ADHD: Daylight Savings Time


ADHD: Daylight Savings Time

The Effect on Our Adult ‘Circadian Rhythm’

Now that we have “fallen back” to daylight savings time, many adults with ADHD are experiencing a disruption in their ‘circadian rhythm.’ “Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment. They are found in most living things, including animals, plants and many tiny microbes. The most common connotation to ‘circadian rhythm’ is something we all need more of: ‘sleep’.”[1]

For many adults with ADHD, disrupted sleep patterns are a common part of their daily lives. Up to 83% of adults with ADHD report sleep problems, and children with ADHD also show differences in sleep patterns.”[2] Many adults with ADHD report inability to “shut off my mind so I can fall asleep at night.” Many describe themselves as “night owls” who get a burst of energy when the sun goes down. Others report that they feel tired throughout the day, but as soon as the head hits the pillow, the mind clicks on. Their thoughts jump or bounce from one worry to another. Unfortunately, many of these adults describe their thoughts as “racing,” prompting a misdiagnosis of bipolar mood disorder, when this is nothing more than the mental restlessness of ADHD.”[3]

Much research has been done to see if there is “an association between two brain “systems””: attention, and circadian clock and results show there is a connection between ADHD and sleep.[4]

Young couple sleeping together in bed with alarm clock

In one such study, “the authors recruited people with ADHD (13 of them), and controls (19 of them). They had them wear actigraphs (actigraph is the device used to measure continuous activity or movement) to look at when they were active and awake, and took samples of their saliva and mouth mucosa, to look at the expression of clock related genes and hormones associated with circadian rhythm, in this case cortisol and melatonin.

They found that ADHD patients were overall more active than controls, but they also showed differences in rhythm. ADHD people tended to be much more active at night (they call this a shift toward “eveningness”), and they also had much more trouble falling asleep, on average taking an hour after going to bed to get some z’s, while no controls complained of this.

They also saw something particularly interesting: The control group showed a nice circadian rhythm, with a peak in the middle of the day and lower at night. In contrast, the ADHD patients showed no discernible rhythm. Not a shift in rhythm, but no rhythm at all. The study showed an association between ADHD and a disregulated circadian rhythm.”[5]

Baltimore-based psychiatrist Myron Brenner, M.D., notes: “One hypothesis is that the lack of an accurate circadian clock may also account for the difficulty that many with ADHD have in judging the passage of time. Their internal clocks are not “set.” Consequently, they experience only two times: “now” and “not now.” Many of my adult patients do not wear watches. They experience time as an abstract concept, important to other people, but one which they don’t understand. It will take many more studies to establish the links between circadian rhythms and ADHD.”[6]

Tips for ADHD Adults

How to get to sleep

“No matter how a doctor explains sleep problems, the remedy usually involves something called “sleep hygiene,” which considers all the things that foster the initiation and maintenance of sleep. This set of conditions is highly individualized. Some people need absolute silence. Others need white noise, such as a fan or radio, to mask disturbances to sleep. Some people need a snack before bed, while others can’t eat anything right before bedtime. A few rules of sleep hygiene are universal:

  • Use the bed only for sleep or sex, not as a place to confront problems or argue.
  • Have a set bedtime and a bedtime routine and stick to it – rigorously.
  • Avoid naps during the day.
  • Avoid caffeine late at night.”[7]

Lack of sleep causes: lack of focus, attention and decision making. Learn more about how Play Attention can improve all of these attributes associated with ADHD and get a good night sleep! [8]





[5] Baird AL, Coogan AN, Siddiqui A, Donev RM, & Thome J (2012). Adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is associated with alterations in circadian rhythms at the behavioral, endocrine and molecular levels. Molecular psychiatry, 17 (10), 988-95.




ADHD and Your Child

ADHD and Your Child
Parenting Tips and Tricks…

Understanding ourselves, understanding our ADHD child . . .

“Handling our ADHD children’s anger can be puzzling, draining, and distressing for adults. In fact, one of the major problems in dealing with anger in ADHD children is the angry feelings that are often stirred up in us. It has been said that we as parents, teachers, counselors, and administrators need to remind ourselves that we were not always taught how to deal with anger as a fact of life during our own childhood. We were led to believe that to be angry was to be bad, and we were often made to feel guilty for expressing anger.

It will be easier to deal with ADHD children’s anger if we get rid of this notion. Our goal is not to repress or destroy angry feelings in children–or in ourselves–but rather to accept the feelings and to help channel and direct them to constructive ends.

Parents and teachers must allow ADHD children to feel all their feelings. Adult skills can then be directed toward showing children acceptable ways of expressing their feelings. Strong feelings cannot be denied, and angry outbursts should not always be viewed as a sign of serious problems; they should be recognized and treated with respect.

To respond effectively to overly aggressive behavior in children we need to have some ideas about what may have triggered an outburst. Anger may be a defense to avoid painful feelings; it may be associated with failure, low self-esteem, and feelings of isolation; or it may be related to anxiety about situations over which the child has no control.

Child sitting at kitchen table looking angry with mother watching on

Angry defiance may also be associated with feelings of dependency, and anger may be associated with sadness and depression. In childhood, anger and sadness are very close to one another, and it is important to remember that much of what an adult experiences as sadness is expressed by a child as anger.

