ADHD ToolKit For Families
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common disorders affecting children. ADHD is considered a chronic disorder which impacts an individual in many aspects of their life. Common ways ADHD might be affecting your child are: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. While ADHD can impact everyone differently, there are several resources available for families and students which can help with day to day tasks and productivity for work and school.
Routines and Schedules
Establishing clear and consistent routines and schedules can help your child tremendously. Post easy to read schedules in highly visible areas, plan ahead for and discuss any changes, break up tasks into smaller chunks (when possible), and pre-plan for bumps along the way.
Creating a space and time for homework completion is another way to set up predictability and potentially eliminate distractions and pain points for your child. Involve your child in setting up the space and determining the routines, make sure the area is stocked with necessary materials, and create a check-in plan. For more information on setting this up successfully, visit our blog.
Home and school behavior trackers are tools that can be individualized to meet your child’s needs. Work with your child’s school team to develop a behavior plan and tracker that fits your child’s specific needs and is age appropriate. The key is to set clear, measurable goals which are attainable without being too easy. You will also want to develop a rewards system as your child shows progress.
Weighted blankets can provide much needed comfort and calming to your child. Occupational therapists highly recommend these blankets for children with ADHD as they provide “proprioceptive input to the brain, which has a calming and organizing effect on the central nervous system.”
Alternative Seating Options
Sitting in one place for any length of time often presents challenges for those children with ADHD. Luckily, there are several tools on the market to help. These alternative seating options provide needed sensory input to increase focus and reduce hyperactivity. Work with your child’s school to see what options are available to provide these in the classroom. Examples include:
- Sensory seat cushion
- Balance stools
- Balance ball seats
- Bouncy bands
- Rocker chairs
- Folding chair for floor time
Children with ADHD often struggle to focus while reading text. Highlighter bookmarks are a cost-effective way to help increase focus. These bookmarks have a highlighted window and work by highlighting over the words to help keep the brain’s visual system engaged on the specific text.
Sensory Toys (Fidgets)
One of the most common tools and resources you’ll see for children with ADHD is sensory toys or fidgets. While there are many options on the market, it’s important to understand that you need to find the one that is the right fit for your child and know that sometimes they can cause more distractions to your child and others than intended. Oftentimes, one of the best and cheapest options that presents the least amount of distraction is placing a strip of velcro on or below a desk that your child can discreetly touch. Examples of other items include:
- Silly putty
- Calm strips
- Fidget cubes
- Magnetic putty
- Calming beads
- Sensory sand
Mini-trampolines are one of the best ways to provide your child with a much needed movement break. They provide children with an opportunity to exert quick bursts of energy and can be used year round, regardless of the temperature. Not only do they help get out energy, but they also improve circulation, get oxygen to the brain, and help promote alertness.
Using smart watches to help those with ADHD is an emerging trend. These watches allow you to program reminders for remembering every day tasks (grab your materials, write down your homework), taking medicine, or even setting an alert to remind your child to check-in with themselves, breath, and focus. Please note that many schools do not allow smart watches which allow texting and phone calls, however, there are other smart watches designed for these purposes which can be a better fit for schools.
Therapists, psychologists, executive functioning coaches, and tutors can also be a tremendously powerful tool in your child’s every day routine. There are many professionals who are experts in helping children with ADHD thrive in their day to day school and home life.
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