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homework kidIf you have a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), helping him or her focus on homework can be a real challenge. But with the help of some household items and a shift in perception, it doesn’t have to be a struggle.
“I feel strongly that kids have to move to learn,” says Rhonda Hines, a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) on our staff here at Comprehensive Therapy Center. “To a child with ADHD, 10 minutes can feel like an hour. Give them lots of opportunity to move around.”
So take your perception that homework has to be done quietly at the table and toss it out the window. Break out the play sand or pudding, dust off this summer’s beach ball, and turn up the white noise.
“Some children are kinesthetic learners – that means they learn best by activating their muscle groups,” Rhonda suggests. “Cutting and gluing letters from magazines for spelling words activates their small muscle groups. To activate big muscle groups, use a water noodle to draw letters and words in the air.”
One favorite trick is to fill a baking pan with sand, pudding, or shaving cream, and let your shave writechild write spelling words or math problems in it.
Other strategies include drawing words in pudding, sand, or playdough. Turning on a fan or dishwasher could be a soothing to a child who needs background noise. Try to keep homework sessions in natural light if possible, and if not, avoid fluorescent lights.
Most of all, let your child wiggle as much as s/he needs. “It’s OK to let your child stand up while doing homework. In fact, let them walk around, lay in bean bags, stand on rocker boards, bounce balls, and even jump on the trampoline! Accept the fact that they have to move to learn.”
A particularly useful strategy is to break out your old beach ball, fill up with only and inch or two of air, and let your child sit on it when you want him or her to pay attention. This type of “wiggle seat” allows your child to move around without causing a disruption.
For more information, check out this article and this article by Education.com, and this article by FamilyEducation.com.
Have you had any luck with a particular strategy we haven’t mentioned here? Let us know!