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Can 'Brain Games' Help Kids Overcome ADHD?

Parents like Karen George are becoming more common. When her son was diagnosed with ADHD, George was reluctant to put him on medication, because he was only 10 years old. Instead, she had him try a brain stimulation program designed to help improve short-term memory. She says that the approach worked.
"The size of the U.S. Market for brain stimulation products... more than doubled between 2005 and 2007 to $225 million, according to a new report by the consulting group SharpBrains... Even health insurers are getting in on the act. Humana, for example, has teamed up with Posit Science, which makes programs to enhance learning and memory..."
One potential downfall of the "brain games" is that the effects are not permanent. A child whose attention is improved will begin to relapse if the program is discontinued. But, say proponents of the games, the same is true of prescription medication. Source: Reuters

Labels: brain_activity, treatment, memory

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ADHD Kids Need to Move

A new study out of the University of Central Florida has found that kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder focus better when they're moving, which may explain the "hyperactivity" part of ADHD.
"In studies of 8- to 12-year old boys... children with and without ADHD sat relatively still while watching Star Wars... All of the children became more active when they were required to remember and manipulate computer-generated letters, numbers and shapes... Children with ADHD became significantly more active..."
The study indicates that a child with ADHD needs to move more in order to stay alert and perform tasks requiring working memory. The findings indicate that kids with ADHD may be more productive if allowed to fidget, as long as their behavior doesn't become destructive. Source: Psych Central

Labels: activities, exercise, memory

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Nature Walks Might Improve Cognitive and Memory Skills

Spending time in nature might improve your performance on memory and attention task tests, according to a new study from the University of Michigan.

Psychologists Marc Berman, John Jonides, and Stephen Kaplan asked volunteers to take cognitive tests and then walk in either a park or an urban area of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Then the subjects took the tests again. Those who walked in nature did better than those who walked in the city. The same held true for another group of volunteers who were retested after looking at photographs of nature or city neighborhoods.

The authors, writing in the journal Psychological Science, believe that city environments require more interpretation compared to natural environments, which are experienced as restful.

Researchers at the University of Illinois have found that children with attention deficit disorder can reduce their symptoms by spending time in nature.

Labels: exercise, memory, green_time

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Casual Games May Help with Concentration

A survey conducted by Information Solutions Group found that puzzle games like Tetris or Bejeweled can help improve concentration and promote stress relief and relaxation in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Eighty-three percent of the 220 children who responded to the survey said they felt the games helped improve their concentration.
"It seems that children with AD/HD often lack that sense of control that comes much more easily to their non-AD/HD peers,' says Dr. Carl Arinoldo. 'Playing casual games such as Peggle and Bejeweled, among others, is one area in their lives in which these children can experience some sense of control with the added benefit of achieving success in something."
Though experts advise parents not to allow their children to spend excessive amounts of time playing video games, the survey indicates that limited exposure can be beneficial. Source: Game Daily

Labels: concentration, memory, games

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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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Poor Working Memories Can Cause Kids to Fail in School

British researchers have identified a new kind of learning disability - defects in working memory - that may affect up to 10 percent of all children.

Working memory is the brain's temporary "storage bin." It allows people to mentally store and manipulate an average of three to five items at once. Children with poor working memories often appear lazy or unintelligent in school. The disability seems to be linked to Attention Deficit Disorder.

"One little girl told me recently, 'Every time I read a sentence it erases the one that was before it,'" said Dr. Mel Levine. "That's a perfect example of an active working memory dysfunction." Dr. Levine is co-founder of All Kinds of Minds, a nonprofit institute in Durham, N.C., that studies learning differences. Children like this little girl cannot remember the first sentence on a page as they continue to read the rest of it.
"In children with learning difficulties, it becomes a huge issue, especially around middle school where the demands on working memory grow dramatically," Dr. Levine said.
Working memory is the single best predictor of academic success, said the study's author, Dr. Tracey Alloway of Britain's Durham University. Memory training exercises can help children with poor working memories, but the bigger problem is that the condition is rarely diagnosed.

