When ADHD children have to sit still to listen, they are working against their inner chemistry. Their dopamine pathways in the brain are inefficient and their attention wanes markedly. When they move, they become more energised and alert. You will even see their eyes take on a new sparkle! Suddenly you get answers to the questions you ask and they begin to make connections between what you taught before and what they’re learning now.
Over the years I worked with many children with ADHD, helping them catch up what they have missed in class due to inattention. I have developed ways to help them focus while I’m teaching them and shared ideas with their teachers. When we take the frustration out of fighting against inattention in ADHD, we find that they are simply wonderful, innovative, imaginative and
creative children to teach!
In case you’ve wondered: YES YOU CAN HOMESCHOOL YOUR ADHD CHILD! Homeschoolers have flexibility because they do not have large classes. Homeschoolers can design their lessons to suit the needs of their children. Homeschoolers can take their children into the park, garden, museum or aquarium to teach their lessons. So when you realise how
beneficial movement can be for your ADHD’s attention, you can design lessons for your ADHD child to enjoy and truly learn.
Here are some ideas:
* Go into the sandpit, or onto the beach. Draw the lines in the sand and
let your ADHD child write using his index finger or a stick.
* Paint a wall with black matt paint to make an old-fashioned “blackboard”. Let you ADHD child write his letters on it with chalk
* Your ADHD child can stand facing the “blackboard”. Give him a ball and tell him he’s going to learn to write the “Ball-family” of letters. Tell him to repeat: “ball” and then to tell you what the first sound on his mouth is when he says it. That sound is ‘b’, the first letter in the “Ball-family”. Show him how the ball will only bounce if he throws it down first. Then tell him to throw the ball down and punch it to the right when it bounces up. Show him that all the letters in this family are written like that: “down and bounce to the right”. Let him repeat that mantra as he throws down the ball for each letter in the family and then repeat it again as he writes the letter on the “blackboard”. The letters in the “Ball-family” are: b; h; m; n; p; r. I have managed to keep ADHD children practicing their letter formation for a solid hour by starting with this game! They throw the ball, write on the board and then write on paper; all the time repeating the “mantra’ for the “Ball-family”.
* Let your ADHD child set up an obstacle course and then write the instructions for you. This teaches organisation, planning and written language as well as pure writing.
* Let your ADHD child set the table and count how many knives, forks and spoons. Let him add them all together and count again. Show him the sum for that. Show him that when there are 4 knives and 4 forks and 4 spoons it can be represented as 4+4+4=12 or as 4x3=12.
* When he is sharing sweets or cutting sandwiches into quarters, show him how this is really mathematics. Show him the sum. Let him count the pieces he has and compare the answer to the answer he gets to the written sum.
* Many people have stopped teaching times table because it is difficult and boring to teach and to learn; especially for ADHD children! But knowing your tables is very helpful and time-saving in tests and even when shopping. So what on earth can you do to help your ADHD child learn this very repetitive set of information? Let him skip with a rope or bounce a ball, or teach him some clapping rhythms and let him recite them while he is doing this fun, rhythmical activity. The rhythm of skipping, clapping and bouncing all stimulate the pathways of our brain which reinforce the rhythmical recitation of times tables.
* Once he has rote-learnt his tables, let him play with cutting paper into pieces to represent the table (eg: 4x table: take 4 pieces of paper; for 4x1 simply leave each piece whole and let him count how many pieces he has; for 4x2, let him cut each piece in 2; 4x3 is done by cutting each of the 4 into 3 and so you go). This develops the link between his rote learning and understanding.
I developed a complete reading programme for the many ADHD children who come to me with difficulty learning to read. ADHD children often do have co-morbid Dyslexia; but even those who are not dyslexic often have difficulty because of their inattention when phonics and spelling are being taught. They begin to dread reading as they try to remember all the phonics rules. But you should see their faces beam when I tell them to get onto a skateboard and twirl
around while spelling or accessing first, middle or last sounds of words. Using hopscotch to teach them how letters blend together to form words or getting them to roll across an exercise mat to find the correct letters to spell words, is novel, fun and presses the right buttons to allow ADHD children to switch on their attention.
Click here to have a look at one of the games.
If you want to know more about the reading programme, click here.
SEE ALSO: My Child is Inattentive and Busy; Does He Have ADD/ADHD?
YOU MIGHT ALSO WANT TO READ: ADHD: A Talk to Playgroup Teachers