What Types of Exercises Are Best for Your ADHD Child?

Don’t Burrow Away- Get Out and Play,,,

In our previous blogs, discussion has been focused on the neurophysiological impact of exercise on the adult with ADHD. Research also shows that exercise has an impact on children with ADHD as well.

One such study, conducted in the “medical journal Pediatrics, found that kids who took part in a regular physical activity program showed important enhancement of cognitive performance and brain function.”[1]

“Using objective measures of attention, brain neurophysiology, and academic performance, task performance and event-related brain potentials were assessed while participants performed an attentional-control task following a bout of exercise or seated reading during two separate, counterbalanced sessions.HORSE_CHILD_SM

These findings indicate that single bouts of moderately-intense aerobic exercise may have positive implications for aspects of neurocognitive function and inhibitory control in children with ADHD.”[2]

Beyond general exercise, such as walking, your ADHD child can obtain extended mental and physical exercise by participating in sports. Listed below are the top 10 sports that can benefit your ADHD child.

“BASEBALL: America’s favorite pastime, baseball can teach your ADHD child patience, sportsmanship, and teamwork.

ARCHERY: Sure, arming your ADHD child with a sharp weapon may seem counterintuitive, but when carefully supervised, archery can have major benefits. It is proven to teach responsibility while improving focus, concentration, and self-confidence

TRACK & CROSS-COUNTRY: Running teaches kids discipline and pacing, plus, your child will still gain the social benefits of being a member of a team, without directly competing with other children.

HORSEBACK RIDING: As your child interacts with the horses, she will learn to observe and react to the animals’ behaviors instead of responding with the same behavioral patterns.

SOCCER: Being on a soccer team gives kids a sense of camaraderie. You’ll also find that the constant action in soccer games is ideal for holding short attention-spans.

WRESTLING: If your child has misguided aggression or seemingly boundless energy, wrestling may be a fun (and safe!) way to channel these emotions into something positive.

GYMNASTICS: Studies have shown that activities requiring close attention to body movements, such as gymnastics, may help ADHD and LD kids improve their focus.

TENNIS: Tennis requires neither coordinated teamwork nor heavy concentration, a plus for many ADHD kids. Plus, hitting tennis balls can be a great way for your ADHD child to release any anger or frustration he feels from a challenging day at school, for example.

MARTIAL ARTS: One surprising benefit of martial arts is its use of rituals, such as bowing to the instructor, which can help teach kids with ADHD to accept, develop, and use routine in other areas of their lives.

SWIMMING: ADHD children excel with structure and guidance—and a swim team can provide just that. Swimmers receive valuable one-on-one time with coaches, while still enjoying the social benefits of being part of a team. Your child will be able to focus on personal development—by improving personal swim times—without any direct comparison with others on the team.

COACHING MATTERS: When picking a sport, remember that coaches have a huge impact. Most coaches are well-meaning parents who know little about ADHD, so it’s important that you share your expertise about your child. Let a coach know, for example, that making your child run 15 extra laps for not paying attention during practice is not effective, just humiliating. Sports should allow your child to build relationships and work on self-confidence outside of the classroom, not further increase his anxiety and stress.”[3]

Let Play Attention help you exercise your brain. Attend one of our upcoming FREE webinars: http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/.

Webinar Schedule:

January 20th @ 11:00 AM ET/8:00 AM PT

January 26th @ 11:00 AM ET/8:00 AM PT


[1] http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/09/exercise-seems-to-be-beneficial-to-children/380844/

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3556380/

[3] http://www.additudemag.com/slideshow/104/slide-2.html

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ADHD: The Importance of Exercise

Exercise the Body and the Mind…

After a holiday of festive eating and relaxing around the fire, many people make the resolution to lose weight and exercise.

Exercise is not only a great way to tone the body; exercise is also a great way to keep the brain in shape as well.

“When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called neurotransmitters, including dopamine, which helps with attention and clear thinking. People with ADHD often have less dopamine than usual in their brain.

The stimulant medicines that are often used to treat adult ADHD work by increasing the availability of dopamine in the brain. So it makes sense that a workout can have many of the same effects as stimulant drugs.

