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ADHD in the News – Simon Says It’s Time to Play

February 5, 2014

ADHD Simon SaysA study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders near the end of 2013 may offer parents of ADHD children some new ways to help their child.  The goal of the study, which included a group of pre-school aged children who have been diagnosed with ADHD and their parents, was to determine the effectiveness of play-based intervention on decreasing ADHD symptoms.  The participating children and parents were given specific games to play that were designed to increase the children’s ability to control their inhibitions, enhance their working memory, increase their attention span, improve visio-spatial ability, expand planning abilities, and improve motor skills.  Each family was asked to play these games at home for 30-45 minutes every day for the eight week duration of the study.   At the end of the study, both parents and teachers of the participating children reported improvement in ADHD symptoms that lasted for up to three months.  Additional research is needed to expand the participant pool and to determine why the games seemed to be beneficial in mitigating ADHD symptoms.

I think this is great news for any parent with a young child with ADHD and I will be interested in what future research indicates about why playing games like “Red Light, Green Light” and “Simon Says” resulted in symptom improvement.  The article theorizes that these games help speed up or otherwise alter brain development which results in improvements in symptoms.    But since this theory is based on the unproven idea that ADHD deficits result from delays in brain development, I am not on board with their reasoning at this point.  There are just too many theories and not enough facts for me.


My skepticism on the resulting theory aside, I think every parent of an ADHD child should embrace this idea, especially those who are struggling.  No matter what else it does for your child, and for you, spending 30-45 minutes a day having fun with your child can never be anything but a great thing.   So, block out time on your calendar because Simon Says…..It’s Time to Play!

Read the article I read here.





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