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:


ADHD, ODD, or BOTH – Part II

ADHD, ODD, or BOTH – Part II

In Part I of this blog we discussed the evidence that supports the link between ADHD and ODD. Dr. Russell Barkley states: ADHD involves one more vital component that has been left out of the Clinical diagnosis for ADHD – Emotional Dysregulation: deficits in inhibiting and regulating emotions. Emotional Self-Regulation is the ability to manage your behavior in relation to the events that happen in your life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reports: Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is one of the most common disorders occurring with ADHD. ODD usually starts before age eight, but no later than early adolescence.

So you ask “what does this psychological/medical jargon really mean in layman terms?” This is what it means to parents of ADHD/ODD children:

“My son is very violent and has lots of anger. He gets mad so easily and it is hard to deal with him the school wants to put him in alternative school. I do not know what to do with him he can be the sweetest boy in the world but when he has the bad days, he does not even look like my baby boy.”

“He would get extremely angry over the most mundane things that most people take for granted. He smashed furniture, broke things, and would whip things through the air at people. He physically attacked me around 3 times. I was honestly scared of him. He seemed to be chronically irritated by something I just couldn’t see. I came very close to putting him into a group home for his own safety and mine.”

Sound all too familiar? These are typical examples of emotional dysregulation the vital component left out of the Clinical diagnosis for ADHD. These comments were made by parents of ADHD/ODD children.

Tips for Parents of Defiant ADHD Children:

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


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

Play Attention has a full behavior shaping program.  As cited in our last success story, major behavioral changes will take place during the Play Attention sessions.

“Once the Play Attention routine was established, the arguing beforehand and the disruptive behaviors during the program diminished to the point where, as coach, I have virtually no behaviors to report during his sessions.”Nathan’s success story.

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, To learn more about the Play Attention technology sign up for the free webinar at Additude Mag. 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 you overcome both of these disorders.


ADHD, ODD, or BOTH – Part I

ADHD, ODD, or BOTH – Part I

We have received many questions from concerned parents asking: “Does my child have ADHD, ODD, or BOTH”? There may be a link between having ADHD and developing ODD. The correlation rate for being diagnosed with ADHD and ODD is staggering, ranging between 60% and 80%. It is the most common co-existing condition associated with ADHD. People with ADHD are 11 times more likely to be diagnosed with ODD than the general population.

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

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

Signs and symptoms of ADHD may include:

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

Play Attention can improve all of these skills mentioned above.  Click here to view the cognitive skills addressed within the Play Attention software. Take our survey to see if Play Attention is right for you.

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

Children with oppositional defiant disorder are not aggressive towards people or animals, do not destroy property, and do not show a pattern of theft or deceit.

Signs and symptoms of ODD may include:

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

 These patterns of behavior result in impairment at school and/or other social venues

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

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

To be continued . . .

To learn more about the Play Attention technology sign up for the free webinar. 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 you develop cognitive skills and decrease impulsive behaviors.

Using the summer months to prepare for college

Using the summer months to prepare for college

The transition from high school to college is a challenge for even the most well-rounded student. Factor in ADHD and there are a whole new set of challenges. Parents should use the summer months to prepare their students for life at college. It’s a great time to test the waters while having the safety net of home to help them through. Here are some ideas you can use this summer to help with the transition.

  • Make Organization a Priority – Since organization is a struggle for students with ADHD, most parents help with this process throughout high school. Now that your student will be on his own, it’s important that he takes on the responsibility of organization. Having your student keep his room organized through the summer months will create a great foundation for his journey into college life. Make certain to discuss steps he can take to help with organization.
  • Keep Things Structured – The summer months are usually the time when schedules go by the wayside; bed times are looser, meal times vary more, etc. Keeping things structured throughout the summer will help your budding college student stay in a routine. Since consistent and repetitive behavior gains proficiency, consider this type of structure the same as if you were helping your athlete prepare for the big game.
  • Research the College’s Resources – While the hope is that you looked into this before applying, it’s important that you help your student familiarize himself with the resources available to him on campus. There will be big adjustments like longer classes, later nights, more independent studying, etc. Create a plan for when things get tough, so that your student isn’t scrambling to find resources for support.college_2
  • Visit the Campus – Many college campuses have programs throughout the summer months. Whether its concerts, sporting events, or lectures, it’s a great time to visit the campus and get familiar with the layout. Even if you’re not there to attend an event, a campus visit will allow your student to map out his day without the distraction of hundreds of other students.
  • Create a Game plan – Your student will need a game plan if things get challenging. This might include a discussion with your student’s roommate to help keep things on track, or a plan to connect with a counselor once a week to discuss the week’s obstacles.
  • Talk about Spending – With books paid for and meal plans established, what more could your student need to spend money on? The answer is everything else! A trip to the movies or the mall, dinner with friends at the local pizza place, etc. These expenses can get out of control without a plan. Create a budget for your college student that will allow him to have a social life that won’t break the bank. Also, talk to him about planning meals at college. Your student could run into financial difficulty with poor planning when meal halls are closed after late-night classes.

The more planning and discussions you have before your student goes off to college, the better prepared he will be. If you can help with some preplanning and addressing any anxieties, it will be easier for your student to be successful as he ventures into college life.

