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.

[1] http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/health/kids-treated-for-adhd-can-still-struggle-in-school–especially-girls-8816124

View study cited in articl: Educational and Health Outcomes of Children Treated for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/article-abstract/2624340

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)
~Kate

 

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.

[1] http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2016-03-09/197805/

[2] http://www.playattention.com/solution/focus/

[3] http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2016-03-09/197805/

 

Fidgeting May Help Students with ADHD Learn

Have you ever wondered why your ADHD child acts like the energizer rabbit? Well, so do the researchers. “We don’t know whether they do it to help or because they are anxious, or whether it is helping,” Interesting but inconclusive article read on to learn more…

“MONDAY, Feb. 29, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Students who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often get into trouble for fidgeting in the classroom, but that fidgeting may help them learn, new research suggests.

‘The prevailing view has been and continues to be that hyperactivity is a core deficit in ADHD,’ said study author Michael Kofler, an assistant professor of psychology at Florida State University in Tallahassee. ‘When we think of it as a deficit, we are saying it’s a bad thing and it’s interfering [with schoolwork]. Our work has been challenging that thought.’

Little cute active girl with key on back

Kofler’s team gave 25 boys and girls with ADHD, aged 8 to 12, a series of working memory tasks, observing the amount of fidgeting as the children did them. In one set, the students had to remember where a series of dots appeared on a screen and then reorder them mentally, based on color. They had to then remember a series of numbers and letters, mentally reordering them, numbers first from smallest to biggest, then the letters.

In the easier test of dots on a screen, the children knew in advance how many items they would have to remember. In the more difficult test, the amount of items they would have to remember was random so they didn’t know in advance how many items they would have to remember.

The children fidgeted during all the tests, but fidgeted about 25 percent more when they couldn’t predict how many items they would have to remember. The tests were alike in every other way, so Kofler said this shows that demands on working memory affect the level of hyperactivity in ADHD students.

The fidgeting may increase ‘physiological arousal,’ Kofler speculated, similar to what stimulant medication does for a child with the disorder. But the study didn’t prove that point, he said, and the researchers don’t know if the kids were fidgeting on purpose.

The study was published online this month in the Journal of Attention Disorders.

The findings echo some from a study published last year from the University of California, Davis. Researchers there looked at 26 children with ADHD and 18 without. They found that when the children with ADHD fidgeted more, they did better on a test. Fidgeting among kids without ADHD had no effect on test performance.

Dr. Trevor Resnick, a pediatric neurologist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, said, ‘We’ve known [intuitively] for many years that kids with ADHD often do better when they are fidgeting.’

However, Resnick said, the interpretation of why they fidgeted more has not been proven. ‘We don’t know whether they do it to help or because they are anxious, or whether it is helping,’ he said.

Kofler agreed, saying his team next plans research ‘to link the movement with the arousal and the performance, to see if we are right about that is why the movement is helpful.’

Meanwhile, until more is known, students with ADHD should not have free rein to do what they want in the classroom, Kofler said.

But the new study does suggest that teachers and parents should focus less on whether a child is sitting still and more on whether the work is getting done, regardless of the movement level, he said.[1]

You should be aware that not all fidgeting is conducive to learning.  Some movements are simply self distracting behaviors that the students tend to start when they become bored or anxious.  Play Attention’s unique behavior shaping tool can actually detect which behaviors help a student’s attention and those that simply interfere.  Check out our unique, patented behavior shaping program that is integrated throughout Play Attention, http://www.playattention.com/solution/behavior/[2]

[1] http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2016-02-29/fidgeting-may-help-students-with-adhd-learn

[2] http://www.playattention.com/

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]

[1] http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/no-evidence-ritalin-makes-a-difference-long-term-for-adhd-kids-20160311-gngmeb.html

[2] http://tenplay.com.au/news/national/march/study-reveals-the-truth-about-ritalin

[3] http://www.parentherald.com/articles/28101/20160314/adhd-news-updates-study-suggests-drug-ritalin-makes-difference-long.htm

 

Could Adults’ Expectations Drive Up ADHD Diagnoses in Kids?

 

We have been discussing how parents’ attitude may affect their ADHD child’s severity and longevity. Recent studies show that ADHD has risen globally and that adults’ expectations and greater academic pressure could be reasons why.

“Reporting in the Feb. 22 issue of JAMA Pediatrics, researchers from the University of Miami point to evidence that the rise in ADHD diagnoses coincided with ever-growing demands on young children’s attention and focus.

10 year-old asian elementary schoolboy appears to be frustrated while doing homework.

