Introducing Dear Sheer Genius

We are pleased to introduce our new advice column, Dear Sheer Genius. This advice column will be sent out every week and we invite all of you to write to our very own attention specialist, Sheer Genius. You may write Sheer Genius and ask questions about Play Attention, attention problems, education, behavior shaping, parenting concerns, peer relationships etc.!

Sheer Genius is here to help!

Who is Sheer Genius?

Sheer Genius is the virtual member of the Play Attention family. His outstanding knowledge and experience is incorporated into Play Attention to help guide you through our program every step of the way! Lean more…

How do I submit a question?

To submit your question please email sheergenius@playattention.net. If your question is selected you will receive a personal email from Sheer Genius and your question/answer will be posted on our website as well as our Facebook page. We will only use your first name if you provide it.

Sheer Genius looks forward to hearing from you!

Letter to Sheer Genius:

ADHD and Spring Break Travel

Dear Sheer Genius,

Our family is getting ready to travel for Spring Break. We will be driving to our destination which means being in the car for a couple of days. Honestly I am a bit anxious about this. My ADHD son does not do well in a car for a couple hours much less a couple of days! Do you have any travel tips that might help this trip go smoother than I expect?

Thank you for your suggestions,
– Lydia, Hoping for a great family vacation

Dear Lydia,

Travel means a transition from routine and structure. Driving for two days means a lot of sitting in close quarters. And spring break means just overall excitement. All of this can add up to a stressful week for a parent of a child with ADHD. However, there are some steps that can help you have a happy, stress free family vacation.

Try these travel tips:

First and most important, discuss and write down the rules for expected behavior while traveling. Have your son sign the contract. Make certain to have rewards and consequences clearly defined.

Map out your travel. Have your child sit with you and look at the map. Discuss how many hours you will drive each day and what your destination will be for each day. Give your child his own copy of the map and a special marker, so he can mark off certain towns as you pass them along the way. This will allow him to visualize how far you have traveled and how far is left to go. This will help prevent, “Are we there yet?”

Plan out certain places you can take short breaks along the way. Make certain to stop for adequate stretch time. If possible when stopping at a rest area, do something active like a quick game of tag or a short walk.

Give your son a special travel bag. Tell him this is for items he can use in the car. Plan with him what will go in the bag, write those items down in a list. Have your son take the list and check things off as he packs them.

Research some special travel games you can play together like auto bingo! Talk about how each game is played. Write the name of each game on an index card and place in a small bag. Tell your son that if he behaves well in the car, he will be able to draw a card out of the box every two hours. You will then play that game for a given length of time. (You may negotiate the amount of time for each game and write that on the card as well. This will avoid debates or argument during the trip. Make certain to have a timer with you).

Plan snacks together that are car friendly. Make a list and go to the store together to get the items.

Bring your Play Attention program with you! Play Attention is very portable and can be used in the car. As a spring break bonus, we will give you a mini laptop with your Play Attention program installed and ready for travel. For more information, call 800-788-6786 and ask for the “Spring Break Travel Special!”

The more you can plan ahead and make your son a part of the planning process the better!

Happy trails!

Your friend,
Sheer Genius

Adult Adders Get Organized

Dear Sheer Genius,

I am an adult ADDer. My biggest problem is staying organized. My house is a complete wreck. I cannot find anything in my house, my car, or even at my office.

I am trying to set one goal for myself each moth that will help me become more organized. I would like to have a better system to deal with my mail. I have mail everywhere. Old mail, new mail, it all just piles up. I have missed appointments and constantly pay bills late because I cannot keep up with my mail. Do you have any strategies to help with this?

Check is in the mail (late)!

Brian
  • Dear Brian,

    Adults with ADHD often have difficulties with organization skills. Is your mail piled high on top of your desk? Have you missed paying a bill because you were unable to find it in the mail mound?

    Try these strategies:
    1. If you go to the post office to pick up your mail, sort the mail before you leave the post office. Throw away all magazines and junk mail that you do not need. Only bring home mail that is important or needs to be shredded.
    2When you get the mail home, immediately open and sort mail again over a shredder. Shred all credit card offers and other mail that is not needed but has your personal information on it. Throw away all empty envelopes.
    3. Place organizer trays on your desk or counter. One tray on top should be for time sensitive materials like bills that need to be paid in a timely manner. One tray can be for mail that needs to be filed. One tray for miscellaneous mail. These trays should be small so you will not be able to leave mail for more than a couple of days.
    4. Set aside time every day or at least every other day to take care of the mail in your trays.
    5. Set up as much automated bill pay and email reminders through your bank as possible. This will eliminate a lot of mail. It will also help you keep up with paying bills on time.

    Taking just a few minutes a day to organize your mail will alleviate a lot of stress, frustration and late fees in the long run. Remember Play Attention can teach you how to stay more organized!

    For More Tips & To Speak With
    An Attention Specialist
    Call 800-788-6786

    I do hope this helps!
    With all my best wishes and attention,– Sheer Genius

ADHD and Snow Days

Dear Sheer Genius,

Snow Days! We got a huge snow storm here in south. This is not typical for us. The schools closed early one day and were canceled for three more days after that.  I have two ADHD boys and I must say that I just was not ready for this. The change in their routine plus the excitement of the snow made my boys overly excited and impulsive. I found myself trying (unsuccessfully) to come up with things to do since we were stuck in the house. Jordan’s behavior was so hard to deal with, I found myself spending 3 long days struggling and yelling.

I realize now that I need to be much more prepared for days like this!

Ready for spring! Mary Judith

Dear Mary Judith,

This is a great question. It is important to be prepared for days that will be out of the ordinary. We know that children with ADHD do best when the day is predictable and structured, but all of our days cannot be guaranteed. Snow days, sick days, holidays, surprise house guests – these things happen. It is important that you have a plan for these changes in the routine so to keep everyone safe, happy, and healthy.

