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Does your son get “stuck” easily?

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ADHD is very common yet yet most people (including those in helping professions) have a very limited understanding of it.

Behaviors that are a result of lagging skills (social, executive functioning and emotional regulation) are often blamed on a kid or his parents:

“He just wants to be disrespectful”
“He doesn’t care about anyone but himself”
“The parents don’t discipline him”

ADHD is a condition that our society likes to judge as a character defect in a kid or the result of poor parenting.

Here’s the deal when it comes to ADHD:

-Talking about feelings doesn’t change lagging skills in ADHD which is why typical “talk therapy” is ineffective.

-If your son is diagnosed with ADHD (or related challenges) he needs to learn skills and strategies to help improve his lagging skills.

In the photo above I am working with an 11 year old middle schooler who started yelling at his mother in the supermarket because she wouldn’t buy him candy he wanted.

We talked about how his brain gets “stuck” and how he can learn to use his “Inner Coach” to help him when his brain stuck. Notice that no blame is assigned to his behavior? We talk about how ADHD effects his brain and how he can implement a strategy to help improve executive functioning and emotional regulation skills. I discussed with his parents how to use language when he gets stuck to help generalize this skill and how to not be responsive to his negative behavior when he’s stuck.

No to making him him feel bad about his behavior
No to talking about feelings week after week
Yes to simple strategies and language, designed for the male brain
Yes to educating parents to help them help their son become the best version of himself

Help your son be the best version of himself, don’t waste another school year hoping he’ll outgrow these issues or spend more time in ineffective talk therapy.  Contact Ryan today to schedule an intake appointment. 

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How guys in middle school make small talk

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Almost every boy I’ve worked with who has attended a social skills group in the past has been taught to initiate conversation with other boys by asking things like:
“What are your interests”?
“What do you like to do”?
“How are you doing today?
 
These questions sound awkward and unnatural to boys because boys don’t start conversations by asked broad, experiential questions for the most part.
 
This week in 7th grade group we talked about appropriate ways to make small talk and how to initiate conversation that sounds natural to their peers.

Social relatability before social skills

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This is Martin from The Simpsons.
Martin is overly formal with his peers. As a result, he is often the target of bullying because of how unrelatable he is to other boys.

I have a strong sense Martin attended a social skills group because this is what is taught in most social skills groups-being overly formal and breaking the “hidden rules” of social communication between boys.

A female colleague in the autism field once said to me “We need to stop teaching boys to communicate like they’re middle aged women”. I told her I couldn’t agree more but I never felt comfortable saying that out loud because I was worried it would be perceived as being chauvinistic.

This week a mom shared with me that her son attended a social skills group several years ago and had applied what he had learned in the group. As a result, he became the target of teasing by other boys because he broke the rules of how boys communicate socially.

Being polite and having manners is important. Being relatable to your peers is what helps you connect and form social relationships.

If your son is currently attending a social skills group is he being taught to break the hidden rules of social communication between boys or is he learning to be relatable to his male peers?