our own spouses and children. “Zeal has a way sometimes of overtaking our better judgment.”

We need to make sure we are always putting our best efforts to strengthening our own marriages and families before we help others strengthen theirs.

Linda Waite, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, also urges people to speak up.

“I think we have to talk about marriage. It’s not the same as any other family arrangement. It doesn’t bring the same benefits. Pretending that it does is not doing anyone a service…We have to talk about it as an important institution, and hope that as a result of that conversation people will become more aware of the benefits of marriage.”

Hawkins concludes, “When our seasons and opportunities come, we have civic… duties to bear the burden of responsible citizenship. Offering our public gifts in the service of the most fundamental units of a healthy society—marriage and family—will help to preserve our freedom.”

Can we count on you to share the message?

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