why People With ADHD Struggle in Relationships

For many, February is the month of love.  We focus on the people we care about and find ways to express our feelings. Perhaps you are in a relationship as an adult with ADHD. Or you are in a relationship with someone who has ADHD.  You may even be a parent trying to help your ADHD child with friendships. All of these situations can be very challenging.

Children with attention challenges generally struggle with keeping friends. They are not always able to pick up social cues that allow them to have successful friendships. For instance, your child with ADHD may say something to hurt another child’s feelings, but lacks the attention to see the sadness on the other child’s face. Therefore your child has no idea he has offended someone. No learning takes place and this behavior continues.  Before you know it, your child is coming home complaining that he does not have any friends.  And he has no idea why or how to fix it.  He simply thinks everyone is against him.

Play Attention, a cognitive feedback based program, has an activity that directly addresses teaching social skills. Through a series of attention enhanced activities, a child or an adult can start simply by focusing on a blank card.  Once the student is fully attentive, the card will be completely exposed.  If the student loses attention, the card begins to disappear.  Once the student is fully attentive, the expression on a person’s face is seen.  The student must match the feeling associated with the expression. For example, the picture may be of a little girl smiling with three word choices: happy, sad, angry. The steps get incrementally more challenging and will eventually teach the student how to respond if a person has a certain expression on his/her face.

While simplistic at the onset, teaching social skills takes foundational practice. Teaching an ADHD child to slow down long enough to actually see the expression on another’s face is the start.

What happens to those of us who were not taught social skills as a child? Many struggle with relationships as an adult as a result. Whether you are the person with ADHD, or you’re in a relationship with someone with ADHD, you are bound to face many challenges.

Attitude Magazine recently ran an article, “10+ ADD Relationship Tools for Lasting Love,” which explores the tools needed to have a loving relationship with someone struggling with attention issues. In this article author, Jonathan Halverstadt, states that in the beginning there are “strong and wonderful feelings — but you need much more to make an ADD relationship last.” Instead of falling into an “all you need is love” scenario, Halverstadt offers suggestions for your relationship “tool box.”

One of the first things that he explores is managing the symptoms. In the relationship, the ADHD person must take ownership of the symptoms and actively manage them. Many of the skills he talks about are addressed with the Play Attention program.

If you are a parent, or an adult, or love someone who struggles with attention, I encourage you to attend an informational webinar with ADHD Expert, Peter Freer. The webinar is FREE and Peter will address all your questions and concerns about ADHD relationships.



Let’s Make a Meal!

Earlier in the month, we explored starting the day with a healthy breakfast. Then we looked at providing a lunch that would sustain your child with ADHD throughout the school day and help avoid the afternoon slump. Now let’s take a look at involving your little one in the meal making process.

For some of us, meal preparation comes naturally. We feel we can beat even the best home cook on Gordon Ramsay’s television show, MasterChef. However, some of us dread the thought putting together the evening meal for the family. Whether you can easily put together the perfect well-balanced meal or struggle to put something edible on the table each night, we all have to start somewhere.

The good news is, just like any other skill, cooking can be taught. And just like cognitive training for people struggling with attention, you’ll get better the more you practice.

Cooking with someone with ADHD can be a challenge. With short attention spans, things will have to be kept simple and quick. Also, keep in mind that nutritionists recommend a diet high in protein and complex carbohydrates while keeping the diet low in refined sugars.

Here are some quick and easy recipes that will provide the right nutrition and start your child on the road to becoming a great home cook.  You will find that cooking with your child can be a great learning experience.  Your child will learn critical skills such as planning, time management, counting, fractions, money, weighing, measuring, and problem solving!

When my children were growing up, I started teaching them to cook at an early age. We started with simple things like making toast. Then we graduated to helping stir things (this gets a little messy, but be patient, it gets better). Eventually I tasked each of my sons with planning and helping prepare one meal a week for the family. Be prepared, you may be eating hot dogs with mac and cheese at first, or maybe PB&J, but this too shall pass.

