Teaching Teamwork to Children with ADHD
Children that have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are all wired differently. It’s important to make sure that these kids feel like they are an important part of the family. Many of them are insecure because their brain won’t shut off, they are also very sensitive. Parenting kids with ADHD takes great patience because they are often very disorganized and schoolwork becomes easily lost, they have a tough time comprehending what they read and have problems studying. They are very easily distracted and have tantrums out of frustration. It’s important that these kids feel like they are part of the team because the majority of kids with ADHD develop dangerous disorders when they become adults. This all depends on the parenting, genetics and the most important formative years of their life which is birth to six years old.
Teaching and teamwork can be tricky because children with ADHD have problems with concentration, especially in groups. There are many benefits of teamwork for kids with ADHD. You can start by working with your child’s teacher and set some goals and implement these goals into the classes your child is taking. Parents can also help by preparing their kids with ADHD for group interaction at school. Make sure they know that their teacher is still in control of the classroom activities. Teach them to understand that group work is about working together and setting goals in a place that is safe and structured. This might be a project for the group to work on, so inform your child that the teacher will be giving them the instructions about the assignment and they all can work together as a team on the project. Explain that there may be a deadline and the teacher will provide the materials for them to work with.
Parents and their children can also work on teamwork while doing homework. Parents can use this time for role-playing in the classroom and pretend they are another student while they work on the child’s homework. If your child has to write a paper on a book they read, you can help them outline the facts and say you have one hour to complete this book report about the subject and we will be here to help you. In addition, tell your children that goal setting isn’t just for teamwork, it also is for learning how to handle behavior in a classroom setting.
Parents can purchase a whiteboard with erasable markers and make a list of typical and accepted conduct during teamwork time. This just will help reinforce your child that they have to follow the rules as far as being courteous, asking for permission to talk and listening to others when they talk. Children with ADHD have trouble with these rules because they act on impulse and this frustrates the team. This is how you can help your child to stop and remember what the rules are before they act on impulse and upset their peers.
Parents can also help ADHD kids out by taking apart their homework and rearranging the work into smaller segments so the child isn’t so overwhelmed. ADHD children have trouble with patience and when they see something is too much for them to progress, they shut down and stuff this somewhere in their locker and say they forgot. If you as parents help make things more manageable, it’s easier for them to cope and succeed. They also feel safe and more comfortable asking their parents to help them organize their work and this is a form of teamwork.
If you still feel your child is struggling with teamwork, ask to visit the classroom and look at where your child sits. If the seating doesn’t look engaging for the child, make some suggestions like seating the group in a circle so they can all face each other. This usually works good because your child can see the eyes and faces of their team members and feel more like part of the group. In addition, you can also see how the kids are arranged. It doesn’t make sense to put all the kid’s together in a group that learns easier than others. Make sure you feel that the groups are divided up evenly so your child is working with all types of children. If one child is strong at reading and another is weak at reading but strong at writing, this would be a good combination in a team setting. The child that is a strong reader can interpret, while the child that is a strong speller and writer can contribute their skills in this way. This is what makes a strong team and doesn’t set your child up to fail or any other of the children for that matter. Don’t be a stranger to your child’s classroom.
Kids with ADHD are very intelligent children. They just need help organizing their thoughts. When they work with a team they can learn from the other students that may understand the meaning of words and this is how your child will learn. There is always a leader in the group that everyone looks up too. This doesn’t mean that this person should do all the work, but your child can learn to understand by watching this child’s behavior in their team. Just as parents model behavior at home, other children at school can model behavior that is good for your child. Most kids are happy to help others learn new things if they are struggling.
If your child is still struggling at times with teamwork, sit down with your child and take one of their homework assignments and help them learn how to break it down into a group activity. ADHD kids are not that hard to teach in a one on one environment without distractions. ADHD kids pick up all of the other kid’s energy in the classroom. Sometimes this is negative because this is where they become distracted. Explain to them to concentrate on their group’s activity and using the skills they learned from you, present how they can use their assignment and include the group in on working it out together. Teamwork is important for children with ADHD because it is a great confidence builder and these kids need constant approval in order for them to feel safe and enjoy what they are doing in their group activities.