More On ADD
Ian Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Tue, 7 Mar 1995 18:28:34 GMT
Hi Jon and everybody ...
>I was wondering if someone could post or send me a list of
>symptoms/characteristics of ADD. I realize that there will be some
>variations between people, and a real diagnosis requires a professional,
>but it could be helpful to at least be able to have an idea whether
>problems we might have with kids would possibly be caused by ADD or whethe
>to look elsewhere in trying to solve the problem.
Try getting Hallowell & Ratey's " Driven to Distraction " for starters -
it should be in public libraries. There are a lot of good checklists but
the following introduction is based on that from LADDER , the UK
The markers are that a child will have elements of the following <when
compared with others of the same peer group >
1. Inattention . Appears easily distractible , has difficulty concentating.
Procrastinates when starting tasks or has trouble finishing them. Has
problems following instructions. Tunes out or daydreams or just wanders
2. Impulsiveness - acts without thinking. Has difficulty taking turns. Makes
inappropriate remarks. Calls out or interrupts other speakers. Moves from
one unfinished task to another.
3. Overactivity (BUT note - some ADDers are withdrawn) Fidgets , restless,
tapping fingers,feet etc. Engages innon-task related activity. Accident
4. Disorganisation - loses toys , school materials , projects. Does not act
on instructions. The typical ADDer leaves messpiles. the kid whose bedroom
even other teenagers call disorganised !
5. Social skills deficits - may appear immature , insensitive, awkward. May
be a bully or natural victim (or both). Demanding attention. Aggressive,
over-reactive to minor problems. Short fused.
Often you will spot a kid who has a lot of these symptoms. It is not
necessarily ADD - as you say , only a full medical and psychological
assessment will determine that. But it may suggest a problem is there.
But remember that first and foremost you are dealing with a Scout , not a
pathological specimen. ADD Scouts probably do NOT need a great deal of
special treatment beyond the application of common sense. If a Scout knows
that you are sympathetic and understanding he is more likely to be willing
to confide his vulnerability to you. Most ADD kids have been called lazy ,
stupid or naughty by adults in authority , and often feel bad about
themselves and their abilities.
- Some of Ian's Hints for dealing with ADD Scouts -
* Do not assume that your Scout has understood what you said. Give him time
to think. It's not that he is stupid - many ADDers have above average
intelligence. It's just that from time to time his mind goes channel surfing
and he is just not tuned to your channel. Do not say " Pay attention " ...
it's as much good as telling a short-sighted kid to just look harder ... and
just as hurtful.
* When teaching check that he is learning. (Something a good instructor does
anyway.) Ask him to feed back what he thinks you have said. Say things
differently. Use practical and verbal and maybe written material as well.
Mnemonics , silly poems etc. help. I learnt to tie a bowline with Fred the
rabbit coming out of his hole , round the back of the tree ... I still
teach the treatment of shock is WAR ( warmth, air, rest ) and its symptoms
are the three c's ( cold, clammy, chalky ) Stuff I learnt over thirty years
ago as a Wolf Cub.
* Give frequent feedback. Make it positive and encouraging. Often ADDers are
made to feel lazy, stupid or crazy. Reinforcing self-esteem not only makes
for more effective learning , it benefits the individual himself. A word of
praise goes a long way. Small rewards and reinforcements given little and
often work better than masses of praise when the task is completed .
* Praise positive behaviour. Use punishment sparingly, as a last resort and
only for major violations. That does not mean sheltering a kid from a
negative consequence of his acts , within sensible limits.
* Have " rules " which can be understood and remind the kid before entering
a situation if possible. " You are going to use an ax. Remember the ax
stays in the axyard. Only one person chopping at a time. What else did we
teach you ? "
* Be prepared to give tactful, confidential feedback on behaviour. " John,
you shouted at Billy when he didn't do KP. How do you feel when people
shout at you ? Does it help ? How can you handle the problem better
next time ? <prompt> Do you prefer to be asked or told ? etc.
* Set short-term goals and check progress at intervals. Break down tasks and
instructions into short chunks. Change activities, presentation , pace.
I hope this helps ...
ASM Troop 401 BSA , American School in London, UK
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City