CHADD 2013: Playing Smarter in the Digital World

CHADD 2013I was honored to be asked to provide a three-hour pre-conference presentation at the 2013 Annual International Conference on ADHD sponsored by CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders) in Washington, D.C. The presentation focused on children with ADHD. However, I attempted to create a context in which video games, apps, and other technologies have become an integral part of our children’s social, educational, and recreational world.

A number of studies were discussed that describe the high incidence of digital-media use, including the Kaiser Foundation study of 2010 where children ages 8 to 18 were described as displaying an average of 7 hours 38 minutes a day with digital media and more than 10-½ hours when multitasking is taken account. We examined the increasing role of cell phones in the lives of even young children noting that more than 70% of teenagers now have smartphones where they can access the Internet anywhere and often without adult supervision.

The presentation also looked at how children with ADHD interact with digital media. Questions were explored such as how much they play, whether they play differently than their peers, and why digital media provides such a power tool for children for ADHD.

We also discussed some of our recent research data indicating that children with ADHD are clearly described as being more attentive and focused when playing video games than when engaged in a variety of other activities. Our newest study at LW4K was of great interest to the parents in our audience as it not only identified video games as great for engaging the attention of children with ADHD, but also pointed out how forms of play — such as board games, Legos, and action figures — were almost as compelling.

If you’d like to view the presentation in full, take a look at slides below.

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