ADHD In Women

ADHD In Women
Signs and Symptoms

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 . . .

More than 4 million American women have ADHD and don’t know it, 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.

So why are people in the dark about ADHD in women, a brain disorder that can make them more distractible, inattentive or impulsive?

“Women are very good at compensating, coping, staying up late and working very hard. They really suffer silently,” says Dr. Quinn.

In fact, most women don’t find out they have ADHD until 38, about the same time their children are diagnosed. “They usually get diagnosed when the [stresses in their lives] outweigh their ability to compensate,” Dr. Quinn adds. There’s good news, though: It’s controllable through a combination of behavioral therapies and medication, she says.

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 Quinn.

Businesswoman makes a gestuer while on the phone. -- eg: annoyed, frustrated, forgetful, mistakeHow 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.

Does ADHD in women show up the same way it does in men?
Women and girls with ADHD are more likely to internalize symptoms and become anxious. Symptoms most often reported by women are dysphoria [unhappiness], inattention, organization problems and impulsive behaviors.

By contrast, men report more problems with conduct, learning and attention, greater stress intolerance and poor social skills.

The hyperactivity component in women may be very different from that in boys and men.

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. They’re out of control emotionally.

Why does ADHD in women manifest different symptoms?
Women have fluctuating estrogen levels. As they head into menopause in their early 40s, we see estrogen levels start to go down. This affects neurotransmitters [chemicals that transmit signals between nerve cells and other cells] in the brain, such as dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline.

Lower estrogen [means] lower dopamine, [which affects reasoning and concentration], making ADHD symptoms worse. If you lower serotonin, you’re going to get depressed and if you raise noradrenaline levels, you’re going to get very agitated.

This is often why a woman will seek help for ADHD for the first time in her late 30s, 40s and early 50s.

What’s ADHD often misdiagnosed as?
People think you’re not very smart. When I diagnose women with ADHD, they often say, “Oh, that’s it – I’m not stupid.” A lot of women get labeled incorrectly as depressed, she continues.

Are women with ADHD more likely to have depression or anxiety?
Women with ADHD are five times more likely to be depressed. People see the depression and treat it, but they don’t get any better.

A lot of women diagnosed with depression really have ADHD. If we diagnose and treat the ADHD, the anxiety and depression go away in about 60% of the cases.

Is it possible to treat ADHD with only behavior modification?
It depends on the person’s problems. In some studies, behavior management has worked very well.

But a lot of parents have ADHD and it’s very hard for them to effectively conduct a behavioral program for their kids.

Medications improve ADHD’s core symptoms – inattention, distractibility, impulsivity and hyperactivity – but they don’t teach you new skills.1

So while you’re able to pay attention long enough to clean your room, you still may not know how to clean your room and get organized. I still may need to teach you those organizational skills. 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: You may learn more about Play Attention at one of our upcoming Speed Webinars:

It is important to know that symptoms of ADHD can present very, very differently from person to person, even from woman to woman and across a woman’s lifespan. Understanding this can help. If you are concerned that you may have ADHD, talk with your doctor – even better if you can find a doctor who is experienced in assessing and treating ADHD in women and is knowledgeable about the way hormonal fluctuations and estrogen can affect symptoms.2




ADHD: Sports Safety Tips for your Child

ADHD: Sports Safety Tips for your Child
Choosing the Right Sport for Your Child with ADHD

A parent needs to consider her child’s interests, abilities, temperament, and ADHD symptoms when deciding on a sport to avoid unnecessary accidents and unwanted injuries.

Some children with ADHD do better with individualized sports such as swimming, diving, martial arts, or tennis. Individual sports offer structure while being active and engaging. Many of these sports also involve social interaction.

Team sports like basketball and football require a lot of physical contact and attention, which may challenge some children with ADHD: a player needs to think about zones, placement of individual players, strategy and more—and that can be unsettling or confusing. These types of distractions often lead to sports accidents and injuries such as Traumatic Brain Syndrome or (TBI).Kids_Soccer_SM_1

Although some sports may be more challenging and unsuitable for the child with ADHD, the benefits out way the risks and when approached correctly, will help your child have success in the sports they participate in.

Sports participation may actually improve emotional wellbeing in ADHD children, according to emerging research. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders found that boys and girls with ADHD who participated in sports had fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety. Furthermore, children with ADHD who took part in three or more sports over the previous year had significantly fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety than kids with ADHD who participated in fewer sports.

