A Different Way Of Thinking
In my last BLOG, Attention Deficit Disorder, What is it? I discussed what scientists/doctors understand to be true for ADD and ADHD at this time in 2020. Before we dive into these strategies, I want you to realize that ADD has been around longer than doctors have had a “name” for this difference. That’s what I want you to take away from this BLOG - ADD/ADHD is a different way of thinking, learning, and acting. The benefit of you reading this is that you may walk away with a strategy that can help your child be successful in any area of his/her life. Your child is perfectly created by our Creator... So build on your child’s strengths and learning style.
Let’s dig into some of the strategies shall we?!
How many of you appreciate structure? In the school system, the “structure” of the day is the same every single day. I can’t imagine how we would all feel if the bell schedules changed every day. There would be confusion, angst, and chaos because adults and children alike appreciate sameness.
This goes for children in your own home - whether they have an ADD diagnosis or not - children appreciate sameness, or a typical daily schedule. Structure occurs when kids understand the expectations of daily routines. Their morning routine before school/daycare, nap time routine, evening routine, meal time routine, and more! Of course the earlier we as parents or guardians begin these routines in our homes the easier it will be down the road.
Since my time in the schools, I’ve seen a variety of schedule-based systems work. Mind you, these systems may not work the first day or even the third. Have the expectation that for two weeks there is no straying from the schedule/routine you are trying to create for your child. My kids have had the same evening routine since they were 6 months old and I truly believe that’s one of the reasons why my kids are NOW good sleepers.
Visuals may seem intimidating to parents and even some educators at times and I think it’s because they’re not sure how to use them or even create them. I’d like to share some tips with you on how to create a visual, but first let’s understand WHY visuals are so important.
If you remember from part 1, I discussed how difficult it was for children with ADD to focus in order to make spontaneous decisions. However, when these same children have two concrete choices they are able to make the appropriate choice. Visuals take away the guessing. When we use visuals to support kids who have attention issues, or children with communication delays it’s almost as if we are speaking their language! ;)
I personally use the program LessonPix to create visuals, but it’s not necessary. You don’t even need a computer to start with! Choose a routine to target, then break down the steps by drawing each one out. If it’s getting ready for bed, draw the 5 steps leading up to bedtime.
Bedtime Routine example:
Bath... Pajamas on… Brush teeth… Read 2 Books… 1 Drink.
Set it up from left to right like a checklist.
This is a similar bedtime schedule we use for my kids. I specifically put “read 2 books” or “take 1 drink” so there is an expectation I can teach. Will my kids still try to read 3 books some evenings?? Of course! If they didn’t I would think something was wrong. I have this visual so I can go back and help them understand that our home has expectations and rules.
I’d like to share an example of our evening schedule with you. All I need is your name and email so I know where to send it to!
These strategies only scratch the surface of how to support children with short attention spans or communication deficits. Please share how you are already using visuals and structure in your home or ask me about our FREE FB community!