Teaching an ADHD child in a way that keeps them excited about school is like picking bugs off a monkey without touching their body. There are certain tips and tools that can help, even on the worst days. When the joy of learning stalls there are always options.
Food: First and foremost clean food is necessary for an ADHD child to learn. That means grass fed beef with no antibiotics and no hormone injections, non GMO foods and absolutely nothing processed.
Nothing trumps food.
Clean food supersedes each and every other tool, homeopath or aid on all levels. If you have tried food and it didn’t work for you there was an ingredient or something injected into the food that caused your child to continue to react.
Gluten free is not an ADHD food and does not make a difference to a great number of ADHD people. The fine ground starch flours in gluten free products feed bad bacteria in the intestinal tract that help cause ADHD symptoms. The sugar content in gluten free foods is usually high and often made with sweeteners that also propagate bad bacteria overgrowth like agave, organic sugar, maple syrup, evaporated cane juice, date sugar, coconut sugar and rice syrup.
The only sweetener that should be used with ADHD individuals is local honey. The only flour is coconut flour or almond flour. Wheat should never be touched by an ADHD person.
Stimulants: WebMD says, “Stimulant drugs are the most commonly used treatment for ADHD.” They also say, “Stimulants regulate impulsive behavior and improve attention span and focus by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which help transmit signals between nerves.”
Studies show a cup of coffee (100 mg of caffeine) is equal to 5 mg of Ritalin. Vitamin B12 also works naturally. Stimulant drugs have side affects, one of which is raising blood pressure.
If drugs are the only thing that work for you in your lifestyle, fantastic. For those looking to avoid drugs, they certainly are not necessary. Drugs do not cure ADHD they only mask the symptoms.
Clean food trumps stimulants.
Many adults have told me flat out, “If I don’t eat wheat I don’t have to medicate.”
Motivation: Charts and stickers work wonders for small children with ADHD, computer learning, video teachings, art projects and building jobs are all great forms of motivation for older kids. Once my son faded from the thrill of stickers filling boxes we used play money. Ironically this correlated right at the time we were learning money in school. We used a pile of play money and paid set amounts for completed work. The kids could then buy things with their earned money. We found auctions worked best so they could bid on the items they wanted. They bid on things like character Band-Aids, swim goggles, pool toys, tiny flashlights for reading in bed and other necessary items we would have bought anyway.
Motivational choices are good goals for older learners. As home-schoolers we use Fun Fridays where we do school projects, that are part of the curriculum anyway, but he gets to choose what he does and when. If he hasn’t completed his daily work, he don’t get Fun Friday until all work is completed. This is an amazing motivational goal. Projects have included cooking, sewing, artwork, chicken coop building, strawberry trellis making, and other similar projects.
Clean food trumps motivation.
Have a visible schedule: Put your child’s class schedule on the wall or someplace visible. If you school outside the house put a printed schedule on the front of his main notebook. If the schedule is in front of him his nerves are calm, he knows what to expect and he has a steady pace.
Clean food trumps a good schedule.
Use Screens: Many parents today are highly concerned with screen time and limit the amount of time spent in front of computer screens, television screen and phones. The challenge is ADHD kids often learn best through documentaries, educational shows and instructional videos. If that’s the way they pay attention and grasp the information, let them learn the way it’s easy for them.
Clean food trumps screens.
Skip it and move on: If he’s just not getting his school work we skip it until another day. He can easily not understand something for hours even though it is explained several different ways, taught through song and even video. If he isn’t getting it, we find much higher success if we drop it and do something else. Sure enough, we can pick up that very same trouble spot the next morning and he picks it up immediately.
Clean food trumps shaking up the schedule.
Book flexibility: Children with ADHD generally prefer non-fiction books. It really makes no difference if the child
learns to read from Clifford The Big Red Dog or through non-fiction books where they read the easy words, you read the hard words. If you have any flexibility in what the child reads find out what they like and stick to that genre. In our house survival books about boys out in the wilderness are key. If there is a history book that they must read for their curriculum we have a standing rule and that is you must read at least the first chapter. For older kids the rule was the first four chapters as sometimes books got better the further into the story you read. After that if the book was dragging him down, we changed the book. The library carries more than one book for a reason.
Clean food trumps flexibility.
Proprioception: Deep pressure, known as proprioception, can be provided through weighted shoulder wraps, weighted lap pads, weighted vests, weighted blankets and more. There were times when I sat behind my son on the floor, wrapped my legs around him like a koala bear, wrapped my arms around him in a hug and used the weighted shoulder wrap so he could read. These methods are said to calm those with autism or ADHD by relaxing and bringing them back to themselves. The weights reduce the sensory overload and allow the body to regain control. Clean food trumps proprioception.
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