ADHD?! But my child can watch TV for hours!

Sometimes I think ADHD should be called “Interest-based Attention”

Many parents will tell me that their child can attend to television, video games, or other enjoyable activities four hours on end.

  • This does not mean their child does not have ADHD. Children with ADHD can focus when the activity is something they enjoy.
  • It doesn’t take as much “mental energy” to focus on something that is interesting to us.
  • This is also why some children do better in classes with teachers that they “like”.

Need for more frequent feedback and reward:

  • Parents will also tell me that their child is lazy, or choosing not to do their homework or classwork, because when an adult sits with them, they are capable of completing the work.
  • They may also observe that their child can persevere at a video game but not to other things. 
  • Most children with ADHD require more immediate feedback and reward that other children to maintain their attention and their behaviors.
  • A 1:1 setting provides more structure, and more frequent and immediate feedback and reward.

Video games provide almost constant feedback and reward.

This need for frequent feedback and reward has important implications for parenting and teaching; remember to provide regular, frequent feedback–and praise!

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