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Timers Can Help ADHD Kids Focus on Tasks

Staying "on task" is one of the hardest things for a child with ADHD to do. There's a simple, inexpensive tool that might help: a timer.
"Anytime you begin working on a project or task, set the timer. As a rule, you should set the timer every time you direct your attention to a screen (computer, BlackBerry, PDA). ...

When the timer goes off, ask yourself Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing? If not, [you can] get back on track." [Source: Cedar Rapids Examiner]
The sound of a timer can help refocus child who gets distracted, and can be especially helpful for children with competitive natures.

Labels: focus, attention

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Researchers Study Academic Effects of ADHD Medication

ADHD medication can help people focus, but doesn't necessarily make them smarter. Claire Advokat and Sean Lane, professors in the Department of Psychology at Louisiana State University, want to find out why.

"Given their well-established benefit for increasing attention and concentration, it seems counterintuitive that ADHD medications are not more effective in improving academic and occupational attainment," Advokat said in a release that was posted on the LSU website "It is time to address this question and clarify the cognitive effects, as opposed to the activating, arousing and energizing actions of these drugs."

A grant from the Spencer Foundation will fund Professors Advokat and Lane as they determine whether ADHD drugs have real academic benefits.

Labels: medications, research, focus, academics

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Olympic Swimmer Found Focus in Water

When he was a child, Michael Phelps spent a lot of time poolside, next to the lifeguard station - not because he was interested in swimming, but because he was so disruptive. An elementary school student told his mom that his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder would prevent him from ever focusing on anything.
"His mom disagreed. She had seen him at swim meets. 'He might be rocking on the kickboard as he's waiting to swim,' she told the teacher, 'but he knows what he wants to do.'"
Phelps' ability to focus during competition seems contradictory for someone who took Ritalin as a child, but his passion to win gives him all the focus he needs. At the upcoming Olympics, Phelps will compete in eight events, and is aiming to beat Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals. Source: USA Today

Labels: focus, benefits, role_models

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Working Memory

Researchers have estimated that up to 10 percent of British school children have poor working memory. It's a condition that appears to be closely tied with ADHD and affects a child's ability to retain information, process, and learn.
"[Dr. Mel] Levine said working memory allows a reader to remember what is at the beginning of the page when reaching the end of the page. Children with trouble with active working memory get lost in the middle. 'One little girl told me recently, "Every time I read a sentence it erases the one that was before it,"' Levine said in a telephone interview. 'That's a perfect example of an active working memory dysfunction.'"
Working memory dysfunction can become a serious problem when a child enters middle school - where demands increase significantly. It's possible that working memory can be improved through memory training, though actual results aren't currently known. Source: The Mercury

Labels: focus, memory, dysfunction

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Hyper-focus Not All Bad

Beth Hering's son has ADHD. As a result, though he struggles to focus on some things, he's able to hyper-focus on others. The current object of his hyper-focus is Bigfoot.
"Sometimes the hyper-focusing will grate on my nerves. I am asked at least 10 times per week whether or not I think Bigfoot is real... But hyper-focusing also can have benefits. Need to write sentences using spelling words? Tell him to make them related to Bigfoot and you'll get paragraphs."
Hering believes it will come in handy in college, too, once he finds a subject that truly interests him. Who knows, he may determine to find a cure for cancer. Or he may actually find Bigfoot one day. Read more at ParentCenter.com.

Worried that your child's ADHD diagnosis will prevent them from attending college? Don't be! Cedars Academy offers a post-secondary curriculum that helps children with ADHD transition from high school to college. Learn more at http://www.cedarsacademy.com/cedars-plus.html.

Labels: focus, benefits, positives

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ADHD and Driving

Among drivers of all ages, teens are at the highest risk of getting into an accident. In fact, auto accidents are the leading cause of death among 16 to 20-year-olds, with 16-year-olds being at greatest risk. The risk factor increases dramatically for teens with ADHD.
"It's important for parents to talk with their teens about how ADHD can impact their driving ability and create risks on the road. Together, develop strategies to help limit distractions, focus attention, and make driving a safe experience."
Consider riding with your teen to allow him or her to practice driving skills. It gives you a chance to assess your child's driving abilities and determine if he or she is ready to drive alone. It's also important, if your teen has been prescribed ADHD medication, that he or she continues taking it unless a doctor has given permission to stop.

New Leaf Academy caters to girls with ADHD. Their girls boarding school staff know exactly what girls with ADHD need to get ahead in school and in relationships.

