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Kids Spend 5 to 16 Hours Every Week Playing Video Games

A survey of 3473 children ages two to 17 years old found that playing video games is more popular than ever and has predictable patterns of usage.

Children of both sexes start playing child-oriented games between ages two and five. At six years old, children move into games on personal computers and use gaming systems such as Nintendo and Playstation. Between six and eight years, children become more serious about gaming, and the time they spend on it increases dramatically. By age ten, they play games on cell phones.

Children ages ten to 17 years spend an average of ten hours a week gaming. About half are light users (less than five hours a week).

Boys tend to play video games more than girls do, and they also tend to use gaming systems more often. Girls tend to play on cell phones.

The NPD Group conducted the survey for industry use.

Read more in our full length article Internet Addiction: Escapism or Psychological Disorder?.

Labels: video_games, addictions, internet

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ADHD & Me

Blake Taylor, a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley, has just published a book about his experiences as someone with ADHD. His hope is that the book will encourage others, and help them view ADHD not as a curse, but as a gift.
"There are so many wonderful qualities that come along with ADHD: intelligence, high energy, the ability to accomplish a lot, creativity, passion for a cause, innovativeness, trustworthiness, etc. But the trick is: you have to learn how to live with it and harness it."
Blake offers many tips in his book, all based on his own life and learning to live with ADHD. He admits that living with ADHD isn't always easy, but he believes that the benefits outweigh the challenges.

Learn about teen drug use and how you can help your child at Adolescent-Substance-Abuse.com.

Labels: support, benefits, challenges

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Alternatives for Children with ADHD

An estimated 5 to 10 percent of children in America have either ADD or ADHD. There is a wide range of treatments available for these disorders, most of which involve some sort of medication. But some parents are uncomfortable with the idea of giving medication to their kids, especially if their kids are very young, so Amanda Fey, a naturopathic doctor in New York, has compiled a list of alternative treatments that parents may wish to consider.
"If your child had been diagnosed with ADHD, remember that pharmaceutical drugs aren't the only solution available. Supplementing with critical nutrients and improving children's diets have proved to be extremely beneficial in many scientific research studies; therefore, making it a sensible alternative solution for parents to explore."
Food additives have been shown to aggravate ADHD symptoms in children, as has a lack of both Omega-3 fatty acids and iron. Before adding nutritional supplements (especially iron), have your child's overall health evaluated to determine if he's lacking either of these. As for the food additives, they're almost impossible to avoid altogether but can be greatly reduced by preparing meals at home and reducing a child's intake of junk food and other sweets.

Schools that offer programs for children with non verbal learning disorder can help in ways that public schools aren't able to. Learn more at LearningDisabilitesInfo.com.

Labels: treatment, diet, alternatives

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Prognosis Good for Kids Who get Treatment

When it comes to kids and ADHD, reports and studies abound that document increased risks for substance abuse and decreased academic potential. It's enough to make a parent feel like their kid has no chance at a "normal" life. But a study conducted over the summer shows that most ADHD children who are treated - either with medication, behavior therapy or both - improve over time.
"The roles of specific therapies and educational strategies remain unclear... For now, parents should know that treating ADHD, early and with vigor, can make a difference, says Anne Teeter Ellison, a psychologist and president of an advocacy group called Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder..."
Studies have also found that improvement comes as young brains develop and mature. So while there may be a lot of "doom and gloom" reports out there, there are also valid reasons to believe that a child with ADHD can look forward to a bright, productive future.

Residential treatment centers, like the Aspen Institute, can offer parents struggling with difficult children a clear diagnosis and treatment plan.

Labels: medications, treatment, therapy

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The Cost of Untreated ADHD

At the outset, not treating someone with ADHD may seem to save money; no paying for expensive medications or therapy treatments. But in the long run, untreated ADHD takes a high toll on a nation - both socially and economically.
"'It's not going to cost now, but in the long run if you don't treat it, then adult ADHD causes lost time from work,' [Rosemary Tannock] said. Tannock said neurodevelopment immaturity leads to academic disengagement and underachievement in toddlers and escalates to low self-esteem in school and an increased chance of risky behavior."
Though symptoms may diminish as someone gets older, ADHD doesn't disappear altogether. Adults who have a genetic disposition for ADHD and also smoke are at an increased risk of having children with ADHD. And if the adults don't learn how to treat their own ADHD, they'll have a harder time finding help for their child.

