If you’ve read Fidget to Focus, you know we’ve been telling people for years that listening to  music while you do your homework really can help.

A newly published study examined this phenomenon in a controlled experiment. The results were most revealing.

In this study, inattentive schoolchildren performed significantly better when so-called white noise was played during class. However, the background noise had the opposite effect on normally attentive children, whose classroom performance deteriorated.

This may explain why it’s so hard for others to believe that some of us really can study better with our music on!

The citation for the study is:

Söderlund G, et al “The effects of background white noise on memory performance in inattentive school children.” Behav Brain Funct 2010; DOI: 10.1186/1744-9081-6-55.

You can find it here: http://www.behavioralandbrainfunctions.com/
And a summary here: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/ADHD-ADD/22481

So, what do you think? Can you study better when there’s background noise?

Registration is now open for the 2010 Virtual ADHD Conference: http://bit.ly/9a1BE3.

Conferences have always been a lot of fun for me and Dr. Rtoz, but not everyone can travel across the country to attend a physical conference. Travel and lodging can prove to be very expensive, as can the time away from work and home. The truth is that sometimes physical conferences just aren’t practical for the people who need them the most. And that’s where the Virtual ADHD Conference™ comes in. It’s a great chance to hear well known experts live and ask them your questions. Here’s the schedule of speakers.

If you sign up before July 20th, you can get the early bird discount ($100 off!): http://bit.ly/9a1BE3.

I’ll be there and I hope you will be too. Let me know if you’ll be attending! Write me at sarah@fidgettofocus.com.

This was a talk I recently gave at the California Association of Marriage, Family Therapists in Santa Barbara.  Check out the powerpoint link at the end of the description.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults is often a hidden and overlooked disorder even among the most skilled clinicians. While professionals believed that children and adolescents would outgrow their symptoms of ADHD by puberty, recent research has shown that as many as 67% of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as an adult that significantly interfere with education, careers, and relationships. Despite increasing awareness and education, many adults with ADHD remain unidentified and untreated.  The prevailing symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity and emotional ability are often obscured by difficulties with relationships, organization, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, employment, learning disabilities or other comorbid psychological problems.  Although ADHD is a complex disorder to differentially diagnose, it is possible when given a more thorough understanding of the etiology, prevalence, and neurochemistry of ADHD.  An accurate diagnosis is necessary for effective treatment. While there is no cure for ADHD, many adults learn to manage it quite successfully.  For those who struggle with their symptoms, a multimodal approach to treatment is most helpful.  Education is an important first step as self-knowledge is necessary in order to learn coping skills and develop mastery.  Cognitive behavioral interventions often incorporate building a personal structure that is different from previous efforts.  Time management and planning are essential skills that must incorporate a daily planner and task lists.  Taking consistent and reliable actions are day-to-day strategies that not only improve the practical but also heal the grief of broken promises. Many collaborative interventions are also available when therapy calls for additional strategies like Fidget to Focus. Interventions include working memory training, neurofeedback, coaching, meditation, support/training groups, career counseling, and medication.  While adults with ADHD cannot be cured, they can remove the curse of broken promises. Their new lives can be built around the gifts of ADHD, like inspiration, intensity and immediacy.

Click this link to see the powerpoint slides of the talk. ADHD in Adults, Hidden Disorder

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults is often a hidden and overlooked disorder even among the most skilled clinicians. While professionals believed that children and adolescents would outgrow their symptoms of ADHD by puberty, recent research has shown that as many as 67% of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as an adult that significantly interfere with education, careers, and relationships. Despite increasing awareness and education, many adults with ADHD remain unidentified and untreated. The prevailing symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity and emotional ability are often obscured by difficulties with relationships, organization, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, employment, learning disabilities or other comorbid psychological problems. Although ADHD is a complex disorder to differentially diagnose, it is possible when given a more thorough understanding of the etiology, prevalence, and neurochemistry of ADHD. An accurate diagnosis is necessary for effective treatment. While there is no cure for ADHD, many adults learn to manage it quite successfully. For those who struggle with their symptoms, a multimodal approach to treatment is most helpful. Education is an important first step as self-knowledge is necessary in order to learn coping skills and develop mastery. Cognitive behavioral interventions often incorporate building a personal structure that is different from previous efforts. Time management and planning are essential skills that must incorporate a daily planner and task lists. Taking consistent and reliable actions are day-to-day strategies that not only improve the practical but also heal the grief of broken promises. Many collaborative interventions are also available when therapy calls for additional strategies. Interventions include working memory training, neurofeedback, coaching, meditation, support/training groups, career counseling, and medication. While adults with ADHD cannot be cured, they can remove the curse of broken promises. Their new lives can be built around the gifts of ADHD, like inspiration, intensity and immediacy.
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Stand up desk

