Teaching Martial Arts to ADHD child | ADHD Information


skanny congratulations you are a true teacher - one worthy of respect and praise.  I have great respect for you that you care so much.

You may be able to give him some one-on-one lessons, where you can focus on just him.  ADHD children do seem to work better if they are one-on-one.

It is extremely hard for adhd children to focus.  But having an adhd child and suffering add myself I know that I exceed in things I enjoy.  My son (7) was in football last year and spent most of time tackling his own team members, watching planes go over and talking to the opposition players.  I withdrew him.  He wants to go back - but he knows if I send him back he has to do his best and not muck up.  Adhd children are not incapable of learning (specially if they have their meds) they will learn - you just have to get their attention.

Perhaps you could suggest to his mum to give her kid a half dose before his class (is his class in the evening or weekend?) meds wear out after about 4 hours - but you may want to ask his mum how long before his meds wear off and when she gives it to him.  May be on his matial arts day he could have half his meds in morning and half in the afternoon.  If he is having his lessons in the evening and he only took his meds in the morning then he is coming down of his meds and can be really uncontrollable.

Hope some of this helps.

He takes his medication around lunch time.  The classes during late afternoons are more trouble, but the early afternoons are better.

He has had an aid work specifically with him during school for grades 1-5.  However, during grade 6 this year he will lose the aid.  I did not want to simply spend more individual time with him because I wanted to help build his confidence in his ability to learn on his own.  This is a challenge he will be faced with when he goes back to school.  Is this reasonable?  Thanks.

skanney -  Is it possible to increase self control through practice with this condition?  I would say absolutely!  We have daily discussions about self control and practice various reactions and responses that might be suitable for a variety of situations with my son.  For example - we practiced how to make friends for weeks, asking each other questions, instead of telling all about 'me'.  Or we might make up a situation where somebody is making fun of him (that happens often enough), and we help him with an appropriate response so that he doesn't disolve into tears and make matters even worse.

I will say, that if my son gets involved in an activity, we can tell pretty quick if it is something he is going to stick with.  We are lucky that karate is one of these activities and that he loves it.  But, we have been through baseball, tennis, hockey, soccer, etc.  We always made him play the season, but didn't sign him up again.  It may be that this boy will never have any interest in Aikido, which is fine - he probably won't be in your class for long.  However, if his parents are not willing to believe in him, and allow him to use ADHD as an excuse not to learn, that is very sad indeed.

Believe me, if MY son can go through an entire hour of karate, so can other ADHD kids.  The first few months were somewhat difficult, but he did say that he liked it, so we worked with his instructor to help him focus.  Sometimes, just a gentle touch on his shoulder would do the trick, other times, it had to be a bit more harsh.  But we supported Gary, and our son.  He recently won first place for sparing in a tournament - what an accomplishment!

Maybe you could speak to the boy after class a few times and let him know that you believe in him.  Tell him that Michael Jordan and Walt Disney are/were ADHD and they were very successful in their careers and in their lives.  Let him know how much using Martial Arts will help him in his life.  Let him know that in your class, ADHD is not an excuse, but a reason to be sucessful.

I wish you the best.

I have been doing the Aikido version of discipline, which is less harsh than Karate but equally effective.  I would like to improve his self esteem by having him help people junior to himself, but I have got to get him to learn first.  A little of that has taken place.

His mother seems to think his medical condition precludes him from learning and focusing on his own.  I would like to ask about this from a theoretical prospective:

People with this condition obviously have some self control; otherwise they would all be in jail.  The condition seems to mean that when faced with two choices - what he wants to do and what he needs to do - he will tend to favor what he wants to do.  He seems to have "uncontrollable urges" to follow what he wants.  From a martial arts perspective, to the extent you follow what feels good and avoid what is uncomfortable, you will wind up very dead.  This training is about recognizing that these urges, or normal desires in all of us, lead to trouble, and about learning to put them aside to do what needs to be done.  Someone with adhd undoubtedly has a weaker ability to do this than those without the condition.  However, just like someone who is physically weak that can be trained to be strong through exercise, someone with adhd can take their limited abilities for self control and increase them through practice.  By recognizing how unimportant these desires are with a great deal of practice, the ability to focus can increase.  Obviously if this is possible, it would lead him to an incrementally more normal life and is a path he should probably choose.  However, it would be wrong of me to direct him to do something he simply does not have the capacity to do.  Is it possible to increase self control through practice with this condition?  Thanks.

skanney - It's so wonderful that you want to help this young man.  I'm guessing his meds have worn off by the tme he gets to your class, so his focus will be completely gone.

