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Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

American Children and ADD/ADHD

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I want to share a chance remark, at a recent doctor’s appointment, that got me really thinking about American children and ADD/ADHD. At a routine medical check-up my Vitamin D levels were checked, and they came up a little low. My doctor’s next comment really caught my attention. “You know,” he said “Vitamin D deficiency is almost an epidemic among American children.” “Why?” I asked. “Vitamin D is considered the ‘sunshine vitamin’ he said. Kids don’t play outside like they used to do, and even when they do they are covered in sunscreen. They’re not getting it in their diet either.” Out of curiosity I asked, “What are the symptoms?” “Some symptoms could be weak bones, fatigue, irritability, inattention …he explained” I had a “Light Bulb” moment! “Wow” I said. “Do you think that could explain why so many more children seem to have ADD/ADHD issues?” Not being his field of expertise, he was reluctant to comment.

I need to stress that I am not a physician, and would never give advice I was not qualified to give. However, based on the information I learned from that chance remark, if my child was experiencing the symptoms presented by ADD/ADHD as a parent the very first thing I would do, is have his or her pediatrician check Vitamin D levels!

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#4 CarolW 2010-05-15 19:12
As I understand it, vitamin supplements are not as readily absorbed into the bloodstream as vitamins gained the old-fashioned way, which is through our diets. Not a bad idea to add some leafy greens or other foods rich in D to the family's diet until a possible D deficiency can be determined.
#3 Kim T 2010-05-07 14:42
just stopping by for a visit :-) very interesting! Now I won't feel so badly when I let them play outside for 10 minutes without slathering on the sunblock!
#2 jglennon 2010-05-04 15:42
Diet is important. Exercise is important. But neither of these will teach the skills our children need to succeed. We have to do that.

Recent research has also shown us that immediate reward or reinforcement has almost the same effect as medication; the reward centers of the brain respond nearly the same way.

Combining immediate feedback with behavior shaping and cognitive training is also quite effective. My wife and I used Play Attention (www.playattention.com) with our son, Alex. We were so successful that I used it at my school when I was principal. It combines attention training, memory training, cognitive skill training, and behavior shaping into one program.

We have to step up as parents and educators to do more. We have to find things that will work for us. It's a long road.
#1 EARCARSTO 2010-05-02 11:04
MOST OF THE TIME YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE A ROCKET SCIENTIST TO FIGURE THESE THINGS OUT..WATCH T.V GET FAT..DON'T EAT RIGHT GET SICK..PLAY GAMES ALL DAY WITH YOU GAME BOY, WHATEVER..LEARN VIOLENCE, DON'T PLAY OUT SIDE OR SHARE OR GIVE TOO MUCH, WATCH THESE VIOLET MUSIC VIDEO, (POINTING A GUN TO YOUR MOUTH) THEN YOU WONDER WHY OUR KIDS ARE NOT EDUCATED, VIOLENT, LIFE LESS, FAT, MEAN AND BULLYING..YOU JUST NEED A LITTLE COMMON SENSE. PARENTS NEED TO BE IN CONTROL AGAIN..LESS SHOPPING IN THE STORE..AND MORE TO THE PARK OR WALKS OR ANYTHING TO GET OUR CHILDREN BACK ON TRACK..OUR CHILDREN WERE ALMOST 15 BEFORE THEY GOT TO SEE A T.V.

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