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Support Groups and Help for LD and ADD
Q: My daughter is almost eight years old and has a learning disability along with ADD. She is on Ritalin® and is in a special class at school. Are there any support groups in my area of Newnan, GA? I really need to know the best way to deal with her LD and ADD. She has only started watching TV in the last two years and has never played with toys that much. When her medicine has worn off, I have a really hard time making her mind and keeping her out of things. Thanks.
A: As a matter of fact, there is a local chapter of CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) right in your hometown. You can get the phone number of this chapter (and any other chapters in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and on military bases throughout the world) by going to www.chadd.org and clicking on Chapter Locator. There's a lot of other very valuable information at this site, so stay a while. To find more about support groups to help you deal with LD-related issues, go to the website of the Learning Disabilities Association of America and then to State LDA Chapters page. You'll find information about events in Georgia and a way to contact the state representative.
You should talk to your doctor about the medication. Some children have what's known as a "rebound effect" when the medication wears off. That means that your daughter might have more problems with focusing and self-control at those times than she did before she started taking the medication. If the medicine is really effective during the day, and it allows your daughter to learn and focus, your doctor may want to consider a longer-acting form of the medication or perhaps an additional dose. However, it's extremely important to make sure that you're doing all you can at home to help her learn appropriate behavior before you consider increasing her medication. Teaching her meditation or self-calming techniques as well as establishing firm consistent limits is very important.
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Jerome (Jerry) Schultz is the founding clinical director of the Learning Lab @ Lesley University, a program that provides assessment, tutoring, and case management services for children with learning challenges. Schultz holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, and has completed postdoctoral fellowships in both clinical psychology and pediatric neuropsychology.