As time went on, they both became more adventurous with their meal prep and it actually became a friendly competition on who could come up with the better meal. I have to say that after a couple of years, their meals were better than mine at times.  Plus it gave me a break from having to come up with something for dinner.

For teenagers, you can take it a step further. The Food Network’s show Chopped features chefs having to prepare meals from five random ingredients given to them in a basket. Imagine how fun it would be to give your budding chef random ingredients, and have them create a meal in an hour? On the show, the chefs are faced with some strange ingredients, for instance chicken in a can, or gummy worms paired with a pork loin. So be careful what you put in your mystery basket—remember you have to eat it!

For more information on health and nutrition Click Here

Watch Play Attention’s recorded webinar on nutrition here




Starting Right: A Healthy Breakfast

Starting Right: A Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast is claimed to be the most important meal of the day. Yet research shows that 31 million US citizens skip this meal every day. Reasons vary from not enough time to weight loss. With growing brains and bodies, children need to continually refuel their bodies for good development. Research shows that children who eat breakfast come to school on time and are more successful.

How often do we get up and pour our favorite cereal into a bowl for our child or ourselves. While convenient, this sugary concoction may exacerbate the symptoms of AD/HD. It makes simple sense that adding sugar and carbohydrates may give that initial burst of energy, but that’s not exactly what one wants for someone who has a difficult time controlling their behavior.

Many authorities find that a breakfast high in protein is most beneficial for people with attention challenges. In her article in Additude magazine by food and nutrition researcher Laura Stevens offers her take on the benefits of the right breakfast for people with AD/HD.

Click here to attend a free, health webinar on Thursday, January 22nd @ 11:00 AM EST.
Topic: Fueling our Children for Physical, Mental, and Emotional Health.  Combating the A’s with Nutrition:  Anxiety, ADHD, Autism, Asperger’s, Anger,  & Academic challenges.

So how does one create the perfect protein breakfast on an already hectic morning? There are many ways to incorporate protein. Some easy make-ahead ideas can be found on the Internet. With a little planning, these high-protein breakfast ideas become “grab and go” for hectic weekday mornings.

It makes sense to start each day in the best possible way. What we put into our bodies is closely related to how we perform throughout the day, but diet alone is not the complete answer to the test. Cognitive attention training along with a healthy diet will create long lasting results when battling AD/HD. Play Attention, the world leader in feedback-based attention training, along with a high protein breakfast, will set anyone up for success.

Barb Rollar


Clear Up The Clutter

Clear Up The Clutter

Clutter is a huge distraction for people with AD/HD, and can sometimes make the problem even worse. Consider this; picture your grandmother’s house with all the porcelain dolls, pictures, and knickknacks everywhere. Put your five year old in the middle of this environment and ask them to pay attention. Everything in that room is something they want to pay attention to. So if your home looks anything like this, removing the clutter can help.

Organizational training, like any other training, should begin in an environment that is conducive for success. In the initial steps of teaching a new behavior (i.e. organization), it is in a person’s best interest to be in the optimum environment possible. Therefore, we must consider removing the clutter.

Just as a coach would not allow a player to go into a big game without training and practice, we can’t expect our child to learn to filter distractions without training them to be organized under the best circumstances, and then introducing distractions as training goes along.

Let’s just say that your child’s room has a sports theme (or even a fairy princess theme). You’ve decked it out with bold colors, lots of wall art, and some really cool memorabilia. There’s also a comfy area with a TV and the latest gaming console—not to mention his dresser and storage bins for toys. And over in the corner, facing into the room, is a desk where your eight year old does his homework. You can’t understand why he/she is never able to complete their homework, or why it takes them hours to do so.

In addition to removing the clutter, cognitive training should be considered. For information on the best feedback cognitive training program, consider attending an informational webinar hosted by master educator, Peter Freer.

The truth is that, even with the best of intentions, you’ve provided an atmosphere that is so over stimulating that it is a major distraction, making it difficult for your student to concentrate. In an article in Additude magazine, Dr. Larry Silver offers some sound advice on dealing with distractions.

