Featured Advocate: Donna from Donna Mac Toddlers & ADHD 6/18

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donnaDonna: I am a therapist and an author. I am an advocate for toddlers with mental illness in the 1-5 year old age range. Many parents feel they are just “bad parents,” or they don’t know what to do because they have a “bad kid,” when neither is the case! The child may have ADHD, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, etc.

However, unfortunately many of these children DO end up getting treated harshly by their parents because parents run out of ideas, feel frustrated, etc… before they know the child’s behavior might not be entirely under the child’s control. Once they know this and also strategies to help their child, families can begin to function more peacefully again! I hope to save families. I help to clarify the distinction between normal temperament (because I also don’t want people to overreact when their three-year-old is hyperactive since that can be normal) from ADHD, bipolar, autism spectrum, oppositional defiant disorder, anxiety, and depression. I also help parents advocate for their children when it comes to early intervention services (birth-3 years old), preschool (3-5 years old), and kindergarten (5-6 years old) to help them succeed educationally (I used to be a teacher, and currently in my role as a therapist, I am employed in a therapeutic day school, so I have many ideas on this topic).

I also help parents understand where they can get help and what types of services may be best for their toddler, depending on their needs- dance/movement therapy, music therapy, art therapy, animal-assisted therapy, play therapy, and I also offer many other holistic ideas, in addition to discussing medication options (medication options just for ADHD though and not the other conditions).

I have 3 daughters. Two are identical twin girls age 5 who showed signs since10 months old of ADHD and then were diagnosed at age 3 with ADHD. They with a severe anxiety disorder at age 4. We also ruled out bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder by the end of age 4 (meaning they were showing signs and symptoms of all of these as well- but not enough to make any official diagnoses, and many of the symptoms from these disorders are also symptoms in ADHD as well, so we stuck with the ADHD diagnosis). My other daughter is currently age 3, and thankfully, she is typically developing so far. My book is titled Toddlers & ADHD by Donna Mac (because that’s the most common mental health concern in this age group, but I address the others that are listed above in chapters 5 & 10, and I have parenting strategies and ideas for all of these mental health concerns in several chapters in my book. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and my off of website.

Donna Mac Toddlers & ADHD
I have worked with ADHD professionally for 15 years: I am a clinical therapist at a therapeutic day school and also a previous teacher. My husband and I have three toddlers. The identical twin girls, age 4, were officially diagnosed with ADHD when they were 3, although I knew from 10 months on that something was amiss. Our 2 year old daughter is typically developing. We also have two Puggles, ages 7 and 8- The dogs might also have ADHD:)On this FB page, I will post things that relate to ADHD and toddlers, ADHD in general, and parenting in general (not just ADHD kids). I mix it up between insightful, educational, and funny:)
This book was written to discern between typically developing toddlers and toddlers with ADHD. The goal is not to overmedicate society, so, I hope to educate parents on typical toddler behavior. When they say, “Is this normal or is this ADHD?” Most likely, the answer is, “It’s normal.” Many toddlers will seem “hyperactive,” “Inattentive,” “impulsive,” “irritable,” or “aggressive,” which are the cardinal symptoms of ADHD. However, only a small amount of toddlers actually have ADHD. For those children who suffer from this illness, the age of onset is usually prior to age 4. There are many treatment options which can include medication but don’t have to, depending on how the illness manifests within the child and is expressed outwardly. Treatment can include Early Intervention services (0-3 years old), preschool and kindergarten-based services in terms of accommodations (3-6 years old), specific parenting strategies, holistic approaches, and interpersonal therapy choices of dance/movement therapy, music therapy, art therapy, animal-assisted therapy, recreation therapy, or play therapy. Medication for this age range is discussed, and there are some reasons that medication would be considered from the get-go. There are also other mental health conditions with symptoms overlapping

Donna: Hi! I couldn’t message you from my professional page, so I am messaging you from my personal page. Not sure why it wouldn’t work. In any case, I have been following you guys for a few months now and love what you do. I am a therapist and an author. I am an advocate for toddlers with mental illness in the 1-5 year old age range. Many parents feel they are just “bad parents,” or they don’t know what to do because they have a “bad kid,” when neither is the case! The child may have ADHD, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, etc.

However, unfortunately many of these children DO end up getting treated harshly by their parents because parents run out of ideas, feel frustrated, etc… before they know the child’s behavior might not be entirely under the child’s control. Once they know this and also strategies to help their child, families can begin to function more peacefully again! I hope to save families. I help to clarify the distinction between normal temperament (because I also don’t want people to overreact when their three-year-old is hyperactive since that can be normal) from ADHD, bipolar, autism spectrum, oppositional defiant disorder, anxiety, and depression. I also help parents advocate for their children when it comes to early intervention services (birth-3 years old), preschool (3-5 years old), and kindergarten (5-6 years old) to help them succeed educationally (I used to be a teacher, and currently in my role as a therapist, I am employed in a therapeutic day school, so I have many ideas on this topic).

I also help parents understand where they can get help and what types of services may be best for their toddler, depending on their needs- dance/movement therapy, music therapy, art therapy, animal-assisted therapy, play therapy, and I also offer many other holistic ideas, in addition to discussing medication options (medication options just for ADHD though and not the other conditions).

I have 3 daughters. Two are identical twin girls age 5 who showed signs since10 months old of ADHD and then were diagnosed at age 3 with ADHD. They with a severe anxiety disorder at age 4. We also ruled out bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder by the end of age 4 (meaning they were showing signs and symptoms of all of these as well- but not enough to make any official diagnoses, and many of the symptoms from these disorders are also symptoms in ADHD as well, so we stuck with the ADHD diagnosis). My other daughter is currently age 3, and thankfully, she is typically developing so far. My book is titled Toddlers & ADHD by Donna Mac (because that’s the most common mental health concern in this age group, but I address the others that are listed above in chapters 5 & 10, and I have parenting strategies and ideas for all of these mental health concerns in several chapters in my book. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and my off of website.

Donna Mac Toddlers & ADHD
I have worked with ADHD professionally for 15 years: I am a clinical therapist at a therapeutic day school and also a previous teacher. My husband and I have three toddlers. The identical twin girls, age 4, were officially diagnosed with ADHD when they were 3, although I knew from 10 months on that something was amiss. Our 2 year old daughter is typically developing. We also have two Puggles, ages 7 and 8- The dogs might also have ADHD:)On this FB page, I will post things that relate to ADHD and toddlers, ADHD in general, and parenting in general (not just ADHD kids). I mix it up between insightful, educational, and funny:)
This book was written to discern between typically developing toddlers and toddlers with ADHD. The goal is not to over medicate society, so, I hope to educate parents on typical toddler behavior. When they say, “Is this normal or is this ADHD?” Most likely, the answer is, “It’s normal.” Many toddlers will seem “hyperactive,” “Inattentive,” “impulsive,” “irritable,” or “aggressive,” which are the cardinal symptoms of ADHD. However, only a small amount of toddlers actually have ADHD. For those children who suffer from this illness, the age of onset is usually prior to age 4. There are many treatment options which can include medication but don’t have to, depending on how the illness manifests within the child and is expressed outwardly. Treatment can include Early Intervention services (0-3 years old), preschool and kindergarten-based services in terms of accommodations (3-6 years old), specific parenting strategies, holistic approaches, and interpersonal therapy choices of dance/movement therapy, music therapy, art therapy, animal-assisted therapy, recreation therapy, or play therapy. Medication for this age range is discussed, and there are some reasons that medication would be considered from the get-go. There are also other mental health conditions with symptoms overlapping ADHD, so juvenile-onset bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, and depression are also covered.
donna 2
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