• Dr. Jazz Killiebrew

My Child Has ADHD, How Can Virtual Learning Work For Us?

Did you know that ADHD is often a secondary diagnosis that is often the result of a missed primary diagnosis? Many students suffer from anxiety, depression, trauma, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, etc. Oftentimes an oversight of these primary conditions will result in a diagnosis of ADHD.

ADHD is a non-discriminatory difference affecting people of every age, gender, IQ, religion, and socio-economic background.

Imagine being trapped in an issue or prognosis that you can’t "learn" your way out of. Imagine being forced to learn in a way that just isn’t feasible for your brain or your heart. Imagine wanting to be society’s definition of “normal” and always missing the mark.

There is great news. This pandemic is forcing many parents, educators, and learners to look into the depths of who they are in order to discover how we can all make learning work where we are, with what we have.

First, there is no such thing as normal. Everyone is different. The schedule or structure that works for others may not work for you. That does not mean that you have failed, it just means that you must find another way. Your patience will be key during this journey. Virtual learning can work for your kiddo, but you have to rediscover who your child is, not as a statistic, diagnosis, or problem but as a learner, thinker, doer, and dreamer. Here are some tips to help your scholar achieve and thrive this fall while learning virtually:

  1. Focus on your child's strengths and not on their weaknesses.

  2. Set daily tasks and goals and celebrate every small victory.

  3. When dealing with an adult or child with attention deficit disorder, always acknowledge them with affirmations, pay attention to details, and put in time with them. Time, words, tools, and attention are key.

  4. Noise is okay! If your child needs to tap, listen to music, or fidget in order to think, please let them. Remember, a quiet environment is not always a thriving environment.

  5. Movement while thinking is great. Having manipulatives, fidgets, stress balls, velcro, stationary bikes, yoga balls, mini trampolines, swivel chairs, wobble chairs, standing desks, etc. are all great tools. An increase in movement does not always mean a decrease in focus.

  6. Project-Based Learning, real-life scenarios, role-play, hands-on activities, and anything that gets your learner up and moving will be vital. (For example, The 15 + 10 approach= 15 minutes of kinesthetic learning and then 10 minutes of computer or stationary work)

When you give your scholar a safe space to think and learn, you unlock their ability to dream without the fear of criticism. You create the space. Their minds will create their thoughts and their dreams. Find rituals and routines that work for your family and for your learner. Do not force your kiddo to learn the way that you learn best. Encourage them to discover what makes them think and cultivate that gift.

Happy Thinking,

Dr. K.

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