ADHD. Kis lépések, nagy változások

Projektzáró konferencia Budapesten, 2019. október 25-én!

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About the project

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders in children and young people; about 5‑7% of children and young people are affected by this neurodevelopmental disorder (Polanczyk et al., 2007). In Hungary, there is an estimated 70,000 children with ADHD, which means that there is likely to be at least one in every classroom.

Children who struggle to manage their behaviour, pay attention, regulate their emotions, make friends, develop positive relationships with adults, and cope with the demands of traditional educational structures and practices are challenging to deal with for parents and teachers. What is more, these children do not present with these challenging behaviours intentionally. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, which means that it is to some degree present from birth and the difficulties experienced by these children are associated with different neurological and psychological workings.



However, most if not all children with ADHD struggle academically, due to the demands of educational environments (e.g., sit still and pay attention for long periods). However, with the right kind of support, both at home and in school, children with ADHD can reach their potential and become contributing members of their communities. However, if these children do not learn skills to deal with their difficulties, then they are at risk for a range of negative outcomes, such as repeated experiences of failure, low self-esteem, dropping out of school, becoming unemployed or incarcerated, and developing mental health problems (e.g., depression, anxiety). So, ADHD is a problem both for the children, their families and schools, but also the wider community and society. ADHD is very treatable; it is not associated with an inability to learn or with low intelligence.

This project aims to provide teachers in kindergartens with the tools to recognise and work effectively with children with ADHD in the regular (mainstream) learning environment. We are committed to the inclusion agenda, where children with special or additional learning needs have equal rights and are educated alongside their peers and have the same educational and advancement opportunities as children without difficulties or disorders.

Currently, if parents in Hungary, Slovakia and Romania decide that their child is presenting with challenging behaviour, then they can address specialized institutions that will determine the type of special need.

Following examination, a treatment might be prescribed, which in most cases involves cognitive behavioural therapy, which requires special professional support. Such support is mostly available in big cities and central parts of the countries mentioned. In other regions, parents and their children would need to rely on the support from public education. In the case of ADHD, the key figure in this context is the teacher. With our project, we would like to empower teachers, equip them with the knowledge and tools, to be effective in supporting the needs of children with social, emotional, and/or behavioural developmental needs. Similarly, we recognise the role of parents within their child’s education and development.

So, we would also like to support parents in understanding their child’s behaviour, and having the knowledge and skills to support their child developing skills to be successful in school and in life.

We are also mindful of how prevalent stigma and negative attitudes are when it comes to challenging behaviour and ADHD. Often, parents and teachers may hold or be afraid of the negative attitudes towards children with social, emotional, and/or behavioural difficulties in general and ADHD in particular.

We would call on them and on people to recognise and understand that challenging behaviour is often a child’s way of communicating that they cannot cope. A diagnosis of ADHD is often the first step in getting the right kinds of supports and resources children, families, and schools need.

Our guide for parents and teachers will provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to cope with a range of needs and difficulties.

Partners

RAABE KLETT (HU)
ADHD-MAGYAROSZÁG ALAPÍTVÁNY (HU)
COVENTRY UNIVERSITY (EN)
SPOJENA SKOLA (SK)
ELTE BÁRCZI (HU)
DE GYAKORLÓ ÓVODÁJA (HU)
ASOCIATIA CSIPKEROZSIKA (RO)

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Outputs

What results are expected during the project and on its completion?

Our project envisages development of two intellectual outputs:

Digital manual for teachers (O1): it will provide methodological guidelines for work with ADHD children. It will be available in a pdf format, in four language versions (EN, HU, SK, RO).

Digital guide for parents (O2): it will provide information on how to recognize ADHD and guidelines for organising daily life activities, so to ensure proper climate for overcoming ADHD. It will be available in a pdf format, in four language versions (EN, HU, SK, RO).

The Manuals will be accessible after 20 October 2019!


Transnational project meetings:
in Budapest /2018
in Coventry /2018
in Roznava /2019
in Budapest /2019

Focus groups
for Output 1 / kindergarten teachers from Hungary, Slovakia and Romania
for Output 2 / parents from Hungary, Slovakia and Romania

Joint staff training
Coventry /2019

Dissemination conference
Budapest /2019

The project in numbers

Quantitative project results

600

parents, teachers and other stakeholders (decision makers) reached through general dissemination

1200

min. number of visitors to the project website and social media profiles

90

min. number of kindergarten teachers directly involved in project implementation (involved in survey research, focus groups, development, dissemination activities)

180

min. number of parents directly involved in project implementation (involved in survey research, focus groups, development, dissemination activities)

News

April 2019

Collaboration between parents and the kindergarten

After spending most of their time in the kindergarten, the successes and failures and the social relationships experienced in there are decisive for children’s development and wellbeing. One of the most effective things an ADHD child's parent can do is to work closely with the kindergarten teacher to support all the effort he or she is doing in the group for the ADHD child.

It is therefore very important to tell the kindergarten teacher as early as possible that our child's behaviour is not entirely average. If the teacher knows the cause of the unusual behaviour from the beginning, he can prepare for the task. If you are honest in this field with the teacher, it will establish a future good cooperation, an open relationship, and it will help all stakeholders, the child, the teacher, the parent and other children.

If you do not tell it in time, you risk that:

  • the kindergarten teacher will feel that the child behaves this way because his parents educate him poorly;
  • will feel helpless and angry with the parents;
  • will provide parents with unwanted educational counselling: be stricter with him, and punish more - methods that work with other children;
  • parents hear always bad things about the child, so they will feel guilty and be angry because they do not get real help;
  • the relationship between the parents and kindergarten teacher does not lead to meaningful cooperation, the parent will virtually be hiding from the teacher and will interrupt the relationship with the kindergarten;
  • the child will be stigmatized as the "bad" child, with long-term negative consequences.

On the other hand, if you share in advance our concerns, our experiences, our observations on what is working with our child,

  • you allow the teacher to accept the child, knowing that he does not behave like this to annoy him, but has biological causes for it;
  • it can prevent the child from being labelled a the „bad one” or the clown of the group (negative circle);
  • it can protect the child to have a doomed start;
  • it will allow the teacher to pay attention to the child, gather experiences in which cases the child is working well;
  • Involve the teacher to experiment a variety of methods in creative ways.

The ADHD symptom group has characteristic features, but each child is a unique, genuine individual, so there is not one method that works with all of them the same way. However, knowing the child, it is possible, even together with the parent, to put together a toolkit that works most effectively for the child. Of course, this requires the sincere, continuous cooperation of the parent and teacher.

How can you cooperate best with the teacher?

Help the teacher to know as much as possible about the child.

  • Tell him/her:
    • what her strengths are (e.g that she is creative, helpful and has a great sense of humour);
    • what she is interested in, where her talents lay (she likes to climb trees, interested in animals, books and stories);
    • How does her diverse behaviour manifest (e.g. hitting often, would not sit in the circle, moves constantly, pretends not to listen but plays while others are learning a poem, but in reality she listens, but this is her way of listening);
    • what are the methods that work in her case (time out, giving tasks, praise);
    • other important heath issues;
    • if there are any changes in the family circumstances (divorce, death, accidents) – share these, too, as these may influence greatly a child’s behaviour;
  • Ask the teacher’s advice, what can be done at home to solve a given problem. Tell the teacher on which behaviour element you are focusing right now at home, so she can share her ideas, suggestions. Learn how to work together with the teacher. Seek the solution during discussions, do not focus on the problems!
  • Ask the teacher to tell immediately, if there was a conflict between the children, incidentally an injury; one on hand to be able to contact the parents concerned, to ask if their child is OK, on the other hand to explain for your child what he did wrong and how he could have done better.
  • Be as proactive as possible in the kindergarten! Be part of the parent-teacher association, volunteer in the group, accompany the group to excursions, be present at kindergarten events. These occasions don’t only provide an opportunity to observe how your child is behaving in the group, but you can have a chance to build a positive connection with the teacher.
  • Do not only talk about the problems with the teacher, tell her also if the child told something good about the kindergarten or about the teacher. Take the time, and write a short, thankful, appreciative note for the teacher.

Respect that a teacher has many things to do, works together with several families, and her time is not infinite, she can not talk with parents whenever they want. It is best to discuss at the beginning what is the best channel of communication where you can talk in case it’s needed, but will not prevent her from her other commitments. You also should tell how to reach you the easiest.

Pay attention to proper communication when talking with the teacher. You should talk about yourself, your family, the processes, feelings going on in you, using I-messages, and paying attention to which words you are using. You shall not criticize, blame or judge the teacher, that makes her defensive and that deteriorates the already existing good relationship.

You should know that an average kindergarten teacher is not a special education teacher, and may have little knowledge about the ADHD and the possibilities of behaviour modification. Maybe she has already some practice in how to handle an ADHD child in the group, but it is also possible, that she does not know these techniques. You also should be aware, that not all teachers are open for cooperation.

Be brave and honest, and this will be appreciated by the teacher, and the child will benefit the most of it.

 

Sources:

Dr. László Zsuzsa: Az örökmozgó gyerek http://www.bibl.u-szeged.hu/porta/szint/tarsad/pedagog/modszer/fimota/html/index.htm

ADDitude Magazine: The Ultimate ADHD toolkit https://www.additudemag.com/download/adhd-school-toolkit-checklists-letters/

In the manuals, we will present further methods how to maintain a good parent-teacher relationship.

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March 2019

Help for helpers - the HOPE Program - Emotional support and hope to parents and helpers

 

ADHD affects at least 5% of children - at least this much are diagnosed. An affected child often means a huge challenge for the family, parents are often exhausted, they feel isolated, their stress levels are extremely high, many of them are depressed and feel they are not receiving any support in their parental role.

Research has shown that if, we are kinder and more compassionate to ourselves and others in spite of all the difficulties we face, and we regularly give thanks, by this we support our physical and mental health, we feel happier and more satisfied with our lives.