Fitness can have the following benefits for adults with ADHD:

  • Ease stress and anxiety.
  • Improve impulse control and reduce compulsive behavior.
  • Enhance working memory.
  • Improve executive function. That’s the set of skills needed to plan, organize, and remember details.
  • Increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. That’s a protein involved in learning and memory. It’s in short supply in people with ADHD.”[1]

Play Attention was developed to improve 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: http://www.playattention.com/play-attention-cognitive-games/.[2]

Charming family spends time in the gym

“Exercise also increases blood flow to the brain, stimulating the release of compounds that the brain just loves, including growth factors and a substance known as brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which promotes growth of new brain cells (neurons). These substances keep the brain operating at peak efficiency.”[3]

“Physical activity not only encourages new brain cells to be born, it also produces smart chemicals that helps them learn.”[4]

“What does this mean for people with ADD? It means that we must think of exercise as an essential component of treatment – something that makes it easier to sustain mental focus for extended periods of time. Would you skip a trip to your doctor just because you had a tight schedule? Of course not. You shouldn’t skip exercise either.

If your child has ADD, make sure his school doesn’t discipline him by keeping him inside during recess or forcing him to sit in detention. When your child misbehaves, his penalty should involve something that is both productive and physically active, like raking leaves or running errands.”[5]

You may learn more about Play Attention at one of our upcoming Speed Webinars: http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/[6]At the webinar you will learn how Play Attention can help you exercise your brain!

Speed Webinar

[1] http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adult-adhd-and-exercise#1

[2] http://www.playattention.com/play-attention-cognitive-games/

[3] http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/936.html

[4] http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/7972.html

[5] http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/936.html

[6] http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

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Memoirs of an ADHD Mom


Join Kate, a real life ADHD mom, as she announces her New Year’s resolution. Bring it on Kate!

“I recently learned that social skills is one of those things we ADHD adults can have difficulty with. When I think about whether or not this applies to me, I see that it does.  So based on that, here is my New Year’s resolution.  I can do this!

New Years Resolution 2016Kate_SM

I resolve to listen…to actually listen when people are talking- not listen to respond…listen to hear and understand. I resolve to stop thinking of what I am going to say and to not interrupt everyone mid-sentence. I resolve to remain quiet, focus on what the other person is saying and let them complete their thought even though the impulse to finish their sentences for them is unnaturally strong. I resolve to be patient with ‘slow talkers’. I resolve to stop doing something else when someone is talking to me, to be still and put all my energy into really hearing that person. Talk to me 2016… I’m here and ready to listen. Bring it on.”


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ADHD: New Year’s Resolutions

A body at rest, stays at rest…

“The New Year always brings with it an enthusiasm to look at yourself and your life and make some positive changes. While tons of research has been to done to show that New Year’s resolutions don’t work, research also shows that creating habits and setting goals do work. For some ADHD Adults, staying on task and achieving their goals can be a challenge.”[1]

“Recent findings suggest biological symptoms such as decreased blood flow and lower levels of electrical activity in the frontal lobes may be associated with ADHD.”[2]

Festive fireworks display with copy space

“The lack of sufficient blood flow to the frontal lobe, can cause malfunction in the ‘executive function’ of the brain-a major component to ADHD. ‘Executive function’ is the part of the brain that helps set and achieve long-term goals. So, the part that would be useful to have functioning at its peak when trying to start a new, good habit or goal must be maintained. We all know it’s really hard for us to get moving!” [3]

For more information about ‘executive functions’ as related to ADHD, download or listen to Dr. Naomi Steiner’s presentation in Additude Magazine.[4]. Play Attention was the neurofeedback intervention used in those studies referenced by Dr. Steiner.

“Here are some strategies to overcome that inertia and get moving:

Fuel up 

‘Fuel’ includes nutritious food, plenty of water, good sleep, and exercise. Your brain needs these things to function at peak performance, just like your car needs gas (or diesel). Fill your tank up with junk and your engine will just sputter.

Find the track

Think through the steps required to complete a task, create a checklist, and follow it. Separating the planning from the doing is incredibly powerful. Usually we can plan, and we can do, but we can’t plan and do at the same time.

Rev your engine

Raising your energy level can be a critical first step to getting moving. If you’re on the couch or at the computer (i.e. a body at rest), it may be unrealistic to expect yourself to spring into action and instantaneously become a body in motion. Start by simply wiggling your fingers or swinging your legs. Gradually increase the energy until you’re up and moving.

