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Find Help For Your Teen with ADHD

What is Executive Function The adolescent years demand a lot from any teen. For teens with ADHD, these years tend to be especially difficult. These individuals often struggle to keep up with daily demands because they struggle to maintain focus, manage time, and control their impulses. This results in many teens with ADHD to feel discouraged and inadequate. They may respond to this stress by withdrawing or acting out and in turn, bring additional stress into the home.

This daily struggle is heartbreaking for any parent to see. However, there are several steps parents can take to build their relationship with their teen and create peace in the home. Most of all, parents must remember it is their responsibility to provide their teen with the support they need. In some circumstances, the best thing for a teen with ADHD is a credible, wilderness therapy program such as Vantage Point by Aspiro. Vantage Point teaches teens tenacity, self-efficacy, confidence, and self-control through tangible lessons and loops of cause and effect. For teens with ADHD, wilderness therapy can make a significant difference in their ability to absorb and process information. Even in the most extreme cases, any teen with ADHD can improve with the right treatment. Teens who once struggled to focus in school and interact with others can become creative and thriving individuals with a clear and unique voice.

Would you like to learn more about how you can help your teen with ADHD?

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  About Vantage Point by Aspiro

Vantage Point is a specialized offshoot of Aspiro Adventure, the program that pioneered wilderness adventure therapy. Vantage Point focuses on helping students with executive function disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Nonverbal Learning Disorders, among others.

 

The Vantage Point programs are designed to build self-efficacy in our students through overwhelming mastery experiences – our students accomplish goals they never believed possible, which creates a belief that they are capable of changing their own lives for the better. We focus specifically on social dynamics and social skills to help our students connect with others and feel like they can be a part of the world. Experiential Learning is a tenet of our philosophy and our program. Paired with ongoing individual therapy and targeting specific areas for growth, our wilderness therapy programs are proven successful by outcome studies and are overseen by experienced Field Guides and clinical professionals


By | October 19, 2016 |

How You Can Support Your Teen with ADHD Through Wilderness Therapy

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Many parents have a difficult time transitioning to admitting their teen to wilderness therapy. Parents may feel they failed their child or that they are not a good parent. Any parent with those feelings must remember they are doing the absolute best thing for their teen by providing them with the help they need. The right wilderness therapy program will provide your teen with the tools they need to excel in daily life. More severe cases require more intense treatment.

Even while being away from their teen, parents can still support their son or daughter through treatment. Simply enrolling your teen is supporting them. Send letters to your son or daughter and encourage other family members to do so. Continually educating yourself about ADHD and what your teen is up to on a daily basis is another great way to get involved. Attend the wilderness therapy program-provided parent seminars, family therapy, and review parent resources.

While wilderness therapy is a short-term plan, keep in mind that your son or daughter will be returning home and will need your support. Your teen will need your help transitioning back home as this transition can be difficult. To help ease the transition, work with your child’s outpatient therapist and communicate with the program staff as needed. Keeping in contact with your teen and their therapists throughout their treatment will greatly help with your teen’s transition back into life at home.


By | October 12, 2016 |

Elements of a Credible Wilderness Therapy Program for Teens with ADHD

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There are many wilderness therapy options out there but not all are credible. Parents of teens with ADHD should choose a program that specializes in their teen’s disorder. Every teen has different needs and you want to make sure you are selecting the right program that meets his or her unique needs. Many parents with teens who have ADHD turn to Vantage Point by Aspiro for treatment because they specialize in ADHD and executive function deficits.

A good way to discover the specialization of a program is by simply looking into the backgrounds of therapists and field staff.

Additionally, any credible wilderness therapy program will give a formal evaluation for each student. This diagnosis is less about discovering which disorder your son or daughter has and more about understanding your teen’s unique situation. A credible wilderness therapy program will want to thoroughly understand your teen’s struggles, strengths, and weaknesses to provide them with the right treatment plan. A credible wilderness therapy program will provide a tailored plan for treatment upon admission and continue to update this plan continually.

