Homework Helpers: Testing Learning Tools

Some ADHD kids — and their parents! — need all the homework help they can get. ADDitude blogger Kay Marner reviews three products designed to help improve learning and focus.

MeMoves

(thinkingmoves.com; $59.95)
MeMoves, winner of the 2010 Parents’ Choice Gold Award, helps kids with ADHD and other conditions learn self-regulation — a must-have for doing homework. The DVD pairs slow, simple arm movements with spa-like, rhythmic music.

Each movement is represented graphically, then demonstrated by instructors. The DVD includes several segments in each of three categories: joy, calm, and focus. The segments are two to three minutes long, perfect for calming and focusing a child before starting homework, as a quick break, or for any transition.

My daughter Natalie caught on to the movements quickly and settled down. She was good to go and was able to plow through her assignments.

WhisperPhone Solo

(whisperphone.com; $8.99)
Natalie put on her WhisperPhone Solo headset for the first time. “How do I look?” she asked. “You look like a rock star!” I replied. She couldn’t wait to hear herself reading, so she grabbed a book. The WhisperPhone Solo is a tool with the appeal of a toy. It amplifies the wearer’s voice as she reads aloud, maximizing the potential for auditory learning and improving focus.

Hearing individual sounds that make up words is vital to learning oral and written language. The WhisperPhone doesn’t seem to have improved Natalie’s comprehension or fluency, but it has helped her hear and isolate her "s" sound in just a short time.

MyFocus Glasses

(myfocusglasses.com; $69.95)
MyFocus glasses have lenses that are blacked-out, except for one narrow slit per eye to look through. This helps the wearer zero in on a section of a book or worksheet. (The glasses also diminish light as well, a boon for kids with sensory sensitivities.)

The company’s website cites a small study that suggests that kids who wore the glasses read more words per minute, with increased comprehension. Further research is needed, including comparing the glasses to simpler, cheaper methods, like covering part of the page with a piece of paper. I wasn’t able to tell if the glasses helped Natalie focus, but I do know that putting them on motivated her to pick up a book and read.

The product’s price makes it an investment for most families, but a 30-day, money-back guarantee allows a potential customer to try the product risk-free.

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