Since the 1970s, the researchers said, elementary school children have been getting more and more homework, while preschoolers have spent more time in full-day programs—and getting coached in reading and numbers by mom and dad.

During those same years, the prevalence of ADHD doubled in the United States.

Of course, many other things have also changed since the 1970s, and it’s not possible to pin the rise of ADHD on any one trend, said lead researcher Dr. Jeffrey Brosco, associate director of the university’s Mailman Center for Child Development. His research letter only points to an association and not cause-and-effect.”

But, Brosco said, it makes sense that greater academic pressure would set the stage for more ADHD diagnoses.

“You may have a young child who has difficulty paying attention to boring things,” Brosco said. “That’s only a problem if you’re trying to force that child to pay attention to boring things.”

“In the U.S.,” he added, “we’ve decided that increasing children’s academic demands is a good thing. But we haven’t really considered the potential negative effects.”

A child psychologist not involved in the study agreed there’s a “plausible” connection between academic expectations and ADHD diagnoses.

It’s not that homework is causing ADHD, said Stephanie Wagner, an assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center in New York City.

ADHD is a “neurobiological” disorder, Wagner said, which means it’s brain-based, and not caused by environmental factors.

“But we do know that the environment can exacerbate symptoms,” she added.

So the more time that children with ADHD have to sit, do homework and have no freedom for play, Wagner said, the more difficulty they’ll have—and the more apparent that will be to adults.

According to Wagner, children with ADHD typically do best in environments where there are clear rules, plenty of hands-on lessons, and less “down time.”

In the United States, about 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 have ever been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mental health experts believe genetics might play a role in its development, as well as lifestyle behaviors like smoking or drinking during pregnancy.

Critics have long charged that some children diagnosed with ADHD are wrongly labeled as having a “disease” and given drugs they don’t need.

Recent decades have seen a number of trends that could feed the rise in ADHD diagnoses, Brosco said. Those include changes in how the disorder is diagnosed and aggressive marketing of ADHD drugs, Also, kids with ADHD are sometimes eligible for special education services that were not available in the 1970s, Wagner said. “So there likely are families who seek a diagnosis for their child, in order to help him or her receive appropriate services in school,” she said.

But, Brosco said, there has also been a shift in academic demands. Looking at government statistics and previous research, Brosco’s team found that between 1981 and 1997, U.S. children dedicated more and more hours per week to studying.

The biggest change was seen among 6- to 8-year-olds. By 1997, they were spending over two hours a week on homework, versus less than one hour in 1981.

Even preschoolers were feeling the pressure. By 2005, 77 percent of parents said they “frequently” taught their 3- to 5-year-olds letters, words and numbers. That was up from 58 percent in 1993.

It’s not that parents shouldn’t engage their preschoolers’ minds, Brosco stressed. But it should be done through play and connection, rather than lessons, he said.

“Parents should read to their children,” Brosco said. “That’s social interaction and storytelling.” The problem, he added, arises when parents use flashcards and other ways of pushing young children to “get it right.”

Another change, the study found, is that many more preschoolers are in full-day programs now—58 percent in the mid-2000s, compared with just 17 percent in 1970.

Brosco said there’s nothing wrong with full-day preschool, if children are playing and learning things that are developmentally appropriate—like how to get along with other kids. But some programs get into academics, he noted.

“At that age,” Brosco said, “what’s most important is free play, social interactions, using your imagination. We need to be careful that our demands aren’t making children feel like they’re getting it ‘wrong.’ We want them to love learning.” [1]

Does your ADHD child suffer from unfocused, inattentive behavior? We are here to help, attend one of our FREE Live Speed Webinars: http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

[1] http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-02-adults-adhd-kids.html

Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

How does impulsivity affect us throughout life? It can be life changing ranging from silliness to severe. Join Kate as she explains how her impulsivity and ADHD affected her choices in life.

This is some embarrassing stuff and I am cringing as I write, but I did some REALLY dumb things in my late teens/early twenties that determined the path my life would take. In recently accepting my ADHD and thinking back on this time in my life, I realize why I did some of the things I did. I wish I had known about my ADHD and used strategies to cope back then. I just kind of stumbled through everything in a fog, never really using focused, clear brain power.Kate_SM

On my college application, I checked the box that said “Native American” because I thought it meant I was a native of America. I am not Native American. I was hastily accepted even though my grades, attendance and behavior were horrible. I don’t know if classifying myself as a Native American had anything to do with my acceptance, but it makes it clear that I was living in an ADHD fog. I eventually got a phone call from someone at the college wondering how to make sure my cultural needs were met. (I still feel really guilty about this).