Set your wheels straight 

Evaluate your options and decide what you’re going to do. Don’t second guess yourself. If you tend to belabor the “what to work on now” decision, or start a bunch of different projects without actually doing anything, you may need to practice giving yourself permission to be wrong. Spend a reasonable amount of time making the choice, and just do it already.

Rely on automation

Anything you can automate is one less thing you have to exert force on, saving you energy for other tasks. Automation includes things like computer programs, online bill pay, and direct deposit.   Routines are also a form of automation. Having a repeatable process for things you do regularly means you don’t have to think them through every time.

Remove the boulders 

De-clutter your environment. Eliminate distractions. Make a list of questions that are keeping you stuck in the same place, and find the answers.

Start in first gear

You won’t get far trying to start out in fourth gear. Break the task down into small steps, and focus only on the first one. Just like you wouldn’t expect an apple to fall up from the ground into the tree, don’t expect it to be easy to get started on things.

The good news is that once you get rolling, you can expect to keep rolling for quite a while! The laws of physics can work in your favor.”[5]

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: http://www.playattention.com/play-attention-cognitive-games/

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: http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/ At the webinar you can learn how Play Attention can help you achieve improved focus and success in the New Year.

[1] http://untappedbrilliance.com/adhd-and-new-years-resolutions/

[2] http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro98/202s98-paper1/Krishna.html

[3] http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/7051.html

[4] http://www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/29/11456.html

[5] http://www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/7/6736.html

Play Attention: http://www.playattention.com/

Play Attention cognitive games: http://www.playattention.com/play-attention-cognitive-games/

Play Attention Speed Webinars: http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

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ADHD Child: Parenting Tips for the Holidays

Have Yourself a Merry Christmas . . .

The excitement of tearing open gifts under the tree, the anticipation of visiting family and friends, staying up late to see if there really is a Santa, can be overwhelming to the average child. It’s especially overwhelming to a child with ADHD. All of these holiday events can easily turn from joy to tears in a matter of moments. There are strategies you can employ to make certain all stays calm and joyous….

“Children with ADHD thrive with consistency.  They work well in a structured environment.  With the disruption of daily schedules, your child may suffer in school and their behavior at home may be disastrous.  Children that are normally hyperactive may become even more so. (Is that really possible?)  Children that are distracted easily will find it even more difficult to stay focused on the mundane school tasks.  Children that are impulsive may find their impulsiveness increase.  For some parents, this change in behaviors can begin as early as October and last well into January. Christmas_Boy_SM

For children that have a hard time socially, this time of year may be especially difficult.  Their classmates may make plans to get together with friends over the winter break from school. For the child that does not have many friends, this may make them feel even more isolated.  Family gatherings may be stressful if your child does not yet have the social skills to act appropriately, or they may spend the day feeling left out and alone.  Some parents complain that fights with siblings increase as well during the holiday season.

Parents must deal with their own commitments and responsibilities during this time as well as help their child cope with the daily stress the holidays bring.  Parents can end up frazzled and frustrated, impatiently waiting for the season to end rather than enjoying this special time of the year.”[1]

“To help keep sanity a part of your holiday routine, there are a number of tips that parents can incorporate into their daily life:

1)      Maintain routines as much as possible.  Sometimes this can be very difficult with the many activities that are going on. Schedule events around your child’s schedule. Bedtime routines and times are very important; children can cope much better with a good night’s sleep.

2)      Make up a holiday calendar to keep up in your kitchen. Make sure you include school events such as holiday parties and assemblies. Use the calendar to keep track of visits to friends and relatives, as well as times you plan to do holiday shopping.  Use the calendar to help your child know what is coming up and talk with them about your expectations during these events.

3)      Be proactive in your approach. Think about what problems may develop and determine if your expectations fit the situation. If necessary, shorten the time of a visit with friends or relatives. Talk with your child before each event about what to expect and what your expectations are. Be prepared with extra snacks or extra clothing that you know your child will like.