My son is also in martial arts - karate.  It's something he loves very much and we have found that he tries extra hard to please Gary, his instructor.  In fact, if there is something that we are having trouble with, we will wisper in Gary's ear what we want him to say to our son, and viola - he's telling us on the way home that he is going to do such and such.

Right or wrong, Gary is kind of a drill sargent.  My son rarely misbehaves in class, but if he does, it's hard and fast consequences.  He may have to sit out, or even perform his kata, alone, in front of the class.  Gary never berates or degrades my son, but he will get in his face and let him know the expectations.  At the same time, he encourages my son to perform his kata's well, and with the promise of a new color belt every 3-6 months - it's great incentive.

My suggestion is to get with this boys parents and work out a system that might be successfulyl for all of you.  Make sure the parents are in on whatever you decide so they can support you and discuss his behaviors as well as the expectations for the class.  Also, make sure that the boy knows how quickly he can progress when he pays attention.  Getting a new belt every 3 months is pretty cool, but not being able to test really stinks.

Thank you for taking the time to research methods of helping this kid.  I would certainly bring my son to your class!

To give you some hope - my son has been working with Gary for almost two years now, and will be testing for his brown belt soon.  Gary holds him up as a leader and even has him do some teaching to the kids who are white/yellow/green belts, as well as making him the sparing partner for many of the kids during testing.  He is only 11, but he takes this responsiblity very seriously now, and it makes him feel great when Gary uses him for this type of thing.  Best of luck to you.


He I wanted to help build his confidence in his ability to learn on his own.  This is a challenge he will be faced with when he goes back to school.  Is this reasonable?  Thanks.


Not really! sorry.  unfortunately if his meds have started to wear off, he is not only dealing with his adhd issues but the coming down of the medication which can sometimes amplify the problems.  He really does need extra attention.  perhaps in pairing up - you could pair up with him.  Or if there is a class member that has a caring patient nature and has a higher grading than him, he could be buddied up with him.

I would ask his mother to enquire as to how she could restructure his dosages for that day.  She should talk with her doctor about this.  As there is much in martial arts that can benefit this boy, if he could only focus.



I am relatively new to dealing with this disorder.  I teach children's classes in Aikido and one of the children has ADHD.  He is 11 years old and has little confidence in his ability to learn.  He is also very bright, but impulsive, gives little effort to learn anything new and has trouble focusing.  He takes Riddlen (sp?).

He is basically okay when practicing with a partner, but he goofs off and disrupts the class a lot.  The class then tends to degenerate when he is there.  However, when playing certain games that are designed to simulate real life attacks, he doesn't listen and can create dangerous situations for other children.

As I understand it, martial arts training basically teaches people in such situations that there is nothing "wrong" with them.  They should be confident that they can do what the other children can do.  However, they have to be very diligent, moment by moment even, about controling their impulses and staying focused.  Not taking his impulses so seriously and doing one's best in working to concentrate moment by moment is a form of training that will enable him to learn and perform new tasks with the maximum effectiveness.  This is what martial arts training teaches.

How can I give him what the training method offers and simultaneously reduce the disruptions and potential for danger.  Thanks.

I took a number of arts i had  simmilar promblems when starting them.   I'm not trying to blame the arts and there traditions.

When i was  tried a couple of the tradional arts such as kempo /tae kwon do I  hate those drill formats and got bored with it quickly why  i didn't enjoy the apporch of some of those traditonal arts.   I don't know how you strict you run your classes  i would try a liad back apporch i don't know you or the class . If he is acting out he is being triggered by something what i don't know.

What worked for me  was this  I don't know if you read anything about Jeet Kune DO  bruce wrote notes for insturctiors to kinda make it more laxed no belts no uniforms smailler class or one and one.    The no belts helped too the imation factor wasn't there sorta speak i was treated equal as everyone else right away.

