How many students should be there in a class in lower KG? 25? 30? Imagine the condition of a teacher who has to handle more than fifty wide eyed, energetic 4 year olds in class! Yes, there was a time when I had 55 students in my lower kg class, though my attendance registers showed a record of only 28!
You see, I had 3 students too many. Each one of them had, in fact, 10 children hidden inside them.
There was Deepu, who was an incarnation of ‘The Amazing Spiderman' and would climb on anything that was worthy of climbing. The second one was Harish, with springs attached to his feet and bottom. And the third was Roshni, who would not let me complete a single sentence without expert comments from her side.
With these 3, my class was the most notorious class in the whole school. All the other kids took absolute delight in their antics. I knew I would have to do something about them if I had to get any work done in the class. I had certain suspicions; but to get them confirmed, I had to consult the school counsellor.
She immediately diagnosed them as children with ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Well, that was just what I was expecting.
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But the surprise came, when after 2 days of observation, she pointed out that Moumi was having the same disorder, minus the "Hyperactivity".
The quiet, dreamy girl, who at times seemed to be lost in her own far away world had gone unnoticed by me. She had ADHD-Inattentive type, the silent twin of ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive type. It was formerly called ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).
The other types of ADHD are easy to diagnose with the 3 classic symptoms:
But ADHD-Inattentive type is difficult to identify.
Children with this type of ADHD are not hyperactive, impulsive or disruptive. You won't find them running around or blurting and interrupting others. Yet their disorder prevents them from learning normally at school.
Children with inattentive type of ADHD normally exhibit the following symptoms:
- They lack focus and are unable to concentrate and as a result cannot complete tasks at hand.
- They seem to be disorganised.
- Since they find it difficult to pay attention, they appear to be careless.
- They get bored easily.
- They day dream a lot and miss out on what is being told to them.
- In addition, they do not follow instructions because most of the times they have not even heard what they are expected to do.
- They often forget and lose things.
Here are some steps that can be followed to help a child having inattentive type of ADHD:
1. Catch their Attention
Gently grab the child's attention from time to time. Start your sentence with the child's name so that she knows that you are speaking to her.
For example, every time I spoke to Moumi, I would call out her name first followed by the instruction.
E.g. "Moumi, will you please open your drawing book?"
You see, a general instruction to the class like, "Alright, let's do some drawing now. Please open your drawing books." was lost by the time it reached her ears.
2. Praise and Encourage
All little children of this age get tired of repetitive jobs. But children with inattentive type of ADHD lose interest even faster. Every time you notice that the child has lost interest, allow her to day dream for a few minutes and then encourage her to continue by saying, "Wow! Good job! You just have to do a little bit more and it will be over."
3. Set Short Goals
This is slightly difficult in a classroom setting but can be easily done at home. Give smaller tasks which can be performed in a short span of time. Then gradually increase the level as the child grows up.
4. Build Interest
Even children with Attention Deficit Disorder manage to concentrate on things which really interest them. Try to develop their interest in the activity you would like them to perform, by making it exciting.
5. Reduce Distractions
In Moumi's case, I had to give her a seat near the wall, away from the window, in order to prevent her mind from wandering.
6. Help to Organize
A place for everything and everything in its place really helps.
7. To Do list
As they grow older, teach them to make "to do" lists to help them in remembering things. It will remind them to complete the unfinished work.
8. Support your Child
Understand and support your child instead of shouting at him or blaming him for being inattentive.
While dealing with ADHD of any type, it is always useful to take the help of a counsellor or psychologist. She can guide you and give you really useful tips for helping your child.
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