Ten Test Taking Tips

Ten Test Taking Tips

Many of the accommodations needed for successful test taking should be in place in your child’s 504 or IEP. Here are some of the recommended accommodations for test taking:

  1. Separate Setting – Allowing your child to take tests in a separate setting may be the single most important accommodation you request. Not only will this environment be less distracting, but it will also eliminate some of the pressure when other students are finishing tests much quicker than your student with ADHD.
  2. Extended Time – Timed tests can be a nightmare for an ADHD student. Having extra time to complete the test may be the second most important modification you can request. This will also allow for any breaks that may be needed during testing.
  3. Incorporate Breaks – Just like with studying, your student with ADHD may not be able to concentrate for more than five minutes at a time. You can request that your child be able to take breaks during a lengthy test. These breaks should be reasonable, say a two-minute stretch break, so that testing does not go on for hours.
  4. Use a Scribe – Most states will allow an accommodation that requires someone to read the questions and answers to a student. Then the scribe transfers the answer dictated by the student on to the test. Also, answers to essay questions can be spoken orally to a scribe who then writes or types the answers dictated.Pretty blond girl taking a test with her high school class.
  5. Sleep, Eat, and Drink – Take care of your child who is going into a test just as you would your star athlete going into the big game. Make sure you child gets a good night’s sleep, eats a healthy protein-packed breakfast, and drinks plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  6. Play to Strengths – Perhaps your child’s teacher would allow him to show his knowledge on subject manner in a less than traditional approach. For instance, if a test were on multiplication facts, perhaps the teacher would allow your child to recite the data to the rhythm of a song. Or for a test on American history, your child could act out the important parts as a skit.
  7. Break Up Test Into Sections – If you place a standardized test packet on the desk in front of your ADHD child, it’s likely to cause anxiety. Consider separating the pages and only putting a few on the desk at a time. This will give the student an achievable goal without overwhelming him.
  8. Don’t transfer answers – Many standardized tests require students to answer questions and transfer answers to a form. Instead, request that your child be allowed to circle the answers in the book and then have someone transfer the information to the answer sheet.
  9. Ask: What is Most Important – Find out from the teacher what the most important part of the test is. Is content more important than punctuation and grammar? Is it possible to get scored separately? This will allow you to prepare you student appropriately for the exam.
  10. Keys to Memorization – Memory is a challenge for students with ADHD. Focusing long enough to transfer information from short-term to long-term memory is a trial. Consider more unconventional methods. For instance, studying for a spelling test could include drumming a rhythm for each letter of the word. Of course, a separate setting is needed so that your child can drum the beat during the test.

If you are using Play Attention, our Academic Bridge program is great to help learn how to maintain attention to the tests. Your educational support advisor can assist you with this process. Call 800-788-6786 to learn more.

Video Games & ADHD Part I

Video Games & ADHD Part I
Why can’t they stop playing?

If you literally have to yank the video game controller from your ADHD child’s hands to get him to come to dinner, then you’re aware how compelling, even addicting, video games are to an ADHD child.

Video games were introduced in 1972. According to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), video games are ubiquitous as they are played on everything from home consoles such as Xbox to live streaming Internet tablets or hand held devices. Not surprisingly, computer and video game sales in the United States are over a $19 billion industry.

The KFF also reports that more than two-thirds of all children ages 2-18 live in a home with a video game system. Video game playing, even more than television watching, is an activity that kids tend to do alone.

What does this all amount to? The average young person accumulates 10,000 hours of gaming by the age of 21. How does that compare to school attendance? It’s just 24 hours less than they spend in a classroom for all of middle and high school if they have perfect attendance. It’s the equivalent of a full time job at more than 40 hours a week.video_games

So why are video games so intriguing? Many ADHD children seek increased stimulation. Their brains demand bigger, louder, and faster paced visuals. Often accompanying these demands is an increased need for risky behavior and high intensity action. Video games provide just this, and it can be somewhat like a drug or a favorite slice of pizza to a binge eater.

Some speculate that this is due to neurotransmitter problems and others attribute it to a genetic link. Whatever the cause, it makes video games incredibly irresistible and mundane tasks like homework almost impossible.

Part II coming soon: What do video games do to the ADHD brain?
Part III coming soon: How to manage video game use.

Your ADHD experts are at Call them at 800.788.6786


End Of Year Test Time!

Tackling the Most Dreaded Time of Year: End Of Year Test Time!

Creating a study space

It is often the most stressful and dreaded time of year for a student with ADHD: End of Year Test Time!  There are some steps you can take to help your child or student feel more confident and be more successful.  Let’s start with the study environment.

The environment in which your child studies can help or hinder the end result. Whether your student is preparing for the 4th grade EOG math exam, AP bio exam, or college entrance exam; it’s important to keep the following in mind when creating a study space:

  • Remove Distractions – Since we know that people with ADHD are easily distracted, the first step to success is to remove distractions. A clean, uncluttered, organized work area will provide the optimum environment.
  • Environmental Considerations – Make sure that the study area is well lit and well ventilated. Putting a study area in a closet under the stairs may be less distracting, but if the lighting is not sufficient and it’s stuffy, it will not be an appealing study area for your student.
  • Materials – Make sure that your study area is well supplied with pencils, pens, calculator, rulers, etc. Your student should have everything necessary to complete assignments at his fingertips.  This will avoided wasting time on trying to locate materials.
  • Create a reading nook – What better way to study than in a big comfy chair or beanbag to complete reading assignments? Add shelves full of reading favorites, and you’ve created your own special library area.
  • Hang a Calendar – A simple calendar is a great way to post dates when assignments are due. This will allow better planning to make sure projects are completed and turned in on time.
  • Keep it Simple – Don’t overdo it. Keep furniture and fixtures simple and kid friendly. Keep things economical so that you can change things out as your child grows and their needs change.
  • Time Check – Hang a simple clock in the study area. This will allow you to help with timing assignments.
  • Hang a Brag Board – A simple corkboard will give an area to hang awards, achievements and well-done assignments. This will encourage even the most frustrated student to push through.
  • Book Bag Hook – Hang a hook where a book bag can be hung. This will keep assignments close at hand and help with organization.

For more tips, call 800-788-6786 and request our e-book on Organization.