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Computers and ADD
Carol Watkins, MD

How Computers Can Help with ADD

Children's Issues

Chat Areas

Bulletin Boards

Web Pages

Doing Research on the Web

Computers are quickly becoming an integral part of our society. As prices have fallen and computers become faster, they have been appearing in a higher percentage of homes and offices. Those who do not own a computer can now go on-line and even have their own web site through the Baltimore County Library.

Among the first self-help groups to make extensive use of computers was the disability community. Physically challenged individuals could use computers and later the Internet as eyes, ears hands and legs. Individuals who learn to compensate for a deficit may, through their efforts, gain special skills Children, parents and adults affected by ADHD can benefit from computer technology.

At this point, there are computer applications devoted to most types of interests and activities.

Children and Computers: Computer-based educational software can help children learn academic subjects. The best programs provide immediate feedback and appealing, changing visual and auditory input. Many feature cartoon characters who function like an encouraging tutor. Often, parents and teachers can use easily available commercial software for academic remediation and for enrichment. The newer educational software allows a parent to customize the program by changing the difficulty deleting voices, and changing the reward frequency. In other cases, educational specialists may use software designed to remediate a specific problem.

 Many parents feel intimidated by computers and the Internet and allow their children free reign with software and Internet surfing. It is better to supervise and have ground rules. Some software programs and Internet sites contain over-stimulating graphic violent or sexual themes. Children with ADHD may be more vulnerable to the adverse effects of over-stimulation.

The use of a word processor or a voice recognition program can help individuals who have difficulty with getting their thoughts out on paper. There are a number of excellent children's typing programs available. The voice recognition programs are mostly aimed at adult professionals. Some of the newer versions have adaptations for adolescent voices and reading levels. A pre-adolescent child might be able to use some of them but would need excellent reading skills and close adult supervision.


The Internet:. This is the physical aspect of the global network, a giant mass of cables and computers. The Internet can bring vast amounts of information to your fingertips almost instantly. The key is knowing how to search for information. If one wanted to find out more about ADHD, one could literally find thousands of related sites, some misleading or having little to do with ADHD. This can be frustrating but stick to it. Here are some helpful clues.


Three of the more common types of information on the Internet include Web Pages, Bulletin Boards,  Chat areas and Instant Messaging.


Chat Areas: I personally do not use chat areas much, but I know many individuals who use them frequently. Because they are occurring in real time, they are more spontaneous but harder to monitor or censor. In some chat areas it is expected that one's on-line identity is different from one's identity ITRW (in the real world) If you use these, exercise caution and monitor children who go on-line, and don't let it become a substitute for real social contact. Instant messaging has become a common way for older children and adolescents to talk to each other. One can often

Bulletin Boards: People leave messages on bulletin boards and one can read the listings at any time. These are often devoted to particular themes and have someone monitoring to make sure that individuals stay on topic. A listserve is a bulletin board that is limited to certain individuals and a specific topic. Individuals who sign up for these, receive messages from others on the list and can either be contribute their own input or be "lurkers" (those who listen but do not contribute.) There are several ADHD-related listserves. To get on a listserve for parents of ADHD children, send e-mail to [email protected] and write "subscribe add-parents" in the body of the letter. The Add-Parents support listserve is a very active list and sometimes gets way off topic. However, a parent new to ADHD can get a wealth of information and support from other parents. For a listserve for adults with ADHD, send e-mail to [email protected] In the body of the letter put "subscribe addult your name"


Web Pages: These are sites containing printed or graphic material continuously posted on the World Wide Web by an individual or an organization. A Personal Web Page is a site devoted to hobbies and interests of an individual or a family. Companies, schools and organizations may have web pages for advertising or for dissemination of information. The way web sites are linked makes it easier for those with intuitive, non-linear thinking, to navigate and find information. It can be stimulating and exciting to hop from topic to topic and continent to continent in seconds. Because of the rapid (if you have a fast modem) gratification, one can stay interested. Some may become so absorbed that they need to set a timer to limit sessions.


How to Do Research on the Web: The web can be a good source of information on ADHD. To search for such information, one would first go to a Search Engine such as Altavista or Web Crawler or Hotbot Webcrawler and Altavista are nice because they can do a natural language search. One simply enters "What are the causes of ADHD?" The search engine would then list sites with articles about the causes of ADHD. If you then wanted to narrow the search to neurological causes, on Altavista, you press the "refine" button and enter keywords such as neurological. Hotbot is less selective but gives longer lists.

If you wanted to get more technical articles on ADHD from the medical or educational literature, there are three large indexes to consider. The National Library of Medicine, gives access to free searches of the Index Medicus, a large number of internationally known medical journals. ERIC is a large index of educational journals. is devoted to issues related to disabilities and gifted education.

ERIC and Medline use a search method which uses Boolean Search Operators. Basic information on this type of search. (Feature #10) would be enough for most searches. For those who wish to do powerful or complex searches, the National Library of Medicine has a page, "Syntax of Complex Boolean Expression" For more detail on how to do medical/technical Internet searches see the related web article at

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Women with Attention Deficit Disorder: How ADD can affect your home.

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Taking Your ADD To College

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Neurobiological Diagnosis and Personal Responsibility: How Does Morality Fit in with ADD?

Gifted Women

Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults (Adult ADD)

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How Computers Can Help Individuals with ADD

Book Reviews: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Northern County Psychiatric Associates
Our practice has experience in the treatment of Depression, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD), Separation Anxiety Disorder, and other psychiatric conditions. We are located in Northern Baltimore County and serve the Baltimore County, Carroll County and Harford County areas in Maryland. Since we are near the Pennsylvania border, we also serve the York County area. Our services include psychotherapy, psychiatric evaluations, medication management, and family therapy. We treat children, adults, and the elderly. Visit our web site or 

We also maintain a list of informative web sites on mental health topics, such as Attention Deficit Disorder, Parenting and Support Groups.

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Awards For Our Site

 Northern County Psychiatric Associates 

Our practice has experience in the treatment of Attention Deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD), Depression, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and other psychiatric conditions. We are located in Northern Baltimore County and serve the Baltimore County, Carroll County and Harford County areas in Maryland. Since we are near the Pennsylvania border, we also serve the York County area.   Our services include psychotherapy, psychiatric evaluations, medication management, and family therapy. We treat children, adults, and the elderly.

Awards for  the NCPA site

Northern County Psychiatric Associates
Lutherville and Monkton
Baltimore County, Maryland
Phone: 410-329-2028
Web Site 

Copyright 2000

Carol E. Watkins, M.D.
Glenn Brynes, Ph.D., M.D.

Copyright 2006  Northern County Psychiatric Associates
Last modified: October 05, 2007



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