Kids treated for ADHD can still struggle in school, especially girls.

As reported by Channel NewsAsia, a study conducted at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, suggests “Kids treated for ADHD can still struggle in school, especially girls.”

“Fewer girls are treated for ADHD, but when girls are diagnosed they fare worse than boys with ADHD,” said senior study author Dr. Jill Pell of the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

“Having ADHD had a bigger effect on girls than boys in terms of having special education needs, being excluded from school, doing worse on exams, being unemployed and needing to be admitted to the hospital,” Pell said by email.

For the current study, researchers examined data on 766,244 children and teens attending school in Scotland between 2009 and 2013. This included 7,413 kids taking medication for ADHD.

About 85 percent of the kids taking ADHD drugs were boys.

Compared to kids not being treated for ADHD, boys taking medication for the disorder were more than three times as likely to get poor grades in school. Girls on ADHD drugs, however, were more than five times as likely to get poor grades.

Roughly 64 percent of students taking ADHD drugs dropped out of school before age 16, compared with 28 percent of other students.

When they dropped out, boys with ADHD were 40 percent more likely than kids without the disorder to be unemployed six months later. For girls with ADHD, the risk of unemployment was 59 percent greater. [1]

“The study adds to a large body of evidence suggesting that stimulant medication for ADHD may not be enough on its own to help kids succeed,” said Dr. William Pelham, director of the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University in Miami.

Play Attention teaches the skills that medication alone cannot teach. If you are using medication to control symptoms of ADHD, Play Attention can then be used to teach the cognitive skills that are weakest for people with attention difficulties.

View the cognitive skills addressed in Play Attention here.

Play Attention also includes a full behavior shaping program that successfully teaches students how to control self-distracting or impulsive behaviors.

Read more about Play Attention’s behavior shaping program.

Attend our FREE webinar to learn more about how Play Attention can help.

Tufts University School of Medicine performed a controlled study of Play Attention (termed “NF” in study) in the Massachusetts School System. The outstanding results were published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics. View results here.


View study cited in articl: Educational and Health Outcomes of Children Treated for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

Join Kate, a real ADHD mom, as she addresses the principals . . .

Dear All Principals of All the Schools My Children Have Ever Attended,

     Let me introduce myself. I am the parent that consistently brings their child in late. I’m the one running through the door after first bell – my child trailing behind me dragging their half opened backpack eating breakfast on the go. I’m the one you give the ‘stink-eye’ to when you see me in the hallway. I’m the one whose child gets sympathetic glances from you that seem to say, “Poor you….your mom doesn’t care enough about you to get you here on time. Tsk,tsk…what a pity.” I’m the one you write the attendance warning letter to every spring. Anyway, Hi! Nice to meet you. I’m Kate.Kate_SM
     Can I tell you that any day I even get all three of my children to school is a win for me? If I get at least two out of three there on time, it’s a bonus win. All THREE to school ON TIME? Well, then I consider myself a gold medal finalist.
    Now, I love my kids. They’re delicious to me and I enjoy every minute with them, but to get them all out of bed, help find their clothes for the day, pack lunches, find shoes, let me repeat, find shoes, and get them all to their respective buses on time? Well…to ADHD me, it’s like climbing Mt. Everest every morning (without a Sherpa).
     You see, first I have to remember every day what time each one has to get out of bed, which is like…impossible. Then I have to remind myself not to get sidetracked by the stories they tell over their bowls of cereal. Then, I have to remember not to get sidetracked by the stories I tell them over my bowl of cereal. And so on..and so on…By the time we get to looking for that one shoe that is MIA, we hear the bus rumble by. “The Twinkie, mom! The Twinkie!” my son will yell. (Get it? Big and yellow and shaped like a…yup, Twinkie…Are my kids the only ones who even know what a Twinkie is anymore?)  Anyway, we’ll all run to the door to see the bus driver give us a sad little wave as he drives the Twinkie by our house yet again.
    So, dear principal, unless I receive a Sherpa for Easter, our relationship will most likely remain the same – you’ll give me the ‘stink-eye,’ and I’ll be pumping my fist that I got at least some of my kids to school today.
   Nice to meet you. See you tomorrow. (After first bell, of course)


How to deal with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Learners


Written for teachers and parents as well, this article expounds upon the essentials of schooling a child with ADHD. The lecturer also accentuates the importance of communication between parents and teachers to ensure an appropriate leaning environment. She concludes by stating the key factor for handling an ADHD child – PATIENCE.*

“You probably have these kids in your class: their eyes gawk at everything else but you. Even if you used super glue, they wouldn’t be able to keep their bottoms in the chair. I am talking about those students whose hands go up before the question is asked, and will answer the question, ‘Who can tell me what a noun is?’ with ‘Mrs. M, do you dye your hair?’ They solely display the hallmark symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It gets more frustrating with the knowledge that the brainpower is there but just can’t seem to focus on the material you’re working diligently to deliver.