Here are some tips for snow days:
  1. Have a plan before the day starts. Discuss the plan and schedule with your child over breakfast.
  2. Try to keep the regular daily schedule as consistent as possible. Make certain you are keeping bed times, meal times, play times, and TV times all the same as usual.
  3. Go outside and have some fun! It may be chilly but bundle up and do some snow activities you may not typically get to do. Build a snowman, sled, or take a snowy nature walk.
  4. When you get inside have some time to wind down. Do a calming activity like snuggling up with some hot coco and read.
  5. Have a craft box available. Make certain to have an emergency go to craft box. Have zip lock bags in your box with simple craft ideas along with all of the necessary materials. Preparing your craft box, even a little at a time, pays off!
  6. Do a special event like planning a meal together. You and your child can plan a special Snow Day Dinner Party. Get online and check out some easy but fun new recipes that you can do together. Give your child the responsibility of helping you prepare certain parts of the meal and creating snow day decorations for the table. 
  7. Build an indoor fort with pillows and blankets.  Allow your child to read or play with Legos or some other hands on (tactile) toy inside the fort.
  8. Have a box with extra school activities.  On snow days have an agreement that a certain amount of time will be set aside for school activities. The amount of time will be dependent on the child’s age. 
For More Tips & To Speak With 
An Attention Specialist

Call 800-788-6786

I do hope this helps!
With all my best wishes and attention,

– Sheer Genius

ADHD and Diet

Dear Sheer Genius,

Ever since my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD, I have read a lot of different things to try in order to help manage the symptoms. One strategy I haven’t tried yet is changing her diet. Honestly my diet has never really been that great, so I really don’t know where to start. Do you have any suggestions on diet, and do you think it can really make a big difference? Maybe now is the time to change my diet along with hers.

Looking for advise,
Gloria. Richmond, VA

Dear Gloria,

This is a question I get asked frequently. It is difficult to say that changing your daughter’s diet will definitely help with her ADHD, because the research on this topic is limited and has mixed results. However we do know that getting adequate levels of the right foods optimizes brain function. A healthy diet is beneficial in a variety of ways. So even if a change in diet does not make a dramatic difference in her ADHD symptoms, it’s just an overall good idea to make some better choices when it comes to food. And you never know, it may actually prove to help your daughter control some of the inattentiveness and impulsivity she is now experiencing.

Here are some tips that may help you make some positive diet changes recommended by brain researcher and ADHD expert Daniel Amen, MD:

Eat a high-protein diet, including beans, cheese, eggs, meat, and nuts. Add protein foods in the morning and for after-school snacks, to improve concentration and possibly increase the time ADHD medications work.
Eat fewer simple carbohydrates, such as candy, corn syrup, honey, sugar, products made from white flour, white rice, and potatoes without the skins.
Eat more complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables and some fruits (including oranges, tangerines, pears, grapefruit, apples, and kiwi). Eating complex carbs at night may aid sleep.
Eat more omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in tuna, salmon, other cold-water white fish, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and olive and canola oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are also available in supplement form.

For More Tips & To Speak With
An Attention Specialist
Call 800-788-6786

I do hope this helps!
With all my best wishes and attention,
– Sheer Genius

Dear Sheer Genius,

The Superbowl has always been an event that my son and I enjoy watching together. He loves football, and it has been something we have bonded over. However, this weekend watching the Superbowl brings mixed feelings for him (and me).

Unfortunately this year he really struggled on the footbal team. He is now in 8th grade, and his team was quite good.

The difficulty is that his teammates have really improved through the years and my son has not. He actually struggled terribly this year. I know his difficulties were directly related to his ADHD. He was so discouraged about his performance on the field, he ended up quitting the team.

I have tried to talk to him about joining another sports team, but he has no interest in talking about it. Do you have any suggestions or thoughts on the importance of sports for a child who has ADHD? Or how to get them involved in a sport and be successful?

Thank you, Robert

Dear  Robert,

I am sorry to hear about your son’s difficulty with the football team. Sports can be an important part of your child’s development for many reasons.  However as you mentioned, ADHD can hinder a child’s ability to participate or excel in certain sports.

  Children with ADHD struggle with sports for a variety of reasons:
In certain sports like baseball and volleyball, there are time of inactivity. This time when they are not fully engaged opens up time for inattentiveness. Once they lose  their attention to the game, they cannot regain attention fast enough when action is required.

      Many children with ADHD have poor social skills. This makes it very difficult to bond with their team members and respond appropriately.

      If the child is really impulsive, they may appear to be bossy or trying to take over as they have difficulty waiting for their turn. They may also start the activity prematurely not waiting for the snap of the ball or the whistle that  indicates start time.

      ADHD also leads to the inability to follow through with multiple step instructions. This can lead to their inability to follow through on a plan of action set by the coach.

There are some steps you can do to help:
Try an individual sport first like swimming or karate. This will help your child develop a better kinesthetic awareness. It will also lead to some success in sports leading to improved self esteem.

      If you select a team sport, make certain to select one with lots of action like soccer. You do not want to choose one with a lot of down time.

      Ask you child what his/her interests are when it comes to sporting events. Listen and try to choose a sport that is of interest.

      Get out there and practice drills with your child. Not only will it improve your child’s abilities, but it is fantastic motivation and bonding time.

      If you have Play Attention, I would recommend the following add on games: Social Skills, Motor Skills, and Hand Eye Coordination. 

For More Tips & To Speak
With An Attention Specialist
Call  800-788-6786
I do hope this helps!

 With all my best wishes and attention,

 – Sheer Genius

 

Dear Sheer Genius,

I have been receiving your newsletters and read your information on Working Memory last week.  I believe that my daughter definitely has difficulty in that area.

I see that Play Attention is offering both working memory and auditory processing games within their software package this week.  Can you tell me a little more about Auditory Processing?  How would I know if my child has problems with Auditory Processing? How can Play Attention help?

Thank you for your time and tips,

Nacy, Considering Play Attention for my 7 year old daughter

Dear Nancy,

Thank you for reading our newsletters and for submitting your question.  If your daughter is struggling with Auditory Processing, you might notice the following:

    She has difficulty following through with multiple verbal instructions.
    She cannot follow conversations.
    She is disorganized and forgetful.
    She struggles in noisy environments.
    She has a difficult time comprehending abstract concepts.

Play Attention’s Auditory Processing exercise can help your daughter improve this skill.

For More Tips & To Speak With An Attention Specialist

Call 800-788-6786

– Sheer Genius

Dear Sheer Genius
Recently my son’s teacher told me that she suspects my child, who has ADHD, also has a working memory deficit.I have heard about short term memory and long term memory. What is working memory and what does it affect? If he does have a deficit in working memory, what can I do to help?Thank you for your time and tips,
Georgio, dad
 Dear Georgio,
Working memory is the ability to hold information in the mind while performing complex tasks. For example when your child has to answer a mathematical word problem, he is using working memory. The mathematical word problem requires him to remember the numbers and information provided, manipulate that information in some way, and then give a response. This is often a difficult area for children and adults with ADHD because it requires strong attention and memory skills.