Before we look at specific ways to manage aggressive and angry outbursts, several points should be highlighted:

  • We should distinguish between anger and aggression. Anger is a temporary emotional state caused by frustration; aggression is often an attempt to hurt a person or to destroy property.
  • Anger and aggression do not have to be dirty words. In other words, in looking at aggressive behavior in ADHD children, we must be careful to distinguish between behavior that indicates emotional problems and behavior that is normal.
  • In dealing with angry ADHD children, our actions should be motivated by the need to protect and to reach, not by a desire to punish. Parents and teachers should show a child that they accept his or her feelings, while suggesting other ways to express the feelings. An adult might say, for example, “Let me tell you what some children would do in a situation like this…” It is not enough to tell children what behaviors we find unacceptable. We must teach them acceptable ways of coping. Also, ways must be found to communicate what we expect of them. Contrary to popular opinion, punishment is not the most effective way to communicate to children what we expect of them.

Good discipline includes creating an atmosphere of quiet firmness, clarity, and conscientiousness, while using reasoning. Bad discipline involves punishment which is unduly harsh and inappropriate, and it is often associated with verbal ridicule and attacks on the child’s integrity.

As one fourth-grade teacher put it: “One of the most important goals we strive for as parents, educators, and mental health professionals is to help children develop respect for themselves and others.” While arriving at this goal takes years of patient practice, it is a vital process in which parents, teachers, and all caring adults can play a crucial and exciting role. In order to accomplish this, we must see children as worthy human beings and be sincere in dealing with them.”[1]

“Neurofeedback is designed to help the brain regulate itself better, it is often used to help people with rapidly shifting moods, or intense moods, such as anger and rage.  This is usually done in a way that helps lower the arousal or activation level of selected parts of the brain, or helps two parts of the brain change their way of working together.”[2]

“Proponents of neurofeedback claim that this form of self-regulating training is better than using prescription medication which comes with a host of issues of their own. Neurofeedback for ADHD children appears often in the form of video games that help moderate brain activity in the child. These therapy sessions are therefore seen as fun.”[3]

“Computer-based neurofeedback can produce significant and lasting improvement in attention and focus in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is superior to computer-based cognitive training (CT), new research shows. Results from a randomized controlled trial showed that children who received computer-based neurofeedback made faster and greater improvements in ADHD symptoms, which were sustained at the 6- month follow-up, than their peers who received computer CT. “Sustainability of improvements after a behavioral intervention is not usually found, and an important finding,” Naomi Steiner, MD, of the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, told Medscape Medical News.”[4]

Read Peter’s Play Attention success story. His behaviors improved incredibly through the Play Attention training. He was actually able to graduate from a self-contained behavior classroom to the regular classroom![5]

How to Teach Positive Behaviors to Your ADHD Child

“Some children, especially those with severe ADHD symptoms, benefit from behavioral therapy along with medication; for others, the training may make enough difference to enable them to succeed in school and function well at home without medication.

One important reason for kids to participate in behavioral therapy (whether or not they also take medication) is that ADHD medications stop working when you stop taking them, while behavioral therapy can teach children skills that will continue to benefit them as they grow up.” [6]

Play Attention integrates feedback technology with cognitive skill training and behavior shaping.[7]

Take the High Road – Be Positive –

By the time a parent is sitting in that chair in front of me, they are usually at wit’s end. That end usually comes when they are threatening to pull their hair out and are so angry that they yell at the kid and make demands. Sometimes, they are so angry, they admit to feelings of wanting to “just hurt him, because of the hurt he’s caused me”! Of course, the more demands made and the more threats promised, the less likely the child will cooperate. A vicious cycle is usually set when a child becomes “resistant” to his or her parent’s threats, yelling and screaming. That’s when they seem to just “tune you out” or develop what I call the “duh syndrome”. Tuning you out is the way an ADHD child remains in control.”[8]

  • “Always start your conversations with an expression of your love and concern for your child’s safety. For example, “Billy, I was really worried when I heard the front window break.” “Did you get hurt when your ball went through the glass?”
  • Displaying a positive caring and non-judgmental concern into any negative circumstance tends to make the “pill” of telling the truth a lot easier for the child to swallow. Indicate your primary concern is the child and not the event.
  • Don’t accuse your ADHD child of wrong doing before you clearly first obtain his or her side of the story and only then secondly get everyone else’s. You teach the positive attitude of fairness and justice for all, when you set this example.
  • When it’s obvious they have “tuned you out”, don’t argue with them. Instead, allow them a cool down period and once they are receptive to further discussion of “whatever set them off”, just calmly point out that you understand their need to think about what happened before talking about it.
  • Let your child catch you saying nice things about others, instead of derogatory remarks. I often hear parents say, “Take a look at that kid with the long hair and ring in his nose.” “That makes him just plain ugly and I bet he’s dumb as a mule, too!” How can your kid hope to be unique individuals in the face of such unproven, unfounded accusations? Nothing impresses an ADHD child more than to hear a compliment about one of their “cool friends” or someone they value coming from you, instead of criticism. This really teaches that they can form non-judgmental opinions about others, without “buying into” their attitudes or culture. You are in essence teaching the positive attitude of respecting other’s rights.
  • Set the example you want your child to follow. If you smoke, expect they will probably smoke. The same is true of alcohol and drugs, and cussing, and promiscuous sex, and you get the picture. You must be the pattern that you expect your children to follow. Or, would you rather they follow someone else’s lifestyle and attitude mindset?

