Homemade Neuroscience: DIY Experiments for Kids

We know it’s important to keep busy with activities to avoid the dreaded summer slide. We also don’t expect your child’s summer to be a hotter version of being in the classroom—you can have fun while exploring different interests! We’re a bit biased to the brain and the way it works, so here are a few fun, educational, and easy neuroscience-themed experiments that you can do in your own home during these last few weeks of summer vacation. Have fun!

Make Your Own Brain Hemisphere Hat

This one is super easy but can teach you a lot about how the brain works. All you have to do is print out the brain hemisphere templates available for download on this website. The PDF gives a small size and a larger version for those of us with extra-large brains up there. Once you’ve printed out the templates, you can begin to color the different parts of the brain—frontal cortex, occipital lobe, temporal lobe, etc.—while also learning their respective functions thanks to illustrations on the hat. For example, in the frontal lobe, we see, “Logic 3x=6,” because the frontal lobe aids our logical thinking activities. When you finish coloring it’s as simple as following the instructions on the templates and now you have your very own brain outside the brain!

Fast Hands

Reactions help us avoid touching hot surfaces, getting hit by snowballs, or colliding with swerving car. This next experiment tests the speed of our reactions with the use of a ruler. All you need is a ruler and a friend. While one friend holds the ruler with their strong hand at the bottom of the ruler, the other friend will say “GO” at which point the partner holding the ruler will let go and allow it to slide from their grasp. As quickly as possible, try to catch it so it doesn’t fall completely through your hands. You can measure how quickly you were able to let go and re-grab the ruler based on the centimeters between the new grip and the original holding place. Repeat 5 times and take an average to see who has the quickest reaction time.

Touch Here, Touch There

This activity is another partner experiment but it tests our brains’ awareness of our bodies. You’ll need two washable markers or pens of different colors. While Partner 1 stands with their eyes closed, Partner 2 will make a single dot with the marker somewhere on Partner 2’s visible skin. Now, without opening their eyes, Partner 2 will use the other colored marker to try and touch the exact same spot their partner touched on their body. You can measure accuracy by the distance between the two points. This is one of my favorite experiments because it shows us how awesome our brains truly are. Even with our eyes closed our brains know where every spot on our body is, almost like it has a 3D map of our body stored in its hard drive ready to access whenever we need it.

Afterimages

When it comes to our brains, they serve a lot of very important functions, including allowing us to experience the world around us. Perception is how our brain helps us interpret the stimuli that we are exposed to each day and includes how we smell, touch, hear, taste, and see. This experiment lets us explore a fun quirk related to how the brain works with our eyes to perceive colors. All you need to do is find some good examples of pre-images online or make your own using different colored bright markers. Some good examples and the science behind the illusion can be found here. Once you’ve found your images, go to a well-lit room and stare at one image for 35 seconds, then move your gaze to a plain white surface such as a wall, table, or piece of printer paper. You will see the same image, except the colors will be different. See if you can figure out which after-colors coincide with the originals.

Taste Test Trick

This final experiment studies how color affects our perceived taste. You will need 10 cups, 5 different flavored clear juices, and food coloring. Have someone write down the type of juice on the bottom of each cup, or on a secret note, and pour each of the juice types into separate cups (2 cups per juice). Now, add food coloring to one of each pair to dye the juice a different color from the original color. For example, dye one of the grape juices red and one of the cherry cups green. Taste test the “wrong” colored drinks and record your guesses. Now, taste test the correctly colored drinks and record your guesses. Compare and see how color affects your ability to identify the juices.

Want more?

If you are local to NeuroPlus HQ in the North Carolina Triangle and enjoy these types of activities, register for our first ever NeuroPlus hosted mini-camp on July 31st. At this FREE event, we will learn more about the brain, do some hands-on experiments, and try out the NeuroPlus games. Join us for Fun with Neuroscience!

Chills and Thrills: Your Brain on Music

Have you ever had the chills while listening to a powerful piece of music? Recently, I went to listen to the North Carolina Symphony play The Music of Star Wars event. As I was listening to the music, I was able to visualize scenes from the movies. My body instantly got chills and I felt many emotions swell with the music. According to researchers at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute, if you get chills while listening to music, your brain may have an enhanced ability to experience intense emotions.

