Attention Problems and Behavior Problems

What’s the connection and can they be fixed?

For an ADHD child who’s experienced failure or frustration at school, has a difficult time making friends, cannot process multiple step instructions, and who likely has poor self-esteem, defiance or misbehavior seem inevitable.

The off switch or filtering in their brains works differently, so they often have impulse control issues and a frequent lack of control over what they blurt out. Couple that with failure and frustration, and you have the perfect storm. No matter what you do; punishment, coaxing, bribing, yelling, pleading etc. don’t seem to work.

Play Attention not only teaches attention by making it concrete and controllable — Play Attention students can move screen characters by mind alone via BodyWave technology — but also teaches a variety of skills that make them successful at school or work. These successes greatly improve behavior.

Additionally, and this is important, since they can see their attention in real time, Play Attention makes it readily apparent that misbehavior negatively affects their success during game play. Success is predicated on their ability to stay in control and attentive. It’s simple to correlate this to being a classroom superstar. Play Attention students learn to self regulate or control their own behavior. This is the basis of the behavior shaping program built into Play Attention (it took us over 5 years to develop it).

The scientists and doctors of the prestigious Tufts School of Medicine researched Play Attention in Boston area schools over five years. They sent independent observers into the classroom to monitor students in their study of Play Attention. The observers were blinded to the students; they didn’t know anything about them but were required to monitor their behavior. Even though the students had been labeled ADHD with behavioral problems, the Play Attention students showed significant self-control — even 6 months after the study was completed!

Never underestimate what your child can learn. We at Play Attention know there is an intelligent person hiding behind the defiance and frustration. Our goal is to set him free.

Attention Problems: What Can Be Fixed?

You can do far more than you’d think.

Can’t pay attention. Can’t finish homework. Trouble with social skills. Intelligent, but doing poorly at school or work. Struggling with behavior.

Our brain is our greatest asset, but what do we do when it doesn’t function optimally? Are we stuck? No.

The brain is incredibly moldable. Scientists refer to this as neuroplasticity. It constantly rewires itself based on its exposure to the environment. Learn multiplication tables? The brain rewires itself. Learn a new word? The brain rewires itself. Learn karate or to play the piano? The brain rewires itself. We’ve known this for many years. We know how this works even down to the molecular level. Do we apply it to attention problems? No. Odd isn’t it?

Attention is a skill. So, how do we teach it? It’s relatively easy to teach multiplication tables; you can use things like flashcards, blocks, and other tangible things. Attention is intangible; we cannot see it or touch it. That’s what makes it difficult to teach as a skill. It’s almost impossible to improve attention unless it becomes tangible.

But what if you could see attention? What if attention were concrete and controllable right in front of you? You could learn it quite easily — attention problems or not. That’s what Play Attention does; it uses brain sensing technology that allows you to control the computer by mind alone. You can move objects on the screen by your attention and learn other skills that make you successful.

Three incredible randomized, controlled studies done by Tufts University School of Medicine demonstrated that we can improve attention, behavior, social skills, and even homework skills. Play Attention is the 400 pound gorilla of attention training. It’s been around for over twenty years now. That’s an old gorilla with a heck of an attention span.

You should come to a webinar and see it in action. There’s one scheduled very soon. See you there. Click here to register

Can’t attend a live webinar? Register for our Webinar On Demand and watch now!

Avoid Summer Brain Drain!

How to avoid summer vacation cognitive loss

Summer vacation means sleeping late, staying up late, and doing very little except enjoying time out of school. However, did you know that the average student loses one to three month’s math and reading gains made over the prior year? Academic losses are so common among students that educators have given the phenomena a name: Summer Brain Drain. This makes starting the following school year difficult.

Summer Brain Drain may even be worse for ADHD students already having trouble at school.

Going to school daily provides schedules and routines. The summer break means those routines aren’t there. Expectations are lowered or relaxed. Even sleep schedules are often totally abandoned.