Children with ADHD tend to be weak in what we call “executive functioning.”  Executive functions are the self-regulating skills that we all use to accomplish tasks, from getting dressed to doing homework. They include planning, organizing time and materials, making decisions, shifting from one situation to another, controlling our emotions and learning from past mistakes. “[9]

Dr. Naomi Steiner[10], an expert in this field, states that individuals with ADHD have a problem with executive functioning skills, of which Emotional Self-Regulation is a key component. This, along with a lack of will, says Steiner, contributes to the “blow ups” and outbursts individuals with ADHD display.”

Dr. Steiner was recently interviewed on CNN, of which, Play Attention was the intervention she used:[11]

“Play Attention was developed to deal with these kinds of difficulties in the executive functioning areas of the brain through the development of cognitive skill sets. To learn more, peruse our website and check out our cognitive games[12] 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,[13]At the webinar you can learn how Play Attention can help your child develop coping skills that will last a lifetime.”

“Parenting kids with ADHD can feel like a frustrating—and sometimes unfeasible—task. But “Don’t let ADHD rob you of the joy of being a parent,” Palladino says.

When parents are at their wits’ end, they can do a few things to help. For instance, she suggests a parent “cradle your arms and remember what it felt like when your child was born.”

If you’re “correcting your child too much, turn your ring or put your wristwatch on your other hand, and don’t put it back the right way until you’ve thought of and said something positive or caught your child being good,” she says.[14]

Your attention experts are at[15]. Chat with us from that site, or call us at 800.788.6786 to learn how Play Attention can help develop coping skills, reduce disruptive behaviors, and improve impulse control.



















ADHD: Answers to Your Questions

ADHD: Answers to Your Questions

Be in the Know . . .

We have gotten a lot of questions regarding ADHD and how Play Attention can develop the skills necessary for success. Below are some of our readers’ very interesting/specific questions, and answers presented by the team at Play Attention.

QUESTION:   Patricia posted a question regarding ADHD and fine motor control: “My grandson’s handwriting is like chicken scratch, is this part of ADHD?”

RESPONSE:   Play Attention: “Yes, Patricia, studies have shown (New York University Child Study Center is a good one)[1], that about 50 percent of children with ADHD have fine motor coordination deficits which lead to poor hand control and jerky movement. It’s easy to see how this would affect hand writing.

Teachers sometimes label this ‘sloppy’ work. If this happens, you may notice that he rejects work if it looks messy as his self-esteem has been injured. He may then become frustrated and argue about doing homework or even his work at school. It’s important to understand that this is not a behavioral problem, but rather a problem of poor self-esteem and lack of fine motor control.

If he’s fully labeled as ADHD, then you should seek out the Occupational Therapist that works with your school. He or she can provide exercises that will help develop fine motor control. You can also demand that this become part of his IEP (Individualized Education Plan).Family_SM

Your grandson would be a great candidate to use any of our cognitive skill set games. We do have a specific one which would best address your needs: The Hand Eye Coordination game: This exercise strengthens neural networks most important for hand-eye coordination. In terms of practical application, this improves real world skills like handwriting, sports, keyboarding, and any activity requiring fine motor skills.”

QUESTION:   Kim wrote: “What are some ways to motivate a teenager to follow a daily schedule. This seems to be a big issue regardless if on or not on medication. Consequences, nor praise, seem to make any difference. Behavioral logs etc. are useless so what motivations beyond the above might you suggest?”

  RESPONSE:   Play Attention: “Kim, many teenagers with ADHD have a hard time following daily schedules due to the inability to judge which things in their environment are important and which should be ignored. The inattention and distractibility attributed to ADHD, makes it difficult for ADHD Children/Adults to sustain their focus on a task, plan ahead, and understand such concepts as sequence and time. This problem cannot be taught by medication alone. Medication can control some symptoms for some people. However, medication does not teach skills or change behaviors. If we want our children to learn skills, we need to teach them directly.

We offer programs that could help: Time on Task –[2] and Discriminatory Processing –[3]. The first teaches the individual to begin an activity quickly, and stay focused on that activity until it is finished. The latter, will teach the child/adult how to take in different bits of information and recognize what is important and what can be filtered.”

QUESTION:   Makini asks: “Please tell me if Play Attention can be used on adults that have ADHD or ADD. Adults are set in their ways. Has play attention had any success when starting with adults?”

  RESPONSE:   Play Attention: “Yes Makini Play Attention can absolutely be used with adults. Recent studies have confirmed our technology’s efficacy in the treatment of adult ADHD.” You can even view some adult success stories at[4]. You may be particularly interested in Richard’s story[5] . Richard is one of many of our adult clients who have found much success with Play Attention.

A study published in CLINICAL EEG and NEUROSCIENCE (©2009 VOL. 40 NO. 3) concluded: “In line with the guidelines for rating clinical efficacy, we conclude that neurofeedback treatment for ADHD can be considered “Efficacious and Specific” (level 5) with a high ES for inattention and impulsivity and a medium ES for hyperactivity.”[6] Attend one of our Speed Webinars to learn more:[7]

QUESTION:   Tiffany wrote: “My son Layton is 15 we have taken him off all of his medications for ADHD we are using oils that seem to of been helping but they are working the same effect as Daytrana. The oils are wearing off like any medication. Do you have any additional information for the oils and any research that they work? Also what is the difference between the oils and your program?”