    When i started taking arts like shooto or jKD  right away it was fun why because i'm nnot in the mind set of school  right away i didn't have to bow to the teacher  don't get me wrong that's tradtion it you are trying to force me to do something i  won't do it  with add i'm not sure all the people here but that teacher had to earn my respect first b4 i gave him his ,  don't get me wrong ma's are about  self confidence  and taking orders but the apporch is key try not to make it a choir,  all the classes were very few people at the same time there was no  boring repation drills, we had drills  none in  block in formation in horse stance .   it was more play time with kicking and punching it basicly tricked me into listening and follow orders the dicsapline came along with it  so did the moves.

Also as some of the tips above  the smaller classes made more idvidualized  so that helped me and the instructor.

So I hoped that helped like i said that's what worked for me

This just happen to me recently i tred this self defense course at my college  self defense is vague term and here it was tae kwon do yep it was a choir  this one hightest black belt was like take your hands out of your pockets he was a jerk about it, . That right there  that and doing everything in a strict manner i dropped it why i can't deal with people like that.    I miss traing in JKD and Shooto more and more no time and no money.


Aikido is very different from all the other arts you mentioned.  It is more laid back and informal.  There are ranks, but no colored belts for adults until blackbelt.  The kids do get colored belts, but rank is not emphasized.  Classes are small.

I want to ask about specific behaviors.  This is a very bright child.  I tell everyone to put their left foot forward and he puts his right foot (he is 11 years old).  I remind everyone by saying "other left foot" jokingly.  Everyone else changes.  He checks himself and stays with his right foot.  I tell him specifically to put his left foot forward and he acts like it is is left foot, but it's hius right.  Then I tell him that's his right foot and he says "oh yeah."  I will put my body in a simple position and say "do this."  He just stares at me confused, like he has no idea which part of his body is which.  Personally, I think he is just so intimidated by learning and lacks confidence in his ability to do so.  However, I wanted to ask first if this sort of thing is just common with the condition.  He has been practicing for 5 months now and should know more than he does.  He seems to be blocked about even trying to learn and then he just gives up and disrupts the class for everyone else.  Again, this is an extremely bright child.  Thanks.

Call the parents in and him when you got time just to meet  first talke to the parents and ask how does he like the class or did he every say he is having a hard time with  learnign the techniques.  Then call the kid in and ask him if he likes the class is he understainding everything or is there anything you could to help him better.  

With the feet his mind is  just thinking about something else or somewhere else that it could be bordem or he is just stubborn  .   Relaxation techniques may help him to if ycu could do a part of relaxation b4 class it might help  hopefully the kid would do it. I've got an above average iq 

when he does switch feet and you tell him to  do this  is that usually on an old technique or one that is new also does the technique have many beats to it??
I know I struggled with moves that had many parts to it i missed a part or a beat somwre like lock flow drills or  takedowns i have had many times where i hear what the instructor said and understood it but when it came down to doing it i just choked  sometimes try this two what helped with that is just taking it slow

Try to get another adult  advanced  student o another instructor if  you have  another one to take him to the side and have them work with him on the moves  and see if he could apply on them. Sometimes that just doing it out of thin air thing , didn't help me  i had to apply step by step on another person to see it. I couldnt' jsut watch then do, except punching kicking  movements that required hardly any thought. With another student or instructor somtimes it's just how they  explain it in words  how to do the tenchnique or they would pharse differently then you hopefuly the moves would just click and hopefully he might have more of an efffort.

I repsect you already for taking the time and effort to help this kid  to me  you earned my respect   also that's good to know about akiddo the laid back  wasn't sure.  i would sign up with you  any day if you taking the time and efforrt  to help him him you are a good man.

Ideas for Attention Deficit Children

Children whose attention seems to wander or who never seem to "be with" the rest of the class might be helped by the following suggestions.

1.     Pause and create suspense by looking around before asking questions.

2.     Randomly pick reciters so the children cannot time their attention.

3.     Signal that someone is going to have to answer a question about what is being said.

4.     Use the childís name in a question or in the material being covered.

5.     Ask a simple question (not even related to the topic at hand) to a child whose attention is beginning to wander.

6.     Develop a private running joke between you and the child that can be invoked to re-involve you with the child.

7.     Stand close to an inattentive child and touch him or her on the shoulder as you are teaching.

8.     Walk around the classroom as the lesson is progressing and tap the place in the childís book that is currently being read or discussed.

