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Old 12-03-2020, 07:23 PM
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I have a child in care who has extreme adhd. I typically feel this is over diagnosed, but I've never seen a kid struggle as much as he does. He is 8yo & I'm attempting to do elearning with him & It. Is. Awful. I do remote learning for my own children & the others in care giving me a total of 5 kids pre-k thru 4th grade, plus my 15 mo. We have a good routine in place & the other kids are all doing pretty well & able to complete assignments fairly independently, but I literally have to sit next to him & walk him through every single question. I've tried setting up his work station in a room by himself to limit distractions, but he won't work if I don't sit with him. I tried having him sit with me in the main area but he jumps up to see what everyone else is doing constantly. We will be in the middle of a problem & he just runs off saying "got to check on something" & leaves me mid sentence while explaining a problem. I've tried both reward systems & consequences... helping & expecting independence...break passes to give him a sense of control. Nothing works. If the kids stay on task they earn a sticker each day & trade it in for a treasure chest grab on Fridays, but he rarely earns his which really upsets him. I guess I'm just wondering... can a kid with severe adhd control himself if he chooses to, or is this behavior truly out of his control? I don't want to skip his treasure box if he can't control it, but I really don't feel I can give him one when everyone else is working so hard & he's going crazy & distracting the group. He sees a Dr next week to hopefully start some meds. Anyone have advice?
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Old 12-04-2020, 06:26 AM
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It would depend on which type of Attention Disorder he has.

If it is truly the hyperactive/impulsive type, exercise before and after tasks helps but exercise breaks will be needed about every 45 minutes at that age. Bursts of anxious energy, fidgeting and restlessness can feel awful when being forced to sit in a chair. It feels like your muscles are rolling and twitching and the walls are closing in.

Computer or desk work is the worst unless it is something he is interested in and he can "lock in". Being "pulled out" of focus by movement/noise can cause feelings of anger and lack of control. Not having enough interest to get past surface level attention leads to rushing through minimal expectations just to get it over with, consequences no longer matter, just make it end.

Meds help, but can have unintended consequences like long-term lock-in/time loss, depression and memory issues when not on the med. The best combination is exercise, study skills training, time management training and meds. Lots of lists, visual reminders and checklists but the kid needs to do them, not the adult. They need the power to take control of their own issue. Everyone has something, it does not make them a victim nor does it lower the expectations of them. They will be a victim for life if we raise them believing they are.

Two of my kids and I deal with this, personally. Both of them were honor students/graduates. I went undiagnosed and "self-medicated" with sports, books and coffee. 15-25 minute exercise and "topics of interest" breaks helped immensely. Caffeine calms instead of winds up in ADHD. I've been drinking coffee every day since 2nd grade when my mom realized it worked.
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Old 12-04-2020, 08:58 AM
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I have worked with a few kids with ADHD, autusm, bipolar, etc. plus have ADHD myself. Yes you can choose to "control" it, but it takes a LOT of effort and it may not be a skill he has learned yet.
My roommate tells me "your H is high" I am aware that I'm needing to change what I'm doing or to focus, but I have to put a lot of effort into fixing the issue... if that makes sense. It's something that took me a LONG time to figure out and I'm definitely not there yet.

Could you do small step rewards instead of a sticker for the whole day? Maybe have a timer set, starting at a time you know he can accomplish (3 minutes?) If he sits and focuses until that timer goes of he can get up and stretch for a minute and earn a partial reward. Maybe something along the lines of, he gets 8 opportunities to get a "partial reward" throughout the day and if he gets at least 5 of those he will get a sticker for the day. You can increase the timer a little each time until he builds up the stamina to sit longer and longer. Also figure out what a good stim is for him. I personally can focus WAY better if I have something to do with my hands. If I don't have something physical to meet this need, I end up picking at my fingers which drives me (and those around me) nuts! Something small and descreet, not a toy but something he can occupy his hands with while he works. This may not be his stim, so check in with him or his parents to figure out what works best for him. I'm also a rocker, I have such a hard time sitting in church for the whole service so I end up rocking back and fourth or twiddling my thumbs and that helps. Anyway, find what works for him to calm him and help him focus!
I do NOT think you should let him get away with bad behavior just because of his ADHD, you just have to figure out HOW he learns, and then expect him to meet his own milestones.

Hopefully that made sense, let me know if you have any questions!
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Old 12-04-2020, 09:09 AM
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Panda.