 

The experience of getting chills is called frisson (free-shawn), which is French for “aesthetic chills.” The most common occurrence of frisson is listening to emotionally moving music, but it can also occur when you watch a particular movie, look at a piece of art, or are in physical contact with another person. Music that includes sudden changes in volume or unexpected harmonies are common triggers for frisson because it goes against our expectations in a positive way. For example, if a violin soloist is playing an emotional piece that builds to a unexpected high note, the listener may feel this emotional build up and experience goosebumps.

 

Over the past five decades, there have been numerous studies on frisson and how our brains and bodies react to unexpected stimuli, particularly in music. A study conducted by Matthew Sachs, a USC Ph.D student, found that people who get chills while listening to music have structural differences in their brain. Sachs says that people who get chills while listening to music might have a higher volume of fibers connecting their auditory cortex to areas of the brain that process emotions. These fibers mean better communication between the two areas.

 

Another study conducted by Dr. Amani El-Alayli, a professor of social psychology at East Washington University sought to find if a person’s personality type played a role in if they were able to experience frisson while listening to music. The study had participants listen to 5 pieces of music, each with at least one thrilling portion to induce a frisson response. Participants also filled out a personality test, which researchers used to draw the conclusion that participants who experienced frisson also scored high in the personality trait “openness to experience.” People with this trait often reflect deeply on their emotions, seek out new experiences, and have active imaginations. As a result, researchers concluded that listeners were experiencing frisson due to a deeply emotional reaction to the music they were listening to.

 

With an estimated 55 to 86% of the population able to experience frisson, it is very likely that you have experienced it while listening to emotionally charged music or watching an emotional film. In these moments, your brain is working at an enhanced level so you are able to experience emotions more strongly. If you want to put the theory to the test, listen to our frisson-inducing playlist and see how you react!

 

Bohemian Rhapsody– Queen

Across the Stars– John Williams

I Will Always Love You– Whitney Houston

Human Nature– Michael Jackson

Fortuna– Carmina Burana

 

Have you ever experienced frisson while listening to music? Comment and let us know!

 

Goldilocks and the Three…Storytelling Methods?

How did you first experience the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? Was it during storytime in preschool? A cartoon on the TV? Or was it when you read the picture book yourself? No matter how you first learned of the picky girl that needed everything “just right,” you probably weren’t thinking about how your brain was functioning while you did. Luckily, that’s exactly what researcher Dr. John Hutton from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital did when he studied a group of about 30 children and how their brains reacted to different forms of storytelling. His findings were shockingly similar to that of Goldilocks and found that picture books are “just right” for young children.

Dr. Hutton imagined three ways in which young children—those around age four—could be exposed to stories. The first way was the traditional read-aloud situation in which the child does not actually view the picture book, but hears the words read aloud to them. The second scenario was the act of hearing the story while also being able to look at the picture book itself. The last way was simply viewing an animated version of the story, replicating a cartoon. He wanted to know how the children’s brains reacted when they were exposed to these different forms of the same story.

Hutton studied the activity in certain brain regions related to audio, language, and visual ability along with the connection between these different areas as the children were exposed to each of the three methods. His findings can be described as having a “Goldilocks effect” in the sense that the audio-only method was “too cold” while the cartoon was “too hot” for the young subjects’ brains. In the audio-only instance, the language regions were active but had low connectivity, suggesting that the children were struggling to understand and visualize the story simultaneously. On the contrary, the cartoon stimulated the audio and visual areas, but had low connectivity with the language region, resulting in the worst comprehension. This meant that children were actually overstimulated in the audio-visual areas to the extent that the language region could not keep up. The sweet spot was the illustrated version with the audio voiceover. This method provided the children with a nice balance between the networks and the pictures provided just enough imagery for the children’s imagination kick in, allowing the language region to keep up.

