Saturday, September 20, 2014

Monday, July 07, 2008 EN, Community Member, asks

Q: My 6 year old son has to be constantly reminded to do or not to do the same things over and over

again.  I know he hears me, we've had his hearing tested.  He has great concentration for things like when we read him a book so I don't think it is ADD related.   Partly could be his age I suppose, but it is becoming a bigger issue and lots of time and energy is being used when I think he should be able to differentiate from a good choice (following through on a request) or a bad choice (continuing the offensive behavior).    How do I make this easier and resolve the issue??

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Answers (3)
Terry Matlen, ACSW, Health Guide
7/11/08 10:02am

Hi EN,

 

This is a common complaint of parents of ADHD children.

 

First, I would make sure that his ADHD is appropriately treated. If his doctor, or whoever diagnosed him with ADHD had recommendations for treatment (typically, that includes medication), then you'll need to make sure his treatment is optimal so that he can do the things he needs to do.

 

You mentioned that he hears well and can even concentrate well when he's read to. The key to understanding ADHD is that children (and adults) often can concentrate quite well- even too well (we call that hyper-focusing) when the activity is intrinsically of interest to them. If your son loves to be read to, he'll have an easier time paying attention.

 

That's why we see so many problems in school, in classes where the child might have little or no interest. In those cases, he/she often has great difficulty connecting, paying attention and retaining the information.

 

It's also important to understand that many, if not most children with ADHD, seem to develop a bit later socially than their peers. At six, your son may be developmentally a bit younger.

 

Putting this all into perspective for your son, it could well be that what he's being asked to remember are not things that are of interest to him. Or perhaps, and more likely, he hears you but simply forgets. That's the nature of the "beast" in ADHD.

 

To help him, you'll need patience and creative thinking. Many with ADHD do quite well with visual cues. Consider writing up your "to-do" list for him and post it in several places where he is likely to see it. Number the items, add interest with stickers or whatever, and when you ask him to do something, reference it also by having him look at the list.

 

Also, try asking him to repeat back to you what you requested of him. Using more than one modality (hearing, seeing, etc) often works best. You want to make sure you have his attention when you ask things of him, so make sure you are getting eye contact from him.

 

Never give too many demands at one time. Many with ADHD have a hard time processing more than one or two things at one time. So you may want to do something like this:

 

"Tommy, we need to work on cleaning up your room. Can you spend 10 minutes just picking up your clothes and throwing them in the bin?"

 

Then set a timer so that he has a sense of how long he needs to work on this task. Once he's done, go to the next task.

 

In other words, break each chore/task down into smaller parts.

 

We tend to talk too much to our ADHD kids about what they need to do. Usually, short requests, using visual cues, and keeping them on routines and giving them structure, is the way to go.

 

Hope this helps.

Terry

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Heather & Kaleb, Community Member
7/12/08 11:40am

En, my name is Heather, I have a 9  in haldf  yr. old son that I also have to constantly ask him sometimes (most of the time it's things he doesn't like to do) over & over again to do things that I have asked or told him to do.  I have often wondered myself if he's comperhending what I am asking him to do or is he just plain ignoring & not listening to me when I ask or tell him to do something, Terry had some good ideas that I hope you or I could benefeit from.  I wil hopfully be able to use some of the ideas & they work for me, hope you try them also & they work, I have tried a couple of the things that Terry or Eileen have suggested in the past to try for other reasons & most of the time they work.  It's a lot of repeating yourself sometimes to get a child who has ADHD/ADD to respond to what you want or ask of them to do, so I know how frustrating it can be if they don't listen or respond in the amount of time we want them to, when we ask or tell them something.  Hope you found Terry's suggestions useful & they work for you & I both.  Take Care - Heather & son Kaleb

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Mom lost, Community Member
9/19/08 2:27pm

I, also have a six-year old son with ADHD.  I had the same problem, and asked for an answer, which I didn't receive, unfortunately.  But, with my own research, I have come up with a plan.  We now have a daily activity chart, which focuses on all the things my son needs to do throughout the day.  The chart also contains reminders, and is color coded.  So if I need to get his attention, I first make sure that he is looking at me, and is focused on what I am saying.  I then give him the instructions, and make it clear to him that if he doesn't follow them that he will get a "mark" or reminder on his chart.  This gives him a reason to want to do the things that I ask.  He knows if he has a good chart at the end of the week, He gets rewarded.  And since everything is color-coded, it is easy for him to see his progress.  I tried many other version of charts, but this seemed to work the best.  It's amazing how quickly they grasp the concept, and how excited they are to see the GOOD work they have done.  If you have any questions on how to create such a chart, let me know!  Hope this helps.

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mommy of 2, Community Member
5/27/11 12:18am

i am curious about the chart. any suggestions would be appreciated, :)

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By EN, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/27/11, First Published: 07/07/08