RESPONSE:   Play Attention: “Studies indicate that omega 3 fatty acids have reduced ADHD symptoms by as much as 50%.”

“In the study performed at the University of South Australia, children were divided randomly into three groups for the first 15 weeks of the study. One group was given a fish oil & primrose oil combination; the second took the same combination plus a multivitamin/mineral supplement, and the third group took a placebo. During the second 15 weeks, the kids on the placebo were given the fish oil & primrose oil combination plus the multivitamin/mineral as well.

While the studies received little press, the results were quite good for the two 30-week fish-oil groups. They demonstrated 40%- 50% improvement in behavior while the 15-week group showed a 30% – 40% percent improvement.”[8]

Healthy oils and foods can set the stage for learning, so your son will be better prepared to learn.   It is important that once you have set the stage for learning, you use a program like Play Attention that will teach him the skills that he needs to be successful in the classroom and at home. For more health information listen to our recorded webinar:[9] Use Play Attention to help him actually develop skills and change behaviors.[10]












ADHD: ODD or Both?

ADHD and Your Child
Is it ODD or BOTH?

In the next series of articles we will be addressing our viewers’ specific questions concerning ADHD. If you have questions, it is not too late to submit them.

Email us at:

or simply submit a question on Facebook

We have received many questions from concerned parents asking: “Does my child have ADHD or ODD or BOTH”? There is a reported link between having ADHD and developing ODD. The correlation rate for being diagnosed with ADHD and ODD is staggering, ranging between 60% and 80%. It is the most common co-existing condition associated with ADHD. People with ADHD are 11 times more likely to be diagnosed with ODD than the general population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “also reports: Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is one of the most common disorders occurring with ADHD. ODD usually starts before age eight, but no later than early adolescence.” [1]

In this blog we will discuss each of the disorders as separate entities, what the interrelationship between the two is, and conclude with how to deal with the effects of these disorders in relationship to each other.

Powerful Shot of Sad Child

ADHD as defined by the Mayo Clinic: “Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often persists into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Children with ADHD also may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school.

Signs and symptoms of ADHD may include:

  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Frequently daydreaming
  • Difficulty following through on instructions and apparently not listening
  • Frequently has problems organizing tasks or activities
  • Frequently forgetful and loses needed items, such as books, pencils or toys
  • Frequently fails to finish schoolwork, chores or other tasks
  • Easily distracted
  • Frequently fidgets or squirms
  • Difficulty remaining seated and seemly in constant motion
  • Excessively talkative
  • Frequently interrupts or intrudes on others’ conversations or games
  • Frequently has trouble waiting for his or her turn”[2]

Play Attention can improve all of these skills mentioned above. View the cognitive skills addressed within the Play Attention software;

ODD by definition: Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is defined by as “a pattern of angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness lasting at least six months as evidenced by at least four symptoms from any of the symptoms and exhibited during interaction with at least one individual who is not a sibling.

Signs and symptoms of ODD may include:

  • actively refuses to comply with majority’s requests or consensus-supported rules
  • performs actions deliberately to annoy others
  • is angry and resentful of others
  • argues often
  • blames others for their own mistakes frequently loses temper
  • is spiteful or seeks revenge
  • and is touchy or easily annoyed

These patterns of behavior result in impairment at school and/or other social venues.”[3]

So, the question is – what is the link between the two disorders? “According to Dr. Russell Barkley, world-renowned Clinical Scientist and Researcher in the field of ADHD, there absolutely is a link between having ADHD and developing ODD. In fact, Dr. Barkley believes that if you have ADHD you have a propensity for developing Oppositional Defiant Disorder from the start. Why? Because, he believes that ADHD involves one more vital component that has been left out of the Clinical diagnosis for ADHD – Emotional Dysregulation: deficits in inhibiting and regulating emotions.

Emotional Self-Regulation is the ability to manage your behavior in relation to the events that happen in your life. This can involve suppressing or inhibiting your response, self-soothing to calm or comfort yourself, prolonging your pleasurable experience, or refocusing your attention to a more positive goal directed activity. By providing compelling evidence where he analyzed neuro-anatomy, psychological evidence, and clinical research, Dr. Barkley found that children diagnosed with ADHD also exhibited difficulties in Emotional Self-Regulation. He found that every rating scale that is given to children who have been diagnosed with ADHD that measures symptoms of emotions is elevated dramatically for hostility, anger, frustration and impatience. These children exhibited much stronger emotional reactions and had much greater difficulty in controlling their reactions once elicited.”[4]

Tips for Parents of Defiant ADHD Children:

