Parents, ADHD Kids & Homework

New research can help this volatile mix

A new study by Dr. William Pelham, a leader in ADHD research, and his team, sheds significant light on homework skills, parenting, and medication. The researchers compared homework-focused behavioral parent training against medication.

The study found that ADHD children who did homework under the guidance of trained parents improved 10% to 13% in homework completion and about 8% improved in homework accuracy. That’s equivalent to the parent treatment group achieving an average C grade, versus an average F grade for those who didn’t get the parent training. Significantly, they found medication had nonsignificant effects on homework completion and accuracy.

The major tool the parents received during training was the Daily Report Card.

According to the study’s lead author, Brittany M. Merrill, “The daily report card . . . is a communication tool between parents and teachers and is a core component of most school-based behavioral interventions for children with ADHD. In our study, teachers set realistic goals for the children’s homework—assigning an age-appropriate amount and requiring 80% completion and 100% accuracy on the assignments. Parents evaluated how the child did on homework each evening and returned the note to the teacher the next morning in the child’s homework folder. Children then received small rewards in the classroom based on homework completion at home, in addition to the rewards they received at home for finishing homework.”

So what if the researchers combined medication with parent training? They tested that method and found it did not work any better than the parent training intervention alone.

Getting the right training seems to make a significant difference.

Need help with homework? Call 800.788.6786.

Attend an upcoming webinar and learn how you can use our Academic Bridge program to assist with homework!

Top 5 Myths About ADHD that Confuse Parents

1. Girls don’t get ADHD. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that in many states, boys are diagnosed twice as often as boys. Girls often do not ‘act out’ or rebel as much as boys, so the squeaky wheel, i.e. boys, often get the diagnosis. ADHD does affect girls likely as much as boys.

2. Getting good grades means I don’t have ADHD. Many ADHD students are bright and make good grades. However, other areas of their lives are affected including social skills, organization, and finishing tasks.

3. Only hyperactive kids have ADHD. ADHD is now a generic term for 3 types of attention problems. The American Psychiatric Association categorizes ADHD into three subtypes: inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined hyperactivity and inattention. So, kids with inattentive ADHD tend to be easily distracted but don’t display hyperactivity.

4. Most kids will outgrow ADHD. Long term studies have shown that most children do not outgrow ADHD. Some do outgrow it, but they are in the minority.

5. ADHD children and adults cannot pay attention. Absolutely false. Although your child may play video games for hours, they still can have ADHD. Give them something that truly interests them, and they will ‘hyperfocus’ on it for hours. Give them a typical classroom environment and they are often bored. Bottom line: they can pay attention — sometimes better than the average person. However, to do this, the stimulus must be something they are truly interested in or something highly visually stimulating. They lose attention quickly to less stimulating things.

Another Myth: ADHD cannot be managed. False! Attend our FREE Play Attention webinar and learn how you can be successful with ADHD!

Know Your Rights

New guidance on the civil rights of ADHD students

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ensures protection of ADHD students under law. However, its special Section 504 often varies among school administrators.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has has issued a guidance clarifying the rights of ADHD students in light of nationwide allegations that schools were not providing ADHD students the services they need to be successful.

“Over the last five years, OCR has received more than 16,000 complaints that allege discrimination on the basis of disability in elementary and secondary education programs, and more than 10 percent involve allegations of discrimination against students with ADHD. The most common complaint concerns academic and behavioral difficulties students with ADHD experience at school when they are not timely and properly evaluated for a disability, or when they do not receive necessary special education or related aids and services,” states the OCR’s guidance.
To view the full release defining your child’s rights regarding evaluation/assessment and services go to:

If you want to learn more about your rights, or if you believe that your school is violating Federal law, you may contact the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, at (800) 421-3481, (800) 877-8339 (TDD), or

You may also file a complaint online at

Play Attention can teach your student the skills he/she needs to be successful in school. Call us at 800-788-6786 or attend an upcoming webinar to learn more.

Meet the New Teacher!

Your child is nervous about the first day of school. It’s normal and natural. We all want to establish a good relationship right from day one.

