Handling transitions when a child has ADHD

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Handling transitions when a child has ADHD

Transitions are not easy for anyone – you know, you’re engrossed in a project and somebody says, “It’s time to go.” You feel annoyed and maybe you ignore them so that you can complete the project, because this ability to delay the gratification of completing something, this ability to leave something and transition actually happens in your prefrontal cortex. And this prefrontal cortex is not fully developed in any child, in any person until you’re 26-years-old. And for a child who has neurological developmental gaps, who’s been labeled ADHD, this can be… transitioning can be particularly difficult, because their corpus callosum may not be working, so the two sides of their brain can’t communicate. And there’s not that connection to their prefrontal cortex. So I’ve three suggestions for transitions for any child, but particularly for a child who’s struggling and who’s been labeled ADHD. My first is to minimize transitions. My son had difficulty with ending reading time at bedtime, so we moved reading time to dinnertime. The second is to help your child with the transition and to leave a big buffer of time so that they have some space for upset. My third is to play your way through the transitions. Piggy back rides, pillow fights – even when you play your way through the transition, you can actually help your child to offload those feelings of upset and struggle as you’re helping them move through the transition that’s really on your timeframe, not theirs.

See Kathy Gordon's video on Handling transitions when a child has ADHD...


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Kathy Gordon

Parent Educator

Kathy Gordon is the single adoptive mother of a very spirited nine year-old boy, but was not prepared for the challenges of parenting a child whose brain was developed under stress. When her son was three, Kathy had the good fortune of taking parenting classes with Ruth Beaglehole, founding Director of the Center for Nonviolent Education and Parenting, (theechocenter.org), and she realized this powerful compassionate method of working with children was something she wanted to teach. She has been a teacher, director and coach most of her adult life. Kathy was certified as a Parent Educator through the Center for Nonviolent Education and Parenting in May of 2008, and will now continue her training by becoming a Certified Hand-in-Hand Parenting Parent Educator. Kathy works with families individually, teaches parenting classes and facilitates trainings for educators and schools communities. Her practice is called Unconditional Connection because we all long for connection, and we long to be unconditionally loved. We live in a society in which we are continually judged by our behavior. Kathy offers research-based information and tools to help people look underneath and beyond the behavior, so that we may be more unconditionally connected thus creating a world of cooperation and peace. 

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