  1. “STAY POSITIVE: Rewarding good behavior can be more effective then punishing bad behavior. It can also boost self-esteem when you “catch” your child behaving well, and dole out praise. Treat your child as if he were already the person you’d like him to be – that will help him develop the self-esteem to become that person.
  2. TREAT BEFORE YOU PUNISH: Make sure you’re not disciplining children for a symptom of ADHD. Once the symptoms are under control, you will know which behaviors are punishable, and which are facets of the condition. In other words, don’t buy into other people’s negative remarks. Your child’s mind may work differently. Behaviors that other people call “slow” or “bad” may be symptoms.
  3. USE YOUR WORDS: You always tell your children to use this technique “use your words” to communicate feelings, but it’s important for parents to remember too. Hypersensitivity commonly exists alongside ADHD, so spanking can be harmful for kids.
  4. AVOID MELTDOWNS: Having an escape strategy for tough events like birthday parties and family events can make the difference between a public scene and a quiet exit. The best plans make you and your child co-conspirators in on the same secret. Take him aside and say: “It’s time to be a magician and become invisible.” Then, exit stage right!
  5. ACT LIKE A COP: When you are pulled over, the policeman doesn’t berate you or yell. He calmly doles out punishment. ADHD children can be very sensitive to parents’ anger and won’t understand the message of what you’re saying. Stay cool-headed so things stay under control.
  6. BE CLEAR ABOUT RULES AND CONSEQUENCES: Parents need to explain what behavior is not allowed and exactly what will happen if kids don’t meet those expectations. Be consistent when reinforcing the rules. Kids with ADHD need to have it all laid out so they don’t forget. Do no use the word “no” as a reflexive answer to every question. If the child is impulsive to begin with they are more apt to rebel to the negative word “no.”
  7. PLAY BEFORE PUNISHING: Doing creative projects together can help keep kids from misbehaving. When kids do act out, give them a punishment that’s so boring they’ll never want to do it again!
  8. KNOW YOUR CHILD’S PATTERNS: Honing in on the little quirks and hypersensitivities that make your child tick can help you adjust your discipline plan. It will let you know when your child is being willfully defiant and when emotional overwhelm has gotten the best of him.
  9. ASK YOURSELF IF YOU’RE CONTRIBUTING: Could you have ADHD/ODD too? Parents are a child’s most influential role model, so think carefully about your own behavior.”[5]

In conclusion: “Oppositional behavior seems to be a manifestation of ADHD-related impulsivity. While there is no medication that is scientifically established or formally approved to treat ODD, drugs may sometimes be used to treat other mental illnesses that may be present, such as ADHD or depression.” [6] “Other forms of treatment are behavior shaping and cognitive training programs. These treatments are either administered by a professional therapist or in home by the parent.” [7]

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:, Your Play Attention experts are at Chat with us from that site, or call us at 800.788.6786 to learn how Play Attention can help you overcome both of these disorders.








Play Attention Resources:

Behavior Shaping/Cognitive Training:

Speed Webinars:

Play Attention:

ADHD: A Women’s Issue

ADHD: A Women’s Issue
Fighting gender bias in research

“Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is readily associated with boys, however, girls are also affected. It is argued that the impact of this perception in school-aged children is disadvantaging girls by either missing or misdiagnosing ADHD.”

“Although the behavior problems associated with ADHD are the most well researched and reported of the childhood disorders (Barkley, 2003), the majority of this research has been on boys with a focus on the hyperactivity and impulsivity component (Lovecky, 2004; Wicks-Nelson & Israel, 1997). In comparison, there is scarce research about girls with ADHD (Biederman, et al., 1999; Gaub & Carlson, 1997; Hartung, et al., 2002). It seems that ADHD in girls often remains undetected and these girls are often invisible to many professionals, parents and society in general.”[1]

“Even though most of the research has focused on boys, it has been generally found that ADHD manifests itself similar in both males and females. The research has convincingly shown that males and females with ADHD are more similar than different and struggle with similar rates of academic, cognitive, psychosocial, and psychiatric impairment (Rucklidge, 2008). In addition, research has found that females with ADHD are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and more likely than males to have the Inattentive Type of ADHD (Biederman, 2002; Rucklidge, 2008). The inattentive type of ADHD is difficult to observe and identify in that the symptoms are less overt than the disruptive behaviors typically seen among males (Quinn, 2005). Further, the limited research available consistently shows that when females are identified as having ADHD they are as impaired as or more impaired than their male counterparts (Biederman et al. 2005, Carlson, Tamm, & Gaub, 1999, Dalsgaard et al., 2005; Dupaul et al. 2006; Reimherr et al., 2008, Rucklidge & Tannock, 2001).”[2]Women_Lost_SM

Future direction

“Historically, research on ADHD has focused almost exclusively on hyperactive little boys, and only in the past six or seven years has any research focused on adult ADHD,” says Nadeau, an expert on the disorder in women and director of Chesapeake Psychological Services of Maryland in Silver Spring. “And the recognition of females [with the disorder] has lagged even further behind.”

“Nadeau, observed clinically for years: “that girls experience significant struggles that are often overlooked because their ADHD symptoms bear little resemblance to those of boys.” It was also a signal for her to push even harder to raise the awareness of the needs of women with the disorder. Through advocacy and groundbreaking research and writing, Nadeau and a small group of psychologists are fighting to bring the issues of ADHD in women from the fringes of research to center stage.”

“More research on gender issues in ADHD is needed for several reasons, says Julia J. Rucklidge, PhD, assistant psychology professor at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, who has studied ADHD in Canadian women. “We can’t make assumptions that what applies to males will apply to females–females have different hormonal influences to start with that can greatly affect their behavior.” Also, Rucklidge says, females are socialized differently and therefore tend to express themselves in a different manner, and are more susceptible to such problems as depression or anxiety that again influence behavior. This suggests that ADHD “will manifest and express itself differently in females,” she says. “But only research can tell us this definitively. Until then, these are assumptions that we make.”[3]

“Current models suggest that executive function, rather than attention, is the core deficit of ADHD and that it may serve as a neurobehavioral domain that differentiates individuals with ADHD based on subtype and gender (Wodka et al., 2008).”[4]

As we can see everyone has different needs when it comes to ADHD. Play Attention does have a full behavior shaping component, for those who need to learn how to control disruptive or impulsive behaviors. However, if your child does not have the behavioral issues, you may simply turn that component off.

