Archive for the ‘ADHD / ADD’ Category

Resources for Children with HF Autism, Asperger’s and ADD/HD

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

There are so many more resources available today than even a few years ago.  As parents and grandparents, we want to be up to date and to try our best for our children.  If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out these out.
by Colleen Southard

The Autism Asperger’s Digest is a quarterly print and digital magazine created for teachers, therapists and family members who face the challenge of autism.  While it shares current information from professionals, it also has inspiring stories.  These are magazines that you want to keep to refer back to or just to read to be encouraged!

Dr. Kay Trotter designed Behavioral Health University after recognizing the need for better  and engaging training for clinicians, educators and parents.  She has developed an on-line training program on a variety of topics so that parents as well as professionals in the field can learn any time, any where.    Her Guide to Parenting A Child With ADHD assists parents in fleshing out what is normal child behavior or ADHD.   I found this guide to answer many of the questions that I hear frequently from parents.  This is very useful, practical information particularly prior to assessment or when trying to decide on treatment or approach.  Parenting A Child with ADHD

The online training offers up to date training for parents and professionals through educational video trainings.  They are great resources on a variety of topics for parents, therapists and educators alike.

ADDitude Magazine.  ADDitude Magazine is a very helpful quarterly print and online publication that has lots of information on ADHD and other learning disabilities.

That One Thing

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

“I’ll never forget the sight of them praying together, arms entwined around shoulders, tears flowing, on their knees, and bowed before God”.

The young people who come to camp with us at Charis Hills are really great folks. Most of them however, have a hard time making friends in school and don’t have a large social circle, some have very little social time with others. Many, if not most, will find solace and success in electronic gaming, or activities where the academic challenge meets their interest needs and people don’t bother them. They spend days alone, often creating hardship for families who want to socialize but can’t find ways for their children to “fit in”.

I’ve seen the heartache of this group of kids labeled HFA (High Functioning Autism) trying to make friends, trying to fit in, trying to find ways to learn to be “socially appropriate”.

I have heard it said that these campers can’t make friends. I have been asked why we run this camp. Why choose to run a camp for children with Autism.

It was last summer that I watched a group of teens, all with HFA, all of whom had been to camp numerous times come together again for the “camp experience”. I stood quietly at the back of the crowded campfire area and listened to the songs, listened to the talk, and then I saw it. I saw why I do what I do here at camp. I saw the reason we all spend months and months hiring the staff, ordering the t-shirts, mowing the lawn, maintaining the buildings, fixing leaky faucets, mopping the floors, and setting up chairs. I saw it.

A group of these “HFA” campers, kids who “don’t make friends” were huddled together, arms around each other, crying, proclaiming their friendship, making plans to see each other again next summer, exchanging email and phone numbers and. praying together. That’s why we do it. Those campers found friends, and found Christ. And all the time, and all the effort, and all the money, became worth it, in that one moment.

That’s the “One Thing”. It’s acceptance. The Greek word is “charis”. It means acceptance / grace. It’s what our God gives us when we fail to be like Him. Those teens found a place where people don’t expect them to be anything but what they are. They found that they have like interests and are challenged to find new interests. These campers have cheered for each other at talent show, laughed with each other at the dinner table, cried with each other when things went wrong and supported each other when someone was down and out. They participated with others, touched the hearts of the other kids and the counselors, and they listened to Gods word telling them that they had purpose, right here and right now.

That’s the One Thing.


This article was written by Rand Southard who together with his wife Colleen founded Charis Hills Camp 12 years ago. For more information on Charis Hills Camp go to

The Blessings of Camp

Monday, January 21st, 2013

By Colleen Southard

Being the youngest of four, I got to watch my siblings do lots of things before it was my turn. When my older brother went to Glen Rose Church Camp, I couldn’t hardly stand it. I tried to talk my parents into letting me go earlier than they planned. It didn’t work. I wasn’t really sure what I was missing out on, but I knew it was big.

When I was ten, I was invited to go with my cousin to her church camp. I had no idea it would lead to a life-changing event and life-long passion. I loved camp immediately. Swimming every day was great. I enjoyed the fun activities, surviving the first night of homesickness, and feeling like a confident big kid the next day.

Every evening, the whole camp gathered for singing and a worship service. The first couple of nights I did a lot of squirming on my bench. God was really convicting me of my sins. As I said earlier, I learned lots from my older brother; including how to stay out of trouble or at least, not to not get caught. On the last night of camp, when I heard the gospel message, it was like a light went on and I understood that not only was I a sinner, but that God had made a way for me through Christ. I accepted Christ that night. I was so excited to get home and tell my parents. Even though I was raised in a church, God chose to speak to me at camp. He chose for me to begin a relationship with Christ at an early age. He used camp to do it. I was blessed to spend many weeks at camp as time went on.