Working memory is essential for tasks such as:
Reading comprehension
Problem solving
Effective planning
Writing reports
Completing assignments
Organization
There are some effective strategies you can use to assist your child. Play Attention also has an exciting Working Memory game that will help your child develop this essential skill.

At home:
Use checklists
Have designated areas for items such as keys, backpacks, homework, etc
Engage your child in planning events
Use timers to assist with time management
At school:
Give one direction at a time
Have students repeat information back to you to make certain they heard what you said
Have specific routines in place with visual reminders displayed
Allow students to record the lesson
Help students with an outline when planning large reports or projects
Play Attention’s Working Memory game is available!

For More Tips & To Speak With
An Attention Specialist
Call 800-788-6786

I do hope this helps!

With all my best wishes and attention,
– Sheer Genius
Dear Sheer Genius,
We are halfway through the school year and my 2nd grader is still struggling with some of the basic math facts he is supposed to learn. We have practiced by writing the facts over and over. We have done flash cards. We have done drills non stop. Nothing seems to work. What’s even more frustrating is that some days he can recall the math facts with no problem, then the next day he doesn’t know any of them.

I know he struggles more with this because of his ADHD, but I am at my wits end. Do you have any suggestions that I might try? Or is it really all that important that he learns these math facts? Most likely he will be using a calculator as he gets older.

I need some ADDITIONAL help.

Theresa

Photo: Dear Sheer Genius,</p><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>We are halfway through the school year and my 2nd grader is still struggling with some of the basic math facts he is supposed to learn. We have practiced by writing the facts over and over. We have done flash cards. We have done drills non stop. Nothing seems to work. What's even more frustrating is that some days he can recall the math facts with no problem, then the next day he doesn't know any of them.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>I know he struggles more with this because of his ADHD, but I am at my wits end. Do you have any suggestions that I might try? Or is it really all that important that he learns these math facts? Most likely he will be using a calculator as he gets older.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>I need some ADDITIONAL help. ;)</p><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Theresa

 

  • Play Attention Dear Theresa,

    Although children with ADHD are often very smart, most do struggle in school. Memory impairments caused by their ADHD may affect a child’s math performance in several ways. Your child may have difficulty retrieving basic arithmetic facts quickly. How often have you said to yourself, ”He knew the math facts yesterday but today it’s like he has never seen them before.” Not only is this frustrating for you, it is frustrating for your child!

    It is critical that your child learns math facts and has rapid recall.
    Math facts form the building blocks for higher-level math concepts.
    Math facts will expand their number sense.
    Mastering math facts will result in much faster computing. This will prepare your child for the upper grades in which math problems become much more difficult.
    If your child is struggling with recalling basic math facts, your child may lose confidence in his/her math abilities.
    Now your child or students can practice their math facts but only while they are paying maximum attention to the task!

    New Play Attention Math Games are now available!
    http://www.playattention.com/math-games-available/
ADHD & The Holidays
Dear Sheer Genius,

This time of year my son who has ADHD seems to get more anxious and impulsive. I think it is because there are so many changes to his regular schedule. There is a lot of excitement and a lot more people visiting our home. His behavior is difficult to deal with, and I am yelling at him constantly. I feel so bad because I know this is just part of his ADHD and he is really struggling to keep it together. Any suggestions to help us through the holidays?

Warm Wishes,
Gillian

Play Attention Dear Gillian,

Thank you for your holiday question. This is a difficult time for many children with ADHD. As you said, the change in their routine and all the excitement cause many children to become anxious and over stimulated.

There are some steps you can take to help. Therefore I will be posting a special holiday series on our Play Attention Blog and Facebook page. This series will have some helpful tips that you can use this season.

Holiday Time Management: Part 1

You may have noticed that the holidays can be problematic for an ADHD child if you don’t prepare. Changes in routine can become fuel for fights. There are things you can do to make life easier.

1. A written holiday schedule provides structure by breaking each day into understandable chunks. Take time to review the schedule with your child at breakfast and refer back to it throughout the day. Use a picture chart for younger children.

More to come shortly…

 

Dear Sheer Genius,

Both my son and I struggle with ADHD. This makes the day to day very challenging. Lately we have been struggling to get things done. My son is bright and not lazy but cannot get anything done. Homework takes hours. His chores are never done. This makes me mad sometimes, but I really can’t get too mad at him because I struggle with this too. I find myself starting lots of projects and finishing nothing. I am always missing deadlines at work and have received many warnings from my boss because of this.

Do you have any tips that could help us?

Molly, Overwhelmed and concerned

Dear Molly,

Accomplishing daily tasks is often extremely difficult for both children and adults with ADHD.  When a task is given, there is often a sense of being overwhelmed, of not knowing how to start, or of never being able finish.  Because of this, ADHD school children fight with mom & dad over homework, and ADHD adults often find their jobs jeopardized.
 
The following tips can help accomplish tasks and avoid frustration:
 
1. When doing worksheet homework, cover part of the worksheet with a piece of paper so the child isn’t overwhelmed with the amount of work on the page.  Tell your child to not worry about the number of problems on the page – just complete the first 3 questions for now. Avoid overwhelming your child by breaking down assignments into smaller manageable pieces.
 
2. Cleaning up often can seem overwhelming when you look at entire room or the whole house. Again, break down the chore; choose just one section and stay there until it is complete.  For example, instead of instructing your child to clean his entire room, break the task into parts.  Say, “Please put your toys in the toy chest. You’ve got five minutes.”  Set a timer for five minutes. Provide lots of positive reinforcement when that portion is done.  Set another small cleaning task. Set the timer. Repeat. As an adult you can use the same strategy.  Instead of looking at the entire house as a task that must be tackled, assign yourself one achievable task.  Put the dishes away.  Set a timer. Remain on that task until completion and then add another small task.
 
3. When there is a long term project due either for school or work, instead of trying to decide how you are going to get the entire project done in two weeks.  Focus on what part of the project you can accomplish within the next hour. When that portion is complete, write a goal and a date to complete the next part.
 
