In the olden days, girls attended finishing school to get, well, finished, I guess. I imagine their parents couldn’t get them completely done on their own. Boys were excluded from charm school, and hopefully just inherited it from their stately ancestors. But then, they weren’t dealing with AD/HD in those days.
And so we have the predicament of social skills and the AD/HD child, one does not respond correctly to body language and verbal cues like other kids.
So added to his/her inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, social skills deficits are thrown in the mix. Problems that can be very demoralizing in relationships with peers, teachers and family members. It’s important for AD/HD kids to have friends. Easy to say, hard to maintain. Impulsivity, sensitivity and poor anger management make it difficult to make and keep friends. High levels of sensitivity make AD/HD kids easy targets for bullies.
Team sports can be torturous for some of the kids. The team competition may cause teasing of the less coordinated members of the team, often your AD/HD youngster.
Team sports don’t have to be the only answer, though. There are lots of things you can do to help advance the social awareness of your child.
- Have one child over at a time. I like to have them to my house so I can keep an eye open on what strategies to help my child with for the next time.
- Debrief with your child after the play-date to show him/her how they can handle problems next time.
- Get teachers and the guidance counselor, or sports coaches involved in supporting your child’s friendships.
- Role play with your child ways to handle teasing. Compliment his/her ability to handle stress.
- Youth church groups are good, charitable organizations are excellent outlets for your child to participate in.
- Join clubs such as scouting and Indian guides where children participate in structured activities. Some kids enjoy school clubs like Chess Club and Computers.
- Sports do not have to be team oriented. Non-competitive junior league, bowling, and karate are excellent choices.
- Don’t forget to look into the arts. Many AD/HD children have benefited by music and art lessons, and drama clubs, including the behind the scenes positions.
- Most of all, help him/her develop strengths. Many AD/HD kids are really good with computers and fixing things. These can be important lifelong skills for them to develop.
- In addition, I have found that AD/HD children may be very sensitive to younger children with various issues. Helping others makes children feel empowered. In order for children to develop good social skills, they need to feel confident about themselves. They need opportunities to interact with peers on a regular basis.It is a learning process, just like learning how to play a sport or how to tie shoes. It takes a lot of practice.