While in that college, I took classes based on what other people were signing up for. I rarely attended these classes and didn’t have any kind of plan or intention of why I was there. Once again, I’m living in an ADHD fog. One day my friends were all walking across campus to “declare a major”, so I followed them. They all declared education, so I did too. I’ve been teaching for 20 years now even though it was never my passion or intention.

As my own children begin to enter young adulthood and consider choices that will determine their life path, I see how much of a wreck I really was at their age and wonder what I could have done differently if I knew how to manage my ADHD. Would I be in a different place in life now if I had used one ounce of focused, clear brain power?

~Kate

ADHD: Diet and Nutrition

Best Foods for Kids With ADHD

In our previous blog: ADHD and Food Additives, we discussed how certain types of diets may help to control ADHD symptoms and how sugar and gluten may worsen ADHD symptoms.

“Diet may play a significant role in managing symptoms in children with ADHD. Adding certain foods and nutrients that may boost brain function, eliminating foods that seem to worsen ADHD symptoms, and trying other diet and nutrition tips to improve your child’s diet may all help with ADHD.”[1]

Below, is a compilation of fruits, dairy, vegetables, protein, and food high in Omega 3, which may improve ADHD symptoms in children and adults as well.

FRUITS

“Apples are a great source of complex carbohydrates. Doctors have recommended that children with ADHD increase their intake of complex carbohydrates. Eating these types of foods right before bed has also been known to help children sleep better. An apple a day will keep your ADHD symptoms at bay. Much like apples, pears are a good source of complex carbohydrates. Similar to apples and other complex carbs, eating pears at night can help aid sleep. Much like oranges, apples and pears, kiwis are an incredible source of complex carbohydrates.

x-ray image of human head with vegetables for a brain.

Eating oranges or grapefruits – and drinking 100 percent pure orange juice – are both great ways to add more complex carbohydrates to your diet. These foods are known to help aid with sleep (falling asleep can be very difficult for kids with ADHD) and are a great source of Vitamin C as well.

DAIRY

Cheese is a great source of protein and protein. However, many who suffer from ADHD suffer with a cow’s milk allergy or intolerance, which can exacerbate  ADHD symptoms. If you suspect you or your child has an allergy to cow’s milk/dairy, try switching to goat cheese instead to improve concentration and improve how ADHD medication works.

VEGETABLES

Spinach is one of the most effective vegetables when it comes to controlling ADHD symptoms in children. Doctors often recommend leafy green vegetables and spinach is most definitely at the top of that list.

OMEGA 3

Omega 3 fatty acids have been known to significantly decrease ADHD symptoms in many children. Tuna is a phenomenal source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Similar to tuna, nuts are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts and Brazil nuts have been shown to have the most impact when managing ADHD symptoms but other types like almonds are a great alternative as well.

Eating salmon at least once a week will help alleviate some of the symptoms your child might be experiencing from ADHD. Salmon is one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and is one of the healthiest fish you can eat. White fish is a great way to incorporate more Omega-3 fatty acids into you and your child’s diet. If you’re eating too much salmon (or simply looking for an alternative or addition to salmon) white fish is a great option.

PROTEIN

Eggs are also a great source of protein. Protein is essential in maintaining a balanced diet and controlling symptoms in children and adults with ADHD. Much like cheese, eggs will improve concentration and increase the time ADHD medications work. Beans, much like cheese and eggs, are a great source of protein as well.

Chicken boasts countless health benefits but the biggest nutritional factor when it comes to chicken is the amount of protein. Most kids love chicken and there are countless ways to incorporate it into your weekly meal planning. Adding protein to your meals will improve concentration and will increase the time ADHD medication works.

Lastly, we’d like to mention cereals. Whole grain cereal can be a very healthy breakfast option for kids suffering from ADHD but there are a few key things to remember. First, you’ll always want to choose multi-grain options. Instead of normal Cheerios, choose multigrain. Secondly, you’ll want to avoid cereals with artificial colors and artificial sweeteners. What does that mean? It simply means opt for kinds like Corn Flakes and Fiber 1 instead of Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms.

We need to stress this: Every person is different and will react to certain foods differently. Some people have allergic reactions to certain types of food (dairy etc.) which can trigger ADHD symptoms. It’s always best to talk to your doctor before making any significant changes to diet.”[2]

Play Attention realizes that all individuals with ADHD are different from one another and require different needs. Play Attention not only offers customized, individualized programs – full support is included in the program.