4. Working together can be a great way to provide motivation and teach your child how to stay on task.  Find a task you can complete as a family.  Model how to break the task down and work together until the task is completed.  The more you model how to successfully complete a task, the easier it will become for your child to develop his/her own strategies for success.  If you are an adult and need help ask a friend or spouse to tackle the task with you. Partnering can be a fun way to get things done while teaching successful strategies.
 
Changing your approach to tasks can make all the difference.  You can get things done in a timely manner and feel a great sense of accomplishment!
 
For More Tips & To Speak With 
An Attention Specialist
Call 800-788-6786
 
I do hope this helps! With all my best wishes and attention,
– Sheer Genius

Dear Sheer Genius,

We recently got my son’s first report card from school. It is so frustrating. I know he is incredibly smart, and yet this is not reflected in the report card. He has D’s and F’s in almost every subject area. I quiz him and work with him every night, and he shows me that he knows the material. However due to his ADHD, he is not a good test taker and this results in his low grades. I feel that the tests are not truly assessing whether or not he knows the material.  The tests are showing that he cannot attend long enough to show what he knows!

Do you have any test taking tips that could help us?

Bruno, Concerned Dad

Dear Bruno,

I am sorry to hear about that first report card. I know the low grades can be very hard to see. Tests are typically very stressful for an ADHD child. Although many children with ADHD are extremely bright, they often have weak cognitive skills which makes test taking very difficult. Therefore, the test results may not accurately reflect your child’s true intellectual ability. You can take some steps to help your child or with ADHD prepare for upcoming tests.  
  • Make certain you are studying the right material.  Meet with the teacher and make certain you and your child understand what will be covered on the test.  You don’t want to spend a lot of time studying the wrong material.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to study for the test.  Break down the material and do short study sessions daily.
  • If you child has an IEP or 504 with testing accommodations, make certain all of the teachers are aware of these accommodations and are ready to implement them on the day of the test.
  • Review the format of each test with your child ahead of time.  Will the test be essays, multiple choice, or short answer? Develop the same type of practice test and have your child take the practice test in order to review strategies that will help.
  • Practice reading instructions and answers.  Stress the importance of reading the instructions and multiple choice answers in their entirety before proceeding.  
  • Discuss the importance of reviewing your answers prior to turning in the test.
  • Make certain your child gets a good night rest the night before a big test.
  • Your child should have always have a good breakfast, however it’s especially important on test day.
I do hope this helps! With all my best wishes and attention,
– Sheer Genius

Dear Sheer Genius,

Thank you for last week’s tips on social skills.  My son also struggles in this area. I think one thing that bothers people the most is that he constantly interrupts them when they are talking! This makes it difficult for him to keep friends. It also gets him in trouble with adults. I must admit that even though I know it is due to his ADHD, it gets on my nerves too. Do you have any tips that I can use to help him become more aware of what his is doing and how to control it?

Roberto, A dad ready to listen to your advice without interruption!

Dear Roberto,

Children and adults with ADHD often have a difficult time with impulse control. Often they will interrupt someone else’s conversation. To compound this, their interruption will be on a completely different subject.  Even though the ADHD individual does not do this on purpose, it represents poor social skills.  Poor social skills make it difficult to develop positive peer relationships.
 
It’s important to discuss this subject with your child. Remember that your child is often unaware he tends to interrupt.  The purpose of your discussion is to help your child become aware of the behavior without hurting his feelings or causing him to become defensive.
If your child interrupts you while you are speaking, be certain to stop him immediately and explain what he just did and how that made you feel. Ask him how he feels when people interrupt him. 
 
Now combine stopping him verbally with a hand signal. Say “Excuse me, but I was speaking, and you interrupted me,” while placing your index finger under your lips and looking him directly in the eyes. When you are in public this is going to be the hand signal you use to show him that he is interrupting. By using a hand signal you won’t embarrass your child, but you will provide him with a sign so he can recognize the behavior, apologize to that person and allow the other person to continue speaking. 
 
This is a skill acquired by direct instruction. Therefore, you should practice this at home. Remember to positively reinforce him when he does NOT interrupt. Direct instruction and positive reinforcement are great ways to improve this behavior.
 
* You may modify this approach to help your spouse as well.
 
Remember Play Attention can help your child develop the skills she needs to make friends and keep friends. We have a fantastic add on game called Social Skills. It specifically teaches your child how to develop the ability to understand social cues. This means when he gets “the look” after interrupting someone, he will be able to recognize this and modify his behavior.  See our Social Skills Game.
With all my best wishes and attention,
– Sheer Genius

Dear Sheer Genius,

My 8 year old daughter is really struggling with friendships. She comes across terribly bossy and is extremely impulsive. I have also noticed that she does not seem to pick up on social cues, so she tends to do things or say things that cause problems. The difficult thing is she doesn’t understand why the children in her class avoid her. She comes home saying, “Everyone is mean to me.” When truly I know she is the one who is causing the conflict. It makes me so sad to see her on the playground by herself because I know she has a good heart and could be a great friend. Is there anything I can do to help her be a better friend?

Seeking some friendly advice,
Lauren, mom of a friend worthy 8 year old

Dear Lauren,

Making friends and keeping friends can be difficult for children with ADHD. Positive peer relationships are critical to your child’s development and self esteem. You may notice that your child misses social cues, gets quickly bored with the games the other children are playing, or simply acts too impulsively when in social situations.

There are some steps you can take to help your child develop these essential social skills.
Discuss People’s Feelings: Look at pictures of different people in a magazine. Ask your child how she thinks that person is feeling and how she came to that conclusion. You may also prompt her to tell you what she thinks might have happened before the picture was taken that caused the emotion.
 
Role Play Social Situations: Act out different scenarios with your child. “Let’s pretend you are meeting me for the first time.” Or “Let’s pretend you see a group of children playing and you want to join in.” Role playing will allow you to model appropriate social behavior.
 
Positive Feedback: When you see your child display good social behavior be certain to provide immediate positive feedback. “I liked how you helped John up when he fell. That was so kind.” Or “Thank you for holding the door open for me. That is so polite.” Play Attention: Play Attention can help your child develop the skills she needs to make friends and keep friends. We have a fantastic add on game called Social Skills. It specifically teaches your child how to develop the ability to understand social cues. Most importantly, like all of our games within Play Attention, she can only play the game if she is in her maximum attentive state. If she loses her attention, the game will stop and wait for her to focus. This will ensure your daughter will get maximum benefit from the teaching method. See our Social Skills Game.

