ADHD 4 years old – school assistant asking for help

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    • #64585

      Hello. First of all, please, forgive me my mistakes in English. Last week I started working as a school assistant in one state kindergarten in the Czech Republic. I supposed to work with Mongolian kids that do not speak Czech, but at the end, I became a personal assistant to one little 4 and a half years old boy that has ADHD. The classrooms are mixed – from 2 years old children till 6 years old preschoolers, which is already not a simple task for the class teacher. Anyway, during the past month, for the class teacher it was impossible to make any schoolwork with children, while the little ADHD boy was present (he is present only 2and a half hours a day). Since I have started working with him, she manages to teach, but some of “normal” kids are now confused, and cannot understand why this little ADHD boy has a special treatment and is allowed to do what is forbidden to them.

      For example, I have found out that he loves playing with water, so we are spending at least one hour a day in the bathroom, where he is playing with his teeth brush etc. This is allowed only to him, so another two boys would like to join and rather play with us than fulfill what the class teacher requires from them, so when they start interrupting too much the teacher puts them in my care.

      Well I must admit, that I was quite shocked when I met him. I have three vivid kids myself, but they are listening what I say to them and before or later they do what I tell them to do. The first day, this ADHD boy was paying no attention to my instructions, actually he was pretending not to hear me, but everything what I have declared as not appropriate, he was immediately trying to do. He was changing activities every five minutes, taking toys from another children, being even aggressive to them, eating food while running arround, not sitting with others, interrupting all the time, being loud when children were asked to be quiet, etc. But the next day, I have noticed that he is sometimes aware of not behaving well – for example when he was too aggressive to another child or when he destroyed something that belonged to another child, he went to a hidden place in the classroom, below one teachers desk, where other children do not go and stayed there hidden for a while. I am sure he is not a bad person, he just cannot control his emotions and reactions, but unfortunately other children think he is, and even some teachers think he is a naughty boy.

      Well, I am just an assistant, not a teacher, but I can’t punish a child when I see that he cannot help himself. One of suggestions was to make him sit with me and watch others if he doesn’t want to participate in collective activities. But I think that will not help, that could only frustrate him and me as well. What I was doing last days is that I make him allowed to do activities that didn’t harm anyone and he stopped being aggressive to others. Any time when I feel that it is already too much, I try to offer him another activity and so far it works. And he is so happy with some activities. The class teacher is glad that she finally can teach, but at the same time, some other kids make more problems.

      Please, could you advise me, if it is better for such a little child to force more order and discipline, so that other children do not wish to join us, or I can do it my way, slowly trying to affect his behaving, but with a very little result.

      Thank you

    • #64603
      Penny Williams

      I think your instincts are on target. You can see that his behavior is outside his control and knowing that “forcing” him to comply will not be effective. Offering compassion and understanding is a great start.

      Instead of doing separate activities with him all the time, can the teacher incorporate some of what he loves, like water play, into the class lessons? Accommodating so he can participate in class is the ideal approach.

      Starting with Preschool, Strive for Kids Who Thrive

      Working on lagging skills like emotional regulation and frustration tolerance will help him as well.

      “ADHD and Emotional Regulation: A Parent’s Guide”

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

      • #65148

        When the behavior is as compulsive as a sneeze or a cough, traditional discipline responses will not be effective in extinguishing the behavior. Look for instances and situations and circumstances and activities that seem to calm and focus the student. Ask the student’s parents, other caregivers, former teachers and colleagues what they do to calm and focus your student or students like your student. Read the literature. Keep researching. Construct these situations and circumstances and observe the results. What doesn’t work one day, may work another day. Record your action research with date, time, circumstances, backgrounds, etc information. The high energy levels of ADHD students interfere with their ability to monitor their behavior. Take the student outside and find ways to burn of their energy. Teach the lesson outside even on a cold day. Use a balance ball chair as a privilege instead of a chair in the classroom. It burns energy. Let the student use headphones in two way: with no connection to deaden classroom sounds that are too stimulating and distracting and with music or chants or soothing sounds to help the student manage their thoughts.

    • #66061

      Thank you very much for your replies!!! Excuse me for answering so late – we were all sick for a while, my children and me and even the ADHD boy. The principal made a deal with his parents that he will stop attending our kindergarten from November and try again in March or April. He will be five in April, so they think he can mature a bit. Also psychiatrics give medicine to children rather older, at least five years old.

      It is a pity I could not work with him a bit longer, only 12 days altogether. There was a little result, for example, I thought him to ask to borrow a toy and to say please and thank you (I am always next to him, so I can remind him how to say it again and again). Sometimes it works and sometimes not, mostly because some children do not like him and do not want to give him anything. However he was so surprised when another child simply gave him a toy. Without a battle. On the other hand, one of his last activities was painting. Children were asked to use red or brown color to paint a big circle about 25cm as a part of a mushroom. Of course he immediately mixed both colors, painted not only the circle, but the whole paper and before I could stop him he painted a bit also papers of other children sitting next to him. The teacher was furious, she threw away his paper and forbidden him to participate.

      We will see, if his behaving will correct a bit. My competition is very little, compared to the main teacher, I have to follow her instructions. The school system is very traditional here, probably it cannot be much different when there are more that 20 children in one class, some not even 3 years old and some almost seven years old. These children are thought to listen to the teacher, to be disciplined and in some activities to be self-dependent. If it doesn’t work, then it is a problem.

      So thank you very much for your ideas, I will do my best to try to use it if the teacher allows me. In the meantime I will try to find the literature, the literature in Czech is mainly concerning school attending ADHD children (6 years and older), it seems that preschool children do not make such a problem, they can always be sent home. It is a bit sad. I have time until March. Best regards from Bohemia!!!

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