Imagine you’re a seven year-old child at school.
You’re seated in your hard, uncomfortable desk chair. There are many things happening in the classroom; bright colors and lettering, lots of movement and chatter from the other children, different smells of soap, chalk, and snacks, and the sound of your teacher’s voice. If you have ADHD, the experience is even more intense. In addition to all of that stimulation, it’s also like having a TV playing inside your head … and someone else is holding the remote, flicking through the channels.
Now the teacher wants you to take a test/sit still/listen. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?
About 11% of children in the US are diagnosed with ADHD, that’s a staggering 6.4 million, or 1 in 10 children. Those are the kids that are diagnosed! In an average classroom, that’s at least one or two children.
Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that includes a combination of symptoms including: “difficulty focusing or paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity)” (National Institute of Health). Persons with ADHD can also struggle with motivation, concentration, impulsivity, organization, and social skills. Every person has a unique brain profile, and every person with ADHD experiences it in their own way. Even adults with ADHD, who are able to understand how their brain works, can struggle with focus, patience, and impulsivity.
Things you can do for a child with or without ADHD:
- Get the wiggles out! Dance, do jumping jacks, or run around. This is especially helpful before trying to sit down to do homework or a project.
- Yoga is a great way to quiet the mind and calm the body. Take a family yoga class or check out a children’s yoga DVD at the library
- Meditation … impossible for children? Try using the online versions like GoNoodle.com or mindyeti.com
- Supplement with essential fatty acids (omega 3s) which are important for brain development and focus
- Supplement with a good children’s multivitamin to ensure they’re getting their nutrients
- Avoid excess sugar, additives, and food colorings
- Talk to your doctor about behavioral therapy
It’s hard to be a kid. Everyone is always telling (or yelling) what to do. Especially when you can’t sit still, or control your impulses, or the words dance around on the page. Please, use compassion and demonstrate how patient you are. Try to remember what that child’s experience is like. Children just want to have fun, be silly, and praised for the things they are good at. It takes a village to raise a child.
It takes a co-op.
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