4)      Determine rewards and consequences for behavior prior to the holiday season and be consistent throughout.  Be sure to provide directions and instructions in small chunks and be sure to maintain eye contact while you are talking with your child. Let them know what the consequences will be if their behavior does not meet your expectations and what rewards will be. (Rewards can be simple such as staying up to watch a favorite television show or receiving a treat during shopping.)

5)      Be understanding of the extremes of children with ADHD. They may not be as reasonable in their demands, or their impulsiveness may lead to making more requests for gifts. Take time during the holiday season to talk with them about helping those less fortunate and add the purchase a gift to donate to other children to your shopping list. If you cannot afford to donate toys, find locations in your area that make up food baskets and donate some time to help make up or distribute food baskets to needy families.”[2]

“6)      Make sure your child understands that there are different rules in different households. When visiting friends and relatives, let them know ahead of time what behavior is expected in that house. If you are visiting a relative that does not have any children and normally has items out that can easily be broken, talk with your child before you enter the house. You may also want to shorten visits if you see that your child is not handling the situation well.

7)      Think about the invitation you have received before accepting. Is this a place you and your children will feel comfortable and accepted? Is this a place where you can gently excuse yourself for a short time to allow your child a few minutes of down time to calm down if they need it?  You do not need to accept every invitation; it is okay to politely decline if it is in the best interest of your family.

8)      When visiting friends or relatives at mealtime, ask ahead what the menu will be. If there are not any foods your child will like, bring along dinner for them or make sure to feed your child dinner before you go. Your child will be much better behaved if they are fed.

9)      When opening gifts, set rules ahead of time. Tell children that no toys are to be opened until all gifts are open and gift wrap is thrown away. This may cut down on toys being broken before they are even used or items accidentally thrown away with the gift wrap.

10)  Take time to have down time at home with the family. It is important during this season to remember and cherish your own family. Plan nights for your family to stay at home either preparing for the holiday or simply spending time together. Taking time out for ‘family movie night’ can do wonders in letting everyone catch their breath and stay focused.”[3]

“There are really no hard and fast rules that will guarantee ‘perfection,’ but making plans ahead of time will give parents a better sense of control over the unexpected holiday stressors.

It is also important to know your own limits, and take care of yourself so that the kindness and patience of the season will not be spread thin. Remember the simple rules of structure, clarity, and positive incentives can go a long way in helping you to make your holiday season calm and bright! “[4]

Incorporate Play Attention into your holiday season and bring in the New Year with cheer and joy. Attend one of our FREE webinars: http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

[1] http://www.healthcentral.com/adhd/holiday-guide-196130-5.html

[2] http://www.healthcentral.com/adhd/holiday-guide-196130-5_2.html

[3] http://www.healthcentral.com/adhd/holiday-guide-196130-5_3.html

[4] http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/880.html


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ADHD Child: Holiday Vacation from Meds

ADHD Child: Holiday Vacation from Meds

Should Your Child Take One?

With the Christmas holiday right around the corner, many parents are debating whether or not to give their ADHD child a break from their medications.

There are two important considerations parents need to assess when entering into this decision making process. One, the type of medication their child is on, and two, the type of ADHD their child has.

Stimulants and Nonstimulants Work Differently

“Stimulants start working quickly and leave the body quickly. Because of that, doctors say it’s easy to get on and off these medications. There are no withdrawal symptoms, so your child doesn’t have to wean off of them.

But there are other things to consider. ‘On those meds, it’s important to realize the treatments improve behavior and reduce symptoms,’ says Mark Wolraich, MD, a pediatrician in Oklahoma City who helped write ADHD treatment guidelines for the American Academy of Pediatrics. ‘If you stop taking them, you revert to behaviors you saw before. … Stimulant medications don’t build up in the bloodstream. That’s why you can stop and start them.’Meds_SM

If a child is taking nonstimulants, you have to take longer breaks. ‘You could do it [take a drug break] over the summer time, but not over the weekend,’ Wolraich says. Nonstimulants shouldn’t be stopped for short periods because they take longer to go to work and far longer to leave the body. They can also have bad side effects if they are stopped suddenly.

ADHD Drugs, Weight Loss, and Growth

Stimulants tend to curb the appetite in many children, and studies have shown that while on medication, boys’ growth slows by about half an inch a year — during the first 2 years of treatment. Their growth after that does not seem to be affected, and in some cases catches up, even if they continue taking the meds.

