A few years ago, I listened to this program on CBC radio and recently I found the link to it again!
This is a great episode of Ideas which takes highlights from Footprints, a symposium on Sport & Society. The first two speakers speak about how activity can help children with autism. The first speaker is a psychologist who talks about an innovative classroom setup in Eastern Canada. The second speaker is a young woman with Aspbergers (on the Autism spectrum), a novelist, who recounts how activity helped and still helps her cope in her day to day life.
It seems to me that many high school students are have test anxiety. There are different degrees of test anxiety from just being nervous/anxious when you're having tests, all the way to going to your family doctor and receiving treatment in many different forms. Many of us adults all remember the feelings we went through when doing tests and exams in high school or university, and we probably don't want to repeat this either!!
I think that the majority of students are also coping with many other stressful situations at home and at school. The stress that they are experiencing is different than when their parents went to school. As society changes, so do the levels of stress and anxiety as well as their causes. This makes it difficult for parents and students to properly communicate on ways to deal with this excess stress. Some cases of test anxiety may be helped by having discussions with peers and other adults on different ways of coping, study strategies as well as exercises for relaxation and focus.
So, here is my question for you whether you are a student or adult....
What did YOU find that worked to combat the anxiety that comes along with tests and exams?
What do you wish you did that was different?
What are some things that you feel students(or yourself) are dealing with in highschool now that you (or your parents) might not have had to deal with when they went to school?
You may comment below, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post on this article's link on Facebook!!
April is Autism Awareness Month
It seems that every week there's a new "Celebrate This problem/disease/group of people" day. Under this barrage of emails and Facebook events, comments, feeds and invites we tend to forget about them and think "Arg! Everyone's always looking for more of my money!"
I too was thinking about the best way to support a certain cause. Not all of us have extra cash that we can give out to the various charities that support each cause. Instead, I came up with a short list of other ways that you can help. The example I am using today is April is Autism Awareness. So, the examples below are how you can support this cause in different ways!
Now that we’re over halfway into the first semester, many students have had or are getting ready for some big chapter, unit tests and finals. Taking a test in any subject can be a daunting task at any age. However, helping your child develop the right habits before taking a test can make all the difference in the world. Aside from studying, there are some important stress relieving techniques that are often overlooked! Try some of these out with your child.
Learning to react to stress or anxiety about tests takes practice. Here are some techniques that you can help your child practice. Once a technique becomes easy, your child will be able to successfully implement it into their classroom life.
Stretch – before and during, take a deep breath and bring your arms over your head. On your way back down, let the breath out. Do this several times.
Visualise - Do this visualisation for many different activities where you need a break, need to relax, or ‘get away’. Have your child close their eyes (or in a classroom, stare at a clear spot on the floor, or corner of the ceiling). Imagine a place where just you can go all by yourself. Have your child build this place in their minds. Use phrases such as ‘now think of the grass, is it tall? Short? Waving in the breeze?’ Try this a few times (even build your own place with as your child does). Using this technique during a test will help your student ‘escape’ and calm down/relax in order to continue.
Think Positive - If you think you are going to do bad, or are terrible at doing tests, guess what? You’re probably right! A better way to use these pre-test thoughts is to infuse them with positive things such as ‘I’ve studied to my best ability!” “I’m going to do the BEST that I CAN do!” If you are a parent, try and be as positive as possible as your child will also sense your thoughts about their test-taking abilities.
Breathing – Take 5 DEEP breaths if you feel anxious or stressed. This helps the brain and body to relax and calm itself.
Time Management – Many teenagers need practice at this, and managing study time prior to a test can dramatically help reduce stress. Sit down with your child and help plan out a study schedule so that only a small fraction of the studying happens the night before a test.
Practice makes Perfect – If your child is in high-school, they have at least 8-10 different teachers and each teacher writes tests differently. So, often the first two to three tests in a course are like trial runs. After this kind of test, review with your child these three things: What kinds of questions were asked (multiple choice, word problems, short answers etc.)? What did you struggle with the most? How could you do it next time so you are better prepared?
