ADHD accommodations for adults in the workplace

ADHD Accommodations for Adults In The Workplace

If you are a parent of a child with ADHD, you may be familiar with some of the classroom accommodations that are typically recommended. These may include sitting in the front of the class and getting a hard copy of the notes, for example.

These accommodations prove to be beneficial… so what about when the classroom days are over and you are supposed to rely on yourself to stay productive and organized in the workplace?

Whether you are an adult diagnosed with ADHD or think you may have ADHD, here are some workplace accommodations to consider:

  1. Take breaks: go for a walk or sit outside with some coffee or tea.ADHD accommodations for adults in the workplace
  2. Avoid working in a cubicle, if possible, to avoid distractions.
  3. If you don’t have a door to close, wear ear plugs during times you need to focus.
  4. If your boss does not set a deadline for you, set your own!
  5. Break large projects into smaller tasks.
  6. Keep a paper trail!
  7. If a co-worker requests something from you, have them send it in an email.
  8. Keep a bulletin or dry erase board nearby and write down any important dates, notes, or ideas right after you hear them and go back and add them to a calendar or notebook.
  9. When you are given an assignment, repeat it back in your own words to make sure you understand (and remember!) all parts.

These are accommodations you can implement yourself. If you think you might need something a little more concrete, you do have the choice of disclosing your ADHD diagnosis to your employer and working with them to help you be even more successful!

These awesome tips were derived from the book, 10 Simple Solutions to Adult ADHD by Stephanie Moulton Sarkis, PhD. It is a great book that has more tips and tricks to stay organized and accomplish your goals!








5 Ways to Improve Fine Motor Skills with Valentines

It’s that special time of the year again. Bags of candy and cards adorned with hearts and kind messages line the aisles of our local grocery and convenient stores. Our kids wait with great anticipation for their classroom Valentine’s Day parties when they are allowed to pass out and receive cards; play games, and eat delicious sugar-filled treats. While this time of the year can be difficulty to enjoy as we’re trudging through the snow covered streets, try to take time to enjoy the season and help your child to spruce up her fine motor skills!

5 ways to turn Valentine’s Day into a platform for improving fine motor skills:

  1. Cutting: This year, instead of buying pre-made cards from the grocery store, help your children cut their own cards from their favorite colored construction paper. For the younger kids, cutting straight lines for a square or cutting across a piece of paper to create smaller squares is the first place to start. For kiddos who are older (4 ½- 6), try to encourage them to cut simple shapes including circles or hearts. If your child is up for the challenge, encourage her to cut out the shape using a hole-puncher. The resistance that the hole puncher provides and repetitive motion to cut the entire shape will surely improve your child’s hand strength. Cutting is an excellent way to improve hand strength, bilateral coordination, visual motor skills, and fine motor planning.
  2. Writing Name: Making Valentines cards is an excellent way for your child to practice writing her name. Practice and repetition is key in building new foundational skills. What a better way to provide repetition than asking your child to sign a card for all of her classmates? If a child needs more help, try to show her how you would write her name, letter by letter, on a separate piece of paper. In your child’s handwriting skills are advanced, encourage her to write a short message to her best friends. The more she practices, the better her handwriting will become!
  3. Gluing: Gluing is another way to promote fine motor skills and hand strength. If your child chooses to use a glue stick, encourage her to use her dominant hand with the same grasp pattern that she uses for writing and coloring activities with her pencils and markers.
  4. Stickers and Stamps: Placing stickers on cards can also help your child to improve her fine motor control. Bending and manipulating a sheet in order to peel the desired sticker from the page and manipulating the sticker to place it on her Valentine takes a lot of patience, bilateral coordination, and fine motor planning.
  5. Folding: Folding is a very challenging activity for a lot of kiddos. Practicing manipulating paper so that the sides match up while folding and stabilizing the two ends together to create a crease in the middle of the paper requires a lot of visual and fine motor planning.

Valentine’s Day, as with many other holidays, affords children an opportunity to practice their fine motor skills. There should not be any limits to their creativity in making cards for their friends. Encourage them to practice new and emerging fine motor skills this season as they’re creating their cards!

