Do you have ADHD or a language impairment?

Do you have ADHD or a language impairment?

Read more: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry published a study that examined language impairments (LI) and ADHD. They found an association, but perhaps not what you’d expect.

The research indicates that testing for LI is very important when testing for ADHD.

Language impairment may be defined as significant difficulties affecting listening comprehension, oral expression, social interaction, reading, writing, or spelling. Its very definition reads like a checklist for ADHD symptoms.

The researchers found that LI are commonly observed among children referred for psychiatric services — especially ADHD. This would seem to makes sense; many children with ADHD have the same symptoms as LI:

1. They have poor social interactions manifesting in an inability to make friends.
2. They have poor listening comprehension manifesting when they cannot take multiple step instructions (e.g. Go to your bedroom, put your pajamas on, brush your teeth, get in bed).
3. They have difficulty expressing themselves orally resulting in frustration and angry outbursts.
4. They often have difficulty with reading, writing, and spelling.

The researchers concluded that children with LI were at the most disadvantage regardless of the nature of the psychiatric diagnosis.

Furthermore, the researchers noted that “…caution must be exercised in attributing to children with ADHD what might be a reflection of problems for children with language impairment generally. As most therapies are verbally based it is notable that language competence is rarely evaluated systematically before such therapies are undertaken.”

In another study performed in Norway, Speech Therapist Wenche Andersen Helland noted, “There is often a one-sided focus on the behavior of kids with ADHD. But these children may have communication problems as they grow older, particularly in a school situation, if their language skills are not given enough attention. If we don’t work hard enough to strengthen language development in children with ADHD, we increase the risk that they won’t learn what they should in school. They’ll also be more likely to fall short in social interactions with their peers. We need to intervene early to prevent a downward spiral.”

In other words, check for LI when checking for ADHD. This cannot be accomplished in the typical 20 minute session with a pediatrician. A speech language pathologist can determine a language impairment. The bottom line is that it is wise to get a full evaluation from a specialist that includes a full physical, vision test, language impairment test, and others.

The 5 Best Steps to a Great School Year Start for Your ADHD Child

The 5 Best Steps to a Great School Year Start for Your ADHD Child

1. Get your child ready by setting bedtime and wake up time at least a week before school begins. You already know how difficult it is to wake your ADHD. Get this routine established well before school starts to minimize your frustration.

2. Get organized! Get all the materials you need from notebooks to backpacks ready. You likely know your child’s strengths and weaknesses regarding organization. Knowing this can help you obtain the right binders, organizers, etc. For example, a simple backpack with few pockets is a better idea than one with loads of pockets if your child tends to lose track of things.

3. Schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher to review your 504 Plan or IEP. This meeting can make your child’s year a successful one. You might even request a team meeting if you believe it’s necessary. Bring documentation and a list of strategies that worked well the prior year.

4. Take a school tour. Meeting the teacher, knowing where the bathroom is, and seeing the classroom before it’s crowded with other school children can reduce your child’s anxiety level considerably. Observe how the room is organized and discuss expectations and procedures with your child and the teacher.

5. Establish home structure. It’s wise to prepare a location for your child to place books, backpacks, etc. just past the door upon which he or she enters your home. A simple cubby or table will do. If you’ve ever scrambled to find your child’s school materials, you’ll find this extremely helpful. It’s also a great start to becoming organized.

Ramya Goes from Teacher Complaints to Teacher Praise

Ramya Goes from Teacher Complaints to Teacher Praise
A Play Attention success story from her mother
Ramya was having trouble with finishing her homework assignments on time. Even once she finished them after a long time, there would be several mistakes and incomplete problems.

Eventually I found out about Play Attention a program designed to help kids with focusing, distraction, attention and listening. A few months after beginning her program with Play Attention, to my surprise I began receiving calls from her teacher that Ramya was doing great.

Read Ramya’s full story at

Ramya is very attentive in class and exceeded grade expectations! | Play Attention
I felt amazed the first time when I heard from Ramya’s teacher that she was doing great. I could see the happiness and…

Play Attention Opens in the United Arab Emirates

Play Attention Opens in the United Arab Emirates
Working to fix attention problems globally
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Play Attention is used around the world. Here’s the latest from our center in the UAE:Focus. Stop fidgeting. Pay attention.

If this what you are constantly telling your child, or yourself, then Emirati businesswoman Haifa Rashed might just have a cure for this lack of concentration.

“I feel like a lot of parents are complaining about their children not focusing or about them forgetting and I have experienced this with my son, so definitely this is an extra aid that will make a difference in people’s lives,” said Ms Rashed.

She said her firm, Know How for Management Consulting, is the first company in the Arabian Gulf region to offer children and adults specialised brain training meant to boost cognition using Play Attention.

The computer programme was developed by an American teacher to help students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to focus in class.

“We’re not just talking about ADHD here,” said Play Attention specialist Suzan Sherif. “It can be for normal people who have memory problems – they don’t remember names, they don’t remember numbers, emails and things like that.

“Same with children who can’t pay attention in classrooms when their teacher is talking. This is a programme that will actually help them to sustain their attention, focus more and improve their life skills.”

