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Choosing Appropriate Toys for Children with ADHD

There is no "cure" for ADHD, but there are effective ways to manage this condition once diagnosed.

Choosing Appropriate Toys for Children with ADHD

Choosing just the right toy for any child can be difficult. But the challenge is magnified if you are looking for the perfect gift to give one of the 4.4 million children affected by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Children who have ADHD may have special play needs, so I urge parents of my young patients to buy toys that help their children focus, gain self-confidence and learn to socialize and interact appropriately with other children. The following suggestions may be helpful:

• LEGOS/Building Blocks: Children with ADHD often have trouble completing lengthy tasks because they become frustrated and discouraged. LEGOS and building blocks are hands-on toys that are simple to use and have only a few pieces so children can create a single structure in a relatively short period of time, which may help build their confidence.

• Chapter Books: Books with short chapters help your child focus and stay attentive. Read aloud one or more chapters each night or have your child read to you.

• Dress Up: All children, but especially kids with ADHD, can benefit from dramatic play and artistic expression, which allow them to be creative and express feelings in a fun and nonjudgmental environment. So give them a box of costumes, puppets or a playhouse. Watching a play is a great way for family members to connect with a child and provide lasting memories. It is important to also keep in mind that people with ADHD are often intelligent, friendly, creative and determined. These strengths should be encouraged from an early age.

• Easel and Paint Set or Play-Doh: Art supplies such as paint and clay give children with ADHD an opportunity to express themselves in a nonverbal way. Art supplies also help children gain self-confidence since there is no right or wrong way to use them.

• Floor Puzzle: Giving children something simple to do, such as a floor puzzle, helps build confidence. Choose a recognizable pattern or shape that won't intimidate them. Ideas include the solar system and the alphabet.

• Swimming, Skating, Martial Arts or Music Lessons: Physical activity is encouraged for children who have ADHD. Sign them up for lessons in a structured sport or hobby, which can provide a valuable outlet for all their energy.

There is no "cure" for ADHD, but there are effective ways to manage this condition once diagnosed. Medication may be part of a treatment plan designed to control your child's ADHD symptoms. Currently, stimulant medications such as Adderall XR are considered a first-line treatment option for ADHD. The active ingredients in these medications have been used medically for nearly 70 years.

It's important to consider a child's strengths when choosing toys.

Important Safety Information: Adderall XR was generally well tolerated in clinical studies. The most common side effects in studies included: children-decreased appetite, difficulty falling asleep, stomachache, and emotional lability; adolescents-loss of appetite, difficulty falling asleep, stomachache, and weight loss; adults-dry mouth, loss of appetite, difficulty falling asleep, headache, and weight loss.

Adderall XR may not be right for everyone. Patients should speak with their doctor if they have a history of high blood pressure or any heart conditions, glaucoma, thyroid problems, emotional instability, mental illness, or a known allergy to this type of medication. Abuse of amphetamine may lead to dependence. Misuse of amphetamine may cause sudden death and serious cardiovascular adverse events. These events have also been reported rarely with amphetamine use.

If you are currently taking or have recently taken a type of antidepressant called a MAO inhibitor or have a pre-existing structural heart abnormality, you should not take Adderall XR. There is a potential for worsening of motion or verbal tics and Tourette's syndrome. A patient should report any new psychological symptoms to his or her physician.

Dr. Harry Verby is the medical director of the Behavioral Medical Clinic in San Mateo, Calif., and specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of attention-deficit disorder and related co-morbid conditions in children, adolescents and adults.

 

A Grandparent’s Guide To Choosing Age Appropriate Toys

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1.3 million children are entrusted to their grandparents every day. Roles of a grandparent include spoiling and enlightening their grandkids with toys they will enjoy. After all, toys are considered to be treasures of childhood. With this role comes an added responsibility to make sure that grandchildren stay safe and enjoy a toy that is age-appropriate. Grandparents make up a large percentage of toy buyers. Thousands of toys are marketed ...

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1.3 million children are entrusted to their grandparents every day. Roles of a grandparent include spoiling and enlightening their grandkids with toys they will enjoy. After all, toys are considered to be treasures of childhood. With this role comes an added responsibility to make sure that grandchildren stay safe and enjoy a toy that is age-appropriate. Grandparents make up a large percentage of toy buyers. Thousands of toys are marketed with the promise to educate and entertain kids. Unfortunately, not every toy is safe for children to play with. What can a grandparent look for when purchasing a toy for the kids that they love?

