Does ADHD Mean I Have Less Attention?

Does ADHD Mean I Have Less Attention?
You’ll be surprised by the answer

It’s ADHD Awareness Month. Spread the word.

Read More: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml

ADHD key symptoms include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It is normal for all children to exhibit these behaviors, but for children with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe and occur more often. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a child must have symptoms for 6 or more months and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

But do children with ADHD really have less attention than their peers? Attention deficit is actually a misnomer of sorts; ADHD children do not have less attention or a ‘deficit’ of attention. Actually their attention is quite substantial, however their ability to direct it or manage it at will is very difficult.

Try to imagine this: four television stations playing in your mind at one time. A lot of information is pouring in, but it’s difficult for you to pay attention to any one thing for very long. That’s the typical mind of an ADHD person. Thus, their attention is not deficit, but it is fleeting; it’s directed quickly from one thing to another.

Think of it like this: you enter a cave with a flashlight (the flashlight will serve as a metaphor for attention). It’s very dark, but you very carefully shine the flashlight in the cave, directing it on the floor to carefully navigate. Your ADHD child enters the same cave with that same flashlight. He constantly shines it all over the cave as he walks forward. So, it’s clear, same flashlight (same attention), but his is scattered or diffused.

Now you know why he’ll walk through the living room time after time and bang his shin or knee on the same coffee table for years.

Now you know why, when you ask him to go to his bedroom, put on his pajamas, and get ready for bed, you find him sitting on his bed a half hour later playing a Game-boy. He processed the, “Go to your bedroom” part. His brain is not yet equipped to process multiple step directions. When that happens in school, it’s a mess.

But why can they play their Xbox or Play Station for hours on end? I literally have to yank the controller from my son’s hand to get him to come to dinner. A characteristic of ADHD is hyperfocus, the ability to tune out everything else and attend to only a particularly engaging stimulus. Video games use high intensity graphics and sound and are loaded with action. Your ADHD child’s mind is tuned for this type of stimulation. They can hyperfocus on this for hours on end. Unfortunately, your classroom teacher cannot compete on this level. As we’ve mentioned before, limit the use of high intensity video games.

Knowing your child’s mind is integral to understanding your child’s behavior. At times they may not respond to your demands and it creates a conflict, but it’s not due to defiance necessarily. It’s often due to the way they process or don’t process information. Knowing this can reduce your conflicts and improve your family life.

Avoid Summer Brain Drain!

How to avoid summer vacation cognitive loss Summer vacation means sleeping late, staying up late, and doing very little except enjoying time out of school. However, did you know that the average student loses one to three month’s math and reading gains made over the prior year? Academic losses are so common among students that educators have given the phenomena a name: Summer Brain Drain.

This makes starting the following school year difficult.

Summer Brain Drain may even be worse for ADHD students already having trouble at school.

Going to school daily provides schedules and routines. The summer break means those routines aren’t there. Expectations are lowered or relaxed. Even sleep schedules are often totally abandoned.

Unfortunately, exercise is often replaced with computer time, watching movies, or playing video games with friends. That’s a bad idea. While there’s nothing wrong with playing video games or watching movies, sedentary activity must always be balanced with exercise. This is especially important for an ADHD student.

So here are some tips that should help prevent Summer Brain Drain:

• Take advantage of the summer months to start your Play Attention program (800.788.6786). Summer is a great time to start Play Attention because you will have the time to get a solid routine, begin strengthening cognitive skills, and work on eliminating distracting behaviors. Play Attention is the only program available that integrates feedback technology, attention training, memory training, cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. This guarantees you will have the most complete program available with the best possible outcomes.

• Organize your life and set a consistent routine with ADHD Nanny (www.adhdnanny.com). This is a fantastic online program for consistency, rewards, and taking the stress off mom!

• Read. Decrease reading losses by developing a fun reading plan with your child. Select reading level appropriate books and have fun discussing them and even acting out some scenes!

• Plan trips to the library for story telling, selecting a new book, or even just browsing the magazine selection.

• You’ll likely go to the mall, grocery store, or gas station over the summer. Make these math trips! Use numbers found at these locations to create on the spot games with prizes. Even you car’s trip meter can be of service for math problems.

• Set a routine. Sleeping late is fine as long as it’s balanced with proper exercise and proper bedtime. Remember your teen will need far more sleep than your 6 – 12 year old.

• Get outside…a lot. Working in the yard promotes better attention. No kidding! Being in a green environment has been shown to decrease attention problems, so get outside and play!

• Establish a balanced diet. The high fat, high sugar diet commonly consumed in the US has been shown to contribute greatly to attention issues as well as obesity. Avoid too much fast food even though it’s convenient. Dinner time at the table with a balanced meal promotes both family harmony and good health.

ADHD Nanny
www.adhdnanny.com
ADHD Nanny is the premiere online…

Introducing Dear Sheer Genius

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!

How do I submit a question?

To submit your question please click here or 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!

Photo: 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!
How do I submit a question?
To submit your question please click here or 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!

Is It ADHD or Sleep Deprivation?

