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Spreading Focus Strategies — and the ADHD Word

As a mother of a child with ADHD, I feel a sense of responsibility to spread the word about dealing with children who may not have been diagnosed with attention deficit yet.

I was reading the minutes from a Project Smyles team meeting last week at work. Project Smyles is Ames Public Library’s early literacy outreach program serving kids from birth to age 6 in daycare and preschool settings.

One of our storytime presenters reported having trouble with a child who disrupted her storytimes because he can’t sit still. Someone from the team suggested she try giving him something to hold, like a puppet that goes with the story — a good idea.

I couldn’t resist. I had to stick my nose in where it didn’t belong.

Consider the possibility, I responded via email, that some of the kids we serve will eventually be diagnosed with ADHD. If that’s the case for this particular child, then getting him to sit still shouldn’t be the main goal. Try inviting the child to stand or pace behind the group, where his moving around won’t distract the other children.

If he has ADHD, he may actually get more out of the storytime this way. Moving around could help him focus. For more ideas, visit…you know the drill!

Whoa. I’d never really thought about how our children are treated pre-diagnosis. Aren’t most kids with ADHD diagnosed in kindergarten or first grade? Nat was diagnosed with ADHD and treated early — and her first teachers were unusually expert.

“Thanks for your email. That’s good information,” Linda, Project Smyles’ coordinator said.

“If it helps just one child, I’ll be happy,” I replied.

How can you spread the ADHD word?