These children typically experience too many moments of perceived failure and shame, let’s help them to succeed.
We all know a child who has an amazing amount of energy, and although we may wish we could have just a fraction of their enviable energy, it can be challenging to help them stay on task and to focus long enough to learn.
But what if we changed our mindset and considered their energy an asset to the class? This child may be the answer to your tired prayers! Give them the job of wiping the white board, carrying books or stacking chairs. These jobs will not only help them get the heavy work they need to regulate their energy levels, but it also gives them a valued role and helps them contribute to the classroom in a meaningful way.
I get that 9am – 3pm is a long time and there are only so many books to be carried and chairs to be stacked. So, here are some other tools that can help you harness the energy of high energy children in the classroom.
Create an ADHD-friendly classroom.
Flexible seating options are a very powerful tool that allow children to move while working. Movement helps children to regulate their energy levels and also helps with focus and attention. Some ideas for flexible seating options, include:
Provide Clear Instructions.
Although we want children to become independent, remember that busy children have busy brains. The clearer we can be with instructions, rules and expectations, the more likely they will be to succeed. Consider:
Explicitly Teach Organisation Skills.
Accept that it may take longer for children with ADHD to develop organisational skills than their peers. They are, more than likely, equally frustrated that they have forgotten their pencil case, hat or book AGAIN. To help with organisation, consider:
Enable Outdoor Sensory Breaks.
Regular movement breaks are really important to help brains to take a break and reset. This helps bodies to get their sensory fix, and return to class calmer, more alert, and with improved attention. Whole class movement breaks are great but for some children they will need tailored sensory breaks that meet their individual sensory needs.
ADHD is not the parent’s, teacher’s, medical professional’s, or child’s fault. It is a neurological condition, not a disease or something that needs fixing. People with ADHD can have an enviable amount of energy, be spontaneous, the life of the party, creative, and intensely dedicated to their chosen interest. In today’s fast past ‘standardised’ world, these qualities are often not valued and seen as a nuisance. If parents, teachers, medical professionals and the child work together, with a positive attitude, to understand their strengths and areas that need support, we can help children with ADHD feel successful and to thrive.
Written by: Bron Lucey. Mother to 3 children who share her love of the finer things in life like mud, the outdoors and general mess. Occupational therapist in her spare time.