ADHD (attention hyperactivity disorder) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. According to The American Psychiatric Association (APA), roughly 8.4 percent of children have ADHD. Children with ADHD often have a hard time focusing, lack impulse control and cannot sit still for long. More common in boys than girls, the APA goes on to say that ADHD is often first noticed when children go to school because it begins to create challenges in the classroom and issues with schoolwork. Aside from classroom problems, ADHD may also contribute to low self-esteem. In this article we’ll look at some effective alternative treatment approaches for kids with ADHD.
Mindfulness Has Been Shown to Help Children with ADHD
ADHD treatments have traditionally included medication and therapy. But there are other approaches coming to the forefront that can be helpful – so says developmental and behavioral pediatrician Dr. Raun Melmed and board member of Ninja Focus. Dr. Raun is the Director of the Melmed Center in Scottsdale, Arizona and Co-founder and Medical Director of the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center. Dr. Raun is a proponent of including the child in the treatment approach and teaching them to be more mindful. His book Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Attacks! (But I Rock It, Big Time) is the first in a series of books to help kids with ADHD become more mindful. Dr. Raun’s ST4 model (Stop, Take Time To Think) is a core concept in all the books and is designed to help kids stop and notice what’s happening so they can make better decisions.
Ninja Focus presents: Mindfulness Video Series – 5 mins with Dr. Raun | Episode #1 ADHD & Kids
Dr. Raun Melmed, MD, board member of Ninja Focus and developmental & behavioral pediatrician joins Ninja Focus Co-Founder Kamala Alcantara, Ed.M. to address parents’ questions concerning diagnosing ADHD in young children.
Researchers are beginning to take a closer look at mindfulness and its effect on kids with ADHD. What the research is uncovering is that the practice of mindfulness can help improve levels of responsiveness, compassion and flexible thinking; traits that help kids with ADHD become more resilient and better able to manage challenges. In a recent study on mindfulness and ADHD, adolescents with ADHD and their parents reported decreased stress levels and fewer ADHD symptoms after a mindfulness program. ADDitude Magazine (an excellent resource for parents of kids with ADHD) goes on to say that mindfulness has similar effects on attention and cognition as medication and that impulsiveness and emotional reactivity respond well to a mindfulness practice. This is great news for parents of children who have ADHD. Need a great resource for helping your child practice mindfulness? Look no further than the pediatrician-approved Ninja Focus – the amazing child-centric app that makes practicing mindfulness a breeze.
Along with mindfulness, yoga has been shown to help improve ADHD symptoms. It is believed that it does this by increasing dopamine levels and strengthening the prefrontal cortex. A recent study revealed that kids who did just 20 minutes of yoga twice a week showed improved levels of attention and focus. According to a study by ADDitude Magazine, about one-third of adults with ADHD use yoga and 40% of them say it helps with their symptoms. Read more about the benefits of yoga here.
Deep Breathing Has Been Shown to Help Children with ADHD
According to Richard Brown, M.D., associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, rhythmic, paced breathing (called coherent breathing) balances the autonomic nervous system and can help those with ADHD. ADDitude magazine describes the effect of deep breathing on ADHD sufferer, 10-year-old Ethan. Ethan struggled to sit still, fall asleep and was not having any success with medication or therapy. So his mother taught him how to do deep breathing. Miraculously, Ethan’s overall behavior improved in just a few weeks. “Amazing things happen in the body and brain when you slow down your breathing to five or six full breaths a minute,” says Brown. “People with ADHD feel a lot calmer, are better able to make good judgments, and are less easily frustrated.” The wonderful thing about deep breathing is you can do it anywhere at any time – and the Ninja Focus app makes it even easier with a gamelike, child-friendly interface. Your child will love traveling to Bunny Island to meditate, learn to breathe deeply or just listen to soothing music. You’ll love seeing your children immersed in the app because of the positive effect it will have on their lives. Download it for free right now and give it a try!