I am a rocker, too.... and a tapper. I tap out math problems much to the chagrin of others. When I took a nap in school I kicked one foot in quarter notes against the mat until I dozed off. My kid brother (also undiagnosed until college, like me) rocked on his hands and knees, rolled his pencil back and forth across his desk and kicked the chair in front of him (unaware, they had to move his desk). My kids chewed their bottom lips, rocked and tapped when they concentrated. My daughter would hold her breath then gasp suddenly scaring the tar out of me. Funny the little idiosyncrasies that come with it.
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Old 12-04-2020, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
It would depend on which type of Attention Disorder he has.

If it is truly the hyperactive/impulsive type, exercise before and after tasks helps but exercise breaks will be needed about every 45 minutes at that age. Bursts of anxious energy, fidgeting and restlessness can feel awful when being forced to sit in a chair. It feels like your muscles are rolling and twitching and the walls are closing in.

Computer or desk work is the worst unless it is something he is interested in and he can "lock in". Being "pulled out" of focus by movement/noise can cause feelings of anger and lack of control. Not having enough interest to get past surface level attention leads to rushing through minimal expectations just to get it over with, consequences no longer matter, just make it end.

Meds help, but can have unintended consequences like long-term lock-in/time loss, depression and memory issues when not on the med. The best combination is exercise, study skills training, time management training and meds. Lots of lists, visual reminders and checklists but the kid needs to do them, not the adult. They need the power to take control of their own issue. Everyone has something, it does not make them a victim nor does it lower the expectations of them. They will be a victim for life if we raise them believing they are.

Two of my kids and I deal with this, personally. Both of them were honor students/graduates. I went undiagnosed and "self-medicated" with sports, books and coffee. 15-25 minute exercise and "topics of interest" breaks helped immensely. Caffeine calms instead of winds up in ADHD. I've been drinking coffee every day since 2nd grade when my mom realized it worked.
All of this rings true for me. My daughter, 12, as ADHD and virtual learning was a nightmare for her . She also has a cognitive delay which is atypical for ADHDers. I have to constantly remind myself that is not her fault but it's still hard to not be frustrated.

Lists are essential in our household.

Also one thing about ADHD that often goes unmentioned is that motivation is VERY DIFFICULT for ADHDers. Motivation is a HUGE problem for ADHDers. If they are interested in and motivated for the task, they can often complete it. If the task is uninteresting or unmotivating, their brain STRUGGLES! This difficulty with motivation makes it seem like they are choosing to not pay attention to certain tasks, which can be frustrating for parents and teachers.

In my household we use limited screen time as a motivator for tasks. 20 minutes of youtube can be a huge motivator for a 12-year old...lol. Its not ideal and probably not something you'd be able to do for this child but perhaps there's something else that's a big motivator??
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Old 12-04-2020, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kendallina View Post
If the task is uninteresting or unmotivating, their brain STRUGGLES!
YES!!! If it's something I really want/am interested in doing I can focus on it for HOURS! If not, I have to physically force myself to continue. Even if it's something I'm mildly interested in, it's such a struggle to keep at it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
Panda.

I am a rocker, too.... and a tapper. I tap out math problems much to the chagrin of others. When I took a nap in school I kicked one foot in quarter notes against the mat until I dozed off. My kid brother (also undiagnosed until college, like me) rocked on his hands and knees, rolled his pencil back and forth across his desk and kicked the chair in front of him (unaware, they had to move his desk). My kids chewed their bottom lips, rocked and tapped when they concentrated. My daughter would hold her breath then gasp suddenly scaring the tar out of me. Funny the little idiosyncrasies that come with it.
Yes! It's crazy how kids (and adults) can adapt! I TRY to figure out something that doesn't annoy people around me
I shake my leg, wiggle my big toe, or tap my thumbs together to different songs (especially in church) I do the same thing when I twiddle my thumbs. It mostly drives my roommate nuts because she only has one hand and can't twiddle her thumbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
Caffeine calms instead of winds up in ADHD. I've been drinking coffee every day since 2nd grade when my mom realized it worked.
My roommate thinks this is funny. She drinks coffee past a certain time and is up all night, I drink it so I can sleep
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Old 12-06-2020, 09:41 AM
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Thanks for the replys! I will try to put together some small chunk lists for him & make the incentives more attainable. He LOVES youtube & I don't allow my kids to use it here so he complains about that a lot. That might actually be a good motivator if I can limit it to short bursts of appropriate content on his personal device. I'll think about it some more. But you've given me some great ideas. He loves sweet tea which would be good caffeine wise, but the sugar really affects him negatively. I was letting him play with bungee cords while working, but he started doing things that seemed dangerous with them. He said he uses a wiggle seat at school. Thanks for sharing your ideas!!
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