Monday, October 29, 2012

ADHD and Homework

In this article, How to Handle Hyperactivity in Kids with ADHD, the author quite accurately notes that children with ADHD are in a bind at school in that they are forced to sit still yet sitting still deprives them of the stimulation they need for them to listen and learn.  The following words are taken directly from the article:

“[They] can miss much of what is taught simply because their brains are not as stimulated when they are still,” Olivardia said. (However, as he said, “Perhaps the current setup of school, sitting still for 6 hours a day 5 days a week, is the real problem.”)

The article goes on to discuss what a parent should do in the home with the ADHD child, and, for the most part, it suggests that the child be given room to fidget and to move around. It also notes that detrimental effects on the child's ego to be constantly told that he or she must sit still. 

I like this article. I recommend reading it. I will note that the article does not make direct reference to homework, but the parallels to what I've often said about the homework trap are quite obvious. We place demands on the child to sit still and do the work. The demands go on for long periods of time since the work does not get done so the expectation never ends. Constantly tell the child to "do your homework" is the same as constantly saying "sit still," to the child who can't sit still. It has negative implications for the child's self-esteem, and possible long-term negative consequences for the child's future. And just as making the child sit still does not improve his capacity to learn, making the child do homework does not contribute in any way to his educational needs. Even if research supported homework for the average child (which it generally does not), it is still detrimental for the child with ADHD and, for that matter, for any child who is homework trapped, regardless of the cause (ADHD, auditory processing problems, grapho-motor problems, slow reading, etc.).


Dr. Kenneth Goldberg, is the author of The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Teachers, and Students, published by Wyndmoor Press.

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