Talk with the Coach

To promote a child’s success in sports, a parent should respectfully educate the coach about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Give a brief overview of ADHD symptoms, and explain how the disorder affects your child’s moods and behavior. The right coach for your youngster will be patient and willing to give individualized attention. 1

  • Go one-on-one. ADHD kids get lost in group directions. But they do well in one-on-one coaching situations. Ask the coach to talk to your child individually to explain instructions.
  • Do a double-check. Suggest that the coach ask your child privately if she understood directions, asking her to repeat what she heard. This goes a long way toward avoiding communication breakdowns. If a child appears to be disengaged or confused, the coach should try to find out where the breakdown occurred so the problem can be corrected with further explanation.
  • Win – and lose – as a team. Many children have a hard time with losing. The coach should make sure that the players know that winning or losing is a team responsibility. A player should not be held at fault, even if he missed the last shot or made the last strikeout. It is the coach’s job to instill and demonstrate sportsmanship values for all players, beginning with the first practice. Support, encouragement, and respect for all players should be a top priority.
  • Move players around. The coach should rotate positions so that everyone on the team has an opportunity to be in active positions. This will help your child – and the other players – to use excess energy well and possibly to learn a new skill.
  • Manage excitement. Children with ADHD often get caught up in the action of the game, forgetting about strategy and teamwork. Awareness of this will help the coach help your child focus.
  • Keep ’em busy. Your child should have a job to do while waiting on the bench or during downtimes: assisting scorekeepers, keeping equipment in order, anything that will hold her interest.
  • Let ’em rest. The coach should devise a take-a-break plan with your child. Breaks offer respite to children who become overwhelmed.
  • Think young. Children with ADHD are often socially and emotionally younger than their age. If they play with children a year or two younger, they may have more fun.
  • Think positive. Ask the coach to assess your child’s strengths and emphasize them in practice and play. For example, if your child’s soccer coach sees that she is doggedly determined to block the ball, he might make her the goalie.

A good coach will consider it a gift when you inform her of your child’s special needs. Coaches have the opportunity to make a huge impact on students’ lives. They can help each player feel like an important member of the team – each with his own talents that help the team as a whole.2

Many of a child’s ADHD symptoms and behavior are caused by difficulties in the executive functioning areas of the brain. 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:





It’s All in Your Mind

It’s All in Your Mind
The link between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and ADHD

In the process of preparing our children for the upcoming school year, a major component of school is overlooked – sports and the safety issues and risks that go with it.

One of the main risks for children playing sports is traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI can occur by playing sports without proper safety equipment.

New research indicates that TBI may not only be a precursor to ADHD, but more interestingly enough, that ADHD may be an integral part of TBI. Experts have previously suggested that TBI could result in psycho-neurological changes that increase the chances of ADHD developing. Others have hypothesized that having ADHD could increase an individual’s risk of falling or having an accident that could cause a TBI.1

Geometry of the Soul series two. Composition of human profile and abstract elements on the subject of spirituality, science, creativity and human mind

In a study conducted by lead author Marsh Konigs, of VU University Amsterdam in The Netherlands, results showed not just lapses of attention in children with TBI but also that these lapses are related to intelligence and attention problems. His team compared 113 kids, ages six to 13, who had suffered a traumatic brain injury, and 53 kids who suffered a non-head injury.

An average of one and a half years after the injury, parents and teachers rated attention problems and internalizing problems like anxiety higher for kids with TBI. Parents also rated externalizing problems, like aggression, higher for the kids with TBI..

For more than 15 years now, researchers have known that “secondary attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” can develop after brain injury in children, according to Dr. Bradley L. Schlaggar, head of the Division of Pediatric and Developmental Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Schlaggar was not part of the new study.

“The kinds of daily life problems caused by attention deficits, internalizing behaviors, and externalizing behaviors are numerous and fairly self-evident,” he told Reuters Health by email. “An impulsive child who is aggressive will have difficulty with relationships, with school performance, with participation in extracurricular activities, and so forth.”2

“This is not surprising because some of the most persistent consequences of TBI include ADHD-like symptoms, such as memory and attention impairment, deficits in executive functions such as planning and organization, processing consonants and vowels and impulsive behavior,” says lead author Dr. Gabriela Ilie, a post-doctoral fellow at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada.3

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: 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,

On the flip side of the coin, another recent study of Canadian adults has found links between traumatic brain injury and a history of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“These new data suggest a significant association between ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and TBI [traumatic brain injury],” says co-principal investigator Dr. Robert Mann. “We see that adults with TBI are more than twice as likely than those without to report symptoms of ADHD.”