In spite of your patience and motivation, such students can easily arouse frustration in you. Most teachers end up reprimanding or even punishing them, not knowing that attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) is an undeliberate disorder. Students with ADHD pay the price for their problems in low grades, scolding and punishment, teasing from peers, and low self-esteem. Meanwhile, you, the teacher, wind up taking complaints from parents who feel their kids are being cheated of your instruction.

A child doing his homework in the witchen table

The ultimate question then is: how do you teach a kid who won’t settle down and listen? The answer: with a lot of patience, creativity, and consistency. As a teacher, your role is to evaluate each child’s individual needs and strengths. Then you can develop strategies that will help students with ADHD focus, stay on task, and learn to their full capabilities.”[1]

Concentration is crucial to learning. Play Attention’s staff is composed of teachers and parents who’ve had the same kinds of experiences you’ve had. We’ve taught children who couldn’t focus in class, fidgeted incessantly, or couldn’t make friends.[2]

“Teachers at schools must understand the struggle a student with ADHD goes through and make certain that an ordered, safe, predictable classroom environment is set for such students. Educators should equally establish a gallant, working relationship with the student’s parents. Learn about their child’s strengths, weaknesses, interests and achievements outside the school.

Similarly, teachers should be aware of the teaching methods which are most effectively used at home by the parents. If teachers can communicate often and send encouraging notes home so that the parents are aware about the progress of the child, the results would be remarkable. However, it must be said that this depends on the mutual aid of the parents.

Further still, you can decide together on a sign or a code that you can use to remind the child to focus on the task. For example, make eye contact with the child or pick up a particular object to signal the child for attention.

Nonetheless, this can only work if they are looking at you. With their inattentive tendency, you may have to call on them most of the time to get their attention.

Teachers should avoid criticizing the child in front of his or her peers. Instead, they can use a point system, tokens, stars, or other methods to reinforce and appreciate appropriate behavior in the classroom. Notice and provide feedback on any improvement, however slight, in the areas of behavior and academics to the parents.

One other important thing that teachers should see to is giving directions in simple, concrete terms and simplifying instructions, tasks and assignments. Always get the child to complete one step before introducing the second step. Divide lessons into relatively short segments and use a variety of teaching aids such as movie clips, audio lessons, and group workshops to reinforce the child’s interest in the lesson.

Besides, you can also modify required homework to accommodate students who are severely impacted with ADHD. Avoid giving them long home or class assignments. Pause before asking questions or ask the inattentive child a question to gain his or her focus. Always Use the student’s name while addressing a question to him or her. Walk around the room and pat the child gently on the shoulder or tap the place in the child’s book that is being read to help him or her stay focused.

Seat the ADHD child in close proximity to you and in the area that has the least amount of distractions for example doors, windows and naughty students. Watch for signs of increasing stress in a hyperactive child. You may want to reduce the workload or provide an opportunity for the child to release some energy. For example, have the student assist you in carrying books to the staff room, minding the class, or running errands for you. Provide opportunities for physical activity. Choose the hyperactive child to hand out note books ,collect assignments or do other classroom jobs that can help release pent up energy and contribute to his or her feeling of self-worth.

Dear Teachers, ADHD children can perform better within a familiar, consistent, and structured routine at school with positive reinforcements for good behavior and subtle consequences for bad. Communication between parents and teachers is especially critical to ensuring an ADHD child has an appropriate learning environment. The key factor for handling such children is PATIENCE.[3]

*  Christine Osae: lecturer at The Adventist University of Central Africa.





Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

Join Kate, a real ADHD mom – what should I do!!! AGH!!!!

Well everyone, guess what I just found?

A stack of letters my mother asked me to mail out for her 4 MONTHS AGO!!! Good Golly! What do I do now?Kate_SM

I feel like I’m in that episode of Seinfeld where George forgot to mail out the wedding invitations and we all know how that ended! Seriously, what do I do?