Dear Sheer Genius,

We were just notified by the school that they are going to put an IEP in place for our son. We are thankful for this because he definitely needs some specialized assistance.  However, I am concerned that we do not know enough about the IEP.  I have read a lot of articles that say we need to be involved in the process to make certain the IEP includes everything it should, but we really don’t know where to start! There is so much information, it all gets a bit confusing.

Do you have any suggestions regarding what I should ask for during the IEP meeting?

Thanks!
John & Kate, Parents needing IEP guidance

Dear John & Kate,

I am glad the school is putting an IEP in place so your child can get the help he needs. But you are right, the process can be confusing. You want to be prepared!

First, I would recommend that you attend Play Attention’s special IEP/504 webinar next Thursday at 11:30 AM ET. This webinar will provide you with a lot of important information. Click here to register. Below please find some other important points for your meeting:
  • In order to make certain the IEP goals relate to your child’s specific needs, the IEP team is required to describes your child’s “present levels of academic achievement and functional performance.” The present levels of performance should describe your child’s unique needs that result from the disability. 
  • The present level of performance should include the most recent evaluation or re-evaluation.
  • The IEP should state exactly how the school is going to meet each one of your child’s specific needs. Therefore, make certain ALL of your child’s needs are included.
  • The goals should state what the student should know or be able to do as a result of the IEP. The goal must be measurable/observable.
  • The goals should take into account the areas of the general curriculum that are difficult for your child, and what are the most important areas for him to master within that curriculum.
  • The goals should also consider other areas of difficulty that may include behavior, motor, social-emotional, communication, or self-help.
  • Each annual goal should include at least 2 near term objectives. These should include small benchmarks that your child should be able to accomplish and demonstrate within a 9 week period that moves him closer to his annual goal.
  • Be prepared so you can have a SMART IEP
    The term SMART IEPs describes IEPs that are specific, measurable, use action 
    words, are realistic and relevant, and time-limited. 
     
    S Specific 
    M Measurable 
    A Use Action Words 
    R Realistic and relevant 
    T Time-limited 
My professional Play Attention staff has put together some resources to assist you in understanding more about your child’s rights:
FREE IEP/504 Webinar:
Attend our special IEP/504 webinar on September 19th and learn how to get the accommodations your child needs.  We will have special guest speaker, Dr. Susan Crum, who specializes in student advocacy. Click here to register or call 800-788-6786. FREE eBook on IDEA, 504, and IEP:
If you would like to receive our free eBook that will answer your questions about IDEA, 504, and IEP, click here or call 800-788-6786.
Link to more IEP/504 Information:
Click here and read more about the 504 plan on our website.

Dear Sheer Genius,

My child is diagnosed with ADHD and struggles terribly in school. He is very intelligent but has a hard time focusing in the classroom. He rarely gets seat work completed and is constantly missing recess as a result. He has a hard time following through with the teacher’s instructions, and he constantly forgets to bring home his homework!

I have asked the school for help but I am not getting much support at all. I heard that he may qualify for an IEP or a 504 plan, but I am confused about those two options.  I am not certain how to even start the process.

Any suggestions on how to get the accommodations my son needs?

Thank you.
Kendra, Mom of a bright but struggling student

Dear Kendra,

The educational maze can be a confusing one for certain! It is important that you know your child’s rights so he can get the help he needs.

An IEP defines the individualized objectives of a child who has been found with a disability, as defined by federal regulations. The IEP is intended to help children reach educational goals more easily than they otherwise would.
504 plans are developed by school teams and parents to support the educational needs of a K-12 student with a disability that “substantially limits one or more major life activity” such as: learning, speaking, listening, reading, writing, concentrating, caring for oneself, etc. A 504 plan is a good option for a K-12 student if:
  • The child has an identified learning disability (LD) or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) but does not meet the requirements of IDEA for special education services and supports
  • The child is currently receiving informal accommodations or ongoing support at school
Many of you have heard of the 504 plan but question if your child qualifies.  Others are about to go to a 504 meeting and are unsure of what to ask.  The 504 plan spells out the accommodations and modifications that will be necessary for your child to have an opportunity to perform at the same level as his/her peers.  Having ADHD does not guarantee your child will qualify for a 504 plan.  However, if you child’s ADHD symptoms significantly limit his or her ability to learn, he/she may receive a 504 plan.
Some 504 plan accommodations may include:
  • Seating the student in an area with limited distractions
  • Provide a second set of books for home
  • Reduce the length of assignments given at one time
  • Consider testing environment
  • Establish a notebook organization policy
  • Remember to work with your school system in a positive way to develop the best plan for your child.
My professional Play Attention staff has put together some resources to assist you in understanding more about your child’s rights:
FREE IEP/504 Webinar:
Attend our special IEP/504 webinar on September 19th and learn how to get the accommodations your child needs.  We will have special guest speaker, Dr. Susan Crum, who specializes in student advocacy. Click here to register or call 800-788-6786.FREE eBook on IDEA, 504, and IEP:
If you would like to receive our free eBook that will answer your questions about IDEA, 504, and IEP, click here or call 800-788-6786.
Link to more IEP/504 Information:
Click here and read more about the 504 plan on our website.

www.playattention.com
800-788-6786

Dear Sheer Genius,

Thank you for all of the back to school tips so far. Our biggest challenge is homework! We spend hours on homework every night with my daughter. This is so frustrating for the entire family and really makes our evenings miserable. She just doesn’t seem to be able to get anything done without me or my husband standing over her and constantly redirecting her. Do you have any suggestions on how to make homework time more successful and less time consuming?

Thank you.
Norah, Mother wanting to reclaim her nights

Dear Norah,

Thank you for your question.  I know homework time is a huge challenge for a lot of families. The biggest frustration I hear is that the child is bright and CAN do the work, it’s just the process that is difficult.  They cannot seem to start the homework in a timely manner and stay on task until completion.  This often results in 15 minutes of homework taking 2 hours and a fight!  You can definitely take some steps to help with this process and reclaim your nights! First of all, if you are a current Play Attention client, I recommend that you use my Academic Bridge game during homework.  Academic Bridge will allow you and your daughter to monitor her attention during her homework. I will give her constant feedback as to when she is paying attention and when she is not.  You will no longer have to redirect her. That is my job now! This game will actually teach your daughter how to start and complete her homework with full attention and in a timely manner. You may view more on this game here… I would also recommend that you set up a special Homework Center:
Do you send your child to her room to do homework?  Is the room so full of distractions that it is impossible for her to stay on task?  Is your child constantly wasting time before homework because she cannot find the materials she needs?  
 
