Hot Momma’s Advice: You can do a lot to help your child with ADHD, help themselvesl Start with acknowledging and accepting!
You and your child are sitting down and taking your morning tea when you start to notice things about him/her. S/He always seems to have some part of her/his body moving, tapping her/his spoon against his bowl as s/he eats, shaking her/his leg nervously under the table, s/he interrupts you when you ask him what s/he is excited to do at school today, and then starts answering only to stop, when s/he remembers s/he hasn’t gotten her/his project together for science class, and before you know it s/he has run off to do something else. Attention Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder or ADHD is a range of problems associated with poor attention span that is thought to be caused by levels of chemicals in the brain. Typically, children with ADHD can focus only for short periods of time, always need to be moving or fiddling, and may be very impulsive and not think through the consequences of their actions. Children with ADHD can also be very focused and energetic when engaged in tasks, and can show high levels of creativity and imagination.
When I was little, my Hot Momma told me that it was hard for me to sit still. However, just because I couldn’t sit still didn’t mean I had ADHD. A diagnosis is important to receive, because the average child may show these signs from time to time.
The diagnosis of ADHD involves the gathering of information from several sources, including school, caregivers, and parents. The doctor will consider how a child’s behaviour compares with that of other children the same age.
If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD here are some key ideas to keep in mind:
● Give reminders often, allowing time for your child to finish. It is important to complete projects once started to help him/her learn to sequence beginning to end.
● Help your child get organized and keep his/her work area free of clutter. Defining spaces for everything helps, so does labelling things.
+-● Plan activities thoroughly. Think in advance what you will do when s/he gets anxious, can’t sit still, and cant follow directions. Have a plan B in place before the problem occurs.
● Reward correct behaviour. A child with ADHD is only too aware of his/her failures.
● Be specific with praise. Instead of, ‘’You did a good job,” say, “I see you packed your bag nicely, and got all your things ready for school tomorrow.”
● Prepare a child for any change. Remember those routines? Be consistent with theml Children with ADHD have a hard time staying structured and a lot of their difficulties come from confusion, not knowing what’s coming next, and anxiety or over stimulation because of it.
● Set aside a “thinking space” where s/he can go when feeling out of control. This is not punishment. It is simply a place to relax and be him/herself.
● Keep a notebook between home and school with his/her teacher for behaviour. This is a great way to communicate with teachers and make sure consistent strategies are being used for your child.
● Help your child develop his/her own strategies for when his/her behaviour gets out of control, by asking, *what can you do when…”
● Recognize that the child is going to have ‘difficult’ days. Don’t take them personally. Help the child over those hurdles, or help him/her recognize them before they come.
● Differentiate the child from the behaviour. See the child first, then the disorder. It’s not the child who’s bad, it’s his/her behaviour.
● Point out the positives. Don’t forget to tell him/her when his/her behavior is good.
● Involve teachers in what you do. You can’t believe how much it helps to know you’re not alone dealing with this!
And last but not least, practice forgiveness; with your child and with yourself. It’s hard to know the right thing to say all the time when ADHD is affecting behaviour. Allow for mistakes and work on them. My Hot Momma always says that it’s important to start each day anew and to not hold on to things you can’t change. Loving your child for who she/he is, is important. Loving your child for all the excitement and challenge s/he may bring to life is challenging. Working with your child to make sure s/he is supported and encouraged regardless of his/her diagnosis is what love is all about!
Please send specific or general questions about your child’s education or way to teach them to: classroomguyana@ gmail.com