Lastly, a credible wilderness therapy program will have proper accreditations by applicable regulatory organizations. You want to make sure you’re providing your teen with a reputable and safe program that will enforce best practices for safety, education, therapy, and the environment.


By | October 5, 2016 |

Wilderness Therapy as Treatment for Teens with ADHD

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Credible wilderness therapy programs are proven to be extremely effective in helping teens with ADHD.Wilderness therapy programs like Vantage Point by Aspiro often utilize a novel environment, experiential therapy, adventure activities, and socialization to help individuals with ADHD break through boundaries and find success.

Wilderness Therapy: A Novel Setting for Teens with ADHD

Wilderness therapy provides teens with a new and novel environment that allows them to reset. In a new environment, teens are more easily able to let go of bad habits and behaviors and replace them with good ones. A novel environment also allows teens with ADHD to leave their stress and failures behind and gives them with a fresh start. Additionally, living in wilderness is a new experience for most individuals and can be a very therapeutic setting that provides individuals with a new resolve to succeed.

Wilderness Therapy: Consequences and Teens with ADHD

Living in a wilderness setting is not easy. It requires you to work hard as a means to live. This exposes teens with ADHD to natural consequences. For example, if one chooses not to make their shelter and it rains, they will get wet. For teens that display impulsive behavior without considering consequences, this is especially helpful. Experiencing the natural consequences of the wilderness help teens with ADHD better understand that a consequence is tied to their every action.

Wilderness Therapy: Adventure Activities and Teens with ADHD

A large aspect of wilderness therapy are adventure activities. Not only is regular exercise and being outside healthy for teens with ADHD, adventure activities teach far more than that. Adventure activities push teens with ADHD to try new things and push past their boundaries. Challenging adventure activities such as rock climbing, hiking, or repelling teach teens with ADHD that they can do hard things. By overcoming overwhelming experiences, teens feel a greater sense of self-efficacy as a result. The more a teen is able to participate in these adventure activities across multiple settings, the more likely they are to generalize these skills and the belief that they can do hard things.

Additionally, adventure activities focus on improving their coping skills and allows therapists to work with them in the moment as they face obstacles. This is called “in vivo” therapy and teaches teens with executive function deficits in a more hands-on and tangible way.

Wilderness Therapy Teaches Social Skills to Teens with ADHD

Many teens with ADHD have difficulties forming and maintaining friendships. The group setting of wilderness therapy is especially helpful for these individuals to practice and refine new social skills. Wilderness therapy provides teens with a safe environment to practice these skills among teens that are similar to them. This is not only beneficial for the teen in building their social skills but can also create a sense of belonging for these individuals.
By | September 28, 2016 |

ADHD in Teens: When to Seek Treatment

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It is common for ADHD to worsen during adolescence as their hormones are shifting. Already difficult children become increasingly difficult as adolescence emerges. Even when parents lay all of the right strategies in place within the home and at school, they may still see their teen struggle. In some circumstances, medication and family support is not enough.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or defeated by the lack of progress in your teen, it may be time to seek external treatment. Some individuals require more intensive treatment to find safety lasting change.If your teen displays any of the following 7 behaviors, it may be time to seek external treatment:

-Substance abuse
-Refuses to take medication
-Reckless driving
-Aggressive behavior
-Promiscuity
-Depression
-Anxiety

If your teen displays any of the above behaviors, the time to act is now. The emotions and symptoms related to ADHD can be very intense and can lead to risky behavior. You do not want to put the safety of your teen or the safety of others at risk. There are effective and research-based treatment options for teens with ADHD that can help in ways that parents cannot. Many parents turn to wilderness therapy to help their teen with ADHD manage their ADHD and to find lasting change.


By | September 21, 2016 |

Disciplining and Parenting Teens with ADHD

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Even the best parents struggle to understand and parent their teen with ADHD. Creating a peaceful and well-functioning home environment for the entire family can be very challenging at times. However, there are several simple steps parents can take to help their teen with ADHD and create more peace in the home.