Your solution: Create a special homework center with your child and eliminate the distractions and wasted time.  The more you get your child involved in this process the more special the area becomes to your child!  
 
1.  Find an area that is conducive to doing homework.  It should not be in the center of the home where there are lots of visual and auditory distractions.  To get your child involved in the decision making process pick out 3 areas and let her choose which area she would like the best.
2. Make a list.  Sit down with your child and make a list of all of the items needed in the homework center.  Items may include pens, pencils, lined paper, an in-box for homework assignments, an out-box for completed assignments, calculator, bookshelf, scissors, trashcan etc.  If you plan wisely there should be no more, “but mom I can’t find…”.
3. Make certain you have a clean workspace with a comfortable chair.  You may choose to include a bean bag so she can be nice and comfy when reading.  You may want to include a chair for yourself so you will have a spot when reviewing the homework.
4. Have a timer.  Timers are a great way to teach time management.  Include a timer in the homework area so you can set up time limits for different assignments. 
5. Post a bulletin board so you can post good grades, personal goals, or a reward board.  
 
Taking the time now to create a special homework center with your child can save you a lot of time and energy in the end.  And it may just make homework time a little more enjoyable!
 
With all my support and attention,

Dear Sheer Genius,

 

My wife and I would like to start Play Attention with our son. We know that we must be consistent so we were hesitant to start this summer because we had a lot of trips and camps scheduled. Now school is about to start, and we know our son will be struggling to keep up. Play Attention can definitely help him in school but is now the right time to start?

Thank you.
Robert, Concerned dad of an ADHD child

Dear Concerned Dad,

Thank you for your question.  The beginning of the school year is a fantastic time to start Play Attention. Not only will you start seeing positive changes within the first marking period, you will be able to finish Play Attention by the end of the school year and make changes that will last a lifetime. As an added bonus, I am releasing my Back to School Challenge! You will be automatically enrolled into this challenge when you start Play Attention and get even greater benefits like free rewards, electronic report cards, and more!.

Consider this:

  • Your personal support adviser will help you build Play Attention into a schedule that will work for you. If you can put aside 15 minutes/4 times a week, you can do Play Attention! 
  • You will start seeing positive changes within the first marking period! Imagine only spending 15 minutes on homework and not 3 hours!
  • By the middle of the school year, your child will be consistently applying these new skills! Improved attention, memory, task completion, behavior, and more!
  • You and your child will be having fun as each quarter you complete the Sheer Genius report card and win free rewards!
  • Your child will be able to graduate Play Attention by the end of the school year and have skills that last a lifetime! 

No more hesitation. Your child wants to have a successful year in school and we can help make that happen! Call 800-788-6786 to get started. We are excited to hear about your son’s progress as he starts this new school year! 

 
With all my support and attention,

 

Dear Sheer Genius,

School has just started and our mornings are chaotic and stressful! I feel like we are constantly rushing around. My sons are brain dead in the mornings. They can’t seem to remember anything they have to do. Why can they not remember to simply brush their teeth, eat breakfast, and pack their backpacks? We do the same thing every morning! I feel like I’m in an episode of the Walking Dead! (Zombie reference)I find myself being frustrated and cranky as I push them out the door. I don’t like starting the day like this. I want them to start school relaxed and ready to face the day!I understand that this is typical for many children with ADHD, but I really need some suggestions to help make our mornings better.

Thanks,
Amelia, Mom struggling with zombie morning madness

Dear Amelia,

Goodbye to the lazy days of summer.  Hello morning madness!With the start of school comes morning hustle and bustle. You are trying to get yourself to work, lunches packed, homework signed, and kids out the door all in a timely manner.  This can cause a bit of stress in any home.  A harried morning can really affect the rest of your day.  Be certain that you take some steps to organize yourself, your children and your spouse.

The night before: 
  • Everyone lays out their clothes for the next day. 
  • Set the breakfast table so children can have easy access to everything they will need for breakfast.
  • Make certain back packs are packed with homework and all permission slips etc are signed. 
  • Pack lunches.
Organization: 
  • Have a check list for the morning routine for children to follow. Children can check off each step as it is completed. 
  • Have specific places for items. For example, make certain to put your car keys on a rack, jacket in closet and purse on the table by the door. Be consistent. This will help you avoid looking for lost items in the morning.

Take some time to discuss the process and practice the routine. Put the routine and organization in place and be consistent. You can create a morning that is truly a good morning! 

With all my support and attention,
Sheer Genius

Dear Sheer Genius,

My daughter has Inattentive ADD, Anxiety and PTSD and has been struggling in school ever since first grade. She is now in 7th grade. I’ve tried counseling, medication, structured schedules, etc.

This year I learned of private schools that cater to kids with learning disorders. It was not until a couple of months ago that I learned of these schools, so of course I could not meet any kind of deadlines (financial assistance/admission applications). All of these schools charge tuition. I am a hard working single mom yet I do not make very much money and my bills are high. I cannot afford to pay tuition. I’ve asked about financial assistance but of course it has all been given out by now for the 2013-2014 school year.

Is there not help for people in my situation, and are there not schools like this that are FREE? I hate that for my daughter to get the best possible education with her disorder, I have to pay big money for it. That is not fair. I’m sure there are tons of people in my situation and what do we do? Just leave our kids to suffer and fail in the hands of the public schools because we cannot afford these outrageous tuition amounts?

Because of her low grades, lack of focus, social struggles, peer pressure and two surgeries, she is having to repeat the 7th grade next year. I have to do something now or she will just continue to go downhill. There are way too many distractions in middle school and high school on top of not being able to learn like a normal student. I feel completely helpless and I fear that she will continue to struggle even more as she gets in to the higher grade levels. I do not want my daughter in public school again next year but it is looking like I have no choice and that really sucks!

