Category: Attention Skills

Can Attention be Trained? Seniors (and Babies) Prove It Can

Baby girl playing outdoorsWhen TV newscaster Diane Sawyer was asked the secret of her success, she said, “I think the one lesson I’ve learned is there is no substitute for paying attention.”

If you struggle with ADHD, however, that’s a lot easier said than done.

About 6 million children and teens have been diagnosed with ADHD, with an estimated four percent of U.S. adults struggling with the disorder as well.

The good news is that support and education help. Plus, there are things you can do. In fact, if you’re looking for something you can do to help yourself or a child who struggles, two studies on attention are worth, well, paying attention to.

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Is ADHD Making You Procrastinate?

The problem has been defined as “voluntarily delaying an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay.” Sound familiar?

Why do we procrastinate? According to one team of experts—made up of Drs. Joseph Ferrari and Timothy Pychyl—and quoted on psychologytoday.com, there are three basic types of procrastinators:

1. Arousal types or thrill seekers who look for the euphoric rush of getting something done at the last minute.

2. Avoiders who may be acting out of fear of failure, or otherwise avoiding painful emotions they have attached to the task at hand.

3. Decisional procrastinators, who struggle with—you guessed it!—making decisions.

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Link Between Adult ADHD and the Second Most Common Form of Dementia

September is National ADHD Awareness Month, and in their ongoing quest for answers, researchers continue to discover new things about the common diagnosis, estimated to affect up to 16% of school aged children and close to 5% of adults. In the United States alone, roughly 8.8 million adults are thought to struggle with the condition.

A new study has found a link between adult ADHD and a certain form of dementia.

After Alzheimer’s, DLB is the second most common form of dementia. DLB stands for, of all things, “Dementia with Lewy Bodies.” Lewy bodies, named after the doctor who discovered them, are spherical protein deposits found in nerve cells that disrupt the normal functioning of the brain’s important chemical messengers.

Currently DBL accounts for 10% of dementia cases (although many doctors think it is vastly underdiagnosed, since it shares some characteristics with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease).

In a recent study, researchers in Argentina studied  509 people in their 70s (360 of them with DLB) and discovered that nearly half of the men and women who ended up with DLB in their senior years also had adult ADHD. The occurrence of adult ADHD in seniors with DLB was more than three times the rate in the group without DLB.

Dr. Angel Golimstok, one of the authors of the study, says that it looks like the same neurotransmitter pathway problems are involved in the development of both conditions. 

“If you can catch him, you can test him!”

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Overactive, hyperactive, impulsive, rambunctious, wild – any of those describe your child? Whether he’s been diagnosed with ADHD or not, chances are you’ve probably already tried many, many ways to calm him enough so he can focus and learn.

Have you tried this one? It’s from LearningRx Vice President of Research and Development Tanya Mitchell on BlogTalkRadio. “One thing I would not allow is for his teacher to keep him in for recess,” said Mitchell regarding her own 10-year-old son. “I told her, ‘That is directly negatively affecting you. If he has time to go out and physically move and do things, you’re going to be able to teach him better.’”

In addition to giving other tips, Mitchell explained that what appears to be an attention issue can sometimes be a visual or auditory processing weakness that results in impulsive behavior. Fortunately, all these skills can be strengthened and improved. First you need a cognitive skills assessment to determine which skill weaknesses are the root of the problem.

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Listen fast! Hear 236 Years of History recited in 17 Seconds!

And you thought patting your head and rubbing your stomach was hard!

If you REALLY want to test your powers of concentration and memory, you should try reciting the names of all 44 American presidents while executing a complicated cup-stacking pattern while surrounded by a distracting chorus of stomping, clapping classmates.

Now do it in 17 seconds.

A nationwide video contest launched by LearningRx inspired a slew of impressive videos of kids reciting the names of all 44 presidents while hitting baseballs, doing gymnastics, and ignoring obnoxious distractions.

The winner of the contest was eleven-year-old Travis Coron of Succasunna, NJ, who scored the grand prize of an iPad in this year’s national President’s Day contest with a 31-second clip that demonstrates amazing concentration, memory and multitasking skills. The 6th grader, who attended the LearningRx Brain Training Center in Chester, New Jersey, quickly recited all 44 U.S. presidents while performing a complicated cup-stacking pattern and blocking out major distractions. (Click here to see Travis in action!)

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