Difficult child, ill-bred child, whimsical child, problem child, lazy child… In short, you’ve probably heard them all before. These are false qualifiers that people attribute to children living with Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity. In our role as Consultants, we meet many of these children in community programs on a regular basis. We try to educate all involved in the face of this disorder, but mainly we try to provide winning strategies to encourage the inclusion of these children to enable them to reach achievable goals.
First, it is important to know the outline of this disorder. In fact, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. ADHD is manifested by persistent inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity behaviours. ADD on the other hand, manifests itself in persistent behaviours of inattention. In order to establish a diagnosis, the criteria and/or symptoms must be identified and defined by the DSM-5, which is a professional tool. This demystifies and validates that this disorder is therefore not a problem of will, inadequate parental role, laziness, lack of motivation, intelligence, or education. These children need tools and strategies to work well in their environment and to develop skills.
Although medication may be necessary, there are organic ways to support the acquisition or maintenance of new skills. Here are some ways to support children with ADHD/ADD:
- Using positive reinforcement;
- Teaching replacement behaviours;
- Saying what to do, versus what not to do;
- Establishing clear and precise instructions;
- Dividing tasks into feasible small steps;
- Using verbal, visual and gestural cues;
- Using proximity support;
- Employing predictable rules, expectations and routines;
- Offering moments of pause to stretch and use (channel) energy;
In the end, children and people with ADHD or ADD need our support but above all our empathy. We also believe that the relationship of trust is paramount in order to put these strategies in place. If you are curious to learn more or if this is a reality in your program, we invite you to discuss with your CISS Resource Consultant or request the workshop on this topic using form 2.11 on our website.
- Child Mind Institute: various articles on ADHD
- What It Means to Have ADD or ADHD
- CHEO: Helping Children and Youth with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders
- Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada
- ADHD Families
Stéphanie Falardeau, RECE
CISS Resource Consultant