Archive for the 'At School' Category
The powerpoint presentation Dr. Rotz used at the Education Minnesota Teachers Conference, explaining how activity in our sensory system impacts ADHD and executive functions, is available in the previous post. The presentation blended with the unveiling of the AlphaBetter Desk or “stand up desk” with the swinging footrest. The desk, which was originated by Abby Brown, is an outstanding alternative for ADHD children, teens and adults to allow them to be ADHD invisible in the classroom! To learn more about the desk, you can contact Dr. Rotz, or go online at www.safco.com or www.standupforlearning.com.No comments
One thing Dr. Rotz and I dream of is that Fidget to Focus one day will be required reading for every elementary and high school teacher. Imagine how the school experience would change for all children if teachers understood the neuro-biological reason for fidgeting and and used fidgeting to enhance learning rather than trying to eliminate it! This month we got one step closer to that dream.
The Education Minnesota Professional Conference is Minnesota’s largest professional development event for educators. This year, Dr. Rotz was the keynote speaker. His presentation was well received by the hundreds of educators there, and at the bookstore Fidget to Focus sold out! For those who are interested, here’s the PowerPoint from his presentation: Fidget to Focus-Sensory System Impact on ADHD Minnesota
We were pleased to find out about this article by Linda Shrieves, staff writer for the Orlando Sentinel. She is also reporting on the new research out of the University of Central Florida that documents what so many of us have known for so long: fidgeting helps you stay focused (see the article in Time Magazine that we blogged on earlier).
In her article from May 25, 2009, Linda writes:
If you’ve got a kid with ADHD, you’ve probably spent countless hours pleading with him to sit still.
Well, stop it.
Fidgeting, as it turns out, helps kids with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder focus. So just like grown-ups need a cup of coffee before tackling a problem, kids with ADHD may tap their feet, swivel in their chairs or bounce in their seats while their brains are busily figuring out that math test.
That’s the conclusion of a groundbreaking study conducted by a team at the University of Central Florida, led by Dr. Mark Rapport.
You can read the rest of the article HERE.
(Thanks, Linda!)No comments
This is a letter we received from email:
Hello Dr. Rotz,
My 5-year-old son was diagnosed with AD/HD earlier this year. He started Kindergarten this fall and immediately began to have his usual problem of concentrating for any “normal” length of time. When he cannot focus, he tends to distract the other children and misbehave. At home, he has to have something in his hands (usually a small toy of some sort) to focus on a task. His teacher thought that maybe if she had something in class he could hold onto or do, he would concentrate better there. While doing research to find something suitable and less distracting to him and the other children (he tends to start playing with small toys after a while), I came across the book you co-authored with Ms. Wright. Unless I overlooked it on your site, I didn’t see if the strategies in your book included children. I would like to buy the book but I need to know if the information is only tailored toward adults. Also, if adults are the target audience, could the techniques possibly be modified to work with children?
Thank you for your time.
A Concerned Mother
This was our response:
The book really does address the complexity of ADHD from child to adult. Many of the strategies are directed toward children, while the overriding theme focuses on all ages. I recently presented on Fidget to Focus in the Classroom. The powerpoint from that presentation is available here: fidget-to-focus-in-the-classroom1
My hope is that these strategies help you and many others who are struggling to find effective tools for assisting their children in the classroom.No comments
After the ADD Class on Fidget to Focus, my friend and fellow coach, Rick Prevatt, sent us these strategies that have worked for his clients:
- One client used to strap a light to his head, and go walking around the block at night. Said he could read it one time and remember it that way.
- I had clients that put something underneath one leg of the chair or desk at school so it was unbalanced, and they could rock it.
- Rocking in a rocking chair while studying works consistently with many people.
- Listening to books on tape while running or exercising works well too.
- One client would read out loud, but it was boring her and she couldn’t retain the info. When I listened to her, it bored me too. I had her then read it in a funny comical way, and she could remember and understand easily that way.
- Another person had problems focusing during test. I sent her a pen that had a level in it. She would balance the bubble in the middle, and it was just enough to allow her to focus easily.
I coach a lot of kids, teens with ADHD from upper class/upper middle class homes. They all want their kids to get straight A’s, of course. Well, as a good teacher, and having dealt with my own restlessness as well as with many ADHD teens in high schools for over 14 years, I experimented a lot with how to keep focused. Accidentally I found ways to do it: I used play dough, beanie babies, silly putty, food, you name it. Then I found your book!!!!
Not only do I feel justified for doing all those things that principal’s used to think were nuts, but my mind was set at ease. I also had a justifiable argument with “strict” parents for a way to allow their kids to find their own learning styles. That is so important.
I used to do all sorts of things with my daughter, who is now going to be a senior in high school and is on the Honor Roll. I was told she would NEVER earn more than a C and would always be just average!!!! Well, NOT.
Not only have I read your book, but I buy extra copies and hand it out to parents. In fact, I am going out and getting more books. I have one very uptight parent, and I want her to see what you have to say. I have said it, but your book supports my views and it’s actually in writing!!!! It sounds so much more scientific that way.
