Product Review: Joon App

Product Review: Joon App

written by Dr. Liz Matheis

Joon is an app for parents of children with ADHD. This app has been created with the intent to motivate children to engage in everyday tasks that are not necessarily exciting and to build executive functioning skills that are often too difficult to teach. This app also takes away the “nagging” that our children have learned to ignore which creates even more nagging.

Joon is a great app for children ages 4-10. Tasks are easy to add and the motivation to keep your pet alive and moving is simple enough for a child to get it done. The tasks are easy to add within the day.  Overall, it is helpful in building a bit of separation between mom and child, creating independence while also maintaining a level of motivation.

Does My Child Have Inattentive ADHD?

Does My Child Have Inattentive ADHD?

Posted on

How is ADHD Diagnosed?

Healthcare providers use the guidelines in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) to help diagnose ADHD. Here are the criteria in shortened form. Please note that they are presented just for your information. Only trained healthcare providers can diagnose or treat ADHD.

DSM-5 Criteria for Inattentive ADHD

Six or more symptoms of inattention for children up to age 16 years, or five or more for adolescents age 17 years and older and adults; symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months, and they are inappropriate for developmental level:

  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities.

  • Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities.

  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.

  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked).

  • Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.

  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).

  • Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).

  • Is often easily distracted

  • Is often forgetful in daily activities.

Product Review: Zenimal for Mindfulness

Product Review: Zenimal for Mindfulness

by Deborah Tiel Millard

I began my search for a unique way to develop mindfulness, when my 11-year-old son was struggling to regulate big emotions and settle himself to go to sleep at night. My goal is similar to that of most parents, to see my son become independent and capable of self-regulation.

I was looking for a screen-less option, as I wanted something to help develop regulation and self-calming before bed. This ruled out all the great apps for devices like phones or tablets. This search led me to Zenimal.

A Zenimal is a screen-free device that assists children with developing mindfulness through nine mediations. The nine meditations cover the following areas: sleep, gratitude, stillness, breath, creativity, relaxation, empathy, feelings and warmth (healing). The device also offers three options for white noise to soothe and help a child fall asleep and stay asleep.

I did my research and went ahead and ordered one. My son thought the unboxing experience was pretty cool and the turtle-shaped device was cute. We plugged it in and read about the options. That night he chose the sleep meditation and fell right to sleep. Ever since, my son has been using his turtle at night either through the sleep meditation or one of the white noise settings to help him sleep.

As a Mom, I love many of the features that Zenimal offers. The device can be plugged in and white noise played all night, or left unplugged, it will play for an hour. It is cute and cleverly designed. It’s easy to find the buttons by feeling in the dark. I also really appreciate the many meditation options and I’ve used several of them myself. Speaking of that, there is also an option for adults! You can even purchase additional meditation cartridges.

I have been really impressed with Zenimal both for my son and myself. I may just go ahead and order one for myself, so I don’t keep stealing his!


Transitioning to STEM Toolkit for Students and Adults With ADHD or Learning Disabilities

Transitioning to STEM Toolkit for Students and Adults With ADHD or Learning Disabilities

posted on The University of Texas at Austin’s Website

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 9 percent of U.S. children suffer from attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Current researchalso indicates 70% of children with ADHD also have learning disabilities, which may hinder academic and career success. However, this difference in the way these children process information may be why many thrive in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

The basic principles that inform STEM education – design thinking and creative problem-solving — are also conducive to successfully working with children who have ADHD, says Parentology. This is in part because students with ADHD tend to be able to reason problems out intuitively, without having to practice a conscious reasoning process, according to Moreover, the creative and design-oriented nature typically seen in children with ADHD and learning disabilities may lend itself well to STEM’s core methodologies.

Using the resources in this article, parents, caregivers, teachers, and early childhood educators can connect youth with ADHD or learning disabilities with STEM education opportunities. Additionally, resources are available to help adults with ADHD and learning disabilities transition to the STEM workforce.

25 Tips, Tricks, and Tools To Get Sleep with ADHD

60 Books About Disabilities and Differences for Kids

60 Books About Disabilities & Differences for Kids

Published on

As a teacher, or parent, who works in education… we meet a lot of students with different abilities and specialties. And sure, we have Autism Awareness month and disability awareness… but it’s so much more than just being aware.

Below you’ll find a curated list of books on special needs, acceptance, and tolerance. There are also books that describe children who have other differences that may make life a little challenging, like walking, hearing, seeing, understanding social cues, and more. These are books that you can use to introduce the topics presented to other children, teachers, and adults.


Does My Daughter Have ADHD?