It’s important that both you and your child have a positive relationship with the teacher. It’s a good idea to ask your child’s teacher if he/she would have a moment to meet with you before school begins. If time will not allow for this, write the teacher a personal letter.

Things to keep in mind for the meeting/letter:

1. Keep it positive. You may have had some bad experiences in the past. Do not bring that experience with you. Start things on a positive note.

2. Discuss your child’s strengths. Often we are so keyed into discussing accommodations, social issues, etc. we forget that may children with ADHD have strengths that their peers may not. These could include being the classroom errand person to release some pent up energy, or wiping down the white board, or passing out papers.

3. Express your concerns about the new year. Give suggestions letting the teacher know what strategies have worked in the past. Ask if he/she thinks some of those strategies could be used. Also include the strategies that haven’t worked, such as isolating your child, or testing in essay form. If there is an IEP or 504 in place bring a couple of copies and review the goals.

4. Ask for his/her suggestions on certain areas. For example, “How can we communicate so you can let me know when Johnny may be having difficulties in school?” Be certain to listen to the suggestions and come up with an initial plan.

5. Don’t overwhelm the teacher. Bring up just 3 topics that you are concerned about and get these concerns addressed. You will have time to bring up other concerns as the year progresses. And you just may be surprised – some concerns from the past may not be issues at all this year!

6. Be certain to listen and compromise. Remember that while your child is your main concern, the classroom teacher has at least twenty other students to consider.

7. Leave the teacher with the feeling that you are in this to work together for your child’s benefit. Be sure to thank him/her for their time. Appreciation goes a long way towards cooperation.

8. If you want to visit the classroom, ask how he/she would like you to visit. Would he/she like a call a week before to arrange a specific time? Would the teacher like you to work with another child in the classroom while you are there? What will work best for that teacher, your child, and the other students in the classroom?

9. When you get home share with your child the good things you have learned about the new teacher. Your positive feelings about the teacher will lessen some of the anxieties your child may be having about the new school year.

10. Get ready for a positive and successful new school year!

Play Attention can help parents boost their child’s academic performance from the privacy of their own home. For more information attend one of our speed webinars or call 800 788 6786.

How to avoid spending all night on homework

Make homework time a success.

Does this scenario sound familiar? “We spend hours on homework every night with my daughter. This is so frustrating for the entire family and really makes our evenings miserable. She just doesn’t seem to be able to get anything done without me or my husband standing over her and constantly redirecting her.”
-Norah, Mother wanting to reclaim her nights

Homework time is a huge challenge for a lot of families. One of the biggest frustrations is that the child is bright and CAN do the work, it’s just the process that is difficult. They cannot seem to start the homework in a timely manner and stay on task until completion. This often results in 15 minutes of homework taking 2 hours and a fight!child and the school set, ready for school

You can definitely take some steps to help with this process and reclaim your nights!

    Set up a special Homework Center:

Do you send your child to their room to do homework? Is the room so full of distractions that it is impossible for the child to stay on task? Is your child constantly wasting time before homework because he/she cannot find the materials needed?

Your solution: Create a special homework center with your child and eliminate the distractions and wasted time. The more you get your child involved in this process the more special the area becomes to your child!

Find an area that is conducive to doing homework. It should not be in the center of the home where there are lots of visual and auditory distractions. To get your child involved in the decision making process pick out 3 areas and let the child choose which area he/she would like the best.

Make a list. Sit down with your child and make a list of all of the items needed in the homework center. Items may include pens, pencils, lined paper, an in-box for homework assignments, an out-box for completed assignments, calculator, bookshelf, scissors, trashcan etc. If you plan wisely there should be no more, “but mom I can’t find…”.

Make certain you have a clean work space with a comfortable chair. You may choose to include a bean bag so he/she can be nice and comfy when reading. You may want to include a chair for yourself so you will have a spot when reviewing the homework.

Have a timer. Timers are a great way to teach time management. Include a timer in the homework area so you can set up time limits for different assignments.

Post a bulletin board so you can post good grades, personal goals, or a reward board.

