Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tips for Teens on Getting Organized

By NCLD Editorial Team

While nobody likes to be disorganized, for students with learning disabilities, disorganization can spell certain disaster. Searching for lost assignments or course handouts can take up valuable time, and it’s almost impossible to study and meet deadlines when notes from different subjects are all jumbled together.
There’s no “right” way to get organized. Teens need to be creative and flexible until they discover what works best for them. Here are some tips and suggestions from successful students and adults.

Tips for Students: Ideas to Help Them Get Organized

Do you know students who are challenged when it comes to staying organized? Share the following tips and ideas with the teen in your life.
  • If you work well with technology, use organizer software on a computer, a smartphone or tablet.
  • Retype your class notes and save them (with dates and course titles) on your computer. You can email them to yourself for easy access or use file-sharing software like Dropbox.
  • Write reminders on sticky notes or keep list pads around your room, by your desk, in your notebooks, and even by your bedside to write down things as your think of them. Be sure to collect these notes and consolidate all of the reminders on a single “to-do” list every day.
  • There are also plenty of smartphone apps that provide digital sticky notes. Use these when you’re on the go or all the time if digital sticky notes are easier to compile than their paper counterparts.
  • Divide your notebooks into sections for each subject. Hole punch and insert handouts or assignments in the appropriate notebook sections. Be sure to use dividers, and consider using different colored tabs for each subject.
  • If you tend to lose papers, try using a zipper binder to keep track of homework assignments.
  • Create a system for tracking papers. A file cabinet might work well, or you can find a cardboard box large enough to fit file folders, label a folder for each subject, and insert papers in the appropriate file folders in the box.
  • Keep keys on a big ring so that you can find them easily, or use a brightly-colored key chain. If you store homework assignments and other important papers digitally, you can transfer these documents onto a USB device that can attach to your keychain.
  • Try a dry-erase calendar board if you want more space (and like using markers!) to keep track of daily tasks and events.
  • Make a daily list (on paper or on a smartphone) of everything you need for classes, labs or meetings. Include reminders for money, transportation and food. Check the list every morning before leaving your room so that you know what you have to do.
  • If you have trouble keeping track of passwords, try using password manager software like mSecure.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Toddlers becoming so addicted to iPads they require therapy

Children as young as four are becoming so addicted to smartphones and iPads that they require psychological treatment. 

By Victoria Ward         
4:29PM BST 21 Apr 2013

Experts have warned that parents who allow babies and toddlers to access tablet computers for several hours a day are in danger of causing “dangerous” long term effects. 

The youngest known patient being treated in the UK is a four-year-old girl from the South East. 

Her parents enrolled her for compulsive behaviour therapy after she became increasingly “distressed and inconsolable” when the iPad was taken away from her. 

Her use of the device had escalated over the course of a year and she had become addicted to using it up for to four hours a day.
Dr Richard Graham, who launched the UK’s first technology addiction programme three years ago, said he believed there were many more addicts of her age. 

“The child's mother called me and described her symptoms,” he said.
"She told me she had developed an obsession with the device and would ask for it constantly. She was using it three to four hours every day and showed increased agitation if it was removed." 

Dr Graham said that young technology addicts experienced the same withdrawal symptoms as alcoholics or heroin addicts, when the devices were taken away. 

He warned that the condition prevented young people from forming normal social relationships, leaving them drained by the constant interaction.
"Children have access to the internet almost from birth now,” he told the Sunday Mirror. 

“They see their parents playing on their mobile devices and they want to play too. It's difficult, because having a device can also be very useful in terms of having a reward, having a pacifier. But if you don't get the balance right it can be very dangerous. 

"They can't cope and become addicted, reacting with tantrums and uncontrollable behaviour when they are taken away. Then as they grow older, the problem only gets worse. Even the most shy kids, when they hit their teens, suddenly want to become sociable and popular." 

It is feared that products such as baby-proof iPad covers and iPotties, which feature built-in iPad stands, only fuel the problem. 

Parents who have found themselves unable to wean their children off computer games and mobile phones are paying up to £16,000 for a 28-day “digital detox” programme designed by Dr Graham at the Capio Nightingale Hospital in London. 

Psychiatrists estimate that the number of people who have become digitally dependent has risen by 30 per cent over the past three years.
A survey last week revealed that more than half of parents allowed their babies to play with their phone or tablet device. 

One in seven of more than 1,000 parents questioned by website admitted that they let them use the gadgets for four or more hours a day. 

James Macfarlane, managing director of the website, said: “Given that babies between 3-12 months are awake for only around 10 hours per day this is a huge proportion of their waking day. 

“Although 81 per cent of our users felt that children today spend too much time on smart devices, it hasn’t put most of them off using them to entertain their baby.” 

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Junk Food May Limit Children's Intelligence and Learning Ability

There is a clear impact of nutrition on the potential development of Alzheimer's disease and other late-life cognitive disorders.  Green vegetables, berries, and other plant foods reduce risk, whereas animal products and processed foods increase risk.1-4  However, the damaging effects of unhealthy foods on the brain occur throughout life.  Research now suggests that the typical American childhood diet including burgers, pasta, pizza, chicken nuggets, french fries, processed sweetened cold cereals, sweets and soda negatively affects school performance and learning. Overall math performance in the U.S. lags far behind many other developed nations5, and it is likely that the nutrient-poor American diet is a significant contributing factor.