The powerpoint presentation Dr. Rotz used at the Education Minnesota Teachers Conference, explaining how activity in our sensory system impacts ADHD and executive functions, is available in the previous post.  The presentation blended with the unveiling of the AlphaBetter Desk or “stand up desk” with the swinging footrest.  The desk, which was originated by Abby Brown, is an outstanding alternative for ADHD children, teens and adults  to allow them to be ADHD invisible in the classroom!  To learn more about the desk, you can contact Dr. Rotz, or go online at www.safco.com or www.standupforlearning.com.

One thing Dr. Rotz and I dream of is that Fidget to Focus one day will be required reading for every elementary and high school teacher. Imagine how the school experience would change for all children if teachers understood the neuro-biological reason for fidgeting and and used fidgeting to enhance learning rather than trying to eliminate it! This month we got one step closer to that dream.

The Education Minnesota Professional Conference is Minnesota’s largest professional development event for educators. This year, Dr. Rotz was the keynote speaker. His presentation was well received by the hundreds of educators there, and at the bookstore Fidget to Focus sold out! For those who are interested, here’s the PowerPoint from his presentation: Fidget to Focus-Sensory System Impact on ADHD Minnesota


I used to love getting catalogs from  The J. Peterman Company. They sold these funky clothes and accessories invoking adventure, mystery, and “long ago” and “far away”. The products were shown as sketches. The descriptions were artfully created first-person “accounts” of who had been seen wearing this garment, how wonderful they looked in it, and how you could, by wearing the same garment, step right into that same wonderful life. It was good writing and great reading.

Well, the original J. Peterman Company didn’t make it, but it has since been resurrected at JPeterman.com. And the creative entrepenure(s) behind it are still thriving. You can check out the online store or enjoy the same writing, sensibility, and wide-ranging interests at Peterman’s Eye: A Community of Curious Travelers.

If you check out Peterman’s Eye, you will find a wonderful article about the virtues of fidgeting! You can read all about fidget historians, presidential doodles, and new research in the post called Give Fidgeting a Hand. Check it out! And be sure to read all the fidget stories in the comments. They’re great.

Well, stop it!

June 15, 2009COMMENT

We were pleased to find out about this article by Linda Shrieves, staff writer for the Orlando Sentinel. She is also reporting on the new research out of the University of Central Florida that documents what so many of us have known for so long: fidgeting helps you stay focused (see the article in Time Magazine that we blogged on earlier).

In her article from May 25, 2009, Linda writes:

If you’ve got a kid with ADHD, you’ve probably spent countless hours pleading with him to sit still.

Well, stop it.

Fidgeting, as it turns out, helps kids with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder focus. So just like grown-ups need a cup of coffee before tackling a problem, kids with ADHD may tap their feet, swivel in their chairs or bounce in their seats while their brains are busily figuring out that math test.

That’s the conclusion of a groundbreaking study conducted by a team at the University of Central Florida, led by Dr. Mark Rapport.

You can read the rest of the article HERE.

(Thanks, Linda!)

I finally gave into social pressure and have started hanging out in twitterland (you can follow me at twitter.com/SarahDWright). After feeling overwhelmed for a while, I am beginning to like it–partly because it’s a treasure hunt and I’m finding some great stuff. Like this online virtual “cone of silence” or, as the tweeter put it, “white noise for focus and serenity.”

Douglas Cootey (find him here: thesplinteredmind.blogspot.com and here: twitter.com/SplinteredMind) brought it to my attention. He mentioned he used simplynoise.com for focus and serenity. I checked it out and it’s great. Such a cool, simple idea. Try it the next time all the little sounds around you are driving you nuts and distracting you from concentrating. It just kind of erases all those little sounds right off your radar so you’re good to stay on track.

Let us know how it works for you!

A new article in this week’s Time Magazine should have cited Fidget to Focus, but didn’t. Check out the new research on the effectiveness of Fidget to Focus! http://tinyurl.com/d5b8e3