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A PARENTS' GUIDE FOR THE CHILD WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER

Cheryl Peasley RN, BSN
Kenneth Peasley, Teacher Technology Specialist



A. Helping to keep your child on task:

This guide is meant to help the parent(s) and caregivers of the child who has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). These children have a distinctive disorder, which doesn't allow them to concentrate on completing specific everyday tasks. For example, getting dressed in the morning, taking a bath, eating meals, doing chores, etc. The purpose of this article is to give parents and caregivers a tool in overcoming the child's inattentiveness.

B. The tool:

This simple tool will allow the parent(s) and caregiver of an ADD child to experience the accomplishment of everyday tasks and to provide the adult-child relationship to blossom as the therapy continues. An intimate trust will be demonstrated and the child's self confidence will multiply as you progress further and further into the use of this simple tool. The tool is a cassette tape with the parent(s) or caregiver's voice recorded on it.

C. How the process works:

Using a portable cassette recorder, the adult records a series of timed statements on the cassette tape enforcing a particular behavior in which they want the child to become proficient. 'Timed' is interpreted as being accomplished in a certain amount of time. In other words, if your child has difficulty in dressing themselves in the morning because of loss of concentration and you would like your child to master this task say, in 20 minutes, then you will record a tape with your voice that will remind the child every few seconds to continue the process of dressing themselves. This method accomplishes two major points. It eliminates the extreme stress and frustration that an adult can experience in trying to encourage an ADD child to accomplish a certain task. And from the child's point of view, this method will help to support the child's perception of their parent(s) and/or caregiver's love towards them. Plus the child will feel good about themselves because they have accomplished a task without feeling admonished or degraded because of their unique disability. Injected humor is a good way to keep the child focused as well as saying, "Sue, it's time to put on your socks." There must be a balance of humor and loving commands on the tape for it to be a successful experience for the child.

D. Recording your first tape:

Your first course of action should be to list all the different daily tasks that your child would accomplish in a typical school day. From this list prioritize each task. A suggestion, you might want to focus upon homebound tasks which you and your child suffer the most anxiety over. (This method can be carried over to the school environment, but it is a difficult task to incorporate this method in school, where 20 to 30 other children are involved. It also depends upon how severely ADD your child has been diagnosed.) You can make tapes on every task your child faces in a schoolday. Actually the possibilities are endless.

Once you have narrowed down the list to one task, then a list of statements must be written down so the child will complete the task. The time limit depends upon you. Each statement can be uttered on the tape every 10 seconds if you want your child to finish a task faster. Or the statements can be placed upon the tape every 45 seconds with some additional injected humor to fill in the silent places. Silence once in a while is good, it helps the child know that the adult means business and it will help his/her concentration on the individual task at hand. The timed sequence of this method will have to be experimented upon by the adult, and this is critical, to see that natural progressional speed for your individual ADD child. All children with ADD are different and would respond differently to a timed sequence of statements. The adult must find a happy balance for the child and the adult. The adult wants the child to dress themselves in 15 minutes, but the child complains that, "I can't keep up…" for one reason or another. Depending upon the ADD child this answer can be approached in two different thought patterns. 1. It is good that the tape is 'rushing' the child. It will make him/her strive to keep pace with the tape. 2. The commands are unreasonable for the child to keep up; thus it will cause the child to feel dissatisfied with themselves. ADD children live their lives, generally speaking, with mostly negative feelings about themselves because they cannot seem to achieve tasks in their life. And adults not understanding the ADD diagnosis find themselves exhibiting frustration at the child because he/she cannot accomplish the simplest of tasks. In the case of some ADD children you might have to "work-up" to the desired speed by making multiple tapes becoming progressively faster until the child can accomplish a task in a reasonable time frame.

Do not try this method with more than one task at a time. If you do then your ADD child could possibly become so frustrated because they are listening to a bunch of tapes but accomplishing nothing. Through this process it is essential, and this point cannot be stressed enough, they MUST feel good about their individual accomplishments. Praise, praise, praise your child for their accomplishments. If after a certain period of time the adult can see considerable progress, then praise, and move onto another area. As you progress with this method it will seem apparent to the adult that the child is focusing better and more suitably accomplishes the simple tasks of everyday life.

E. Statements on the tape-an example:

The following is an example for the parent(s) and caregiver in the area of an ADD child dressing in the morning. The adult would come into the child's room and plug in the tape machine, spend a few moments in waking them up and pushing play on the tape recorder. Then leave the room. The child cannot be distracted with your presence there in the room. This shortened example was recorded so that each statement was about ten seconds apart.

"Susan it's time to wake up, are you sitting up in bed."
"Susan, get out of bed now and rub your sleepy eyes and wake up."
"Susan are you ready for a great day!"
"Susan, it's time to take your PJ's off now and put them under your pillow."
"Susan take your PJ top off now."
"Burrrr, I know it's cold but we have to get dressed for school."
"Did you put you PJ's under your pillow?"
"Now take your PJ bottoms off and put them under your pillow."
"Susan, it's time to get dressed."
"Susan, it's time to get dressed."
"Susan, it's time to get dressed."
"Susan it's time to put your underpants on…"
"Susan, it's time to get dressed."
"It's time to put your shirt on…"
"Oh, No! Your shirt is on backwards…"
"Susan, it's time to get dressed."
"Please place your legs into your pants…"
"Are you sure your pants are on right?"
"The boys at school would laugh if they saw your undies…"
"Now take one of your socks and put it on."
"I wish I was there to play tickle feet with you!"
"Put the other sock on now, sweetheart."
"Now what's left? (Silence) Shoes, yes, that's right, are you good!"
"Susan we are almost done, please put your shoes on now."
"Can you put your shoes on before I count down to 1?"
"Let see……25"
"24"
"23"
(The tape would keep going with the countdown)
"2"
"1"
"Yeah you did it! Good girl, now come to breakfast, see you soon…"
"You forgot to turn me off…."

This example took fifty-two statements at about ten second intervals, which figures out to be about nine minutes to get dressed. If after a few days the child gets bored with that tape, make another with different statements and interchange them to eliminate boredom. You can laugh, sing, and be creative to hold the child's attention to the task at hand. Notice that the child's name is repeated again and again. This is done to hold their attention to the tape.

This 'tape-method' can be used for the child to adult who has been diagnosed with ADD. Obviously a tape made for an adult with this disorder would be made in a mature manner. But essentially the same procedures would be followed as they have been discussed in this article.

Please see our display ad for further information. Our script examples obtained through our ad will support bringing your ADD individual into a successful life of daily accomplishments.

Don't leave your attention deficit loved one in a world of indecision!

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9/6/99

Since 1982, Ken Peasley has taught technology to many individuals with a special emphasis in Attention Deficit Disorder. Cheryl Peasley has worked as an RN since 1979. One of her children has been diagnosed with a mild ADD disability. For more information, get to know Ken and Cheryl Peasley.

 

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