Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Comments on a Parent's Statement that Children with ADHD should not be permitted to Participate in some Activities: Are you Kidding??

I received a rather upsetting question/comment awhile back about which I would like to comment. Here is the comment by a parent of a child who does not have ADHD:

“What can I do as a parent of a non-ADD or ADHD affected child, from thinking how "annoying" the ADHD kids are? For example, one little boy (ADHD- I overheard his mom telling the instructor) really disrupted a summer sports lesson tonight. The other kids were upset, the other parents were upset. My child has already expressed she does not want to go back. Some activities should not allow these children there. His mom was really trying but it was not enough.”

I became very upset when I read the sentence “Some activities should not allow these children there.” Many thoughts came to mind, with the very first one being “What has gone wrong in our world for parents to want to exclude another child from activities just because his behavior may be a little annoying?” How would that parent have felt if THEIR child was not permitted to participate in an activity?  

 Sadly, people like the person who commented to me just did not get it. What did they not get? They did not understand that children with ADHD do not want to behave in the way that they arguably do. They would much rather behave in an acceptable way which would be conducive to making friends. 

The most often asked question I am asked by a child with ADHD is, “Why don’t I have friends?” These children have social skills deficits that prevent them from learning positive skills, which leads them to exhibit inappropriate behavior.

The good news is that positive social skills can be taught, if they are taught by someone who is responsive to the child with ADHD’s learning strengths and learning styles.

Parents are their children’s first teachers. How can a parent educate their child to accept those children who are different if they themselves do not want them around?

Please let us remember that our children model our thoughts, ideas, actions and behavior. If a parent is critical of another child’s behavior and expresses the fact that a certain child should not be permitted to remain in an activity, the child himself will take on his parents’ beliefs and ideas as his own, which will lead to that child rebuffing and rejecting children with ADHD. Is that the kind of exclusive rather than inclusive behavior that our children should be taught today?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"I Forget to do Things because I have ADHD." When does that Argument Lose its Appeal?

Children with ADHD must become accountable for themselves. However, accountability and self-regulation may not appear to be easily accomplished, because these children’s ADHD may arguably cause them to exhibit certain symptoms.

One of the most persistent symptoms that characterizes children and adolescents with ADHD is forgetting.  Even though it is true that children with ADHD do forget to do certain things, which is actually a well-referenced symptom of ADHD, at some point, they must become accountable for their actions.

It is definitely more difficult for children and adolescents with ADHD to remember to do their homework, to put their homework in their school bags, to hang their clothes up in the closet, to pick up their toys, among other examples. However, the fact that they have ADHD may not be used as an excuse for their forgetting.

What happens if children with ADHD are permitted to use their ADHD as an excuse for their forgetting to do specific responsibilities? They then will arguably blame their difficulty remembering as well as their other symptoms on their ADHD, as well. 

Why is it so critical that children and adolescents with ADHD not blame their actions, such as forgetting on their ADHD? If they blame their symptoms on their ADHD, they will not work to try to learn certain methods of diminishing those symptoms. Therefore, they will not become responsible for their actions.

I have taught many children and adolescents with ADHD to become more adept at remembering. However, in order to ensure that they will succeed at learning those methods, they must be on board in terms of understanding that instead of blaming their forgetting as merely an unavoidable symptom of ADHD, they need to learn techniques that will help them to self-regulate and diminish their symptoms. In that way, they will be able to reduce their symptoms, such as forgetting.

Therefore, one of the most important lessons for children and adolescents with ADHD to learn is to become accountable for their actions. If they can learn to be responsible for their actions, these children will be on their way way to enjoying happy and successful lives, where they are responsible and accountable.