Labels: focus, teens, driving

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Meditation Sharpens the Mind

Though it's still in the most infant stage of study, some scientists believe that meditation can help reduce the symptoms of attention-related disorders like ADHD. Studies have found that people who meditate regularly can focus longer, and that the area of the brain linked with attention actually becomes thicker.
"'One of the fundamental mysteries that is now becoming better understood as we go along but which is still a breakthrough area of research is neuroplasticity, the idea that we can literally change our brains through mental training,' [Richard] Davidson said."
Davidson's initial study used an ancient Buddhist meditation technique called Vipassana. Seventeen volunteers went through three months of rigorous training on this technique, and after three months were able to spot details more quickly in laboratory testing. Read more at LiveScience.com.

Talisman Camps offer summer camp programs and a semester long academic program for children diagnosed with ADHD, Non-verbal learning disorder, high functioning autism and similar Autism Spectrum disorders, and Asperger's Syndrome. Learn more about Talisman's Asperger's schools.

Labels: alternative_medicine, focus, mental_health

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Smoking Linked to Problems In Focusing and Paying Attention

Scientists at Yale University found a link between smoking and a teen's ability to pay attention and focus on tasks involving hearing and sight.

Teens whose mothers smoked during pregnancy performed the worst on a series of tests that evaluate the ability to understand visual and auditory cues. Teens who smoked themselves did better, but those teens who never smoked and who were not exposed to prenatal smoke scored the best.

Exposure to smoke affected male auditory development, but it affected both auditory and visual development in girls.

Dr. Leslie K. Jacobsen of Yale University School of Medicine said, "The present findings underscore the importance of developing smoking prevention programs that target women of childbearing age." About 16 percent of pregnant women are smokers.

Labels: focus, attention, smoking

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Different Regions of the Brain Determine Distractibility & Focus

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered that one part of the brain "pays attention" and another part of the brain "gets distracted" at the same time.

Their research has implications for helping people with Attention Deficit Disorder.
"The ability to willfully focus your attention is physically separate in the brain from distracting things grabbing your attention," Earl Miller, the neuroscientist who led the study, said.
Miller's team trained monkeys to pick out red triangles on a video screen in return for a treat. However, sometimes the monkeys were deliberately distracted from their task by flashing bright rectangles. During times of concentration, the executive centers of the monkeys' brains in their prefrontal cortexes were in charge. However, when they were distracted, their parietal cortexes near the back of their brains took over. This study is the first time that scientists got a good look at how these regions of the brain work.

Miller said that it is their hope to find treatments to boost attention. This study appears in the March 30, 2007 edition of Science.

Labels: research, focus, concentration

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Over-Focused ADHD

It doesn't seem like anything with work "focused" could be associated with ADHD. But there's actually a form of ADHD called "over-focused". People who have this type of ADHD are able to hyper-focus on a particular task, but have a difficult time switching from one task to another.
"He has trouble shifting attention from one activity to another, and he frequently 'gets stuck' in loops of negative thoughts. He can be obsessive, and very inflexible. He can also be oppositional and argumentative to parents."
Certain types of medication can help "Over-Focused ADHD", as can certain types of nutritional plans. Read more at ParentingIdeas.org.

Labels: medications, focus, over_focused

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Sometimes, Too Much Attention is the Problem

The word “deficit” is not always an accurate descriptor of either ADD or ADHD. People who struggle with either disorder don’t lack the ability to pay attention, they struggle to control their attention. Many are able to “hyperfocus” on activities that are stimulating or rewarding.

“It is not unusual for these individuals to become so immersed in a task that they are oblivious to everything else going on around them. You may have experienced this when your child is playing a video game and you try to get his attention. You call to him. No answer. You call louder. No answer. Finally, raising your voice to a shout, you may get a quick, annoyed look!” [Source: About.com]

Hyperfocus can be a good thing. It can help an ADD child focus on a paper for school or finish cleaning his room. The trick is figuring out how to help your child access his ability to hyperfocus. Parents should also set time limits for activities that ADD/ADHD kids use to escape – like playing video games.


Labels: focus

Posted By: 4ADHD.com 1 Comment

Fidgeting, Doodling May Help ADHD Students Focus

For many students with ADHD, one of the biggest challenges in school is the struggle to stay focused. Their minds wander, they get anxious, and they have a hard time paying attention. Many of them fidget, which is seen as a symptom of the ADHD. But fidgeting and doodling may actually help some kids focus.

The theory is that nobody can focus 100% of their working memory and attention to a single task, there is always a little bit of floating attention keeping a watchful eye on the surroundings. …

Researchers have found that one way that ADHD children cope with these distractions is to unconsciously give their floating attention a nice mindless task, like fidgeting, swinging and fiddling. [Source: LifeHacker]

So, rather than insisting that your child sit still and “stay focused,” take time to observe his behavior. You might find that his idle doodling is actually beneficial.

Labels: students, focus, attention

Posted By: Stefanie Hamilton 0 Comments