9.     Decrease the length of assignments or lessons.

10. Alternate physical and mental activities.

11. Increase the novelty of lessons by using films, tapes, flash cards, or small group work or by having a child call on others.

12. Incorporate the childrenís interests into a lesson plan.

13. Structure in some guided daydreaming time.

14. Give simple, concrete instructions, once.

15. Investigate the use of simple mechanical devices that indicate attention versus inattention.

16. Teach children self monitoring strategies.

17. Use a soft voice to give direction.

18. Employ peers or older students or volunteer parents as tutors.


 Strategies for Cognitively Impulsive Children

Some children have difficulty staying with the task at hand. Their verbalizations seem irrelevant and their performance indicates that they are not thinking reflectively about what they are doing. Some possible ideas to try out in this situation include the following.

1.     Provide as much positive attention and recognition as possible.

2.     Clarify the social rules and external demands of the classroom.

3.     Establish a cue between teacher and child.

4.     Spend personal discussion times with these children emphasizing the similarities between the teacher and child.

5.     Get in a habit of pausing 10 to 16 seconds before answering.

6.     Probe irrelevant responses for possible connections to the question.

7.     Have children repeat questions before answering.

8.     Choose a student to be the "question keeper."

9.     Using a well known story, have the class orally recite it as a chain story.

10. When introducing a new topic in any academic area, have the children generate questions about it before providing them with much information.

11. Distinguish between reality and fantasy by telling stories with a mix of fact and fiction and asking the children to critique them.

12. Assign a written project that is to contain elements that are "true," "could happen but didnít," and "pretend, canít happen."

13. Do not confront lying by making children admit they have been untruthful.

14. Play attention and listening games.

15. Remove un-needed stimulation from the classroom environment.

16. Keep assignments short.

17. Communicate the value of accuracy over speed.

18. Evaluate your own tempo as teacher.

19. Using the wall clock, tell children how long they are to work on an assignment.

20. Require that children keep a file of their completed work.

21. Teach children self talk.

22. Encourage planning by frequently using lists, calendars, charts, pictures, and finished products in the classroom.

Suggested Classroom Accommodations
for Specific Behaviors

When you see this behavior

Try this accommodation

1. Difficulty following a plan (has high aspirations but lacks follow-through); sets out to "get straight Aís, ends up with Fís" (sets unrealistic goals)

+Assist student in setting long-range goals: break the goal into realistic parts.
+Use a questioning strategy with the student; ask, What do you need to be able to do this?
+Keep asking that question until the student has reached an obtainable goal.
+Have student set clear timelines of what he needs to do to accomplish each step (monitor student progress frequently).

2. Difficulty sequencing and completing steps to accomplish specific tasks (e.g. writing a book report, term paper, organized paragraphs, division problem, etc.)

+ Break up task into workable and obtainable steps.
+ Provide examples and specific steps to accomplish task.

3. Shifting from one uncompleted activity to another without closure.

+ Define the requirements of a completed activity (e.g. your math is finished when all six problems are complete and corrected; do not begin on the next task until it is finished).

4. Difficulty following through on instructions from others.

+ Gain studentís attention before giving directions. Use alerting cues. Accompany oral directions with written directions.
+ Give one direction at a time. Quietly repeat directions to the student after they have been given to the rest of the class. Check for understanding by having the student repeat the directions.

5. Difficulty prioritizing from most to least important.

+ Prioritize assignment and activities.
+ Provide a model to help students. Post the model and refer to it often.

6. Difficulty sustaining effort and accuracy over time.

+ Reduce assignment length and strive for quality (rather that quantity).
+ Increase the frequency of positive reinforcements (catch the student doing it right and let him know it.

7. Difficulty completing assignments.

+ List and/or post (and say) all steps necessary to complete each assignment.
+ Reduce the assignment into manageable sections with specific due dates.
+ Make frequent checks for work/assignment completion.
+ Arrange for the student to have a "study buddy" with phone number in each subject area.