Labels: learning_disabilites, memory, dysfunction

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Summer Camp Can Improve Structure and Maturity

Many parents of kids with ADHD are hesitant about medication, but don't know if there are any alternatives. One possibility is a summer camp program designed specifically for kids with ADHD.
"Because the summer months, when school lets out, break the structure, pace and expectations of daily living, children with ADHD do not perform well in summer months. Leaving an ADHD child at home, during the summer, can lead to maladaptive behavior and often results in a difficult transition back into the academic setting in the fall. Finding a summer camp that is specifically designed for ADHD children is important to keeping structure in your child's life."
Separation anxiety is not uncommon in ADHD children, particularly if they've never been away from home before. Expect this and be prepared to reassure you child. An appropriately structured summer camp can result in increased emotional and behavioral maturity.

Camp Huntington special needs summer camps offer programs for children with ADHD, Asperger's, and Autism. Find a complete list of summer camps at SummerCampsInfo.com.

Labels: summer_camp, structure, memory

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Study Shows Working Memory Training can Help

Cogmed is the name of a computer program which trains and develops working memory. In a recent breakthrough study, an institute in Sweden used the program to redefine the way attention problems are understood and treated. Now, researchers at Harvard University have conducted a study of their own which supports the initial findings.
"'Our pilot study indicated that the training of working memory in a school setting may be a feasible, safe, and effective way to help children with ADHD that warrants further investigation,' [Dr. Enrico] Mezzacappa concluded in the study."
Mezzacappa goes on to say that the program helps stimulate cognitive skills and overall development, and makes treatment for ADHD possible within schools systems, to students who might otherwise receive no treatment at

Stone Mountain, a school for boys with ADHD, helps boys deal with their behaviors while earning credits for school. Visit StoneMountainSchool.com to learn more.

Labels: schools, exercise, memory

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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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White Noise Helps Kids with ADHD

A study to be published in the October issue of Psychological Review has shattered one of the more common myths associated with ADHD - that background noise interferes with an ADHD child's ability to concentrate or learn.
"Both concentration and memory improved in school children with ADHD when white-noise recordings were played as they worked, according to Swedish researchers from Stockholm and Lund universities."
The noise is believed to affect the child's dopamine levels, which affect concentration. In children with ADHD, dopamine levels are low, and the background noise helps raise them. The study's authors believe this information will help teachers create better learning environments for children with ADHD.

Labels: concentration, memory, noise

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Memory Help for Children with ADHD

Memory problems are common for kids with ADHD. But a new medication called methylphenidate (MPH) may offer help.
"...six boys with ADHD and 6 healthy boys were studied using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Each patient was tested twice, once with MPH and once without... In the most difficult task, performance of medicated patients was better than that of non-medicated patients."
Brain activity also increased under the medication. Read more at PsychCentral.com.

Drugs used to treat ADHD typically work by increasing levels of dopamine in the brain. Video games can have the same effect on boys with ADHD. Learn how Boys with ADHD Can Find A Cure By Going Back to Tom Sawyer Era at www.stonemountainschool.com.

Labels: medications, treatment, memory

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Improving "Working Memory" Helps Children and Adolescents with ADD/ADHD

The program is called CogMed Working Memory Training". It was originally developed in Sweden, and is based on a discovery that improving a person's working memory helps reduce attention deficits. The Swedish company CogMed has worked with more than 1,400 children and adults in Europe who struggle with attention deficits, and found that 80% achieved significant improvement in attention, impulse control, problem solving skills and academic performance.
"Working memory is a function of the brain that holds information 'online' for a brief period of time, typically a few seconds. In daily life, individuals use working memory to perform numerous tasks such as remembering instructions, solving problems, controlling impulses and focusing attention."
The program lasts for five weeks, during which the "patient" participates in 30-minute working memory "training sessions" once a day, five days a week. The training can be done in the patient's home, and led via phone or internet by a trained coach. Read more online.

Labels: academics, memory, skills

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