Most pediatricians and child experts believe there are a lot of hidden hazards concerning toys that people should be made aware of. Here is a guide that grandparents can use when it comes time to buy a distinctive toy for that special little person:

* Make sure the toy is age-appropriate. Labels on toy packaging should specify the age group the toy is made for. Consider that children at any age have different maturity levels. You may want to avoid buying a toy that won’t hold the child’s attention. Make sure to buy educational toys that match every child’s age group. This will make the toy effective and fun to play with.

* Read and follow all warning labels. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC, choking is the most common cause of toy-related deaths. Warning labels are made to alert if a toy poses a choking hazard for younger children, typically under the ages of three. Federal law requires these labels. Make sure toys made for older children are kept out of the reach of younger children. Objects such as balls should not be less than 1.75" in diameter. Avoid toys that have small parts that can potentially be pried off by tiny curious hands. Examples of toys that contain small parts are stuffed teddy bear’s eyes or a wooden car’s wheels. Stuffed and wooden toys are still very popular among children; just think BIG when checking out the “parts” attached to the toy. Toys should be larger than the child’s mouth. Tip: if a toy or toy part can fit inside an empty toilet paper roll, chances are the toy is too small. This would not be a safe toy. If a toy contains small parts, parts should be secured and guaranteed not to come off.

* Make sure toys are free from sharp and pointy edges. As an experienced mother or father, you are probably aware, small children have a tendency to put most things in their mouth. It is important toys are free from sharp edges as to avoid cuts and injuries. There may be danger of a child falling on top of a toy while playing. To avoid injuries, make sure pointy edges are buffered or eliminated,

* Avoid LOUD toys. Children’s ears are highly sensitive and hearing can easily be damaged by loud noises. In order to find out if a toy is too loud, use your own ears as a tool. If the toy is too loud for you, it’s twice as loud for the child. You can choose to take out batteries of the toy or cover speakers with tape. This method is not preferred since tape can be pulled off and the child can swallow it.

* Make sure toys are free of toxic chemicals. Toys such as art supplies, play make-up and crayons have been known to contain toxic chemicals. Before making a purchase, investigate ingredients and contents of the product by looking at the label. The same label should also provide instructions on what to do in case of accidental ingestion of any hazardous substance that the item might contain. It may be wise to consult your local poison control to use as a reference if you need one.

* Some toys come with cords or strings. If a cord or string is longer than 12 inches in length, it can pose a strangulation hazard if looped. Never cut an electrical cord! Make sure electrical cords or wires are secured and protected. Make sure to supervise if an electrical toy needs to be plugged into an outlet. Battery-operated toys are preferable to purchase, especially with young children around. However, battery doors need to be checked frequently to make sure they are secured and cannot be opened. If strings have been cut, make sure frayed edges are cut also. When purchasing crib mobiles, make sure the mobile can be safely mounted high on the crib and out of babies’ reach.

* If you choose to purchase a toy over the Internet there are a few things that you should be aware of: Internet sold toys may not comply with U.S. Toy regulations. Auction sites may sell toys that have been recalled by the CPSC. This could be due to the fact the toys were hazards to children’s safety. If you happen to come across a recalled toy, or you would like to see what toys have been recalled, there are web sites available to you. CPSC or http://Recalls.gov provides sites with helpful information.

* Supervise and be realistic about your grandchild’s abilities and maturity levels. Ask yourself the following questions: Is the child physically ready for a certain toy? Is the toy too heavy? A heavy toy can cause severe injury if the toy falls on the child. Gauge if the child can physically control a heavy toy. Teach the child the safest way recommended by the manufacturer to use the toy properly. Again, SUPERVISE!

* Follow these tips when buying video games: follow age recommendations of each game and observe a game’s ratings. Games rated T for Teen can contain violence, profanity and content not suitable for children under the age of 13. EC for early childhood or E for everyone would be the best choice of rating when buying a video game for younger children.

* Remember the days when you would buy toys for your children? How many dollars have we spent to watch our children and now our children’s children go to the kitchen cupboard, pull out all the pots and pans and wooden spoons and bang away and be happy for hours at play? Or grandparents made or bought wooden toy vehicles and wood constructed pull toys that were safe and entertaining. Maybe all the banging of pots and pans is no longer a situation we wish to experience but fun and educational wooden toys are still available.

