Pine Hills International School, Subang Jaya
Little Angel Kindergarten
Mahsa International School, Bandar Saujana Putra, Jenjarom
Kids Academy Malaysia

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Strategies for Parents

by on 02/04/2021 531

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have difficulties with daily tasks and expectations that we might take for granted. Helping them cope with their inattention, impulsivity and/or hyperactivity provides them the consistency and reliable structures in their daily life; which builds their self-esteem and grows their true potential.

Coping with Inattention

  • Get their attention before giving verbal instructions e.g., by asking “are you ready?”
  • Break tasks down to bite-size chunks and break up long-term projects into small daily ones, e.g., homework can be broken down to “sitting at the desk”, “opening my book” etc. Then, set your child up for success to complete these smaller tasks
  • Intersperse low with high appeal activity
  • Externalize time using timer/non-arbitrary measure of time e.g., length of a song, etc.
  • Play games that help increase attention span e.g., Spot the Difference, Where’s Waldo?, Red Light Green Light, Freeze!, Simon Says
  • Engage their sense of sight, hearing and touch in learning e.g., by watching videos, singing songs, playing games, performing experiments, etc.

Coping with Impulsivity

  • Visual schedule, which is a graphic representation of scheduled tasks and activities can help children better understand the sequence of actions expected of them
  • Set clear and simple rules e.g., First…Then…
  • Random ‘stop & report’ check-ups can help them stay on task
  • Play games that help children practice self-control e.g., Snap card game, Whack-a-Mole, hide and seek, Ant Smasher mobile game.

Coping with Hyperactivity

  • Use a sensory diet, which is a group of motor activities scheduled throughout the day to assist with attention and arousal (e.g., listen to music or different sounds, paint with fingers, build a kinetic sandcastle, knead dough, rub scented lotion on skin, chew crunchy fruits or vegetables, hold a Yoga pose for selfie, bounce on the ball or take animal walks, etc.)
  • Utilize their excess energy e.g., get them to run simple errands, carry groceries etc.
  • Allow them to fidget as long as they are not disturbing others.
  • Movement chairs/cushion/bands e.g., Wobble cushion/Hokki stool/Bouncy bands can be used during table-top tasks (e.g., when revising homework or playing board games) for the sensory input necessary to stay alert and focused

Coping with Disorganisation

  • Assign areas for specific items e.g., shoes, toys, backpacks, sports equipment, keys, etc.
  • Reduce clutter by cleaning out unnecessary toys and clothes together from time to time
  • Use a family calendar to write down all the important appointments and schedules and remind everyone to refer to it often
  • Create a homework book to encourage them to list down all the homework. Colour codes can be used for different subjects. Teachers can remind children to write their homework in this book and parents can check to make sure that all homework are completed
  • Set up a family schedule for chores that include the person in charged, the task they are responsible for, the time they are expected to do them and the outcome of completing these tasks e.g., having a family meal or playing a game together once all the chores are completed
  • Develop a list of house rules with your children. Make the rules simple, short, clear and understood by everyone. Come up with the consequences together and be consistent in following through the consequences

Coping with Online Learning

  • Set aside a place that is bright and free from distraction. Place visual reminders e.g., “focus on your teacher” to remind them to get back on task
  • Stick to regular school day routines e.g., having breakfast, bathing, dressing up and taking recess in between classes
  • Set the screen at eye level and use desk chairs with arms and lumbar support, ergonomic keyboards and headphones to block out external noise
  • Use the 20-20-20 rule - for every 20 minutes, look away from the screen and look at something 20 ft away for 20 seconds
  • Give attention/movement in between lessons e.g., drink water, go to toilet, stretch, go to the kitchen for a healthy snack

Another important component in supporting children with ADHD is to ensure that parents are supported too.

Maintain a Helpful Attitude

  • Keep calm and focused on connecting with your child, that will also help your child to be calm and focused
  • Keep things in perspective e.g., don’t blow things out of proportion, don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s okay not to get it right all the time
  • Be willing to make compromises e.g., one unfinished chore is acceptable when your child has completed two other chores
  • Believe in your child: think about or make a list of everything that is positive, valuable, and unique about your child. Trust that your child can learn, change, mature, and succeed. Reaffirm this trust on a daily basis
  • Self-care: take breaks when you need to, take care of your physical health and stress levels by eating right, exercising, connecting with family and friends, taking part in relaxing activities
  • Seek help: parents are not in on this alone; talk to your friends, family members, child’s doctor, teachers or a psychologist for assistance, join a parent support group or look for resources online

About Oasis Place

Written by LaVeina Sangaran (Clinical Psychologist)

Oasis Place, located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, is Malaysia’s largest multidisciplinary intervention centre, embracing a client-centered approach through transdisciplinary intervention. We offer all our assessment and therapy services onsite at our centre, offsite at schools, and online through OPConnect. At Oasis Place, helping people learn and grow is at the heart of everything we do. We work with all learning different individuals - from Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyslexia and Dyscalculia to Down Syndrome. Our core services are Psychology, Speech & Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Music Therapy, Continuous Education and Nutrition. 

For more information on our services, please visit our website at www.oasisplace.com.my , Facebook at OasisPlaceMalaysia ,Instagram and Twitter @OasisPlaceMY