Monday, May 20, 2013

What We Know We Can Do To Manage ADHD Symptoms in Children

Why do children in France have a lower rate of being diagnosed and medicated compared to children in the United States?  Is it the nutrition?  Is it the structure?  Do psychologists and physicians in France not understand the criteria for a diagnosis?

Father David Roseberry, Rector at Christ Church in Plano, recently posted an article on Facebook about research showing that the rate of ADHD is much lower for children in France.  This fuels questions about misdiagnoses.  Does ADHD really exist?  Are these studies flawed?  In the United States are we just overmedicating?  Instead of just questioning the research, let's consider what we know we can do for all children whose lives can be improved by helping them focus and attend.

In France, the percentage of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than .5%.  In the United States, at least 9% of school-aged children have been diagnosed and are taking pharmaceutical medications.  In the U.S. we believe that there are biological causes for this disorder.  In France children are treated with the belief that ADHD is a condition that has psycho-social and situational causes.

Research suggests that researchers in France and in the U.S. are both correct.  There is sufficient evidence that brains fire more often in the frontal lobe of people with ADHD causing distractibility, inattentiveness, impulsivity, and further problems with executive functioning.  Chaotic environments that lack structure, predictability, and order impair the ability to attend, manage distractions, and sequence.  So what do we do?  Where does this benefit families who struggle with their child's ability to attend, manage distractions and impulsivity?

Here are 5 things parents can do to improve their child's ability to manage attention (whether ADHD has been officially diagnosed or not):

1. Set your child up to be successful:
2. Promote Emotional Regulation:
3. Focus on Discipline to Teach Skills:

4. Build A Child's Internal Resources Rather than Being the One to  Praise and Reward:
5. Manage Mental Fatigue:
  • Take frequent breaks when trying to sustain attention.
  • Use a variety of ways to reinforce what a child is learning (flashcards, drawings, music, etc)
  • Do the hard stuff first when attention is more likely to be sustained.
By focusing on how a lack of attention disrupts a child instead of just trying to figure out the cause of the problem, parents can lead their child towards success.  Let's benefit from the knowledge that some of what causes ADHD is biological and environmental when working to improve attention.  All children benefit from the strategies listed above.  Whether you live in France or in the U.S., children with ADHD will benefit the most.

Thanks for posting the article Father David.  I'm glad you asked for my opinion.  I've always got one.

To read the original article posted by Father David go to this link Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Start Today. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

New Year's Resolutions are about to take a nose dive.  After all, today is January 12th.  You don't have to admit to anyone, but yourself, that goals you set so intensely 12 days ago are starting to fade.  I know the secret to real behavior change.  I can tell you what you need to do to be successful long term.  I know what you need to do to make your goals work. 

Do today what you can do again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day.....

Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.

If you want to get healthy, set a goal to eat 5 servings of vegetables every single day.  That's repeatable. 

If you want to be more grateful, set a goal to write 2 handwritten notes every single day.  That's repeatable. 

If you want to improve your marriage, give 30 minutes everyday of undivided, engaged contact (that means put the iPhone in another room for once) with your spouse.  You give more than 30 minutes and you might see even more dramatic improvements in your marriage.  Can you give 30 minutes a day?  That is up to you.  You decide what is repeatable. 

The biggest mistake is setting goals for change that are too high and can't be repeated so they come to a halt too early.  Does that sound like something you might do?

My repeatable goal is at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.  Every day.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  That means that I park far away in a parking lot.  I'm now doing a 5am boot camp three days a week with Titia of Texas Fit Chicks.  I'm walking (looking like I have somewhere to be) in my neighborhood with headphones.  I have even used my bike instead of my car to go to Kroger.  It is doable, manageable, measurable, and good for me.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat. 

Get focused and identify your repeatable goal right now and get at it.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Now that will defiantly keep you Living in the Smart Zone.

~ Susan

Monday, January 7, 2013

Here it is: Just Breathe - A Day in My Life (Sorta)

Here it is:  A look at a day in the my life.

Sorta.  David Quisenberry is the photographer who shot my current professional portraits.  He makes me laugh and his pictures actually look like me. 

Come on.  You know the feeling.......  I think he is the best and many of my friends are now using him.

This video is his project.  I was just lucky enough to be invited to be a part of it.  This shows what a photo shoot with him is like.  Let me tell you.  It is FUN!  We shot this video last September, just one month before I turned 50.  There is nothing like this kind of photo shoot to bring out your inner....spunk.

About a year ago, I was looking for someone to shoot current professional photos for me and there were many things that were important to me.  When David was recommended, I loved his website, I knew some of the people in his photos, and the setting for his studio is so cool.  It's in the Old Flour Mill Building in McKinney Texas.  But there was something that set him apart. 

His soul.

Recognize this picture?
This is one of David's photos.  He is the photographer for The Portrait Project Charity with Meagan Harris from Channel 8 in the DFW area.  The Portrait Project: Courage and Cancer is aimed at capturing the strength and courage of a child fighting cancer. The Portrait Project provides a large canvas portrait to families of children fighting cancer. 