To investigate this potential relationship, the researchers examined the responses of 3,993 adults aged 18 and above participating in the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) Monitor – a continuous survey assessing the physical health, mental health and substance use of adults in Ontario.

The researchers found that among participants with a history of TBI, 5.9% said that they had previously been diagnosed with ADHD at some point during their life. An additional 6.6% went on to screen positive for ADHD on the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale during their phone interviews.

“There is only so much parents can do to minimize risk of an injury but monitoring their child’s risk-taking behavior, modeling and teaching skills that reduce risk of an injury, using protective gear or devices, supervision, and monitoring of organized activities or sports for aggressive or risky coaching or competition are all helpful,” said Talin Babikian of the UCLA BrainSPORT Program in Los Angeles, California, who was not part of the new study.4



2   Abstract – Pediatrics, online August 3, 2015:



ADHD: The Correlation between Self-Image and Academic Performance

ADHD: The Correlation between Self-Image and Academic Performance
Is poor self-image affecting your ADHD child’s academic performance?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips for Building Self-Image:

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

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

Show faith in the child’s abilities

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

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

Put mistakes into perspective

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

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

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

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

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

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










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ADHD: Children and Aggression

ADHD: Children and Aggression
Tips on how to deal with your child’s anger

Do these words sound familiar?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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ADHD: Anger-Management

ADHD: Anger-Management
Understanding ourselves, understanding our ADHD child . . .

Handling children’s anger can be puzzling, draining, and distressing for adults. In fact, one of the major problems in dealing with anger in 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 childhoods. 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 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 children to feel all their feelings. Adult skills can then be directed towards 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 appropriately.

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.

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 children, we must be careful to distinguish between behavior that indicates emotional problems and behavior that is normal.girl on holiday looking cross
  • In dealing with angry 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

Play Attention integrates feedback technology with cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. You may learn more about Play Attention at one of our upcoming Speed Webinars. 3

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.4

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.5

View Dr. Steiner’s recorded webinar hosted by Additude Magazine.






ADHD – Adult Aggression

ADHD – Adult Aggression
You make me so mad I want to SCREAM!

Does your ADHD loved one or spouse exhibit any or all of these behaviors?

  • Impulsive spending or overspending
  • Starting fights or arguing
  • Trouble maintaining friendships and romantic relationships
  • Speeding and dangerous driving
  • Substance abuse
  • Risky sexual behaviors, such as having unprotected sex1

In discussion of aggression in adults with ADHD, it is important to examine the general nature of the aggression displayed and how it manifests itself in the human psyche. What type of aggression is it? Is the aggression ‘impulsive’ in nature or is the aggression ‘predatory’ in nature?

We could ‘split hairs’ and sub-categorize the definitions of aggression to a greater extent but for purposes of this discussion, the two main categories will be defined.

Young hipster couple holding hands in love heart symbol in winter forestImpulsive aggression has been defined as a reactive or emotionally charged aggressive response distinguished by a loss of behavioral control. Impulsive aggression is thought to be an uncontrolled, emotionally charged aggressive act that results from minimal.

On the other hand, premeditated aggression has been defined as a “planned or conscious aggressive act, not spontaneous or related to an agitated state. It is not preceded by autonomic arousal and is characterized by the absence of emotion and threat.2

Researchers have found ‘impulsivity’ has been associated with some forms of aggression and one definition of impulsivity is ‘a lowered threshold for motoric actions, particularly aggressive behavior, in response to environmental stimuli’. Aggression can be reflected by verbal aggression (i.e. expressions of anger and/or threats of violence to self or others), aggression against property, autoaggression (i.e. various forms of self-harm) and physical aggression to others. Although impulsive aggression is not included in the diagnosis criteria for ADHD, impulsive aggression has often been reported in subjects with ADHD. Research supports the inclusion of features of impulsive aggression, such as hot temper/short fuse, in the ADHD syndrome in adults.3

New research shows that cognitive behavioral therapy reduces ADHD symptoms. This type of therapy focuses on changing negative thoughts in order to change behavior.4 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.5 Play Attention integrates feedback technology with cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. You may learn more about Play Attention at one of our upcoming Speed Webinars,

Tips on how to avoid the ‘Blame Game:’

Learn to negotiate
– Get your temper under control. Never try to make a deal or compromise when your temper is active. Don’t blame others. Your reactions to what anyone does are still your responsibility. Identify the underlying anger and use words to express it.
– Learn not to blame. Remember that it doesn’t matter WHY something happened. But it does matter WHAT happened. Come up with a plan to solve the problem rather than worrying how the problem got there. Be specific. Set the plan in motion, and stick to it.

