Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician Dr. Sarita Eastman to Address "How Parents & Students Succeed with ADHD" at The Winston School Conversation Series November 12

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College Prep School for Students with Learning Differences Hosts Second in a Series of Community Forums to Discuss Leading Educational Issues of the Day

Renowned developmental-behavioral pediatrician Dr. Sarita Doyle Eastman MD FAAP

How Parents & Students Succeed with ADHD

Renowned developmental-behavioral pediatrician Dr. Sarita Doyle Eastman MD FAAP will headline The Winston School's fall Conversation Series "How Parents & Students Succeed with ADHD," at the school's Del Mar campus Thursday, November 12.

Open to the public, the free event is from 4 - 5:30 p.m. at the Del Mar school campus at 215 Ninth Street. Guests will gather at 4 p.m. for refreshments and an opportunity to meet Dr. Eastman, followed by Dr. Eastman's presentation and a student panel. To RSVP and submit questions to the speaker, please email jfarrell(at)thewinstonschool(dot)com.

The Winston School ( is a college preparatory program for bright, creative students in grades 4 through 12 who have struggled to meet their potential. This is the second forum in the series, which the school created to educate and foster dialogue about leading educational issues of the day. The Conversation Series launched last summer with actor Ed Asner discussing "Living Life on the Spectrum: Student and Parent Perspectives on Autism and Asperger's Syndrome."

Dr. Eastman, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician with a private practice in Carmel Valley, is also one of the school's founders and a current board member. In discussing her November 12 presentation, Dr. Eastman said she is going to defuse myths about ADHD and give parents and students actionable steps to thrive once the diagnosis is made.

According to Dr. Eastman, "ADHD is a very common, challenging problem and a lot of kids are beaten down by it. People used to describe these students as 'not very smart' or 'lazy and unmotivated.' Thankfully those pejorative terms have fallen away and more people are realizing it is really a genetic disorder affecting 8 to 10 percent of the childhood population." The key to living with ADHD she says is to embrace it. "When you accept and not struggle against ADHD, then the whole world opens up to you. But as long as you don't understand what your limitations are and feel that you must always do what everyone else does - you get bogged down in the things that you do poorly."

The Winston School's headmaster Mike Peterson said, "We at The Winston School have benefitted from Dr. Eastman's wisdom and guidance for the last 21 years. She not only helped found the school, but her vision for what we could accomplish continues to guide the school to this day. This is a unique opportunity for parents and students to meet her and learn how to achieve goals that hundreds of students with ADHD or other learning differences have achieved."

The first step to success, according to Dr. Eastman, is to get properly diagnosed. While she says home diagnosis isn't possible, she says there are commonalities that can help parents and students recognize the disorder. On the upside, Dr. Eastman said those with ADHD are usually high-energy, creative people who do well in schools and jobs that celebrate creativity. On the down side, most schools and jobs are repetitive and not creative, exacerbating the challenges that those with ADHD face: they are easily bored, have difficulty managing time and getting their homework done on time. This she says is when they start focusing on what they can't do and the problems start. "When children become defeated they become angry, their relationships suffer and depression and anxiety set in. When they realize they have ADHD and nothing to be ashamed of - it helps - depression fades away and they become happier and productive people. That's the message I want to share."

Dr. Eastman offered the following guidance for parents and students:

  •     First get proper evaluation and diagnosis. You can't make a home diagnosis, but if teacher after teacher tells you that your child is easily distracted, can't stay on task, and/or has to have directions repeated, that's a tip off. Parents often hear about these symptoms in kindergarten and first grade and assume it's immaturity or a mismatch between teacher and child. The idea of ADHD is difficult to accept at first, and is most commonly diagnosed in third or fourth grade.
  •     Second -- decide whether or not to seek medical treatment. I've found medical treatment is beneficial for the majority of patients with ADHD to help them focus their energies, ignore distractions and demonstrate what they know. Success can begin almost instantly with proper treatment.
  •     Find at least one adult who believes in you. Most successful adults with ADHD had at least one adult who believed in them, who knew they were bright and not lazy or deliberately non-compliant. That person is an advocate when the going is rough, a coach and a cheerleader, and can help with the organizational challenges as well.
  •     Accept and embrace ADHD and be who you are. A lot of people are unaware or embarrassed by their problem and don't want anybody to know, which prevents them from getting help.
  •     Do what you do best. Do the creative, exciting thing that you do well, pursue your strengths and find out how to get the boring tasks done or get help to get them done.
  •     Find a school like The Winston School that is tremendously successful with kids with ADHD. These schools have strategies to help with common related challenges such as boredom and time management. The teachers at the school are mentors demonstrating how to do things, and act as coaches and cheerleaders.

Peterson said he is looking forward to the upcoming event as a way to introduce Dr. Eastman and The Winston School to a large, under-served audience who don't know where to find the help and inspiration they need. "We have a proven record in educating children with learning differences and The Winston School Conversation Series helps extend our reach into this often under-served community, providing support and guidance. We are enthusiastic about Dr. Eastman's presentation and our ongoing series of open forums where students, their families and the professional community supporting them can gather to discuss current topics in education and learn about the best options when choosing an educational path."

About Dr. Sarita Eastman
Dr. Eastman grew up in La Jolla, the daughter of two physicians, and is a graduate of Southern California schools, including the University of San Diego. She obtained her MD degree from the University of California, San Francisco and returned to North County in 1972, first joining her father in practice, and subsequently a large multi-site pediatric group. She currently limits her practice to youth with disorders of attention and learning, and lectures widely to school and parent groups. Dr. Eastman is a co-author of the San Diego ADHD Project protocols for the management of ADHD in pediatric practice. She was a founder of The Winston School in 1988 and recently served her second term as president of the board. Dr. Eastman and her husband are parents of three grown children, one of whom attended Winston School and went on to great success.

The Winston School is a college preparatory program for children with learning differences in grades 4 through 12. A group of pediatricians and parents in San Diego founded the school in 1988 for bright children whose needs were not being met in traditional school settings. The school is the only college preparatory school in San Diego County that provides education to an equal mix of privately enrolled and publicly funded students placed by the school district. Students such as those struggling with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, ADD, ADHD, specific learning disabilities or learning disorders, nonverbal learning disorders and slow maturation find what they need in the school's small, safe and caring environment. By incorporating small classes, multi-sensory teaching methods and individual attention, the school's faculty works together to help students fulfill their academic, physical, artistic, social and emotional potential. In the past 20 years, The Winston School has educated nearly a thousand students, preparing them for college and for the working world. This year's graduating class has been accepted by 22 colleges. Each senior who applied at a two or four-year-school received at least one college acceptance. Tuition is $15,985 a year. Scholarships are available. The Winston School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The school is located at 215 Ninth St., Del Mar, Calif., 92014. Those interested in receiving information can email mindy(at)thewinstonschool(dot)com or call the school at 858-259-8155.

Karin Olsen

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