The Parent Coach: Using Good Judgment Among Peers
For those of you who had problems with the list of links in last months newsletter, I have put them in the archives on the website. You can reach them directly at www.adhdnews.com/jan02.htm My apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.
I'm getting a lot of requests for information on Social Security Benefits so I thought I would reprint these links for more information.
Disability Evaluation Under Social Security: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/ Written for Physicians and other health professionals this site contains the Medical criteria for evaluating Social Security Disability claims. This site contains all Adult and Childhood listing of impairments.
Best Eligibility Screening Tool: http://best.ssa.gov Social Security administers several different benefit programs. BEST is a screening tool designed to help you identify all the benefits you may be eligible for from those programs
The Parent Coach: Using Good Judgment Among Peersby Dr. Steven Richfield
A parent writes: "I'm having trouble understanding my 11 year old son. For the most part, he makes good decisions and doesn't get into much trouble. The problem is when he's with other kids. Bad ideas come to mind that he would never do on his own but if friends are around, he acts on them. What's going on and how do I help him use good judgment when he's with peers?
Of all the factors posing a challenge to a child's rational decision making the presence of other children is among the most potent. There are many unpredictable forces at work within the context of children's relationships. "Peer pressure" is the popular expression to explain the manner in which peer presence compels children to follow the bad examples of others, but this term only scratches the surface of a complex web of peer dynamics. The wish to gain admiration, demean another, retaliate against a perceived injustice, compete on the "risk-taking playing field," or boldly violate parental rules, are some of the hidden forces that may surface beyond parental control but in full view of peers.
Here are some suggestions for approaching a child with a tendency toward poor decision making in the presence of peers: · Be prepared to hear and delve deeper than the excuses. Perhaps most worrisome to parents is when a child commits one of these "peer-present" infractions and then excuses their behavior. "It was her idea... They did it, too" are familiar refrains that normally trigger the inane parental question, "If they told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?" Consider replacing that question with this one, "Let's figure out what was really going on that led you to make that bad decision." If your child offers a confused expression, ask them to tell you all they can remember about the situation in order for you to pursue whatever forces seemed to be operating in your child's mind. Try to step into your child's shoes as you listen to their recounting and ask leading questions such as, "Did you feel like you wanted to prove something to them?" or "Have you wanted to do that before but knew it was kind of risky?"
· * Educate them about how background feelings and perceptions can direct behaviors. Children are often unaware that the way we feel about and see others has a lot to do with how we behave in their presence. Give examples from your own life to illustrate the different feelings and views you would have if a variety of people came over for dinner. Suggest that they may hold on to certain feelings and ways of seeing other kids that pop out when those kids are around. Illustrate this process by explaining how one kid might boast about all their cool stuff and doubt others' claims. This can make other kids want to prove that they have great stuff, too. If the "want to prove" feelings grow strong enough a kid might end up bringing something to school that they know doesn't belong there. It can also lead the second kid to feel like they must prove one thing or another when they are around the first kid. Point out how this process is akin to the second kid giving control over some of his decisions to the first kid.
· * Offer "talking tools" to manage the power of peer dynamics. One reason that kids succumb to these forces is the wish to "save face." But well-chosen words convey power. Lacking such a response to a provocative peer or circumstance, kids give in to impulse and throw caution to the winds. Parents can offer such responses so that they can be "pulled out of the back pocket" when the time comes. Here are several to propose to the child who becomes inarticulate when the pressure builds: "This is just the kind of situation that leads you on the wrong road...Be my guest, but don't wait for me to follow because you're on your own...I don't have to prove anything to you that I already know to be true...If you can't see where this is heading then I suggest you take some time to think it over..."
· * "Warm-up" your child's skills in advance of "potent peer" encounters. Keep in mind that some kids cause your child's decision-making to lapse more than others. Simulate discussions where you take the roll of the potent peer and attempt to persuade or provoke your child into a poor judgment call. Coach them on using a firm tone of voice, in-the-eye gaze, assertive posture, and power talking tools. Consider videotaping the scenario if they are willing so that they further improve upon their delivery.
Dr. Steven Richfield is a child psychologist in Plymouth Meeting. His column appears monthly. He can be contacted at www.parentcoachcards.com or 610-238-4450.
ADHD Recommendations for Teachers By Dr. Samuel Caron www.adhd1.net
Last month I wrote some ADHD recommendations for parents. This month I have put together a list of recommendations for teachers. Obviously, it is not all inclusive. Since every child is different, some strategies work better for some than for others.
Before giving you my list, I will share with you a little news about me. I have been invited to conduct a workshop at the International Ventriloquists' Festival this April in Las Vegas. The topic will be using ventriloquism to counsel and educate young children. As a part of the presentation, I will be showing segments from my ADHD curriculum.
Both ventriloquism and magic are great hobbies for children with ADHD. These activities are fun for the children and help them to be the center of attention. If you are interested in more information about the festival, email me through my website, www.adhd1.net.
