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.


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.[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]








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:[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]







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.



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.




Adult ADHD

Adult ADHD

Symptom, signs and relationships . . .

Forget your keys again? Was it your turn to pick the kids up? Did you find yourself spacing out while the boss was talking to you and you’re way behind on that project? You are not alone . . .

How do you know you have ADHD?
“Many times it is normal to forget your keys but when you never can find your keys, that’s the problem, says Patricia Quinn, M.D., a developmental pediatrician and co-founder and director of the National Center for Girls and Women with ADHD in Washington D.C..

How else do you know if you have ADHD?
The basic adult ADHD symptoms are the same for men and women: inattentiveness, impulsivity and hyperactivity. You have to have them for at least six months. They’re usually pervasive and affect you throughout the day. We also look for family history.

For men, it tends to be external motor activity; for girls, it’s more fidgeting and twirling their hair. With females, [you see more] hyper-talkativeness.“[1]

Being Married to ADHD

“A study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders (August 2004 vol. 8 no. 1 1-10) analyzed marital adjustment and family relationships of adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In the study, the marital adjustment and family functioning of 33 married adults with ADHD and their spouses was compared to 26 non-ADHD control participants and their spouses. Results revealed that married adults with ADHD reported poorer overall marital adjustment on the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS; Spanier, 1989) and more family dysfunction on the Family Assessment Device (FAD; Eptein, Baldwin, & Bishop, 1983) than control adults. (These scales/devices (DAS and FAD), are commonly used in the diagnosis of ADHD). The spouses of adults with ADHD did not differ from control spouses in reports of overall marital adjustment and family dysfunction. A greater proportion of their marital adjustment scores, however, fell within the maladjusted range. The ADHD adults’ perceptions of the health of their marriages and families were more negative than their spouses’ perceptions.”[2]Lacrouts_Isabelle_230311;Paniandy_Eric_230311

“Indeed, the divorce rate is nearly twice as high for people with ADHD, which affects roughly 4 percent of adults, as it is for other couples, says marriage consultant Melissa Orlov, author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage. Symptoms include trouble staying focused and paying attention, difficulty understanding or following instructions, and hyperactivity, or fidgeting frequently and talking excessively. In adults, ADHD usually isn’t diagnosed until symptoms persist and spread into multiple aspects of daily life, from success at work to the ability to form romantic relationships.”

“ADHD is typically missed or overlooked when couples are dating. The partner with ADHD is often hyper-focused, sending flowers, checking in with frequent phone calls, and showering the significant other with loving attention. The excitement is stimulating—a feel-good self-medication of sorts, Orlov says. The transition to marriage can be jarring. Once the relationship becomes familiar, the frenzy of attention is likely to ebb. The partner without ADHD, bewildered by the abrupt change, may start to feel unloved or unattractive—interpreting a distracted spouse as an uninterested spouse.”

“As time passes, tensions can build if the condition isn’t recognized or its symptoms and motives are misunderstood. The trademark impulsivity could translate into rash financial decisions. Or a husband might habitually interrupt his wife because he “doesn’t have the brakes to stop” and is afraid of losing his skittery thoughts if he waits, says Orlov. To the non-ADHD partner, the interruptions are disrespectful.”

“When all these ADHD behaviors collide, the non-ADHD spouse usually experiences a sense of loneliness, exhaustion, feeling ignored, anger and a sense of hopelessness.” [3]

“What’s the secret to a healthy ADHD marriage? It may be in the way couples communicate when they fight — and how quickly they forgive and move on afterward”.

The following are strategies to help maintain a healthy relationship with your ADHD partner:

1. Start with a complaint, not a criticism. “I’m concerned that the garbage isn’t getting taken out regularly” is a complaint. “You never take out the garbage like you promise” is a criticism. Complaints work better; they are more respectful and don’t put the listener on the defensive so quickly.

