ADDitude's top ADD/ADHD experts answer readers' questions about parenting children with, and about adults living with, ADD/ADHD.

posted: Thursday April 16th - 4:30pm

How Much Minecraft Is Too Much?

“What is the maximum amount of time a child should play Minecraft and watch Minecraft videos daily? On weekends?"

The rule of thumb for healthy video-game play is one hour per day maximum. There is compelling data to suggest that one hour of gaming each day is actually better for mental health than is video-game abstinence. This is based upon a large study of more than 4,000 children ages 10 to 15 that found that kids who played video games for one hour a day...
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posted: Tuesday April 14th - 10:41am

Minecraft Makes my Son Irritable. What Gives?

After my ADHD son gets done playing Minecraft or computer games, he is extremely irritable. Is this due to hyperfocus on the game?

This is an interesting phenomena and one which I have heard from many parents who work with me in my clinical practice. I believe that this is primarily the result of the intensity of focus that some kids display when playing Minecraft and other video games. They may continue to be engaged in what they were thinking about, get upset about their performance or decisions they’ve...
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posted: Tuesday March 17th - 12:52pm

Cops and Gamers: How to Police Computer Use

“How can I monitor and limit my high-school student’s gaming and social-media use when he’s supposed to be on the computer completing homework?”

Twenty-first century kids are growing up in the age of distraction. Very few teenagers do their homework without their cell phones nearby — ready and waiting for text messages, Instagram shots, and Facebook updates. Likewise, teenagers are readily distracted by video games, social media and the Internet in general while doing their homework on the computer (as are adults at work, to be fair). Here are...
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posted: Monday March 16th - 10:36am

My Son Would Rather Have Video Games Than Friends

I’m concerned that Minecraft is isolating my son from his friends and family. When he plays, he doesn’t communicate with anyone. Whereas board games encourage cooperation and interaction, video games seem to do the opposite. What can I do?

First, let me clarify that not all video games isolate kids from others. This is a common misconception. In reality, more than 70% of games played today involve a degree of social activity — playing with others online, watching another child play, or playing a multiplayer game in the same setting. Even when Minecraft is played in a solo fashion, its creative mode provides children with...
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posted: Wednesday March 11th - 4:29pm

Helping Kids Transition to Another Activity After Playing Minecraft

Can I help my children from transition from playing video games to another activity? My 6 and 10 year old literally melt down when told to get off the screens - especially Minecraft.

Minecraft is a particularly difficult game to disengage from due to its sandbox nature, with no beginning, end, or clear transition points. Because it is difficult to make a “mistake” in Minecraft, kids with ADHD and LD often find it to be an activity where persistence comes naturally, in contrast to what they may experience with schoolwork. As a result, sticking with the game and transitioning,...
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posted: Friday February 13th - 4:20pm

Can Teens and Young Adults Fake ADHD?

I hear about people faking ADHD symptoms, so they will be prescribed Adderall. Is ADHD easy to fake?

A few empirical studies — five or six that I am aware of — have looked at people faking ADHD symptoms. They all concluded that it is easy to do. However, these studies used checklists and neuro-psych measures to determine the diagnosis. I am not aware of any studies that looked at teens or young adults faking an ADHD diagnosis with an experienced clinician performing a...
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posted: Friday February 13th - 4:16pm

Help! What's the Link Between Executive Functions and ADHD?

Can you explain how executive functions relate to ADHD? I've read a lot about them, but I don't understand what they do.

An executive function (EF) is a self-directed action, a kind of self-control, that is used to improve a person's future welfare — to accomplish a goal. I think there are at least six such actions: inhibition and resistance of distraction, self-awareness, working memory, planning and problem-solving, emotional self-control, and self-motivation. In my experience with ADHD, those with the condition have great difficulty using EFs (self-directed actions)...
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posted: Friday February 13th - 3:49pm

Will Switching Medications Help My ADHD Symptoms?

My doctor prescribed methylphenidate for my ADHD, and it didn't do much for my core symptoms. Would it make sense for me to try amphetamine-based ADHD medication?

This is a common experience, and switching medications may help. The statistics on medication response are: > 70% will respond well to amphetamine > 70% will respond well to methylphenidate > 88% will respond well when a person tries both That means that about 12 percent of people with ADHD do not get a positive response to either methylphenidate or amphetamine. There is universal agreement among all of the standards of...
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posted: Thursday February 12th - 11:55am

Managing My Child's School Behavior Problems

My child has behavior problems in school. He always talks to another child while the teacher is talking and he gets out of his seat while kids are doing desk work. Can I work with the teacher to manage these behaviors, or should I request an IEP or a 504 Plan?

Work with your child's teacher to monitor and manage these behaviors. For example, it would be helpful to know if these occur more often at a particular time of day, or if he is always talking to one student in particular. Talk with the teacher to develop strategies for managing these behaviors. Strategies may include giving your child legitimate reasons to leave his seat (handing out...
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posted: Thursday February 12th - 11:44am

How Do I Change My Child's IEP?

I came up with what I thought was an effective accommodation for my daughter at a 504 Plan meeting, but after a month, I realized that it wasn't helping her. How can I swap this out for something that would work better?

You can request changes to an IEP or a 504 Plan if something is not working. How you do this depends on the nature of the change you want to make. If it is a small, classroom-based accommodation, to be implemented by the teacher, you should speak to the teacher and, if he or she agrees to make the change, just do it. You should remember...
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