 

Sharing is Caring

These findings reinforce the idea of sharing a book with your young child as a parent. Note that “sharing” a book with your child is much different than simply reading it out loud to them. Sharing goes beyond the words in the book and involves an interactive experience for the child in which the parent is encouraged to stop frequently to discuss characters, themes, and interesting passages. Prior to Hutton’s studies, performing this type of reading with toddlers was already seen to improve cognitive and language skills, while also increasing the young child’s vocabulary, pre-reading ability, and conceptual development. By understanding picture books as the best way to engage children, parents should pass up the cartoons and read-aloud time for a nice picture book to share.

Game On! Why Your Child Should Play Video Games

“Get off that game! You’ll go blind!”

It’s a tale as old as time: parents are chasing their children off video games all over the world. As a parent, you want to be sure your child is getting the most beneficial experiences possible. New and conflicting information seems to appear often on whether or not video games are “good” for you. Among the World Health Organization (WHO)’s new draft of medical conditions on June 18, 2018, they included “gaming disorder” as a diagnosable illness. Meanwhile, psychologists, researchers, and game developers point to how games can instill therapeutic, recreational and educational values in its players. It’s understandable that you want your kids to engage in a positive activity that helps them socialize and grow, but who’s to say your child’s video game isn’t doing both?

So video games are good for me now?

I know what you are thinking, “How can playing a video game for hours on end be good for anyone, let alone a child?” Video games provide players with challenging and engaging tasks that require the player to think critically and adapt new strategies as they progress.

According to a journal article entitled The Benefits of Playing Video Games published by Isabela Granic, PhD of Radboud University Nijmegan in The Netherlands, playing video games can help improve problem-solving skills as well as have motivational benefits. Dr. Granic says that video games are an ideal training ground for acquiring an incremental theory of intelligence because they provide players concrete, immediate feedback regarding specific efforts players have made.

Incremental theory of intelligence is the belief that intelligence is “malleable, or something that can be cultivated over time and effort.” This form of intelligence is extremely important, as it teaches children to maintain a positive attitude in the face of failure. Dr. Granic also mentions that there may be a positive correlation between playing video games and dealing with failure and “real world” success in areas like continuing to push past a problem instead of giving up.

Now of course, other settings can also help children learn and reinforce these lessons while playing games or working in groups, playing video games all day can have negative effects. Video game play must be done in moderation, so how much time should someone spend playing?

The answer may surprise you

A recent study from University of Oxford experimental psychologist Andrew K. Przybylski, Phd. entitled Electronic Gaming and Psychosocial Adjustment was conducted using 2436 males and 2463 females, ages ranging from 10 to 15. What Dr. Przybylski was looking for was the effects of gameplay of a child psychosocial development. What he found may shape the way we think about children and video gameplay. Dr. Przybylski found that children who spend less than one-third of their day gaming—that’s no more than 3 hours a day—were shown to have higher levels of prosocial behavior and life satisfaction and lower levels of conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems and emotional symptoms. He also went on to say that “electronic play has salutary functions similar to traditional forms of play; they present opportunities for identity development as well as cognitive and social challenges.”

Now that we know more about the positive cognitive and behavioral effects video games have on kids, we see that maybe we shouldn’t be chasing them off these games. Video games played in moderation have been shown to increase cognitive function and be as beneficial as other forms of play. Video games also provide children with the opportunity to learn skills we may overlook, like critical thinking, strategy and spatial thinking. Some games promote physical activity in children with ADHD, as the risk for obesity is much greater. So the next time you see your child playing his or her favorite game, have a seat next to them and ask to play next because you’re never too old learn a new skill.

 

What do you think is a good amount of video game time for your family? Let us know in the comments!

Gifts from Dad: What Dad Passes Down To You

From the time we are born, we as humans have a special bond with our fathers. Typically, dads are known for teaching their sons how to throw a baseball or teaching their daughters how to change a flat tire, but fathers also pass on many other traits that literally make us who we are.

Genetically speaking, we bear more resemblance to our fathers than we do our mothers. Researchers at UNC School of Medicine studying gene expression, or the genes level of activity at creating RNA found that the genes being studied were parent-of-origin specific, with 60% of the genes activity level coming from the father’s side. Although we inherit the same amount of DNA from each parent, the father’s side has more influence on the features a child will develop.

