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The Adolescent Brain

The Adolescent Brain. Facts: What do we know about the brain?. Adult = 3 pounds 2% of our body weight but consumes 20% of our calories 70% water, it consumes 30% of the water we drink Unfolded it would measure 2 ft x 2 ft. composed of a trillion cells, 100 billion neurons.

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The Adolescent Brain

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  1. The Adolescent Brain

  2. Facts: What do we know about the brain? • Adult = 3 pounds • 2% of our body weight but consumes 20% of our calories • 70% water, it consumes 30% of the water we drink • Unfolded it would measure 2 ft x 2 ft. • composed of a trillion cells, 100 billion neurons

  3. Facts: Parts of the Brain

  4. Neuroscientist at the National Institute of Health, Chief of brain imaging in the child psychiatry branch • Used MRI to scan the brains of nearly 1000 healthy children ages 3-18. • Between ages of birth-2 and 9-10= tremendous growth of neurons • Ages 2-3 and 11+= massive pruning • Teenagers are more like toddlers than adults in brain growth Dr. Jay Giedd, Neuroscientist

  5. Used connections will flourish, unused will be pruned and die. • Fewer but faster connections During adolescence…use it or lose it

  6. http://www.sfn.org/index.cfm?pagename=brainBriefings_Adolescent_brainhttp://www.sfn.org/index.cfm?pagename=brainBriefings_Adolescent_brain

  7. The CEO of the Brain • The frontal lobes: executive decisions and moral/ethical control • Development continues from back to front through early 20’s • “It’s sort of unfair to expect teens to have adult levels of organizational skills or decision-making before their brains are finished being built.”- Dr. Giedd

  8. Problem solving • Judgment • Inhibition of behavior • Planning • Self-monitoring • Personality • Emotions • Organization • Attention • Concentration • Mental flexibility • Speaking • Awareness of abilities • Self-control • “do the right thing” Frontal Lobe

  9. Misread signals

  10. Teens relied on the amygdala, associated with emotion and gut reactions • MRI tests: Teens see anger when it was not intended • Teens can be irrational and overly emotional Don’t believe everything they tell you…..

  11. Intelligence and emotional maturity do not develop in the same way. • Let’s look at a teenage genius… What about Intelligence?

  12. Drugs and alcohol can alter normal development of the brain • Teens who drink are exposing their brains to the toxic effects of alcohol at a critical time of brain development, approx. 10% memory loss • Hormonal rush of testosterone and estrogen causing chemical changes During adolescence… period of high risk Image from Susan Tapert, PhD, University of California, San Diego. http://www.sfn.org/skins/main/images/brainbriefings/bb_Oct2002_large.gif

  13. Impulsive ADHD kids will often get into trouble • The inattentive ADD kids tend to be non-compliant, have trouble remember the things, will feel “stupid” despite a above average or high intelligence • “ In clinical studies, researchers confirmed that teens with ADHD were twice as likely to have abused alcohol within the past 6 months. They also found that teens with ADHD were likely to abuse drugs and three times more likely to abuse drugs other than marijuana.” WebMD.com • ADHD teenagers are 400% more likely to have an automobile accident What about adolescence and ADD/ADHD?

  14. They need 9 ¼ hrs… • They get…6-7….! The biological clock shifts in the teen years by up to 2 hours. Sleep deprivation can have a major negative effect on learning and memory! TV’s, computer monitors, and cell phones can keep adolescents from getting enough deep sleep; remove them from their rooms! Catching ZZZZZZs

  15. How does it help the TEEN to know this? • Understand themselves and their behavior • Allow adults around them to guide them • What they do in the next 8 years makes a difference for the rest of their lives!

  16. It is a privilege to teach adolescents whose brain development is highly dictated by external influences • It is a privilege to help shape the pruning during this crucial time of brain development • We have the opportunity to help adolescents create good habits How does this information help EDUCATORS?

  17. How does it help the PARENT to know this information???

  18. Good parenting continues to help teenagers *develop in healthy ways *stay out of trouble *do well in school They need for you to be a support to do the right thing! 1. What YOU Do Matters!

  19. Tell them you love them • Show them you love them • Give them specific and timely feedback • Praise them, even if you have to dig to find it! 2. You Can’t Be Too Loving

  20. BE there! • Participate in school programs, sports • Help your teen with a homework schedule and to plan ahead • Get to know your child’s friends and your child’s friends parents • Spend time together 3. Stay Involved

  21. Change at each stage of development • Provide opportunities for the teen to make choices as they mature • Keep up with the Internet and cell phone usage, including text messaging 4. Adapt Your Parenting

  22. Provide structure • Set rules and provide limits • Be firm but fair • Give curfews and stick to them • They have to learn to accept “no” • Be the parent…they have friends. 5. Set Limits

  23. It is healthy for an adolescent to push for autonomy. • Give them space to grow, and resist the temptation to micromanage! adult teen 6. Foster Independence Parent/child parent

  24. Have clear and appropriate rules • Be clear in your expectationsBe sure to point out consequences • Talk when you’re not angry • Distinguish between immaturity and defiance. Explain Your Decisions

  25. Don’t expect them to think or reason like you. • Don’t “allow them to fail” classes! Help them get organized, keep up with homework, and study for tests • Allow them to make mistakes…that is one way we learn best. 9. Don’t give up on them!

  26. What were you thinking.....?

  27. Why? Just why?.........”I don’t know.”

  28. This too will pass

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