The Quest to End Bedwetting

Do you feel frustrated, helpless, and out of options when it comes to your child’s continuous bedwetting? Do you feel like you have tried every intervention without resolve?

Try these 4 tips for a happy and dry night:

1. Check in with your own emotions.

Bed-wetting

Your child’s bedwetting is an event that occurs while your child is asleep. He is not purposefully trying to defy your instruction and make you upset.  Bedwetting is an act that happens while he is unaware. Know that he is struggling with this as much as you are. To help you manage your emotions around bedwetting, do the following:

  • Plan ahead your response so you can handle whatever situation may lie in front of you.
  • Prepare a standard response for when your child has had an accident and a response for when he is clean.
  • Keep realistic expectations as well; just because your child stayed dry one night doesn’t mean this will be the new standard.
  • Prepare for the worst and be excited by his successes.

If your child wakes up and you notice he had an accident, you will be prepared for how to proceed in a more objective and a less emotionally reactive way.

2. Use a Motivational Incentive Chart.

Encourage your child to increase dry nights by motivating him with positive reinforcement (i.e. treats, rewards, extra privileges). Create a weekly chart that can document dry nights with a sticker or special decal. For every dry night, the child gets the sticker. If the child earns all 5 stickers for the week, or all 7 depending on what the individual family goals are, the child will receive a reward. These do not have to break the bank. Something simple, like allowing the child to choose the family meal over the weekend, earning a date with mom or dad, choosing a special restaurant to eat at, or being able to sit in the special spot on the couch during family movie night can all increase investment in the child to work towards dry nights.

3. Use Bedwetting Alarms.

These alarms allow for the child to develop an autonomous response to getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. A special moisture sensor is placed in the child’s pajamas and the first indication of urine will cause an alarm to go off to trigger the child to awaken and go to the bathroom. Initially, it might take a while for the child to automatically respond to this alarm system, so the parent might have to be a part of this process to awaken the child and assist him in going to the bathroom. This process may take several weeks to achieve desired success (child awakening on the own to go to the bathroom), so set your expectations accordingly.

4. Set times to taper liquids and for urination prior to bed.

Keeping a structured nighttime routine also enhances predictability and success for staying dry. Encourage your child to go to the bathroom before bedtime. If this is around the same time every night, it will feel like less of a chore and more of a part of the routine, just like brushing teeth. Don’t limit all liquids prior to bed time, as your child may be thirsty, but provide a small glass of water. Be proactive. Encourage more drinking throughout the day and at dinnertime, provide the whole family with a small glass of water. This will model uniform behavior throughout the household and the child will not feel left out or different than others. Additionally, work towards limited caffeine intake, as this increases urine production.

Bedwetting is frustrating for all family members.  Remember to keep your patience with your child.  He will reach this important milestone in his own time.

Click here to download your complimentary potty training reward chart!

Get the Family Healthy in 2014, Part 2 of 2

Last week, I discussed three New Year’s resolutions to help get your family healthier in 2014. Here are some more ideas. Like I said in last week’s post, adopt as many of these as you think are realistic for your family. Or pick one change to implement each month as the year goes on. By summer, you will see some real changes!

More Fixes for Healthy Family Eating:

1. Eliminate sugary beverages, including juice. This change is pretty simple and can have a huge impact. Sugary beverages are problematic because it’s easy to quickly consume a lot of calories without feeling full. Juice and sports drinks are not ideal drink choices either, as they are just as calorie-dense as other sugary beverages like soda. It is better to get the vitamin C and electrolytes from healthy food choices. Kids rarely need sports drinks to replace electrolytes during or after physical activity unless they are involved in multiple hours of continuous physical activity and are sweating a lot. Chocolate milk is also considered a sugary beverage, and should be replaced with plain milk. If you are wondering how much sugar is in some of your family’s favorite drinks, measure out one teaspoon of table sugar for every 4 grams of sugar in the “Total Sugar” content on the Nutrition Facts Label. Be sure to look at what the serving size is and how many servings your family member is consuming. I have done this experiment with many families, and they are always shocked since no one (not even the kids) would consider drinking that heap of table sugar.