‘It’s not all kids who don’t grow. But if you look at the average, it lasts about a year or 2. The effects haven’t been seen on long-term growth,’ Wolraich says. ‘That’s why we recommend monitoring height and weight. If there is a decrease in growth, it’s something being followed closely.’

Why stimulants delay growth is unknown, says psychiatrist Benedetto Vitiello, MD, who leads the Child and Adolescent Treatment and Preventive Intervention Research Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD.. ‘It isn’t only because of a loss of appetite, but also may be due to changes in levels of the hormone testosterone.’”[1]

One such study was done to evaluate the effects of ADHD stimulant medication on growth retardation.

“Our aim was to map the experience of drug holidays from ADHD medication in children and adolescents.


Method: A comprehensive search of the literature identified 22 studies published during the period 1972 to 2013.

Results: Drug holidays are prevalent in 25% to 70% of families and are more likely to be exercised during school holidays. They test whether medication is still needed and are also considered for managing medication side effects and drug tolerance. The impact of drug holidays was reported in terms of side effects and ADHD symptoms. There was evidence of a positive impact on child growth with longer breaks from medication, and shorter breaks could reduce insomnia and improve appetite.

Conclusion: Drug holidays from ADHD medication could be a useful tool with multiple purposes: assessment, management, prevention, and negotiation.”[2]

What Type of ADHD Is It?

“You should talk with your child’s doctor about drug holidays when your child is put on ADHD medication.

‘We have a discussion right from the beginning,’ Wolraich says. ‘I get a sense of the family’s and patient’s preference, and we come to a decision about when they need meds. We’ll review when children are having problems and need coverage, and weigh the benefits of covering those other times of the day.’

The type of ADHD your child has, and how well his environment is organized, needs to be factored into your decision.

‘With kids who don’t have hyperactivity, parents will report it as mainly a problem in school and not at home, so they feel they don’t have to cover periods after school or on weekends,’ Wolraich says.

If hyperactivity is part of your child’s condition — and it interferes with his relationships inside and outside the home — the medication should probably be continued.

‘It’s not just symptoms, but to what extent they are causing dysfunction. You want to keep them successful in academic work or in their social and family life,’ Wolraich says.

A well-organized home life can help keep a child on track, even when he isn’t on medication. ‘If parents have a really good structure at home, it’s compensating well for their child’s deficit,’ Wolraich says.”[3]

“Overall, a parent should consider how a drug holiday would affect her child’s well-being. Generally, hyperactive or combined types of ADHD present the strongest case for continued medication, because the behavioral problems that result from going off medication can turn a holiday into a negative and unproductive experience. Inattentive types of ADHD, on the other hand, present fewer behavioral problems. ‘Even though there’s scientific data suggesting those kids do better taking meds 365 days a year, if there are no behavioral problems, I don’t make a big case for taking meds all the time,’ says Dr. Alan Ravitz, Child and adolescent psychiatrist, MD.

Because ADHD affects social development as well as academic performance, the conservative approach is to avoid disrupting the prescribed treatment plan. However, there are no hard and fast rules on this issue; ultimately, decisions should arise from a conversation between the family and health practitioner.”[4]

Play Attention can complement the medications you are currently using. 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. http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/


[1] http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/features/adhd-drug-holidays

[2] http://jad.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/09/19/1087054714548035

[3] http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/features/adhd-drug-holidays

[4] http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2011-6-14-kids-adhd-meds-pros-cons-drug-holiday

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Cases of ADHD surge in US kids

Cases of ADHD surge in US kids

From 2003 to 2011, prevalence rose by 43% to affect about 1 in 8 youth.

A new study indicates that ADHD is on the rise in US children, the largest jump being in the Hispanic and non-English speaking population. Also, there was a rise in the diagnoses in girls, speculated to be linked to better recognition of the symptoms in girls.

“Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder among children in the US, is becoming even more commonly diagnosed, according to a new analysis of nationwide data.

Little Caucasian girl working on laptop in dark room at night

Between 2003 and 2011, prevalence of the disorder in kids aged five to 17 rose from 8.4 percent to 12 percent, a 42.9 percent increase, researchers report. That means that 5.8 million children and young adults—about one in eight—in the US now have the diagnosis. Such a diagnosis identifies recurring hyperactivity and/or inattentiveness that hinders work, play, and school activities. The surge, published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, affected kids across different races/ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, age groups, and genders—although, to varying degrees.

