Focus on ADHD awareness

2018-09-26 06:01

FRIDAY, September 14, saw many South Africans commemorating National Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Day.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF South Africa), the day was aimed at raising awareness and providing information regarding the disorder.

In a brochure provided by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), ADHD is described as a neurobiological condition that renders those it afflicts with impairment. It was noted that ADHD often goes hand in hand with other psychiatric disorders, learning or language problems, and anxiety disorders.

Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour are the three core symptoms of ADHD that are often noted in sufferers.

ADHD can negatively affect a child’s interaction with other children, their time spent playing alone, homework, ability to follow family routine, mealtimes, academic performance, family activities, parent’s stress levels and emotional health.

Speaking on ADHD in the class room, and how a Montessori adapts to accommodate the pupils, Head of Indwe Learning Centre Iris Canham said: “In the Montessori, the environment [classroom] is designed in a way that minimises distraction. This is helpful for the ADHD child who needs an environment that does not overstimulate. Classrooms should promote a learning environment that promotes peace and calm to improve learning. As a first point of reference, we as educators should ask ourselves whether our classrooms are conducive for optimal potential and learning. Montessori follows an individualised approach where pupils work at their own pace. They move from task to task corresponding to their natural rhythm. The Montessori classroom takes cognisance that every child is curious and every child learns differently.”

Elaborating further, Montessori Directress of Indwe Learning Centre Tanja Zilz-Hobson said: “From a Montessori perspective, we look at a child as a whole — socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually...We work on the child’s strengths to find out his/her interests etc and incorporate this into their learning environment.”

In offering some tips for parents and teachers, Zilz-Hobson touched on the importance of nutrition, saying parents and teachers should ensure that children are eating balanced meals and exclude or minimise sugars and processed foods. She also stated that brain gym is a wonderful technique to introduce to children.

“Teachers can follow this technique before they start class. It is a group of energising activities used to balance and eliminate learning barriers. Teach children to brush the skin. Brushing the skin awakens neurons,” said Zilz-Hobson.

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