Teaching and Parenting Strategies for ADHD in Children
In an inner city school in Newark, a 25-year First Grade teacher talked about her thoughts on ADHD in children, parenting, and ADHD strategies and prevention. The teacher, Mrs. Winner* stated that every year she gets at least two children in her classroom with “eyes like pinballs” and who cannot concentrate or sit still in class.
She relates these experiences in the context of a discussion on children with ADHD. With these more-difficult children, Mrs. Winner first addresses not the children, but the parents. She calls them into school and requests a meeting. If the parents do not respond, she uses the powers at hand to encourage the parents to respond, and she does succeed, always, in getting her meeting with the parents.
Mrs. Winner makes it very clear to the parents that children who spend too many hours in front of the television and other forms of the media, can be affected, that the symptoms manifested in their child indicate that this may be the case, and that the parents need to make adjustments at home. Mrs. Winner recounts that through these measures, along with follow up, the children who were having the most difficulty in her class make great improvement in what would have inevitably become a case of psychological/medical intervention, that is, an ADHD diagnosis/label and subsequent prescribing of stimulant prescription drugs.
Through lifestyle adjustments by the parents, positive parenting adjustments, the children’s behavior and ability to focus is positively affected, prevention, in these cases, was successful with the young children. One school psychologist in Paterson, NJ similarly emphasizes parental training in the context of the discussion surrounding children with ADHD (See book Overcoming ADHD Without Medication, Chapter 2).
Another interesting part of Mrs. Winner’s 25-year success story as a Newark, NJ teacher is her method of spending about “10 minutes of one-on-one time every day with each student”. Mrs. Winner has incorporated this into her daily classroom game plan and it makes a positive difference with her child-students. Yes, Mrs. Winner is strict, and she is, at times, tough with the children if they are unruly. She does allow the children a little time each day on educational programs on the computer, in turns, but only on educational programs, not video games. But perhaps the greatest part of the key to her success in the classroom is the personal attention given to each student. Mrs. Winner retired at the end of the 2013 school-year, but she was retained in the school for consulting and assisting in raising the bar for newer teachers.
ADHD in children is not a question of label and medicate (medical model), but it often is a matter of parental adjustments, lifestyle adjustments, and classroom adjustments, with a view towards prevention. Art is also a positive activity through which children with ADHD symptoms are helped to develop their focus.