Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Anorexia...The signs

Another great list from Healthychildren.Org.  If you had ever wondered about your child's eating habits, or sudden obsession with weight and/or exercise, take a few minutes to answer the questions below... 

Warning Signs of Anorexia

If you answer “Yes” to several of these questions, talk with your child and pediatrician. (I would also say consult with a psychologist/psychotherapist as well)
  • Does your child skip family meals and prepare her own food instead?
  • Is she following her own diet?
  • Are certain food groups or nutrients categorically excluded?
  • Are no- or low-calorie foods and drinks a major part of daily intake?
  • Has she adopted a “healthy” vegetarian diet suddenly and obsessively?
  • Are diet pills or preparations in her possession?
  • Is she overly concerned with losing or gaining weight?
  • Have you found laxatives that you did not give her?
  • Does she hide food in her room?
  • Does she visit the bathroom after eating?
  • Does she flush the toilet, run water, or turn on the shower while in the bathroom?
  • Has your plumbing repeatedly and inexplicably become clogged?
  • Does she have an unusual number of scratches or cuts over her knuckles?
  • Does she have swollen cheeks or lymph nodes around her face, or broken blood vessels in the whites of her eyes?
  • Has she lost a lot of weight in a short time?
  • Does she look gaunt?
  • Does she get dizzy or is she easily fatigued?
  • Does she have frequent headaches, heartburn, or constipation?
  • Have her periods stopped?
  • Does she play with her food without actually eating it?
  • Has she developed downy hair on her face, arms, and back?
  • Can you see the bones of her back and collarbones clearly outlined?
  • Does she have bruises along her backbone?
  • Does she wear loose, bulky clothing?
  • Does she exercise for hours on end with a routine that can’t be interrupted or changed?
  • Has she become withdrawn from her friends or family?
  • Does she seem more secretive?
***Please keep in mind that anorexia affects boys as well, but it is not often written about or discussed...


"Shannon Lipscomb and colleagues tracked 358 two-parent families for more than 18 months, evaluating young children when they were 9-, 18-, and 27-months old. The researchers also tried to measure the parents’ reactions to stress. They did this by asking each parent to rate his agreement with statements about his partner, statements like:
“When my child misbehaves, my partner raises his voice or yells…”
When the researchers analyzed the results, a pattern emerged. The kids who showed the least self-control at 27 months were the kids who’d been unusually moody as infants. They had shown more negative emotionality at 9 months, and their emotional problems often got worse over time."

Interested in knowing more?  Follow this link to read the full article taken from Momformation Blog
Another great resource!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dys-tinguishing the difference

Have you ever wondered why your child might be having difficulties with some parts of school and not all? Or why is s/he soo clumsy?

Have you heard the term "Learning Differences" or "Learning Difficulty/disability" and you weren't sure what it meant?

Very often parents come up to me and say "I know my child is smart, but why is s/he struggling in school?".  There could be a number of reasons, one of which could be the existence of a learning difficulty.
Here is a breakdown of the difficulties we most commonly see with our youngsters:

Dyspraxia, also known as developmental co-ordination disorder, is a disability that affects movement and co-ordination. It is thought to be caused by a disruption in the way messages from the brain are transmitted to the body.
Dyspraxia is characterized by difficulty in planning smooth, co-ordinated movements. This leads to:
  • clumsiness
  • lack of co-ordination
  • problems with language, perception and thought
Dyslexia is a common type of learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in the reading and spelling of words.
Dyslexia should be recognized as a spectrum disorder, with symptoms ranging from very mild to very severe. In particular, people with dyslexia have difficulties with:
  • phonological awareness
  • verbal memory
  • verbal processing speed
The above definitions were taken from:

Dysgraphia is defined as a difficulty in automatically remembering and mastering the sequence of muscle motor movements needed in writing letters or numbers. This difficulty is out of harmony with the person's intelligence, regular teaching instruction, and (in most cases) the use of the pencil in non-learning tasks. It is neurologically based and exists in varying degrees, ranging from mild to moderate. It can be diagnosed, and it can be overcome if appropriate remedial strategies are taught well and conscientiously carried out. An adequate remedial program generally works if applied on a daily basis. In many situations, it is relatively easy to plan appropriate compensations to be used as needed.

Dysgraphia can be seen in:
  • Letter inconsistencies.
  • Mixture of upper/lower case letters or print/cursive letters.
  • Irregular letter sizes and shapes.
  • Unfinished letters.
  • Struggle to use writing as a communications tool. 
This definition was taken from:

Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability (or difficulty) in mathematics. It was originally defined by the Czechoslovakia researcher Kosc, as a difficulty in mathematics as a result of impairment to particular parts of the brain involved in mathematical cognition, but without a general difficulty in cognitive function. This is the same definition that researchers in cognitive neuroscience use today.

What all definitions have in common is :
  • A presence of difficulties in mathematics
  • Some degree of specificity (ie. lack of across the board academic difficulties)
  • The assumption that these are caused in some way by brain dysfunction 

Sunday, February 19, 2012


  • Definition

Simply put, I.Q. is a number used to express the relative intelligence of an individual. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary explains further...