ADHD RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TEACHERS SAMUEL R. CARON, Ph.D. WWW.ADHD1.NET
HAVING CHILDREN WITH ADHD IN YOUR CLASS CAN BE QUITE CHALLENGING, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE SIMULTANEOUSLY TRYING TO TEACH AND MANAGE THE ENTIRE CLASS. WE PSYCHOLOGISTS GET TO SEE THE CHILDREN ONE ON ONE AND FREQUENTLY DON'T REALIZE WHAT A CHALLENGE THEY ARE IN GROUPS. FOLLOWING ARE A FEW SUGGESTIONS:
1. SEND A DAILY REPORT HOME TO LET THE PARENTS KNOW HOW THE CHILD IS DOING. KEEP IT SIMPLE AND BRIEF. IT MIGHT BE NECESSARY TO EMAIL THE REPORT DIRECTLY TO THE PARENT IF THE CHILD HAS A DIFFICULT TIME GETTING IT HOME.
2. WORK CLOSELY WITH THE PARENTS, COUNSELOR, AND PHYSICIAN AS A TEAM. THEY CAN HELP YOU TO SUCCEED. YOUR FEEDBACK TO THEM IS INVALUABLE.
3. PROVIDE A REGULAR STRUCTURE. POST THE DAILY SCHEDULE. CHILDREN WITH ADHD HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME DEALING WITH CHANGE.
4. KEEP LESSONS SHORT. FREQUENT SHORT LESSONS WILL WORK BETTER THAN LONG ONES.
5. VARY YOUR INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNIQUES. USE VIDEOS, OVERHEAD PROJECTORS, GAMES, AND COMPUTERS. MANY CHILDREN WITH ADHD LEARN WELL ON COMPUTERS.
6. SEAT THE CHILD WITH ADHD AWAY FROM MAJOR DISTRACTIONS. DO NOT SIT CHILDREN WITH ADHD NEAR EACH OTHER. OFTEN THE BEST PLACE FOR THE ADHD CHILD TO SIT IS NEAR THE TEACHER'S DESK.
7. HAVE AN ORGANIZED ROOM TO REDUCE DISTRACTIONS.
8. USE BEHAVIORAL OR RESPONSE COST PROGRAMS TO INCREASE MOTIVATION. THESE PROGRAMS WILL ALSO IMPROVE THE MOTIVATION OF YOUR OTHER STUDENTS.
9. BREAK UP ASSIGNMENTS INTO SMALLER SEGMENTS. THIS WILL REDUCE THE POSSIBILITY OF THE CHILD BECOMING BORED OR OVERWHELMED.
10. HAVE PARTS OF LONG TERM ASSIGNMENTS DUE DAILY. THIS WILL REDUCE PROCRASTINATION.
11. GIVE THE CHILD POSITIVE VERBAL FEEDBACK WHENEVER POSSIBLE.
12. SINCE CHILDREN WITH ADHD OFTEN HAVE PROBLEMS WITH LESS STRUCTURED SITUATIONS SUCH AS TIME ON THE PLAYGROUND AND LUNCH, DEVELOP A PLAN WHICH WILL DECREASE THE POSSIBILITY OF THEM GETTING IN TROUBLE DURING THESE TIMES.
13. CHILDREN WITH ADHD OFTEN HAVE SOCIAL PROBLEMS. SOMETIMES IT IS HELPFUL TO ASSIGN BUDDIES TO ALL OF YOUR CHILDREN TO IMPROVE SOCIALIZATION.
14. SINCE CHILDREN WITH ADHD OFTEN NEED 3 OR 4 TIMES AS MUCH TIME TO COMPLETE HOMEWORK, REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF HOMEWORK ASSIGNED. ASSIGN HOMEWORK WHICH EMPHASIZES MASTERY OF CONCEPTS RATHER THAN REPETITION.
15. HAVE CLEAR AND CONCISE CLASSROOM RULES WITH CONSEQUENCES FOR MISBEHAVIOR.
16. CHILDREN WITH ADHD HAVE DIFFICULTY MAKING TRANSITIONS FROM ONE ACTIVITY TO ANOTHER. CUE THEM IN ADVANCE OF THE TRANSITIONS, GIVE DIRECTIONS HOW TO MAKE THE TRANSITIONS, AND PRAISE THEM FOR TRANSITIONING SUCCESSFULLY.
17. AVOID ALLOWING THE ADHD CHILD TO BECOME OVER STIMULATED IN THE CLASS OR ON THE PLAYGROUND. SOMETIMES SOFT BACKGROUND CAN HELP CALM CHILDREN DOWN.
18. DEVELOP A STRATEGY TO EASILY REMOVE THE CHILD FROM THE CLASSROOM IF NECESSARY. SOME DAYS IT IS BETTER FOR CHILDREN WITH ADHD TO BE AT HOME RATHER THAN BEING IN TROUBLE AT SCHOOL.
19. FIND OUT WHAT THE CHILD DOES WELL AND ENCOURAGE HER/HIM TO PURSUE THAT AREA. MANY CHILDREN WITH ADHD DO WELL ON COMPUTERS. OTHER DO WELL IN ART, MUSIC, SPORTS, OR CONSTRUCTING THINGS WITH LEGOS, ETC. PRAISE THE CHILD FOR SUCCESS IN FRONT OF THE REST OF THE CLASS.
20. USE REMINDER SIGNS AROUND THE CLASSROOM. USE KITCHEN TIMERS TO HELP THE CHILD FOCUS ON THE PASSAGE OF TIME.
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