OHEL and Task Force Co-Sponsor Important Community Event:Â Understanding ADHD in Children and Adults
On Wednesday, February 25 in the Young Israel of Kew Garden Hills, OHEL along with The Task Force co-sponsored a free event entitled "Understanding ADHD: Strategies that Turn Struggles into Strengths". Â
Rebbetzin Judi Steinig greeted the large audience. Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, Morah Dâ€™Asrah of Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, thanked the organizers for offering this worthwhile and much needed program to our community.
Dr. Hindie M. Klein, OHEL Director of Clinical Projects and an Executive Member of the Task Force Â introduced Dr. Holzer, who then spoke about Â distractibility, impulsivity, hyperactivity and difficulty organizing. Â He noted that the diagnosis for ADHD has been increasing. Â Some of the behaviors of ADHD include: oppositional behavior, not finishing things, and bothering siblings. Difficulty sitting still and focusing are also part of this. He explained that someone with this disabilityâ€™s sense of time is limited. They do things last minute. They need strategies to help them keep appointments. They need reminders and schedules. Smart phones can be helpful. Â He stressed the importance of helping all children to find areas of success and accomplishment. Dr. Holzer pointed out that boys are not given the same outlets and opportunities to succeed like girls. They donâ€™t have time for chesed activities or doing volunteer work in the community and this makes it difficult for some children to succeed. He stated, â€śKids donâ€™t fall off the derech. We push them off.â€ť He taught that data shows that ADHD is a major risk factor for kids to go off the derech. This is due to the difficulty they have being successful in the system. When we can understand ADHD and we treat it, then they can do well. He noted he has 100â€™s of stories that were treated and then succeeded in school. â€śIf we are aware and on top of this, then we can make things better for our kids.â€ť Â Â
He went on to explain how detrimental it is for children psychologically and emotionally when they donâ€™tâ€™ do well in school and this hurts their self-esteem. Â He pointed out that school is not life. The key is to get through school with self-esteem intact. We need to capitalize on kidsâ€™ strengths and enable them to succeed. Â He urged everyone to stop being afraid of labels and treatment. We have to focus on the childrenâ€™s strengths. Behavior therapy means the parents learn how to help their children.
Next Rabbi Baruch Ber Bender, Executive Member of Task Force, introduced Rabbi Ytizchak Goldberg PHD. Â Rabbi Goldberg began by stating that he has treated one thousand children with ADHD and helped them to integrate into mainstream schools. He announced that education belongs to every child. Every child should have a chance to succeed.
He then introduced the concept of the fundamental attribution error which means we see somebody doing a behavior and we label or judge that person. Kids with ADHD are called wild, crazy or angry. We need to realize they are not these labels. They are a child with a disability. Children with ADHD could be awesome if given the skills and discipline they need. We should not lower the bar by committing that fundamental attribution error.Â
Dr. Goldberg then outlined four general areas of parenting that help with ADHD. The first one is self- care. We must take care of ourselves to maintain positivity and still keep the children accountable. The second is knowledge. We need specific knowledge to deal with the behaviors.
Dr. Goldberg then detailed types of reinforcement. He cautioned we should be careful to reinforce good behavior not negative ones. He explained that a large percet of misbehaviors in school is motivated by a desire to get out of work. He then explained how intermittent reinforcement doesnâ€™t work well with oppositional defiant kids. He noted that this is why it is so important to be consistent. He also noted that one form of positive reinforcement is our emotions. Kids are good at getting out our emotions.
Next, Dr. Goldberg listed three methods to motivate children: 1. be great at praising. View your relationship as an emotional bank account. We need to praise specific behaviors. 2. Be good at commanding. We want kids to listen to authority. Then we can praise them for listening. Then they will internalize that they are good at listening. He Â emphasized when giving a command we should remove â€śpleaseâ€ť which means its optional and â€śthank youâ€ť which means they are doing it for us and â€ścan youâ€ť which implies a question.Â
He suggested a count-down method which helps Â children with ADHD to Â have time awareness. Â For example say, â€śClean up the toys.â€ť Pause and then count down, â€ś5, 4, 3, 2, 1.â€ť If child refuses then go straight to a warning. â€śIf you donâ€™t clean up the toys then â€¦â€ť List a specific consequence. Â He also mentioned the principle of pre correction where you are proactive and remind them of the rules before a transition.
Dr. Goldberg further explained that behind every misbehavior there is a misplaced perception of entitlement. Consequences need to involve their understanding that the things they have are privileges and if they misbehave then they lose that privilege. The consequence teaches, while a punishment makes someone afraid.
The evening ended with questions and answers. Â The audience left with a better understanding of ADHD and with some strategies to try to help. An underlying message throughout the evening was that it is important to not be afraid to seek help and treatment for this disability so that both children and adults can experience success.Â
Since 1969, OHEL Childrenâ€™s Home and Family Services has served as a dependable haven of individual and family support, helping people of all ages effectively manage disability, surmount everyday challenges, heal from trauma, and manage with strength and dignity during times of crises.