My mom always has a cause and right now, her cause is helping women in prison. So…long story short, the letters are thank you letters the prisoners wrote to the people who helped them in November. IN NOVEMBER!!!

So…Do I fess up, call my mom and tell her that, yep, once again, I messed up? She already thinks I’m a wreck. Do I send the letters and cross my fingers no one mentions the late arrival to my mom? Do I hide them in the back of my closet? Will I be the next one in prison? My mind is racing!!!

I remember the day I was going to mail them very clearly. I even went to the post office. Of course, once I got there I noticed the really cute decorated mailing boxes for Christmas and I happily went right up to the counter and bought a few of those. I went home so excited about those darn boxes!  Letters completely forgotten in my bag.

I should just walk around with a sign on my forehead that reads, “Help me. I have ADHD. Please don’t count on me for anything.”

Any advice?

~ Kate

ADHD News & Updates: Study Suggests Drug Ritalin Makes No Long-Term Difference for Kids with ADHD

Time for a New Approach?

Although Ritalin has been a mainstay in the day-to-day treatment of ADHD symptoms, much debate continues whether the drug provides long-term benefits for children.

“A new study suggests that long-term drug Ritalin makes no difference to children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). According to Sydney Morning Herald,[1] a research team at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute has found that ADHD children who are treated with Ritalin continue to struggle mentally and academically as they get older.

For three years, the research team has been following 212 children without ADHD and 178 children with ADHD. The aim of the study is to identify the factors that make a difference to the development of children with ADHD.

Adorable five year old African American Girl and mother having an argumentAccording to Ten Eyewitness News[2], the Children’s Attention Project funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council has found that by the age of seven, children with ADHD show severe mental, social and academic differences compared with their peers. Preliminary findings suggest that these disparities persist three years after the start of the research.

Four times as many ADHD children aged 10 years old suffer from mental health problems such as oppositional disorder and anxiety. Children with ADHD are also well behind their peers in their reading and mathematical abilities. The study did not find differences in outcomes between girls and boys.

One of the chief investigators of the project, pediatrician Daryl Efron, said that all of the children with ADHD continued to be at risk of mental health and academic problems at 10 years old, just like when they were seven years old. At age 10, those children in the study under Ritalin medication for ADHD were not doing better than their peers not taking the medication. This suggests that Ritalin medication doesn’t improve the long-term outcomes of children with ADHD.

Dr. Efron cautioned that drugs like Ritalin can be very effective in reducing the day-to-day symptoms of ADHD, helping children to be calmer and more focused. However, the treatment options for ADHD haven’t progressed very much beyond treating day-to-day symptoms. Medical researchers need to find a better approach to ADHD in the future to make a real long-term difference.”[3]





Children Diagnosed with ADHD: Relative Age May Play a Crucial Role

The following research tells us that a proper diagnosis can sometimes be confused with a child’s maturity. Additionally, the combination of immaturity and a test heavy curriculum with inappropriate expectations make these students really struggle and stand out. Read on…

“Researchers examined medical records of nearly 400,000 children aged from four to 17 in Taiwan and found rates of the condition changed significantly depending on the month when they were born, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Just 2.8 per cent of boys and 0.7 per cent of girls born in September were diagnosed with ADHD, compared to 4.5 per cent of boys and 1.2 per cent of girls born in August.Kids_Walking_School_SM

Dr Mu-Hong Chen, a psychologist at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan and lead author of a paper about the research in the Journal of Pediatrics, said: “When looking at the database as a whole, children born in August were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and/or receive ADHD medication than those born in September.

‘Relative age, as an indicator of neurocognitive maturity, may play a crucial role in the risk of being diagnosed with ADHD and receiving ADHD medication among children and adolescents.’

‘Our findings emphasize the importance of considering the age of a child within a grade [school year] when diagnosing ADHD and prescribing medication.’

Over the past decade in the UK, the number of prescriptions of drugs designed to treat ADHD has doubled to 922,000 a year. They can cause adverse reactions such as suicidal thoughts, weight loss and liver toxicity.

According to the NHS website, common symptoms of ADHD include a short attention span, restlessness, constant fidgeting, over-activity and being impulsive.