Do Not Punish Your Teen for Their ADHD

Parenting a teen with ADHD can be challenging for parents because of how easily the teen can get distracted. At times, parents may feel like their son or daughter is not listening to them or being defiant, but in fact, it’s their ADHD that has caused them to be distracted. In such circumstances, parents need to take a step back and evaluate if their teen is being defiant or if the disobedience is due to the biological effects of ADHD. In circumstances where it is not defiance, it is important parents do not punish their teen for their ADHD. Instead, kindly remind your teen of what you have asked. At times, you may need to work with your teen in focusing and completing the task.

Disciplining Your Teen with ADHD

According to 65% of teens with ADHD have problems with defiance, non-compliance and other problems with authority figures, including verbal hostility and temper tantrums. This makes disciplining teens with ADHD very difficult at times. Many parents of teens with ADHD have found that focusing on a few very important and firm rules is more effective than making a long list of rules that will easily get forgotten. While creating these boundaries, parents should keep in mind that teens with ADHD are at higher risk for substance abuse and addictions as well as car accidents. Parents must create firm boundaries and swift consequences in these areas for their teen’s safety. In most cases, teens with ADHD do best when there are fewer choices and distractions.

Be Patient with Your Teen with ADHD

Parents of teens with ADHD should strive to be as patient and as positive as possible. Chances are that your teen is already frustrated with him or herself. When their parent is also negative towards them, it can cause the teen to have even lower self-esteem. If a teen is repeatedly told bad things about him or herself, it is likely they will eventually believe them. The best thing a parent can do for their teen with ADHD is to be patient with them. Just like any teen, they need to hear that they can do and achieve great things.


By | September 14, 2016 |

Parenting Strategies for Teens with ADHD: Set Goals and Be a Good Example

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Even the best parents struggle to understand and parent their teen with ADHD. Creating a peaceful and well-functioning home environment for the entire family can be very challenging at times. However, there are several simple steps parents can take to help their teen with ADHD and create more peace in the home.

Set a Good Example for Your Teen with ADHD

It’s important for parents to recognize how much their children and teens watch their behavior and responses. Parents of teens with ADHD should try their best to set a good example of self-control and display calm responses and controlled reactions, even in stressful situations. Think about the areas your teen with ADHD struggles and make it a point to model healthy responses and behavior patterns in those areas. When challenging situations arise, parents can model how to express their anger and frustration in a calm way. It’s important parents stay consistent in their responses and avoid excessive lecturing. Act as you would like your teen to act.

Set Attainable Goals for Your Teen with ADHD

In times of discipline or peace, set goals with your teen that are challenging yet attainable. Set one goal at a time with your teen and work with them to achieve that goal. This can apply to their schoolwork and also to their behavior. The ultimate goal is to continue a pattern of setting goals until a positive behavior becomes routine.

Build a Relationship with Your Teen

It’s common for the strain and tension at home to cause a divide between the parents and the teen with ADHD. One of the best ways a parent can support their teen is to simply spend time with them. Parents should regularly find ways to create positive experiences and interactions with their teen. Do not expect these interactions to always go perfectly, but find activities that incorporate your teen’s interests and their strengths.

Another tool parents can use to bond with their teen is by simply spending 15 minutes each day focusing on only them by talking to them. These 15 minutes should be spent giving your teen your undivided attention. During this time, let your teen openly vent and share his or her emotions and feelings. Ask your teen about their life and listen to them without judgement. Teens with ADHD want to be heard. Take interest in their interests and be there to support and encourage them during times of both success and failure.

Give Your Teen with ADHD Praise and Positive Reinforcement

When a parent is frustrated, it is common for them overlook their teen’s positive behaviors. However, it’s extremely important for parents of teens with ADHD to look for their teens strengths and positive behaviors. Parenting expert Sal Severe, Ph.D, tells parents, “Catch your child being good or doing something well, and praise her. By praising desirable behaviors, you teach her what you want—not what you don’t want.” Even in the midst of struggle, look for your teen’s strengths and follow-up with praise and positive reinforcement. In times of discouragement, stay positive, and know that with the proper help and supports, your teen with ADHD can learn and succeed. Parents must remember they do not have to provide this support on their own.