The HOPE Program, developed by the staff at Coventry University and by the parents concerned, offer a personal and a digital course that helps participants focus on their health and well-being and how they can be more satisfied in their personal and professional lives.

The courses are based on the results of positive psychology, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioural therapy.

The courses are not only for those concerned with ADHD, but can be optimized for different client groups, affected by different conditions, such as autism, cancer, multiple sclerosis, depression, HIV, dementia, and well-being at work.

The main features that are being filled with personalized content are:

 

  • mindfulness and relaxation;
  • goal setting;
  • stress and fatigue management;
  • Identifying individual strengths;
  • gratitude journal;
  • acceptance and compassion with ourselves;
  • anger management and behaviour control;
  • treating relapses;
  • combating useless thoughts;
  • a healthy lifestyle (better sleep, healthy eating, physical activity).

 

The HOPE program provides participants with the knowledge, skills and confidence that will help them to face the challenges of life, frustration, fears and isolation, and will provide a platform for community and social support between peers.

As a result, the anxiety and depression of the participants is reduced, their overall quality of life and their psychological well-being are improved. Remember, a parent can only support his child to overcome the difficulties with ADHD, if they themselves are well!

A simple practice of gratitude:

Let’s write a list of 3-5 things we are grateful for. These can be small, casual but also bigger things. The next step is to explain why we are grateful for these. This can be  done either in the evenings, or weekly, possibly involving  the family and share with them.

For example, I am grateful because we had such a good laugher with the children today. I am grateful because the sun is so beautiful today after all those rain.  I am grateful for the wonderful holiday at Lake Balaton.

An elaborate version of thanksgiving:

Write a letter to someone who has made a profound, positive change in your life.  Writing the letter itself is already a great feeling! If we pass the letter to the person we wrote it to, it will have an extraordinary impact on both of us!

The HOPE Program is not yet available in Hungarian, but it is possible to apply for English courses for free from time to time. Learn more about the program: https://www.h4c.org.uk/

In the manuals, we will present further methods that can be applied well with children to experience gratitude and preserve and improve mental health.

 

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February 2019

Training for kindergarten-teachers in Coventry

 

During the last days of January, we organised the so-called Joint Staff training in Coventry, where we have trained our kindergarten teacher colleagues.

The 5-day training was attended by 3-3 colleagues from out partner kindergartens, 2 experts from the ADHD Foundation, and 1 from the Raabe Publishing House.

During the course of the training participants gained profound knowledge of what ADHD is, what its symptoms are, what causes it (and what doesn’t), its effect on children, and what differences the development of ADHD children demonstrate in comparison to those typically developing children.

They also understood the role and importance of self-regulation and executive functions, and what methods one can use to help children develop these. There was a great emphasis on understanding and acquiring the practical interventions and strategies, by which one can support the everydays and long-time success of children with ADHD-like behaviour (e.g. behaviour modification, strength-based approach, social-emotional learning, self-regulation, etc). as well as on how to create an inclusive learning environment for a differently developing child, being sensitive to sensory stimuli.

It was also emphasised that one key ingredient of success is the good relationship between parent and teachers, that they regularly check about the condition of the child, the strategies used, and they collaborate for the sake of the child’s development – with each other, and with other experts, too. Participants also got acquainted with one of the possible therapies, called occupational therapy, and one guest lecturer, Sue Owen, draw the attention of the importance of the early speech examinations and therapy.

Professor Andy Turner, also a guest lecturer, introduced the HOPE Program, which helps parents of affected children to maintain their own well-being.

During the training participants had the chance to visit a local kindergarten where kindergarten teachers could compare the differences in the system and methodology of early child care between the UK and Central Europe.

During the final assessment, participants had to prove that they are able to plan, design and deliver a training about the program for other stakeholders (esp. parents and teachers).

In the upcoming months all 3 kindergarten teachers will organise these training events, which will be followed by a pilot phase, that will allow parents and teachers to get acquainted with the Manual and they will be able to test it usability.

These experiences will be included in the Manuals, which will be downloadable free of charge from our webpage.

 

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January 2019

Why is behavioural therapy important for a child with ADHD?

 

For children with ADHD-like behaviour, early onset of behavioural therapy can significantly reduce the symptoms. The essence of behavioural therapy is to help to learn or re-learn the proper behaviour. By applying it, undesirable behaviours can be replaced by behaviours that are appropriate for the individual and the environment.

The advantage of behavioural therapy is that it can provide a framework for the behaviour of a child with ADHD-like symptoms, it can help to become a more competent parent, and commit teachers to supporting the child to success in the educational institutes - without any side effects.

Therapy can work for children of all ages, and even if an elderly child is advised to take medication, it is recommended that behavioural therapy be used before, but at least together with the medication. It can happen, that due to the behavioural therapy, the dose of the medication may be reduced. So, whether the child takes medication or not, it is worth to learn behavioural techniques.

Medicines can alleviate the symptoms of ADHD, but they don't teach how to behave. A child taking a medicine may feel less urged to hit someone because he is less impulsive, but is unlikely to know what to do instead.

