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“Hobbies Should Matter to ADHD Kids”

School is important, but it’s not the only thing that will prepare you for the future, says this seventh grader.

Who doesn’t like a movie about the reincarnation of a Chinese warrior saving the world from an evil villain? The movie Wendy Wu Homecoming Warrior (#CommissionsEarned) got me hooked on taking karate lessons. I was so obsessed that I pleaded with my mom for months to let me take karate. That was nearly six  years ago, and I’m now working toward my second-degree black belt.

You can’t expect kids with ADHD to move along through school and not offer them ways to unwind or escape. Kids like us need hobbies! Hobbies improve concentration and lower hyperactivity at the same time—if you choose the right activities. Aside from karate, which has been the greatest help to me, I discovered that playing a musical instrument is a benefit, too. Violin practice keeps my fingers and arms moving while also focusing my attention on the sheet music.

School usually takes most of our time because we have to work twice as hard as other students. If we don’t do well, we sometimes feel like failures. Kids, don’t have that mindset. Parents, don’t give your child that mindset. Repeat these six words: “There are options outside of school.”

School is important, but it isn’t the only thing that matters. Why? Hobbies broaden our interests, which lead to more career options. Hear me out: Those with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) are born with lots of imagination or creativity, but you can’t “learn” to develop it the way you learn about science or medicine. Those subjects are usually the basis of careers for non-ADHD students.

Developing our creativity will help us develop interests and find jobs such as painting or drawing, architecture, song-writing or playwriting, cooking, video game design, and performing (music, comedy). This is an important thing to remember, because often we aren’t as good at a lot of  school subjects as non-ADHD kids, even when we’re trying our hardest.

[Self-Test: Could Your Child Have ADHD?]

Find your creative talents through hobbies. I always liked writing, so I spent hours developing my ideas and typing stories on my laptop. I submitted some of them to fiction contests and even won prizes!

Some kids will read what I’m writing, and think that they no longer have to try in school. That would be a terrible decision. You need a minimum skill level, which you can learn in school, to have a chance at working in the creative field of your choice. You obviously need English, art, music, theater, technology classes, and other electives to develop your blossoming skills. Combine these subjects with hobbies and discover your gifts early, so you can build on them in your later years.

[Free Guide to Activities and Sports for Kids with ADHD]

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