ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a common issue facing many parents and children. Children with this disorder have trouble paying attention and controlling impulses by acting without thinking. They can also be overly active. There is no cure for this disorder however, it can be successfully managed and some symptoms may improve with maturity.
It is normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another. However, children with ADHD do not just grow out of these behaviors. The symptoms continue and can cause difficulty at school, at home, or with friends.
A child with ADHD might:
- daydream a lot
- forget or lose things a lot
- squirm or fidget
- talk too much
- make careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks
- have a hard time resisting temptation
- have trouble taking turns
- have difficulty getting along with others
There are different types of ADHD, depending on which types of symptoms are strongest in the individual:
- Inattentive: It is hard for the individual to organize or finish a task, to pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The child is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
- Hyperactive-Impulsive: The child fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Younger children may run, jump or climb constantly. He/she feels restless and has trouble with impulsivity. A child who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from others, or speak at inappropriate times. It is hard for these children to wait their turn or listen to directions. A child with impulsiveness may have more accidents and injuries than others.
- If Both these symptoms are equally present in the child he/she is usually considered ADHD.
Deciding if a child has ADHD is a several step process. There is no single test to diagnose ADHD, and many other problems, like anxiety, depression, and certain types of learning disabilities, can have similar symptoms. One step of the process involves having a medical exam, including hearing and vision tests, to rule out other problems with symptoms like ADHD. Another part of the process may include a checklist for rating ADHD symptoms and taking a history of the child from parents, teachers.
It is understandable that parents have concerns when their child is diagnosed with ADHD, especially about treatments. There are many treatment options, so parents and doctors should work closely with everyone involved in the child’s treatment — teachers, coaches, therapists, and other family members. Taking advantage of all the resources available will help you guide your child towards success. Remember, you are your child’s strongest advocate!
- Behavioral intervention strategies – Research shows that behavioral therapy is an important part of treatment
- ADHD affects not only a child’s ability to pay attention or sit still at school, it also affects relationships with family and how well they do in their classes. Behavioral therapy is a treatment option that can help reduce these problems for children.
- Parent training
- School accommodations and intervention
- Create a routine. Try to follow the same schedule every day, from wake-up time to bedtime.
- Help your child get organized. Put schoolbags, clothing, and toys in the same place every day so your child will be less likely to lose them
- Avoid distractions. Turn off the TV, radio, and computer, especially when your child is doing homework.
- Limit choices. Offer a choice between two things (this outfit, meal, toy, etc., or that one) so that your child isn’t overwhelmed and overstimulated.
- Change your interactions with your child. Instead of long-winded explanations and cajoling, use clear, brief directions to remind your child of responsibilities
- Discipline effectively. Instead of yelling or spanking, use timeouts or removal of privileges as consequences for inappropriate behavior.
- Focus on the child’s strengths.
The Montessori Method of education at Farmview can be very helpful for ADHD children.
Here at Farmview Montessori Garden teachers have years of experience dealing with children with attentional issues. Many children have come through the program with ADHD and been very successful in their educational experience. Farmview can offer small classes with a very small child/teacher ratio. Children struggling to pay attention get more attention and support from teachers to help them stay on task. With more one on one from teachers, children have the opportunity to be more successful in their ability to develop their focus and concentration.
Consistency is extremely important for the ADHD child. Farmview has the same routine everyday. Children learn that routine and stick to it. This is what gives these children security and comfort. They know what to expect. They may feel lost or confused if things are constantly changing.
Farmview gives children freedom to move from one activity to another, giving children the freedom to move about in the classroom. This helps meet the need to “move” and develop control of their movements. All young children as well as overly active, fidgety children. All children need to have ability to move around to develop and refine their muscles and movements. This eventually gives them the capability to sit in a more stationary desk in the Elementary grades.
Children at Farmview are given the chance to “choose” their own work. This does not mean it is a free for all. Teachers are observing their choices and giving much guidance. Watching what children “choose” gives the teacher the information needed to know which area to guide them in. It also give the teacher insight into the child’s strengths. This way those strengths can be enhanced and continued to be encouraged.
In the Montessori classroom here at Farmview, children do many processing works. These works contain multi- steps. For example: easel painting contains 13 steps. First put on the apron, get the water with a pitcher, pour the water in the bucket, hang up the painting, write your name, pour paint into paint dish, PAINT, wash off the brush, wash off the paint tray, pour the water back into the pitcher, pour it into the sink, hang up your painting, and return the apron to the easel. These activities are preparation for more academic work.
Things are very orderly in the Montessori classroom. Everything has a place and there are specific ways of doing certain works. Because of the external order of the classroom, children develop an internal order. Children become very orderly and organized with their work. There also plenty of activities to encourage imagination and discovery.
This process is great for all children but especially ADHD children. They have to remain focused on doing all these steps in order and complete the task. Follow through on activities and completion of the work is truly the key for theses children as well as all children.
There are so many activities in a Montessori classroom, children can always find work to do. A child with these issues needs to stay” busy”. Farmview offers so many way to keep a child “busy” and learning at the same time. When a child remains busy behavior issues subside, concentration develops, self esteem is improved, and a child feels good about his/her accomplishments and success takes place. At Farmview the focus is always on supporting children in their success. The school’s mission is to lay a foundation for future education always supporting children to be successful in all they do.
In traditional education, the child pays attention to the teacher. In the Montessori approach, the teacher pays attention to the child! This is why children with ADHD can thrive at Farmview Montessori Garden and get the individual attention needed to form the foundation and support to prepare them for future education.