Dr Kuben Naidoo, consultant psychiatrist and chairman of ADHD Foundation, said: ‘The study highlights the importance of ensuring the assessment for ADHD is rigorous and relies on a variety of sources of information that support the clinician in deciding whether the diagnosis is met.’”[1]

The research was published in the Journal of Pediatrics.[2]



ADHD: Daylight Savings Time and Your Child

The Effect on Our Child’s ‘Circadian Rhythm’

As with many ADHD adults, many of our ADHD children also experience a disruption in their ‘circadian rhythm’ or ‘sleep’, due to the change in daylight savings time.

“It should be noted that children and adults behave differently as a result of sleepiness. Adults usually become sluggish when tired while children tend to overcompensate and speed up. For this reason, sleep deprivation is sometimes confused with ADHD in children. Children may also be moody, emotionally explosive, and/or aggressive as a result of sleepiness. In a study[1] involving 2,463 children aged 6-15, children with sleep problems were more likely to be inattentive, hyperactive, impulsive, and display oppositional behaviors.”[2]Kids_Dog_Sleep_SM

Play Attention integrates feedback technology with cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. You may learn more about Play Attention at one of our upcoming Speed Webinars. At the webinar you will learn how Play Attention can help you and your child develop focus, attention and coping skills that will last a lifetime.

 “ADHD is linked with a variety of sleep problems. For example, one recent study[3] found that children with ADHD had higher rates of daytime sleepiness than children without ADHD. Another study[4] found that 50% of children with ADHD had signs of sleep disordered breathing, compared to only 22% of children without ADHD. Research also suggests[5] that ’restless legs syndrome’[6]and periodic leg movement syndrome are also common in children with ADHD.”[7]

Parent Tips for Daylight Savings Time (DST)


“Many people are affected when the clock springs forward or falls back every year. However, kids with ADHD, learning differences or behavioral disorders, particularly those just about to enter or who are already in the puberty years, often suffer more than others. These daylight saving tips for parents may help when your child is struggling to sleep.

Keep to Regular Routines

When you’re coping with your child with ADHD and time change at the same time, it’s even more important that you keep to regular bedtime and morning routines. If your child eats, has a shower and reads before going to sleep, make sure that pattern is strictly followed during the days before and after DST. The same applies in the morning. Showering, getting dressed and eating breakfast should happen in the same order as it normally does.

Avoid Mental Stimulation Before Bedtime

For many children with ADHD and related conditions, the evening is the time when they are most mentally alert. This is usually fine during weekends, when kids can stay up later if their parents agree, but during the two weeks before and after the daylight saving time change when time springs forward, it’s not advisable to let kids be too busy before bedtime. One way to make sure this happens is to avoid rowdy games, exciting TV programs, electronic devices and any other activities that may energize your child.

Block the Light

Whether it’s spring forward or fall back time, light either at bedtime or on waking can be a problem for kids with learning differences. Blackout shades may help to encourage sleep in the evening and prevent too early waking in the morning.

Communication is key when you’re managing time change and behavior in kids with ADHD and processing disorder. Explain to them as simply as possible why you’re putting them to bed a little earlier or later each night, and be patient with cranky, tired behavior for the week or so after DST.”[8]










Parent Attitude may Prolong Childhood ADHD

Tired of ‘nagging’ all the time?

A recent study conducted by Florida International University measured how children’s’ ADHD symptoms changed and how this was related to their parents’ levels of criticism and emotional involvement.

“The study, which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, aimed to try to provide some insight into the perplexing question of why the trajectory of kids with ADHD seems to diverge during the teenage years. About half of kids with ADHD see their symptoms drop off at that time, while the other half do not. Previous studies also have shown that about a fourth of teens lose their diagnosis by the time they reach young adulthood. For those whose symptoms persist, the consequences can be serious and include drug abuse and addiction, school dropout, criminality and antisocial behavior.

Mother Frustarted With Teenage Daughter And Her Lifestyle

In order to characterize a parent’s relationship with a child, the researchers used what’s known as a five-minute speech sample. Parents were asked in a very open-ended way to ‘tell us about your child and relationship with your child’ for an uninterrupted period of time. Those descriptions were recorded and researchers went back and assigned codes to various words, phrases and other patterns. A comment that “Charlie is a really bad kid. He’s always getting into trouble” would merit a higher score for being critical than, say, ‘Charlie sometimes does bad things.’”