Let’s take a closer look at what we can thank our fathers for this Father’s Day.

Sex

The most well known “gift” from dad, a child’s sex is highly dependent on the father’s sperm. The women’s egg carries the X chromosome that pairs with the chromosome from the sperm. If the sperm is carrying an X chromosome and links with the mother’s X chromosome, the baby will be a girl, while a Y chromosome brings a baby boy.

Eye Color

The color of your eyes is determined by dominant and recessive genes. Dominant genes will produce brown eye color, while recessive genes produce lighter colors like blue or green. If both of your parents have recessive genes, you have a chance to inherit blue or green eyes. however, if your father has brown eyes, you will likely inherit them as well.

Hair

On to more traits from dominant and recessive genes, hair texture is also influenced by our genes. The gene for full, thick hair is dominant while the gene for thinner or balding hair is recessive. So, if your father has a thick head of hair and your mother has thinner hair, you are likely to have flowy locks like your father.

Mental Health

Although the mother can pass on mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, ADHD or bipolar disorder to their children, older fathers are more likely to pass different kinds of genetic mutations to their children. Older men continue to produce new sperm, while mothers have all their eggs from the time they are born, therefore, fathers who have mental health conditions are more likely to pass them on.

Additionally, children that are diagnosed with ADHD are highly likely to have a parent or blood relative that also has it. Researchers need to conduct larger studies to identify the specific genes associated with ADHD, however, there is no genetic test to determine if someone has ADHD. It’s often helpful for the child to know someone like them to look up to and who can help with tools and tactics for success.

Teeth

According to a study published in the Journal of Physical Anthropology, children can inherit their tooth size, jaw size, and shape of their teeth from either parent. However, due to the fact that the father’s genes are more dominant than the mothers, you can thank your father for your pearly whites!

 

We have a lot to thank dads for this Father’s Day.  Our fathers have made us into the people we are today—with a lot of help from mom, of course! We thank fathers everywhere for their guidance, knowledge, and most importantly, their good genes.

 

What traits did you inherit from your dad? Leave a comment and let us know!

The Summer Slide: Tips for a Smarter Summer

Flash forward to cooler temperatures when you’re just now finishing up back to school shopping after a long vacation. Every parent hopes that their child can’t wait to start learning again, but when they look at you with a lost look in their eyes and they say they aren’t ready to go back, your stomach can’t help but drop a little. Despite all the fun and relaxation, it becomes clear that the infamous “summer slide” has struck again.

Summer learning loss, also called the “summer slide” or “summer setback,” refers to the loss of academic ability and cognitive function that takes place over the summer vacation period. Some students are able to catch back up quickly during the first few review weeks, but for others, the loss is too significant to brush off, resulting in a noticeable lag behind peers. A study led by Duke University researcher Harris Cooper concluded that most students will lose about 1 month of math progress while other studies have estimated this number is closer to 2.5 full months. Similarly, research shows that about 2 months of reading comprehension ability is lost over vacation. Due to the lack of summer enrichment opportunities available to low-socioeconomic status students, the loss is usually steeper, with the compounded effect of lackluster summers resulting in a full 3-year gap in reading levels compared to their wealthier peers by the beginning of high school!

 

So, how do we prevent the “summer slide?”

At first glance, this may seem like an easy question. Just like sports or an instrument, reading comprehension and math must be practiced if a student wants to improve or maintain the skills. The slide is like deciding to skip out on the gym for three months. You can’t expect to return and immediately pick up the same weights and train at the same intensity as before your break. Luckily, there are many routes to keep your brain active over summer and avoid significant learning regression. One way to ensure your child stays ahead is to participate in one or more types of summer enrichment opportunities, such as summer camps or tailored academic programs. However, with an average weekly cost of $288 per child, these programs remain out of reach for many families. So, the question holds, how does one prevent the “summer slide” without having to spend lots of money?

 

Practice makes perfect

The good news is your child doesn’t need an expensive summer enrichment program in order to prevent learning loss. Here are a few easy and cost-effective ways to curb the “summer slide”:

Set a goal. Talk to your child about how many books they should read over the summer and make a plan to get there. Research has shown that reading just six books over the summer can help combat the “summer slide” for reading comprehension. Try choosing some books that are a challenge, but allow your child to read things they will find interesting.

