Updated: May 19
We’re all at home a lot right now. Perhaps you’re recognizing some trends in your child(ren) that you don’t normally get to observe with the chaos of normal life. Trends such as a lack of focus, trouble completing tasks, impulsiveness, constant movement, etc.
Do these sound familiar?
We have called on a friend of the NAV, Kelly Biltz, to help us, help you, help your child.
We’re talking about ADHD on today's blog. Whether you plan to get your child diagnosed or not, these are really tools that can help any parent. No doctors necessary.
This article does not substitute your pursuit of licensed medical and professional advice. We encourage parents to get help in areas that your child and other family members are struggling with.
NAV: "Could you define ADHD for us?"
Kelly: ADHD is a neurological disorder that effects the brains ability to focus, plan and execute tasks. It’s a dysregulation of our self-management system, the Executive Functions.
N: "How many children struggle with ADHD?"
K: Roughly more than half of children are not diagnosed with ADHD. You don’t have to have a diagnosis to seek support, implement strategies, educate and advocate for your child. These tools can be universally applied to help children be more successful in school, at home, and throughout life.
Perhaps you have witnessed symptoms? Here’s a few to look for:
N: "In your experience, how have sports helped children with ADHD?"
K: The ADHD brain does not produce the normal amounts of dopamine, which is one of the main neurotransmitters that fuel the self- management system, or more commonly known as our Executive Functions. (the Frontal lobe of our brain). Think of it as the gas that makes our frontal lobe function at its fullest and best ability.
Playing sports, working out, cardio, heavy lifting, and the competitive nature of sports, in general, ALL help produce the dopamine that is needed to kick the frontal lobe into gear. Think of the adrenaline rush that we experience when playing sports (well and watching too! think Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, World Cup and Final Four!): THIS is exactly what the ADHD brain needs: adrenaline activates/produces the dopamine which activates the Executive Functions.
This is why It is imperative for children to move in some way. Small or large, they need to activate their brains: movement is imperative!
A very common co-existing condition of ADHD is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Contact sports are also very beneficial because of the sensory seeking nature of children with ADHD. Find things that might be more intense than you’d expect. Some children love and crave making tackles, getting hit, sprinting at full speed, or something that requires high output. Their bodies feel as if they are driven by a motor! That’s why contact sports are a brilliant strategy/solution for your child.
K: An example of a how this play out, is when your 5th grader comes home from tackle football and he completes his schoolwork when his body is calm, and his mind is focused. This is when he produces his best work: timely, accurate, undistracted and calm in body and mind.
N: "Do you have tips for kids in controlled spaces?" (Now this would be quarantine or isolation)
K: Knowing that tackle football and contact sports are not allowed in the classroom, or in the house, or other (oh but that would be so popular, wouldn’t it?), there are other forms of movement to help your child focus. Not all movement is created equal!
There are lots of options:
Fidget tools -spinners, fidget cubes, foam squishy ball, stretch band
Recess (should never be withheld from students!)
There are SO many! Check out more: https://www.lovinggradditude.com/adhd-tools/
N: "What other strategies help kids with ADHD thrive?"
K: Routine -same bedtime, same schedule in the morning, same afterschool routine *Extra tip: talk through the schedule for the day EACH morning before your child leaves for school so they know what to expect when they walk in the door afterschool.
Order – difficult to do and maintain, yet the ADHD brain loves when things are in order. The challenge is keeping it that way! From closets, drawers to toys and workspace.
Down Time – the ADHD brain exudes a ton of mental effort throughout the day in the classroom. Your child holds it all together in school and then explodes or shuts down when walking in the door. ALLOW THEM TO SHUT DOWN! Chances are, they are mentally and emotionally spent after 8 hours with non- stop learning, exhausting mental effort and noise, sound, colors and smells!
N: "What makes you passionate about helping people with ADHD?"
K: I’ve been there. Prior to our son’s diagnosis, I had constant feelings of helplessness, feeling as if nothing we were doing for our son was working and filled with sadness and worry. I spent 2 years learning, researching, listening to webinars before I became an ADHD Life Coach. In those two years, we changed our language, mindset and parenting techniques to best support our son.
I became a coach and advocator for ADHD because there’s a mindset shift which needs to happen around ADHD. There is too much negativity. It’s not this life sentence of doom and gloom. Difficulties and challenges- Yes. Even the neurotypical person has challenges, but they are not labeled. There are far too many awesome qualities and strengths of those who have ADHD which get overlooked. I want people of all ages and stages to understand themselves and ADHD better. When a mindset shift happens from “They will IF they can and those with ADHD want to do well” THIS is when we know we are making strides …
Next Installment we will be looking at what it looks like to combat ADHD and similar situations as an adult. Many of us grew up getting in trouble because of our abnormal brain activity, but never getting help to utilize our specialties. Look out for the April 18th installment when we dive in to part two with Kelly.
Stir Crazy Kids Before It Was the Norm
Part 1 with Kelly Biltz
Published: April 4, 2020