Sleep – Last but not least, sleep should be the most important thing the day before a test. The brain needs time to repair before putting it under pressure.
Food – Teenagers these days seem to avoid breakfast. On a test day, make sure your child knows the importance of eating breakfast and lunch. These meals should consist of protein and good fats. Some examples of a good source of protein and fats are; eggs, scrambled eggs with cheese wrapped in a small tortilla, unsweetened peanut/nut butter, smoothies with protein powder (not just milk and fruit), granola/yogurt, milk and high fibre unsweetened cereal. If you have hemp seeds, flax seeds or any type of raw nut or seed, add this to the meal as well. Without a good meal, concentration levels and brain functions drop, both of which are needed during a test!
Remember, the more practice you have at writing tests successfully and without a lot of stress and anxiety the better you will do on these tests! I believe in you. You can do anything you set your mind on.
Essential Fatty Acids, more specifically those found in Omega 3's are proven to help improve both ADD, ADHD, ASD as well as improve general anxiety, concentration, attention and brain function of both children and adults.
Flora is a well known company that produces very high quality supplements. Their company does extensive research, which is available through their websites. Flora makes a line of products called "Efamol" which is a line of Essential Fatty Acid supplements. Here is the basics on Fatty acids and why they're important!
They also have the supplement "Efalex" which is made specifically for those needing to improve brain function and concentration.
One product line that many families in Quesnel are familiar with is from Nordic Naturals. They provide many different ways to take your Omega 3's including gummie bears, gummy worms as well as an assortment of liquids and softgels. Their Children's DHA comes in strawberry flavored softgels which many children like to chew as a treat! Many parents find the softgels easy for their children to take as they can be given as tasty treats. The gummies or gummy worms, because of their form, do have a lower Omega 3 content than those of the softgels, however for a texture or taste sensitive child, this may be the only way to maintain consistency.
Another well known product is by Natural Factors called "Learning Factors". The Learning Factors line is developed, similar to Efamol, to help support cognitive function especially those with ADD, ADHD, and general brain function of children and teens. Here is a description about their product line. Here also, is a specific brochure on the Learning Factors School Aid (This is a PDF document) which shows research behind their product.
A more general product that is appropriate for all children, including those mentioned above as well as adults who need extra brain support (job stress? too many things to think about?) is a general Omega 3 supplement. Having studied health and nutrition as a personal interest, as well as working at a local healthfood store, Green Tree Health and Wellness (250-991-0298), I generally recommend starting with 2 capsules (1000mg ea) taken twice a day for the first week or two. Monitor you or your child's behaviour, concentration levels and general abilities to adapt to change. If you notice a difference within this first week or two (often a difference is noted within two to three days!)
When choosing an omega 3 supplement, make sure to go to a healthfood store and ask for a good quality oil either in capsules or liquid. These days, fish oil no longer tastes like fish, in fact some brands such as Carlson ( who specialize in fish oil supplements) carry lemon or orange flavored capsules and liquid. Another well known and reputable brand is Renew Life's Norweigan Gold fish oil line. There are a range of Omega 3 supplements, whatever brand you choose, make sure that it is from a reputable company that your local healthfood store will stand behind.
If you are not sure which of the above products to start with, I always recomend starting with a general Omega 3 fish oil supplement from your local healthfood store. If your child has ADD, ADHD (or something similar) then start with a specific formula to help give their brains a 'leg up'. Use this product for approximately 3 months (a complete body cycle) before thinking of switching to a general Omega 3 supplement. This way, you are 'filling up the stores' of those important fatty acids that your child's brain is lacking before switching to a more general product.
Please remember that everyone's needs and schedules are different. Consistency is key. Whatever routine will work for both you and your child to make sure that he/she is taking them regularly will have a greater effect than taking them sporadically.