‘Dear Professor’: a video to understand the student with ADHD

Most children Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD exhibit incongruous behavior: they are intelligent and cunning, but their performance in class is poor, they are disinterested, they do not remain in a position of physical listening, and they even develop unruly and stimulating attitudes.

In the following interview, Mireia Garibaldi, psychologist and educational psychologist collaborating with the Mensalus Institute for Psychological and Psychiatric Assistance, presents an interesting video on the issues surrounding children with ADHD in the classroom. An emotional project which, we hope, opens up a reflection on the necessary psycho-educational tools.

Before reading the article, you can watch the video below:

What is the relationship between ADHD and emotional management?

Children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) have significant difficulty regulating themselves and dealing with their emotions. Something that is not easy for most is especially expensive for them. To be more precise, one of the tricky tasks is the ability to internalize and reserve emotions. For this reason, children with ADHD sometimes say theirs in an intense and uncontrollable way. Immature behavior (“he always plays the clown”), inappropriate, changeable and even heavy (the externalization of emotion lasts longer than the rest of the equals). Adults find it difficult to understand that this behavior stems, among other factors, from the difficulty of emotional management, so the common result in the classroom is repetitive punishment: sanctions that label the child and place him in a frame. highly defensive.

What is the most common emotion in children with ADHD?

When efforts are in vain, the result is a sea of ​​frustration. With this, the self-concept can be severely affected. The video we are showing today rightly claims the importance of “not pointing” the child with ADHD. In his process of development and maturation, it is crucial to avoid actions that make him feel constantly judged. If all of your fingers point at it daily, it will likely develop from an anxious and insecure base, and eventually form a very deteriorated self-concept which results in low self-esteem.

You told us about a defensive framework in which the child is locked …

Is right. A defensive frame resulting from the fear of getting hurt again. It is common for the child to challenge the figure of authority and manifest himself in an irreverent manner. As we said, when this happens, the punishment is the protagonist’s tool (“the salt of the class”, “today you run out of garden”) and again the child is the victim. of discrimination and classified as “the bad guy”. The consequence? Frustration reaches unsuspected levels and its management becomes a “mission impossible”.

What can happen then?

One of the most common strategies used before taking on another failure is lying (for example, lying to justify not having done your homework). It is also common for the result of difficult emotional self-management to be behavior full of anger and irritability visible both physically (kicking, jumping, grimacing, etc.) and verbally (poor responses to directions from the teacher). very dependent on the environment. Self-regulation of emotions and their behavior responds more to stimuli they receive than to their own thoughts (which is initially common in children). Either way, the difficulty of doing introspective work and dealing with his own thoughts keeps him away from tools like event analysis, reflection, and goal setting. For this reason, it is essential to help the little one.

How can we help a child with ADHD?

Through the use of more attractive and visual strategies that promote emotional expression and collaborate in this internalization. When the child comes to understand what is happening to him, it is then that he takes the first step towards emotional self-regulation. Empowering the child in this regard is essential, because otherwise he risks entering a spiral of sadness and negativity that takes him away not only from school goals, but also from the context of friends and peers.

In contrast, children with ADHD have significant difficulty motivating themselves. They have serious problems starting the prescribed tasks and maintaining the activity until its completion. This difficulty is accompanied by a strong need to be rewarded in the short term (mainly after unattractive tasks that do not generate instant rewards). Giving recognition to the child makes it easier to stay connected to the context (for example, a game, a sports activity, a math exercise, etc.)

From educational psychology, we advise parents and teachers to establish a system of recognition through positive messages. Lack of internal motivation is the main driver behind the lack of goals and the self-discipline to achieve them.

Having said that, what message could we keep today?

As the video shows, it is important for children with ADHD to perceive social approval of their immediate surroundings through rewarding messages, words that bring them closer to the rest and not label them as selfless or derogatory labels that diminish. their sense of ability. They are emotionally dependent on positive recognition and of course need adults to make their jobs easier.

Understanding the child with ADHD is the way for him to do the same.

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