Communication with a child can be difficult regardless of the circumstances. However, communication can be even more difficult with a child who has ADHD. Individuals with ADHD often have weak executive function, making it more difficult for them to communicate. Emotional control can be a challenge. Therefore communication often comes out as overly emotional and not always rational.
So, how can we effectively communicate with children who have ADHD? Additude magazine recently did an article on How to Talk to Students with ADHD. This article focuses specifically on strategies that are effective in the classroom; however, they are also useful strategies that can transition into the home environment as well.
The article states; "great teachers know that saying the right words in the right way can turn a defeated student into a go-getter."
Here are the five strategies provided that help to strengthen communication with children who have ADHD
1. Be Positive - Researchers tell us that three to five positive statements should be given for every negative comment.
2. Give Students Choices - Give students a limited number of options for assignments when possible.
3. Try Not to Personalize - Eliminate criticism and blame. Teach the student to cope with ADHD behaviors.
4. Give “I” Messages - State how you feel (in private)
5. Ask, “Is that a good choice or a bad choice?”- When a student misbehaves, the teacher may ask, “Is that a good choice or a bad choice?” The student gets the message that his behavior is inappropriate without a reprimand from the teacher. The student learns to label and corrects his own behavior.
These are great strategies to open and keep open the lines of communication with children. However, in addition to these strategies cognitive skills can be taught that strengthen executive function and give children the ability to successfully engage in everyday activities. Play Attention is a program designed for individuals with ADHD to help them improve their executive functions.
For example, for a child to have strong emotional control and to be able to communicate, they must be able to pay attention, process the situation, control impulsivity, and respond appropriately. All of the games within Play Attention address attention, processing and impulse control. Therefore, every time you start an activity within Play Attention, you are developing skills that will help with emotional control and communication.
This is a program that will make changes in your child’s mind and motivation as well as creating life-long changes that your child will