Newsletter #8: An ADHD Study With a Backlash and Some Ideas for a Bedtime Routine

June, already? Maybe it’s the altered form of everyday life we’re experiencing these days, or my usual habit of not getting around to all the things I meant to do last month, but it feels shocking that we’re almost halfway into 2020 already.

Shocking or not, though, a new month means ADaptHD is bringing you one new scientific study, one interesting news article, and one coping tip to try putting into practice if you feel so inclined!


Study of the month: Inattentive symptoms spell trouble in school

Many ADHDers and parents of ADHDers know from firsthand experience that inattentive symptoms can make school more difficult, but a study published in May adds some concrete evidence for that idea.

The authors of the study surveyed children with and without ADHD, looking at how the children with ADHD scored on the nine inattentive ADHD symptoms listed in the DSM.

As it turned out, all nine inattentive symptoms were associated with academic problems in the areas of reading, writing and handwriting while six of the nine symptoms were associated with problems in math. Overall, kids with the inattentive or combined subtypes of ADHD were more likely than their peers to have academic problems, and kids with inattentive ADHD specifically were more likely to have IEP or 504 Plans.

In other words, the inattentive side of ADHD in particular seems to to create unique challenges for children when they go to school. And it’s not one type of inattentive symptom that stands out —all nine inattentive symptoms listed in the DSM seem to have an effect.


News article of the month: An ADHD paper with a backlash

People with ADHD are well aware of the stigma and ignorance that sometimes surround the topic, but some researchers might be caught off guard. When a team of scientists published a finding in 2010 showing evidence for a genetic component to ADHD, they unexpectedly “faced a barrage of calls and e-mails, some of them hostile.”

In a column published in Nature, one of the researchers on the team describes the public reaction to the findings they published, and what she learned from the experience.

In her words: “It really opened my eyes to the difficulties faced by people with ADHD and by their families, and why many parents don’t tell people if they have a child who has been diagnosed with it.”

The entire article is worth a read because it outlines the complicated question of how research findings are presented in the media, and the unfortunate gap between what we know about the science of ADHD and how the public views the condition.


Coping tip of the month: Find a bedtime routine

ADHD can cause all kinds of issues with sleep. If you’re experiencing some of those yourself, one thing that might help is to find a bedtime routine.

That can take a little trial-and-error, of course.

Here’s what mine looks like: I have a specific time when I start preparing to go to sleep every night. Then, when I’m in bed, I read until I’m too sleepy to read effectively any longer. I’ve found that reading is the perfect way to get my brain in the mindset for sleep, and it also means I don’t procrastinate too much on going to bed because I look forward to my reading time.

I’ve got the details of this routine pretty thoroughly worked out. I turn the lights off and read on my Kindle while wearing blue light blocking glasses.

A bedtime routine won’t solve all sleep difficulties, of course, but if you find the right combination of timing, activities and environmental cues, you might discover that it makes a substantial difference!


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Image: Flickr/Vincent Garcia

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