ADHD is the second most common learning disability for children in the United States. Around 6.4 million kids ages 4-17 suffer from it according to the CDC, and the number of kids diagnosed with ADHD is increasing. Clearly, ADHD is a huge problem in kids, and there aren’t many helpful apps directed specifically for ADHD currently on the app store. This inspired us to create AidDHD, a kid-friendly ADHD app to develop important traits and live easier lives. We decided to make AidDHD targeted towards young children, who make up a majority of the ADHD victims. Using our app, young children will be provided the resources to help with their ADHD, and maybe even outgrow the disorder. One of our own team members has witnessed her sister grow up with ADHD and struggle to learn and focus in school. We wanted to create AidDHD so that more people like her would have easy access to specific and directed resources.

Our Solution

We created an interactive, kid-friendly app called AidDHD. With our app, we hope to decrease the number of kids who are affected by ADHD and maybe even help them outgrow it. It’s important to create structure in children’s lives with ADHD and promote getting tasks done. AidDHD is structured around a reward system to help kids avoid distractions. When you click on the To-Do list, a password screen should pop up that typically only older people tend to know. This way the child won’t have access to the games without parent permission, enforcing the structured system that AidDHD is based around. The games of our app are based on specific traits that ADHD children often need to develop further, such as focus, patience, memory, etc. We also incorporated techniques that improve focus and relaxation such as breathing exercises and physical exercises to help children burn off extra energy and control hyperactivity in their brains. We have both audio and visual instructions in these sections to help kids remain focused and make the app easier and more interactive to use.

What it does

Every part of AidDHD helps with ADHD. The to-do list portion of our app helps promote organization by allowing users to enter in tasks that they have to complete. This allows them to keep a schedule and finish the tasks that they need to. After the check off the tasks, they are rewarded with games. However, parent permission is necessary to check off tasks and play games. The parents have to enter a password with a hint that only older people tend to know. Each of these games is meant to help strengthen their creativity, memory retention, and focus. Find Kenny! helps increase focus because the users have to focus on Kenny the penguin, our interactive and kid-friendly mentor, for 30 seconds. Matching! helps increase focus because our users have to remember the location of certain cards to create matches. Paint a Picture! helps increase creativity because users have a wide variety of colors and line widths to choose from to create a scene of their choice. To help kids burn off excess energy and release endorphins, we have an exercise section in our app. The exercises section has a huge variety of exercises so that our users can exercise the way they want. Our app has both audio and visual instructions, depending on how they want to learn. To help with relaxation, our app also has a breathing exercise section, featuring Kenny once again. We hope that together, all the parts of our app can help decrease the number of kids who are affected and maybe even help them outgrow it.

How we built it

We built AidDHD using the MIT App Inventor software. This software was a new experience and figuring out how to use and navigate it was a learning process for us. We met every week for the past few months in order to equally split the work and maximize our efficiency.

Challenges we ran into

We ran into several challenges while creating our app. One of our frequent problems was the fact that more than one person couldn’t work on the app at once. However, we worked around this problem by dividing our time; one person would work on the code while the other two would work on brainstorming more ideas or writing information down. Another problem we faced was formatting the app display so that it would be visually appealing and fit appropriately on the screen. To overcome this problem, we had to experiment with the size of the buttons and images we used until we were satisfied with the size.

What we learned

While creating AidDHD, we learned how to use the MIT app inventor platform. Right now, it is easier to raise awareness about ADHD and to make a difference by using technology. We also learned that if we want to make an app directed to children, we would have to use a colorful format so the app attracts a younger audience. We also learned to create a friendly face like Kenny for our mascot, who would help encourage kids to keep using our app. This way our app would be something more than just audio and visual instructions, and it would be more interactive.

What's next for AidDHD

We hope that our app will impact kids across America, if not the world, that suffer from ADHD. Young people with ADHD can easily beat their ADHD if provided with the right tools. We hope to provide younger kids who currently have ADHD an easy-to-use, easily accessible, and ADHD-specific resources to help them potentially overcome this disorder with AidDHD. Some improvements we would make to the app would be to add more direct resources and links with more information on ADHD, as well as including reminders and dates for the to-do list. We’d also like to expand this app to more international groups of people so that as many children in the world can receive help for their ADHD as possible.

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