Instructor: Donna Ewing
17 July 2015
ADHD – Alternative Treatments for Children
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a syndrome that involves behavior that is impulsive and inattentive with motor restlessness and abnormal energy levels. Children diagnosed with ADHD have differences in the frontal lobes of their brain compared to those who do not have the disorder (Austin, Staats, and Burgdorf). Experts consider ADHD a condition that has no cure and it is generally treated with stimulant medications. These medications act quickly to reduce the impulsive and inattentive behaviors associated with ADHD. However, these medications can have side effects, ...view middle of the document...
There is a version to be used at home that connects to most home gaming systems, and one used in the clinic so psychologists and other professionals can target the needs of children with ADHD (Austin, Staats, and Burgdorf).
University of Illinois researchers Frances Kuo and Andrea Taylor have led recent studies that link time spent in nature to an increase in the ability to concentrate with ADHD. They state, “The theory is that, when you have to struggle to maintain attention — what happens when you concentrate on a task like writing or doing computations — neurotransmitters in the brain’s prefrontal cortex get depleted. If you struggle too long without a break, you experience a condition that might be called “attention fatigue. You need to let the system replenish itself, and being in a natural environment seems to let it do that.” This “attention fatigue” in its chronic form, is similar to ADHD. In one study, parents said that their ADHD kids could focus better after they had participated in outdoor activities compared to indoor activities. In fact, activities that were done in specifically “green” environments produced the most improvement in attention out of all the outdoor activities. So, it makes sense to encourage parents to provide more “green time” for their ADHD kids. If possible, parents can walk their children to and from school on greener routes, or let their kids play outside before doing homework. And why not park the homework table in front of a window with a green view, or let the child help with the gardening (Kuo and Taylor)?
Another alternative treatment for ADHD is called “working memory training.” Working memory is the ability to retain information in order to achieve a specific goal. CogMed training is a five-week training program aimed to improve the working memory of ADHD patients. Parents check in with a CogMed trainer once a week to monitor progress, receive encouragement, and troubleshoot if needed. The CogMed program is downloaded onto a home computer. Exercises are in a video game format that is colorful and engaging. “In one exercise, he shoots down floating asteroids; in another, he recalls numbers in the reverse order in which they are given; in another, he remembers the sequence in which rows of lights turn on. The patient uses his computer mouse to punch in the answers — and earns points along the way” (“What You Need”). Karolinska Institute researchers did MRIs on children after finishing CogMed training. These MRIs...