Doing homework with an ADHD child
By Claire Marketos
You may have noticed that your ‘ADHD’ child seems to be able to concentrate for long periods of time while playing a computer game, but is unable to focus for more than ten minutes on homework. This is generally because homework is boring and doesn’t incite the brain. Being aware of this can help you to be creative, and with your child find ways of keeping the brain aroused, and also` know when your child needs to take a break and run around the garden.
ADHD children need lots of stimulation, organisation and structure. Use colour coded files to keep homework assignments ordered. You know your child best, whether he likes sport, music, drama and so on. Find ways to incorporate his passions into the learning process. Rhythm and chanting, is a good way to remember multiplication tables. Throw a tennis ball at letters while spelling out words. Video him acting out information. Use colourful pictures to make work easier to remember. Counting with beans when doing maths makes it more real. Reading books should be easy with lots of pictures. Use the computer for maths, spelling, and reading games. As the computer can sustain a child’s attention, it can be a very useful tool, used in moderation.
Encourage your child and assist her. Making her sit for hours trying to complete something she doesn’t understand will make her feel anxious, therefore unable to concentrate, and impacting negatively on her self esteem. You should have an arrangement with her teacher that if she is unable to complete a homework task, she will receive additional help.
As Alfie Kohn a leading educationalist says in his book ‘The Homework Myth,’ “There aren’t any intellectual costs with minimizing or abolishing homework.”
Published in (Mum’s Mail, March, 2009)