Unfortunately, exercise is often replaced with computer time, watching movies, or playing video games with friends. That’s a bad idea. While there’s nothing wrong with playing video games or watching movies, sedentary activity must always be balanced with exercise. This is especially important for an ADHD student.

So here are some tips that should help prevent Summer Brain Drain:

• Take advantage of the summer months to start your Play Attention program (800.788.6786). Summer is a great time to start Play Attention because you will have the time to get a solid routine, begin strengthening cognitive skills, and work on eliminating distracting behaviors. Play Attention is the only program available that integrates feedback technology, attention training, memory training, cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. This guarantees you will have the most complete program available with the best possible outcomes.

• Set a consistent routine.

• Read. Decrease reading losses by developing a fun reading plan with your child. Select reading level appropriate books and have fun discussing them and even acting out some scenes!

• Plan trips to the library for story telling, selecting a new book, or even just browsing the magazine selection.

• You’ll likely go to the mall, grocery store, or gas station over the summer. Make these math trips! Use numbers found at these locations to create on the spot games with prizes. Even you car’s trip meter can be of service for math problems.

• Set a routine. Sleeping late is fine as long as it’s balanced with proper exercise and proper bedtime. Remember your teen will need far more sleep than your 6 – 12 year old.

• Get outside…a lot. Working in the yard promotes better attention. No kidding! Being in a green environment has been shown to decrease attention problems, so get outside and play!

• Establish a balanced diet. The high fat, high sugar diet commonly consumed in the US has been shown to contribute greatly to attention issues as well as obesity. Avoid too much fast food even though it’s convenient. Dinner time at the table with a balanced meal promotes both family harmony and good health.

Travel Tips

Whether you’re an ADHD adult or the parent of a child with ADHD, preparing for travel can be very stressful. Organizational skills are usually not inherent for someone with ADHD; therefore, planning for a trip can be daunting. Here are some tips that can be used by adults and parents alike:

1. Make a list of items that need to be packed. This can be started weeks in advance so that items can be added as things come to mind.

2. Many people pack more than enough clothes for their trip. Consider scaling back. If you’re renting a house for the week, it will likely have laundry facilities. One load of laundry during the week will freshen clothes to be worn again.

3. Bring entertainment for the trip. Boredom during a long car ride can be a nightmare. With onboard DVD players, travel versions of board games, or a favorite hand-held device, there are plenty of options.

4. Be prepared to stop for stretch breaks. Whether you’re flying, driving, or travelling by train, ADHD folks have a difficult time sitting for long periods of time. Rest areas along the highway have safe places for running around. Walking up and down the aisle of a train or plane when it’s safe can be a great way to burn energy.

5. Find a routine wherever you go. Once settled in, establish a routine that fits into your vacation. Mealtime together, swim time, and chill time are all important things to fit into a vacation schedule. Since people with ADHD like consistency, establishing a routine will make the trip less stressful.

6. Be flexible. Scheduling every moment of a vacation can create the same rigidity as everyday life. Vacations should be more about going with the flow and letting the natural course of events take place.

7. Scope out where the playgrounds are located. There’s nothing like a quick trip to a nearby playground to allow your energetic child to release some of that energy. Remember play time is good for you too!

8. Buy a kite. Kites sold today are very interactive. So investing in an interactive kite for the beach is a great way to keep yourself or your child entertained for hours.

9. Take your Play Attention program on the road with you! Play Attention is very portable. Take advantage of the summer months to prepare for the next school year! Call 800-788-6786 to get started!

10. Relax, Breathe, and Have Fun!

Planning and Surviving a Summer Family Vacation

Summer travel means a transition from routine and structure. Summer break means just overall excitement. All of this can add up to a stressful vacation for a parent of a child with ADHD. However, there are some steps that can help you have a happy, stress free family vacation.

Hold a planning meeting – Solicit the family’s ideas on what they want to do for a summer vacation. Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a voyage overseas, every family member should have a vote. After all, how relaxing is the vacation going to be if everyone hasn’t bought in?

