Firstly I want to say that scientific stats say that only 3-5% of kids have ADHD.
Knowing this I think most teachers in the general school system and many parents claim at least 50% of kids have it because they struggle to control a class and it’s a great excuse to remove the responsibility away from themselves.
I think a lot of the time kids are just being kids and they have a lot more energy than most adults which makes it hard for us to keep up with them. I’ll always say that teaching kids martial arts is harder than teaching adults.
So, scientists/doctors say 3-5% of kids in general have ADHD… probably 5-8% of kids learning Martial Arts have a real case of this. The reason is because parents who have kids with boundless unfocussed energy look for a way to help focus and/or drain that excessive energy in the hopes that it will make their lives easier.
Teaching kids is tough and teaching kids with actual ADHD is obviously tougher but it’s not impossible and it is worth the effort when you get through to them.
Training/learning a martial art takes energy, so if you can capture the attention of a kid with a seemingly endless supply of energy then you have the opportunity to create a great Martial Artist.
I want to be up front and say that I am not an expert in this area and obviously results will vary. I’m offering this advice because a lot of people have been asking me this question. Here are my tips for teaching kids with ADHD:
1. Break your class lessons into smaller task chunks. This means you focus on a skill/activity for no more than 5 minutes.
2. Consistency in class rules. Often these kids will resist change and inconsistent behavior/rules. So if you have certain rules in your dojo you should enforce them. The consistency will be accepted over time.
3. Teach using different methods to get your point across, visually through actions or pictures and then verbally or in writing.
4. Provide warning that an activity is going to change. If you are training a drill tell the class that in 2 minutes you will be doing something else, then give them a 1 minute warning.
5. Keep new activities related when possible. If you are teaching a kicking technique, switch to a kicking drill, then a kicking game (try not to do completely unrelated activities as this will meet resistance.
6. Teach the kids self monitoring behavior. For example if a child keeps blurting out things during class then provide positive reinforcement for the behavior of raising a hand before speaking.
7. Be supportive. Look for their strengths and compliment them for their positive traits. Whenever you see them making an improvement offer them sincere praise.
These tips should help you with the kids in your classes. The great news is that these tips will be just as helpful with all of your students, not just the ADHD kids so start using them today.
Now, as I said I am not an expert on this issue so I have been researching information on this subject and one of the best books I have found is this one…
It explains ways to help kids with ADHD get the focus they need to learn and grow and be great young adults without the use of heavy prescription drugs.
I think too many people like to point fingers and make claims and there are far too many kids on control drugs to cure ADHD when they may not even suffer from it.
This book will show you ways to help the kids that really do have an attention deficit disorder in a healthy way.
I don’t often recommend products but I think this is some great info and I hope it helps keep some kid off heavy medication that in the long run causes more harm then good.
If you have kids that you really feel have ADHD then use the tips I’ve given you and if you can approach the parents without offending them then send them this link…
I hope this helps your young students to continue training and learning your martial art.
I wish you all the best