School is back in session, and along with it, comes an agenda book full of your child’s upcoming homework assignments.
Getting into the school year groove can prove challenging for any student but even more so for those struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
As of 2011, more than six million children aged 4–17 had received a diagnosis of ADHD, according to Counseling@NYU, which offers an online master’s in school counseling program from NYU Steinhardt. In academic environments, children with ADHD can struggle with symptoms like an inability to sit still, trouble waiting for a turn, and difficulty paying attention in class, which can be challenging for educators, school counselors and parents who want to set these children up for success.
Early childhood mental health consultant, Rebecca Newman, of the Child Center of NY opened up to Counseling@NYU about how to overcome challenges and foster growth and meaningful development skills in children with ADHD.
“Children need to learn to develop impulse control and time management skills, as well as the ability to focus or concentrate on an undesired task,” she said.
While teachers and school counselors can work to implement school-level policies to help students with ADHD perform in a classroom setting, parents are responsible for providing dependable structure for their children and helping them manage their symptoms and organization on a daily basis.
With the rise of education-based technology, parents can now do that with the help of an entire market of apps designed to help those struggling with ADHD, as discussed by Healthline, Friendship Circle, and ADDitude Magazine.
Below, take a glimpse at seven apps parents and school counselors may use to help children with ADHD develop their focus and productivity:
123TokenMe is a tool parents can use for assistance “teaching new skills and improving challenging behaviors,” according to its website. The app, which is highly customizable to your student’s specific challenge areas, lets children acquire tokens in exchange for reaching target behaviors.
ADHD Treatment can work alongside daily study apps to help those with ADHD build up their long-term organizational and focusing skills. According to its website, the app “utilizes scientifically designed exercises that work by training the patient’s executive functions.”
Though Asana was designed for businesses, Healthline points out it can be a great tool for building children’s organization and management skills. Parents can create projects, assign tasks, and set deadlines within the app — a great way to consistently plan and enforce the kind of structure that helps students with ADHD thrive.
HomeRoutines can be a great app to help children build skills necessary to complete household-based chores. Families can create task checklists to be completed on specific days of the week. According to Friendship Circle, the app then helps keep users on track by sending out reminders and increases incentive by giving gold stars upon task completion.
EpicWin turns a to-do list of tasks into an adventure-style game. Students can play the app as an avatar, gather points for completing tasks, and see animated depictions of their chores getting destroyed.
Mindnode is a tool that students with ADHD can use for mind-mapping, which can help them visualize and connect their ideas. According to Healthline, the app features color-coding, font adjustments, and pictures and lets users turn a mind map into an exportable task.
Dragon Dictation turns recorded voice into written word. It can help students with ADHD who don’t do well with writing get their thoughts down in an alternative way. Users can voice dictate notes to themselves or talk out emails or homework assignments.
Providing structure and organizational support are key ways that parents, educators and school counselors — with the help of their chosen apps — can help children with ADHD develop essential executive skills.
Importantly, while these apps may have potential to benefits children with ADHD, independent research on these are limited. As such, professionals should consistently monitor whether these apps are incrementally benefitting the child who is using them relative to standard educational tools used by the child’s teacher/school. Often these apps may have an initial benefit but long-terms sustainable use can be challenging or children may find that these increases challenges for some children (e.g., make it more complicated to organize and complete tasks).