Simple changes can have a huge impact on your young person's behaviour, and self-esteem. Making these small adjustments help your young person know where they stand, what is expected, and what they can do for themselves. In time this can reduce the number of ourbursts, help dampen anger and help them to settle much quicker.
A young person spends well over half of their waking day at school, anything that happens at school will have a huge impact on their sense of self, but also on their presentation at home too.
- Transitions can be unsettling for young person with ADHD. Help to prepare the young person by counting down to transitions i.e., 15 minutes, 10 minutes, and 5 minutes.
- Make rules short and to the point. Display these so they are easily seen.
- Wherever possible keep to a predictable routine. Visual displays are brilliant!
- Remove as many distractions as possible. Seat the young person towards the front of the class, away from windows and doors to allow them to concentrate. Sometimes they might benefit from a quieter space.
- Time outs are essential. These can be simple breaks to move or can include sensory play or quiet space.
- Fidget toys, wobble seats, doodling, and mind mapping are great ways to allow the young person to maintain focus and expel excess energy, while meeting sensory needs.
- Finally, and we cannot stress this enough, please consider additional support for the young person during exams or tests. And if they need extra support in the classroom, consider applying for an EHCP, even if your adaptations are working brilliantly - when they transition to another school or class, these might not be available to them.
Parents and carers, we understand having a child with ADHD can, at times, be exhausting. Therapy and medication help with many of the challenges that can present themselves but making a few simple changes can also have a huge impact.
- Create a predictable and simple routine and display this in a prominent place.
- Any tasks or jobs you would like your young person to do should be broken down into simple steps. They are less likely to become distracted or overwhelmed.
- Sleep - this is so important and one of the main issues we see in clinic. Help your young person maintain good sleep hygiene. Ensure bedtimes and wake up times are kept the same each day, even at weekends. No electronics for an hour before bed and try a relaxation skill before sleep.
- Allow your young person to have a quiet, safe place where they can be directed to when becoming agitated or angry. This will allow them to calm down - until this happens, any attempt to talk about the issue will mostly likely not be heard.
- Remain consistent and be firm. Make rules together and stick by them. Reward and give constructive feedback.
Any habit can be hard to break and take a period of time. If changing a routine, such as the hour before bed, there will be resistance, and maybe some unwanted behaviours, but you and your young person will adjust if you stick to the routine.
Remember, not all behaviour, reactions and choices are ADHD related! A young person is still a child like any other, and sometimes they get angry, upset, need to vent and don't want to follow the rules - this is just part of growing up.