Complete our short survey and help us customize a Play Attention program that will address your specific needs. To learn more:[5]

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:,[6]












ADHD Women: “It Takes All Kinds”

ADHD Women: “It Takes All Kinds”
Famous Female Powerhouses with ADHD . . .

You are not alone
When researching this article I was a bit surprised to find out how many famous, successful women have ADHD! These famous women with ADHD don’t let their diagnosis, symptoms, or the world, hold them back. Be inspired by these leading ladies stories and get motivated to be proactive about your ADHD!

Lisa Ling — Renowned journalist Lisa Ling got a sneaking suspicion that she might have ADHD during the filming of a recent ADHD–themed episode of “Our America With Lisa Ling.” Her reporting on the disorder compelled her to get an evaluation, and at age 40, she was diagnosed with adult ADHD. “My head is kind of spinning,” she said in the episode after receiving her diagnosis. “But I feel a little bit of relief because, for so long, I’ve been fighting it and I’ve been so frustrated with this inability to focus.”

Karina Smirnoff — Karina Smirnoff of Dancing with the Stars has lived with ADHD her entire life, but wasn’t properly diagnosed until adulthood. She’s worked with her doctor to find the best treatment for her inattention and impulsivity. As a professional dancer, Smirnoff channels her ADHD energy into her work.Women_Eye_SM

Bex Taylor-Klaus — Bex Taylor-Klaus, 19, has come a long way since her third-grade after-school drama class. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Taylor-Klaus now travels between Los Angeles and Vancouver to play roles on the hit TV shows Arrow, The Killing, and House of Lies. Her advice to ADHDers? “Embrace it. It may be a nuisance, it may be hard to deal with sometimes, but you can learn to manage it. Don’t ever try to get rid of it entirely. Attention deficit makes you special.”1

Cynthia Gerdes — Owner of Hell’s Kitchen – an award-winning restaurant in Minneapolis, which brings in more than a million dollars annually – Gerdes started her career as a teacher. She owned several successful toy stores before she entered the restaurant business. Gerdes, who holds bachelor’s degrees in education and business administration from the University of North Carolina, was always able to work the long hours her jobs demanded, but when it came to smaller tasks, like food shopping, she was lost.
“I couldn’t cook,” she says. “And even with a grocery list, I couldn’t get the five ingredients I needed.”
The restaurant exec has found that making adjustments in her schedule is enough to keep her ADD/ADHD in check. “I won’t do two meetings in a row,” she says, “because I know I can’t sit still that long.” Taking breaks while reviewing menus and bills helps, too.
She still has problems with grocery shopping. Her husband, who is a chef, is supportive. “He is amused and bemused when I spin in circles around the house,” she says. “Thank God, he is a chef!”

Patricia Quinn, M.D., — “I’m not the sort of person who thinks ADD is a strength, but I do think you can use it to become successful,” says Dr. Patricia Quinn, who practices in Washington, D.C.
Quinn’s mission these days is to highlight the problems facing women and girls with ADD. In 1997, she cofounded, with Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D., The National Center for Girls and Women with ADHD, and she has written several books on the topic. She believes that the condition often goes undiagnosed in girls and women because it tends not to cause hyperactivity the way it does in men. “Girls and women are not bothering anybody, so they don’t get diagnosed.”
Quinn, who does not use medication to manage symptoms, says that discovering that she had the condition helped explain why she felt so different from other medical students. She believes that it was, ultimately, hard work that got her to where she is today. “I had a lot of success despite my ADD,” she says.2

Read Play Attention’s success stories and find out how the play attention team can help you live life to your full potential:

Play Attention can custom build your program to meet your specific needs at no extra charge. So call 800-788-6786 and request a free consultation or request a quote at When you decide to start your Play Attention program, you will be assigned an educational support advisor to assist you every step of the way!






ADHD Women: Will I have a “Mini Me”?

ADHD Women: Will I have a “Mini Me”?
Is ADHD genetic among our daughters?

As research has narrowed in on what causes ADHD, scientists recognize the strong role genetics play. Therefore, much of the research into ADHD is devoted to understanding genes. In 2010, British researchers identified small pieces of DNA that are either duplicated or missing in the brains of children with ADHD. These affected genetic segments, have also been linked to autism and schizophrenia.1

One of the important shortcomings of most of the research based information on ADHD/ADD is that the vast majority of studies have been conducted solely on boys, or, have included very few girls in the sample. As a result, the scientific literature on ADHD/ADD is almost exclusively based on male subjects.

A study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health on a large group of girls both with and without ADHD/ADD was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (Biederman, J. et al., (1999). Clinical correlates of ADHD/ADD in females: Findings from a large group of girls ascertained from pediatric and psychiatric referral sources. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 38, 966-975. In this study, the authors examined the clinical correlates of ADHD/ADD in girls so that similarities and differences with what has been found among boys with ADHD/ADD could be ascertained. This study represents the largest and most comprehensive study of girls with ADHD/ADD that has been published to date.

