The Importance of Teaching Self-Advocacy Skills to Children with ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurological condition associated with under activation of the frontal lobe. This area of the brain is also associated  boy with ADHDwith the executive functioning skills such as organization, time management; planning, impulse control, cognitive flexibility, and ability to self monitor one’s work. Children with ADHD without a doubt demonstrate poor executive functioning. These children have difficulty initiating action on tasks, organizing materials appropriately, managing time effectively, etc. These are all skills that can be developed and improved; however, they are also areas that need be accommodated in order for the child to perform to his or her ultimate potential. Many articles and blogs (link to my past blogs on EF) have been published regarding teaching executive functioning skills. There is also ample work out that there that provides accommodations that teachers may utilize in the classroom setting. We can teach the child the skills, we can accommodate the child; however, if the child is not a self advocate than it is all for naught.

 Step 1 To Teaching Children To Advocate For Themselves:

The first stage to begin to develop self advocacy skills is for the child to be able to recognize that he or she exhibits weaknesses or deficits with particular skill sets. Explain to the child (in child friendly terms) what it means to lack organization skills, have difficulty planning, and struggle with time management. Use daily examples from the child’s life (e.g. how long did homework take last night? How long should have it taken?). Once the child identifies that there is a problem he or she can then work on solving the problem.

Step 1 To Teaching Children To Advocate For Themselves:

The next step is to target one task at a time. Work with the child to create a list of areas that can be improved (e.g. morning routine, homework, organizing his/her room). Once the list is created, have the child number them in order from the biggest problem to the smallest problem. Self advocacy skills are developed by the child being able to develop the solution to the problems through Socratic dialogue with parent and not by parent simply providing a list of what needs to be done (e.g., what do you have to do first? …., well, that is one step, but is there something that needs to go before that?). This process is time consuming and will create headaches for many parents on a daily basis. However, if you ultimately want the child to develop the skill set, he or she must develop the solutions. After the first problematic behavior is tackled, the parents and child should then target the second one on the list in a similar manner. There are many strategies and devices (use of timers, checklists, etc) that are way too exhaustive to be explained in this blog that are wonderful tools to help with task completion; however, the first step is for the child to identify that he or she needs help.

The ultimate goal of childhood is to develop independence and skills necessary to live in society. One of the most important skills to develop is self-advocacy; to be able to identify that one has a problem and also to know when to seek others out for help and guidance.

If You Would Like To Receive Our Blogs In Your Email: Please Sign-Up Here!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *