The Star-Democrat from Easton, Maryland on May 4, 2003 · Page 32
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The Star-Democrat from Easton, Maryland · Page 32

Easton, Maryland
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 4, 2003
Page 32
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Stanley Hop to It Walt Disney Home Video If there isn’t really a “Great Big Book of Everything” there should be, because Stanley and his pals make looking up information so much fun. An animated preschool series that airs on Playhouse Disney, “Stanley” features Stanley Griff, a young boy with a big imagination. Each story revolves around his fondness for animals and the aforementioned reference book. With the help of his dry-witted goldfish, Dennis, Stanley has numerous adventures that help him solve everyday problems. This DVD collection of “Stanley” episodes features four stories. They include “Kangaroo Cleanup,” in which Stanley learns how to tidy up a disastrously messy room by looking into kangaroo routines. A spilled bowl of milk provides an entry into the eating habits of anteaters in “The Big Spill.” When Stanley refers to his book, he’s transported to faraway lands along with the trusty Dennis. The episodes are engaging and informative, and kids will learn as much about looking things up as about the subject matter itself. The show’s best element is that it makes learning fun without being pushy or preachy. The show also taps into the love of animals that most kids feel. Annie, 4, explained: “I love Stanley because he likes to find out stuff and he has a funny goldfish. I learned a lot about animals from Stanley.” Ratings Scale: 1-10 (10 is the highest) Appropriateness: 7 Engaging enough so that older kids can watch along with their younger siblings; fine for kids 4 and up Visuals: 6 Nice animation that resembles colorful scrawls. Humor: 6 Dennis provides enjoyable comic relief. Believability: 6 The situations are just real enough for kids to relate to. Social Value: 6 Kids will definitely learn about looking up facts, and will find out about assorted topics in the process. Fun Factor: 6 A lively, fast- paced series that’s generally cheerful and fun to watch. Oobi Noggin (check local listings) Unlike stuffed animals or even a tagalong kid sister, Oobi has the virtue of being with you wherever you go. That’s because Oobi is, well, your hand. Literally, “Oobi” is a kids’ series starring hand puppets. Engaging on a barebones level, kids will either find its simplicity appealing or they’ll be a little leery. The show features three sec- tions: a story based on a new activity like making pizza; a segment featuring real kids talking about their own experience with the same activity; and a game that allows at-home viewers to “interact” with Oobi. The series’ characters are 4-year-old Oobi; his 3-year-old sister, Uma; his best friend, Kako; and his grandfather Grampu. It is certainly fun for preschoolers to be able to make their own Oobis, and they’ll no doubt relate to some of the issues dis- cussed, like being afraid of the dark or getting used to the playground swings. Parents, however, may find that the show wears thin quickly and feels a little forced. Not so for some kids: “If Oobi come could home with me, he would,” said Maya, 4, confidently. “He could meet my hands and we would all live together.” Appropriateness: 6 Strange, but appropriate for preschoolers. Visuals: 6 It has a low-tech, approachable look and feel. Humor: 5 Definite moments of humor, which may appeal to young kids. Believability: 5 The situations are often believable and instructive. Social Value: 5 Although it’s a little odd, the series does deal with issues that affect young kids, such as being afraid of the dark. Fun Factor: 5 Kids will most likely either go with the concept or find it off-putting. Evan Levine is the author of “Kids Pick the Best Videos for Kids” (Carol Publishing, 1994). © 2003, Newspaper Enterprise Assn. Family & Lifestyles THESUNDAY STAR Page 6C, Sunday, May 4, 2003 Women’s lifstyle confuses and embarrasses grandparent Dear Dee and Tom: I’m embarrassed about this, but it’s a worrisome problem. Please don’t use my name, only state. My talented granddaughter, five years out of college, has never been in love — until now. But she now says she’s in “love” with another girl! She even wants to announce her “perfect relationship” in the papers. How should I handle this? — Bewildered, Nevada Dear Bewildered: Face the facts, and the times. It’s a “mul- ti-culti” world. The once-staid society pages of The New York Times last year actually switched the heading for their nuptial pages to the all-embracing “Weddings/Celebrations.” This trendsetting journal recently described — in detail — how two women, celebrating in a “commitment ceremony” at a swank Manhattan restaurant, had been set up on a blind date. According to the paper, “Seeing each other that first time turned out to be a cupid moment.” One woman said she “gasped” when she first laid eyes on the other, who in turn said she was “thunderstruck.” And in keeping with the times, they were soon flirting by email! In an earlier celebration, the