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Pure Friendship for Individuals with Special Needs
Ilana Danneman

4 Things I Learned About ADHD In Sanity School

I am currently taking an online parenting class, Sanity School from Impact ADHD. I’m about 24 years late in my enrollment, but being that I’m surrounded by teens, 20-somethings and adults with attention issues, I’m finding the course awakening and empowering. Better late than never, right? So by now, you're probably wondering: What is Sanity School? Apparently, we are starting to know a lot about more about ADHD and other “different brains.” One we thing we now know is that ADHD (and perhaps other diagnosis such as Executive Functioning Disorder, general anxiety and OCD) are brain-based. In other words, such brains are organized differently and have different parts more or less stimulated in comparison to a "neurotypical" brain. In my own therapy practice (and at home as well), I am often challenged with children who cannot attend or who have impulsivities and complexities. In my one-hour sessions with each child, I need to assist them with reaching developmental goals. And quite often, my goals may not be in sync with the child on any given day. [caption id="attachment_22068" align="aligncenter" width="625"]4 Things I learned from sanity school Try creating a sensory spot for doing homework; and, why not the bathtub?[/caption] Children, though very intuitive, don’t always know what they need to accomplish in the long run. So, I have to adjust and somehow become a super physical therapist to engage them in order to reach those goals. Here are my top four tips that I picked up from Impact ADHD to help make my therapy sessions more meaningful and child oriented:

1. Get Curious

Children with ADHD are not “problem” children, they are complex children. They want to learn, grow and thrive like other children. It’s not that they cannot pay attention, it’s that they need different motivators. The “listen to me and then do as I say” doesn’t work for them and honestly, it doesn’t work for most of the population. So, let's get curious! Let’s figure out how they think and bring them opportunities and information that is engaging, hands-on and multisensory. These are action kids! They need to move to learn, hear music to learn, sing to learn, watch YouTube to learn and so on.

2. Don’t Take It Personally

Individuals with ADHD are not out to get you! Whether it’s your own child or a child you teach, they are not trying to irritate you. So when your child refuses to do homework or lays his head down on the desk while you’re trying to help him out with a math assignment, don’t take it personally. It may be time for a sensory or movement break or maybe you need to take that math lesson away from the desk and onto the floor or dry erase board.

3. Avoid Judgment

When we are frustrated with someone, we tend to distance ourselves and cast judgement. And when we’re under a lot of pressure or time limits, we get even more frustrated. Take a step back. If we can put judgments aside, we can also become more curious: how does this child operate best? What are his motivators? What are his strengthens? How can I use those? When we become curious, we can lose the judgment and when we lose the judgment, we can become curious. And, curiosity can lead to creativity.

4. Get Creative

Does your child learn best at home? In a structured environment? Do they need a timer? Special seating? How about a multisensory-learning seat in your bathtub (like my son)? Find out what works best for the child and try to incorporate teachings that cater to the way they learn. Yes, let's push aside diagnosis, frustrations and gender or age expectations and treat each child individually so we can use their strengths to help propel them forward and give them the wings they need to fly!

WRITTEN ON February 24, 2016 BY:

Ilana Danneman