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An App for meeting deadlines to increase productivity

English: 2 gregorian calendar examples

English: 2 gregorian calendar examples (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my search for  great apps to help  students and adults with ADHD and learning challenges stay organized I have come across another winner. Countdown + is a creative event count down reminder. You can choose the picture to go with multiple countdowns.  You can countdown days to assignment deadlines, meetings, appointments, and games. My daughter is a huge fan of this app. As a theater major, this app comes in handy to keep up with schedules and rehearsals.   She enjoys checking the app for how many days she has left before a deadline or event. Please check this app out if you have problems remembering extended dates and long range deadlines. It is well worth the try. Plus, it is a FREE app on iPhone.

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Why your child with ADHD or learning challenges should play sports

Sports and games

Sports and games (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are the obvious reasons such as learning team work, running off excessive energy, and developing social skills. Some least expected gains from participating in sports might shock you. Did you know most high school and college programs are required to monitor grades? Due to the high demands of eligibility to play sports many schools offer afterschool tutoring programs for athletes. Coaches become very proactive to keep players’ grades in safe zones. Often coaches will spend time mentoring and providing guidance during tough academic times for struggling athletes.

Another less known benefit of participating in sports comes from spotting learning challenges by the way students respond. As a special education teacher, my husband, a coach, would talk to me about a situation observed while a student was running a play. I have stepped in to lend my area of expertise. Some of the issues found were vision perception problems, eye-hand coördination, and undiagnosed dyslexia. A playbook is not always easily read and learned by students with hidden disabilities. I have often stepped in to color code and adapt playbooks for football players.

Athletes with some visual perception problems will often shy away from fast balls coming directly towards them. Working with the Wii gaming system can help improve the eye-hand coördination as well as the shy away response. As with all gaming systems, the sports games build in speed and skill. Having a virtual ball come at your repeatedly can help develop more confidence while building reaction time and coördination. For students who have problems with foot work, the Just Dance games can help. Even Guitar Hero helps with visual processing and eye-hand coördination. The more these areas are developed the more those skills will likely transfer to the sports field.

Team sports area great for helping children understand the importance of patience, trouble shooting, and impulse control. All players must depend on each other for a win. Even though there are those that excel more than others, all members of the team are needed for a win, even the bench warmers. Those that do not play much are needed to encourage and support. Never under-estimate the power of a positive motivating team-mate when the chips are down to pick a team back up. Many a losing team have kicked back in at the last second of the game to pull out a win due to a player’s encouragement when the majority of the team had already given up.

Being a part of team has benefits no matter the player’s level of performance. A member of a group helps build self-esteem in children who struggle due to those invisible disabilities such as ADHD, ADD, and learning disabilities. On many a playing field, the disabilities are not noticed. If they are there is often a different sort of acceptance among athletes that is not found in the classroom. Some students with such challenges often are gifted in sports which acts to balance out the struggles happening in the classroom. Having a purpose will motivate athletes to seek help in their academics in hopes to be able to keep up eligibility to move on to the next level. Often colleges hire learning specialist to help with the transition from high school to college level academics. Knowing there are people willing to help and guide an athlete towards making the grades will keep the athlete from becoming depressed. Depressed students with learning and behavior challenges often seek negatives to fill the emptiness and discouragement. This is a downward spiral leading to jail or worse. In my experience as a high school coach’s wife I have seem many lives changed for the positive due to sports. I have also witnessed the downfall of those who dropped out of sports resulting in negative and harmful alternatives.

If you questions the benefits of sports for students with ADHD/ADD and learning challenges trying search the internet for professional athletes with ADHD and learning challenges. Read the hundreds of stories about how sports saved lives and built self-esteem.

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Cicada Reunion Time

Not sure how many folks know about the cicada. Every 13 to 17 years these bugs emerge from their underground dwellings to have a few weeks “sex fest” before dying off. An interesting life cycle when you think about it. It is estimated some trillion cicadas will emerge. It takes about 5 days of good weather, so says for the males to start their singing. If you have never heard a cicada sing… when thousands start their mating calls it will be a sound you will never forget.

Just some facts about these mysterious critters:
1. They do not bite. They may zoom around and dive bomb but they have no interest in you whatsoever.
2. They are not the biblical locust. Those were grasshoppers not these sex crazed critters.
3. They do not eat plants. They suck sap from trees. They also lay their eggs in them. Harm might come to some young trees but not to your plants.

Birds, cats, dogs, spiders, and snakes are known to enjoy dining upon these bugs. Remember, they are not poisonous so no worries about harming your pets. It is my understanding these critters are a rare delight to most animals.

After noting a post form a cousin on Facebook about hearing the songs of the cicada I began to think about their long dreaded return. Though no one understands their lengthy cycles, they are among one of those wonders some get the rare privilege to experience. Oh, I am not say I would delight in being caught in a situation with a trillion of these sex crazed critters buzzing around but just the thought that so many have lived quietly for so long growing in the trees and underground waiting for just the right time to appear is amazing. Ho many can say they have ever seen millions or billions of bugs in one place at one time? Guess it sounds more like a Stephen King moment. Can you imagine the aftermath of millions of dead cicadas? Oh, another unpleasant thought.

These rare oddities of nature are interesting to kids. If you live in one of the areas noted on the maps found on you might want to read up on the events. Some children might be afraid of the masses of bugs. Ease their fears and peak their interest in learning more about rare events. Granted bugs are not for everyone especially in great masses but to some it will be an experience of a life time to see. I know my son even at 24 would love to see such an incredible sight of billions of bugs. Some never out grow those childhood interest. Actually, we never should. Embrace the event with some caution and a lot of wonder. You never know how Mother Nature will react to what man is doing to the Earth. Such natural

Discarded cicada skin

Discarded cicada skin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

occurrences may never happen again due to the concrete surfaces entombing the larvae or the deforestation of their natural habitats cutting off their food supplies. Though scientists do not understand the reasons for their behavior once they are gone we might find out the negative impact of them not being around.