same paper described the “partnership” celebration of two women at the home of one of the celebrant’s parents. Presiding were a priest and a judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals. We think you should offer congratulations to your granddaughter and her friend, and hope and pray for the best. Dear Dee and Tom: While visiting my daughter in nearby Reading, I noticed that her son, Pat, 13, reads only the daily sports pages. What can I do? — Donna, Gettysburg, Pa. Dear Donna: Be proud that he’s reading. After asking how his local team is doing, ask him his views on the world, and whether he’s a Republican or Democrat. Also, send Pat a one-year subscription to National Geographic Kids, P.O. Box 64066, Tampa, FL 33664-4066, or call (800) 6475463. It costs $14.95, with a free T-shirt. From a recent issue, he could learn such worldly items as what he should take along for a trek through the desert and whose “fault” it would be if California falls into the sea. Dear Dee and Tom: My wife, Dorothy, and I are proud to have one son and two brilliant granddaughters, Caroline, 6, and Emily, 3, of Alpharetta, Ga. Dorothy recently called their mother, Elizabeth, a full-time, dedicated homemaker, and heard Caroline crying in the background. When asked what the problem might be, Elizabeth said, “She told a little fib, and I sent her to her room.” Dorothy heard more sobbing in the background and the tearful lament, “I wish I was only 7 months old — for babies don’t get into trouble!” — Ted Newhoff, Baltimore Dee and Tom, married more than 40 years, have eight grandchildren. They welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 34, Butler, MD 21023. Or e-mail them at grandparent- © 2003 UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE “Stanley Hop to It” shows how to look things up. ‘Stanley’ appeals to kids’ love of animals Diagnosing attention deficit disorder By CYNTHIA D. BROWNE, L.C.S.W.-C Special to The Star Democrat In the 1960s, if a child was bright but received poor grades in school, had trouble following directions, tended to day dream, forgot materials and assignments, and had a short attention span, he or she often was labeled a behavior problem. Parents and teachers viewed these children as lazy and defiant. The prevailing medical advice was that these kids needed a “firmer hand” and harsher discipline. In fact, “military school” frequently was the recommendation for boys. Fortunately, today we realize that often these children are folks whose brains function differently from the average. The label used today, which I feel has an unfortunate negative connotation, is Attention Deficit Disorder. We recognize three types of this “disorder”: the predominantly hyperactive, impulsive type, the predominately inattentive type; and the combination of both hyperactivity and inattention. Approximately 6 to 8 percent of children and 3 to 4 percent of adults have Attention Deficit Disorder (hereafter referred to as ADD). It is clearly genetic and crosses all levels of I.Q., so- cio-economic status, and ethnicity. We do not know the exact causes of ADD but we do know that it has nothing to do with what one did or did not do in pregnancy and is not the result of child- rearing mistakes. To get a better understanding of ADD, let’s take a look at a very common scenario. Perhaps you are the parent of an 8-year-old boy and shortly after the school year begins, you are called in for a conference by your son’s teacher. We’ll call you son “John”. The teacher asks if John is messy and disorganized at home. She tells you that his desk is stuffed with junk even though she has him clean it out every week. He can’t seem to find anything and often forgets to turn in his assignments. The teacher often finds the completed worked stuffed in the notebook of a different subject. His grades in school are very uneven. For example, when the class studied marine mammals (John’s favorite animals) and went on a field trip to an aquarium, John received an “A” on his test. However, he failed the next science test on rocks, and minerals. You confess to the teacher that you have had a terrible time getting John to do his homework. You have to ask him 20 times to get started, he keeps getting up (trying to find ways to escape). It takes hours for him to do a 20- minute assignment. Homework time often ends in a screaming match. You’ve given up on his bedroom. You haven’t been able to see his rug under all the mess for what seems like years. His brother and sister complain about how he doesn’t follow any rules in games. No matter how hard he tries, they are always angry with him. You feel as if all you do is punish John — to no avail. And last night John tearfully came to you and said, “Mom, what’s wrong with me. I’m so stupid!!” You tell the teacher that this broke your heart as you know that John is very smart and is a sensitive, creative child. John’s teacher suggests to you that you have John evaluated for Attention Deficit Disorder. You tell her that you have wondered for years if this might be the issue but John has amazing powers of concertration and attention. He can play a computer game or video