On Raising and Teaching Kids with ADHD | El Paso, Texas, USA!
Besides from being the month of love, flowers, and waaaay too expensive chocolate (sorry not sorry), February is as good a time as any to focus on an issue many children deal with on a daily basis. In this article, we’ll tackle the stigma that was built around Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD or ADD which is the non-hyperactive version of it).
First, what is ADHD? According to WebMD, “ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of children. Children with ADHD may be hyperactive and unable to control their impulse. Or they may have trouble paying attention. These behaviors interfere with school and home life.”
Simply said, ADHD is a mental disorder that makes focusing difficult. It sounds very simple, and yet, it is a mental disease that can make the life of your child extremely difficult. I know, because I struggled with it as a young lad. Focusing on one task is still extremely hard for me, and even though I was a great student as a child, it took all my mental strength to do that. I can’t help it, my mind jumps from one idea to another with the speed of light, and it always feels like I have a full room of people in my brain debating and overanalyzing every. single. thing. I do in life.
"Oh! Look at the pretty bubbles!"
The whole thing is quite exhausting, and it probably is the same for your child. And this is why I wanted to write this article. Some people say ADHD isn’t that serious, but imagine having a 24hours radio in your head that never shuts up and keeps analyzing everything you do, say, or think. Imagine not being able to focus more than 5 minutes on a task and feeling the need to do something else, unless you go crazy. Yes, it is that serious.
Now, if you’re the parent of a child with ADHD, or their teacher, I have some tips for you, being both a person who struggles with this situation and an educator.
- Organize their schedule: This way, you’ll be able to set up a specific time for every activity. This will also provide your child with some sort of “guide” in his or her everyday life that will give it structure. Put the schedule somewhere they can always see it, on the fridge or near their bed. ADHD/ADD people, children and adults alike, need some kind of routine to structure their lives. When they sway from it, disaster ensues.
- Help them with school activities: Your child is not lazy; he or she suffers from ADHD, which keeps them from staying focused on their homework or school activities. To help them with this, always be with them when they have to do homework. Have breaks from time to time so they can rest from over focusing, and remember, children with ADHD are often very creative and intelligent.
- Know that it’s not their fault, or yours: Them not being able to focus is not their fault, since they have no control over it. So don’t blame your child if they don’t score well at school, they are doing everything they can, believe me.
- Don’t put children with ADHD near the window: A window is an opening to the outside world and can easily distract ADHD children. So, if you don’t want your students to daydream during class, put them next to your desk instead. That way, they’ll stay focused.
- Allow them to take breaks: ADHD students, especially, get easily tired after focusing too much. So, allow for a 5 or 10 minutes break every 50 minutes or so in class. Let them talk to their classmates or just doodle in peace. This way, they’ll have the energy to focus again for the next 50 minutes.
- Slow down: The most important thing for you to do is to slow down when you’re giving a lesson or giving instructions. You have to know that an ADHD child’s brain is flooded with information the whole day and they can’t process everything because it’s too much for them. So go easy on them.
The most important thing to know about ADHD is that it is a real disease; it’s not an excuse for children to be lazy or not work at school. Don't allow them to use it an excuse for misbehaving. They are truly suffering because of it and would do anything to have the brain of someone without ADHD; it would be so much simpler. Of course, medication and therapy help, but their parents and teachers being here for them is a great help too.