- Sandy (from email)No comments
In the Ask the Expert section of the November 2006 issue of ADDitude magazine, a woman wrote that her boss was opposed to her knitting during meetings. You wrote that she should try some other, perhaps more discrete, mindless activity to help her stay focused (see Staying Focused).
I found many mindless activities in my local dollar store!
Your book lists the Alert Program web site as a Resource. When I checked out the products there I discovered that at the dollar store I had purchased a reflex ball, similar to ones priced from $5.95 to $15.95 on the website, for–you guessed it–only $1.00!
I also wanted to add that The Atlas Pen and Pencil Co. sells bendable pencils, velvet pencils and other sensory-type writing tools on the web site ForTeachersOnly.com.
- Anne (from email)No comments
PhD/writing fidget: Dragon Naturally Speaking Voice Recognition Software is a lifesaver for many of us with ADHD. I’ve got a number of academic publications under my belt and I’m very comfortable with the writing process, but I get overwhelmed with all the information and data at a certain point and then I can’t write. My perfectionism kicks in and I feel I can’t write anything until I know everything about a topic and until all the possible information is organized perfectly. Ha! Then I had a Eureka moment. Although I couldn’t write my paper, I could explain it very concisely, logically, and powerfully to a listener within about 10 minutes. Wow! So I got the idea to give the same explanation to a tape recorder, and transcribe it. This led me to purchase Dragon NS software. I use it mostly for my first draft.
PhD/writing fidget: Along similar lines, I often organize my journal articles and thesis as though I had to give an hour-long presentation on them, using Power Point. It’s really great! I know I need an introductory slide, then I need one slide for background on the problem, one for the objectives of the study, one for the methodology, and a couple for the results, ending with one concluding slide. Bingo, there’s my outline! All those zillions of thoughts and ideas have been boiled down to the basic points. What helps is that you can use interesting backgrounds and visuals for Power Point. I think that’s also a fidget. But the real fidget is to fake myself into preparing an oral presentation, while in effect really writing a paper. I’ll even “rehearse” my presentation out loud — that’s often how I get it boiled down into the slides themselves.
Writing fidget: I love using wild and wacky fonts and colours when doing boring writing tasks. Then I just convert everything back to some boring font in black before sending it out.
Wall colour: I work much better in a home office with a stimulating wall colour. For me, the best “work” wall colour seems to be a very bright and intense apple-green. I also have brightly coloured accessories, such as a bright orange file box, etc. It seems to wake my brain up.
Thinking/writing fidget: Although I use all the pre-writing techniques (free-writing, mindmapping, etc.), there comes a point when I need to put it all out of my mind and go for a long bike ride (summer) or walk. I take my laptop on the bike, or at least a pen and paper — and all of a sudden, everything will clarify, so I’ll stop moving and madly type or scribble it all down. Then I’ll move some more, although by then, I’m usually anxious to get back home and capitalize on the creative burst of clarifying mental energy that came from doing the activity.
Cafe: I think you talked about this in your book, but I take my laptop or Palm Pilot with wireless keyboard to a cafe, along with a task that has been hard for me to focus on in my home office. The change of environment really seems to help me focus on the task I’ve brought along.
Moving my work location: I love the summers (I live in Montreal where the winters are long), because I have lots more choice about how and where to work. I might start at my desktop in the morning, while still in my PJs. Then I’ll take a break, shower, breakfast. My next location is outside — for two years it was the back gallery of an old flat that faced onto a busy street, and I became known as “the lady who works on the balcony with her laptop” — and I could watch the neighbourhood pass by while I worked. After lunch, I’d put the laptop onto my bike and cycle to a nearby grassroots community cafe, which I called “my second office.” They had free wireless access and excellent coffee and an eccentric mix of community activists and students. I’d work there for a few hours, then go home. Change of environment seems to really help me work.
Working on the Metro (subway): I’ve learned that some of my best thinking happens in the 10 minutes or so that it takes me to get downtown on the Metro. I mostly use this time for brainstorming and outlining, using my Palm Pilot to get down my thoughts in point form. I think it’s not only the novel environment, but also the time limited nature of the journey — very short in terms of working time but very looooonnnnggg for someone with ADD who has nothing to do on the trip. So I break my boredom and break the back of a “stuck” task at the same time.
I hope these are helpful to someone else. Feel free to use them in your book.
- Silvia (from email)1 comment
I crochet everywhere. If my hands have a hook and yarn in them I can sit through college classes, lectures, church services, or anything. Not only do I just sit (an accomplishment in itself), I can listen and tune into what a speaker is saying AND keep my mouth shut. This accomplishments could be on the top ten miracles list!
Also, I’ve noticed less behavior problems in classes when you give add kids either playdough, a small rope and illustrations on “how to tie knots, paper to do oragami–any thing to keep their hands occupied. They seem to remember more and participate appropriately when they can do something.
- Jeannie (from email)1 comment