Read aloud. Don’t underestimate storytime! Children of all ages, even teenagers, can benefit from listening to books read aloud. Ask your children questions about the motivation of the characters and their favorite parts, or have them retell the story in their own words. In addition, parents can read literature that slightly exceeds their child’s reading level and in turn, improve their comprehension.

Stealth learning. The best way to prevent the “summer slide” is to never allow it to happen. Although this might not sound enjoyable, there are ways to incorporate education into fun activities through a process called stealth learning, or “hiding” education into activities that won’t look like schoolwork. For example, taking your child to the new sci-fi movie, and afterwards researching some aspects of space exploration or physics is a great way to allow them to have fun while also exercising their brain! Keeping reading and math a part of daily life over the summer will ensure your child won’t lose what they learned. Instead, they might even get ahead of their friends!

Use “no sun” hours in creative ways. When it gets too hot to be outside, consider using this time to exercise your child’s mind by building something out of recycled materials or Legos. Alternatively, cooking meals with your child can encourage them to think creatively about math and reading. It can also be as simple as printing out some math problems and seeing who can finish them fastest with a small reward for the top score. You can even use NeuroPlus to build upon the skills of focus, impulse control, and calmness, all of which can help your student in the classroom when they go back to school.

 

There is no secret method to preventing the “summer slide.” All it takes is a conscious effort to keep your child’s brain active. This summer, don’t let the spell of vacation take away from all the work your child has done over the past nine months. Go down to the local library or bookstore and stock up on reading material, because although the waterslide at the pool might be fun, the “summer slide” is not.

 

What are some other ideas you have for combating summer learning loss? How do you incorporate learning into your child’s daily routine?

Mom Knows Best

We rely a lot on moms, there’s no doubt about it. From breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to homework, bake sales, and sports, our moms have our backs through it all. But that’s not all they’re responsible for! Based on some recent research, we now know that moms have a role in shaping their children’s brains – because there wasn’t enough pressure already, right?! Take a look at how moms make an imprint on our grey matter and how they knew best all along!

Turns out, moms are right to push “How was your day?” conversation over the dinner table.

A recent MIT study states that having a conversation with young children can help overcome socioeconomic differences when it comes to children’s language development. A landmark study from 1995 found that children from lower economic families have a “30 million word deficit” compared to children from more well-off families, correlating to differences in vocabulary, language development, and reading comprehension. That’s a tough situation to turn around, but MIT cognitive scientists studied 4-6 year olds using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and found that, despite a parent’s income or education, the number of exchanges in a conversation predicted more activity in Broca’s area, the part of the brain most related to speech and language, and resulted in higher standardized scores on language assessments. It’s not just about having exposure to diversity of words, but about engaging in a conversation.

My mom always told me, it’s not necessarily what you say, but how you say things that’s important. She was right.

It turns out that baby talk used with young children has a greater function than just sounding sweet to their children. From previous research on the rhythm and pitch, we’ve come to understand that not only do babies prefer to hear baby talk but also they learn new words more easily from the exaggerated way of speaking. Researchers at Princeton wondered if the timbre of a voice – including breathiness, roughness, or nasality – had anything to do with that. They found that women in English and nine other languages change the way they speak to their babies, possibly as a way to indicate the distinction and importance of what they are about to say. Mom, own your baby talk with your infants! It’s serious business.

Making good choices is easier when Mom’s around.

As many of us know, learning from mom doesn’t stop when we’re infants. Often times we need more attention later on in preteen and teen years as we explore responsibilities and consequences of our actions. Developmental neuroscientists all agree that adolescents tend towards risky behavior, but there’s a new view on why. Previously, scientists believed this behavior was based on heightened activity in the ventral striatum, the reward system in our brain, was too strong to compete with the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain associated with decision making and control, but researchers at UNC have found evidence that it depends on who’s around. In a driving simulation with fMRI, teens that drove alone through a yellow stop light strictly had more activity in their reward center. When mom was in the passenger seat, teens that stopped at a yellow light had greater activity at their ventral striatum and prefrontal cortex. Those teens that sped through the yellow with mom didn’t experience any extra reward.