Definition of IQ

: a number used to express the apparent relative intelligence of a person: asa : the ratio of the mental age (as reported on a standardized test) to the chronological age multiplied by 100b : a score determined by one's performance on a standardized intelligence test relative to the average performance of others of the same age

  • Assessments Used (most common)
Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children
Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence
Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities
Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children 
Raven's Progressive Matrices

  • Averages

Wechsler's classification
IQ Range ("Deviation IQ")Intelligence Classification
>= 130Very superior
120 - 129Superior
110 - 119High Average
90 - 109Average
80 - 89Low Average
70 - 79Borderline
<= 69Extremely Low

Most schools in Kuwait would consider an average of 85 and above as normal I.Q.  Both mainstream schools and schools for children with Learning Difficulties expect such averages.  An I.Q. less than 85 would usually be unacceptable and the child will then have to be placed in a school for children with Special Needs.

  • Below Average I.Q.
Profound mental retardationBelow 20
Severe mental retardation20–34
Moderate mental retardation35–49
Mild mental retardation50–69
Borderline intellectual functioning70–84
( Bottom two graphs were taken from Wikipedia)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Childhood Depression

Depression is often associated with adults, but children are also victims. New data has surfaced to refute claims that antidepressants increase the risk of suicide in teens. I, however, always recommend cognitive behavioral therapy as a starting point before medication.  If the case of depression is severe and/or the child is already suicidal, do consult with a psychiatrist immediately about medication options and/or in-patient care if a facility is available. Monitor your child closely over the next few weeks.

Alix Spiegel writes for SHOTS:
In 2004, after an extensive review, the Food and Drug Administration issued a strong warning to doctors who prescribed antidepressants to teens and children.
Antidepressants, the FDA said, appeared to increase suicide among kids and teens. Doctors needed to be careful. The FDA even mandated that a "black-box warning," the strongest type, be placed on antidepressant packaging.
This warning and worries that giving antidepressants to children might cause them to kill themselves was front-page news for weeks and appeared to changed the prescribing behavior of doctors.
Fewer doctors used antidepressant medications with their young patients and, according to at least one study, the number of suicides among kids and teens began to rise.
This week the Archives of General Psychiatry published an analysis that finds no increase in suicide among young people taking Prozac. The findings put a new wrinkle in the long-running debate over the safety of the medicines when used to treat depressed young people.
The study reviewed detailed data from over 9,000 patients — including 700 youths — who took the antidepressant Prozac and found that the drug didn't increase suicidality in children at all. It also looked at data for adults taking Effexor.
Now, the main author of the study is Robert Gibbons, a statistician at the University of Chicago's medical school. Gibbons sat on the panel of experts that advised FDA to issue the warnings, but he always felt ambivalent about the panel's decision.
"I worried that what we might end up with was a real epidemic of suicide," Gibbons told Shots. "And the data suggests that that is exactly what happened. Rather than the black-box warning leading to decreases in child suicide rates, they were followed by some of the largest increases in child suicide rates both here in America and around the world."
So why did the new study come to such a different conclusion about the risks of suicide in kids?
According to Gibbons, the FDA's findings and his findings are similar in some respects. Both found that when doctors asked their patients about suicidal thoughts and behavior in the context of regularly scheduled checkups there was no difference between the medications and placebos.
But when it came to what are called adverse event reports, there was a difference between his study and the review done by the FDA.
Adverse event reports occur when patients spontaneously contact their doctors with problems associated with taking a medication. When the FDA looked at these patient reports, they found that patients on antidepressant medications reported 80 percent more suicidal thoughts and behavior than patients on placebos.
Gibbons didn't look at these spontaneous reports in the same way. He only considered them when patients acted on their suicidal thoughts with a suicide attempt. He found that the small number of people who acted on their suicidal thoughts did not affect the overall risk of suicide.
The original FDA study also included all antidepressants — not just Prozac. That might account for some of the differences found.
Gibbons, who has become a vocal opponent of the black-box warnings since his stint on the committee that advised FDA, says that he hopes this study will reassure clinicians about the safety of the drugs. It's not clear whether other researchers will agree with him that the new study's findings present a fundamental challenge to the FDA's previous conclusions.
The FDA was contacted for this report, but a spokeswoman emailed that the agency doesn't respond to every report or study.
The Gibbons study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Gibbons has been an expert witness for the Justice Department and Pfizer in cases related to antidepressants, anticonvulsants and suicide.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Your attendance please

Remember when I posted about Ajyalona in October (post)??? Well it's finally happening!  I unfortunately wont be able to participate, but many wonderful boutiques (PTL's friend Oleana will be there!), centers and groups will be there.  MUST GO!
Here is the information:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

From bullied to applauded...

From bully victim to an inspirational performance at American Idol... This performance brought me to tears... I wish we can all find compassion and teach our kids to be more compassionate to those who need it the most... Reach out and show people you care...
For more bullying information check out my previous post: 0% Tolerance.