ASK THE EXPERTS
QTOUCHY, FEELY SOLUTIONS My 11-year-old daughter has been wearing clothes that
seem inappropriate for the weather. It was really hot this past
summer, but she wore flannel pajamas at night. When we turned
on the fan in her room, she was bothered by the sound. I also
found that she doesn’t want to turn the lights on in the morning.
Does she have sensory problems?
Whether or not your daughter has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), your attention to her tactile, auditory, and visual
challenges will make her more comfortable physically. She’ll
also be grateful that you take her complaints seriously and
try to address them. Here’s what I advise:
> PJs:; She may be wearing flannel PJs not for warmth but
because they protect her skin from irritating tactile sensations
coming from sheets or the fan. Buy some lightweight, all-cotton,
soft, smooth (no tags or seams) summer pajamas, such as Hanes
long-sleeved Cool Dri T-shirts. You might also check out the
for clothes especially made for children with tactile sensitiv-ities. Finally, splurge on the highest-quality cotton sheets
> Fan noise:; A white-noise machine may mask the sound of
the fan. Some people with auditory challenges recommend
sleeping with soft music to block out house sounds.
> Bright lights:; Many people, with and without SPD, adjust
slowly to environmental transitions, such as going from darkness to bright light. It could be that “cool” light bulbs in her
bedroom irritate her visual system, so change to incandescent
or “warm white” bulbs that disperse a kinder light. If she can
get dressed without the lights on, indulge her preference to
get dressed in a dimly lit room while her eyes wake up.
—Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A., author of The Out-of-Sync Child
QBACK OFF, INTERNET When I was diagnosed, later in life, I was told that I had
ADHD with agitation. My home computer kept my agitation
ramped up so high that I was overwhelmed by it. What can I do?
Whether it’s a cute cat video or a devastating news report, the
blinking lights of the Internet hijack our attention and our
emotions. To ignore the lure of the Internet can be difficult;
most ADHD adults need to get online in everyday life. See
whether reducing online usage correlates with lower anxiety.
Try alternating days or nights of being online: Monday online,
Tuesday offline, and so on. Or schedule an Internet-free
weekend. Note whether your feel calmer. Are things running
more smoothly in the household? You might benefit from a
permanent Internet vacation. —Linda Roggli, author of
Confessions of an ADDiva
QHOW SAFE ARE ADHD MEDICATIONS? I am agonizing about whether to start my son on ADHD medication.
Someone told me that a stimulant alters the
brain if you take it over an extended period.
Is that true and should I worry?
The two medications that are the first-line treatment for
ADHD have been around for a long time. Amphetamine
(129 years) and methylphenidate ( 76 years) are among the
best-known drugs in medicine. Their being prescribed for
so many years has allowed us to follow people who have
taken these medications all day, every day, for a lifetime.
No long-term problem has been identified with either.
The longest studies of stimulants are on people who
used them for a sleep disorder called narcolepsy. The longest running study of people with ADHD, conducted by
The Medical College of Wisconsin, which has been ongoing since 1977, has not identified problems in the subjects
in 40 years of stimulant use.
The risk comes from not taking ADHD stimulants.
People with ADHD who didn’t use stimulants had a four-fold
increase in severe accidents and substance use disorders,
seven times the rate of incarceration, and 10 times the
rate of unplanned pregnancy compared to people with
ADHD who took stimulants. —William Dodson, M.D.,
Dodson ADHD Center, Greenwood, Colorado