There are many photographers out there who take pretty pictures.  David is a photographer who captures moments in pictures.  It was easy for me to choose him.

Thank you David for letting me be a part of this project so we could capture a day in my life....well sorta. 


Friday, January 4, 2013

How offering Free Stuff can blow

I like free stuff. I’m a coupon girl and, just like you, I look for high value, good bargains. When Drybar offered a special one time event later this month which includes a FREE blow dry, I was definitely interested. But then again so were thousands of other women. And that is where the story begins and where the lessons lie. In every industry, “free” doesn’t always lead to more loyal customers.

Here is the story:

I am a faithful, regular customer of Drybar . With my curly hair, my schedule, and my low maintenance lifestyle, we are a perfect match. Yesterday, Alli Webb, the founder of Drybar  announced an offer through social media and email. She offered free blow drys at all Drybar locations for a specific block of time on Sunday, January 13th. The block of time is when the show GIRLS will premier for it’s second season on HBO. Drybar and HBO teamed up for the promotion. Get a free blowdry at Drybar while watching the HBO series. Sounds like a great idea for a girls’ night out.

The response was incredible. So many were interested and it was a hit! Then, within minutes of the announcement, Drybar’s scheduling software crashed and their call center became a n auditory cluster of busy signals. The criticism and dislike was instantaneous. Potential customers complained on Facebook and media was in a whirl. Alli Webb posted a sincere apology for underestimating the response and thanked people for their patience.

There were haters. People who felt entitled to the free blow dry. There were those who demanded that the hours of the offer be extended since they couldn’t get an appointment. Others wanted rain checks. Many offered advice for Alli on how to run her business. It was amusing to me because Drybar is so one of my favorite examples for how they market. They are the ones who figured out that the greatest rate of Drybar cancellations and no shows occurred when there is rain. Their response? When you get a blow dry and it is raining, Drybar gives you your own personal bright yellow signature umbrella with the phrase “Rain Blows” prominently displayed. Oh yes! I have one and use it proudly and it was FREE. I perceived it as a gift for my loyalty – as a part of the service because the people of Drybar gave it to me so the rain would not mess up my fresh and sassy hairdo. To me, that is going the extra mile when it is needed. It was unexpected and not a response to a sense of entitlement.

FREE isn’t always good when you are trying to build a customer base. In my opinion, those “potential customers” who are mad at Drybar because the free appointments were limited are unlikely to become the faithful customers that build companies anyway. They want something for “free”. That likely makes them a nonqualified buyer. Perceived value is often low when customers receive your services initially for free.
"If you can give it to me initially for ‘free’, then how much does it really cost you to provide a service and how high really is the mark up on your services when I pay?"
Free breeds free. Value breads value. While we want something for nothing, businesses have to make a profit. I know I like to feed my family and invest profit back in my business so my quality and value are maintained.

Kudos to you Alli Webb and to those at Drybar who do their best to reward the faithful. The haters will move on and we know that your scheduling software and your call centers will be ready with your next promotion. You don’t have to extend the hours. You also don’t have to give rain checks. Your locations are open 7 days a week and those who value your service will be there with their cash in hand to gladly pay. Me? My next appointment is this coming Monday at 8am and I know my favorite Drybar stylist, Myrna, will do her magic deserving of the cost of the service. Hey, I keep coming back, as do many others, and I am happy to pay.

Tell me what you think? Do you think promotions with limited services that are totally free are a Smart Move?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Why I'm glad to Celebrate My 50th Birthday

I had my 50th birthday yesterday and here are 5 personal reasons why I was happy about it:

  1. My friendships at 50 are fulfilling. It is important to periodically take inventory and evaluate whether some of your relationships are toxic. In our 20's and 30's, we learn about trusting people, about whether people are looking out for our best interest (as well as theirs), and we tend to be focused on building our careers, our families, and our lives as adults. Now that I am at this stage of life, I nurture the relationships that have weathered the good and the bad. I'm better able to smell who just wants to ride piggy back. I know who is only there during the good times. It is more fulfilling for me to have a circle of friends who see the "Susie" in me and like that about me. I'm blessed with friends who are the family I choose.

  2. All three of my boys live in my home and will be launching into their own independence within the next few years. I had my first child at age 33, my second at 35 and my last one at 37. If I had children in my 20's, I admit, I would not have been the best mom. Graduate school with kids was hard for my peers and I waited to have children so I could be more focused for my family. I knew that it would be important to "be there" when my kids were teenagers. Well, I'm "there" now and I'm proud of myself for positioning my boys as my number one priority. You will not hear me saying, "How did they grow up so fast?" I won't regret or waste the time I have with them. I enjoy every day and moment.

  3. I'm a lifelong learner. Working for Dr. Phil, he always said, "You don't know what you don't know" and it is true! I don't apologize for it and never will. While media use me as an expert, I'm the first to tell you that I have a lot to learn. That's a good thing. That means that our abilities and interests can shift. Our likes and dislikes can change. What gives us energy can increase. I want to always learn something new.