It’s easy to put a lot of pressure on moms to provide the best for their children, but it’s good to know that they were already leading us down the right path all along. Thanks to all the moms out there doing their best!

Any lessons you learned from your mom or a woman you care about that you’re thankful for? Leave a comment!

Customer Spotlight: Ariel and Icker

Despite the wild ride towards the end of the school year, Jennifer, educator and mom of two, took some time to chat with me about her family’s experience with NeuroPlus. Jennifer is an adoptive mom of two children: an 11 year old girl Ariel and 7 year old boy Icker. They’ve both struggled with attention issues and have been diagnosed with ADD, which led Jennifer to look for help.

Jennifer knew that she was willing to try anything to help her family. “Being an educator, I’ve always looked at research based solutions to try to help my children.” Jennifer started with sensory training and worked with occupational therapists, among other therapies. Eventually she started medication with her daughter.

Never satisfied, Jennifer continued to look for other solutions for her family when she discovered NeuroPlus online. “The research was great, and the reviews were great,” said Jennifer, “so I thought, ‘Well, we’ll give it a try,’ and it really seems to be helping!”

Both Ariel and Icker use NeuroPlus as a part of their daily schedule to make sure they get make time for it. After outdoor playtime to unplug from school, dinner, and homework, Jennifer allows her children some screen time as the family hangs out together. “They’re required to play 20 minutes of NeuroPlus before they can play their other games,” Jennifer explains.

Since training, Jennifer’s noticed a dramatic difference in life at home.

Young girl wearing NeuroPlus headset while training

Ariel is medicated on school days, but just in time for homework, that medication has worn off, making homework time a struggle for the family. Previously, the homework that was meant to take 15 to 25 minutes was taking hours. Since training with NeuroPlus, Jennifer shared, “Ariel is able to complete her homework in a reasonable amount of time to be successful.”

Meanwhile, Icker struggled with reading. Since his attention training began “He seems to be enjoying reading a little bit more and he’s getting better at it,” Jennifer said. “I think it’s all due to their training.”

Reflecting on her children’s experience so far, Jennifer observed, “My children are old enough that once their bodies actually start to focus, they know how that feels. It makes them more alert.” She continued, “The sad thing is that attention isn’t a skill that you can teach. I can’t tell my children, ‘This is how you focus.’ It was something the medicine was doing for them, but NeuroPlus has given them the opportunity to know what that feels like.”

Would you like to see similar results with your family?

Schedule time with an account specialist to learn more about NeuroPlus!

Embracing ADHD In Your Career

People with ADHD have a natural predisposition to impulsivity and hyperfocus, and society deems this lack of control over regulating attention a severe handicap. Headlines on ADHD highlight the negative aspects announcing how kids with ADHD are more likely to use illegal drugs and drivers with ADHD are more likely to get in a car accident. However, what if a person with ADHD could embrace their natural tendencies and use them to their advantage?  

Different professions require people to be good at different things. Being a surgeon requires a steady hand, whereas being an engineer requires a gift for mathematics. We can all develop skills, but people tend to be happiest and most successful at careers that accentuate qualities that come easily to them. For example, someone who is extremely shy probably wouldn’t enjoy being a stand-up comedian, but an extrovert could find the job incredibly rewarding.

Johan Wiklund, a professor of entrepreneurship, published a study about how ADHD can be advantageous to a career in entrepreneurship. Interviews were conducted on 14 participants who were entrepreneurs and also had an ADHD diagnosis. The study found that these entrepreneurs mostly credit their ADHD tendencies with positive effects on their career.

Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates are known as some of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time, and interestingly, the qualities of a successful entrepreneur are complementary to the natural tendencies of someone with ADHD. Wiklund shares that his diagnosis of ADHD as an adult lead him to want to shed light on the positive effects of the disorder. In his study he found that impulsivity helped entrepreneurs with ADHD decide to start their business and hyperfocus helped them chase their dream.   