“We aren’t able to get at the driving forces behind the trends,” Sean Cleary, coauthor of the study and professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at George Washington University, told Ars. But, he said, speculation includes greater recognition of the symptoms, as well as over diagnosis. The latter, is of course a concern, Cleary said. But so is under diagnosis, he added. If ADHD is not caught and treated early, symptoms and problems could persist into adulthood, he explained.

For the study, Cleary and coauthor Kevin Collins, also of George Washington, harvested parent-reported health and socioeconomic data on 190,408 kids aged five to 17 from a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the survey, parents were asked: “Has a doctor or other health care provider ever told you that [subject child] had attention-deficit disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder, that is, ADD or ADHD?” The agency collected data in three waves, surveying parents in 2003, 2007, and 2011.

One striking trend that came out of the researchers’ analysis was a boost in ADHD diagnoses in girls, Cleary said. In the past, ADHD has been seen as primarily an issue for boys. This may be because symptoms in boys are easy to identify, such as acting out, whereas girls may be prone to quieter, easy-to-miss symptoms of inattentiveness, Cleary said. Yet, in the study, there was a 55 percent increase in diagnosis in girls over the eight-year period, compared to only a 40 percent increase in boys. The boost may be linked to better recognition of the symptoms in girls, he speculated.

The largest leaps in diagnoses came from Hispanic and non-English speaking kids. ADHD prevalence jumped 83 percent in Hispanics and 107 percent in non-English speaking kids during the eight-year study. The surges may be linked to increased Spanish-language mental health resources and cultural acceptance of mental health illnesses.

If anything, Cleary said, the study brings to light more questions than answers about ADHD diagnosis trends.

Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2015. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.14m09364”

Play Attention has recognized ADHD symptoms for over 20 years. Let us help you and yours lead successful, productive and happy lives.


Resource: http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/12/cases-of-adhd-surge-in-us-kids/

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ADHD: Thanksgiving Travel

ADHD: Thanksgiving Travel

Holiday Travel with Your ADHD Child

This holiday period is one of the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year. “Almost 90 percent of travelers will celebrate the holiday with a road trip” [1]

“Hitting the road with your child who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)/attention deficit disorder (ADD) can be quite a challenge. Children with ADD/ADHD are very routine-driven, and airports, long car rides, and strange hotel rooms can rock their sense of order. That can lead to tantrums, tears, and turmoil, making the journey harder for every family member.”[2]

“ADHD is a neurobiological disorder marked by inattention, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. These qualities can be both good and bad when it comes to family travel. ‘The upside of the travel is the novelty and excitement and the rewarding nature of the activity, but the downsides are lack of routine, potential for over-stimulation and a feeling of less control over behaviors,’ explained Andrew Adesman, MD, the chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York. So try to plan activities that relate to your child’s skills and interests. ‘If they are doing something they really enjoy, they do very well’.”[3]Family_Travel_SM

Play Attention helps develop and strengthen networks that are necessary for good attention. Play Attention integrates feedback technology with cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. This provides you with one complete program to teach all of the necessary skills one needs in order to be successful at home, school, and work. http://www.playattention.com[4]

Play Attention is also portable and easy to take on the road with you!

The Long and Winding Road…

The following tips for travel with your ADHD child are not just informational but can be used as an educational tool as well.