Does My Daughter Have ADHD?

written by Dr. Liz Matheis, published in May 9, 2021

When you think about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), your natural tendency may be to envision a little boy who falls out of his seat at school, or who asks a ton of questions while his teacher is presenting a lesson. You may even imagine a teenage boy who is lost in his thoughts during math class and misses the lesson, and then doesn’t know how to complete his homework. But ADHD doesn’t just affect boys; it also affects girls, and it’s not always that easy to spot. In fact, it’s very easy to miss.

With girls, they tend to overcompensate for their inattentiveness, impulsivity or need for motion by verbalizing what sounds like good reasons. For example, “I didn’t take out the garbage because I was helping my sister with her math homework.” This sounds legitimate but the underlying reason is that she may have lost focus while working on her assignment or completing a task and found something that caught her attention at that moment. Girls also overcompensate by working for long hours on a task or assignment and ultimately complete it well, but the time and effort it takes to reach the endpoint is exorbitant and exhausting. She also may be chatty, speaking her mind on topics of interest. She may appear to be social and friendly, which is another way that we, as parents, may not take note. Girls with ADHD are also sensitive and can become easily upset or tearful. They can be shy and slow to warm up in social situations, and have a few friends with whom they feel comfortable or are similar to them.

Do Video Games Exacerbate ADHD?

Do Video Games Exacerbate ADHD?

written by Colin Guard, Dr. Liz Matheis & Randy Kulman PH. D, published on

Resistance is futile; the future is digital.

Statistics from Common Sense Media show that more than 30 percent of children in the United States play with mobile devices while still in diapers. More than one-third of third graders own a phone. Tweens spend up to an hour a day texting. High school students spend 8 to 11 hours each day with digital technology, if you include multitasking. And, according to Pew Research Center, nearly 75 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds have smartphones they use “almost constantly.”

Your Child Probably Has ADHD. Now What?

Your Child Probably Has ADHD. Now What?

by Dr. Liz Matheis, published in

Your child is in elementary school. For the last year or so, you’ve heard in parent-teacher conferences and occasional emails that your child is ‘fidgety.’ He has difficulty keeping his hands to himself. He gets up out of his seat often. This is happening consistently; no one is beating around the bush anymore: It’s time for an ADHD evaluation. But where do you go from here? With whom should you consult? Who can recognize the symptoms of ADHD in children and diagnose ADHD? And most importantly, how can you use a diagnosis to help your child?



"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
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- Anonymous
"My teenage son had been seeing Dr. Matheis through his senior year of high school, as he was only diagnosed with ADHD at 16 years old.  Dr. Matheis came highly recommended from our pediatrician and she has done wonders for our son as well as our family, navigating new ways for him to deal with his diagnosis without the use of medication.  She taught him ways to organize himself and even when something did not work for him, she patiently continued teaching him new ways to keep himself on track.  She has also helped us as parents to understand how his mind works so that we did not continue to blame his lack of focus on him, rather on his unique way of thinking.  Thank you Dr. Matheis!!!!"
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"Dr. Liz is the best! Our family was directed to her by our Pediatrician to assist with figuring out severe mood changes, severe anxiety, strange new fears and food aversion that had come onto one of our children literally overnight. After just a couple of visits, she suggested that the issues may actually be rooted in a physical issue and suggested we immediately take our child to be swabbed for strep, because Dr. Liz suspected PANDAS (a pediatric autoimmune disorder brought on by strep). The same Pediatrician that suggested Dr. Liz would not do the swab (they do not believe in PANDAS and we no longer go there) but I took my child to my doctor who did the swab and it was positive for strep. When our child went on antibiotics, within 24 hours all symptoms went away and our child was back :-) Dr. Liz then recommended a PANDAS specialist who helped us and our child is in complete remission and is happy and healthy. We are incredibly grateful to Dr. Liz for her knowledge of all things, even the most remote and unusual and for helping us so much! Thank you!"
- Anonymous
"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
- Anonymous
"Thank you, Dr. Liz. Although we have told you countless times, it will never feel enough. You have listened when J could barely speak and continued to listen when he was sad, angry and confused. You've challenged him and directed us in our roles as parents. You've helped J face his fears while the list evolved and changed, and yet you've stayed committed to 'the course.' We pray that your children realize that time away from them is spent helping children learn and that vulnerability is a sign of strength and bravery."
- June I
"My son was admitted to an Ivy League school when only 2 years ago, you assessed him and saw his struggles, his Dyslexia. We are grateful that he no longer has to carry that deep feeling of inadequacy or shame that must have kept him so self conscious and from reaching his potential. He has the PERFECT program for him. He has A's in high math and economics. He became a Merit Scholar, a Boys State legislature, the HEAD captain of the football team and help a job ALL while studying and managing his classes and disability. I am PROUD of you, a young doctor, who knows and sees the vulnerability of children and helps them recognize "it's NO big deal" God bless."
- Anonymous

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