Psychological Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents

Archive for the ADHD Category

Published on: December 29, 2013  

Helping Your Child Develop An Effective Organization System

Keeping schoolwork organized is important for helping you and your child know where their work is and when it is due. Organizing handouts, a record of tests and quizzes and upcoming projects makes it easier for your child to stay on top of academic responsibilities and ultimately leads to school success.

Please let your child or teen’s teachers know that you are working on an organization system and ask for their help in the process.  You’ll be delightfully surprised by their encouragement and support!

Here are some simple steps you and your child or teen can do to develop an effective organization system:

  • Put Together a Binder- It is a good idea to have a separate folder for each subject, organized together in one large binder. This helps to ensure that work for one class is not getting mixed up with work for another. Variations include using a small binder for each class or using two medium sized binders, one for morning classes and one for afternoon classes.
  • Create Separate Notebooks- Just as it is useful to have a separate folder for each class, having a separate notebook for each individual class is also a good idea.


  • Develop a Folder Specifically for Completed Homework- Having a separate folder for homework to turn in and special papers to go home is an easy way to help your child remember where his homework is and what needs to be turned in. Please let your child’s teacher know that a specific folder has been developed so that they can remind them should they become distracted and forget to turn in daily assignments.


  • Develop a Planner- Keeping a planner or organizer is essential for tracking assignments and long-term projects! Often times, schools provide a planner for their students. If not, you and your child or teen should create one on your own. Your child should be encouraged to write down his homework assignments following each class. In some instances, it is necessary to have the teacher initial the planner to ensure that assignments are written down correctly. In turn, you can initial each assignment to communicate to the teacher that it has been completed.


  • Help Them to Organize Their Backpack and Clean Up the Clutter- Encourage your child to clean out his backpack each night. Non-essential items should be discarded. Papers should be placed in their appropriate folders and homework should go in the homework folder. This is also a good time to take a look at the planner to see what’s ahead. Once the class folders are organized and completed assignments are in their appropriate places, place necessary materials back in the backpack. Keep the backpack in the same location each night, such as by the front door. These steps will prevent hurried packing of the backpack in the morning. It will also ensure that your child arrives at school with all assignments and that he knows where to find them. You may have to help your child or teen develop these routines initially.  Keep in mind that you want them to be able to manage this routine on their own.
  • Provide Lots of Praise and Encouragement- Praise and encouragement goes a long way in motivating your child to continue to stay organized.  It lets them know that they are taking important steps to improve their academic performance and can get them thinking about how they can stay organized in other areas like organizing their room (keeping it clean) and chore completion.

These are simply a few ideas to help keep your child and teen organized. Always be sure to follow school guidelines regarding necessary school supplies and organization strategies.

If you would like some additional support in helping your child develop an effective organizational system and improving their academic performance, behavior at home & in the community, please give us a call, 360.236.0206.  We’re here to help!

Warmest Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services



Health Disclaimer

Published on: November 7, 2013  

Parent-Teacher Communication

We’re a little over two months into the school year, which means that school conferences are being held right about now. Parents, you’re probably anticipating this conference with your child’s teacher and wondering what the teacher(s) will say about his performance so far this year. Did you know that school-to-home communication has been linked with increased academic and behavioral performance in children? Here are some things to keep in mind during this season of conferences.

If you expect that your child’s school year is off to a great start, that’s wonderful! Take the opportunity at the parent-teacher conference to find out more about what your child is currently learning.

  • You might ask questions about the curriculum and how you can supplement your child’s learning at home.
  • You’ll also want to know what’s coming up next in the curriculum so you can prepare to help your child if they need it.
  • If it is in fact true that your child is meeting academic standards and performing well behaviorally, you might ask for specific examples of ways that your child is succeeding. Not only is it nice to hear as a parent, but it would also serve as a great basis for giving some specific praise and rewards to your child.

If you suspect that things are not going so well for your child this year, bring some specific questions with you. Your child’s teacher(s) are having this conference to share information with you, so don’t be shy when it comes to determining the details.

  • Talk to your child before you attend this conference. Ask your child how they would “grade” himself or herself, if they were the teacher. What does your child expect the teacher to say?
  • If a teacher tells you that your child is struggling academically or behaviorally, ask to see some data. Teachers have been collecting information for the last two months. If they have tried any interventions or new strategies to help your child, ask to see the data from those interventions, so you can see if it truly is working.
  • Ask the teacher if they have suggestions for how you can help your child at home. Determine what strategies the teacher is already using in class that you can also implement at home.
  • Consider implementing some kind of school-to-home communication system so that you can stay on top of your child’s progress. You might ask if the teacher can send you weekly emails, or if the teacher could send home a daily note about your child’s performance.
  • Ask the teacher if more intensive intervention needs to happen. If things don’t get better with some supports in place at home and school, what will you have to do next? For example, what are the teacher’s thoughts on an Individualized Education Plan or Section 504 Accommodation Plan for your child?

If things have not been going well for your child for some time now, but the parents and teachers have already made some accommodations/adjustments to your child’s school program, your family may need some more help.

  • Parents have the right to request a special education evaluation to determine if more individualized instruction is necessary for their child. Ask the teacher about the school’s procedures for requesting a special education evaluation.
  • Ask the teacher, counselor, or other school professional about additional resources at school and in the community that might help, such as after-school study halls or tutoring services.
  • Consider bringing the child to a psychologist, who would be able to conduct a full evaluation to determine your child’s specific academic and behavioral needs. Then, and more importantly, the psychologist should be able to give you some recommendations on how to proceed, and may even be able to provide some treatment for your child and the family.