2. Do something active for at least 60 minutes, every day. Encourage your child to be active by having plenty of outlets for physical activity all year round. For days the weather is not conducive for outdoor play, have a bin filled with things like jump ropes, hula hoops, balls, and other toys. Encourage your child to participate in sports or other hobbies that involve physical activity. Be a good example. Find ways to be physically active as a family, such as walking places within a mile or so instead of driving. This is possible even in cold winter months as long as you dress warmly. If your child is resistant to doing fun physical activities, then offer another option— house chores.

3. Limit screen time to less than 2 hours per day. When you think about how many hours your child spends sitting at school, then how many hours they spend sitting doing homework, then how many hours they spend sitting watching TV or playing on the computer—it adds up to a pretty sedentary lifestyle. This is one of the biggest implications of childhood obesity in our culture today. We have transitioned from a society that relied on physical labor to complete daily tasks, to a society that relies on convenience. Kids used to play outdoor games and sports for fun, and now they play video games. I have had some school-age kids tell me that they just don’t know how to play. Set boundaries around screen time. One idea is to have the kids earn screen time by doing 60+ minutes of physical activity and completing homework.

Any of these New Year’s resolutions will make a healthy impact on your family, especially if the whole family is on-board and participating together. The resolutions described are all simple changes, but can be challenging to implement and sustain without commitment. For more personalized planning and troubleshooting, make an appointment with a registered dietitian at North Shore Pediatric Therapy.

Click here if you missed part 1 of this series, Get Your Family Healthy in 2014.

Get the Family Healthy in 2014, Part 1 of 2

The New Year is here, and it’s a great time to make a resolution to get healthy. In order to stick to that New Year’s resolution, be specific about what changes to make. This can help your family execute a plan to ensure positive outcomes. Here are some specific changes that you as a parent can implement to bring about real change for your family’s health this year. I recommend choosing as many of these as you think are realistic to do in your household. Even one real change is better than a handful of half attempts that fail. Good luck!

Easy New Year Health Swaps for the Family:

  1. Replace the refined grains with whole grains. This advice might sound like a broken record, but based on the wide range of clientele I work with, this healthy change is not actually happening in real families. Whole grains maintain the natural fiber, vitamins and minerals that have been stripped from their refined counterparts. Whole grains include whole grain bread, oatmeal, whole grain pancakes, whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, millet, and whole grain cereals. Refined grains are the “white” carbs, such as white bread, white pasta, and the wide variety of processed foods that are made from refined flours. Sometimes it is harder for parents to make this change than it is for the kids, since our generation was raised on refined flours. Trust me, you will get used to it and soon the refined stuff will taste bland and leave you hungry an hour or so after eating. Because whole grains have fiber, they take longer to digest (making you full sooner and longer). Whole grain fiber also plays an important role in binding and excreting fat, both in digestion and circulating lipids in the bloodstream. From the very beginning of feeding your kids as infants and toddlers, remember- kids do not need “kid food”, and they can enjoy whole grain pancakes and whole grain pasta just as much as the white stuff. Be a good example for your kids.
  2. Replace snack foods with fruits or vegetables. And while you’re at it, limit snacks to two per day (one mid-morning or before bed, and one mid-afternoon). This might be the most effective change you can make if you or your family members are big snackers and grazers. Your job is to make sure there are always plenty of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables available to your kids. When it comes to produce, quality matters. Kids will more readily accept things that look and taste fresh, so choose wisely. Local and organic produce is usually more fresh and flavorful than something that may have traveled half way around the world and then sat frozen in a warehouse for months. Enforce this change by telling the kids what their snack options are, then encouraging them to go play or do homework before the next meal (or bedtime).
  3. Limit eating out to once per week or less. Although it is possible to eat healthy when eating out, often it is easier to make unhealthy choices and overeat when eating at restaurants. It may be even more difficult for your kids to eat healthy when eating out as many kids’ menus are limited to foods high in fat and sodium and low in fiber. This may be a challenge for the busy parent who is not used to cooking. If you choose this resolution, be prepared to plan, grocery shop, and cook. Cut corners by using time-saving and healthy cooking methods such as the slow-cooker and stir-frying lean meats and veggies. It may be a difficult change to implement, but it will be very rewarding from a health perspective (and on your budget).