Call: 800 788 6786 for more information or attend one of our FREE upcoming Speed Webinars to learn more. http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

 

[1] http://www.everydayhealth.com/adhd/diet-tips-for-kids.aspx

[2] http://www.activebeat.com/diet-nutrition/15-best-foods-for-children-with-adhd/

http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

www.playattention.com

 

 

 

 

What Types of Exercises Are Best for Your ADHD Child?

Don’t Burrow Away- Get Out and Play,,,

In our previous blogs, discussion has been focused on the neurophysiological impact of exercise on the adult with ADHD. Research also shows that exercise has an impact on children with ADHD as well.

One such study, conducted in the “medical journal Pediatrics, found that kids who took part in a regular physical activity program showed important enhancement of cognitive performance and brain function.”[1]

“Using objective measures of attention, brain neurophysiology, and academic performance, task performance and event-related brain potentials were assessed while participants performed an attentional-control task following a bout of exercise or seated reading during two separate, counterbalanced sessions.HORSE_CHILD_SM

These findings indicate that single bouts of moderately-intense aerobic exercise may have positive implications for aspects of neurocognitive function and inhibitory control in children with ADHD.”[2]

Beyond general exercise, such as walking, your ADHD child can obtain extended mental and physical exercise by participating in sports. Listed below are the top 10 sports that can benefit your ADHD child.

“BASEBALL: America’s favorite pastime, baseball can teach your ADHD child patience, sportsmanship, and teamwork.

ARCHERY: Sure, arming your ADHD child with a sharp weapon may seem counterintuitive, but when carefully supervised, archery can have major benefits. It is proven to teach responsibility while improving focus, concentration, and self-confidence

TRACK & CROSS-COUNTRY: Running teaches kids discipline and pacing, plus, your child will still gain the social benefits of being a member of a team, without directly competing with other children.

HORSEBACK RIDING: As your child interacts with the horses, she will learn to observe and react to the animals’ behaviors instead of responding with the same behavioral patterns.

SOCCER: Being on a soccer team gives kids a sense of camaraderie. You’ll also find that the constant action in soccer games is ideal for holding short attention-spans.

WRESTLING: If your child has misguided aggression or seemingly boundless energy, wrestling may be a fun (and safe!) way to channel these emotions into something positive.

GYMNASTICS: Studies have shown that activities requiring close attention to body movements, such as gymnastics, may help ADHD and LD kids improve their focus.

TENNIS: Tennis requires neither coordinated teamwork nor heavy concentration, a plus for many ADHD kids. Plus, hitting tennis balls can be a great way for your ADHD child to release any anger or frustration he feels from a challenging day at school, for example.

MARTIAL ARTS: One surprising benefit of martial arts is its use of rituals, such as bowing to the instructor, which can help teach kids with ADHD to accept, develop, and use routine in other areas of their lives.

SWIMMING: ADHD children excel with structure and guidance—and a swim team can provide just that. Swimmers receive valuable one-on-one time with coaches, while still enjoying the social benefits of being part of a team. Your child will be able to focus on personal development—by improving personal swim times—without any direct comparison with others on the team.

COACHING MATTERS: When picking a sport, remember that coaches have a huge impact. Most coaches are well-meaning parents who know little about ADHD, so it’s important that you share your expertise about your child. Let a coach know, for example, that making your child run 15 extra laps for not paying attention during practice is not effective, just humiliating. Sports should allow your child to build relationships and work on self-confidence outside of the classroom, not further increase his anxiety and stress.”[3]

Let Play Attention help you exercise your brain. Attend one of our upcoming FREE webinars: http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/.

Webinar Schedule:

January 20th @ 11:00 AM ET/8:00 AM PT

January 26th @ 11:00 AM ET/8:00 AM PT

 

[1] http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/09/exercise-seems-to-be-beneficial-to-children/380844/

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3556380/

[3] http://www.additudemag.com/slideshow/104/slide-2.html

ADHD Child: Holiday Vacation from Meds

ADHD Child: Holiday Vacation from Meds

Should Your Child Take One?

With the Christmas holiday right around the corner, many parents are debating whether or not to give their ADHD child a break from their medications.

There are two important considerations parents need to assess when entering into this decision making process. One, the type of medication their child is on, and two, the type of ADHD their child has.

Stimulants and Nonstimulants Work Differently

“Stimulants start working quickly and leave the body quickly. Because of that, doctors say it’s easy to get on and off these medications. There are no withdrawal symptoms, so your child doesn’t have to wean off of them.