The major findings are summarized below.

Girls with ADHD/ADD were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with other disorders as well.

Compared to girls without ADHD/ADD, girls with ADHD/ADD were more likely to be diagnosed with co-morbid conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders.Mother_Daughter_SM


Girls with ADHD/ADD had scores on measures of intellectual functioning and academic achievement that were modestly lower than what was found in the non-ADHD/ADD girls. They were also about 2.5 more likely to be diagnosed with a learning disability, more than 16 times more likely to have repeated a grade in school, and almost 10 times as likely to have been placed in a special class at school.2

Play Attention was developed to deal with these kinds of difficulties in the executive functioning areas of the brain through the development of cognitive skill sets. To learn more, peruse our website and check out our cognitive games.3 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,4 At the webinar you can learn how Play Attention can help your child develop coping skills that will last a lifetime.


The results of this study make clear that ADHD/ADD in girls is as serious a condition and has a comparably large negative impact on children’s functioning and adjustment as it does in boys. Overall, the correlates of ADHD/ADD in girls were remarkably similar to what is known to be true for boys. Among the few differences found were that girls were less likely to be diagnosed with a co-morbid behavior disorder than boys (i.e. oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder) and perhaps more likely to have problems related to substance use. Rates of mood and anxiety disorders, and impairment in academic functioning appeared to be quite comparable.

The lower rates of disruptive behavior problems, along with the preponderance of inattentive symptoms relative to hyperactive/ impulsive symptoms, may partially explain why ADHD/ADD in girls may often not be recognized. Because rates of mood and anxiety disorders were similar to what has been found in boys, the authors speculate that in conjunction with the lower levels of disruptive behavior and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms, this may lead clinicians to diagnose girls with the former types of disorders rather than ADHD/ADD. In fact, in a study recently published in the journal Pediatrics it was reported that pediatricians were significantly more likely to diagnose boys with ADHD/ADD than girls, even when the problems described by parents were quite comparable.

The authors stress that clinicians need to be aware that, despite their lower rates of disruptive disorders, ADHD/ADD in girls is a serious condition associated with impairment in multiple areas of children’s functioning. Thus, there is no reason to assume that the treatment of girls with ADHD/ADD should be any less aggressive or comprehensive than that of boys. 5

ADHD Is Often Harder On Girls

ADHD symptoms are more congruent with stereotypes of boys. Boys aren’t expected to like school; it’s not a surprise when a boy is loud, aggressive or defiant; boys aren’t expected to be neat, orderly or always polite. In fact, some studies have shown that boys with ADD (ADHD) are admired by other boys for ADD (ADHD)-related traits.

But while “boys will be boys”, girls are expected to be “young ladies” – i.e., compliant, considerate, and self-controlled. They are expected to be good listeners, not to interrupt, grab, or push. When a girl has trouble conforming to those expectations, when she doesn’t fit in with other girls her age, when she is frequently corrected and criticized by parents and teachers, she begins to feel badly about herself at an early age.

ADD (ADHD) has a “bad name” in many circles. Some parents, with the best of intentions, reject the “ADD (ADHD) label” for their daughter fearing the label will only make her struggles worse. And even when parents seek diagnosis and treatment, many girls, reject the ADD (ADHD) label. “I can’t have ADD (ADHD)! I’m nothing like ‘those boys’ who are hyper, who are always in trouble and do poorly in school.”6

In the upcoming series about ADHD and Women we will discuss ways to help your daughter and be your child’s best advocate – Play Attention.7

To Be Continued . . .












Children with ADHD at Risk for Binge Eating

Children with ADHD at Risk for Binge Eating
Lack of control increases risk

Many medications taken for ADHD result in appetite loss, so it’s hard to fathom that binge eating could be related to ADHD. Yet a new study from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center reveals that children with ADHD are significantly more likely to have an eating disorder.

The researchers term the disorder, ‘loss of control eating syndrome’, and find it quite similar to binge eating, a disorder commonly found in adults. The disorder is defined by an inability to stop eating at times with lack of control to stop at will. ADHD children were 12 times more likely to have this disorder than children without ADHD.

The findings of this research indicate a possible link between ADHD and a lack of control for binge eating. However, Dr. Reinblatt, lead author of the study, says the roots of the underlying connection remain unknown and require additional research. Reinblatt thinks the two conditions may result from a genetic predisposition to impulsivity. This view would reflect prior research.

Reinblatt, thinks it would be wise for clinicians to screen for both ADHD and loss of control eating behaviors as a preventative measure.

Does ADHD Mean I Have Less Attention?

Does ADHD Mean I Have Less Attention?
You’ll be surprised by the answer

It’s ADHD Awareness Month. Spread the word.

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ADHD key symptoms include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It is normal for all children to exhibit these behaviors, but for children with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe and occur more often. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a child must have symptoms for 6 or more months and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

But do children with ADHD really have less attention than their peers? Attention deficit is actually a misnomer of sorts; ADHD children do not have less attention or a ‘deficit’ of attention. Actually their attention is quite substantial, however their ability to direct it or manage it at will is very difficult.