games for hours. It can be almost impossible to divert his attention from them. The teacher explains to you that this is common for ADD kids. The game is giving them constant stimulation and feedback so boredom and inattention are never an issue. You take the teacher’s suggestion and begin the search for some one to do an evaluation. This is some times easier said than done. It’s important to know that assessment of ADD can not be accomplished with something like a single computer test or any other single measure. Psycho-educational testing is sometimes recommended if there is concern that the child also has a learning disability. There is a high probability that an ADD child also will have learning differences and/or mental health issue. Most importantly, the clinical judgment of an experienced clinician is imperative. Also necessary are the child’s input and the input of parents, teachers, and other care takers. No single measure can be used to make this diagnosis. Many times, checklists completed by parents and teachers will be used. Once you have a diagnosis, the complicated decisions about treatment must be made. The therapist and/or pediatrician will explain the accepted approaches to the treatment of ADD. It is hoped a well-informed therapist will explain that ADD is a brain chemical issue, no different from any other physical or medical problem. In the case of ADD, the current state of knowledge is that two neurotransmitters (dopamine and norepinephrine) are the culprits. For whatever reason, these chemicals are not being properly released and replenished in certain parts of the brain. Your child’s therapist or pediatrician can give you a more-in-depth explaination and refer you to good resources. In any case, this causes particular difficulties in the areas of what Dr. Thomas Brown has referred to as “executive functions”. Here is a list of possible areas of difficulty in executive fuctioning: trouble organizing tasks, difficulty getting started on a task, misunderstanding directions, forgetting what was read, trouble focusing when trying to listen, distracted by both internal and extrnal stimuli, trouble regulating sleep and alertness, trouble sustaining effort in completing tasks, does tasks too quickly, overreacts to frustration, loses track of belongings, emtions impact actions too much, etc. This is not a complete list but it can give an idea of what these folks struggle with in trying to manage their lives. Just as diagnosis uses a multi- modal approach, so does treatment. The child’s school always needs to be involved in the treatment. Certain accommodations need to be put in place by educators. These can be anything from preferential seating, to reduced homework, to test-taking accommodations, etc. Teachers can help redirect and refocus children in a gentle, non- judgemental way if they are aware of the problem. Many creative ways can be developed to help these children learn. Therapy can be extremely useful in helping parents learn successful parenting and disciplinary skills. Children usually also need help with peer relations and with faltering self-esteem. A good tutor who understands ADD also can be invaluable. Finally, the complex issue of, “to medicate or not to medicate” comes into play. Medication is by no means always indicated. Some times behavioral strategies, accommodations, and ther- apy can be enough. In many cases, however, the brain chemicals need help replenishing supplies. In those cases, traditional stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexadrine have been used. More recently, many of these drugs have been made into longer-acting medications such as Concerta, Metadate, and longer-released Adderall. Your child’s doctor can explain possible side-effects. Parents and physicians will need to weigh the benefits versus the side effects of medication use for a particular child. It may take several trials of different medications before the most effective one is found. There is one very new, exciting breakthrough in the medical treatment of ADD. It is Strat- tera (atomoxetine), which is not a stimulant but a nore- pinephrine reuptake inhibitor. It is looking to be extremely effective. Not only does it appear to work well but it doesn’t have many of the potential side effects of the stimulants. Please consider asking you doctor about this new medication. Finally, if you think your child or you may have ADD symptoms, there is help available. Getting treatment now can help avoid a lifetime of unnecessary struggle. Fortunately, there is a local C.H.A.D.D. chapter (a support and information group for ADD) right here in Easton! Cynthia D. Browne, L.C.S.W.- C. is a therapist with 20 years experience in the treatment of children, families, and adults. She has a long-standing private practice in Baltimore and is associated with Sheppard Pratt Hospital. She is a senior clinical associate in deficit disorders, depression, and attention deficit disorders in children and adolescents. She has recently opened a practice in Easton (410-7638797). Buy it, sell it, find it with Chesapeake Classifieds 410-770-4000

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