Wed 4 Mar, 2009 09:36 am
I recently married a woman who has an 8 year old boy diagnosed with mild ADHD. I try to help him with his homework and there are time I just want to scream and pull out my own hair at his inability to retain information for mere seconds. What are the best resources available for someone in my situation to learn techniques to deal with and more importantly, help him to overcome, this problem?
Good for you for wanting to help!
First, let me ask -- Diagnosed with mild ADHD by who, and how did they reach their diagnosis?
Every teacher my 8 year old son has ever had gave us the ADHD talk. We had a very comprehensive evaluation done and he does not have ADHD but he does have a learning disability that presents itself similar to ADHD.
I'm not saying it's not ADHD for your son but if it was a teacher or his pediatrician who said it was, you owe it to your son and yourself to go a step further and be absolutely sure.
That said, here are some things that have made a homework difference for us:
Make sure that he is getting enough excercise in the form of play. Then, start tieing getting homework finished into getting to play.
We started going to school 15 minutes early every day to play basketball. Then I started saying -- if you want to go play basketball you have to have your homework finished.
(While he madly shoots hoops, I act as the announcer (Its a Cinderella story, came out of nowhere to be the greatest basketball player ever. He can do anything. He's always willing to try anything, blahblahblah which seems to set him in a positive frame of mind.)
After school I let him chill out for about an hour and then he has to work on his homework before he can go out and play, actual physical play.
Splitting the homework up into two sessions really helps him.
Most of my son's 2nd grade homework is reading and he hates the stuff he can actually read on his own. He wants science books or army stories. His teacher was upset because I was doing almost all the reading. We finally struck a deal: you teach him to read at school and I teach him to love to read at home. Now it isn't a chore to get him to do "his" reading.
We also struck a deal with the school where any work he hasn't completed in class comes home with him. We count this as homework so now he's really making an effort to get stuff done during class time instead of having to bring it home where it interferes with playing.
Like most 8 year olds, he likes to play video games. I recently bought him "Animal Crossing" and it requires him to read. They use really short, simple words and sometimes he still struggles but he's pretty motivated to figure it out.
I know I sound like a broken record with "play" but its value can't be underestimated.
Boomer makes an important point about play, especially outdoor activities. Studies are linking ADHD with too much downtime in front of computers and TV's.
Here is an overview of the idea: