Newsletter, May 24, 2011

Table of Contents

  • Message from the President
  • Support Group Meetings
  • ADD & Loving It
  • SOAR
  • Uncles and Aunts At Large
  • Attention Research Update
  • Workshops for siblings of children with special needs
  • Volunteer

Message from the President

Greetings everyone!

June 1 ADHD Support Group Meeting
Our last guest speaker for this season is Dr. Robin Smith, MD. She has extensive experience in treating ADHD and will be speaking about ADHD medications. Everyone is invited: both parents and adults with ADHD. Spread the word! (July 6 is our Adult round table and August 3 our Parent round table.)

ADHD support group meetings are held 1st Wednesday of each month, 7 PM. Members and non-members welcome. Come expecting to support and be supported: Misericordia Hospital, Basement, B-016, 16940 – 87 Avenue, Edmonton. Garden Café (Tim Hortons) is available around the corner. RSVP to adhdgreateredmonton@yahoo.ca.

Activity Night for Kids (grades 3+)
Wednesday, May 25th is our third activity night for kids. Please bring your children and stay for the evening. This is an excellent opportunity for both children and parents to connect. RSVP if you plan to bring your kids.

Ola Perry has generously offered to run a gym night once a month for children/youth with ADHD and siblings. The kids can work up a sweat and run off all that extra energy! Meantime, parents can connect and mingle in a casual atmosphere.Children must be accompanied by their parents.

Please see below for details of the next activity night. Thank you, Ola!

Ages: Grades 3 and up
Date: Wednesday, May 25th
Time: 6 to 8 pm
LocationHoly Trinity High School (7007 – 28 Avenue, Edmonton)
Attached to the Millwoods Rec Centre. Use the front entrance and meet in the main lobby.
Parking: Teacher’s parking lot on the west side
Bring: Indoor runners (outdoor shoes not permitted in gym)
If you and your children plan to come, please RSVP by email to: adhdgreateredmonton@yahoo.ca

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Edmonton Region
The CMHA Edmonton Region develops programs to meet the “recreational and social needs of children and youth who are presently diagnosed with or are experiencing behavioral problems, mental health issues or come from families experiencing mental health issues”.  These programs include Saturday recreation, youth life skills and summer fun camps. Check their website for more information (www.edmonton.cmha.ca <http://www.edmonton.cmha.ca/> ). A referral must be made by an individual knowledgeable about the mental health of the child and/or family (ie. teacher, social worker, therapist, doctor).

Behavior Clinic – Misericordia Hospital Child Health Centre
The Behavior Clinic offers parent and child programs for those with children and youth ages 2-12. Please call Kathy or Peggy at 780-735-2613 for further information. The Clinic also offers an adolescent group program for ages 14-17 and you can call Dr. Erik Wikman at 780-735-2731 for information.

Connections
Your CHADD executive is busily making connections with organizations and agencies in Edmonton to spread the news of the work of the support group. We are making presentations to doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers about the work we do. If you know of an organization or group who would be interested in hearing about the work of CHADD Edmonton, please contact us. We would be happy to make a presentation without a fee.

Don’t Drop The Ball on Alberta’s Future!
In light of the recent announcements about cuts to education funding, on Sunday, May 29th there will be a gathering of people who are standing up for public education. Support your child’s teachers!

The Alberta government is dropping the ball on funding for our children’s education.
Come out and voice your concerns: Bring a lunch and a ball. Everyone welcome!

Sunday May 29th, Noon
Steps of the Legislature

Further inquiries can be made to holyroodschoolcouncil@gmail.com.

Dr. Russell Barkley in Edmonton – November 7
The Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta is pleased to bring Dr. Barkley to Alberta on Monday, November 7, 2011. He is an internationally renowned expert on ADHD. Dr. Barkley will conduct a 6-hour seminar on ADHD in Edmonton at the Horowitz Theatre on the University of Alberta Campus. The seminar will be live streamed for participants logging in from Mountain and Pacific Time Zones. Get together with others to access the live stream and share the cost. More information can be obtained from LDAA.

Registration: $110 for in‐person or online attendance. Registration available at http://www.LDAlberta.ca in early June.

Who Should Attend? Teachers, Physicians, Psychologists, Disability Service Providers, Mental Health Workers, Parents, People Living with ADHD.

This session is an ideal professional development opportunity for schools. Register to attend online, and gather a group together and participate from your staff room.

(780) 462‐9497 / info@LDAlberta.ca / www.LDAlberta.ca

Attention Research – How ADHD girls evaluate their social competence
The review, below, by Dr. David Rabiner of research on girls and social competence is quite interesting.

** New findings on how girls with ADHD evaluate their social competence **

As discussed in a recent issue of Attention Research Update – http://www.helpforadd.com/2010/october.htm – children with ADHD often struggle in their peer relationships and are frequently disliked and rejected. Furthermore, the friendships they establish tend to be of poorer quality than those of other children.

Because peer relationships are so important to children’s healthy development, many researchers have focused on helping children with ADHD in this area. Unfortunately, these efforts have not yielded consistently positive findings. For example, in the MTA Study – the largest treatment study of ADHD ever conducted (see http://www.helpforadd.com/mta-study for a review) neither state-of-the-art medication treatment nor intensive behavior therapy yielded meaningful improvements in children’s peer relations, even though significant reductions in core ADHD symptoms were obtained.