Try to imagine this: four television stations playing in your mind at one time. A lot of information is pouring in, but it’s difficult for you to pay attention to any one thing for very long. That’s the typical mind of an ADHD person. Thus, their attention is not deficit, but it is fleeting; it’s directed quickly from one thing to another.

Think of it like this: you enter a cave with a flashlight (the flashlight will serve as a metaphor for attention). It’s very dark, but you very carefully shine the flashlight in the cave, directing it on the floor to carefully navigate. Your ADHD child enters the same cave with that same flashlight. He constantly shines it all over the cave as he walks forward. So, it’s clear, same flashlight (same attention), but his is scattered or diffused.

Now you know why he’ll walk through the living room time after time and bang his shin or knee on the same coffee table for years.

Now you know why, when you ask him to go to his bedroom, put on his pajamas, and get ready for bed, you find him sitting on his bed a half hour later playing a Game-boy. He processed the, “Go to your bedroom” part. His brain is not yet equipped to process multiple step directions. When that happens in school, it’s a mess.

But why can they play their Xbox or Play Station for hours on end? I literally have to yank the controller from my son’s hand to get him to come to dinner. A characteristic of ADHD is hyperfocus, the ability to tune out everything else and attend to only a particularly engaging stimulus. Video games use high intensity graphics and sound and are loaded with action. Your ADHD child’s mind is tuned for this type of stimulation. They can hyperfocus on this for hours on end. Unfortunately, your classroom teacher cannot compete on this level. As we’ve mentioned before, limit the use of high intensity video games.

Knowing your child’s mind is integral to understanding your child’s behavior. At times they may not respond to your demands and it creates a conflict, but it’s not due to defiance necessarily. It’s often due to the way they process or don’t process information. Knowing this can reduce your conflicts and improve your family life.

DNA chip for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

[Date: 2013-02-07]

Is your child like this? ‘He does not sit still, he makes you crazy always tapping or moving his leg, he cannot do one thing at a time and he is unable to remain seated at the table during dinner. It’s like he’s got a motor in him; he doesn’t stop talking.’ In school you may hear teachers say things like ‘he does not listen, he does not pay attention, he loses everything, he is unable to do his own work and he makes so many mistakes’. This could be a case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

ADHD is the most common childhood neuropsychiatric disorder. It is a potentially serious problem; a European survey conducted in 2010 found that children with ADHD are statistically more likely to be afflicted with other impairments on their quality of life than children without ADHD. Yet, despite the warning signs, parents take on average 26.8 months to achieve a diagnosis for their child. One reason is that there is currently no tool to confirm an ADHD diagnosis. However, Spanish researcher Araitz Molano-Bilbao from the the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country has come up with an innovation that she believes could improve the rate of diagnosis of this disorder, and open the way to potential new therapeutic treatments.

The prevalence of ADHD is calculated to be between 8 % and 12 % among infant-adolescents worldwide, with 50 % continuing to exhibit symptoms in adult life. Children with ADHD have great difficulty in paying attention and completing assignments, and are frequently distracted. They may also display impulsive behaviour and act inappropriately at times. They may experience greater difficulty in controlling these impulses. ‘All these symptoms seriously affect their social, academic and working life of the individuals, and impact greatly upon their families and milieu close to them,’ says Molano.

Dr. Molano studied how genetic polymorphisms (variations in the DNA sequence between different individuals) are associated with ADHD. ‘We looked for all the associations that had been described previously in the literature worldwide, and did a clinical study to see whether these polymorphisms also occurred in the Spanish population; the reason is that genetic associations vary a lot between some populations and others.’

Around 400 saliva samples of patients with ADHD and a further 400 samples from healthy controls (people without a history of psychiatric diseases) were analysed. The analysis of over 250 polymorphisms led to the discovery that 32 polymorphisms could be associated not only with the diagnosis of ADHD, but also with the evolution of the disorder, the specific ADHD subtype, the severity and the presence of comorbidities (the presence of one or more disorders).

On the basis of these results, Dr. Molano has proposed that a DNA chip with these 32 polymorphisms could be used not only for diagnosing the disorder, but also for calculating genetic susceptibility to different variables, including how well the patient is responding to drugs or the normalisation of symptoms.

The study also confirmed the existence of three distinct ADHD subtypes: lack of attention, hyperactivity, and a combination of both. ‘It can be seen that on the basis of genetics, the children that belong to one subtype or another are different,’ explains Dr. Molano.

By contrast, no direct associations were found between the polymorphisms analysed and the response to pharmacological treatment (atomoxetine and methylphenidate). Dr. Molano believes that this could be due to the fact that ‘in many cases, the data on drugs we had available were not rigorous.’ Dr. Molano therefore intends to pursue her research in this field. ‘We want to concentrate on the drug response aspect, obtain more, better characterised samples, and monitor the variables in the taking of drugs very closely, whether they were actually being taken or not,’ she says.

Dr. Molano hopes that this tool will reach clinics and begin to help children with ADHD.

The project was funded by Progenika Biopharma and the pharmaceutical company JUSTE SAFQ. Already 10 collaborating clinics belonging to public and private centres in Spain are looking into this tool with the aim of marketing it.

For more information, please visit:

Elhuyar Fundazioa

Category: Miscellaneous
Data Source Provider: Elhuyar Foundation
Document Reference: Based on information from Elhuyar Foundation
Subject Index: Medical biotechnology; Medicine, Health