Your child may have a hard time ignoring distractions, staying “on track,” controlling impulses, focusing attention, and controlling his or her body. Your child may also have been labeled “hyperactive.” This term is defined as, “manifesting chronic, frenetic, and often purposeless activity.” It is estimated that up to four percent of all children have ADHD. This means that about two million American children are hyperactive. Estimates about the number of children with ADD vary widely, but many additional millions of children fall into this category. The negative behaviors which are symptomatic of ADD and ADHD include:
- Inattention to details.
- Improperly recorded assignments.
- Missed deadlines.
- Sloppy, incomplete, inaccurate work.
If children display these behaviors, they will not perform to their academic potential.
Things To Do in School
- If you think your child has ADD, talk to the teacher. If the teacher agrees with you, then talk to the school psychologist and your pediatrician. If your child also has specific learning problems, see if he can qualify for learning assistance.
- Ask your child’s teacher for help. The teacher should be able to identify specific problem areas and assist in a behavior modification program. Ask the teacher to give your child immediate feedback.
Things To Do at Home
- Get your child involved in a disciplined athletic program. It will be best if it is an individual sport that stresses control such as gymnastics, karate, tennis, or swimming.
- Help your child set up reasonable homework periods where there will be no interruptions At first, these might only be five minutes, followed by a break. Gradually increase the periods of concentration on homework. Let your child earn points for each homework period that will equal some small reward.
- If you can see that your child is becoming distracted, help with relaxation. Suggest that he close his eyes, take a deep breath, etc. Help your child realize when he is being inattentive without embarrassing him. Your child will eventually begin to use relaxing techniques on his own.
- Play games with your child that are academically challenging. Try Junior Scrabble, Concentration, chess, and checkers. Make sure to play games your child likes. Set a certain day of the week and amount of time you will play games together. Praise your child for attention span improvement. According to Greene, “Once your child realizes that he can control his attention and focus for sustained periods, his self concept will begin to change, and this in turn will reinforce continued positive behavioral changes.”