School activities for children begin with a period of getting used to. It takes place differently for everyone, but children with hyperactivity disorder and attention deficit adapt less well - about 10% of the total. They diagnose ADHD more often in children from six to seven years old, sometimes earlier: if problems with behavior, learning and communication have already appeared in kindergarten. Significant adults — parents and educators — need to help a child with ADHD daily. Life around talked with neuropsychologist Natalya Andreeva about how to help a first-grader with ADHD cope with difficulties at school and become successful in learning and communicating.
Clinical psychologist, neuropsychologist, member of the International Association of Neuropsychologists and Psychotherapists
What is stopping children with ADHD from school?
All major problems of children with ADHD are caused by the immaturity of the frontal structures, which are responsible for self-monitoring and planning. It is difficult for such children to concentrate on tasks, they are often distracted, forget notebooks or lose things. They cannot do homework on their own, do not know how to keep to the schedule, and very rarely write homework.
Teachers often complain about such students: they interfere with teachers, classmates, chat in the classroom. A child with ADHD learns much less information in the classroom due to the fact that the frontal lobes of his brain, which are responsible for voluntary attention, are underdeveloped. He cannot organize himself and resist the first desire to be distracted, it is difficult for him to get involved in activity.
Due to the fact that a child with ADHD first does and then thinks, he has a lot of learning problems: he reads the first syllable in a word, and thinks out the rest; reaches out without listening to the teacher’s question; jumps up and runs away as soon as the bell rings. In addition, children with ADHD are not easy to sit still, they tend to aggressive games. True, this happens not from evil, but because of a lack of sensation of one’s body. To feel it, such children constantly need to move: very quickly, abruptly, hit someone, throw something - then they feel good.
If the teacher understands the problem of the child, he will know that he is really good, just need to organize it, establish a framework, encourage, the child will be a normal student. Children with ADHD read the correct behavioral patterns very well - all you need to do is pay attention to other people.
How to do homework?
In the initial period of education, a child with ADHD will definitely not be able to do homework without an adult. An adult for such a child is a forehead and plans activities for him. Gradually, the parent can transfer control to the child, but he must be on the alert: periodically look into the room, check whether the child copes with it. If not, then return to joint activities.
When parents sit down to do homework with their child, they should not rush anywhere, prepare dinner at the same time or reply endlessly to messages. It must be wholly owned by the child. The fussiness of the parent will automatically be transmitted to the child - he will be nervous.
Divide complex tasks into parts
The phrase "go do homework" for a child with ADHD is unclear. He cannot plan this activity, and it breaks up. The instructions should be specific and divided into stages: we sit down at the table, open the diary, read our homework, open the textbook. So we help the child to come to a decision in stages. Gradually, this external speech control passes into the internal plane. The child begins to independently make these steps without your help.
Children with ADHD have a poorly developed perception of time, so he should see that time is running. You can use the hourglass, a variety of applications where the arrow is running and the dial is painted over - so it will be easier for the child to perceive time. When a child sees that 15 minutes allotted for mathematics expire, his activity increases.
Children with ADHD need them: 20 minutes of work, five minutes of rest. If the child begins to fidget, yawn, pick his nose - we stop the timer and go to rest. The break in the process of performing one task should be short, no more than five minutes, since it is difficult for a child with ADHD to get back into the process. A break between tasks is usually 10-15 minutes. During breaks, all gadgets (phone, tablet, TV) are prohibited: the child needs to actively move (balancer, trampoline, horizontal bar), drink water, look out the window, eat an apple - this is enough. You can push the walls or beams of the doorway with your hands: such tension and pressure includes a proprioceptive system that activates all the structures of the brain.
If the child is constantly spinning in the chair, you can replace it with a fitball - this will help to concentrate. If the child slides off the chair, anti-slip mats on the seat, under the legs and under the textbooks will help. An expander, a chewing gum for hands, a ball should always be at hand: deep pressing helps to improve the energy tone in the brain.
Keep the table in order
The child must be responsible for this. On the table is an organizer for writing instruments, and nothing more. No games, magazines, books. After lessons, the child must ensure that everything is cleaned. We introduce the rule: where we take, we put it there. This will help solve the problem with the organization, which is characteristic of children with ADHD. At first, you can orient the child by sticking stickers with signatures.
A big problem for a child with ADHD is that he is quickly exhausted. If the child writes a draft, then there will not be enough strength for the cleaner. Of course, it will be difficult to write right away at first, the child will make mistakes. But this will accustom him of responsibility, he will try to do it qualitatively.
How to interact with teachers?
School adaptation is one of the most important goals in working with a child with ADHD, so with a teacher you need to be as frank as possible, make him your ally. Hiding the diagnosis from the teacher, parents initially put him in a position "behind the fence." On the contrary, it is necessary to warn about the officially established diagnosis, to tell about the difficulties of the child, to explain that the family is interested in good studies, the child will be engaged with specialists, and you hope for the help of the teacher in adaptation. If you ask the teacher for recommendations and advice, he will feel that his opinion is important to you and will be responsible for the child.
It is also important to convey to the teacher the recommendations of the neuropsychologist regarding the educational process of the child: how to interact with him in the lesson, how to react better, how to distribute tasks for him. During the school year, you need to keep in touch with the teacher, ask about the successes and failures of the child, and also thank for the patient attitude and understanding of his problems.
If a conflict occurs, it is important not to understand emotions. The first thing to do is talk to the child. You need to let the frustrated child let off steam, let him speak without interrupting or breaking off. Calling his feelings, recognizing them and reformulating the child’s words is more constructive: "You must have got angry, scared, you are probably afraid of the consequences now." At this moment, the child will feel relief: he leaked strong emotions, realized that you are with him. After that, you can start a more rational conversation: understand the reasons, sort out the whole situation, put everything in its place and discuss further actions.
The next step is to discuss what happened three together with the teacher. It is important for the parent to be neutral, to speak constructively, to listen to all points of view and try to resolve the conflict. It is very important to always be on the side of the child and maintain a trusting relationship so that he wants to tell you about his conflicts, and not hide them. It is important to support the child, but not to justify: so he will know that no matter what happens, you will help him cope with emotions and resolve the conflict.