Seeing Christ alive in my counselors in my youth and seeing the counselors live out their faith at Charis Hills is what it’s all about. Whether it’s turning to the Word to find out what the Bible says about being anxious or homesick or stopping to pray with someone about a situation demonstrates their faith in action. We are passionate about teaching our campers about having a relationship with Christ. We want to show others that Jesus isn’t someone we only hear about on Sundays in a sanctuary, but He is with us minute by minute and is interested in every detail of our lives. Camp was such a gift to me. Oh, Praise Him from whom all blessings flow.

Ways to Help You and Your Child Transition Back to School

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Camp is over. (Sigh) We were blessed by a great summer of fun with some wonderful campers!  Now, it is time for them to hit the books!  Whether they are off to public, private or home schooled, here are some tips to help your child get back in the saddle, or rather,  their desk again.

Remember, it is normal for all children to experience back to school anxiety, but especially those with special needs.  Remind your child that he is not the only student who is uneasy about going back to school.  Practicing some of these ideas can have great pay offs in reducing your families stress in the coming days.

~ Be ready as a family. Try to do your back-to-school shopping ahead of time.
~ Talk with your child about things at school and ways they can help.  Ex: Involve them in making healthy lunches.  Encourage them to be responsible for bringing home teacher communication, doing their homework.
~ Get into a routine of getting up and going to bed at the proper time for school.  Everyone benefits from a good night’s rest and a regular routine.
~ Whenever possible, you and your child should meet their teacher before school begins.
~ If your child is attending a new school, take a tour of the school and find out where their classroom is.
~ Get your child’s daily schedule of classes and the school calendar.  Routines, schedules…etc. are a great comfort to most children and teaches them about planning ahead.
~ Find out and follow the school’s drop off and pick up instructions.  Make a plan with your child so that he knows when and where to meet you.
~ Talk to your child about any potential anxiety producers.  Even children who are home schooled may be concerned about a specific academic subject or educational goal for the year.  Just talking about their concerns will often help head off the worry bug.

Encourage, encourage, encourage.  This will go a long way in helping your child to reach their potential this school year.  Point out the positive aspects of starting school like seeing old friends and making new ones as well as the fun of learning new things.  And of course, pray for your child, their classmates and their teachers.

Remember: God knows the plans he has for your child!

Jeremiah 29:11

8 Reasons Children with Learning Differences Should Attend Summer Camp

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

It is Fun: Camp is fun, lots of fun. Children will go home with hours of stories to tell their friends about how cool camp is. For most kids, it is something they look forward to all year.

Exercise: Children need exercise, especially kids with ADHD, Autism, Asperger’s and other learning differences. Physical activity build muscles, burns fat and calories and should be part of a child’s everyday routine. At summer camp, children get plenty of exercise! Studies have also shown that exercise releases endorphins in the brain, these same endorphins help regulate mood and behavior, something that is essential for children with learning differences.

Social Skills: Camp is social. Children will have ample opportunities to socialize with other kids who “know where they are coming from”. Further, they will be given guidance on how to socialize in appropriate ways by staff who are trained to look for opportunities to teach social skills and life lessons. Unfortunately, many children with learning differences can’t attend (or are not invited to) events like sleepovers or church lock-ins. Summer Camp is a safe and supervised way for special needs kids to learn how to interact at social events where their parents might not be present.

New Friends: Every summer across america, life-long friends are made at camp. Camps for children with learning differences are no different. By focusing on developing social skills and encouraging positive interaction amongst campers, special needs camps give children with learning differences the opportunity to be a “cool kid” and make many friends.

New Talents: Camp is a chance for kids to learn new skills that they might not have the opportunity to learn at home or at school. Camping, fishing, archery, canoeing, horseback riding, and more are all taught at summer camp. Kids need the opportunity to try new things and and discover new talents in a safe environment with lots of encouragement.

Confidence: Discovering new skills and talents lead to confidence. All children, but especially those children with learning differences benefit from increase self-esteem. At the end of camp, don’t be surprised to hear your child say such things as “look what I made”, “I shot a bullseye”, or “I made it the entire week on my own!”.

A Break: Even if you do not need a break from your kids, they might need a break from you. This might be even more so if your child has learning differences. It is healthy for a child to want some independence and it is important that they have safe opportunities to be independent.