We know that it can be difficult to navigate a school’s many systems. If you are concerned about your child’s performance in school or at home, consider talking with one of our Child and Adolescent Psychologists here at Gyro Psychology Services, Inc. We can help you determine what your child needs to succeed academically, behaviorally, and emotionally. Please give us a call – we are here to help.

Warmest Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services

Lacey, Washington


Health Disclaimer

Published on: May 29, 2013  

What is ADHD and How is it Treated?

What is ADHD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common behavioral disorders of childhood. It is usually diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. It is thought to involve biological substances in the brain, called neurotransmitters, as well as certain regions of the brain. As such, it affects behavior, emotions, and learning. Children with ADHD may experience difficulty sustaining attention and controlling their behavior, as well as over-activity. ADHD is estimated to occur in 3-7% of the population, and it occurs more frequently in boys than girls.


  • Primarily Inattentive Type: Characterized by distractibility, disorganization, and difficulty sustaining attention and focusing.
  • Hyperactive/Impulsive Type: Characterized by restlessness, difficulty sitting still and keeping hands to self, as well as the tendency to act or speak without considering consequences.


  • Combined Type: Characterized by both difficulty controlling hyperactivity/impulsivity and regulating attention.

What Can I Expect From My Child?

Children with ADHD face a number of challenges. Symptoms of inattention take the form of having difficulty ignoring distractions and being forgetful. Children may forget what they are doing in the middle of a task such as a chore or class assignment. They tend to have poor organization and to lose or misplace items such as toys, personal belongings or even homework and textbooks. Children with ADHD often appear to be daydreaming or to not listen when spoken to. While they are unable to maintain focus during activities that require sustained attention such as classwork, they are often able to maintain focus during pleasurable activities such as watching TV or playing video games. As a result, they are seen as rude or willfully disobedient.

Children with ADHD seem to have endless amounts of energy and appear to be “always on the go.” They often climb on things or get into things they shouldn’t, which can lead to careless accidents. Likewise, they have difficulty sitting still or staying seated when necessary, such as in school or during meals. They are talkative and often interrupt others, blurt out answers during class, and have difficulty waiting their turn. Children with ADHD also have low frustration tolerance and have trouble following rules. They can be seen as a “poor sport” or to have disregard for others, which can often lead to problems with their peers.

How is ADHD Diagnosed?

In order to be diagnosed with ADHD, children must experience symptoms in multiple settings, such as home and school, as well as significant impairment within these settings. Symptoms must be present before age 7 and must last more than 6 months. Determining whether or not your child’s symptoms are consistent with a diagnosis of ADHD is an involved process, and there is no single test to diagnose the disorder. A diagnosis may start with a medical evaluation by your pediatrician in order to rule out other conditions with symptoms like those of ADHD. Mental health specialists conduct a thorough interview with parents in order to gain a detailed account of your child’s behavior, as well as developmental, medical, and academic history. Evaluations also tend to include a variety of questionnaires for parents and teachers to complete, as well as child interviews.


How is it Treated?

ADHD is usually best treated through a combination of treatments including, behavior therapy (including parent training in behavior therapy), medication management, and classroom interventions.

Behavior Therapy:

Behavior therapy aims to help children change their behavior by teaching them to monitor their own behavior, set goals, provide themselves with praise, think before they act, and control their emotions.

Behavior therapy with parents involves what we call “Parent Training.” Parent training seeks to help parents learn effective parenting strategies aimed at increasing desirable behavior and decreasing undesirable behavior. This is done through establishing routines, as well as a system of rewards and consequences, which are effective in helping children change their behavior.



There are a number of studies showing that a stimulant medication (e.g., Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, Focalin, etc.) is effective for many children with ADHD. The medication helps to increase the child’s attention and reduces excess fidgetiness and hyperactivity, allowing the child to perform better in home, classroom and social situations. A number of other types of medications are also often used. These include Staterra, Antidepressants (e.g., Wellbutrin, Norpramin), and Antihypertensives (e.g., clonidine). There is no “best” medication to treat ADHD, as each child responds differently to medications. Furthermore, it is important to remember that medications help by reducing ADHD symptoms, not eliminating them. Most importantly, medications should only be started, stopped, or adjusted under the direct supervision of a trained clinician.


School Interventions:

School interventions include collaboration and regular meetings between parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and other relevant school personnel. In addition, your child may be provided with classroom accommodations, such as repeated instructions, preferential seating, reduction of distractions, alerting your child when transitions are about to occur, assistance with peer interactions, and a home-school reward system.

Helpful Resources:

Books for Parents:

  • Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete Authoritative Guide for Parents by Russell Barkley, Ph.D.
  • The ADHD Workbook for Parents by Harvey C. Parker
  • Problem Solver Guide for Students with ADHD by Harvey C. Parker
  • 123 Magic by Thomas Phelan, Ph.D.

Please check out the Resources section on our website for more information and downloads on ADHD. Please call us if you suspect your child might have attention problems, 360.236.0206.  We are here to help!

Warmest Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services

Olympia, Washington


866.616.GYRO (4976)

Health Disclaimer