But there are other things to consider. ‘On those meds, it’s important to realize the treatments improve behavior and reduce symptoms,’ says Mark Wolraich, MD, a pediatrician in Oklahoma City who helped write ADHD treatment guidelines for the American Academy of Pediatrics. ‘If you stop taking them, you revert to behaviors you saw before. … Stimulant medications don’t build up in the bloodstream. That’s why you can stop and start them.’Meds_SM

If a child is taking nonstimulants, you have to take longer breaks. ‘You could do it [take a drug break] over the summer time, but not over the weekend,’ Wolraich says. Nonstimulants shouldn’t be stopped for short periods because they take longer to go to work and far longer to leave the body. They can also have bad side effects if they are stopped suddenly.

ADHD Drugs, Weight Loss, and Growth

Stimulants tend to curb the appetite in many children, and studies have shown that while on medication, boys’ growth slows by about half an inch a year — during the first 2 years of treatment. Their growth after that does not seem to be affected, and in some cases catches up, even if they continue taking the meds.

‘It’s not all kids who don’t grow. But if you look at the average, it lasts about a year or 2. The effects haven’t been seen on long-term growth,’ Wolraich says. ‘That’s why we recommend monitoring height and weight. If there is a decrease in growth, it’s something being followed closely.’

Why stimulants delay growth is unknown, says psychiatrist Benedetto Vitiello, MD, who leads the Child and Adolescent Treatment and Preventive Intervention Research Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD.. ‘It isn’t only because of a loss of appetite, but also may be due to changes in levels of the hormone testosterone.’”[1]

One such study was done to evaluate the effects of ADHD stimulant medication on growth retardation.

“Our aim was to map the experience of drug holidays from ADHD medication in children and adolescents.

Abstract

Method: A comprehensive search of the literature identified 22 studies published during the period 1972 to 2013.

Results: Drug holidays are prevalent in 25% to 70% of families and are more likely to be exercised during school holidays. They test whether medication is still needed and are also considered for managing medication side effects and drug tolerance. The impact of drug holidays was reported in terms of side effects and ADHD symptoms. There was evidence of a positive impact on child growth with longer breaks from medication, and shorter breaks could reduce insomnia and improve appetite.

Conclusion: Drug holidays from ADHD medication could be a useful tool with multiple purposes: assessment, management, prevention, and negotiation.”[2]

What Type of ADHD Is It?

“You should talk with your child’s doctor about drug holidays when your child is put on ADHD medication.

‘We have a discussion right from the beginning,’ Wolraich says. ‘I get a sense of the family’s and patient’s preference, and we come to a decision about when they need meds. We’ll review when children are having problems and need coverage, and weigh the benefits of covering those other times of the day.’

The type of ADHD your child has, and how well his environment is organized, needs to be factored into your decision.

‘With kids who don’t have hyperactivity, parents will report it as mainly a problem in school and not at home, so they feel they don’t have to cover periods after school or on weekends,’ Wolraich says.

If hyperactivity is part of your child’s condition — and it interferes with his relationships inside and outside the home — the medication should probably be continued.

‘It’s not just symptoms, but to what extent they are causing dysfunction. You want to keep them successful in academic work or in their social and family life,’ Wolraich says.

A well-organized home life can help keep a child on track, even when he isn’t on medication. ‘If parents have a really good structure at home, it’s compensating well for their child’s deficit,’ Wolraich says.”[3]

“Overall, a parent should consider how a drug holiday would affect her child’s well-being. Generally, hyperactive or combined types of ADHD present the strongest case for continued medication, because the behavioral problems that result from going off medication can turn a holiday into a negative and unproductive experience. Inattentive types of ADHD, on the other hand, present fewer behavioral problems. ‘Even though there’s scientific data suggesting those kids do better taking meds 365 days a year, if there are no behavioral problems, I don’t make a big case for taking meds all the time,’ says Dr. Alan Ravitz, Child and adolescent psychiatrist, MD.

Because ADHD affects social development as well as academic performance, the conservative approach is to avoid disrupting the prescribed treatment plan. However, there are no hard and fast rules on this issue; ultimately, decisions should arise from a conversation between the family and health practitioner.”[4]

Play Attention can complement the medications you are currently using. 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 can learn how Play Attention can help your child develop coping skills that will last a lifetime. http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

 

[1] http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/features/adhd-drug-holidays

[2] http://jad.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/09/19/1087054714548035

[3] http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/features/adhd-drug-holidays

[4] http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2011-6-14-kids-adhd-meds-pros-cons-drug-holiday

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