  1. “Use a calendar to mark the day you will be leaving, the day you will be returning and where you will be in between. This can help your child keep track of the trip and create more structure around your travel.
  2. Provide a map with the route you will be taking. If traveling by car or train, mark the route you plan to take, circle things of interest along the way and approximate times you expect to be there.  If traveling by air, mark the beginning and end points and the times your flight is leaving and arriving. Let your child see what areas you will be flying over.
  3. Use your itinerary as a learning tool. Your child can do math to see how many miles you will be traveling and learn interesting facts about your destination.
  4. Talk to your child about the travel plans, let him or her feel involved, maybe by researching and suggesting one interesting place for you to visit along the way or near your final destination.
  5. Have your child help plan and gather items to help keep him or her entertained. Choose books, coloring books, puzzles, and hand-held games. Your child can help to pack a “travel entertainment” bag. Your child may be more interested knowing he or she helped to choose the items.
  6. If traveling by car, bring a ball, a Frisbee or another sports item that can provide a few minutes of activity and exercise during rest stops.
  7. Have a cassette recorder for your child to talk into to record the events of the ride or the trip. This can help if your child is one that talks non-stop. Instead of talking to you the entire trip, he or she can record a “diary” of their trip.
  8. Bring along cassettes of books or music for your child to listen to.
  9. If staying with relatives, ask for pictures of your relatives before you go. Talk to your child about who your relatives are and share some stories of each person with him or her. Your child may feel more comfortable if he or she has seen faces and knows something about the people he or she may be meeting.
  10. Explain your plans ahead of time. Will you be spending the night? Where will you sleep? Where will your child sleep? How long will you be staying? The more information you can provide, the more secure your child will feel during the trip.
  11. Create a memory book of the trip. Provide a scrapbook and allow your child to save mementos or write stories about your trip. Have your child (depending on the age) take pictures you can put into the scrapbook once you have returned home.”[5]

“Children with ADHD often times will become stressed and frustrated when they feel misunderstood or a lack of control over their lives. The parents should be there to answer any questions the child may have regarding the upcoming trip as well as give the child small responsibilities so he or she feels a sense of control and therefore comfort.”[6]

“With a little planning, strategic preparation and making sure your child feels included in the plans, traveling with a child who has ADD/ADHD can be a joy. Travel may become so much easier that you may schedule more family excursions — and make more lasting family memories.”[7]

[1] http://newsroom.aaa.com/2013/11/aaa-43-4-million-americans-to-travel-for-thanksgiving-a-slight-decline-from-last-year/

[2] http://www.everydayhealth.com/adhd/living-with/tips/traveling-tips.aspx

[3] http://www.everydayhealth.com/adhd-pictures/tranquil-trips-tips-for-an-adhd-friendly-family-vacation.aspx#09

[4] http://www.playattention.com

[5] http://www.healthcentral.com/adhd/c/1443/96098/traveling-children

[6] http://www.examiner.com/article/childhood-adhd-and-traveling

[7] http://www.everydayhealth.com/adhd/living-with/tips/traveling-tips.aspx

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ADHD: Thanksgiving Break

ADHD: Thanksgiving Break

How to Keep Routines on Track during the Holidays

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, where did time fly? During this holiday families spend time traveling, spend time away from home, and subject their ADHD child to new social and household environments. The change of regular schedules will many times aggravate ADHD symptoms in your child.

“The most important thing to do is to keep routine and structure in your child’s life, despite the excitement of Thanksgiving festivities. A large survey found that 98% of parents of ADHD children found having a structure in their child’s life (at emotional, behavioral and social levels) to be beneficial, yet only 13% said they kept a routine all year.

Family get togethers, shopping in crowded places, and trips to new places are all common during Thanksgiving, and these changes can affect a child with ADHD, who already has troubles adapting to new situations and socializing.

Multi Generation Family Celebrating Thanksgiving

There will be inevitable changes in the environment during Thanksgiving, but you can make them easier on your child.”[1]

Here are some very helpful tips for parents to keep the bird from flying the coup!

Interrupted Routines

‘Stick to your child’s routines as much as possible. Try to arrange travel or guest schedules so that he eats and sleeps when he usually does. And prepare your child in advance for any disruptions you foresee. Give him an overview of what will be happening beforehand, and then remind him at each stage what’s coming next.

The Waiting Game

When the whole holiday is centered on a single meal, the hours beforehand can feel like eternity for children with attention issues. Before Thanksgiving, enlist relatives’ help to line up some morning activities. Could a grandparent or uncle take your child to the park? Might some older cousins set up a family game for the younger kids? Let the kids know in advance what’ll be happening when. This way dinner won’t be the only thing for them to look forward to.

Company Commotion

Whether you’re home or away, find your child an “out” spot. Agree on a place where he can go for a set period of time to be alone and listen to headphones, play a game on his phone, or read.”