8. Difficulty with any task that requires memory.

+ Combine seeing, saying, writing and doing; student may need to subvocalize to remember.
+ Teach memory techniques as a study strategy (e.g. mnemonics, visualization, oral rehearsal, numerous repetitions).

9. Difficulty with test taking.

+ Allow extra time for testing; teach test-taking skills and strategies; and allow student to be tested orally.
+ Use clear, readable and uncluttered test forms. Use test format that the student is most comfortable with.Allow ample space for student response. Consider having lined answer spaces for essay or short answer tests.

10. Confusion from non-verbal cues (misreads body language, etc.)

+ Directly teach (tell the student) what non-verbal cues mean. Model and have student practice reading cues in a safe setting.

11. Confusion from written material (difficulty finding main idea from a paragraph; attributes greater importance to minor details)

+ Provide student with copy of reading material with main ideas underlined or highlighted.
+ Provide an outline of important points from reading material.
+ Teach outlining, main-idea / details concepts.
+ Provide tape of text / chapter.

12. Confusion from written material (difficulty finding main idea from a paragraph; attributes greater importance to minor details)

+ Provide student with a copy of presentation notes.
+ Allow peers to share carbon-copy notes from presentation (have student compare own notes with a copy of peerís notes).
+ Provide framed outlines of presentations (introducing visual and auditory cues to important information).
+ Encourage use of tape recorder.
+ Teach and emphasize key words (the following..., the most important point...,etc.).

13. Difficulty sustaining attention to tasks or other activities (easily distracted by extraneous stimuli)

+ Reward attention. Break up activities into small units. Reward for timely accomplishment.
+ Use physical proximity and touch. Use earphones and/or study carrels, quiet place, or preferential seating.

14. Frequent messiness or sloppiness.

+ Teach organizational skills. Be sure student has daily, weekly and/or monthly assignment sheets; list of materials needed daily; and consistent format for papers. Have a consistent way for students to turn in and receive back papers; reduce distractions.
+ Give reward points for notebook checks and proper paper format.
+ Provide clear copies of worksheets and handouts and consistent format for worksheets.
+ Establish a daily routine, provide models for what you want the student to do.
+ Arrange for a peer who will help him with organization.
+ Assist student to keep materials in a specific place (e.g. pencils and pens in pouch).
+ Be willing to repeat expectations.

15. Poor handwriting (often mixing cursive with manuscript and capitals with low-case letters)

+ Allow for a scribe and grade for content, not handwriting. Allow for use of computer or typewriter.
+ Consider alternative methods for student response (e.g. tape recorder, oral reports, etc.).
+ Donít penalize student for mixing cursive and manuscript (accept any method of production).
+ Use pencil with rubber grip.

16. Difficulty with fluency in handwriting e.g. good letter/word production but very slow and laborious.

+ Allow for shorter assignments (quality vs. quantity).
+ Allow alternate method of production (computer, scribe, oral presentation, etc.).
+ Use pencil with rubber grip.

17. Poorly developed study skills

+ Teach study skills specific to the subject area - organization (e.g. assignment calendar), textbook reading, notetaking (finding main idea / detail, mapping, outlining), skimming, summarizing).

18. Poor self-monitoring (careless errors in spelling, arithmetic, reading)

+ Teach specific methods of self-monitoring (e.g. stop-look-listen).
+ Have student proof-read finished work when it is cold.

19. Low fluency or production of written material (takes hours on a 10 minute assignment)

+ Allow for alternative method for completing assignment (oral presentation,    taped report, visual presentation, graphs, maps, pictures, etc. with reduced written requirements).
+ Allow for alternative method of writing (e.g. typewriter, computer, cursive or printing, or a scribe.

20. Apparent Inattention (underachievement, daydreaming, not there)

+ Get studentís attention before giving directions (tell student how to pay attention, look at me while I talk, watch my eyes while I speak). Ask student to repeat directions.
+ Attempt to actively involve student in lesson (e.g. cooperative learning).

21. Difficulty participating in class without being interruptive; difficulty working quietly

+ Seat student in close proximity to the teacher.
+ Reward appropriate behavior (catch student being good).
+ Use study carrel if appropriate.