By | September 7, 2016 |

Common Problems Relating to ADHD in the Family Dynamic

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Having a teen with ADHD can add a lot of stress and tension to the family dynamic, even beyond the teen and their parents. Research shows that families who have a teen with ADHD are different from non-ADHD families. These differences include a variation in parenting strategies and parent-teen relationships. In addition, research shows that families with ADHD face more challenges and family conflict. Simple interactions with siblings or their parents can be challenging for teens with ADHD.Without proper supports in place, everyone in the home can be negatively affected by ADHD.

ADHD in the Family: Tension Between Siblings

Studies have shown that teens with ADHD tend to fight more with their siblings. This is commonly due to the impulsive streak in teens with ADHD. Additionally, siblings of teens with ADHD may get frustrated at the teen’s aggressive or irrational behavior and lash out at them.

Another source of contention between siblings and teens with ADHD can stem from the parents. Parenting a teen with ADHD often takes more time, attention, and energy than parenting a child without ADHD. The additional time helping the teen with ADHD often takes away from a parent’s time with other children. Naturally, this can can cause tension between siblings and cause the other children to become jealous. The other children may feel pushed aside or ignored by the parent and start to resent the teen with ADHD. Additionally, these children may begin acting out as a way to get more attention from their parent.

ADHD in the Family: Strain Between Husband and Wife

Research shows that parents of a teen who has ADHD are three times more likely to separate or divorce as parents of non-ADHD teens. Couples are faced with added stress when their teen has ADHD and face more obstacles as a couple. In such circumstances, many couples see their teen’s situation differently and begin arguing about treatment options, parenting, and support strategies. Additionally, it is common for a couple to be so focused on helping their son or daughter that they begin neglecting their marriage.


By | August 30, 2016 |

ADHD in the Family: Strained Parent-Teen Relationships

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Research shows that teens with ADHD report having more parent-teen conflict that teens who do not have ADHD. ADHD expert, Russell Barkley, PhD, observes the strain between a parent and their teen with ADHD. He calls the following pattern “the vicious cycle”:

1. Parents, facing their own problems, see a child’s behavior get worse
2. Parents respond with more punishment and less encouragement
3. This hurts the child’s self-esteem and causes more behavioral problems
4. These problems lead to more fights with the parents
5. This reinforces the parents’ view
…The cycle restarts


The result of these problems are exhausting for everyone involved. While there is not a single solution that works for every family, there are several steps parents can take to alleviate some tension in the home. Next week on the Vantage Point blog we will further discuss the effect that ADHD can have within the family unit.
By | August 23, 2016 |

Types and Symptoms of ADHD in Teens

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When considering the types of ADHD and symptoms of your teen, it is important to keep in mind that, according to the DSM-V, the individual’s symptoms must be “present in multiple settings and result in performance issues in social, educational, or work settings.” If your son or daughter displays several symptoms on both these lists, he or she may have combined type ADHD and is the most common type of ADHD.

Symptoms of Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD:

Fidgets, squirms, taps feet or hands
Running or climbing in inappropriate situations
Difficulties performing quiet tasks
Difficulty waiting in lines
Interrupting others
Restless feeling
Excessive talking
Blurting out answers before hearing the entire question

Symptoms of Inattentive ADHD:

Not paying close attention to schoolwork
Makes careless mistakes
Difficulties sustaining attention for tasks
Does not seem to listen when spoken to
Trouble with organization
Skipping from one uncompleted task to another
Missing deadlines
Disorganization
Easily distracted
Frequently loses or forgets things

Inattentive ADHD refers to the more subtle type of ADHD. Teens with inattentive ADHD are not overly active but instead have problems focusing and staying on task. Because of the subtlety of these symptoms, teens with inattentive ADHD tend to have symptoms that are often overlooked. Many people refer to inattentive ADHD as “ADD” although “ADD” it is not used in the DSM-V.

If your teen displays any of the above symptoms, it is important for you to reach out to their teachers and counselors to see if they have noticed similar behaviors. In doing so, you will be able to better evaluate how serious your teens symptoms are.


By | August 16, 2016 |
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