October is AD/HD Awareness Month!

A child with attention issues is typically unaware when they’re daydreaming or forgetting, so they’re unable to prevent it. When a child experiences constant correction for executive functioning that’s outside their control, they may begin to internalize the frequent reprimands. So, if the behavior is undesirable, they conclude that they must also be undesirable.  But because children often find alternate ways of coping, sometimes the drawbacks of executive functioning issues can be flipped to a positive, and it’s important to point those out. 

  • Emphasize positives by encouraging activities that strengthen them. If they are curious, what are they curious about? Check out library books on the topic, get a microscope, create a scavenger hunt. Note aloud the amazing things their curiosity uncovers. 
  • If they are forgetful, perhaps it is because their mind is so busy! Ask the child what’s on their mind—you may discover something you didn’t realize, and you’ll help them begin a practice of self-awareness by being mindful of their thoughts and behavior. 
  • If they daydream, you may find that their imagination is a spectacular thing, filled with creativity and joy. Perhaps they are artistic or tell wonderful stories. Give them a sketchbook to keep by their bed or record their stories to play back for later. Dive into their imagination with them!
  • Find real-life examples of how the child’s positive qualities can make a difference in the world, such as Madame Curie’s curiosity winning her the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, or Neil Armstrong’s risk-taking sending him to space, or how this humble author’s imagination helped to create this very book! 
  • For every corrective comment, incorporate a practice of sandwiching it with positives. “You are so observant! But now is not the time to be noticing the birds, we are doing letters. Later you can tell me all about your awesome detective powers and what you noticed the birds doing.” 

This exclusive excerpt is from the Author Notes in Merriam Sarica Saunders’, LMFT, new book, My Wandering, Dreaming Mind, to be published by Magination Press in April 2020.

by Merriam Sarcia Saunders, LMFT

This Article's Author

Merriam Sarcia Saunders, LMFT, is a psychotherapist who specializes in helping families of children with autism spectrum disorder, AD/HD, and learning disabilities. She lives in Northern California.

Related Books from Magination Press

  • My Wandering, Dreaming Mind

    Merriam Sarcia Saunders, LMFT

    Sadie, a young girl who daydreams of clouds and ponies and bubbles and ice cream, just can’t seem to pay attention to what she is supposed to be doing!  Sadie has trouble keeping track of school work, friends, chores, and all the little business heaped on a kids her age. So her mom comes up with a clever plan to bolster her confidence and keep her spirits up to remind her how lovable and fun, creative, and smart she is and help her feel OK about her wandering, dreaming mind.