There was a time when toys were put on the market and bought without a lot of regard for safety. Grandparents could buy any toy that surely the grandchildren would enjoy without considering if the toy was age-appropriate. It was assumed that kids were thought to have the automatic knowledge not to pick up monopoly money and put it in their mouth. Slinkys were toys made to “walk” down your closest set of stairs. Who knew kids would start to use the Slinky as a rope from which to hoist their little brothers up to the highest treetop? Times have changed. So many toy accidents have taken place, it is now important to teach kids and grandparents the importance of toy safety. The most exciting thing about being a grandparent is watching grandchildren grow up happy and healthy. By becoming vigilantly aware shoppers, grandparents have the power to protect the grandchildren they love.

 

A Guide To Choosing The Right Toy For Your Child’s Age

Choosing the right toy for your child’s age is not just a matter of selecting a toy that will engage, entertain and educate them, it is also a matter of safety. If you’ve browsed the aisles of any toy store lately you probably know that selecting the right toy can be a difficult undertaking. Not only do you want a toy that you can rest assured will provide no danger to your child, but you also want to select a toy that will help your child develop their full potential.

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Choosing the right toy for your child’s age is not just a matter of selecting a toy that will engage, entertain and educate them, it is also a matter of safety. If you’ve browsed the aisles of any toy store lately you probably know that selecting the right toy can be a difficult undertaking. Not only do you want a toy that you can rest assured will provide no danger to your child, but you also want to select a toy that will help your child develop their full potential.

Research indicates that children who are provided with age-appropriate toys that are stimulating will help children to more fully develop their physical, cognitive and creative abilities. By learning which toys are right for your child’s age you can help them to stimulate the connections in their brains that are responsible for building your child’s future intelligence.

Keep in mind that it is never to early to begin this all important process. Even the youngest babies can begin responding to bright colors, helping their vision to develop more quickly.

Children under Six Months:

• Mobiles in bright colors will stimulate vision
• Activity centers to encourage reaching for motor control development
• Mirrors designed with baby safety in mind to encourage your child to explore faces
• Rattlers and teethers that will introduce baby to new textures.
• Board books-even at this young age reading to your baby will help them with beginning language development

6 to 12 Months

During this time period, it is important to begin focusing on interactive play with your child. This includes introducing the concept of cause and effect as well working on eye-hand coordination. Simple games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake” are fun ways to help your baby discover the wonders of their new world. In addition, look for these types of toys to further stimulate your child’s development and learning:

• Toys that are musical and make sounds
• Baby gyms and activity courses to stimulate crawling
• Bouncers to stimulate physical activity
• Play telephones to encourage communication through mimicking
• Soft dolls and stuffed animals for kids who love to cuddle
• Wooden and soft blocks for stacking, filling and dumping games

12-18 Months

Around the time your child turns one he or she may begin to walk or experiment with taking those first steps. Toys at this age should focus on supporting your child’s curiosity in exploration while further developing fine motor coordination.

• Swing sets and safety trikes encourage physical activity and development
• Building blocks for eye-hand coordination
• Nesting cups and shape sorters to improve eye-hand coordination as well as problem solving skills
• Storybooks/picture books for language and vocabulary development
• Toddler appropriate videos and music

18-24 Months

By the time they are a 1 ½ years old most children begin to use their imagination in play. This typically takes on the form of make-believe; however, in reality this type of play is helping them to develop problem solving strategies. Look for toys that support this important time of development by expanding their exposure to shapes, colors, ability to follow instructions and language. The important key to remember at this age is that kids are truly learning with hands-on play.

• Costumes and dress-up to stimulate imagination
• Push and pull toys that support both tykes that are beginning to walk as well as advanced walkers
• Puzzles that are easy to manipulate with a small number of pieces
• Playhouses and other scaled down objects that your child sees everyday will give them the opportunity to mimic the world around them.
• Swing sets to develop physical skills

24-36 Months

At age two children begin to really focus on fine motor coordination, even though they do not realize it, of course. By this age kids can begin working with board games suitable for their age as well as craft type projects and toys. Most kids this age are also ready to begin playing with other kids, so you may also wish to look for games and toys that are more structured in nature that previous toys.

• Simple board games and puzzles to encourage further eye-hand coordination and memory development.
• Outdoor equipment such as swing sets, riding vehicles and tricycles to build physical skills
• Beginner musical instruments
• Playhouses
• Sand boxes
• Train sets
• Dolls
• Cars/trucks
• Costumes/dress-up
• Art sets
• Storybooks for language development and vocabulary building
• Videos and music, especially those that expose kids to numbers and the alphabet

By keeping in mind which toys are age-appropriate you will be in a better position to help support the lightening fast development of your child’s brain and actually step up their learning and development.




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