Be Realistic – If your family vacation has time limitations, don’t plan one far away. It will be no fun to be in the car for three days and at the beach for two, just to turn around for a three-day road trip back home. Try to plan a vacation that will only take a day of travel time each way.

Assign Duties – Once you’ve determined where the family will go, assign duties needed to make the vacation happen. This ensures the burden of preparation is not just placed on one person. For instance, if your vacation takes you to the beach, someone will need to research accommodation options, travel arrangements, meals, etc.

Calendar Out Dates – Use a calendar to set deadlines for planning the vacation. This will allow all family members to know when they have to complete their duties. It will also help build excitement as the vacation date gets closer.

Plan the Travel Day – Talk to family members about what to expect on the travel day. If you’re flying to your destination, explain what will happen. “We’ll flying out early in the morning and land in Georgia at lunch time. We’ll have lunch at the airport and fly out to be beach after lunch. We’ll drive from the airport and be at the beach house by about four o’clock.” This will help, but may not eliminate the “Are we there yet?” statements. Do the same if travelling by car. Planning out the day with stops for meals, bathroom breaks, and any site seeing you’ll be doing along the way.

Create Down Time – Bring along activities that your child can do to slow down the pace a bit. Packing a vacation full of activities will leave everyone exhausted. Since vacations are designed to decompress, be sure that you are taking time to do just that.

Pack Wisely – Packing all of your child’s favorite toys may not be the wisest move. Favorite blankets can be easily left behind in hotels, causing a multitude of meltdowns and derailing even the best-planned vacation. A better idea is to pack one favorite toy and make the rest things that won’t cause a problem if lost.

Relax and Enjoy – With the hectic lifestyles that we all lead, summer family vacations are precious time that we have to relax and enjoy our family. It’s time to throw away bedtimes, wake up times, and strict schedules – just relax. The time you spend as a family just relaxing on the beach will be better than an activity-packed week where everyone ends up exhausted and cranky.Have fun!

Remember you can travel with your Play Attention system! Start your Play Attention program now and take advantage of the summer months to prepare for the next school year!

Call now 800-788-6786. Or attend our Speed Webinar and learn how you can get started.

Get Outside, Play, & Ease the Symptoms of ADHD

A study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, researcher, Frances Kuo finds that “green time” has a positive impact on children and adults with ADHD.

“Those who play regularly in the same green outdoor settings do have milder symptoms than those who play indoors or in playgrounds. We also found that children who were hyperactive had less severe symptoms if they played in an open environment, such as a soccer field, rather than in a green space with lots of trees.” – Frances Kuo

Alternatively, a study conducted by University of Michigan researchers found that “simply spending a few minutes on a busy city street can affect the brain’s ability to focus and to help us manage self-control.”

So it is time to get out in the green! This is great news for summertime. Get out there and play with your child. It’s good for you!

Simple Outdoor Ideas:

Take a nature walk and play I-Spy along the way.
Play Follow the Leader around the yard.
Build a fort out of boxes or old sheets.
Play catch or frisbee.
Remember hopscotch? Teach it to your child.
Jump rope and sing songs together.
Run through the sprinkler.
Play with bubbles.
Plan an outdoor picnic together.
Just Play!

“As little as 20 minutes of outdoor exposure in an open green space could potentially buy you a couple of hours in the afternoon to get homework done with your child.” Andrea Faber Taylor, Ph.D.