A scientist makes a connection

From the NY TIMES

Read the full article: https://www.google.com/search?q=Is+It+ADHD+or+Sleep+Deprivation%3F%2C+NY+times&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
“We all get less sleep than we used to. The number of adults who reported sleeping fewer than seven hours each night went from some 2 percent in 1960 to more than 35 percent in 2011. Sleep is even more crucial for children, who need delta sleep — the deep, rejuvenating, slow-wave kind — for proper growth and development. Yet today’s youngsters sleep more than an hour less than they did a hundred years ago. And for all ages, contemporary daytime activities — marked by nonstop 14-hour schedules and inescapable melatonin-inhibiting iDevices — often impair sleep. It might just be a coincidence, but this sleep-restricting lifestyle began getting more extreme in the 1990s, the decade with the explosion in A.D.H.D. diagnoses. …

“One study, published in 2004 in the journal Sleep, looked at 34 children with A.D.H.D. Every one of them showed a deficit of delta sleep, compared with only a handful of the 32 control subjects.

“A 2006 study in the journal Pediatrics showed something similar, from the perspective of a surgery clinic. This study included 105 children between ages 5 and 12. Seventy-eight of them were scheduled to have their tonsils removed because they had problems breathing in their sleep, while 27 children scheduled for other operations served as a control group. Researchers measured the participants’ sleep patterns and tested for hyperactivity and inattentiveness, consistent with standard protocols for validating an A.D.H.D. diagnosis.”

Sleep, like diet, may be a contributor to ADHD symptoms. It would be wise to monitor sleep habits as it is wise to monitor a healthy diet.

Sleep Problems & ADHD

Sweet Dreams….

The three most common sleep problems that affect both ADHD children and adults are:

1. Can’t fall asleep. The brain of an ADHD person constantly buzzes with thought that cannot be easily shut off. Sleep does not come easily. Try to make a list of those things buzzing round in your head and lay it on the nightstand next to your bed. That may help keep things quiet.

2. Uneasy sleep. Once the brain is able to sleep, it is not quiet. The brain continues to work which causes uneasy, restless sleep. Discuss what’s on your mind right before you sleep. Resolve to address your problems in the morning for a restful night’s sleep.

3. Difficult to wake. If one’s brain buzzes away all night, then it feels like a day’s work! Getting up the following morning can be quite difficult and one still may feel quite tired. Following steps one and two above may help you get better sleep and wake much easier.

Texting and ADHD

Full artilcle: www.medicalnewstoday.com

How much has information and communication technology (ICT) affected our lives? Researchers say that the average teenager sends a total of over 3,400 electronic [text] messages every month or surfs the Internet at bedtime. Could texting and bedtime web time influence the severity of your child’s ADHD symptoms?

In a study by the JFK Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey, and presented at the 76th annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), lead author Dr Peter G. Polos and his team found that more than half of these bedtime kiddy texters or web surfers are not only prone to have problems falling asleep, but experience mood, behavior and cognitive problems during the day.

“It is significant that these children are engaging in stimulating activity when they should be in an environment to promote sleep,” says Polos.

Polos’ team analyzed questionnaire responses from 40 children and young adults aged between 8 and 22. This is a small group and the results must be considered preliminary. However, the researchers found that those who used electronic technology at bedtime (texting, game playing, email, surfing, etc.) also experienced sleep-related problems such as excessive movements, leg pain and insomnia, and also had a “high rate of daytime problems, which can include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], anxiety, depression, and learning difficulties,” said Polos.

According to Medical News Today (www.medicalnewstoday.com), the analysis of the questionnaire data showed that:

* 77.5 per cent of the participants had persistent problems falling asleep.

* On average, participants were woken once per night by an ICT device.

* On average, a participant sent 33.5 emails or texts per night when they were supposed to be asleep; and the average number of people texted each night was 3.7.

* The average number of messages sent via ICT per person per month at sleep time was 3,404 and occurred over periods ranging from 10 minutes to 4 hours after bedtime.

* Among the adolescent participants, the older they were, the later they went to bed, and the more time they spent with their ICT devices at bedtime.

* Boys were more likely to use ICT to surf the net and play online games, while girls were more likely to text and make cell phone calls.

* High rates of cognitive and mood problems during the day were linked with sleep time related use of ICT, including ADHD, anxiety, depression, and learning difficulties.

* There were also higher rates of nighttime problems such as excessive movements, leg pain and insomnia.

Polos and colleagues concluded that use of ICT at bedtime may have “an adverse impact on sleep hygiene and daytime function which may be significant”, and that questions about this should be included in routine evaluations of patients reporting problems sleeping.

“These data suggest that further studies are needed to evaluate the short and long term consequences of STRICT on sleep,” they wrote.

Polos explained that “sleep is largely habitual in nature”, and if “children begin this type of behavior, they may set themselves up for the need for external stimulation before sleep later in life”.

This could lead to problems like difficulty falling asleep, not having enough sleep, and feeling sleepy during the day, he said adding that:

“More research is needed to determine all of the short- and long-term consequences.”

Many parents know that healthy sleep habits are especially important to ensure progress at school and healthy development, and are concerned about how best to handle the growing problem of ICT devices in the bedroom.

Polos said that using cell phones or computers, to talk, text, surf the net, or play games, is “more addictive, seductive, and interactive than passively watching television,” because of the graphics, rapid responses and interactivity.

“The sooner parents establish appropriate times for children to use this technology, the better,” he urged, adding that perhaps they should also “move key items, such as computers, from a child’s bedroom into a common area”.

Dr David Gutterman, President of the American College of Chest Physicians said concern about insomnia and other sleep disorders in children is growing and that “research shows that the problem is increasing, so it is more important than ever for physicians to ask questions about technology use when evaluating children for sleep issues”.