For couples
– Guard against co-dependent behaviors. In codependency, we focus attention on each other rather than taking responsibility for ourselves. A person with ADHD often blames others for problems, and significant others often end up taking responsibility.
– A partner can help break a task down, or facilitate communication with direct questions.6







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ADHD & Aggression Within The Family

ADHD & Aggression Within The Family

Whether at home or at school; anger, outbursts, cruelty to siblings and parents are all facets of aggression in children with ADHD. Research indicates that the family is the most important factor in predicting aggression in children with ADHD.

As reported by Dr. Russell Barkley: In the home, significantly fewer children with ADHD than those without ADHD were considered to have a good relationship with their siblings (54% vs 74%, respectively), or were considered to get along with their parents (74% vs 83%, respectively). However, some areas of home life did not differ significantly between study groups, including the likelihood of spending time with family, playing organized sports or participating in volunteer work.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a study which also concurs with Dr. Barkley’s research. The study examined the extent to which family factors, cognitive factors and perceptions of rejection in mother-child relations differentially correlated with aggression at home and at school.happy family at sunset

The most important finding from this study is that family is the most important factor in predicting aggression in children with ADHD both at school and at home. In addition, the researchers found that family factors predict aggression at home more than acceptance or rejection by the mother. It is likely that aggressive parents play an important role in the emergence and persistence of aggression in children. As importantly, the study also concludes that cognitive factors determine the aggressive behaviors of elementary school students’ aggression in both school and home. Play Attention was developed to deal with 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. 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.

The final results of this study: Family factors influenced aggression reported at home (.68) and at school (.44); maternal rejection seems to be related to aggression at home (.21). Cognitive factors influenced aggression reported at school (.-05) and at home (-.12).

Key points

  • What’s known: Past research has shown that when a child is referred with aggressive symptoms, one of the most common diagnoses is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • What’s new: Previous studies have not examined which demographic factors, family factors, perception of acceptance/rejection by the mothers and cognitive factors differentially correlate with aggression at home and at school.
  • Findings: Family factors, cognitive factors and perception of acceptance/rejection by the mothers are important aspects of ADHD children’s aggression.
  • This study confirms that family factors affect aggressive behaviors of ADHD children at home and at school settings.
  • Cognitive factors determine the aggressive behaviors of elementary school students’ aggression in both school and home.
  • The child’s perception of acceptance of rejection by the mothers is related to aggression at home and not to aggression at school.
  • Implications: Prevention and intervention programs that target aggressive behaviors of ADHD children by focusing on family factors, cognitive factors and perception of acceptance rejection by parents may have the most impact.

In closing we would like to leave you with some food for thought. . .

“Living in a family with a child with a disability means constantly moving toward approximating the norms of society-norms in terms of developing predictable responses and implementing conflict resolution strategies that encourage rather than diminish the esteem of the individual and the family. As someone once said, “I have seen normal and wasn’t impressed.” It has been my experience that families who enter into dealing with the issues around disability as a positive adventure for all, ultimately function far better than those families who have not known adversity. I have seen this with individuals who must live with a disability. They are required to work on themselves in ways others are not. Because of this, there is a profound inner knowledge and often an empathy that is humbling.

Watching seven-and eight-year-olds advocate for themselves, be heard and counted goes a long way in fostering lasting positive regard for self and for others. Seeing children learn how to positively express their feelings, even the tough ones, makes the world of emotion an easily navigable territory. When the family works as a team, the possibilities are limitless.”—Dr. Patrick Kilcarr*

Dr. Kilcarr is currently the Director of the Center for Personal Development at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. He has co-authored a book with Dr. Patricia Quinn entitled, Voices From Fatherhood: Fathers, Sons and ADHD. He maintains a private practice in Washington D.C., and is the father of six boys, two of whom have ADHD.

Your attention experts are at 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 Children: Aggression Within Social Circles

ADHD Children: Aggression Within Social Circles
What makes my sweet child so aggressive at times?

We are writing this blog as a follow up to ADHD, ODD, or Both – Part I and II. Even though we make reference only to the Attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) aspect of aggression, this information may be useful to individuals parenting a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) as well.

Have you ever asked yourself, Why is my child a bully to other kids? Why am I constantly saying, “Keep your hands to yourself!”, or, “Don’t hit your brother, he’s not your punching bag!”?

According to Dr. Barkley, world-renowned Clinical Scientist and Researcher in the field of ADHD, it is due to the Emotional Dysregulation facet of ADHD, which refers to deficits in inhibiting and regulating emotions. This facet of ADHD also contributes to the propensity to develop ODD. Emotional Self-Regulation is the ability to manage your behavior in relation to the events that happen in your life.