Check the blog next week for more healthy New Year’s resolutions for your family!

Click here for more advice on how to set achievable goals for the new year.

How to Set Achievable Goals for the New Year

Want to set a New Year’s Resolution that not only sounds good, but is feasible to achieve too? Goal setting is a national past time duringhow to set achievable new years goals this time of year as we reflect on what we have accomplished and what changes we can continue to make as we evolve into the person we strive to be.

The first step to success is to be realistic in terms of size and scope of the goal. No one is saying NOT to shoot for the stars and become bikini ready…just opt for bikini ready for 4th of July and not Spring Break. Setting realistic time frames will prevent a defeated attitude since you are not setting yourself up to fail.

Along with this, you need to identify realistic short-term goals that will help you to master smaller steps on your way to your larger goal. Short-term goals help to modify the long-term goal and reduce overwhelming feelings and increase accountability. For example, if you’re child wants to make a resolution to become more organized, don’t assume that by the time winter break is over they’ll be a wiz.

Create manageable short-term goals to help reach a long-term goal.  For example:

Long term goal: Become more organized Read more

The Importance of One-on-One Time to Enhance Family Functioning

Life is busy. Time is never enough. Organization for personal affairs often feels like a game of Tetris.why one-on-one time is essential to family functioning
Despite the shortage of hours in your day, it is important to find quality time with each member of your family.  A family meal or movie works towards strengthening the overall familial system (macro level), but alone time helps foster the individual mezzo level) relationships that embody the family.
Without individual attention paid to your children, the need to seek attention can increase and maladaptive modes to gain this attention may be employed. Negative attention is the attention provided to an individual based on inappropriate means.

Important Communication Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

With Thanksgiving under our belts, holiday season 2013 is well under way. As we begin to pack for adventures across the country or plan for the arrival of house guests, it is crucial to recognize your expectations for the holidays and identify helpful communication strategies to make time with family the ideal picture of perfection.  Read on for communication tips to enjoy the holidays more fully and and to enhance family relations.

Communication Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season:

1. Recognize your expectations.

We all have our ideas of the most picture-perfect holiday: imagine kids playing nicely by the fire place while mom, dad, and in-laws sip hot chocolate and bask in the peace and serenity present in the household. It is not to say that this can’t happen, but it is important to recognize that this may only be YOUR expectation. Honing in on what you want and asking your in-laws prior to their visit about what THEY want will be critical in feeling satisfied with your holiday. Read more

10 Simple Ways to Show Gratitude

It’s been proven that the act of showing gratitude can lead to a happier, more fulfilling life.  The power of showing thanks lies in changing your internal focus from one of negativity (where you focus on the things you DON’T have) to one of positivity (where you focus on the things you DO have).  However, expressing appreciation for the things in your life is often easier said than done, especially on a bad day.  Read on for 10 simple ways to incorporate more gratitude into your day-to-day life.

10 Simple Ways to Be Thankful:

  1. Keep a journal.  At the end of the day, record five things for which you’re grateful in your journal.  Take time to look back periodically at what you’ve written to note the recurring themes. Read more

Create a ‘Fidget’ to Help Your Child Focus This School Year

Markers. Crayons. Pencils. Book-bag. Pens. Glue. Ruler. Scissors. Calculator. Folders. Tennis Shoes. 3-Ring Binder. Notebooks. Etc. The “Back-to-School Checklist” seems to grow longer and longer each year. However, there is one useful item that often does not appear on this list which can help your child to stay focused throughout the ups and downs of the school day.   This item is known as a fidget.

As your child picks, pushes and squeezes his fidget, it will be provide his fingers, hands, and wrists with proprioceptive input. This input is extremely regulating for a lot of children, which can help them to stay focused during class.  Read on for simple instructions to make your own fidget at home.

Simple instructions to make your very own fidget:

  1. Encourage your child to choose his favorite colored balloon.
  2. Use a funnel to fill the balloon with rice or sand so that it is about the size of a baseball.
  3. Tie the balloon’s end into a knot.
  4. With markers, encourage your child to decorate his new fidget as desired. Read more