It takes about an hour of practice a week, broken up into two sessions of 30 minutes or four classes of 15 minutes, depending on one’s age and level of cognition.

The programme works by strapping a sensor – an electronic device called Body Wave, about the size of a deck of cards – to the participant’s arm. The sensor tracks their brainwaves and wirelessly transmits the information to the computer, allowing the person to control elements of the digital exercises with his or her brain.

“Just like when you’re going to the gym, you’re improving your muscles, but here we’re improving your brain muscles,” Ms Sherif said. “Children see it as a game. It’s a game exercise, it’s not something hard like maths and numbers and you have to memorize everything. It’s just a simple exercise, but it’s very intensive.”

Participants have to master 18 exercise games to complete the programme. The exercises use video-game-like computer graphics to depict different scenes where the student has to concentrate to move objects in a quest for points and, ultimately, greater brain function.

One exercise, called Attention Stamina, is an underwater adventure where the student animates a character of his choosing – a dolphin, scuba diver or submarine – by concentrating on it.

If the participant’s concentration breaks, the character stops swimming and floats up to the surface. But if they maintain a steady focus, the character continues its underwater excursion collecting coins from the ocean floor.

“The goal is to work up to five minutes of maintaining a steady concentration rate of 75 per cent or higher. A bar in the top left of the screen shows the level of concentration used.

“What you need to do is just ignore everything in your brain and focus on the submarine, look at the submarine. When you start to think only about the submarine, it will start swimming to the bottom,” said Ms Sherif, as she guided a user through the exercise.

“Each level basically is going to get more complicated. We’re going to see more fish around that try to distract you. Sometimes you’re going to see an octopus that comes from the bottom, and as soon as you see the octopus, you need to click on it with the space bar, so all of these instructions are going to get harder later on.

“But for the first level, this exercise targets sustaining attention because we have 18 exercises and each one does something different.”

Anyone over the age of six can sign up for the course, taught at the Know How office in Al Zahiyeh. The programme is also available for sale to clients who wish to practice at home. It comes with 24/7 technical support. American teachers are also on call to offer analysis of the home student’s performance for free.

“This is for anyone who actually wants to improve and anyone who wants to excel in what they’re doing,” Ms Sherif said, noting that it takes 12 hours of practice for change to take effect in one’s attention span. “You’re improving your skills. You’re improving your attention, you’re improving your memory, you’re multitasking, everything.”

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Emirati businesswoman launches brain game to cure people of short attention span | The National
If you or your child suffer from a short attention span, Emirati businesswoman Haifa Rashed might have the answer, with her brain game that uses a computer…

Are You a Better Parent if You’re Medicated?

Are You a Better Parent if You’re Medicated?
Penn State researchers say YES!

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Penn State News reports on a small study done at Penn State and funded by Shire Inc., the manufacturer of lisdexamfetamine, (aka Vyvanse) where ADHD parents received medication to help them cope with their children.

One of the lead researchers, Dr. James Waxmonsky noted, “Parents with ADHD are at increased risk to engage in problematic parenting techniques, including inconsistent disciplinary practices, making ineffectual commands and diminished use of praise. Having a parent with ADHD also decreases the chances that children with ADHD will respond to typically effective medication or counseling treatment.”

So, the solution? Medicate the parents! The researchers selected 20 parents who had children age 5 to 12. Both parents had a diagnosis presenting ADHD. The researchers then gave the parents ‘optimal’ doses of lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse).

The parents were then brought to the clinic for observation on two tasks: 1] The child performs homework with parental assistance, and 2] The child plays while the parent performs paperwork.

The parent was administered either a placebo or Vyvanse for the first observation. This was then reversed for the second observation period. Neither the researchers nor participants knew when the active medication was received.

According to Penn State News, “The results of the first phase showed no medication effect was seen during the homework component. During the non-academic component, parents were less likely to make negative statements toward their children on lisdexamfetamine than on placebo.

Children showed less inappropriate behavior during the homework task when their parent was prescribed lisdexamfetamine versus placebo.

Then, in the second phase, parents had a 50 percent chance of staying on active medication or a 50 percent chance of being switched to placebo for the remainder of the study. They completed the same parent-child interaction tasks as in the first phase.”

“In the laboratory setting, lisdexamfetamine treatment of parental ADHD was associated with significant reductions in children’s negative behaviors and improvements in parenting behaviors found to be adversely impacted by ADHD,” Waxmonsky said.

Can you think of a better way to expand this market?

Aging and Cognitive Decline

Aging and Cognitive Decline
Can omega 3 fish oil help?

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As we age or watch our parents age, we commonly see memory loss, and lower cognitive function. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are common — almost everyone knows or is related to someone who is afflicted.

A report published on June 20, 2014 in the Journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia describes a protective effect when using fish oil supplementation. The protective effect actually allows older men and women to preserve brain volume and cognitive function.

The study spanned five years and included 193 Alzheimer’s disease patients, 397 individuals with mild cognitive impairment and 229 cognitively normal individuals. The older men and women who used fish oil had better scores of cognitive function at any time over the course of the study.