  1. Use a soft start — or ease into a topic. Soft starts show respect for the other person by not making assumptions. They usually include an observation, and they focus on feelings. Here’s an example of a soft start: “I really miss you. We aren’t spending enough time together these days.” The hard-start version of this is “You never pay attention to me!”
  1. Be respectful. No matter how difficult the topic, or how upset you are, your partner always deserves respect. Don’t justify screaming or belittling. Treat your partner as you would like to be treated.
  1. Use non-threatening words and don’t bully your partner. If you become flooded with emotions and feel you can’t help yourself, try to let your partner walk away from the argument.
  1. Use clarifying phrases, such as, “If I understand correctly, we both think….”
  1. Talk calmly. This is hard when things are emotional. Mindfulness training and deep breathing help.
  1. Use verbal cues to de-escalate your interactions. In the Orlov household, if one of us gets too emotional — it happens to both of us — we may use the pre-agreed-on verbal cue “aardvark” to suggest we both need to take a break. We will return to the conversation later.
  1. Look your partner in the eye. This serves the dual purpose of communicating effectively how you feel and ensuring that you have your partner’s attention.
  1. Look for common ground. You are more likely to stay constructively engaged if you focus on similarities and shared concerns. Redirect an argument over bedtimes with “I know we are both trying to figure out the best balance between enough sleep and time with the kids…,” putting you both on the same problem-solving team.
  1. Ask open-ended questions. The best fights are conversations in which you happen to disagree. Don’t lecture your partner. Instead, invite him or her in. “Do you see it that way?” or “What do you think?” can help. Listen to your partner’s response.
  1. Use affirming statements. Even if you disagree with your partner, you can still make sure your partner’s opinion gets heard. “I understand that you feel I should be doing more chores, but I’m not sure I have enough time. We need to talk further” is more constructive than “I’m busy.” You may still not take on more chores, but you have shown that you hear your partner’s concern.
  1. Accept the legitimacy of negative emotions. Rather than fighting against negative emotions, commiserate with your partner. This is important if your partner is feeling grief. You may be ready to “move on” but you will help your partner heal if you respond with “I’m so sorry we’ve been through all of this. It’s been hard.”

If these strategies seem obvious, ask yourself if you are using them consistently. Probably not. It takes thought and practice to use affirming statements and ask open-ended questions when you are angry. It’s not just the words, it is the emotions behind them that count.”[4]

There is Hope . . .

“With understanding and knowledge, one can transcend these feelings and find a new way of being in the relationship. Learning all you can about ADHD and how it affects your partner is vital. It is important to remember that even though your partner may no longer be hyper-focused on you and your relationship, it does not mean he/she does not still love you.

When both partners understand the way ADHD symptoms are impacting the marriage, you can avoid patterns of frustration and anger. You must learn different behaviors to heal these kinds of wounds through education, communication and counseling.”[5]

Learn how you and your loved one can better deal with the difficulties ADHD presents by attending one of Play Attention’s free Speed Webinars:[6] Play Attention integrates feedback technology with cognitive skill training and behavior shaping:[7]. Complete our short survey and help us customize a Play Attention program that will address your specific needs. To learn more:[8]













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: The Focus is on You

ADHD: The Focus is on You

Pay Attention — Play Attention . . .

As you see we have a different focus each month. In September our focus has been on Women and ADHD.

October is ADHD Awareness Month, in contribution; we will be focusing on you, your child and your family’s questions and concerns.

We have gotten a lot of questions regarding ADHD and how Play Attention can develop the skills necessary for success. Also, thanks to our readers, Play Attention has compiled a list of questions generated from your posts on ADHD issues you are dealing with now.PA_NARROW

With this being said, Play Attention will present our story: who we are, what makes us different, and how Play Attention can develop the skills necessary for success. We will then discuss in detail, your questions and concerns during the course of this month.

If you wish to participate, please follow the contact link:
or simply submit a question on Facebook.

Who We Are

Play Attention was invented by a school teacher to help his own students. He realized that children and adults can improve their attention problems, cognitive problems (mental skills that don’t allow us to perform at our best) and behavioral problems. This all started in 1994 and was so cutting edge, it was patented. Play Attention is not only the leader, but is the pioneer in this field. It has now been awarded 5 patents.

What is it?

Play Attention is the world’s indisputable #1 learning system to improve attention, behavior, and cognitive function for ADHD children and adults.  To avoid any confusion about anything else out there, let’s clear this up:

There are many “cognitive games” that say they will make your brain better because of “neuroplasticity.” Seems like they’re all over TV nowadays. That’s called cognitive training. Here’s what independent research from Tufts University School of Medicine[1] determined:

  • Cognitive training did not produce any significant changes in ADHD students. Play Attention made significant changes in that same study.
  • Students who underwent brain training games (cognitive training) required increases in medication. Play Attention students did not.
  • Play Attention students maintained their significant gains even after the researchers came back 6 months later to test them once again.

Why is it so different?

Let’s say your ADHD child sits in front of a computer screen to play brain games.  How much attention is he paying to those games? You know the answer: Not much. So, play all those games you want, your child isn’t going to get much out of them.

Greater attention = greater learning. Play Attention has an armband that measures brain activity indicative of attention. Your child can activate our great cognitive games by applying full attention to get started.  Then using this same technology, they can actually move game characters by mind/attention alone.  If they lose attention, the game will stop until they fully apply themselves again. So, cognitive games + Play Attention’s attention monitor = huge differences in success. So much so, that we’ve 5 patents on the process and three independent randomized, controlled studies to back this up.

So, yes, Play Attention works and it’s not just us saying so. The prestigious Tufts University School of Medicine[2] performed two randomized, controlled, clinical studies in Boston school districts spanning several years. Both studies found that Play Attention does improve behavior, improves attention, and strengthens cognitive skills. These studies have been published in peer reviewed clinical journals making Play Attention the only system of its kind that’s been proven in controlled, randomized, clinical studies. The data were so good, the medical doctor who ran the studies opened her own Play Attention center in Boston.