– Angela, Concerned mother of a 7th grade daughter

Dear Angela,

I do understand your frustration. You are correct, many parents are facing the same difficulties. It sounds like you have been trying different strategies to assist your child, and that is great. If you feel like a specialized private school will be best for your daughter but it will not work out until next school year, then you have time to research and plan. Instead of focusing on time lost, use this year to set a goal to find the right school and financial assistance for next year. Having time to research and plan will be great for both you and your daughter. You will have the time to make the best possible decision.

In the meantime, you must make a plan to make this school year as successful as possible. Here are some suggestions:

1. Make certain your daughter’s IEP or 504 plan is up to date and that all teachers are aware of the accommodations. If you do not have an IEP or 504, you should request one as soon as possible.
2. Assess some of your child’s needs for the school year. Will she need a tutor to help her with homework? Is there a study skills class at school she can attend? You may be able to find some free or low cost after school programs at local churches or YMCAs.
3. Don’t forget exercise. Activity, particularly outdoor activities, are imperative to the ADHD child. Make certain to plan some times for your child to be physically active.
4. Discuss with your daughter any anxieties she may be having about the new school year. Review her list and brainstorm on ways to ease those anxieties. Is she worried about being in a particular teacher’s class? Arrange a meeting when the two of you can meet the teacher together before school starts. Is she worried about the homework? Make a plan together regarding homework ie. when it will be done, where it will be done, who will support her.
5. Plan structure together. I know you mentioned you have done this but please do continue. Structure is very important. Your daughter is now at an age where she can plan the structure with you. Even though the structure may not be working as well as you want, you should modify where needed but continue providing the structure and organization.
6. Don’t do this on your own. Surround yourself with people who can support you and your daughter. You can’t do everything on your own and sometimes you just need someone else to talk to. Make certain to reach out to others who can help you. Look for parent support groups in your area for yourself and perhaps a big sister program for your daughter.

I hope this list is helpful. There of course are more tips and strategies that will help but start small and build up from there. I will be continuing to provide more tips in upcoming newsletters.

Remember to review Play Attention as well. Play Attention is a fantastic learning program that you can set up at home and work under our professional guidance. Play Attention can teach your daughter the skills she needs in order to thrive and succeed in school. You will need to use Play Attention for approximately 8 months for the skills to be permanent so now is a great time to start. I know cost is a concern for you but when you calculate the cost of Play Attention over an 8 month period, the cost is much less than that of your typical tutoring program. If you would like one of our specialists to review your child’s needs and develop a customized Play Attention plan for your review, please visit http://www.playattention.com/consultation/ or call me at 800.788.6786.

With all my support and attention,
Sheer Genius

www.playattention.com

 

Dear Sheer Genius,

Our family is currently using Play Attention with my son, 9, and daughter, 12. We will be traveling quite a bit this summer and I really do not want to stop our training schedule. We have been consistent so far and I want to maintain our schedule as much as possible. I have seen great results so far and I am looking forward a positive new school year for both of my children.

Do you think it is a good plan to take Play Attention on the road with us? How easy would this be especially if at times we do not have Internet connection.

Thank you.
Melinda, Play Attention mom

Dear Melinda,

Thank you for your question. I am so glad to hear that you have set up a consistent schedule with your children. I have good news for you! Play Attention is truly very easy to take on the road! Consider the following:

The Play Attention system is very compact. It will easily fit into a travel bag.

You can run Play Attention on your laptop, netbook, or tablet.

Your data is easily transferable from your desktop to your laptop. Your support adviser can help you to export your current data file to your travel computer.

You do not need to be connected to the internet when doing your Play Attention session.

Since Play Attention is completely wireless, you can even do your session in the car!

I am very proud of you and your family making Play Attention a part of your routine. This will make a huge difference to your children’s learning process. Remember though that sometimes breaks are unavoidable. It is okay to take a small break over the summer as long as you pick up your sessions as soon as you return.

Keep up the great work. We are excited to hear about your children’s progress as they start their new school year!

With all my support and attention,
Sheer Genius

 

Dear Sheer Genius,

I am just starting my Play Attention program with my child. I would like to talk to my son’s teacher when school starts and ask her support what my son is learning during Play Attention. Do you think this is a good idea or do you have any suggestions on this process?

– Cheri, Mom of new Play Attention student

Dear Cheri,

Your question is excellent. We do encourage you to communicate with your son’s teacher as well as any other people who are closely involved with your son. We call this the Play Attention Circle of Success. The more people you get involved in the process and positively reinforcing your son’s learning process, the easier time he will have applying the skills he is learning back into the classroom.

Play Attention has an easy system in place that will allow you to set up your contacts email addresses so you can email updates right from the program. Below please find an example of an email correspondence that was sent from one of our Play Attention professionals to the student’s teacher. This is a fantastic example of how to communicate with others and encourage them to support the Play Attention process. I’ll post an actual email exchange between parent and teacher below.

With all my support and attention,
Sheer Genius
———————————————————————————

Actual Email From Play Attention Coach to Teacher

Hi Sue,

Wanted to let you know that Travis completed 4 Play Attention games of 5 minutes each last night. Travis displayed patience, focus, calm body, politeness, followed directions, and as I said to him, “Yes Travis, you were the Boss of your Body…and you scored BIG.”

We did talk about telling his sub teacher how he was feeling instead of calling her a “monster”. We will keep working on Travis being in control of his words too, just like his body. His behavior seems to be highly connected to expressing his feelings, such as inadequacy, (his perceived mistake). We have been repeating, “It is Ok to make mistakes, that is how we learn”.

Please recognize him for his hard work and growth at Play Attention and staying focused and in control of his body.

Will try to keep you posted Sue, because it is important to him to have you and Delia knowing about how well he is doing.

Have a great weekend,
Gay R.
———————————————
Teacher’s Response
Thanks for the update! He is having a good day.

Sue

Sue Morrison
Douglas Elementary School

Dear Sheer Genius,

I know I am not incapable of being successful but it seems as though my ADHD is sabotaging me in the workplace. I look around me and it seems my coworkers have such an easier time staying organized and making deadlines. I have been passed over for a promotion 3 times (most recently as of today) due to my inability to complete projects and incomplete paperwork. I also tend to show up late on a consistent basis and have had several conflicts with my immediate supervisor.

Help! I really do not want to disclose the fact that I have ADHD to my boss. I want to just take care of this on my own and show everyone I CAN do this! What can I do to be more successful at my job?

