This summer I ran a pilot program for ADHD students. The components used were to improve focus, working memory, and social skills. I have had a few years of experience using Play Attention with my clients and I chose this program to help with focus. There weren’t many kids. We started with six and ended up with three. The three that were left were all males who had a combined type of ADHD and were functioning within some spectrum of Asperger’s. None of the participants were medicated for the summer. They came in every Saturday to work with the three intervention areas. We interviewed parents for social skills deficits. Focus was measured using the IVACPT. Working memory and focus were measured using the WISC subtests for Digit Span and Letter-Number Sequencing.
At the end, the posttests for working memory showed slight improvements. However, everyone’s focus was significantly better! The program ended right before school started and I wanted to wait to see if the results seen were reliable and accurate. I’m proud to report not only did we see improvement after the summer program but the three students that persisted until the end are showing improvement in their academic performance as well.
The next part is why I’m really excited! The unexpected result it that I also see that using the social skills we practiced, with their improved focus, has increased their ability to think through their impulsive actions. They’ve started out the year wonderfully as far as being in the class and being able work more efficiently. They’re also better at dealing with any anxiety they used to have in the classroom. I believe the greatest factor was Play Attention and the ability to focus not only on doing well in the classroom, but socially as well.
I do see that organization is a component I need to add. I see these young men struggling with turning assignments in, not because they’re not done but because the work is lost or forgotten. The picture included is of my son Cody and me. He was one of the participants. He started high school this year and is doing well. Progress reports have been issued and I see that he is missing grades due to organization and missing assignments. He’s one of the students who has also improved his social skills because of his improved focus on his choices.
Joshua was another participant who also started high school this year. His mother reports he’s doing well with academics. Schoolwork wasn’t really a big problem. However, Joshua has had more trouble with social interactions and his peers. He’s still doing well in his academics and I hear his improved focus has given him the chance to think through his impulsive decisions so that he’s no longer a follower. He’s also using his improved focus to choose different reactions to peer pressure.
Josiah was the third male and he’s in 8th grade this year. As with the other students, he’s doing well using focus to improve his social interactions. Mom says that he has his first “girlfriend” this year! Teachers and peers thought maturity was large part of his behavior, when it was actually his impulsive choices. Math has always been a struggle for Josiah. I can’t say he’s 100% improved but I hear reports of his focus on math this year have been better than before!
Play Attention made therapy more enjoyable. None of the participants complained about “playing games” over the summer. I do advise anyone using Play Attention to set clients up for weekly sessions in order to see the true benefits of the program. Consistency is the key! It is highly recommended and well worth the investment. These results were after using it weekly over the summer. I believe using it over a longer period of time and more consistently will show even more progress. I will definitely continue to use it as I work out the kinks in my future programming. With all three students, medication is enhancing a new way of focusing that didn’t exist before this summer’s Play Attention intervention. All three students are doing well in ways that have not been seen before. Thank you Play attention!
– Dr. Chevette Scott Alston, Psy.D., NCC, LPC
Esiri Ministries/Christian Psychotherapy Services