It only took one session for me to decide that we need this system at home!

We started using the Play Attention suite of games for our seven year old son, Eli during the spring of his kindergarten year. Eli was born with Down syndrome. He struggles with global developmental delays and especially struggles with poor impulse control as well as hyperactivity. In addition, Eli is a very restless sleeper. I have longed for him to sleep more deeply knowing that it would give his impulsive brain a restful break. We have used different supplements throughout the years to calm him. Eli also sleeps under a weighted blanket. While I’m certain none of our attempts have been harmful, nothing seems to show long-term benefit. As a mother on a mission, I have researched therapies, supplements, dietary changes, and calming techniques for years. When I discovered neurofeedback, I knew I had to try it for Eli. We used a system with a local psychotherapist and realized very quickly that it brought calming to Eli’s restless brain and body. Quickly, it became difficult to keep multiple weekly appointments for his neurofeedback sessions.

I was introduced to Play Attention by a friend who is involved in pediatric counseling. We were able to try out the system at Harding University’s Compassion Clinic with the intention of completing a series of sessions. It only took one session for me to decide that we need this system at home! Play Attention is one of the only neurofeedback systems that has a home based package. It certainly is the most affordable option on the market that I could find!

We have received excellent support from the initial training to learn to use the system to periodic troubleshooting. Play Attention has a great team and has been so helpful for us on this journey.

Eli started using the Play Attention system during his kindergarten year. He is in the self-contained classroom at his school. I have full confidence that he could participate in mainstream class activities on a limited level if he could better manage his impulse control. His classroom uses a color-based behavior chart. If he has a good day, he gets a ‘green’. A worse day warrants a ‘yellow’ and a difficult day produces a ‘red’. While Eli had a good school year, he NEVER had a week where he earned all ‘green’ for the week. Ever. Until we started Play Attention. Consistent use of the Play Attention suite of games has calmed Eli and given him the ability to attain quite a few all ‘green’ weeks of behavior at school! This is a miracle. While the support team at Play Attention stressed that long-term use of the games is essential for seeing behavioral changes, we saw changes in Eli almost immediately. Among other things, he began sleeping better almost immediately which in turn lead to better behavior in school. His teachers and our extended family are all amazed at the changes seen in Eli since starting Play Attention. I attribute this incredible change to the Play Attention suite of games as we did not make any other dietary or supplemental changes at the time.

We love Play Attention and are excited for the upcoming school year. With improved impulse control, we hope Eli will get to experience some mainstream classroom activities.

ADHD, Memory, and Depression

An interesting study done at the University of North Florida, published last year by Tracy Packiam Alloway and John C. Horton in the Journal of Applied Psychology, explores the relationship between our ability to encode, store and retrieve data, and how we regulate our emotions. They assert that Working Memory plays a role in our coping with negative life events. “There is a growing body of research supporting the role of working memory in emotional regulation. We know that those with clinical depression have difficulties in suppressing irrelevant negative information, while those with high working memory are able to ignore negative emotions,” said Alloway. 
This presents families dealing with ADHD with a unique clue. 

We know that ADHD is often comorbid with depression, and that depression is often a cause for irritable “acting out.” But, this study shows that if we are able to attain a higher working memory, then we also gain a more optimistic view of the future. Not only does working memory come to define a person who can remember phone numbers, or which word to use in a sentence, or the steps in a series of instructions, it also means that a person with higher working memory may be happier as well.

Another study, this one in Stockholm authored by Torkel Klingberg, reminds us of the value of our brain’s neuroplasticity, and “that it (Working Memory) can be improved by adaptive and extended training.” Play Attention’s Working Memory module is designed to train this aspect of our brains. This simple, fun memory game encourages students to remember the locations of positive and negative conditions on the map, while maintaining attention. transferring this skill to everyday tasks can be aided by using Play Attention’s Academic Bridge module. It’s important to remember that skill training for the brain, especially for working memory, may not be permanent, but with the proper encouragement and persistence, with positive reinforcement, those habits learned while training contribute to a student’s on going success. 
You may have some anecdotal evidence of this. As users of the Play Attention system, and specifically our Working Memory training module, have you experienced a heightened, positive mood in conjunction with your student’s increased working memory functioning? If you would like to join the conversation, follow us on Facebook. We look forward to hearing from you!

ADHD and Your Finances

A recent blog posted by June Silny, a contributor at Huffington Post, addresses an often overlooked aspect of ADHD. Finances, and our ability to manage them. It stands to reason that if we have difficulty sustaining attention, then our fiscal outlook might suffer. As adults with ADHD are all too aware, it is a ​struggle to get organized, stay committed, and not get derailed by all the daily distractions. Growing up with ADHD is difficult enough. As an adult with responsibilities to our bosses, spouses, and children, the difficulties can seem insurmountable. As adults, we are supposed to be the ones with all the answers. Then why is the task of managing personal finances so difficult? How can we improve this skill?

Ms. Silny, discussing a freely available ebook, points out 3 positive things to remember to help us get started.

  1. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple. If it’s not simple, more than likely we are going to get overwhelmed and aren’t going to do it.
  2. Use positive Self-Talk. Negativity is not going to help. All too often we are our own worst enemy, right? Stop that, say something nice to yourself and make it a routine.
  3. Make it a Game. Finances can seem like such drudgery, but it is also the source of making our dreams a reality. Have fun, and enjoy the newfound ability to save and manage your money.

There are many apps designed to assist you. One digital app called Acorns can be downloaded to your phone. You can authorize it with your bank and debit card and whenever you use your debit card to make a purchase, at the pump, grocery store, or out to eat, the app rounds the purchase up and invests the additional amount into a stock purchase plan that you control. A few pennies here and a dollar there really adds up at the end of the month. You quickly save hundreds of dollars, and you’ll never miss it.

Another group of useful tools within Play Attention that can assist you include the Attention Stamina, Time on Task and the Academic Bridge exercises that are provided with your core system. These three activities, used together, are like a gym routine for your brain! Strengthening your ability to focus for longer periods of time, maintaining your attention until the job is done, and applying these skills to everyday tasks, can transfer to an improved ability to manage your finances.

Small but consistent amounts of time spent working on building up your attention-potential will propel your life forward. Contact your Play Attention Educational Support advisor and ask for details on how you, as an adult, can use Play Attention to create a better, more successful you!