While many entrepreneurs are criticized for waiting for the perfect conditions to start sharing their product or service with the world, jumping in and pivoting on ideas are often skills people with ADHD possess and excel at when paired with the right environment, becoming strengths instead of weaknesses.

Yet entrepreneurship isn’t the only good career fit for those with ADHD. There are many other options for those who seek novelty and fast paced activity at work. Extraordinary individuals range from successful athletes to television stars demonstrate that ADHD doesn’t inhibit success. Everyone, with or without ADHD, have natural gifts and when these traits are highlighted or reinforced with other skills, these qualities that make us different become advantageous.    

If you have ADHD or know someone with ADHD, it’s time to embrace the natural tendencies. Find a treatment or routine that works best for you, but don’t fight what you’re naturally good at. 

What do you think are some skills or careers that people with ADHD are better at than others? Let us know it the comments!

Top 5 Celebrities Who Have ADHD

Perception seems to be changing, but there is a misconception that still holds in parts of society that being diagnosed with ADHD, ADD or an attention disorder somehow makes a person lesser than the norm. It’s as though having attention issues means you can’t be a successful person, and that having attentional difficulties is a big blemish or “problem.” That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Yes, people with ADHD might need to find coping mechanisms or take advantage of some accommodations like extra time. Some choose to take medication or pursue other treatments. In the end, we know that only you can decide how successful you’re going to be by believing in yourself and working towards your goals. Here is a list of some of our favorite celebrities that rose to the height of success either because of or despite an attention disorder.

Every year, I thought, ‘This is the year I’m going to start paying attention and doing my homework.’”

Scott Kelly

Kelly a retired American astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Captain admits that he never thought becoming an astronaut was possible because as a kid in school he had a lot of trouble focusing. However, this didn’t stop him from becoming a veteran of four space flights. Being an astronaut is an undeniable accomplishment and and with all the demands of the role, he didn’t let focus issues get in the way of that achievement.  Photo: Robert Markowitz – NASA/Flickr

“Having ADHD, and taking medicine for it[. It] is nothing to be ashamed of[,] nothing that I’m afraid to let people know [about.]”

Simone Biles

Biles is an Olympic gymnast who competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She won four gold medals and one bronze medal, complete with her own signature move. Biles was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 7 years old. She is very open about her diagnoses and even tweeted that she didn’t think ADHD is anything to be ashamed of. Her dedication and focus to her craft break through the myth of what a person with ADHD can achieve. Photo: Agência Brasil Fotografias/Flickr

“The minute I got diagnosed it was like someone put glasses on.”

Ty Pennington

Pennington is a television host, artist, and model. He is well known for hosting ABC’s reality TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He didn’t receive his ADHD diagnosis until adulthood but says he wishes he would have been tested sooner because it put his whole life into perspective. Growing up, he had always struggled with focusing and he used art as a way to cope. Once he received the diagnosis, he understood why he had been struggling, but that clearly didn’t keep him from creating amazing work. He encourages others to get tested and research treatment options. Photo: Lloyd Gallman/Flickr 

“I feel a little bit of relief because, for so long, I’ve been fighting it and I’ve been so frustrated with this inability to focus.”

Lisa Ling

Ling is an American journalist and is currently the host of This is Life with Lisa Ling on CNN. She was forty when she received a diagnosis of ADD. She says that she has noticed that she has always had trouble focusing, specifically on things she wasn’t interested in and even recalls that in elementary school teachers would often tell her parents she had issues focusing. Even without a diagnosis, Ling persevered and became a successful journalist.  Photo: Greg Hernandez/Flickr

“I’m an Olympic Champion and I have ADHD.”

Michael Phelps

Phelps is an olympic swimmer and the most decorated Olympic athlete. He was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and admits to he used to be embarrassed of having to take Ritalin. He recalls teachers treating him differently because he had ADHD and even had one teacher tell him he would never succeed at anything. Boy, did he prove that teacher wrong, and is now one of the strongest advocates for kids with ADHD. Photo: Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil

What do you think of these celebrities with ADHD? Do you have any other celebrities with ADHD that you look up to? Let us know in the comment section below!