5 Tips To Prepare Your ADHD Child For Better Social Skills At School
By Robert Locke
Maybe your ADHD child does not have many friends at school and this is getting him or her down.
It also worries you and you wonder is there any way that you can help your child overcome this disability- Here are five tips to help you.
But before I give you the tips, let us look at what is going on in the child’s brain. He is flitting from one thing to another, he lacks any reflection on the consequences of his actions and he is suffering from restlessness. That is not a great combination when you want to make friends or be accepted into a group. In fact these problems are likely to dominate and will be noticed and judged negatively by the peer group, unfortunately.
The problem is that the dopamine and norepinephrine brain transmitters are defective and that leads to all sorts of issues such as staying on task and being motivated. It also leads to impulsive actions and that can result in embarrassing situations where he will be rejected by his peers.
1. The best way to help your ADHD child is to make sure that you get feedback from him or her so that you can guide him to better and more acceptable behavior. Talking to the child about what went wrong can be a great help. You can try acting out certain situations and role playing them if the child is old enough. Remember though that you will be getting a somewhat garbled version so this is why the second tip below is so important.
2. The next thing is to make sure that you are present at as many social outings as possible outside school and that will mean getting involved as a helper, coach or whatever but it is well worth it. You can see how your kid is reacting and you can also observe when he starts going off the rails by doing crazy things or just telling outrageous lies. If you are not involved at this level, it is really hard to know what is going on. This does not mean you can be present at playtime at school but it will provide a good barometer on how your kid is coping with social skills.
3. You cannot be at school all the time but making contact with the teacher is crucial. She will be aware of the many learning challenges that your child has and there may well be an IEP (Individual Education Program) or something similar available in your state. The teacher can also give you feedback on how your kid is doing socially. Try to get the teacher to keep in touch by email . Many teachers will accept this as it is less invasive than a phone call.
4. Make sure that the after school activities have been organized so that you know that your child will not be stuck to a computer or electronic gaming device. Kids need to let off all that hyperactivity so a great choice could be gym, swimming or martial arts. It is better if team sports are not chosen because a mistake here can lead to being teased or worse, being blamed and bullied. Talk to the coach and alert him or her to the fact that your child may have a few problems in paying attention.
There is a great spin off in doing these physical activities as Dr John Ratey has noted in his book on ADHD called “Spark’ in that the dopamine and norepinephrine transmitters I mentioned above are increased. The benefits of that are that the kid can pay better attention and is altogether more focused. It has been estimated that sports are just as effective as psychostimulants in getting the brain to stay on task.
5. You can ask for a teacher to be assigned to your child who has a lot of experience in dealing with ADHD and has a great track record. There are some teachers who can maintain a very well structured classroom routine and that is going to be very helpful. You could also make sure that the teacher selected is not going to be on maternity leave. An email beforehand can be very helpful here so that your query will be in writing and will be dealt with, hopefully.
There are lots of other strategies that you can also be aware if which may help. As ADHD children tend to be immature for their age, sometimes having younger playmates is helpful. There is a better match here.
Some people recommend that threesomes are avoided. When your child starts to play, a one on one situation is better here until things improve and your child has acquired greater confidence and feels more accepted.
About the Author:
Robert Locke has written extensively in ADHD and has researched the subject throroughly.