Although children with ADHD often have significant social difficulties, it is noteworthy that they actually tend to overestimate their social competence. Thus, in studies where the social competence ratings of children with and without ADHD are compared to ratings made by parents and teachers, the discrepancy between child and adult ratings is significantly higher for children with ADHD than for other children. In other words, they view their social competence more positively relative to how adults view them then do other children.

Some have argued that this ‘positive illusory bias’ (PIB) is a good thing in that it enables children with ADHD to maintain positive feelings about themselves despite their frequent social struggles. Others, however, suggest that a lack of awareness about their social problems, i.e., seeing themselves as more competent than they really are, may reduce their motivation to change their social behavior and thus contributes to perpetuating their social difficulties.

Although the existence of a positive illusory bias in children with ADHD is an interesting finding, several important questions remain. First, the research has largely been restricted to boys with ADHD, as relatively few girls have been included in prior research on this issue. Carefully examining whether the PIB found to characterize boys with ADHD is also clearly present in girls is thus an important question to address, especially since the link between social difficulties and psychological maladjustment may be stronger in girls than in boys.

Second, important questions remain about the relationship between overestimating one’s social competence and actual social functioning in children with ADHD. As noted above, there is currently no consensus as to whether a PIB is harmful for children with ADHD, and some have argued that it serves an important self-protective role. One way to address this question is to examine the magnitude of the PIB in relation to children’s actual social competence. If children with larger PIBs are actually regarded as less socially competent, it would suggest that overestimating one’s competence may undermine a child’s likelihood of experiencing social success.

These questions were addressed in a study recently published online in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology [Ohan & Johnswton (2011). Positive illusions of social competence in girls with and without ADHD. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, published online 25 January 2011.] Participants were 42 9-12 year old girls with ADHD and 40 girls without. Measures of social competence were collected from the girls themselves, their mothers, and their teachers. In addition, all girls participated in a laboratory social task so that their social competence could be directly observed by the researchers. Additional measures of girls psychosocial functioning, i.e., their number of friends, impairment in various domains, and aggressive behavior were also collected.

To compute PIB scores, each girls rating of her social competence was subtracted from the score provided by their parent, teacher, and the researcher who observed them during the laboratory social interaction task. Thus, 3 different PIB scores were computed for each child with positive scores reflecting the child’s rating herself higher than she was rated by the other source, i.e., a positive illusory bias.

– Results –

Question 1 – “Do girls with ADHD show a stronger tendency to overestimate their social competence than other girls?”

The answer to this question was clearly yes as all 3 PIB scores were significantly higher for girls with ADHD relative to comparison girls. The magnitude of the difference was large for scores based on mother and teacher ratings, and smaller – but still statistically significant – for scores computed based on the lab-based social interaction measure.

When examining factors within the group of girls with ADHD that were associated with higher PIB scores, the researchers found that scores were higher among girls who also had high levels of oppositional-defiant behavior and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms and lower in girls with higher levels of depressive and inattentive symptoms.

Question 2 – “Is there evidence that overestimating social competence is associated with poorer social functioning?” To address this question, the researchers examined the correlation between children’s PIB scores and various indices of social adjustment, e.g., number of friends reported by the mother, functional impairment reported by mothers and teachers, aggressive behavior reported by mothers and teachers.

The results were quite interesting. For girls without ADHD, higher PIB scores tended to be associated with more positive social functioning. That is, for these girls, seeing oneself as more socially competent than may actually be the case was linked to better overall social adjustment. This reflects the potential benefits of a ‘positive illusory bias’ that some researchers have described.

For girls with ADHD, however, the results were decidedly different. For these girls, higher PIB scores were negatively and significantly associated with virtually every aspect of social functioning the researchers examined. Thus, the more girls with ADHD overestimated their social competence, the fewer friends they had, the more aggressively they behaved, and the more impaired they were judged to be. This is exactly the opposite of what was found for the comparison girls.

– Summary and implications –

Results from this study extend earlier work with boys by documenting that girls with ADHD also tend to overestimate their social competence relative to other girls. The fact that this was found regardless of whether overestimation was in relation to parent ratings, teacher ratings, or observations of girls’ social behavior allows for greater confidence in the results.

In addition to this primary finding, the results also offer strong initial evidence that overestimating one’s social competence operates differently in girls with and without ADHD, and that for girls with ADHD, over-estimates are consistently associated with poorer adjustment.

In discussing the clinical implications of their findings, the authors suggest that “…the PIB may be an obstacle to instigating independent self-improvement in areas that are needed most…” and reference related work in the PIB is associated with poorer treatment outcomes. They note that this may be especially true for girls with ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, “…as their negative and hostile attitude towards others may be worsened or maintained by an overly positive self-view.”

What remains unclear from the current study is the degree to which girls with ADHD are actually self-aware of their social difficulties and provide overly positive reports to portray a more positive self-presentation, i.e., they are being defensive, versus being truly unaware of their limitations. The authors suggest that if children are deliberately presenting themselves in an unrealistically positive light, treatment will need to address this defensive coping style. If, however, they are truly unaware of how they are perceived by others, than helping them develop more accurate self-evaluation skills may be necessary and appropriate. Of course, this is unlikely to be an ‘either-or’ phenomenon and both processes may be occurring.

Either way, this line of research contributes to a fuller understanding of the social difficulties experienced by girls with ADHD and will hopefully contribute to the development of interventions that effectively promote their social success.

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