Play Attention offers an excellent Academic Bridge game that can be used during homework. Academic Bridge will allow you and your child to monitor his/her attention during homework time. Sheer Genius (the program character adapted from Albert Einstein, (whom also had ADHD)), will give the child constant feedback as to when he/she is paying attention and when he/she is not. You will no longer have to redirect your child. This game will actually teach your child how to start and complete homework with full attention and in a timely manner.

Taking the time now to create a special homework center with your child can save you a lot of time and energy in the end. And it may just make homework time a little more enjoyable!

Academic Bridge:

Play Attention is sponsoring Additude Magazine’s upcoming webinar
Webinar Topic: Homework Problems You Can Solve: A Parent’s Guide to Conquering Assignments
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016 at 1 PM
Register here

Rise and Shine! Time for school.

Good Mornings!

Goodbye to the lazy days of summer. Hello morning madness!

With the start of school comes that morning hustle. You are trying to get yourself to work, lunches packed, homework signed, and kids out the door all in a timely manner. This can cause a bit of stress in any home. A harried morning can really affect the rest of your day. Be certain that you take some steps to organize yourself, your children, and your spouse. Create a morning that is truly a good morning!

Three days before school starts:

    During the summer months we tend to be less strict on bedtimes, mainly because mornings are much more relaxed and schedules are looser. You may want to consider starting the school bedtime/wake up routine a few days before school actually starts. Especially if your little one is hard to get out of bed. You may also want to set an alarm to start that routine. Even if you set the alarm for 9 am, you’ll start establishing the routine of your child getting up with an alarm.

    To take it one step further, once up have your child eat breakfast and dress for the day. This will help establish the routine before the big day.

The night before:

    Everyone lays out his or her clothes for the next day.
    Set the breakfast table so children can have easy access to everything they will need for breakfast.
    Make certain backpacks are packed with homework and all permission slips etc., are signed.
    Pack lunches.


    Have a checklist for the morning routine for children to follow. Children can check off each step as it is completed.
    Have specific places for items. For example, make certain to put your car keys on a rack, jacket in closet and purse on the table by the door. Be consistent. This will help you avoid looking for lost items in the morning.
    Teach your child the focus and behavioral techniques necessary for learning and increase their academic performance.

Play Attention integrates feedback technology with cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. You may learn more about Play Attention at one of our upcoming Speed Webinars. At the webinar you can learn how Play Attention can help your child develop coping skills that will last a lifetime.

Register for our Speed Webinars:

The Correlation between Self-Image and Academic Performance

Is poor self-image affecting your ADHD child’s academic performance?

With the hustle and bustle of getting ready for back to school; filling those backpacks with school supplies, buying new clothes, making lunches, scheduling necessary pickups and drop-offs, we often forget the emotional feelings our ADHD child experiences when beginning the new school year. Poor self-image and negative feelings of poor self-esteem affect our child’s ability to perform up to grade level and vice versa: poor academic performance can also affect our child’s self-image.

Self-image is how you perceive yourself. It is a number of self-impressions that have built up over time: What are your hopes and dreams? What do you think and feel? What have you done throughout your life and what did you want to do? These self-images can be very positive, giving a person confidence in their thoughts and actions, or negative, making a person doubtful of their capabilities and ideas.

Portrait of a sad hispanic girl isolated on whiteSome believe that a person’s self-image is defined by events that affect him or her (doing well or not in school, work, or relationships.) Others believe that a person’s self-image can help shape those events. There is probably some truth to both schools of thought: failing at something can certainly cause one to feel bad about oneself, just as feeling good about oneself can lead to better performance on a project. 1

Studies show that there is definitely a correlation between ADHD and peer relationships, academic performance, and self-image.

