One of the developments I have seen in my practice over the last year is an increase in cognitive assessments being requested for athletes who sustain a concussion (brain injury). This type of testing assesses any changes in the athlete's mental processes that may have been caused by a head injury. The athletes' medical doctor uses this assessment to manage the athlete's care and make return-to-play decisions.
More doctors are also starting to recommend that athletes receive a "baseline" cognitive assessment before a season begins. So, if the athlete sustains a concussion during the season, another assessment can be conducted (post-concussion) and compared to the baseline results (pre-concussion) to better determine any changes. The pre- and post-concussion assessments are one of many factors doctors use to manage treatment and return-to-play decisions.
Throughout the country, universities and school districts are starting to require pre- and post-concussion assessments for athletes. The following is an article about how the Passaic Valley High School created a new concussion testing policy. The goal of the policy is to help decrease brain injuries and also enable medical professionals, athletes, and coaches to better manage care and recovery.
As a cognitive retraining specialist, I am often asked by parents and caregivers of children with brain injuries questions about how to navigate the maze of challenges they experience in providing the best support for their children. So, I started looking for books that parents and caregivers can read to answer all of their questions.
My search uncovered a wonderful book by Danielle's Foundation called "Getting the Therapy, Benefits, and Resources Your Child Needs: A Guide for Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy and Brain Injury." It is packed with advice and information. It is written in a simple, straight forward manner so you can easily find the information you need. Best of all, it's FREE through the Foundation.
As the Foundation aptly states, "This book is a comprehensive guide that examines all of the issues and challenges that arise or may one day arise while raising your child. It is designed to give parents the information they need, as well as the support they want."
To get a free copy of this book and learn more about the Danielle's Foundation, visit their website, or call 1-800-208-3494.
Here is a recipe from the acclaimed education psychologist, Joan Smith, Ph.D., to get your brain properly energized for a day of focus, thinking and exploring. Joan has been a mentor of mine over the years and has been on the forefront of educating people about the power of nutrition to enhance brain functioning. Start your day with a good breakfast for your mind.
You just fasted for fourteen hours (dinner to breakfast) and now you have an active busy day to get underway. Your brain is ready for a starter. It needs a balanced protein nutrient to support you and perform at its best for you ALL DAY!
When I first began looking at what we were eating for breakfast in our household, I was shocked at my neglect of our welfare. I thought I was doing a really good job serving cranberry juice cocktail or orange juice and raisin bran cereal. Well, the good part was the bran cereal did have good fiber but the rest of it was very high in concentrated sugars! In fact, I could have served the equivalent in sugar of a coke and cherry pie for breakfast!
Now, we have a protein shake and oatmeal for breakfast. We still have good fiber but the sugar has been seriously controlled! Here is a recipe for a protein shake that you can work with that actually tastes quite good!
Blend: 1/4C protein powder (unsweetened -whey or soy or other) 1 C filtered water 1T flax oil (don=t let them see you put it in!) 1T organic frozen orange concentrate / or unsweetened cranberry extract (for urinary track health!) 1 T lecithin 1 fresh banana 1 frozen banana 2T Kefir (to benefit intestinal health – if there are no dairy reactions) If necessary to tempt children to enjoy the shake, gradually add the other ingredients to the base ingredients of frozen banana, protein powder and water. Use chocolate protein powder if necessary or carob. The orange concentrate – without added sugar – and powder and a bit of pure vanilla with water will taste like an orange Julius. Gradually add the other ingredients to increase your health benefits! Enjoy!
A study of the brains of people who stayed mentally sharp into their 80s and beyond challenges the notion that brain changes linked to mental decline and Alzheimer's disease are a normal, inevitable part of aging.
How to make sure your child doesn't experience learning loss this summer
Summer reading and learning should be a part of every child’s summer, say education experts. Research has shown that kids can lose as much as a couple of months’ worth of learning in the summer -- a phenomenon that’s often referred to as “summer brain drain.” And experts say math, more than reading, is a subject in which kids are more likely to experience learning loss, possibly because parents, schools and community resources are more likely to focus on a summer reading list than on math. To make sure your child doesn’t experience summer brain drain while on vacation, emphasize summer reading and try these tips:
ScienceDaily (Mar. 12, 2010) — R-rated movies portray violence and other behaviors deemed inappropriate for children under 17 year of age. A new study finds one more reason why parents should not let their kids watch those movies: adolescents who watch R-rated movies are more likely to try alcohol at a young age.
ScienceDaily (Apr. 8, 2010) — Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are developmental disorders usually diagnosed in childhood. Children with ASDs have impairments in social interactions and communication, and a tendency towards repetitive behaviors. A hallmark of autism is a difficulty in understanding and reciprocating the emotion of others. Although behavioral therapies can improve some symptoms of autism, there is currently no effective treatment for these problems.
Juggling too many projects and can't seem to complete them all (or any)? Avoid stress -- and clutter -- try our attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) guide to crossing off every task on your to-do list.
Are you busy morning till night, and don’t have much to show for it? If so, make “tie the bow” your mantra. You are not finished wrapping a package until you tie the bow, and you aren’t done with a task until you’ve completed it, down to the last step. Mail the bill you just paid, don’t leave it on the kitchen counter. Fold and put away the laundry, don’t leave it in the basket.
Take note of each task you work on during the day and note your excuses for not tying the bow. Believe me, I know all of them. Here is how I dealt with five common ones:
Don’t have time to finish my project.If you can’t “tie the bow” because you ran out of time, add 15 minutes to your morning routine before leaving for work. To stay organized and keep track of time on the job, add in the same 15 minutes to finish up last-minute assignments and to gather items you will need to take home.
Too tired to finish my project. You just want to sit down (or lie down). Figure out ways to get to bed on time -- or to get a better night’s sleep. Go over your schedule: You may be overbooked, so you need to cut back to save energy for more important tasks.
Don’t feel like finishing my project. If you are short on motivation, schedule a task to be done when you have more energy. For example, I left my paper filing to do at the end of the day. The result? A roomful of clutter. When I switched the task to the morning, I filed my papers consistently, and my house was less messy.
Distractions keep me from finishing my project. Ignore interruptions until a task is completed. When your partner makes a non-urgent request, say, “I’m in the middle of something right now, maybe later.”
Need a better system to finish my project. If a system doesn’t work, try a new one. If you are late in paying bills, or forget them, designate two nights each month -- the 1st and 15th -- to tie the bow. Keep everything you need in a basket: the unpaid bills, checkbook, pen, return-address stickers, and a roll of stamps. Walk the bills to the mailbox. And look, you've finished a project!
What are your ideas to "tie the bow" on projects you need to complete? Post a comment and let us know.
As the weather gets warmer and the entire family starts enjoying the outdoors after a cold winter, here are some wonderful ideas for toddlers to get more physical activity outdoors. It is important for kids' mental and physical development that they play in the three dimensional world of the outdoors.