ADHD and After-School Activities (cont.)
Activities that require too much divided attention. "In soccer or basketball, you're focusing on a dozen things at a time," Mahone says. That's not to say a child with ADHD should avoid soccer entirely. "If you have a skilled coach or teacher who can communicate information in ways that make it interesting, and the step-by-step pieces of being organized more doable, then it may work," Mahone tells WebMD.
Activities that require fine motor skills. "It's fairly well documented that in children with ADHD, some parts of the brain are less developed, particularly those involved in providing control over motor activities," Mahone explains. Therefore, activities like painting or manipulating puzzle pieces might leave some children with ADHD feeling frustrated.
Strategies for Success
For kids with ADHD, success in after-school activities depends not only on the chosen activity, but also on the circumstances under which that activity is performed. Here's how parents can help create favorable ones:
Make kids aware of their schedule. Kids with ADHD tend to thrive on routine, and shun surprises. "Post a schedule on the wall that kids can see," Mahone suggests.
Respect kids' fatigue. "At the end of the school day, kids with ADHD are often mentally fatigued, although they may look like they're up like a top," Mahone tells WebMD. "Be sensitive to overprogramming and follow their cue," Watkins adds.
Sometimes, success in after-school activities comes down to gut instinct. "There's no one way that works for everybody. If a kid has a passion, you want to kind of go with that," Watkins says.
Published Sept. 7, 2004.
SOURCES: Carol Watkins, MD, child psychiatrist; and spokeswoman, Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder. E. Mark Mahone, PhD, research scientist, Kennedy Krieger Institute; and assistant professor, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md. Steven Kurtz, PhD, psychiatrist and clinical coordinator, ADHD Institute for New York University's Child Study Center.
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