Our Support Team

Play Attention’s staff consists of Master’s Degree professionals, individuals with degrees in psychology and parents, spouses and individuals experienced with the issues ADHD causes. The Play Attention program comes with an ‘Attention Genius’ to supervise you every step of the way with free training over the phone.

Your Attention Genius will provide:

  • Help you customize your program to suit
    your needs.
  • Help you schedule your Play Attention program.
  • Provide you with free data analysis to be
    certain you get the success, improvements,
    and satisfaction you demand.
  • Provide family support and ongoing Play
    Attention support.

You get everything you need for success; this includes the armband technology that monitors your brain activity to tell us how attentive you are, the cognitive skill building software that you’ll install on your computer, the full behavior shaping program, and your unlimited technical support with an Attention Genius.

In conclusion, think about this: Your brain only stronger and more powerful. Play Attention. Your teachers will thank you. Your parents will thank you. Your spouse will thank you. Your employer will thank you. Your brain will thank you.

Be in the Know

Read more about Play Attention, we’ve been written up in all sorts of places: Time Magazine, Popular Science, the list goes on. You will learn that you can be your child’s biggest advocate and create ties that bind from your own home.[3]

Remember Play Attention is very different from off the shelf video 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,

October Schedule:

October 13th @ 11:00 AM ET/8:00 AM PT

October 21st @ 11:00 AM ET/8:00 AM PT

We want to hear from you:
or email:




Speed Webinars:




ADHD in Women: Helpful Strategies that Work – PART II

ADHD in Women: Helpful Strategies that Work – PART II
Tips for Mothers with ADHD . . .

In our previous blog: ADHD Women and Parenting,[1] Play Attention discussed what it is like for a woman with ADHD to be a mother and the challenges ADHD causes being the family caregiver.

“For a woman with ADD (ADHD) her most painful challenge may be a struggle with her own overwhelming sense of inadequacy in fulfilling the roles she feels are expected of her by her family and by society. Both on the job and at home, women are often placed in the role of caretakers. While men with ADD (ADHD) are advised to build a support system around themselves, not only do few women have access to such a support system, society has traditionally expected women to be the support system. “[2]

“Terry Matlen is a psychotherapist, writer, consultant and ADHD coach specializing in ADHD in adults, with a special focus on women.”[3] She presents a humanistic, but common-sense, approach to the ADHD mother.

“As women, we’re so used to tending to the needs of others that we tend to overlook our own needs,” says Terry. “It’s hard to admit that you aren’t perfect, that you can’t do it all, and that you need help. Accept your ADD and go with it.”Happy_Mother_Child_SM

“Terry encourages moms to simplify their lives by enlisting the help of other family members. This helps you and teaches responsibility at the same time. This delegation also includes solving problems together. Families work best when they work as a team. Choose tasks that you enjoy and trade with others in your family. For example, you do laundry and your husband cooks. Don’t hesitate to get outside help for chores that create tension in your relationship. Consider hiring a maid if neither of you is good at cleaning up. “

“Having ADHD doesn’t make you a bad mother! On the contrary, having ADHD gives you the ability to empathize with your children, come up with creative solutions for problems, and create a loving, nurturing and exciting home for you and your family. Learn to appreciate the gifts and minimize the weaknesses of ADHD. “

Here are more tips of Terry’s, many of these tips apply to moms in general, so, please read on . . .

  1. “1. Explain ADD symptoms to your family.
  2. Solve problems together — no finger pointing: “This is the problem — how should we solve it?”
  3. Learn communication strategies.
  4. Keep a calendar, and use different colored inks for schedules.
  5. Have down time to re-energize.
  6. Take time to cool down before getting into a family argument.
  7. Use a babysitter when you’re working on something at home.
  8. Have family meetings.
  9. Get professional help with managing ADD kids.
  10. Work as a team.
  11. Get outside help for chores that create tension in relationships.
  12. Don’t fight with picky eaters — use vitamins and frequent healthy snacks.
  13. Pick your battles.
  14. Establish quiet time/zones (no TV while eating).
  15. Establish routines. Write them down, but be flexible.
  16. Keep explanations short.
  17. Enlist the ‘no interruptions rule” at dinner table.
  18. Be consistent — even if it’s difficult.
  19. Get partner to take over when you feel you’re losing it.
  20. Problem solve ahead of time. If your child can’t handle crowds, shop off-hours or leave him home.
  21. Do as much the night before to avoid morning chaos: packed lunches, backpacks and briefcase near door, clothes laid out, and so on.
  22. Use humor…laugh a little, love a lot .
  23. Take time away together with spouse. “[4]

In conclusion . . .