We as parents are strongly committed to supporting our children’s academic achievement. We want the best for our children, and we take an active interest in their schooling; we do everything we can to make sure that they will be well educated and able to compete as working adults in our increasingly technological world. However, how many parents think about the impact of the foods they give their children on their academic performance?

Early childhood:
Parents must give their children’s brains the right raw materials with which to learn – and start early. Breast milk provides a DHA-rich foundation for a healthy brain, and when solid foods are added, their nutritional quality is of paramount importance for the brain’s continued development. Several studies have now found that dietary patterns in early childhood affect IQ scores years later. In one study, greater consumption of fruits and vegetables upon introducing solid foods was associated with higher IQ and better memory skills when at 4 years of age.6 Similarly in another study, children who regularly ate cookies, chocolate, other sweets, soda, and chips during the first two years of life showed decreased IQ at age 8 compared to children who did not eat these foods. Nutrition during this formative period has a meaningful long-term effect, providing building blocks to construct the growing brain.7 The brain is highly susceptible to oxidative stress, so a healthful, antioxidant-rich diet is especially beneficial for the brain and is likely involved in this link between natural plant foods and higher IQ scores.

Teenage years:
Young children who are fed processed, nutrient-poor foods are likely to become unhealthy teenagers, and eventually unhealthy adults. Now twenty-three percent of teens in the U.S. are prediabetic or diabetic, 22% have high or borderline high LDL cholesterol levels, and 14% have hypertension or prehypertension.8
A recent study tested cognitive abilities and performed brain MRIs on teens with and without metabolic syndrome, a combination of at least three diet-related metabolic abnormalities among a list including insulin resistance, high triglycerides and hypertension. The teens with metabolic syndrome had lower spelling and math scores, lower IQs, and reduced attention span. Their brain MRIs showed a smaller hippocampus, especially in those with insulin resistance – extremely important since the hippocampus is a part of the brain involved in learning new information.9  This means that our American obesity-promoting, diabetic promoting diet actually can cause parts of the brain to shrink.  The researchers concluded that insulin resistance and other components of the metabolic syndrome, as a result of a poor diet, may impair teenagers’ academic performance, and maybe even their learning abilities throughout their lifetime.

The time to feed your children healthfully is now. A diet rich in greens, berries, other fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds is the only way to ensure that children get the array of phytochemicals, antioxidants, fatty acids and other micronutrients to adequately supply their growing and constantly learning brains.  Junk food is not for kids.


1. Otsuka M, Yamaguchi K, Ueki A. Similarities and differences between Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia from the viewpoint of nutrition. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2002;977:155-161.

2. Morris MC, Evans DA, Bienias JL, et al. Dietary fats and the risk of incident Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol 2003;60:194-200.

3. Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B, Willis LM. Grape juice, berries, and walnuts affect brain aging and behavior. J Nutr 2009;139:1813S-1817S.

4. Devore EE, Kang JH, Breteler MM, et al. Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Ann Neurol 2012.

5. University of Southern California: U.S. Education Spending and Performance vs. the World. [Infographic]. Accessed October 12, 2012.

6. Gale CR, Martyn CN, Marriott LD, et al. Dietary patterns in infancy and cognitive and neuropsychological function in childhood. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2009;50:816-823.

7. Smithers LG, Golley RK, Mittinty MN, et al. Dietary patterns at 6, 15 and 24 months of age are associated with IQ at 8 years of age. Eur J Epidemiol 2012;27:525-535.

8. May AL, Kuklina EV, Yoon PW. Prevalence of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors Among US Adolescents, 1999-2008. Pediatrics 2012;129:1035.

9. Yau PL, Castro MG, Tagani A, et al. Obesity and metabolic syndrome and functional and structural brain impairments in adolescence. Pediatrics 2012;130:e856-864.
Moms have long known that what their kids eat can promote physical health, but their diet can also be the key to mental well-being. As back-to-school time approaches, incorporating these brain foods into daily meals is a delicious way to provide the nutrients necessary for learning, memory and other cognitive functions.  
           A healthy breakfast including eggs gets kids off to a good start. This classic morning favorite is rich in choline, a substance that contributes to the creation of memory stem cells, and the high protein content helps kids to focus. Wrapping scrambled eggs in a burrito makes them fun to eat. As a bonus, it’s portable so they can eat it on the go.
           Oatmeal’s high fiber content means that it digests slowly, providing a steady supply of glucose to maintain energy levels instead of the spike-and-crash that results from sugary foods. Kids who find it to be too bland will love this baked oatmeal layered with fruit. Blueberries add an extra boost of potassium and vitamin C, two more elements important for brain health.
           Salmon contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, an essential component of brain development and heart health as well as a natural mood elevator. Moms who may be skeptical of getting their kids to eat fish will be surprised with the results when they disguise it as a “burger”. Using buns with zinc-laden sesame seeds doubles up on the brain food factor.
           Turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving. It contains tyrosine, which contributes to alertness, along with tryptophan, which is a natural mood regulator and promotes quality sleep. Adding turkey to a favorite dish like pizza makes it even more appealing. It’s also a way to sneak in some nutrient-rich leafy green vegetable such as spinach.
           Brain food can also be used for snacks that kids will enjoy. Beans and other iron-rich foods help to improve focus and memory. This bean dip is simple to make and pairs well with crunchy tortilla chips. The choice of salsa makes it easy to adjust the heat to a kid-friendly level.
Doing well in school is job number one for kids. Moms who plan their menus to include these powerful brain foods help them perform at their peak.

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