Counselor’s Corner November 2013
I am so grateful to be a part of this St. Hugo community. I am so often amazed at the kindness, support and generosity of parents and see it reflected in the students here. The other day I had a couple of students in my office who exuding both excitement and nervous energy. They said that there was a new student in their classroom and they wanted to make sure the new student had someone to play with at recess, but they didn’t really know how to approach her. We talked about some strategies they could use to include the new student at lunch and recess. The next day they came in all grins, so proud of how well the afternoon had gone and thrilled to have a new friend. Talk about living by our motto, “It must be different with us!” Their dedication also reminds me of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Thanksgiving prayer, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
In October the 4th grade had “Disabilities Awareness Day”. Thanks so much to Lori Ervin and Holly Mustion for organizing the event this year, and for all the fourth grade parents that helped the kids learn and understand what it would be like to have a wide array of disabilities. I am always impressed with the enthusiasm and empathy our fourth graders display during the day.
Project T.E.A.M. is underway. The students have some tremendous and creative ideas for things they are hoping to do for charity and for our school. Of course, their first order of business was setting up the 7th and 8th grade dance. Mark your calendars, the dance will be Friday, January 10th from 6 – 9 p.m. We will need lots of parents to help chaperone. Please let me know if you can help!
My ”Parenting Tip of the Month” debunks some myths surrounding ADHD. I recently saw a report listing the top 10 “Myths about ADHD” and it made me laugh because I’ve heard many of these myths being quoted during the time I’ve been at St. Hugo. Now, I’ll admit I’ve added my own little twist on some of them, but the facts remain the same:
Myth #1: If Sr. Margaret finds out that your students has been diagnosed with ADHD. (S)he will be “kicked out” of St. Hugo School.
Fact: Seriously?! Have you MET Sr. Margaret? I promise you that she wants the best education possible for your kids and she is 100% sure that St. Hugo is the best place possible for that (me too)! Also, did you know that the prevalence of ADHD has increased to 10.3%? We have MANY bright students at St. Hugo, who also happen to have ADHD, whom we are proud are part of the St. Hugo family. In fact, I have a list of interesting and highly intelligent people that had ADHD…we sure would hate to have missed having kids like them in our school! The list includes: Ansel Adams, Charlotte/Emily Bronte, Salvador Dali, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Frost, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Bill Gates, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Mozart, Jack Nicholson, Eugene O’Neill, Elvis Presley, Joan Rivers, Vincent Van Gogh, Robin Williams, Virginia Woolf, Wright Brothers, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Myth #2: Children outgrow ADHD, or perhaps the rigorous academics at St. Hugo changes the neurological functioning in a way that makes ADHD defunct.
Fact: The great majority of children with ADHD continue to exhibit symptoms of ADHD into adulthood. More than 70% continue to have symptoms of ADHD into adolescence and at least 50% will continue to have it as adults, though many clinicians feel this estimate is low.
Myth #3: ADHD meds are highly addictive.
Fact: When used as directed, stimulants are very safe to use in both children and adults. In fact, studies are finding that those diagnosed with ADHD who are not being appropriately treated with medications, often self-medicate using substances that can be addicting.
Myth #4: All people with ADHD are hyperactive or impulsive.
Fact: There are three subtypes of ADHD: hyperactivity/impulsivity, inattentive or combined.
Myth #5: ADHD is caused by bad parenting.
Fact: ADHD is a neurobiological condition, often inherited. Parenting children with ADHD can be very challenging, causing much guilt for parents who are unsure how to best handle children who are hyperactive and impulsive. But parenting styles do not cause ADHD. Additionally, the fact that you are sending your children to St. Hugo already is a sign of your impressive parenting skills!
Myth #6: Sugar causes hyperactivity, so throw away all that Halloween candy ASAP!
Fact: Earlier studies have debunked that myth, showing that children who seem to become more hyperactive while consuming a lot of sugar are often at parties and at other activities that stimulate them and their activity level. However, there is a small sub-set of children, approximately 1 to 3 percent do seem to have food additive sensitivities.
Myth #7: Children and adults with ADHD have a low IQ.
Fact: People with ADHD do not have lower (or higher) IQs than the general public.
Myth #8: Children with ADHD are overmedicated.
Fact: Though more children are taking stimulants for ADHD than before, researchers believe this is due to clinicians identifying more children with ADHD who have been missed in previous years. In addition, it’s only been in recent years that more girls have been identified as having ADHD and thus receiving treatment for it.
Myth #9: Girls rarely have ADHD.
Fact: Girls are just as likely to have ADHD as are boys, and gender makes no difference in the symptoms caused by the disorder. But because this myth persists, boys are more likely to be diagnosed than girls.
Myth #10: ADHD can be cured.
Fact: At this time, there is no cure for ADHD, but it can be well managed through a combination of medication and therapy.
If you’d like to read more about ADHD check out the following website: http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/tc/adhd-myths-and-facts-topic-overview.