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Apps for ADHD support

Inspirational Quotes about time Benjamin Franklin

Inspirational Quotes about time Benjamin Franklin (Photo credit: hot4sunny)

Another great app on iPhone to help those who need support while working on tasks. Check out 30/30. This app is a timer you can set for how long you wish to spend on a task. The nice thing is that you can customize it to fit your needs. It is colorful so it has lots of visual appeal. The longest time is 30 minutes, difficult for some but plenty of time especially if you are working on a computer-based project. Everyone needs breaks to rest their eyes, an important fact to consider.

This app would be great to use in the classroom as well as in the office. It could be a great homework support so your child doesn’t get too bogged down in the books. Give it a try, let me know how you used it and if it worked well for you.

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Apps to help with Organization

English: Various remote controls fot TV-set, D...

English: Various remote controls fot TV-set, DVD and VHS. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My life is surrounded with ADHD/ADD sorts. I also have a good dose of it myself. Lately with all the distractions of starting my business I have discovered my old tricks of dealing with my own distractions have not been working.

Many do not understand the ADHD/ADD mindset. Honestly, we who deal with it daily have a hard time explaining it. The best way I can describe what is happening inside our heads is via an example in which you might be able to experience. Imagine a place like Best Buy, or Wal-Mart where televisions are sold. If all the televisions were located in one room so you are surrounded by them except for the door, then someone turned them all on with the sound wide open. You are in this state while someone is trying to talk to you on your cell phone or someone walks into the room to tell you something important. The assault on the senses and memory are very much like being in such a room. There is no one remote control that will cut the sound down or turn off the visuals. You might have a bucket load of remote controls getting lucky from time to time to reduce the assault from a few of the televisions but most likely you would go through many before finding ones that work. Do you get the mental picture of how your brains are working? We never know what will trigger the mental bombardment of ideas and heaven, knows we try to cut the on slaughter of ideas happening but we cannot.

A great friend who suffers from such moments happened upon an app which has changed my life. Thank you for sharing, Mark! This app is for iPhone. For a creative it provides the unexpected twist to being an app task master. We, creatives with ADHD/ADD need more than a ping or color flash to motivate us. We need attention stoppers and twisted rewards. We become like Pavlov’s dogs as well list more items to our to-do list to get the brash and often hilarious responses which triggers us continue with the cycle. We love the written zingers and zany rewards, it fuels the creative inside of us as well as becomes an addiction which drives a productive side effect. Now if a person insulted me or gave me a binary lesson I might not be so thrilled but coming from this electronic fictional character called CARROT, I am highly motivated and driven.

CARROT is a to-do list task master with a twisted sense of humor. If you ignore your list, Carrot will say some… well, you must experience the sharp tongue of this wicked little task master to understand. If you like humor with a side of sarcasm then Carrot is the app to-do list for you. There is another twist, if you work through so many tasks Carrot will give you a virtual cat to take care of. You attention to making your list and completing tasks will gain you access to caring for your virtual pet. Beware if you do not visit daily with progress, Carrot will shame you. You virtual cat’s life will also depend upon your attention to your to-do list as well.

If you need a creative motivator, check out Carrot. It will most definitely will keep you motivated and productive with a side of laughter.

Check back for more apps for ADHD/ADD types.


Saying Good-bye

Facebook is filled with pages of graduate from kindergarten, high school, and college. The smiles abound as proud parents, family members, friends, and the graduates themselves embark on another chapter in their lives. Tears flow as pictures reflect possibly the last time friends will be together. They have made such incredible journeys together during times of trials and wonders over the years. Yes, there will be reunions but life is never the same once you make the proud walk in cap and gown across the field or gym floor. New doors will be open, some close as all move forward never as a group again but forming new ones or going it alone.

We do not prepare our kids on how to say good-bye. Long ago when families moved across the country to pioneer new lands or due to plagues and famine, good-byes were common place and often something addressed in teaching as well. There were long periods when people did not hear from each other; the pony express service was no where the speed of an iPhone. Poets and writers wrote at length about parting ways. Though never a joyous occasion, people had a different way of dealing with saying good-byes back then.

Today will mark a chapter in my life, a good-bye of many to come. It is a bit like a graduation because it was a place of learning, coming into my own as well as a source of hard knocks. I am closing the curtain on this aspect to move on to a great stage in my life. Years back saying good-bye would have been very difficult. Actually, I probably should have but lacked the ability to do so. Reflecting back upon the past few years I have noticed a number of good-byes mounting. The fear of change has left, the birth of a new me has come.

We should never deny ourselves the right to say good-bye in times we realize we should move on. We should encourage our children and friends who are dealing with such decisions to focus on what is right for them, not stay to please others. It is ok to say good-bye and move on. It is never ok to stay in a miserable situation out of guilt and pride. Good-bye doesn’t mean forever, it means for now I must part to move forward. You may not be able to see the same people, and places change with time but returning with a new attitude and purpose makes it much sweeter for all.

Good luck 2013 graduates! Best wishes to others moving on in their life!

A few quotes from the past on saying good-bye:

Absence diminishes little passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans a fire. ~Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld, translated from French

You’re searching…

For things that don’t exist; I mean beginnings.

Ends and beginnings – there are no such things.

There are only middles.

~Robert Frost, Mountain Interval, “In the Home Stretch”

Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending. ~Lazurus Long

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. ~Gilda Radner

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