One such study examined relationships between symptoms of ADHD, peer relations, academic performance, and self-image among university-level students. Eighty-three students at a private, Midwestern, comprehensive university participated in the study. None indicated that they had been previously diagnosed with ADHD or were currently receiving any form of ADHD treatment. The students were administered an adapted version of the General Adult ADD Symptom Checklist (Amen, 1995). Particular variables of interest included perceptions of peer relations, academic performance, and self-image. The results showed that 5% of students surveyed met the operational definition criteria for ADHD symptoms. Significant correlations were found with poor peer relations, less satisfactory academic performance, and poor self-image.2

To feel good about themselves, children need two things: the sense that they’re successful, both socially and academically, and unconditional love from their parents. If either ingredient is missing, a child will have a hard time developing a sense of self-image.

A child might reveal his unhappiness by saying, “I hate my life” or “No one likes me” or “I’m just dumb.”

Does your child say or do things that suggest that he feels he isn’t “good enough” or is unworthy of love? Do her words or behavior suggest that she feels like a failure at school? That her peers aren’t especially fond of her, or that she is otherwise unsuccessful socially?3

Tips for Building Self-Image:

Focus on the steps within a task, not just the end product

  • Break a large task down into small, manageable chunks
  • Introduce frequent, short breaks that coincide with the end of the child’s concentration span
  • Provide encouragement at the end of each chunk of work, building their confidence in being able to complete the overall task

Show faith in the child’s abilities

  • Where possible, choose and tailor tasks to match what they are good at and build on their strengths
  • Keep praising good actions. Children with ADHD can find it hard to accept compliments
  • Raise the child’s own expectations about what they can realistically achieve:

They may stop trying if they encounter obstacles and need extra encouragement
If the adults around them have low expectations of what they can achieve, the child will too.

Put mistakes into perspective

  • Keep setting clear boundaries about what is acceptable, and help the child to understand that everyone makes mistakes
  • Recognize that children with ADHD may seem to:

Take a long time to learn from their mistakes
Make the same mistake repeatedly.

  • A lot of patience may be needed, as this may be a long journey for the child
  • Help the child to see smaller mistakes in the context of bigger achievements

For example, when correcting punctuation in a piece of work, praise their handwriting/ideas/story.4

Doing well in school, performing at your academic peak will no doubt increase your ADHD child’s self-image. Using Play Attention’s Academic Bridge is a great way for you and your child to know when they are truly paying attention and performing at their academic peak. Academic Bridge will monitor attention and let the student know when they have lost focus. Through consistent and repetitive training, your student will be able to pay attention for longer and longer periods of time.5

The Play Attention family hopes you have a successful school year! If you would like more information how Play Attention can help improve the cognitive skills necessary for classroom success, call 800‐788‐6786. Or register for an upcoming webinar.6










5 Tips for Back to School!

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.

Attend our upcoming speed webinar and learn how you can help your child develop the skills he/she needs to have a successful school year! Register here or call 800-788-6786.

View our Back to School Special Offer!

ADHD: Children and Aggression

Tips on how to deal with your child’s anger

Do these words sound familiar?

“What is of a greater concern is that because of the ADHD, we have been battling with his bad temper and a rage I have never before seen in a child.”

“Christine, I need help for this child who is otherwise intelligent and very loving. He tries so hard but feels like he is losing the battle.” He says things like “this world is unfair” and “why did I have to be born like this”? 1

–By a Grandmother seeking help for her ADHD Grandson . . .    

ADHD is a condition marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity. ADHD begins in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. As many as 2 out of every 3 children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as adults.Angry_Girl_SM

Symptoms of ADHD can differ from person to person, but there are three basic types of ADHD. Each one is identified by the symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. When the main symptoms are inattention, distraction, and disorganization, the type is usually called primarily inattentive. The symptoms of hyperactivity and possibly impulsiveness appear to diminish with age but are seen in the primarily hyperactive/impulsive type. The third type has some symptoms from each of the other two and is called the combined type.2

Whether it is one of the aforementioned types or a combined type, the following tips will help parents deal with their ADHD child’s anger.

