While it’s no secret that most children struggle with sitting still and paying attention, for some children, there is more to it than simply being a child. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), affects nearly 6.4 million children in the United States. It can affect children very differently, depending on their physiology and environment, but children diagnosed with ADHD are typically categorized as inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, or combined.
Inattentive refers to children who struggle with focusing, but lack any sort of hyperactivity or impulse control. Inattentive children may ignore someone when being directly spoken to, become easily distracted, forgetful, and struggle to follow instructions. Hyperactivity/Impulsivity refers to children who are able to focus but struggle with hyperactivity and impulsivity. Hyperactive children may squirm in their seats when made to sit still, talk excessively, and interrupt others when speaking. Children with combined ADHD struggle with both hyperactivity and inattentiveness and may exhibit any combination of the symptoms above.
Regardless of the type or severity of ADHD, technology can be a great tool to engage children and mitigate symptoms. The following interactive apps can give your child a boost in the classroom by grabbing their attention, improving their basic academic skills, and providing back-up when they happen to drift off in class.
While flashcards are typically the tried-and-true method for learning basic math skills, inattentive children actually benefit more from improving their number sense, rather than simple memorization. Number sense refers to a child’s fluidity and flexibility with numbers. Improving number sense means children improve their mental math skills and ability to use them in real-life situations. MotionMath is a research-based app that improves children’s number sense through a series of different games, some of which even involve physically moving an iPad around, which can promote interest and increase attention.
Equator is a two-player game that’s ideal for children who require a bit of extra motivation to practice math. The goal of the game is to arrive at the same number using different equations. The screen is divided into two halves, so players can easily focus on their own problems. The globe spins upon the successful completion of each equation, changing the screen from night to day. The game also involves changing seasons and requires students to survive storms of multiplication and division. It’s a fun, interactive way to encourage children with ADHD to improve their math skills.
Many students struggle putting everything that’s going on in their imagination on paper, which can make writing essays or stories very difficult. StoryBird provides an engaging way for young writers to express themselves. The app’s wide selection of images help inspire, supplement, or sequence stories, which can help children who have good spatial skills but struggle with writing to craft the perfect story.
This smart-pen is invaluable for those who struggle to pay attention in class. While it looks like an ordinary pen, LiveScribe records lectures so students can replay them later to see what they may have missed. Admittedly, listening to an entire class lecture to find exactly what was missed can be time-consuming, which is why LiveScribe has time-sync capabilities. This revolutionary technology lets children tap on any word they’ve written in the LiveScribe notebook to listen to exactly what was said when they wrote that word. This pen and notebook seamlessly fill the gaps so wandering minds can identify the important information they may have missed.
While opponents of technology emphasize its capacity to distract users, it can actually be a positive tool for children with (and without) ADHD. Interactive apps can grab children’s attention in ways that other forms of media cannot, which makes it an ideal tool to help children excel in the classroom.
Kali Muir is an ambitious freelance writer with a BA in Communications. She was born in Canada but has since lived in Norway, Denmark, and England. Her work experience is as diverse as her past addresses, including roles in technical communication, corporate communication, marketing, and article writing. She has experience working in varied business sectors: Oil & Gas, Engineering & Technology, Clothing & Equipment Retail, and Creative Writing. Follow Kali’s professional and personal journey at www.kalimuir.com, or connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.