Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What Kind of a Link are You?

We hear about it on the news and read stories on Facebook. Someone pays a restaurant bill for a soldier and his family, another generous person gives a large tip to a struggling waitress. These "pay it forward" stories make us feel good and restore our faith in humanity. They may even inspire us to spread around the kindness.

There is another type of chain of reciprocating behavior. A study completed through the combined efforts of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Colorado, Boulder placed hundreds of people in situations in which others demonstrated either greed, generosity, or fairness in monetary distribution.

What were the results?

Those were treated fairly by others were most likely to be kind in return. Unfortunately, those who interacted with the greedy tended to emulate that type of behavior.

The researchers were not surprised by what they learned. After all, they couldn't identify any no "good reason" to pay things forward. In addition, negative emotions, such as those you would experience after feeling shafted tend to be stronger and more influential on behavior than positive ones. That's because we deal with our bad experiences by taking things out on other people.

But this pattern, this negative chain of behavior, isn't your destiny. It isn't a foregone conclusion that you have to act as badly as any jerks you may encounter.

You have a choice. The next time someone doesn't treat you as well as you deserve, stop. Think about the consequences of your actions. Make a conscious choice to do a good deed for someone else. Start a new chain of positive actions.

If someone is disrespectful towards you, make a choice to treat the salespeople in the next store you enter with extra courtesy. Cut off in traffic? Let the next person who needs to merge go ahead of you.

Let's see what chains of goodness we can create.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

ADD/ADHD in Adults

About half of the children treated for ADHD/ADD in childhood will no longer be restless and impulsive. Most will continue to struggle with attention challenges.

Others who have been shepherded through their childhood by parents and teachers will not receive a diagnosis until they fail to keep up with assignments in college, manage the detailed work of a career, or handle the responsibilities of parenthood.

The central problem continues to be a lack of focus. While adults with ADD/ADHD may be able to concentrate on stimulating activities like video games or sports, they are unable to complete routine tasks.

Do you have ADD/ADHD? Take the free screener here to see if you have the symptoms.

What can be done?

See your doctor and ask if medication is appropriate. This is a good beginning, but will not address the lack of organizational skills many adults with ADD/ADHD experience. These individuals may need to have therapy to develop new habits, learn to effectively use lists, identify distractions, plan, and prioritize their work. Most doctors believe that a combination of medication and behavioral therapy are the only effective approach to help adults with ADD/ADHD lead productive lives.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dangers of Pornography for Those with Disabilities....and Everyone Else!

In the words of Jeffrey R. Holland,

"Most days we all find ourselves assaulted by immoral messages of some kind flooding in on us from every angle. The darker sides of the movie, television, and music industry step further and further into offensive language and sexual misconduct. Tragically, the same computer and Internet service that allows me to do my family history and prepare those names for temple work could, without filters and controls, allow my children or grandchildren access to a global cesspool of perceptions that could blast a crater in their brains forever. (Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul, April 2010 General Conference).

Exposure to pornography does significant damage to the brains of everyone who views it. The impact is far greater for those with disabilities, especially if they struggle with comprehension, impulsivity, or are primarily visual learners. Parents of students with cognitive struggles such as an intellectual disability, ADD/ADHD, or autism, need to be especially vigilant.

Everyone needs to take appropriate steps to ensure Internet access is safe in their homes. See the Internet Safety Handout created by the Church.

Give your children and teens a “gospel vaccination” by following the lessons provided in “A Parent’s Guide” to help them understand the importance of moral cleanliness and how they can remain in that state. Encouraging participation in seminary, youth programs, and Sunday School to reinforce what you've taught in the home.

Then you must teach your youngsters what to do if they are exposed. Unfortunately, seeing these terrible images is almost unavoidable in 2014. Take away the shame of accidental viewing by explaining that everyone runs the risk of a sighting, just as we all have hands that need washing at some point. They should stop the experience within 3 seconds by closing their eyes, turning off the device, leaving the room, or in other ways removing themselves. This should be followed by prayer and recalling the words of a favorite hymn or Primary song to reduce the chances that these images will be permanent.

If your child with a disability has been exposed, understand that the compulsion to return again and again to this type of content becomes an addiction. These compulsions will wash over them in waves similar to those felt by other types of addicts. Strong intervention is needed to treat this condition.

First, contact your bishop or branch president. You should also carefully review the information available at Recovery meetings may be available in your area for those over the age of 18, and other options have been provided for teens. See the documents in the “Internet Safety and Avoiding Pornography” section of for additional information.

 Pornography is a plague upon the land. Far too many parents don’t take the threat seriously enough, especially when the child has a cognitive disability. Follow the steps outlined above to protect your children before they become the latest victims of those who would ensnare them in the net of pornography.