22. Inappropriate seeking of attention (clowns around, exhibits loud excessive or exaggerated movement as attention-seeking behavior, interrupts, butts into other childrenís activities, needles others)

+ Show student (model) how to gain otherís attention appropriately.
+ Catch the student when appropriate and reinforce.

23. Frequent excessive talking

+ Teach student hand signals and use to tell student when and when not to talk.
+ Make sure student is called when it is appropriate and reinforce listening.

24. Difficulty making transitions (from activity to activity or class to class); takes an excessive amount of time to find pencil, gives up, refuses to leave previous task; appears agitated during change.

+ Program child for transitions. Give advance warning of when a transition is going to take place (now we are completing the worksheet, next we will ...) and the expectation for the transition (and you will need...)
+ Specifically say and display lists of materials needed until a routine is possible. List steps necessary to complete each assignment.
+ Have specific locations for all materials (pencil pouches, tabs in notebooks, etc.).
+ Arrange for an organized helper (peer).

25. Difficulty remaining seated or in a particular position when required to

+ Give student frequent opportunities to get up and move around. Allow space for movement.

26. Frequent fidgeting with hands, feet or objects, squirming in seat.

+ Break tasks down to small increments and give frequent positive reinforcement for accomplishments (this type of behavior is often due to frustration).
+ Allow alternative movement when possible.

27. Inappropriate responses in class often blurted out; answers given to questions before they have been completed.

+ Seat student in close proximity to teacher so that visual and physical monitoring of student behavior can be done by the teacher.
+ State behavior that you do want (tell the student how you expect him to behave).

28. Agitation under pressure and competition (athletic or academic)

+ Stress effort and enjoyment for self, rather than competition with others.
+ Minimize timed activities; structure class for team effort and cooperation.

29. Inappropriate behaviors in a team or large group sport or athletic activity (difficulty waiting turn in games or group situations)

+ Give the student a responsible job (e.g. team captain, care and distribution of the balls, score keeping, etc.); consider leadership role.
+ Have student in close proximity of teacher.

30. Frequent involvement in physically dangerous activities without considering possible consequences

+ Anticipate dangerous situations and plan for in advance.
+ Stress Stop-Look-Listen.
+ Pair with responsible peer (rotate responsible students so that they donít wear out!).

31. Poor adult interactions. Defies authority. Sucks up. Hangs on.

+ Provide positive attention.
+ Talk with student individually about the inappropriate behavior (what you are doing is..., a better way of getting what you need or want is...).

32. Frequent self-putdowns, poor personal care and posture, negative comments about self and others, low self-esteem

+ Structure for success.
+ Train student for self-monitoring, reinforce improvements, teach self-questioning strategies (What am I doing? How is that going to affect others?)
+ Allow opportunities for the student to show his strength.
+ Give positive recognition.

33. Difficulty using unstructured time - recess, hallways, lunchroom, locker room, library, assembly

+ Provide student with a definite purpose during unstructured activities (The purpose of going to the library is to check out..the purpose of...is...).
+ Encourage group games and participation (organized school clubs and activities).

34. Losing things necessary for task or activities at school or at home (e.g. pencils, books, assignments before, during and after completion of a given task)

+ Help students organize. Frequently monitor notebook and dividers, pencil pouch, locker, book bag, desks. A place for everything and everything in its place.
+ Provide positive reinforcement for good organization. Provide student with a list of needed materials and locations.

35. Poor use of time (sitting, starting off into space, doodling, not working on task at hand)

+ Teach reminder cues (a gentle touch on the shoulder, hand signal, etc.).
+ Tell the student your expectations of what paying attention looks like. (You look like you are paying attention when...)
+ Give the student a time limit for a small unit of work with positive reinforcement for accurate completion.
+ Use a contract, timer, etc. for self-monitoring.

 Grabbed this off a website - maybe it could help.  I had so much other stuff to say but I accidently deleted it and too tired to retype - but I will tomorrow -

skanney - I really like mcoffees idea about having a more advanced student take him aside and help him with some of the simple moves.  My son's instructor sometimes has him come in 10 minutes early for class and works with him 1-1 for those 10 minutes.  It's amazing how much they accomplish. 

