One of the most popular gifts of this past holiday season, according to CNN Money, was Amazon’s Echo Dot, featuring their digital assistant, Alexa. If you are one of the millions of people who recently brought Alexa into their home, then you are now learning that Alexa can do all kinds of things, from giving you the weather forecast to turning on the lights in your home or operating any number of Internet of Things connected devices. If you have a child with ADHD, then you’ll be happy to know that Alexa can also help with many of the challenges that you and your child face every day.
Kids with ADHD are typically slow to gain independence in their daily activities, like getting ready in the morning, completing their homework, and getting ready for bed in the evening. Parents often find themselves “micromanaging” their child’s day, making sure that things get done well and on time, even when their child is of an age when they “should” be managing these activities independently. The need for constant reminders and double-checking frustrates parents, and on the flip side, kids often complain that their parents spend too much time “nagging” them. This is where Alexa can be helpful. Alexa can essentially serve as an independent third party that provides reminders, alarms, and lists. Kids can easily learn to use these features in Alexa, building independence and confidence, and reducing conflict and negotiations with parents. After all, when a parent says, “You’re going to need to leave for soccer practice in 10 minutes,” it can feel like nagging to a child, but when Alexa says the same thing, it’s not emotionally loaded or the source of immediate conflict.
There are many ways to incorporate Alexa into your child’s daily routine. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
As Alexa and similar technologies begin to play a more central role in our daily lives, kids with ADHD will gain access tools that can help them gain independence, manage their ADHD symptoms more effectively, and reduce conflict at home. And one of the best features: Alexa is screen-free! These digital tools are all available without a distracting tablet or phone that can derail any child’s best intentions. So, help your child get started with Alexa, and see what this technology can do for your family.
Mary Rooney, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. Dr Rooney is a researcher and clinician specializing in the evaluation and treatment of ADHD and co-occurring behavioral, anxiety, and mood disorders. A strong advocate for those with attention and behavior problems, Dr. Rooney is committed to developing and providing comprehensive, cutting edge treatments tailored to meet the unique needs of each child and adolescent. Dr. Rooney's clinical interventions and research avenues emphasize working closely with parents and teachers to create supportive, structured home and school environments that enable children and adolescents to reach their full potential. In addition, Dr. Rooney serves as a consultant and ADHD expert to Huntington Learning Centers.
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