They fidget, squirm, blurt out answers, bug their neighbors and they often appear as if they are not listening. Their minds are anywhere but on the lesson, or at least that’s what it seems (think Calvin & Hobbs). Many children who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have difficulty transitioning from one activity to another, challenges with impulsiveness, maintaining their attention span, and hyperactivity. Additionally, many of these children lack critical social skills to interact with their classmates successfully. What can we help children with ADHD in Sunday school and church related activities?
On average, 3-8% of the children in your class will have a diagnosis of ADHD. We need a basic understand of what the symptoms are in order to better address their needs in the church setting. There are three categories for symptoms: Inattention, Hyperactivity, and Impulsivity. For some children, the only symptoms may be found in the inattention category or hyperactivity-impulsive but for others it maybe be a combination of both types. Children that are diagnosed with the inattentive type tend to be less disruptive than those with the hyperactive-impulsive or combination type.
- Inattentive Type:
Easily bored in class
Appears as if he or she is not hearing what is being spoken to him or her directly
Often misplaces things for class or tasks
Difficulty with multiple sets of directions given at one time
Dislikes to engage in task or projects that needs sustained metal effort
In constant motion, fidgety with hands or feet, as if driven by an internal motor
Difficulty staying seated and/or climbing inappropriately
Blurts outs the answers without waiting for their turn
Does things without thinking about the consequences before hand, lacking forethought
Difficulty waiting for their turn, interrupting conversations or games
May get aggressive or act out in frustration and/or anger
May exhibit symptoms of anxiety or low self-worth
What can we do to balance needs of the entire classroom while still meeting the needs of the child with ADHD? Tomorrow, we will take a look at eight suggestions, in addition to prayer that I have found to be very successful in working with children with ADHD.