Homeschooling a Child With Inattentive ADHD

Successfully homeschooling kids with dyslexia isn’t always easy but the freedom and flexibility to teach kids how they learn is of such benefit, it is (in my opinion) worth the struggle. Add to the mix inattention, ADD, ADHD, or executive function weaknesses and you have another layer of struggle. Today’s Mailbox Monday question has to do with just that: “Do you have any experience with inattentive ADD and executive function struggles? If so, any advice for homeschooling?” Of our seven kids with dyslexia, six of them have some form of inattention. I’ll describe the types of inattention in a minute. Not understanding what in attention, or executive function weakness, meant and how it was playing out in our day-to-day lives had a huge impact on my adult kids’ lives. I am passionate about sharing honest, reliable, reality-based information about these issues so that you can understand and help your child in the best ways possible. Understanding Executive Function Inattention, ADHD, and ADD all fall under the skills affected by the executive functioning areas of the brain. Executive function affects our ability to: Plan Organize Prioritize Resist distractions Think flexibly Keep track of details Complete tasks Learn from the past Delay gratification Regulate emotions You can see from this list that a student who lacks executive function skills is going to have a hard time in a school setting. Sometimes, when these kids are doing something they love, they are able to function pretty well. But the skills do not transfer over to activities that they find boring, difficult, or overwhelming (or where the gratification is delayed). You can learn more about Executive Function Weakness in this post. There is no cure for ADHD but skills can be taught. Executive functioning skills continue to develop into our 20s and it is important to teach and model these skills to our kids. What Inattentive ADHD Looks Like These are the things you may be seeing day-to-day with your child: doesn’t pay attention to details makes careless mistakes trouble staying focused; is easily distracted appears not to listen difficulty remembering things and following directions trouble staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects gets bored with a task before it’s completed frequently loses or misplaces schoolwork, books, toys or other items resistance to school messy room, desk, or backpack unmotivated It’s important to note that not all kids with inattention have hyperactivity. For many years I missed my older kids’ ADD because I didn’t see understand this. Signs of ADHD ADHD is much more recognizable probably because the behavior is often annoying and disruptive! constantly fidgets and squirms runs or climbs inappropriately talks too much difficulty playing quietly or relaxing always on the go – as if driven by a motor may have a quick temper acts without thinking blurts out words without hearing the whole question trouble waiting for their turn often interrupts trouble keeping strong emotions in check – angry or emotional outbursts guesses rather than taking time to solve a problem How to Support the Child with Inattentive ADHD Supporting a child with inattentive ADHD is pretty much the same as supporting a child with hyperactivity. Understand Your Child It really is true that our kids want to do well. They want to please us. Kids with ADHD do not have the ability to stop and think through the consequences of their actions. Instead, they act on their emotional impulses and get stuck repeating dysfunctional routines and self- defeating habits. Not because they don’t care, not because they are willful or defiant, but because they do not have the skills. I know in my experience that it is common to ‘remind’ our kids of what they are supposed to be doing, a.k.a. nagging. Am I right? I mean, I need to get stuff done and it’s my normal go-to to get my stragglers moving. Unfortunately, this often results in kids feeling like they are deficient or that we don’t like them. Ask me how I know! Equip Your Child Our goal is to equip our kids with the skills to motivate and organize themselves. Unfortunately, nagging doesn’t usually achieve that. The best thing I have done with my disorganized, distracted kids is to work on one area at a time to build a habit of organization. Setting up Systems For example, room cleaning. Most kids, but not all, will have a lot of trouble keeping their spaces clean. Early on we made sure that there was a place for everything. Sports gear had a box. School books had a place on the desk. Clothing, toys, books all had a place. Every day we have a cleanup time in our home. During this time, our kids put everything where it belongs. If there is no room for it, it needs to find a place or go. Clutter is very distracting for kids with EF weakness. Work with your kids regularly on this skill until it has become a habit. Most skills will need to be taught. Room cleaning can be overwhelming because our kids don’t know where to start or what to prioritize. Using the I Do – We Do – You Do Method is a great way to teach kids how to complete a task. The first few times, you clean a room, Mom or Dad does it, explaining what they are doing and why along the way. Then, do the cleaning together, guiding your child to your organization methods. Finally, your child can clean up and you can only step in if needed. This I Do- We Do- You Do Method works great for many things. Remember, your kids need your guidance and compassion. article from