Students Raise Awareness For Disorders

June 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

Neil Varwandkar, an M3 student at Somersfield Academy, along with his partners Michael Costello and Alana Frith, are working to raise awareness of neurological disorders, including Tourette’s syndrome, Executive Function Disorder, and ADHD.

Neil Varwandkar said, “I am an M3 student attending Somersfield Academy. I am doing a project along with my group members Michael Costello and Alana Frith. We chose to do a project on Neurological Disorders, raising awareness for three specific disorders; Tourette’s syndrome, Executive Function Disorder, and ADHD. A neurological disorder is any type of disorder that is connected with the brain, and is caused by any abnormalities in the nervous system.

“Let’s start off with Tourette’s. Tourette’s is characterized by repeated and involuntary tics, which are a series of sharp movements or out of character body jerks. Most commonly found between the ages of 3-9, Tourette’s often makes it difficult for the child to learn in school. In any mental challenge, there is always the severe and the simple parts of it, and Tourette’s has some of the most severe out of all neurological disorders.

“Some severe and more complex parts of Tourette’s include jumping around, spinning in circles, repeating sounds or words or having loud outbursts filled with non-stop cursing. Is this the child’s fault? Absolutely not, but to others viewing the kid, they assume he/she is very rude and ill behaved. This can give the child many problems in not only school but at home as well, and we are trying to raise awareness for it.

“The next disorder that we are focusing on is Executive Function Disorder. Executive Function Disorder isn’t as well known as many of the other disorders, but in some cases can be troublesome. Executive Function is the self-management system of the brain, and is like a to do list. However, kids with Executive Functioning issues struggle to remember certain tasks and often cannot handle large lists or a large series of instructions.

“Some daily activities are found harder to accomplish for these kids, as it is harder for them to remember instructions and carry out regular tasks. Since Executive Function Disorder isn’t as well recognized like Autism, or ADHD, it is important that we raise awareness for it, and put it into the spot light as much as possible.

“Finally we further raise awareness about ADHD, one of the most common disorders found in a lot of kids and teenagers. ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, and although is usually diagnosed at the childhood phase, and some of the symptoms include becoming distracted very easily, being overactive or having impulsive actions that cannot be controlled. ADHD doesn’t have a cure, but you can take medications for it, to help reduce the symptoms. Also, kids with ADHD are often seen as lazy and unorganized, which can put down many kids, which is why it is important to raise awareness for it.

“I can do as much research as I could possibly have, look at as many articles as possible, or interview as many people as I like, but I am not an expert. However, I do know to very experienced professionals who are extremely well versed in the world of dealing with Neurological Disorders. The first one is the school’s learning and development coordinator [Learning Support Program] at Somersfield Academy, Ms. Sakina Steede.

“We also interviewed one of the main specialists at Function Junction, which helps kids to tune their motor skills and to help them with whatever disorder they are dealing with. So we interviewed them about the topic of Neurological Disorders, to get their views and what they thought about certain points in the Neurological Disorder ‘community’. So, without further ado, here are the main points from the two interviews conducted.”

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“The first interview to be looked at is the one done with Sakina Steede, and she had a lot of very helpful pointers. The first pointer may be a cliché, but it is that every single person is different. This means that just because one person may be experiencing from certain symptoms, it doesn’t mean that everyone is going through the same thing. A lot of people assume that just because Joe is affected in a certain way by ADHD, it doesn’t mean that just because Billy has ADHD, and it doesn’t mean that he will have the same challenges, like Joe.

“Because of this many people self diagnose, or say that since there child is facing the same problems as another, their child must undergo the same treatment, and go through the same, long processes, which can be costly and can affect the child negatively. Never assume that your child has a problem, and always get it checked first. The second point is about knowing how to deal with your challenge, and the easiest way to put it is to look in the mirror [Not literally].

“If you want to know how to deal with your disorder, you need to know it, and that comes with research. Take the time to get checked on by a specialist, or to do lots of research, as the internet provides a variety of sources. Get to know what problems you specifically face, and then tell that to a specialist, and it should help a lot. Always research about the disorder and yourself so that you can be helped!! The last point is that Neurological disorders do matter, and that you should take the time to understand them. With more and more people arriving onto planet earth, there will be more and more diagnosis for neurological disorders, and more and more people who have it.

“Many students and adults are having a difficult time in life, because they don’t have proper facilities, are treated poorly and are often judged because of their disorder, which can be very tough on their mental and physical health. So please care! Don’t just assume that neurological disorders are a small matter, because millions of people around the world are undergoing the process. If you have a friend who is diagnosed with Tourette’s, take the time to understand how they work and the symptoms, so that you can help them. Neurological Disorders Matter!! In all, these were a few of the main points from the interview with Ms. Steede, an expert in her profession.

“Next we look at some of the main points from Ms. Jill Davidson, who is an expert who works at Function Junction. We also interviewed one of Function Junction’s Pediatric Occupational Therapists. One area that Function Junction helps kids with is to fine tune their motor skills. Mrs. Davidson about the topic of Neurological Disorders and how they help children learn skills with these conditions.

“Next we spoke with Mrs. Jill Davidson. As a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, she helps children with a variety of challenges. Occupational Therapists, known as O.T.s, focus on the functional tasks of everyday living. This may include teaching a child how to tie their shoe laces, ride a bicycle, play with toys, print their name or manage their belongings, just to name a few. When teaching these skills, her number one tip was to make it fun. If the activity is fun, then the child will be motivated, which makes the learning much more effective.

“You hear this tip a lot, and it is often taken with a grain of salt, because you hear this phrase so much! But it really does help you to focus, especially with young kids. For example, if a kid was super into football, a cool exercise might be to have them try and remember a series of skill moves, or to make them juggle while doing another activity. Making it fun is proven to get the child or adult engaged in the topic, which will make it much easier to deal with your disorder.

“Fun is the right way to deal with your challenge. The next idea that was talked about was how to deal with your treatment and certain tasks. The best way to do that is to take baby steps and focus on one thing at a time. For example, lets say that Jermaine is having trouble with his executive functioning and needs help with his organization and his focusing. Well the first thing is to highlight certain tasks and deal with them individually.

“For example, for one week, we could only focus on their morning routine, and making sure that they have all their belongings, and have got their homework with them. Once that skill is down, then we can move on to the next one.

“Take it one task at a time. Finally, we discussed about keeping a high self esteem. Many times kids are disheartened by not being able to remember certain things, or being late to class, or forgetting about a test. This can lead to many kids having trouble getting through the day, which can make them feel very badly on the inside.

“But you need to remember, that it will be okay. You need to remember that if you keep on working towards keeping your challenge under check, that you will be fine! So always remember to stay positive and keep a high self-esteem, because that is what will help you gain control over yourself. Keep a high self-esteem.

“In all, Ms. Jill Davidson was a fantastic help to our project, as she gave us lots of research and information. If you would like to know more about what she does, visit her website [Function Junction Bermuda] or go to Function Junction in Paget.”

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