That’s not to say that your child will never be able to concentrate in that environment, but if you are dealing with someone with ADHD, you must start with baby steps. By removing some of the distractions, even if temporarily, you will set your child up for success. So clear the clutter for a time. Put all that great memorabilia in a closet and wait to bring it back out once your child can deal with the distractions.

Much research has been done to say that the mind of someone with AD/HD runs a million miles a minute. It’s not really a lack of attention, but the ability to pay attention to many things at once when the environment is very stimulating. We don’t need to teach them to pay attention in this environment. We must teach them to pay attention when things are less stimulating.

Attend an upcoming Play Attention webinar and learn how you can teach someone in your life to direct and sustain attention to low stimuli activities at will.

Barb Rollar


Making Friends, What’s the Secret for ADHD Kids?

A few good tips
Read more: http://www.additudemag.com/
Ever hear statements like, “Nobody likes me. They’re all after me!”

By middle school, you hear things like, “I hate school. They all think I’m weird. I don’t get invited to parties.”

Your child gets a rare invitation to a birthday party and you’re horrified when your child shouts, “This is boring!” in the middle of the cake cutting. You now realize this is why invitations are so rare.

ADHD children lack social skills; they lack the ability to filter thoughts before they say them. This often hurts the feelings of people around them. When carried into adulthood, spouses often complain of insensitivity and employers complain of your lack of control.

Additionally, ADHD children often overlook common gestures, facial expressions, or social dynamics.

Social skill instruction is critical and should be taught sequentially. For example, before you go to a birthday party, you should model boring scenarios. You and your child practice what he or she should say when they become bored. Instead of saying, “This is boring,” you’ll instruct your child to say, “Want to go outside and play?”

That’s a good beginning that you can praise, but it’s only the first step. What happens if the child they ask to go outside doesn’t want to go? You must model that as well. Instead of saying, “You’re stupid,” say, “OK, I’ll be outside playing if you want to come.”

Review Play Attention’s Social Skills game at http://www.playattention.com/social-skills/

More tips to come!

Photo: Making Friends, What's the Secret for ADHD Kids?<br /><br />
A few good tips</p><br />
<p>Ever hear statements like, "Nobody likes me. They're all after me!" </p><br />
<p>By middle school, you hear things like, "I hate school. They all think I'm weird. I don't get invited to parties."</p><br />
<p>Your child gets a rare invitation to a birthday party and you're horrified when your child shouts, "This is boring!" in the middle of the cake cutting. You now realize this is why invitations are so rare. </p><br />
<p>ADHD children lack social skills; they lack the ability to filter thoughts before they say them. This often hurts the feelings of people around them. When carried into adulthood, spouses often complain of insensitivity and employers complain of your lack of control. </p><br />
<p>Additionally, ADHD children often overlook common gestures, facial expressions, or social dynamics.</p><br />
<p>Social skill instruction is critical and should be taught sequentially. For example, before you go to a birthday party, you should model boring scenarios. You and your child practice what he or she should say when they become bored. Instead of saying, "This is boring," you'll instruct your child to say, "Want to go outside and play?"</p><br />
<p>That's a good beginning that you can praise, but it's only the first step. What happens if the child they ask to go outside doesn't want to go? You must model that as well. Instead of saying, "You're stupid," say, "OK, I'll be outside playing if you want to come."</p><br />
<p>Review Play Attention's Social Skills game at http://www.playattention.com/social-skills/</p><br />
<p>More tips to come!

Auditory Processing Problems & ADHD, Part 3

Huh? What did you say?

Read more: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/731.html

I need you to take your text book out, turn to page 32, SQUIRREL!

That’s how an ADHD student often pays attention to direction from the teacher. The child’s textbook may be retrieved, but forget the rest of the instruction — it won’t happen.

Two more great strategies that work for school and home:

1. Sequencing. Limit your instructions to one or two at a time. Once you’ve said them slowly, then reiterate them using your fingers, essentially bullet pointing the verbal instructions for the child. For example, you hold up your index finger and say, “Remember, the first thing I need you to do is…” Then, with the first instruction carried out, hold two fingers up, say, “Great, the second thing I need you to do is…”

This is a simple but effective method. Sometimes having the child or another child repeat the sequence can help.