What can we take away from this research? It’s preliminary and we need more studies, but this study validates previous research on fish oil supplementation. Will it cure dementia or Alzheimer’s? No. Is there a chance that it will assist us in maintaining brain function? Yes. Is it inexpensive? Yes. Is it worth using? You must decide.

Previous research has also shown a positive effect for brain function of ADHD children. Again, not a cure, but it may help.

Exercise and diet do play significant roles in brain health. One cannot forget those as well.

New Study Show Stimulant Meds Increase Cardiovascular Events

New Study Show Stimulant Meds Increase Cardiovascular Events
What every parent should know

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(HealthDay News) — Stimulant use in children and adolescents is associated with an increased risk of a subsequent cardiovascular event, according to a study published online June 23 in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

Søren Dalsgaard, MD, PhD, from Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal prospective study of all children born in Denmark from 1990–1999. The authors sought to examine whether stimulant users are at increased risk of a subsequent cardiovascular event. Data were collected from national health registers on psychiatric and somatic diagnoses, stimulant prescriptions, cardiovascular risk factors, and pre- and perinatal and sociodemographic covariates. Data were merged for children and their parents.

Using data for a total population of 714,258 children, contributing 6,767,982 person-years, the researchers found that stimulant use correlated with an increased risk of a cardiovascular event (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.83). Stimulant treatment also increased the risk of a cardiovascular event in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; 8,300 children; adjusted hazard ratio, 2.20), with evidence of a complex time-dependent, dose-response association.

“Cardiovascular events were rare but twice as likely in stimulant users as in nonusers, both in the total national population and in children with ADHD,” the authors write. “Our results suggest a safety signal with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with stimulant treatment in children and adolescents, even after adjusting for a number of potential confounders.”

ADHD ‘Inextricably’ Linked to Substance Abuse

New study says parents beware


The journal Pediatrics published a study (June 30) which found that children with ADHD are 2 times more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence and more than 2.5 times more likely to develop a substance use disorder (SUD). Additionally, ADHD children are twice as likely to develop cocaine abuse or dependence.

Is there any good news? The researchers noted that stimulant medication may reduce the risk for trying drugs and developing an SUD. Prior studies both contradict and confirm this.

The study’s authors warn, “Individuals with co-occurring ADHD and active SUDs require a careful, individual risk/benefit assessment regarding the safety of prescribing a stimulant medication. Longer acting preparations of stimulant medication, the prodrug formulation of dextroamphetamine, and nonstimulant medications for ADHD all have lower abuse potential than short-acting preparations of stimulant medication and, thus, their use should be strongly considered if there is a high risk of misuse, diversion, or abuse of stimulant medications.”

“Misuse and diversion of stimulant medications are more widespread problems than abuse or addiction,” the report states. What is diversion? Diversion is your child not using the medication as prescribed, but rather selling it to someone else.

The report indicates that prior research suggests that between 16% and 23% of school-aged children are approached to sell, buy, or trade their stimulant medication.

Surge in women taking drugs for ADHD

Surge in women taking drugs for ADHD
What’s behind this?

From Newsday:

“The number of Americans taking attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medicines rose 36% in 2012 from 2008, led by a surge among women, according to drug-benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co.

Use of the medications grew 85 percent in 2012 from 2008 for women ages 26 to 34, and women 19 and over now outnumber men in use of the medicines, according to the report released yesterday. Boys 12 to 18 years old are the most heavily prescribed, with about 9.3 percent on ADHD drugs in 2012.

Almost 4.8 million privately insured people were on ADHD medicines in 2012, the report said. Those with the disorder have problems paying attention, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.”

How does one explain the incredible increase in ADHD medication use especially among women ages 26 to 34? Is it due to increased stress? The demands of home and work? Better marketing among these women? Can a pill fix these problems?

Your opinions are welcome.

Toddlers Being Prescribed ADHD Meds

Toddlers Being Prescribed ADHD Meds

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The Centers for Disease Control reports that Medicaid claims in Georgia reveal 1 in 225 toddlers are medicated for ADHD – that’s 760 cases in the state alone. The CDC estimates that more than 10,000 toddlers may be taking ADHD medications.

Dr. Lawrence H. Diller, a behavioral pediatrician in Walnut Creek, Calif. and author of The Last Normal Child said, “People prescribing to 2-year-olds are just winging it. It is outside the standard of care, and they should be subject to malpractice if something goes wrong with a kid.”

Dr. Ed Hallowell, a noted child psychiatrist and ADHD expert appeared on Fox and Friends. He said it’s “crazy” that toddlers are being given drugs like Adderall and Ritalin.

“People are looking for a quick solution to the age-old problem of rambunctious little toddlers,” he said. “The solution is not to give them medication. The solution is to play with them, to be with them, to take care of them. Not to give them a pill in the hopes
that’ll quiet them down.”

Prescriptions for toddlers are being granted despite the fact that ADHD medication has not been studied for this group. Indeed the American Academy of Pediatrics does not even broach the subject of ADHD medication in toddlers (children under 4 years old).

Two year olds are notably rambunctious. Most experts agree that it’s far too early to diagnose ADHD at age 2. Your opinions are welcome.