Let Play Attention help you teach your child to be attentive, focused and less distracted by the hustle bustle of the holiday season. To learn more, peruse our website and check out our cognitive games: http://www.playattention.com/play-attention-cognitive-games/.[2]

Preoccupied Parents

“First, try to get as much as possible done before Thanksgiving Day. Make what you can in advance, buy the pies, go potluck for side dishes. That way, you can set aside time to check in periodically with your child. And delegate. Is there a relative who’d be happy to oversee your child for the morning? Give him coloring books, art supplies, puzzles or a new DVD so he can keep your child occupied while you’re busy.

Taking Turns Talking

Before Thanksgiving, role-play appropriate ways your child might start, join and end conversations with guests. Consider coming up with a code phrase or signal you can use to clue him in if he starts taking over the conversation.

Sitting Still Through the Long Dinner

Relax your expectations. Thanksgiving isn’t the day to expect perfect behavior, so seat him at the kids’ table. He’ll do best with some parameters, such as not interrupting the adults. But let him wander between courses. If he’s a teen, see if he wants to be “in charge” of keeping dinner fun for the younger guests.”[3]

In conclusion, “make it a real thanksgiving – start small and go slowly. The holiday season is a whole season, not just one or two big days that call for huge efforts and loads of people. The point is to think small and meaningful – not big and traditional and overwhelming. Think about how to teach your child the meaning of giving and getting pleasure and enjoyment. Find little ways to connect them with others and to show they care – that’s the true meaning of the holidays.”[4]


[1] http://adhd.newlifeoutlook.com/thanksgiving-with-adhd/

[2]  http://www.playattention.com/play-attention-cognitive-games/

[3] https://www.understood.org/en/family/events-outings/holidays-celebrations/common-thanksgiving-challenges-for-kids-with-attention-issues#slide-6

[4] http://www.additudemag.com/adhd-web/article/881.html


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Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

Play Attention welcomes Kate, an ADHD mother, teacher, wife, and friend who’s willing to share her life with us. You’ll find she’s funny, insightful, warm, amazing, and doesn’t want to feel alone on this journey. Enjoy her true tales of life and know that we’re all in this together.

People talk about “living in the moment”…Well, I have very literally done that ALL of my life. No preplanning, little to no thinking about consequences, no thought given to anything but was what happening RIGHT NOW. People say this is a good thing…”Live in the moment! Stop and smell the roses!” Well, I have and I did. I stopped and smelled every single rose along the way.

Sometimes this was a good thing…I’ve had a lot of fun without much worry.  I’ve jumped from rooftop to rooftop, (yes…I really have) I’ve gone on grand adventures on a whim without thought to cost or time off work and I’ve been places most people wouldn’t think of going (when you see a random ladder…do you climb up it to see where it leads? I do! Every darn time!)  I have stood in hurricanes, jumped off cliffs and taken every dare ever given to me.

But I’ve also been fired from jobs, gotten lost in the middle of the ocean in a dinghy whose motor died, eaten dry pasta out of the box for a month straight and have been arrested for shoplifting because I forgot to pay (really… I did just forget).  I’ve gotten multiple speeding tickets because of daydreaming, come home from vacations barefoot because I had lost my shoes, missed important meetings for my kids at school, and alienated all of my family at one point or another with my “thoughtlessness” and my constant interrupting. (They don’t understand…my thoughts won’t wait, and I will lose them if I can’t get them out!)

I turned 44 in October and just recently realized that I could use the restroom BEFORE I felt the need to go. Really. This blew my mind. You don’t even know how much this has little bit of preplanning that others take for granted has changed my life!

I’ve been conditioned to believe everything I’ve done has been out of stupidity. I’m the running joke among family and friends. But recently I’ve started to allow myself to think that maybe there is something more. Maybe I have an attention difficulty. Maybe I’m not dumb. Maybe I just have to work a little harder to focus and preplan.

Sometimes I wonder if there are people like me.  People that struggle every day with minor things that others make look easy. Things like… getting dressed in the morning.  Does anyone else just put on the first thing they see, regardless of the weather forecast, the cleanliness of the item, or if it matches?  Does anyone else get home after work at 5:00 and have to go the grocery store EVERY night for dinner because they don’t think ahead to go once on Sunday and preplan dinners for the week? I hope so. And I hope they are able to share some tips with me on how to improve my current lifestyle. Carefree is not always care free.



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