Independence: We all know that children with learning differences can have a hard time learning independence. Summer Camps are a safe and nurturing place for kids to start learning how to take care of themselves. Personal hygiene, organization, and scheduling are just some of the skills that children will learn and practice at camp. Sometime, the “break” that is taken results in both parent and child realizing just how capable they are!

Any parents or campers have more reasons?  Please post them!

Colleen’s Thoughts: Parent’s Struggles, ADHD, Medications, etc…

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

A week ago, I attended the ADDA Southern Region Annual conference. It is always a blessing to go and hear what is on the horizon for children and adults with ADD, ADHD. It is good to meet with others in the field workin
g with this group of children and their families. Those who attend were educators, physicians, various clinicians and parents. I highly recommend that you attend. I always come away with something new to try or ponder. The conference usually bounces back and forth each year alternating between Houston and Dallas.

This year, I had opportunities to visit with a number of parents. While they came to my booth to hear about Charis Hills, I heard stories of heartaches for their children and themselves as they face difficult decisions. The input and pressure from friends and family are not always helpful.

Often in the past, pharmaceutical companies have had booths representing the latest medications. I did not see any at this year’s conference. This year, I only heard about one “new” medication. It is essentially, an old medication typically used to treat high blood pressure, reformulated so that it is longer acting. I heard several success stories related to this. I have spoken with many parents trying to make decisions about whether to put their child on medication or whether to try a new medication. I hear them agonizing over this decision and the difficulty they face when confronted with so many opinions. There are many other suggestions such as vitamins, supplements…etc. on the market. While we all benefit from better nutrition and in particular from eating whole foods rather than processed, these are family decisions. The frustrations that families experience is often increased by well meaning individuals who equate the child’s need for medication with their parenting skills. These attitudes are very archaic and they sadden me. You wouldn’t criticize a parent for putting glasses on their nearsighted child. Makes me question just who is nearsighted.

Each of us face challenges daily. The words that we say can never be taken back. We can encourage one another or say things that tear others down. I attended a Family Camp this past weekend. We were discussing teens and texting, Twittering…etc. I was reminded of a friend’s life verse: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14. How much better our world would be if we always sought to please Him?

– Colleen

Top 3 Reputable Online Resources for Parents of Kids with ADHD and ADD

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The internet (and most likely your email box) is full of sources claiming to have the latest treatment or remedy for ADHD and ADD.  Who should you believe?  Where should you go for information about ADHD that is reputable?  Believe it or not, there are some very good and reliable sources on the internet that are not out to just make a quick buck.  The following three web resources use medical professionals to write their articles and use a peer review process for online articles.  This means that the articles are less likely to be based on rumors and more likely to be based on scientific research and professional experience.  Please feel free to comment and leave links to other great resources.

ADDitude Magazine

ADDitude Magazine

1. ADDitude Magazine

ADDitude Magazine is a very helpful quarterly publication that has tons of information on ADHD and other learning disabilities.

All scientific or medical information in Additude magazine is reviewed before publication by an extensive board of scientists and medical doctors. This sets it apart from many online resources, in that the articles have good science and research behind them.

Many of their articles are available online and cover many topics including, How to Succeed at Work with Adult ADD, How to Stop ADHD Kids from Hitting, and Take it Outside! Treating ADHD with Exercise.

Learning Disabilities Association of America

Learning Disabilities Association of America

2. The Learning Disabilities Association of America

The LDA of America had been around since 1964 and now is the largest non-profit volunteer organization advocating for individuals with learning disabilities.

Their website is a great resource for general information on types of disabilities, medications and treatments, advocating for your child, and more.  It is  great place to start any research on learning disabilities.

They also have many articles written by medical professionals and experts in various fields. The LDA’s wide selection of online articles include: Medications for ADHD/ADD, Summer Activities for Children with Learning Disabilities, Preventing Parent Burn Out, and Helping the Learning Disabled Adolescent Learn to Drive.



3. The CDC (Center for Disease Control)

The Center for Disease Control has a very informative page about ADHD.  (They also have detailed pages on all other major learning disabilities.)  Their ADHD pages detail facts and figures on ADHD, treatments for ADHD, research, articles, and links to other reputable websites on ADHD.  All articles and studies that appear on the CDC’s website go through an intense scientific peer review process.  The only real downside is that many of the articles are intended for the medical community and can be hard to understand.  However, the Facts PageDiagnosis Page, and Treatments Page, summarize much of the scientific research into language that is easy to understand.  This is a great site to learn the basics about ADHD and is a good source for articles that delve deeper into the science.