The analysis of the data, published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology last week, had some surprises. It showed that sustained critical parenting — which was defined as high levels of harsh, negative statements about the child — appeared to be associated with the continuance of ADHD symptoms. The author, Dr. Musser said that this finding, if confirmed, could lead to new types of interventions that focus on family well-being as a way of treating the disorder, which impacts an estimated 6.4 million children in the United States.”[1]

Kids who have ADHD tend to become defiant when they are expected to do homework, go to bed, stop playing a game, sit down and eat dinner. These situations are difficult for them to tolerate because of inherit deficits in paying attention, tolerating a boring situation, reining in impulses, transitioning from a fun activity, and controlling their activity level. Since these situations are really hard for them—more aversive than they are for typical kids—over time, they try to avoid them. [2]

In our upcoming blog we will discuss useful steps to get away from lecturing, nagging, and punishing. Positive steps that will help you move toward having a healthier relationship with your ADHD child.

Play Attention can help deficits in paying attention and improve memory, finishing tasks, and behavior. Attend one of our FREE Live Speed Webinars to learn more: Don’t have time to make the date? We are here to help, watch our Webinar on Demand at your own convenience:



The Top Secret to Helping Your ADHD Child or Spouse

Play Attention welcomes Bruce. He’s an ADHD adult.

The Top Secret to Helping Your ADHD Child or Spouse

In the movie Phenomenon, John Travolta plays an ordinary mechanic named George Malley who one day sees a flash of light and begins experiencing extraordinary mental powers. He takes a romantic interest in Lace, a single mom and rustic artisan. She makes rocking chairs out of branches and woven vine. They’re not comfortable, but she tries to sell them to keep food on the table for her kids.

George keeps the chairs at the garage to help Lace sell them. He buys all of them, and stores them at his house, as no one else is interested in buying Lace’s uncomfortable chairs. He finds his way into Lace’s heart.

Rocking chair on front porch

Later, in the local tavern, Doc, played by Robert Duvall, is furious with the locals who disparage George because they now fear him. He’s different, and they cannot understand him.

Doc says, “Every woman has her chair, something she needs to put herself into, Banes. You ever figure out what Lisa’s chairs were and buy ’em?” Banes girlfriend, Lisa, has left him.

Doc’s right; every person has his/her chair, something he or she needs to put themselves into. This seems to be true for every person on the planet, but it’s especially true for ADHD folks. It’s the top secret to help your ADHD child or spouse.

As an ADHD person, I sometimes didn’t fit into personal relationships. My job didn’t fit me either. I struggled. I was often misunderstood. I tried to find my way, but it seemed harder for me than it was for everyone else. At least, that’s what my friends told me.

I found martial arts. It turned out to be my chair that I could put myself into. It taught me self-control. It taught me to listen. It taught me the value of relationship. It turned my life around. No medication necessary.

Now granted, martial arts are not for everyone. It’s not the chair for everyone, but the idea remains the same. What am I passionate about? What is it I am interested in? What do I want to pursue with my whole heart?

Please understand, this is not a recipe; empty contents of can into saucepan, add water, simmer, stir. Rather, it’s a journey. Here’s another BIG secret, the journey is the important part, probably more important than the true passion you might eventually find. The end is not different than the means; they are one and the same. Putting your whole heart into the search means that you have to learn every day. Trial and error. Success and failure. Every day. However, if you put your whole heart into the search, are truly passionate about it, your life will change. Try it and see. I’m eager to hear about your journey.

Let Play Attention be a part of your journey to success. Call 800 788 6786 for a FREE consult or register for our FREE Live Speed Webinar.

Don’t have the time to attend a webinar? Play Attention is here to help: select our Webinar on Demand and watch the webinar at your own convenience.


Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

Join Kate, a real life ADHD mom, as she reveals her new motto. . .

If any of you adult ADHD’ers out there need a new inspirational, motivational motto, you can borrow mine. It may be a bit more unconventional than my old one, but gosh, does it work well. I used to use, “I got this,” when I needed to reassure myself that I could get through the day.Kate_SM

Now my motto is, “At least I’ve got my pants on.”

Believe me, it works!  It derives from a news story I read about where a teacher pulled up to work in a taxicab, got out in front of the school, but had forgotten her pants. Apparently, she had been out partying late the night before and, well….made a valiant effort to get to work in the morning sans pants.

Now, when I have a bad morning and I show up to work, all in a big fumbling mess, I just say to myself, “Well, at least I’ve got my pants on.” And BAM. It’s a win.

You’re welcome.


Grab your cup of coffee every Sunday morning and join in the conversation with Kate! Scroll down the page and enjoy some of Kate’s other posts.