ADHD Children More Likely to Live Unhealthy Lifestyles

New study sheds light on improving symptoms

A recent study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders [1] looked at the health recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Their recommendations include:

*Drinking more water
*Decrease consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks
*Exercise at least an hour
*Limited screen time to a maximum of one to two hours daily (laptops, phones, tablets, TV)
*Get 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night

The study examined a group of 184 children ages 7 to 11 with ADHD and compared them to a group of 104 children who did not have ADHD. Children with ADHD were reported to adhere to fewer of these recommendations, regardless of taking medication for their ADHD. That means that the ADHD children in the study ADHD drank less water, drank more sweetened beverages, spent more time in front of a screen, engaged in less physical activity, consumed fewer vitamins, read less, and slept less than the participants without ADHD. These behavioral patterns were exhibited regardless of whether the ADHD children were taking medication for their ADHD. Unhealthy lifestyles have been shown to exacerbate ADHD symptoms or be correlated thereto.

The lead author of the research, Dr. Kathleen Holton, contends that, “Having their children follow healthy lifestyle behaviors may be an effective intervention either alongside or in the place of traditional ADHD medications. Parents of children with ADHD should talk with their pediatrician about how to improve health behaviors, such as limiting screen time, encouraging physical activity, improving bedtime routines, and drinking water rather than other beverages.”

[1] Kathleen F. Holton, Joel Nigg. The Association of Lifestyle Factors and ADHD in Children. Journal of Attention Disorders, April 28 2016; Online. DOI: .1177/1087054716646452

What to do this summer?

With your child’s thirteen week hiatus right around the corner, now is the time to plan for the summer. Whether it’s a week at the beach, some academic tutoring, or just some well-deserved down time, planning is the key to a stress free summer vacation.

Make a Plan – Children with ADHD do much better when they know what to expect. So when you’re planning out summer activities, it’s best to calendar them out. That way your child has a visual on upcoming activities. This information should include any summer school, play dates, family vacations, summer camps, and your Play Attention sessions.

Get Them Involved – Involving your child in planning your summer vacation. Think of several ideas and let them help do some research. Whether your vacation plans are to visit Disney Land or have a restful week at the beach, teaching your child to plan will help with their organizational skills.

Summer Camps – Plan Ahead – Many summer camps tailored to children with ADHD fill up quickly. Space is limited so now is the time to think and prepare. Decisions have to be made to insure that a spot is saved for your little one.

Academic Tutoring – If your child needs a little extra help during the summer, now is a perfect time to get your child signed up. Many college students look for summer jobs at this time of the year. Contact your local college for students studying education. You may also have many established tutoring services in your area as well offering summer programs.

Cognitive & Behavioral Attention Training – Summer is a perfect time to involve your child in a Play Attention program. If started now, your child can be well on their way to completing the program by the beginning of the new school year. And, they’ll have an advantage that will lead to success in the classroom. Take this survey and help us build your Play Attention program.

Remember when you purchase Play Attention by May 20th, 2016, you will receive a FREE 2-in-1 laptop with your Play Attention software installed and ready to begin! Call 800-788-6786 for more details.

Chill Time – Just like when adults are on vacation, children just need time to unwind. Summer is the time to sleep late, play a lot, and relax. Make sure you aren’t over scheduling your child this summer. Give them the time they need to rejuvenate for the next school year.

Let’s Get Outside – Exposure to green outdoor spaces can improve concentration and impulse control in children and adults. So get out there and play! Put up a basketball hoop, get a ball, and watch all of that energy be exerted in a positive way.

Start your summer Play Attention program now and be prepared for the next school year! Call 800-788-6786.

Using the summer months to prepare for college

The transition from high school to college is a challenge for even the most well-rounded student. Factor in ADHD and there are a whole new set of challenges. Parents should use the summer months to prepare their students for life at college. It’s a great time to test the waters while having the safety net of home to help them through.

Play Attention is a great brain training tool for both children and adults with ADHD. Use Play Attention over the summer months to help your college bound student develop the skills necessary to be a good, independent learner. Play Attention strengthens skills such as attention stamina, working memory, visual tracking, task completion, impulse control, and more! Start now and give your child an edge as he/she departs for college.