Sincerely,
Larry G., Discontented and Defeated

Play Attention Dear Discontented and Defeated,

I know that it seems like an uphill battle and you are not alone: According to the ADHD Awareness Coalition: “Sixty percent of adult ADDers surveyed said they had lost, or changed, a job or blamed their termination on their ADHD symptoms. Thirty six percent said they have had four jobs or more in the last ten years with seven percent having had ten or more jobs over the course of the last ten years.”

Studies also suggest that college graduates with ADD earn $4,300 less per year than their non ADD coworkers.

Do not lose heart. You CAN be successful in the workplace. Many ADD adults are highly successful in the workplace. Richard Branson, Charles Schwab, Ed Hallowell, M.D., Mariette Hartley, Justin Timberlake and Terry Bradshaw, just to name a few!

It is never too late to develop coping skills. Below please find a few suggestions for the workplace:

Don’t be late. If you are consistently late for work set up a morning routine. Write down your morning routine with expected times next to each step. Then practice, practice, practice. Adjust times as needed. Do you need to get up earlier? Do you need to allow more time for your commute? Keep adjusting your times until you find the routine that works.

Complete projects. Take large work projects and break it up into small segments. Set a time goal for each segment and send yourself email reminders as to when each segment should be completed.

Organize your workspace. Take some time to go through any excess paperwork on your desk and throw away what you do not need. Chances are you have a lot of extra clutter on your desk that is unnecessary. Have labeled files for remaining paperwork. You will be much more productive if your environment is tidy and free of visual distractions.

Eliminate noise. Try white noise to close out the din. There are several white noise apps now available.

Review your schedule. Before you start your day, review your schedule so you have an idea of what is on the agenda for the day and set up reminders on your computer for important tasks or meetings. Make certain your scheduled tasks are set before you start your day.

Help for a good night’s sleep. Write a list of any outstanding tasks or worries you may have earlier in the evening. Often times when you write a list of what’s on your mind before moving into bedtime, it helps you get a better night’s sleep because you are able to mentally check things off and quiet your mind.

Develop skills. Use Play Attention to help yourself develop coping skills you need in order to improve attention, memory, task completion, impulse control etc. We know that you are never too old to develop the skills necessary to be successful in the workplace. Play Attention and our team of caring, professionals can help you on your road to success.

With all my support and attention,
Sheer Genius
To read more great suggestions: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Play-Attention/117216089703

Dear Sheer Genius,

It is almost time to go back to school and my 11 year old son is very nervous. School is always a challenge for him. His ADHD has caused a lot of difficulties with school work and peer relationships.This year is going to be especially difficult because he has to move to the junior high building. New building, new friends, new teachers.  This is all causing a lot of anxiety. Can you give me any tips on helping the school year go smoother? I am anxious too!

Thanks,
Justine, Anxious mom

Dear Justine,

Thank you for your question. I know a lot of moms, dads, and kids are feeling the same way right now. To assist you, I am going to focus this entire month on back to school tips! Also watch for Play Attention’s new back to school special! You don’t want to miss it! 
Your child is nervous about the first day of school. It’s normal and natural. We all want to establish a good relationship right from day one. 

That’s why it’s important that both you and your child have a positive relationship with the teacher. Teachers don’t like surprises. So, it’s a good idea to ask your child’s teacher if he/she would have a moment to meet with you before school begins. If time will not allow for this, write the teacher a personal letter. Also, take a trip to the school with your child before it officially starts. Look for your child’s new homeroom, some of the classrooms he’ll be in, his locker section, and even the restrooms. You can even make a map as you go along. Remind your child that it will look a little different when it’s filled with other children. Familiarity usually reduces anxiety for both your child and you!

With all my support and attention,
Sheer Genius


  Dear

  Sheer Genius,

>

>

  The Superbowl has always been an event that my son and I

  enjoy watching together. He loves football, and it has been

  something we have bonded over. However, this weekend

  watching the Superbowl brings mixed feelings for him (and

  me). 

 

 

>

  Unfortunately this year he really struggled on the football

  team. He is now in 8th grade, and his team was quite good.

  The difficulty is that his teammates have really improved

  through the years and my son has not. He actually struggled

  terribly this year. I know his difficulties were directly

  related to his ADHD. He was so discouraged about his

  performance on the field, he ended up quitting the team.

 

 

 

  I have tried to talk to him about joining another sports

  team, but he has no interest in talking about it. Do you

  have any suggestions or thoughts on the importance of sports

  for a child who has ADHD? Or how to get them involved in a

  sport and be successful?

 

 

>

> Thank you, Robert

 

 

>

> Dear

> Robert,

 

 

>

>

  I am sorry to hear about your son’s difficulty with the

  football team. Sports can be an important part of your

  child’s development for many reasons.  However as

  you mentioned, ADHD can hinder a child’s ability to

  participate or excel in certain sports.

 

>

>

  Children with ADHD struggle with sports for a variety of

  reasons:

 

>

      In certain sports like baseball and volleyball, there

  are time of inactivity. This time when they are not fully

  engaged opens up time for inattentiveness. Once they lose

  their attention to the game, they cannot regain attention

  fast enough when action is required.

      Many children with ADHD have poor social skills. This

  makes it very difficult to bond with their team members and

  respond appropriately.

      If the child is really impulsive, they may appear to be

  bossy or trying to take over as they have difficulty waiting

  for their turn. They may also start the activity prematurely

  not waiting for the snap of the ball or the whistle that

  indicates start time.

      ADHD also leads to the inability to follow through with

  multiple step instructions. This can lead to their inability

  to follow through on a plan of action set by the coach.

 

> There are some steps you can do to help:

 

>

      Try an individual sport first like swimming or karate.

  This will help your child develop a better kinesthetic

  awareness. It will also lead to some success in sports

  leading to improved self esteem.

      If you select a team sport, make certain to select one

  with lots of action like soccer. You do not want to choose

  one with a lot of down time.

      Ask you child what his/her interests are when it comes

  to sporting events. Listen and try to choose a sport that is

  of interest.

      Get out there and practice drills with your child. Not

  only will it improve your child’s abilities, but it is

  fantastic motivation and bonding time.

      If you have Play Attention, I would recommend the

  following add on games: Social Skills, Motor Skills, and

  Hand Eye Coordination. 

 

 

> For More Tips & To Speak

> With 

>

> An Attention Specialist

>

> Call

> 800-788-6786

 

 

 

  I do hope this helps!