Behavioural therapy also helps in this - by learning what kind of behaviour is expected in social situations, for example. Behavioural therapy employs a range of techniques that can make your child's behaviour more effective and improve parenting skills. Although, a truly successful therapy requires the participation and cooperation of all 3 key players - parent, educator and child. It is very important to involve the teacher, to develop common goals and educational plans. The proper behaviour of the child must be helped both at home and at school!

However, one must be aware that the successful use of behavioural therapy at home is hard work. The parent and the child must also change the way they interact, and these changes must be maintained, as the effects of behavioural therapy, unlike the effects of the medication, may not be immediate, it may take weeks, months, until the target behaviour will be learned, and its use becomes steady.

Behavioural therapy should be started as soon as possible. Smaller children tend to have simpler problems, and they can respond well to behavioural therapy, and at this age, parent-child interactions are not ingrained and can be modified easier. Remember, there are one or two negative interactions per minute between an average ADHD child and parent, or peers and teachers, if extrapolated, this means half a million negative interactions per year. We can either lean back and let the child grow up with so much negative experience or intervene in time and do something to stop these.

Recent research suggests that ADHD is a genetic, inherited disorder. However, the use of behavioural therapy and proper parental techniques, proper communication and consistency from the early stages of the child's life can actually significantly reduce the severity of ADHD symptoms and thus their impact on the child and the family. The effect of behavioural therapy is significantly influenced by the parent's consistent implementation of the developed techniques.

How does behavioural therapy work?

Behavioural therapy is based on the fact that parents and other adults in the child's life have clear expectations about the child’s behaviour. They should strengthen positive behaviours with rewards, praise, many other techniques, and prevent negative, unwanted behaviour to reinforce.

Each behavioural therapy program should include following principles:

  • Good behaviour must be recognized, strengthened by a reward system: using stars / points / tokens in a reward chart or by extending a privilege such as half an hour more spent on the playground, or a going to the movies together Friday evening.
  • Developing home rules and frameworks (putting a list of chores and morning and evening routines on the wall), setting rules, rewards, and consequences before a particular activity.
  • Discouraging negative behaviour by ignoring it if it is possible and if it is not endangering the child - experts say the child often uses unwanted behaviour to get the adult's attention.
  • Removing a privilege if the negative behaviour is too severe to ignore.
  • Using simple, straightforward instructions ("Sit down, please") instead of ambiguous or difficult-to-understand questions ("Why don't you sit down?"), in the most specific way possible: " (“You need to sit in the chair and not wiggle while I tie your shoelaces”).
  • Using "When - Then" Terms ("When you have completed your homework, then you can go cycling").
  • Effective use of time-out – (e.g. one-minute break/year, taking into account the child's age and developmental state).
  • Removing common triggers of unwanted behaviour (for example, if a child often behaves badly when he or she is sitting next to a certain peer, the parent should ask the teacher to re-assign the child to another seat).

 

Effective behavioural therapies can be learned by parents during parental training, by children in social skills training, and by teachers in training of classroom strategies.

It is important to keep in mind that a well-applied, personalized behavioural therapy toolkit can change the child's behaviour both in the school and at home, but it also has more lasting benefits, such as enabling self-control and empowerment. A child with ADHD should also be aware that he is responsible for himself, how he will get good grades, and should know that he is expected and able to do his tasks. This increases the sense of competence and self-esteem and has a positive effect on performance. Thus, behaviour therapy helps the child gain control over his own life.

 

This article is based on the following webpage: https://www.additudemag.com/how-does-behavioral-therapy-parent-training-work/ .

 

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December 2018

What should a child with ADHD eat?

As Christmastime and festive tables are approaching, it is worth talking about if it matters what kind of food a child with ADHD consumes.

Healthy food is medicine for the brain. Good quality food can have a powerful positive effect on cognition, feelings and behaviour of people with ADHD, improve their mood stability, increase their focus, they become less distracted, have better stamina, become less tired in the morning and mid-afternoon, and will crave less for food high in sugar. However, inappropriate food can have a negative effect on the symptoms of ADHD.

What aspects should we consider when developing a diet for an ADHD child?

  • Quality above quantity. Always choose good quality food - and not too much of it. People with ADHD, partly due to impulsivity, tend to consume more calories than they need, and this is a proven threat to the brain.
  • Water, water, water! 70-80% of the brain tissue is water. If it does not get enough water, it reduces the ability to think and impairs judgment. Make sure your kid drinks enough water every day.
  • Proper protein consumption helps balance blood sugar and focus, improves memory functions, has a stress-protecting effect, and provides the building blocks necessary for brain health. Fish is an excellent source of protein, and so is skinless turkey or chicken, legumes, raw nuts, high protein vegetables such broccoli or spinach.
  • It is recommended to consume low glycaemic index carbohydrates. The glycaemic index shows how quickly carbohydrate in a particular food is absorbed by the body. Carbohydrates in low glycaemic foods are slowly absorbed and cause a longer sense of repletion. These include vegetables, fruits, high fiber foods. Simple sugar is definitely to be avoided, its glycaemic index is extremely high and has virtually no nutritional value.
  • Good fats are essential to maintaining health. Brain tissue (removing water) is 60% fat. Bad fats (anything that contains trans fats), should be avoided. The consumption of healthy fats, especially those high in Omega 3 fatty acid, supports the function of nerve cells. They are mostly found in salmon, sardine, avocado, walnut, linseed, chia seed and dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Eat as colourful as possible! Try to prepare the daily menu out of colourful, natural foods such as blueberry, pomegranate, pumpkin and red bell pepper. They contain high levels of antioxidants.
  • Studies have shown that certain spices and herbs are good for the brain and cognitive abilities. Cinnamon helps maintain attention and blood circulation, rosemary, thyme and sage support memory, garlic and oregano boost blood flow to the brain.
  • Some children with ADHD may want to consider excluding gluten-containing foods, dairy products, and soy, but in any case, it is advisable to ignore processed food, all kinds of sugar and sugar substitutes, sweeteners, preservatives, artificial food colourings, and additives.
  • As much as possible, we should try to buy organically grown ingredients, consume meat obtained from animals that were raised free-range, grass-fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free. It is worth reading the food label and if we do not know where it comes from or what is in it, we should neither buy it nor eat it.

In addition to eating healthy foods, the use of certain dietary supplements also relieves the symptoms of a child with ADHD. The intake of zinc, magnesium and iron supports the nervous system, and vitamins B and D help the optimal nerve function. Certain probiotics that help the functioning of the intestinal flora can also have a positive effect. Be sure to consult a specialist about the use and dosage of dietary supplements.

Source: https://www.additudemag.com/slideshows/adhd-nutrition-brain/


November 2018

Do it - Don't do it! - The power of words

Proper communication is important in every aspect of life, and so it is in parenting, too. We put the children many times into their places or make remarks that makes them uncertain. Often it seems much easier to shout at the child and tell him what to do-what not to do, rather than to shape the possibilities together. Yet, with a few cleverly chosen sentences, we can promote co-operation, show them the good way, and strengthen their faith in their own abilities.

Positive communication supports acceptance, empathy, empowerment, and the child’s autonomous decision-making. It matters a lot what we say and how we say it. Here are some examples to illustrate what we mean by this.

HOW TO SAY:

  • Call him by his name, make sure the child is listening. Maybe tap his shoulders gently. If you touch the child, never be unexpected or violent. Avoid touch if the child explicitly does not like it.
  • If the situation permits, squat to him and look for eye contact, then talk to him.
  • If the child is upset, the most effective way to reassure him is that we adults stay calm. If we are excited and raise our voice, this can further excite the child. This is exactly the opposite of what we want to achieve. Talk softly, gently to the child and keep calm. Do not shout at all or instruct when he is crying or has a tantrum.

WHAT TO SAY:

  • We should tell the children exactly what we want them to do, instead of telling them to stop doing something.
    • Instead of saying, "Don't rush!" say "Please go slow!"
    • Instead of saying, "Don't pick your nose," say, "Please bring a handkerchief!"
    • Instead of saying, "You can't go out to the backyard to play until you clean up your toys" say “After you have cleaned up your toys you can go out to play.”
    • Instead of saying, "We don’t talk like that!" say, "Please use kind words!"
  • Give constructive solutions instead of scolding.
    • Instead of saying, "Be quiet!" say, say "Please use a softer voice!"
    • Instead of saying, "oh my God, what a mess!" say, "It looks you had fun! How can we clean up?”
    • Instead of saying, "Do you need help"? say, "I'm here to help if you need me!"
    • Instead of saying, "I've explained how to do this yesterday!" say, "Maybe I can show you another way."
    • Instead of saying, "Do I need to separate you?" say, "Could you use a break?"
    • Instead of saying, "Stop crying!" say, "It’s OK to cry"
    • Instead of saying, "Everything will be fine!" ask: "How do you feel?"
    • Instead of saying, "It's not that hard!" Let's say, "I know you can do hard things!"

Source: -FB-

In the Manuals we will introduce further communication strategies.

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October 2018

October is ADHD awareness month

 

During this period, ADHD professionals and organizations are working to reduce the stigmas related to ADHD, to clear misunderstandings, and to share as much information as possible about this developmental disorder.

Those affected by ADHD, whether children or adults, go through a lot of suffering, agony, and humiliation; and by the time they are diagnosed, their self-confidence may be severely damaged, and they often accuse themselves because of their own difficulties.

However, ADHD is not a defected version of normal. It is not the fault of the individual or the result of bad parenting, not just an excuse to irresponsible behaviour. The ADHD brain works differently  - and with these differences there are also many strengths involved.

Sentences like "You are not trying hard enough", or "if you wanted better, you could succeed" - are merely moral diagnosis, judgments, and do not help at all. Neither the willpower nor criticism has no healing effect in itself in case of ADHD.

Differences in mental functioning require treatment similarly to other, more obvious, chronic physical illnesses, such as hypertension or myopia. These are simply more accepted by the general public then the differences in the nervous system, although those involved also need treatment, help, support - not judgment.

The worst part of the neurodevelopmental disorders is often not the problem itself, but the resulting social exclusion, contempt, ridicule, shame. Neurodevelopmental differences affect many people, but due to shame and stigma, ignorance or lack of care, many people never seek and get help.

Fortunately, there are more and more people who work hard to ensure that concerned children and adults have a better life.

We must acknowledge our own problems without shame or confusion and raise our voice when someone makes a remark about "fools" or "psychics". We have to get out of the shadow of shame and stigma, and join the growing movement that celebrates mental diversity, to make the lives of those involved easier, in their private life, at schools and workplaces alike.

During the ADHD awareness month, you can read from leading experts of ADHD at https://adhdexpo.com/expo2018/

Source: https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-stigma-hallowell/

 

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September 2018

Can ADHD be a gift?

Children with ADHD shine. They are smart, curious, alive, cheeky, honest, very humorous, creative, brave, passionate.

ADHD kids are annoying. They are constantly talking, they can not sit still, they always say whatever comes to their mind, they always do what they think, they can not pay attention to anything for a minute. Except of course the TV.

How much better the first attitude is, right? How much easier it is to accept a child this way!

The positive attitude, the strength-based approach is exactly about this - to see the best, not the worst. To consider those things an advantage, a difference, which we have experienced as a disadvantage so far.

But why is this important? If we insist too much on the child's shortcomings, it can hurt his self-esteem. Children who are being constantly disciplined and scorned, who always hear that they are lazy, dumb or bad, will sooner or later believe these about themselves. They will be discouraged to an extent that they will forget or won’t even discover the things in which they are good at or what they do with pleasure. They will be distressed, moody, and ultimately they will really perform much below their own abilities.

It is not the point that we shall not let the child know if he is doing something unacceptable. But we should not to identify the act with the child, and should discover the strengths, abilities and possibilities of the child.

With the help of encouragement, love, acceptance we shall bring the best out of them.

The three classic symptoms of hyperactivity, considered today as "disability," as the main symptoms, meant the survival for humanity some time ago - but in some social contexts it is still beneficial.

  • Those who are constantly on the move - overactive - are looking for food, shelter, and other vital things.
  • Those who constantly monitor all external stimuli - it's easy to divert their attention - will notice what can be harmful or useful for survival.
  • Those who respond quickly to external noises and prospects - impulsive - can easily notice the attack of the predators too.

When talking about strengths, we mean the intellectual, physical and interpersonal skills, capacities, tendencies, interest and motivation of children. Each child has different strengths and abilities, and when children and the people around them appreciate and understand these, children can learn and develop based on these.

But what characterises these kids? What are the virtues we can build on in their case?

Keep in mind the good qualities, admire them and help children capture these strengths in their sails!

When we focus on weaknesses and difficulties, we see complaints and create problems. When we focus on strengths and positive things, we see opportunities and solutions. In the same situation, we give the same child a chance for optimal growth.

Sources:

https://www.additudemag.com/how-to-praise-a-child-with-adhd-parenting-done-right/

http://semmelweis.hu/klinikai-pszichologia/files/2012/06/laszlozsuzsa-gyermekkorimagatartaszavarok2010.pdf

Thomas Armstrong: Tényleg ADHD-s a gyerekem? Jaffa Kiadó, Budapest, 2017


August 2018

What if the child fights?

Anger is a natural human feeling and is not necessarily bad. Children, on the other hand, need to be taught to express themselves in a productive way and to let their anger go - this is a critical step towards emotional maturity.

Children with ADHD have many hard-to-tolerate features, in addition this, they often lag behind their contemporaries in their ability to handle frustration and emotions. This often leads to unwanted behaviour. If we are aware that this problem is a part of ADHD, it can help to keep our peace of mind and support children in modifying their behaviour.

"Hitting" is a problem for all children, regardless of whether they have ADHD or not. This kind of behaviour can not be tolerated either at home or in educational institutions, so parents, above all, must take actions against it. We can not always find the cause of aggression, but the impulsive reaction must be prevented and changed.

The following article describes some of the methods that can help your child to be in charge of his/her emotions and not to hit. Do not wait for immediate results, the key to change behavioural strategies is time and persistence.

Determine the problem. Each time the child is physically aggressive, tell him exactly what he was like when he lost control, what he was doing and what he could do differently. Do not say "do not fight," but determine together what he can do to control himself if something annoys him.

The questions that can guide the child to this:

- why were you hitting?

- do you think this behaviour was right?

- what other acceptable methods can you tell me, when you're angry and you have to overcome your anger? (e.g. talk to the kindergarten teacher, use your words, or just move away, etc)

- was fighting listed among these methods?

- what are you going to do next time?

Exercise critical situations in form of a role-play. Role-playing game changes the mind's brain as if he was training a muscle. Practice will help the child to react properly in a real-life situation.

Positive reinforcement. Notice and reward good behaviour. Praise her with words, that you can see how much she managed to control herself, but you can also designate specific rewards that a child can have for his good behaviour. This can be facilitated with the help of a "Goodness" notebook where you can register the occasions when she has been able to remain calm - and there is no entry in those times when there is an issue. Collected points can be exchanged for greater rewards.

Be an example yourself. Control your own emotions. It is not easy to stay calm when the child hits someone for apparently no reason, or because of nothingness he gets tantrum, but try. Appropriate behaviour (take a deep breath, calm but definite speech instead of yelling) can serve as an example for impulse control for the child. Do not shout or spank the child in anger because it's just oil on fire and the kid will learn the bad example of handling anger.

Teach her to formulate her feelings. Children often lose control if they can not figure out what's frustrating them. But if they can already say is "I'm very angry", this may prevent anger turning to violence.

Anger is just a symptom of something, not the destination. Teach the child to stop and think why he is angry. This will allow control over the feelings and he will be able to ask for help.

Be empathetic. Tell the kid that you understand how angry he is and how difficult it is to control aggression. If the child feels that you understand him, it is less likely that he will get angry.

Limit electronics. The more the child watches TV, the less time and energy he will have for more useful activities and real social interactions. Watching a little TV does not hurt, but set limits. In addition, violent media does not help solve the problem either.

Make notes of critical situations. Documentation can help you identify patterns that will allow you to intervene in a timely manner before it becomes too late.

The above methods can help not only end unwanted behaviour but also develop the necessary skills.

In the manuals, we will present more detailed strategies for dealing with children's aggression.

Sources:

https://www.additudemag.com/behavior-modification-helped-child-stop-hitting-at-school/

https://www.additudemag.com/stop-hitting/

https://www.additudemag.com/download/angry-child-teaching-emotional-control/?src=embed_link

https://www.fatherly.com/parenting/how-to-handle-a-violent-child/

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July 2018

What is the real "executive" age of ADHD children?

The maturity of executive functions of children with ADHD-type behaviours often falls short of their peers. Parents and teachers often are puzzled of the phenomenon that a child who is otherwise smart is unable to work independently on a particular task.

But what are the executive functions and why are they important?

Executive functions (collectively referred to as executive function and cognitive control) are a set of cognitive processes that are necessary for the cognitive control of behavior: selecting and successfully monitoring behaviors that facilitate the attainment of chosen goals.

Executive functions include basic cognitive processes such as attentional control, cognitive inhibition, inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Higher order executive functions require the simultaneous use of multiple basic executive functions and include planning and fluid intelligence (i.e., reasoning and problem solving). Source: Wikipedia

The real age of the executive functions is the age at which the child's brain works. ADHD children are 30 to 40 percent behind their peers. This is manifested in the control of their emotions, body, impulses, social behaviour (or lack thereof), and general maturity. -Source-

If executive functions are disfunctioning, this can make it extremely difficult to perform complex tasks, keep rules, and make it difficult to perform almost any goal-oriented behaviour. – Source -

The children concerned are having difficulty analysing, planning, organizing, scheduling, starting and ending tasks, having difficulty managing and managing failure, not remembering multiple-step, complex commands and therefore failing to comply with them, it is difficult for them to balance their things such as sports, entertainment and learning.

How can we help the children?

There are several ways to enhance executive functions. First of all, it is very important to understand and accept the child's condition. This is the basis for any change or intervention.

A great help for children struggling with the disorder of the executive function is to ensure the right routine, order, and daily schedules.

It is very important for parents and teachers to cooperate, to plan a common strategy. You should focus and work on one problem at a time, then move on to the next one.

The kids involved can have a very good use of checklists, daily check cards, and reward systems. It helps to set a time limit for each activity. When learning new things, it is practical to approach it as practical as possible.

It is a good idea to strengthen the child's self-confidence and share his joy and pride. Praise the development of his personality, not just the learning outcomes. -Source-

Classical martial arts are also a great help in the development of executive functions, as they develop the discipline of body and mind together.

It is important to know that the disorder of executive functions is not only typical for ADHD children, but this disorder can be diagnosed on its own.

In the manuals prepared in the project, we will present strategies to strengthen executive functions in more details.

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June 2018

Myths & Facts about Attention Deficit Disorder

Myth: All kids with ADHD are hyperactive.

Fact: Some children with ADHD are hyperactive, but many others with attention problems are not. Children with ADHD who are inattentive, but not overly active, may appear to be spacey and unmotivated.

Myth: Kids with ADHD can never pay attention.

Fact: Children with ADHD are often able to concentrate on activities they enjoy. But no matter how hard they try, they have trouble maintaining focus when the task at hand is boring or repetitive.

Myth: Kids with ADHD could behave better if they wanted to.

Fact: Children with ADHD may do their best to be good, but still be unable to sit still, stay quiet, or pay attention. They may appear disobedient, but that doesn’t mean they’re acting out on purpose.

Myth: Kids will eventually grow out of ADHD.

Fact: ADHD often continues into adulthood, so don’t wait for your child to outgrow the problem. Treatment provided on time can help your child learn to manage and minimize the symptoms.

Myth: Medication is the best treatment option for ADHD.

Fact: Medication is often prescribed for attention deficit disorder, but they are only help to focus and might not be the best, or the only option for your child. Effective treatment for ADHD is multimodal therapy that also includes education, behaviour therapy, support at home and school, exercise, and proper nutrition.

Source: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/attention-deficit-disorder-adhd-in-children.htm

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May 2018

The power of praise

ADHD children are constantly struggling with lack of self-esteem. There is tremendous strength in praise for such a child, so teachers and parents shall always organize activities so that the child can do something good, have a sense of achievement and be praised. For children with ADHD, it is particularly important because they are generally receiving less positive comments: people often complain about them, have to retrieve things and or are punished because of their "inconsiderate" behavior.

Encouragement and praise give children confidence, and they will be able to do things they did not even think they can.

At the same time, timing is important for praise to reach its goal. You do not always have to find everything that the kid does exciting, only when he really invested energy in the activity. We shall help them to succeed so they can overcome themselves.

It is important to praise the effort, not the child. e.G “You worked very hard to make this”

In the case of young children, it is worth considering a reward system. If they do something that we expected from them (and has not done it so far), they can get a point, a sticker or a chip. These can be exchanged for chocolates or small things that the child desires.

source: Edward Hallowell M.D. Why Praise Is So Important for Children with ADHD -

In the Manuals to-be-developed in our Helping Hand project for kindergarten teachers and parents we provide similar practical help and ideas for educating ADHD children.

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April 2018

Not sick, only born in the wrong age and place

"It is not surprising that in far-off, less developed areas ADHD is regarded as a real treasure, a valuable asset, that is the basis of successful predation and species maintenance. But in modern societies, ADHD people are less likely to find their place, as their environment is stigmatising and repressing them saying they are incapable to carry out certain tasks. Hoever both them and society would be better off, if instead of marking them with attributes as scattered, dreamy, restless, overbearing, impulsive, hyperactive, they would focus and rely on how enthusiastic, creative, curious, innovative, easy to attract their attention is with a new stimulus, they are masters of hyperfocus, empathic (as they know how to get out of line), determined, entertaining and full of energy. "

In the article adults living with ADHD share their experiences of the benefits of the syndrome (article in Hungarian):

https://divany.hu/eletem/2018/03/20/adhd_elonyei_pozitiv_oldalai/?utm_source=index.hu&utm_medium=doboz&utm_campaign=link

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February 2018

What do you know about ADHD?

What are the most problematic behaviours most frequently encountered? What difficulties does this cause to you in the everyday life? Do you get the right support and information that can make your family's life easier? Are you in touch with education, healthcare professionals, psychologists? Do you have the opportunity to seek advice? To join a supportive community?

In which ways would you need help in the future? (educational publications, introductory lectures, educational aids, assistive interventions, teacher training, professional discussions, supervision, etc.)

Our Helping Hand project provides kindergarten teachers and parents with practical manuals to help them support the integration, everyday life and happiness of children affected by ADHD.

In the first phase of the project, we will assess the knowledge and needs of the people affected by questions similar to those described above, so that our publications provide as much assistance as possible for families and teachers who are using them.

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January 2018

Why did we start this project?

More and more children of pre-school age - some researchers say that their proportion may be up to 5% - are diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. There are countless minors in educational institutions who have never been diagnosed. Students with ADHD find it hard to sit still in classroom, have temper tantrums, and have no patience to perform even the simpler tasks - they are often stigmatizes as “bad children“ by the nursery-school communities and by other parents.

It can be proven that schoolchildren who were already "problematic" in kindergarten also face difficulties at the further levels of education - although ADHD's symptoms are clearly recognizable even at a lower age. If not handled properly, it may cause a life-long problem.

If children are given adequate attention and treatment on time, they will become well-performing members of children and adults societies alike - as their skills and intelligence are often above average.

Our project aims to provide tangible, practical guides and tools for kindergarten teachers and parents to help support these stunning, but often difficult children.

Project status and current events

We are preparing for the project kick-off meeting, which will take place in Budapest on 29-30 January 2018, with the participation of the project partners: the Hungarian Raabe Klett Kft., The ADHD Hungary Foundation, the ELTE Bárczi Gusztáv Faculty for Sepcial Education, Conventry University, Debrecen University Practice Nursery School, Spojena Skola in Slovakia Roznava,, and the Romanian “Csipkerózsika” Association.

Expected events in the near future:

Questionnaires will be used to assess the initial knowledge of teachers and parents and begin to define the framework of the manuals prepared for them.

Articles, things to read

Hiperaktivitás, ADHD, figyelemzavar – Hogyan ismerjük fel? (Hyperactivity, ADHD, Attetion Deficit - How to recognise?)

Psychologist Csilla Kálózi-Szabó quotes the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity in her article. (article in Hungarian)

ADHD-s a gyerek vagy csak túl kicsi még? - Has the child ADHD, or is he only too young?

The article draws attention to the life-specific risks of ADHD diagnosis. (article in Hungarian)

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Contact

Address
Raabe Klett Educational Consulting and Publisher Ltd
1116 Budapest, Temesvár Str. 20.


Phone
Customer service:
(+36 1) 270 9352
Fax: (+36 1) 349-8773



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