2. Private signals. The teacher or parent moves within proximity of the child before the instruction is delivered. Prior to instruction, the child and teacher/parent have created a secret signal. “I’ll gently tug on my ear when I need you to listen.”

Auditory Processing Problems & ADHD, Part 2

Huh? What did you say?

Read More: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/731-2.html

It’s important to realize that inability to follow multiple step instructions is part and parcel of the ADHD child’s or adult’s condition. Therefore, it’s also important to pick your battles; they are not trying to be defiant. Auditory processing problems can easily be construed to be ODD (oppositional defiant disorder).

Parents and teachers often perceive auditory processing problems as defiance, and this can lead to poor relationships. Students will come home to tell their parents, “The teacher doesn’t like me. She’s always yelling at me.” As many parents know, this can ruin the entire school year.

Spouses often get infuriated with their partner when he or she can’t seem to stay involved in conversations. A simple conversation can often turn into a major fight.

Your first priority is to discuss auditory processing problems with the other party. Be prepared with documentation courtesy the internet or your physician. Inform the other party that this is a real problem, and the two of you need to develop strategies to address it.

Strategy number 1: Proximity. Do not start a conversation with your spouse from across the room. Do not have your child seated at the back of the classroom. Do sit down at the table with your spouse and make eye contact. Do have your child’s desk closer to the teacher for auditory clarity and eye contact.

Strategy number 2: Keep it simple. Spouses, parents, and teachers realizing that multiple step instructions are going to be problematic will deliver one instruction/concept at a time while making eye contact. Make certain you are not condescending, but rather simply direct and clear. Wait for it! Wait for it…Deliver your second instruction upon completion of the first.

Strategies to improve auditory processing skills ahead. Stay tuned!

Should You Get an MRI?

An expert weighs in
ADHD expert Larry Silver, MD

In our search for answers and solutions, we often are faced with choices outside our fields of experience or expertise. Brain scanning is a newer technology that parents often encounter. It is costly so it’s important to understand what we’re getting for the money. Does it make sense to get an MRI? Here’s what ADHD expert Larry Silver, MD has to say:

No, it doesn’t. An MRI won’t help your doctor diagnose ADHD. At this time, we do not have firm evidence as to the precise areas of the brain that cause ADHD behaviors.

ADHD is diagnosed clinically. A professional talks with your daughter, you and your husband, and teachers, and tries to determine the following: Does your daughter show behaviors that suggest that she is hyperactive, inattentive, has difficulty with organization, or is impulsive? If so, does the history of these problems suggest that they are chronic (have been noted since early childhood) and pervasive (occur at home, in school, with peers, in activities). You should educate your daughter’s physician about diagnosing ADHD or find another practitioner.


Is Brain Imaging a Good Diagnostic Tool?
Can brain imaging help in diagnosing my daughter? We think she has ADHD, and the doctor recommended an MRI. Does this make sense?

Mom, My Greatest Advocate

Reported by: http://www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/17/10068.html

If you’ve been kicked in the shins by school administration, you should read this. Schools will help. You have to know how to be an advocate.

“While it’s true that some of teachers and administrators may have been the experts when it came to knowing more about educational policies and strategies, they never knew more about my child. It’s taken 12 years of IEP meetings, being kicked in the shins by administrators, and laughed at for my ideas to help me realize that when it comes to my kid, I am the expert. I only wish I had the same strong feeling about myself many years ago. ”

ADHD IEPs and School Accommodations: Coming into My Own as an Advocate for My Child

The Top Vitamins, Supplements, and Foods for Your ADHD Child

A FREE Webinar from ADDitude magazine

This is a great opportunity to learn how diet can make changes for your ADHD child.

ADHD EXPERT WEBINAR: Best Bites — Top Nutritional Choices for Your ADHD Child
Join us for the expert webinar hosted by Sandy Newmark, M.D., on Monday, March 18, 2013 at 1 PM EST. ADHD symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment information for adults.