  1. Be a good role-model. Children learn how to handle anger from their parents, so avoid physical punishment, such as hitting your child, or dragging them to their room for a time-out.
  2. Reward their appropriate, non-aggressive behaviors every time you notice them. Children crave attention, and praise will reinforce the positive and appropriate behaviors you are hoping for.
  3. Set up a behavioral contract. Let your child know exactly which behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not. Include a chart to track progress towards these goals, and set up a reward schedule for when the child reaches these goals. Rewards can include a treat, time playing together, or a special outing.
  4. Teach your child appropriate behaviors, such as assertiveness, problem-solving, and decision-making skills as well as conflict resolution skills and social skills, and model these behaviors and skills yourself. Play Attention integrates feedback technology with cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. You may learn more about Play Attention at one of our upcoming Speed Webinars,3 At the webinar you can learn how Play Attention can help your child develop coping skills that will last a lifetime.
  5. Play perspective-taking games. Aggressive children often perceive conflict where there is none, and games where you role-play other people may help your child see what the other party’s actual intent was. Role-play how to deal with conflict once it arises.
  6. Eliminate sources of stress and anxiety for your child, as these may be contributing to your child’s aggressive behavior.
  7. Know when to seek professional help. If your child is out of control, does not seem to show empathy, or is cruel to animals, you should seek professional help and guidance to determine how to help your child.4

It can be exhausting—mentally, emotionally, and physically—to be the parent of a child with ADHD. Be sure to care for yourselves as individuals and as a couple. Take breaks from your child, no matter how much you love him or her. You won’t be at your best for your child if you let yourself get run down without a break. Find a way to have some quiet time on a regular basis and perhaps dinner and a show without the child tagging along on occasion.

There is an adage, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Reach out for help when it available to make your child’s life more consistent.5



3   Speed Webinars




ADHD & Bullying

What every mom, dad, and child ought to know. 

It’s a fact: teasing and playful banter are unfortunate but inevitable parts of the social scheme at school. However, ADHD children, who commonly also have social skills problems, often attract more bullying than their peers.  Because they have social skills problems, they often don’t know how to respond to bullying either. This can make school life very unpleasant.

On, Judith Wiener, PhD, reports the following: In a study that examined children with ADHD in third to sixth grade, 17 percent were bullies according to teacher and parent reports, 27 percent reported that they were victims of bullying, and 14 percent were both bullies and victims. The result? A whopping 58 percent of children with ADHD were involved in bullying—compared to only 14 percent of children without ADHD. A similar pattern is evident with adolescents.

Parents can teach a few basic skills that can make a world of difference. Also, proactive parents can help by shaping the school environment. It may take a little work, but it’s with it.

Here are some basic strategies:

  • Teach your children to stand up to bullying without overreacting. Suggest a series of steps your child can take without escalating the problem. Start by teaching them to walk away and immediately report bullying to a teacher, or calmly respond verbally without escalating the situation.
  • Without excusing the bully’s behavior, discuss how your child can make herself less of a target. Encouraging skills such as listening to her peers before responding, keeping conversations short and to the point, always keeping her hands to herself, & remembering to keep her voice at an appropriate volume level. You know your child best, so include skills you know need improvement.
  • Martial arts classes can provide self-confidence and often teach skills to cope with bullying. Simple skills like making eye-contact, standing up straight, and speaking in a clear firm voice are often taught in martial arts classes and are effective.
  • At the first sign of bullying, whether it involves your child or another, alert your child’s teachers and school principal so they can take care of the situation. Follow up to be certain the matter has been addressed.
  • Another great martial arts technique is to yell, “Ouch! Stop! You’re hurting me!” when bullied. This response attracts attention from nearby adults without your child coming off as a tattle tale.
  • If the school doesn’t have an anti-bullying policy, ask them to establish one. You may need to attend some meetings with the school or with the PTO to assist in the development of the policy.
  • Keep an open line of daily communication with your child to stay aware of any problems.

Play Attention has a social skills program within the software that can help your child make friends and keep them! Register for our upcoming webinar to learn more.

Play Attention is sponsoring Additude Magazine’s webinar, “My Child Is Being Bullied at School!”
On Wednesday, July 27, at 1 pm ET, join us for a free expert webinar with Michele Borba, Ed.D. Click here to register.