If you are facing him when asking him to put his right foot forward, he may be confused because he is trying to emulate a mirror image.  When getting an advanced student to work with him, make sure they are facing the same direction, so that it's easier for him to copy the movement.  It's not a matter of how smart he is, it's sounds like his brain isn't translating the movement properly for his body to follow.  I've seen this issue in my son many times. 

Shanney-I'm really sorry, I thought you were the parent of a child doing MA.....misunderstood......oops.......sorry

Skanney- I don't mean to be rude but does your child want to do Martial Arts?  ADHD people get distracted...no arguments (I'm one of them) but I tend to get more distracted when I'm bored or not interested in what's going on around me (just like "normal" people).  Is your child in Martial Arts for fun or for therapy?  As a martial artist and instructor there's nothing worse than trying to teach a kid who's just not interested.  He isn't getting anything out of it if he's resisting.  My advice....try a new sport....find something he's interested in and something he finds fun.  I would totally agree with your approach, I think sports are really important for all kids especially ADHD kids, but it has to be the right sport for the kid.  He will improve impulse control, attention and concentration skills in a number of sports.......Ex: soccer, play a position (impulse control), watch the play (attention and concentration).

All I'm saying is that Martial Arts is a fantastic way to develop self-control and self-discipline but you have to really enjoy doing the Martial Art or it becomes a chore and for kids with ADHD too many things in their lives are already really difficult and a chore.  Sport is a way for them to learn valuable skills without realizing or trying to.  Hope this helps

Venturess - skanney is the boys MI instructor - looking for ideas.  He is not the parent. -

There are 3 explanations - he isn't interested in the art (but he likes the games during class and the fact that his friends also take the class), he lack's confidence in his ability to learn or he just needs more one on one attention.

The child seems to have fun in the class, but he goes through mental "spasms" when it comes to learning.  I work with him and I break things down into incredibly simple steps.  He can't seem to do any one of these simple movements even with one on one attention, and as I said he is quite intelligent.  He is paying attention, but his brain just doesn't translate.  This happens with adults and other children at times, but not to the same degree.

He may not be that interested in the art, but he is not that uninterested where it is a problem either.  He does indicate he is traumatized over his inability to learn.  If I have senior children spend time with him he simply corrupts them and the class degenerates.  I don't have an adult to dedicate for just him.  Also, he is about to enter 6th grade, where he will be losing his dedicated aid during class.  He will have to fend for his own on even footing with all the other kids.  His mother is completely panicked and has little faith in him.

What I decided to do is increase the number of classes given, which will reduce the average class size.  I can pay more attention to him in smaller classes, but there is nothing directed at him specifically which might reduce his self confidence.  He will still be on even footing with all the other kids.  I want to use the art to help him "learn how to learn."  His interest in the art is sufficient for that purpose even if he only does it for a limited time.

Thank you all so much for your feedback.  It really helped me clarify the issues.  I will come back at some point in the future if something new develops.  Thanks again.

Sports that teaches self-discipline & self-control could be part of the this Project. Please read:

I have a child diagnosed with ADHD, his taking Ritalin and he is in ESE (Exceptional Student Education). His mayor problem is reading & comprehension. He has improved, but he is not in the level where he is supposed to be for his age & grade. I'm worry that this situation can lower (even more) his self-esteem, for not been able to get the same achievements as other. This is frustrating for students, for parents & even for teachers. Parents are blamed; Children are blamed or labeled. Schools are blamed. This is a neurobiological problem. This is nobody's fault. But, we all can do something, let put pressure in our political leaders so these kids can get more help. I think by preparing a special program/classes for this kind of disability (with psychologists, neurologists, teachers and parents input)Having these kids in a full time (separate) school with a fully trained personal in this matter & where they don't see themselves as ďretardedĒ because the rest are doing great and they are getting D's or F's, will help so much! If the government has money for special schools & programs for "gifted" students, why not to invest in those who are in a "bigger" academic need. In my opinion everyone will benefit from this, even students who are not ADHD. Medication should not be the only solution, after all, they have side effects, too.

There is between 3%-10% of students with ADHD in US. Isnít that enough to at least try with a pilot school to see if it work? We need to put these kids back in their normal life, faster and with less medication.