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One of the difficulties that children with ADHD encounter is their excessive impulsiveness when it comes to performing tasks, whether they are those of daily life, or whether they are school tasks. Added to this impulsivity is the lack of attention or the difficulty in focusing attention on the relevant stimuli, that is, to which they would have to pay attention.
Self-instructions are very helpful for these children because:
- They facilitate the development of an inner language, which regulates their behavior, (it is like an inner voice that tells them how they have to proceed in each situation)
- They make it easier for them to be more thoughtful.
- They make them have successful experiences.
- They also improve the image they have of themselves.
Self-instructions are a behavior change technique that focuses on internal language as a regulator and modulator of behavior. In children with ADHD, that internal language sometimes does not exist, they tend to act and then think, but they do not reflect on what they are doing or have to do, that is why self-instruction training is very positive for them.
The training in self-instruction is a technique that professionals usually work on in work sessions With these children that we can also apply at home, (and at school) guided by a professional, who will guide us, advise us and teach us the technique to parents and teachers to be able to continue this work at home or in the classroom.
- At first the adult serves as a model, and he thinks aloud the steps he follows or how to solve a task. For example, when solving an alphabet soup, "What do I have to do? Okay, I have to find these words that are down in the alphabet soup, how am I going to do it? First I'm going to read the words that I have to search and then I will search horizontally for the first word, then vertically and then diagonally, until I find it. I will pay close attention to the first letter of the word .... "The adult serves as an example of how he acts in different situations.
- In a second moment, the adult gives the instructions, and the child performs the task.
- Once the child knows what to do, the child gives the instructions and carries out the task. As it is difficult work, we visually support the steps that need to be taken, so that the child has a written "plan" that he can follow and review all the steps.
- Little by little and as the child internalizes and automates these thoughts, you will not need to say them out loud or need a guide or visual support, And you can also extend these "thoughts" to all the tasks you do, both at school and at home.
Important questions to ask children are:
- That I have to do? What do you ask me? What I need?
- How am I going to do it? I plan ...
- Have I done everything? I review and check.
And as always, end with messages of encouragement and reinforcement, whether the task has gone well or not, the important thing is that they try and put it into practice.
Now that they have started school, it is very normal, for example, that children with ADHD, leave class without putting things in their backpack, (the bell rings and they leave without thinking about their backpack, homework, material ... ..) so training them in self-instructions is very useful for them. From home we can "train" them by preparing the backpack the day before with them. We can make a poster that is hung in your room where we will detail step by step what they have to do, for example:
I prepare the backpack to go to school:
- I check the schedule for the next day and see what subjects I have and what books, cards, notebooks I have to bring.
- I start with the first hour, "Mathematics", so I have to put the math notebook ... Then English, so I have to put the English card in my backpack ... and so on with all the subjects.
- I also have to bring the case, and the folder ...
- Everything is ready! I check .....
- If everything is fine, I close the backpack and leave it at the door of the house, to take it tomorrow before going to school ...
We will do this first with the children, and little by little they will do it alone. As motivation is very important, it is convenient that we reinforce this behavior, and give them positive words when they do it alone, and avoid negative words such as, "You have forgotten this again or take a good look, you have it written here ... "For them it is a very difficult task, so they need encouraging and positive words.
They will be able to do these same steps when they leave class, before returning home, (so from the classroom, giving them more time to go out, and reviewing with them the steps they have to take would be very positive for them), and in We will check if everything is okay at home, if something is missing, we remind you of the steps you have to take in class, and we encourage you for the next day, without getting angry ... let's remember that they try!
And as always, patience, love and words of encouragement.
You can read more articles similar to Why Kids With ADHD Should Use Self-Instructions, in the category of hyperactivity and attention deficit on site.