Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is one of the most well-known and diagnosed neurodevelopmental disorders in the Western world characterized by the presence of inattention which may or may not be accompanied by hyperactivity and impulsivity. It is a problem that can cause serious difficulties to the child who suffers from it, in many cases there are problems of adaptation in the academic and social field resulting mainly from a lack of development of certain executive functions.
In order to solve these difficulties, it can be very interesting to carry out some type of activity that allows you to train these functions. Throughout this article we will offer various activities for children with ADHD to improve their abilities in a fun and entertaining way.
ADHD: a brief description of the disorder
Before embarking on specific activities, it may be helpful to briefly mention something called ADHD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a disorder characterized by the presence of at least 6 symptoms of inattention and 6 of hyperactivity and impulsivity for at least 6 consecutive months.
Among the typical symptoms of inattention we may experience problems with maintaining attention, loss of conversation or lack of listening due to a busy mind, forgetting about daily activities, avoiding activities that require sustained attention , inability to continue or complete tasks, forgetting slogans, loss of items or neglect.
In terms of hyperactivity / impulsivity motor restlessness, excessive speech, inability to keep the shift are common, Intrusion into the activities of others, anticipating others’ responses before they occur, inability to stand still or sit or run in inappropriate contexts. It should be noted that there is also ADD, in which there would be inattention but not hyperactivity.
It is a neurodevelopmental disorder, that is, a condition that appears as a result of difficulties in the normative development process and symptoms appear during the same (although this does not mean that there are only in childhood or adolescence, also being present in adults). In the case of ADHD, it can be observed specifically a slowdown in the development of the prefrontal cortex, Something that has repercussions during the development of so-called executive functions. Among the functions that are generally deficient are attention, working memory, inhibition of behavior, the ability to self-organize, or the ability to make and maintain plans.
It is also important to keep in mind that we are facing issues beyond the control of those who suffer from it which should be noted as for many people this can be difficult to achieve, for example in the case in question.
Suggested activities for children with ADHD
When creating activities for children with this problem, it should be clear that activities should be considered which should be explained clearly, which allow for breaks and that, although they are intended for capacity building, being fun and experienced as something interesting for the minor. It is also often advisable to use more visual activities, not entirely verbal. The presence of distracting stimuli should also be suppressed or avoided.
With that in mind, below we will look at a series of activities we can do alongside a child with ADHD that can help us develop skills and abilities in which they may have difficulty.
1. The seven differences
A typical and simple but fun game based on detect the differences between different images. The level of difficulty may vary depending on the age and ability of the subject. It allows you to train attention to detail and working memory.
2. Letter soup
Another typical and very well-known activity and sometimes used to entertain a large part of the population, letter soups can also be useful for children with ADHD since they allow training in selective attention, the ability to organize and inhibition of behavior.
3. Slow motion
Another way to train attention span, inhibition, and behavior management is to perform various actions in slow motion. An example could be playing an astronaut on a mission to the Moon, who has to place a flag at a certain point on the lunar surface (the child’s house for example), in zero gravity. You can make up a whole story, can even become a group game.
4. The turtle technique
This small and simple activity can strengthen behavior management and reduce impulsivity. It is about playing with the child and teaching him to become a turtle, learn to act slowly already take refuge in the shell when they perceive a threat, in order to calm down.
5. Memory or pair game
This well known game allows you to train memory and attention, Have the subject find pairs of cards face down between pairs of cards, being able to lift only two at a time before returning them face down.
6. Construction games
If the child enjoys it, construction games are a great way to train the ability to plan, control behavior, and pay attention to detail. From Lego to models, it can be a fun and very useful activity which can also be adapted to the theme to the taste of the subject.
7. Echo game
This activity, to be done preferably in a group, is based on the fact that one of the participants follows a word and the rest echo by repeating the last syllables. We can also add that each time, the child must reduce the syllables and repeated sounds. Encourages attention and verbal working memory.
8. The initial of my name
A simple activity that is based on the fact that we are going to say different letters at random continuously, asking the child to clap his hands when he hears the one that corresponds to his initial. This can also be done by saying random words having the subject of applause when a particular one is said. Encourages continued attention.
9. What have I saved?
Memory and attention are some of the skills that can encourage this activity. This is to provide the subject with a number of different items to store in a box. That done, he will have to say that is what he saved. It may be helpful to suggest in advance that this generates a fantastic story this makes it possible to include all the objects in question, so that in addition the organization is worked.
10. The executioner
This well-known game allows the maintenance of attention, behavioral inhibition, planning or ability to organize.
11. Team sports
Physical activity is generally enjoyable for children with hyperactivity because it allows them great mobility. In addition to releasing energy, many sports they may favor attention over the absence of stimuli or details, Such as table tennis.
12. Chain words
Another easy activity to do outdoors that trains not only attention, but also the need to take turns to speak. This involves forming a chain of words, forcing players to take turns saying a word that must begin with the last syllable of the word the previous person spoke.
13. Imitate me
This game allows attention to work and memory. The first person needs to do a specific activity (which can come from previously prepared cards), so the others need to be careful about what they are doing in order to reproduce below. An example could be the replication of a dance choreography.
14. An invented language
The idea of this activity is to generate series of symbols without meaning in themselves, as if it were a new language, which correspond to the letters of the alphabet. We will have to leave several relatively short messages all over the house for the child to translate in order to find the next clue, for example, to find a small treasure (eg candy), having a small chop for it.
- Vallès, A. (1999). How to change the behavior of children. Guide for parents. Madrid: Editorial Marfil.