“ADHD-focused therapies are being developed to address a broad range of issues including self-esteem, interpersonal and family issues, daily health habits, daily stress level, and life management skills. Such interventions are often referred to as “neurocognitive psychotherapy,” which combines cognitive behavior therapy with cognitive rehabilitation techniques.”[5],[6]

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.

Complete our short survey and help us customize a Play Attention program that will address your specific needs. To learn more: Let’s Get Started.[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:,[8]






[5] Nadeau, K. (2002). Psychotherapy for women with AD/HD. In K. Nadeau & P. Quinn (Eds.), Understanding Women with AD/HD (pp. 104-123). Silver Spring, MD: Advantage Books.

[6] Young, J. (2002). Depression and anxiety. In Nadeau, K.G. & Quinn, P.O. (Eds.), Understanding Women with AD/HD. Silver Spring, MD: Advantage Books.






ADHD Women and Parenting

ADHD Women and Parenting

Being the support system instead of having a support system


“Compared to women without ADHD, women diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood are more likely to have depressive symptoms, are more stressed and anxious, have more external locus of control (tendency to attribute success and difficulties to external factors such as chance), have lower self-esteem, and are engaged more in coping strategies that are emotion-oriented (use self-protective measures to reduce stress) than task-oriented (take action to solve problems)[1]. Studies show that ADHD in a family member causes stress for the entire family[2]. However, stress levels may be higher for women than men because they bear more responsibility for home and children. In addition, recent research suggests that husbands of women with ADHD are less tolerant of their spouse’s ADHD patterns than wives of men with ADHD[3]. Chronic stress takes its toll on women with ADHD, affecting them both physically and psychologically. Women who suffer chronic stress like that associated with ADHD are more at risk for diseases related to chronic stress such as fibromyalgia[4].

“For a woman with ADD (ADHD) her most painful challenge may be a struggle with her own overwhelming sense of inadequacy in fulfilling the roles she feels are expected of her by her family and by society. Both on the job and at home, women are often placed in the role of caretakers. While men with ADD (ADHD) are advised to build a support system around themselves, not only do few women have access to such a support system, society had traditionally expected women to be the support system.Mother_Child_SM

Dual-career stresses

The struggles for women with ADD (ADHD) have been intensified with the emergence of “dual career couples.” During much of the past two decades more and more women have been required to not only fulfill most if not all of the more traditional roles of wife and mother, but also to function efficiently and tirelessly as they juggle the demands of a full time career.

Single parenting

Divorce rates are close to fifty percent among all marriages in the United States. Divorce become even more likely when ADD (ADHD) is added to the list of marital stressors. Following divorce, it continues to be predominantly the mothers who are left as primary parent for children. By adding ADD (ADHD) to the huge burden of single-parenting, the result is often chronic exhaustion and emotional depletion”. [5]

“ADHD-focused therapies are being developed to address a broad range of issues including self-esteem, interpersonal and family issues, daily health habits, daily stress level, and life management skills. Such interventions are often referred to as “neurocognitive psychotherapy,” which combines cognitive behavior therapy with cognitive rehabilitation techniques[6],[7]. Cognitive behavior therapy focuses on the psychological issues of ADHD (for example, self-esteem, self-acceptance, self-blame) while the cognitive rehabilitation approach focuses on life management skills for improving cognitive functions (remembering, reasoning, understanding, problem solving, evaluating, and using judgment), learning compensatory strategies, and restructuring the environment”.[8]

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.

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,[9] At the webinar you can learn how Play Attention can help your child develop coping skills that will last a lifetime.

In this month’s upcoming blog themes, Play Attention will address strategies for ADHD Women in the role of parent.


[1]. Rucklidge, J.J., & Kaplan, B.J. (1997). Psychological functioning of women identified in adulthood with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Journal of Attention Disorders, 2, 167-176.

[2]. Nadeau, K.G. & Quinn, P.O. (Eds.). (2002). Understanding women with AD/HD. Silver Spring, MD: Advantage Books.

[3]. Robin, A.L., & Payson, E. (2002). The impact of AD/HD on marriage. The ADHD Report, 10(3), 9-11,14.

[4]. Rodin, G.C., & Lithman, J.R. (2002). Fibromyalgia in women with AD/HD. In Nadeau, K.G. & Quinn, P.O. (Eds.), Understanding Women with AD/HD. Silver Spring, MD: Advantage Books.


[6] Nadeau, K. (2002). Psychotherapy for women with AD/HD. In K. Nadeau & P. Quinn (Eds.), Understanding Women with AD/HD (pp. 104-123). Silver Spring, MD: Advantage Books.

[7] Young, J. (2002). Depression and anxiety. In Nadeau, K.G. & Quinn, P.O. (Eds.), Understanding Women with AD/HD. Silver Spring, MD: Advantage Books.