Labels: long_term_effects, losses, untreated

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Computer Program Improves Attention

Professor Torkel Klingberg of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology recently conducted a study that measured the working memory (WM) functions of children with ADHD. Working memory is a common problem for people with ADHD and Dr. Klingberg's study explored the connection between WM problems and other ADHD symptoms.
"In a preliminary study, Klingberg found that a training of WM tasks can enhance executive functioning including working memory, response inhibition and reasoning in children with ADHD. The [follow-up] trial included 53 children with ADHD and revealed a significant treatment effect both at intervention and follow-up."
The results of both studies seem to indicate that systematic development of working memory in children with ADHD helps reduce other symptoms both during the treatment and up to three months afterwards. Parents of the children who were involved in the study also reported a significant decrease in their children's symptoms.

Private boarding schools for boys and girls with ADD can help your child get the most out of school. Find one at BoardingSchoolsInfo.com.

Labels: attention, treatment, memory

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When "ADHD" Meets "Academically Gifted"

Until now, there's been no official name given to kids who are unusually bright but also struggle with a learning disability such as ADHD. Because there's been no name, no distinct category, there's also been no strategy in place for educating these kids. But a non-profit group called IDL - Individual Differences in Learning Association - has begun taking corrective action on behalf of this unusual group of students that are being called "twice-exceptional learners".
"[Katharina] Boser and other members of IDL spent most of the summer in the county's Television and Media Production studio... interviewing students, teachers, parents and experts to create a two-hour video on twice-exceptional learners."
The video will be used to inform and educate school officials on the unique learning needs of twice-exceptional learners, which are also sometimes referred to as GTLD - gifted and talented/learning disabled. The goal is to help parents and educators learn how to consider not just a child's learning disability, but his learning skills and talents as well.

Schools for children with Asperger's Syndrome can help children get the most out of their education and find the best career path for them. Find one at Your Little Professor.

Labels: schools, learning_disabilites, advocacy

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Wal-Mart Expands Generic Drug Program

Wal-Mart Stores announced today that it is expanding its generic drug program to include, among other things, drugs used to treat ADD/ADHD. The generic medicines will be available for $4 for a one-month supply.
"'This announcement reinforces our commitment to driving costs out of the health system and saving money for our customers so they can live better, healthier lives,' said Dr. John Agwunobi, Wal-Mart senior vice president and president for the professional services division."
The discount drugs will be offered at over 4,000 Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and Neighborhood Market stores across the nation.

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Labels: medications, health_care_costs

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Girls May Get Missed

Say "ADHD" and most people think of a child who can't sit still, climbs on furniture and takes dangerous risks. That description is largely true for boys, but ADHD in girls looks very different.
"Girls who have the inattentive type of ADHD may space out in class, miss turning in homework or have trouble starting or finishing projects..."
Because the symptoms in girls are more "low key", many girls get overlooked and are called "daydreamers" or "chatter boxes". Girls who struggle to focus in the classroom, have trouble completing homework assignments on time (or at all), or seem unusually disorganized should see a doctor who is capable of making an official diagnosis.

Girls with ADHD can get the academics and therapy they need to control their feelings at New Leaf Academy.

Labels: diagnosis, girls

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Benefits and Side Effects of Concerta

Concerta was the first time-released formula ever marketed for the treatment of ADHD. The once-daily treatment is one of several options for treating ADHD symptoms, and has both benefits and side effects of which parents should be aware.
"The Concerta capsule has an outer coat of medication that dissolves quickly, and then two small compartments of medication inside that release gradually. The time-released system of the Concerta capsule provides up to 12-hour coverage and provides more even coverage for ADHD symptoms but there are a few drawbacks with the capsule form."
One drawback is that, because of the pill's design, it can't be cut to decrease the dosage. Also, because of the 12-hour coverage, the drug's manufacturer suggests skipping a day's dose if it isn't taken early in the morning. The 12-hour time-release also means that normal sleep patterns may still be disrupted even if the pill is taken early. As with any medication, a doctor should be consulted before a final decision is made, and prescription instructions should be carefully followed.

Labels: medications, treatment, side_effects

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Dispelling the Myths about ADHD

Canada has launched it's first-ever Awareness Campaign to promote understanding, dispel myths and stimulate advocacy for ADHD. One of the main goals of the campaign is to increase the support that Canadian students with ADHD receive in the classroom.
"Currently in Ontario, a diagnosis of ADHD does not qualify a student for a special needs designation in most school boards. This designation gives these students the right to receive accommodations in the way they are taught and evaluated. There is also no consistency in Ontario on how children with ADHD are serviced or if they are serviced at all."
Heidi Bernhardt, national director for the Centre for ADHD Advocacy in Canada (CADDAC), hopes to use the Awareness Campaign as leverage to convince the Ministry of Education that educational changes need to be implemented. Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Education, recently acknowledged that the Ontario Human Rights Code requires school boards to accommodate students with ADHD.

Labels: awareness, Canada, advocacy

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