    Here are some additional ideas you can use this summer to help with the transition:

Make Organization a Priority – Since organization is a struggle for students with ADHD, most parents help with this process throughout high school. Now that your student will be on his own, it’s important that he takes on the responsibility of organization. Having your student keep his room organized through the summer months will create a great foundation for his journey into college life. Make certain to discuss steps he can take to help with organization.

Keep Things Structured – The summer months are usually the time when schedules go by the wayside; bed times are looser, meal times vary more, etc. Keeping things structured throughout the summer will help your budding college student stay in a routine. Since consistent and repetitive behavior gains proficiency, consider this type of structure the same as if you were helping your athlete prepare for the big game.

Research the College’s Resources – While the hope is that you looked into this before applying, it’s important that you help your student familiarize himself with the resources available to him on campus. There will be big adjustments like longer classes, later nights, more independent studying, etc. Create a plan for when things get tough, so your student isn’t scrambling to find resources for support.

Visit the Campus – Many college campuses have programs throughout the summer months. There are typically concerts, sporting events, and lectures. It’s a great time to visit the campus and get familiar with the layout. Even if you’re not there to attend an event, a campus visit will allow your student to map out his day without the distraction of hundreds of other students.

Create a Game plan – Your student will need a game plan if things get challenging. This might include a discussion with your student’s roommate to help keep things on track, or a plan to connect with a counselor once a week to discuss the week’s obstacles.

Talk about Spending – With books paid for and meal plans established, what more could your student need to spend money on? The answer is everything else! A trip to the movies or the mall, dinner with friends at the local pizza place, etc. These expenses can get out of control without a plan. Create a budget for your college student that will allow him to have a social life that won’t break the bank. Also, talk to him about planning meals at college. Your student could run into financial difficulty with poor planning when meal halls are closed after late-night classes.

The more planning and discussions you have before your student goes off to college, the better prepared he will be. If you can help with some pre-planning and addressing any anxieties, it will be easier for your student to be successful as he ventures into college life.

Let’s Make a Meal!

We recently discussed some tips on how to plan a meal. Now let’s take a look at involving your little one in the meal making process.

Remember when you start Play Attention this week, you will receive a 6 month FREE subscription to Cook Smarts!

For some of us, meal preparation comes naturally. We feel we can beat even the best home cook on Gordon Ramsay’s television show, MasterChef. However, some of us dread the thought putting together the evening meal for the family. Whether you can easily put together the perfect well-balanced meal or struggle to put something edible on the table each night, we all have to start somewhere.

The good news is, just like any other skill, cooking can be taught. And just like cognitive training for people struggling with attention, you’ll get better the more you practice.

Play Attention provides fantastic cognitive training.

Cooking with someone with ADHD can be a challenge. With short attention spans, things will have to be kept simple and quick. Also, keep in mind that nutritionists recommend a diet high in protein and complex carbohydrates while keeping the diet low in refined sugars.

Here are some quick and easy recipes that will provide the right nutrition and start your child on the road to becoming a great home cook. You will find that cooking with your child can be a great learning experience. Your child will learn critical skills such as planning, time management, counting, fractions, money, weighing, measuring, and problem solving!

Consider teaching your child to cook at an early age, start with simple things like making toast. Then graduate to helping stir things (this gets a little messy, but be patient, it gets better). Eventually task your child with planning and helping prepare one meal a week for the family. Be prepared, you may be eating hot dogs with mac and cheese at first, or maybe PB&J, but this too shall pass.

As experience in the kitchen is gained, your child will become more adventurous with their meal prep. It actually can become a friendly family competition to see who can come up with the better meal. Your child may really begin to surprise you with some wonderful meals.

For teenagers, you can take it a step further. The Food Network’s show Chopped features chefs having to prepare meals from five random ingredients given to them in a basket. Imagine how fun it would be to give your budding chef random ingredients, and have them create a meal in an hour? On the show, the chefs are faced with some strange ingredients, for instance chicken in a can, or gummy worms paired with a pork loin. So be careful what you put in your mystery basket—remember you have to eat it!