  4. The alternative to living to 50 is passing away in your prime. Each day is a gift and let's all work hard to be present and live each moment...and that's what I call, "Living Smart in the Smart Zone."

  5. Divorced at 50 isn't ideal but it's an opportunity, in my opinion. It's an opportunity but there is no other choice. I was married for 17 years. The first 10 were pretty good. I'll leave it at that. In our home, I display a picture, of our then family of five, that was taken moments after my youngest son, Sam, was born. It was an easy birth (as the third child usually is) and I looked pretty good for a woman who just gave birth. It was a really happy time and a really happy day. At 50 I'm excited that I get to do "love" again. That's part of living in the moment and welcoming your opportunities. I'll keep you posted.
Turning 50 is a good thing. Thanks for letting me tell you why.

If you are interested in booking me to speak at your meeting or conference please email Zan Jones or call her at 214-536-6666.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

How to Help Others Trust You

One of the most unbelievable examples of lack of trust occurred last week when a Texas mother was arrested for, allegedly, letting her kids play outside unsupervised. The story gained national attention and I was asked to comment on it on the local FOX 4 channel. Here's the footage:

In this case, there was lack of trust among the police, the mother and her neighbor. Obviously there is more to this story, but it's important to know that trust is attainable in any relationship at work and at home.

To stay in the Smart Zone and strengthen the platform of trust use these Smart Moves:

  • Be predictable, caring and faithful. Don't be moody because that makes you unpredictable. Being caring and faithful will help you build loyalty.
  • Address and right the wrongs. Blaming others is one of the fastest ways to burn yourself in the trust department. Do what is necessary, even when it inconveniences you. If it's your responsibility, fix it.
  • Be loyal to others when they aren't present. People will trust you when they have confidence that you can be trusted when they aren't present, and that may not happen until they experience you behind the backs of others.
  • Be clear with expectations and hold people accountable. When supervising people be deliberate about the outcomes you are expecting and, when possible, make them measurable or set timelines.
  • Build your self-regard. Self-regard is how you see yourself and how others see you. It isn't self-esteem. Your self-regard is what lets people know whether they can trust you to accept feedback, manage criticism, and be honest with them in return.
  • Demonstrate respect for those you work with. This is one of my favorites on Stephen M.R. Covey's list of the 13 Behaviors that Earn Trust. One-sided respect in relationships is temporary and delicate, yet over time it builds into respect that is reciprocal. 
  • Follow through on your commitments. People can smell insincerity when a commitment is not followed through. When you have the reputation that you can't be trusted to do as you say, you face a hard uphill climb. 
  • Be the same in public and in private. When people can count on you being the same in private as you are in public, they'll trust you to be who you say you are. They'll also trust that what you say today will be consistent with what you say tomorrow.

If you are interested in booking me to speak at your meeting or conference please contact Zan Jones.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How To Shock In a Good Way

I was shocked in a meeting with my book publisher this week when someone threw out an F-bomb. It wouldn't have been shocking if it had just been the two of us talking but there were several other people in the room. This isn't an article about it being bad to cuss in business conversations - let's face it - I hear lots of colorful language in my clinical practice and when consulting with companies. However, I believe we should all be cautious when using "dirty mouth" language. That kind of colorful expression can be shocking and leave a lasting impression in a bad way. 

People in the Smart Zone know how to shock and surprise people in a good way. I was totally stunned and pleasantly surprised this week when I toured the LIVESTRONG headquarters in Austin, Texas:

It was eye opening and enlightening to see the attention the people of LIVESTRONG have given to their message. They are true to their mission to help people affected by cancer, their commitment to healthy living and the trust they instill in their employees. Now that's how people in the Smart Zone shock people!

Here are five Smart Moves for how to shock people in a good way:

  1. Respond faster than you promised. How excited are you to hear that your car that is being repaired is ready a day early or that your internet service is up and running now vs. tomorrow? It's the classic "under promise and over deliver" mentality. Go out of your way to help people get what they need faster than they expect and they will be shocked!
  2. Tell someone, "You are absolutely right." Listening is an art but it also has financial impact. Studies show that physicians who listen to their patients for at least 3 minutes have significantly fewer malpractice lawsuits against them. When you are eager to make a sale or get your point across you are less likely to listen. When someone objects to what you think resist the urge to defend your point and trying saying this, "You are absolutely right, I should consider that."
  3. Really get to know people. Learn what excites your employees, coworkers and customers. What are their goals? What stresses them out? Don't pry too deeply - but show an appropriate interest in your colleagues and their well-being.
  4. Laugh at yourself more than others. In other words, have a sense of humor! Be willing to laugh at yourself and your short-comings. Practice humility. People will trust you more if they see you are willing to laugh at yourself.
  5. Don't step on Superman's cape. When others have high aspirations, encourage them to go for it. The only way dreams are achieved is for someone to have them. You can be the voice of reality and still encourage others to achieve success.