Another expert in this field, Dr. Naomi Steiner, 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 goes into more detail in her webinar posted on the ADDitude website. Click on her link above to watch, or, for our Facebook followers, see her reference resource at the end of this article.

Play Attention was developed to deal with these kinds of difficulties through the development of cognitive skill and behavior shaping. To learn more, peruse our website and check out our cognitive games: Play Attention was the neurofeedback intervention used in those studies referenced in Dr. Steiner’s webinar, (linked above).Children Fighting In Front Of Mother At Home

In conclusion, let us leave you with some helpful info to better deal with the Aggressive ADHD child. Remember knowledge is power.

Why can’t we be friends???

Kids with ADHD are often isolated by their aggressive behavior. They miss out on having a best friend they can tell their deepest secrets to. They miss out on being invited to parties and get-togethers. They don’t get to experience the sleepovers outdoors in the teepee Dad made and running for the house due to things that went bump in the night (when it was only the raccoons raiding the trash cans). The aggressive behavior leads to fewer opportunities to practice social skills, which can lead to further negative behavior such as bullying. But it’s not always apparent to the child that these behaviors are negative, so take time to discuss which behaviors are appropriate and why. Do some role playing with your ADHD child. Make them a co-conspirator in the act with you. Teach them how to form a friendship, how to bond, and start by focusing on little things.

Teach them that it’s rude to interrupt conversations or cut in line. You can role play being the naughty child.  Exhibit rude behavior and push ahead of the line. Let your child explain to you what is wrong with your behavior, and how it made him feel. By turning the tables, your child will learn the social cues more quickly. Then, try a play date in which your child can use what they’ve learned. If that goes well, try a sleepover and expand social experiences from there. Remember to always provide your child with lots of positive praise when correct social behavior is observed.

While these are things you can do as a parent, Play Attention can dramatically augment this by helping your ADHD child develop social interaction skills.  Ask your Play Attention advisor about our Social Skills program. 800-788-6786

Why can’t you keep your hands to yourself?

Parents of ADHD children worry about their kid being bullied at school. But some children with ADHD are bullies. According to a recent study, a child with ADHD is three times more likely to bully other kids than a child without the condition. A lot of times parents do not even see the bullying because it happens outside of the home.

If you are informed that this is the case with your child, it is important to stay calm. Do not accuse your child, but instead have a conversation. For example: “That was your teacher on the phone, and she said you were seen pushing Johnny on the playground. What’s your side of the story?” Don’t be surprised if the child admits nothing and shows no remorse. It is often the case that they simply don’t understand that there was anything wrong with that behavior. Also children often fear consequences if they readily admit to something that they suddenly perceive as a fault—which will happen if they’re being accused.

Often a good strategy to get to the truth of the matter is to, again, stay calm and perhaps even make light of the situation. If your child no longer feels that you are “mad”, they are more likely to open. Make it an environment/conversation in which the child feels safe, and you increase the likelihood of getting the facts.

Afterwards, be sure to make user of your child’s empathy to help them understand why what they did was wrong. For example, “What you’re telling me you did to Johnny is the same thing that big kid at school did to you last week. How did that make you feel? …well, that’s the same way Johnny felt when you did it to him.”

This is the kind of intervention strategy suggested by Robert Sege, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine. He’ll think twice before he does it again.­­­

Don’t hit your brother!

Chill out, stay cool. It’s not easy to stay calm when your ADHD child has just punched a playmate for the umpteenth time. But do your best. The next time your child lashes out, discipline them by demonstrating appropriate behavior. Speak calmly but firmly, rather than shouting (or spanking). Try empathy not sympathy. Let your child know that you understand how hard it is to control aggression. Once they calm down, say something like, “You seemed to be angry because your friend won the game” or, “I know you get angry when other children tease you, but hitting will only hurt your friendships.” Listen carefully to what they say in response so you can better provide support. Ask for suggestions. Telling your child things like, “Stop it, you’re bothering me” may not do the trick. In emotionally charged situations, ADHD kids have trouble recalling phrases like that. Instead, ask your child what he thinks he can do to control his aggression.

Yes we can change your mind! –Play Attention


Dr. Barkley:

Dr. Naomi Steiner:

Play Attention Cognitive Games:

Play Attention Improved Behavior/Social Skills:

Bullying, Anger, and Other Social Issues for Children with ADHD:


Role Playing:

–Play Attention: