Association for Youth, Children and Nature Psychology. Overcoming ADHD Without Medication: a parent and educator’s guidebook. Association for Nature Psychology, 2009.
Lougy, Richard A. et al. Teaching Young Children With ADHD: successful strategies and practical advice. California: Corwin Press, 2007.
Lougy et al. discuss methods of teaching children with ADHD in terms of their delayed skills: “For many pre-schoolers and early school-age children with ADHD, appropriate social skills are delayed.” (Lougy et al. 33) They suggest that a key symptom of this being the case is when pre-schoolers are more aggressive towards other children and that children who are “impulsive and overactive” are more likely to experience oppositional problems later on. (Lougy et al. 33) There suggestion to remedy this is the teaching and development of social skills through key areas including: problem solving skills, emotional competency, emotional understanding and emotional regulation. (Lougy et al. 34-36) They go on to elaborate on these keys areas by discussing individual focuses for each. For example, under the ‘problem solving’ heading, the authors discuss the idea of the ADHD child ignoring the problem: “Ignoring someone who is ‘bugging’ you can be difficult at times… ADHD children can be especially challenged with this important skill.” (Lougy et al. 36) The authors go on to describe a scenario with a child and how it could be handled: they offer practical solutions in terms of teaching the child the social skill: “By teaching the child some simple words to say and then to walk away, you accomplish two important goals: first, you separate the children… and second, you show that there are other choices besides hitting or yelling when teased.” (Lougy et al. 36) The authors go on to do this for all manner of problems that the ADHD child experiences and offer practical advice to support these actions.
Rapoport, Esta M. ADHD and Social Skills: a step by step guide for teachers and parents. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2009.
Esta M. Rapoport discusses another boy called ‘Chris’ whose behaviour is described as making “people really upset” and she points out how difficult life must be for Chris and his parents. (Rapoport 21) She goes on to discuss the fact that, often, children with ADHD exhibit quite annoying behaviour because they are impulsive, intrusive and often completely unaware of doing anything wrong. Their excessive talking, unknowingly disrespectful language and their inability to focus (especially in gym lessons where everyone seems to be running around and acting crazy anyway) often leads to detentions, disciplinary action and less academic involvement as a result. (Rapoport 23) Rapoport goes on to elaborate what exactly causes these problems: “[they] mention five reasons why children do not learn positive social skills. They are: lack of knowledge, lack of practice of feedback, lack of cues or opportunities, lack of reinforcement, and presence of interfering behaviour problems.” (Rapoport 25) These five aspects must be approached in order to equip the ADHD child with successful social skills. In particular, the idea of reinforcement is important because children respond well to positive and negative reinforcement in all areas of their learning. If the ADHD child is consistently praised for being socially well-behaved, they must be rewarded. The last point is also highly relevant to school-based scenarios, as stated in the above example concerning gym class: if the other children are excitable then the ADHD child will be unable to control their own, instinctive desire to be excited too. Rapoport points out that the boy in that particular example, invariably ends up with a detention because of his behaviour in gym class (Rapoport 23). Whilst this can be seen as a form of negative reinforcement, that child may not be aware of what it is they are doing wrong: if the other children are running around, shouting and generally having fun then they will assume that it is okay to do the same. ADHD children need to have their behaviour explained to them: they need to know why they are being punished and how they can try to avoid the situation again.
Carter Jay, et al. ADD/ADHD Drug Free: natural alternatives and practical exercises to help you child focus. New York: AMACOM, 2008.
Key reasons for why we must teach social skills to ADHD children, as an alternative to medication, is to limit the consequential side effects of living with ADHD. Carter, Jacobelli & Watson, authors of ADD/ADHD Drug Free, discuss the case study of ‘Patrick’, an intelligent boy with ADHD but who had very little social skills. Despite being on medication for his condition, Patrick’s friends came to “expect Patrick’s gyrations, intrusions and impulsive acts of all kinds.” (Carter et al. 46) The study goes on to add that “Patrick managed to avoid becoming a social outcast through his charm.” (Carter et al. 46) However, for many ADHD children, their behaviour often leads to being socially outcast because they are impulsive, spontaneous and unpredictable meaning that it is often quite difficult to maintain a relationship of any depth with them. The conclusion of Patrick’s case study is that “there is good reason to teach social skills to people of all ages whose social development has been stifled by ADHD.” (Carter et al. 46) Patrick’s behaviour could had led to him being fundamentally unlikeable, but because he was taught how to use his social skills, he was able to maintain friendships and even endear people to him through his ADHD behaviour, and avoided going down the path of social exclusion and depression.
Association for Youth, Children and Nature Psychology. Overcoming ADHD Without Medication: a parent and educator’s guidebook. Association for Nature Psychology, 2009. Print.
Carter Jay, et al. ADD/ADHD Drug Free: natural alternatives and practical exercises to help you child focus. New York: AMACOM, 2008. Print.
Lougy, Richard A. et al. Teaching Young Children With ADHD: successful strategies and practical advice. California: Corwin Press, 2007. Print.
Rapoport, Esta M. ADHD and Social Skills: a step by step guide for teachers and parents. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2009. Print.