My seven year old child has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and if you think ADHD is simply not being able to focus or stay still, you are wrong. So very, very wrong. Children with ADHD can be impulsive, anxious, easily frustrated, and highly sensitive. They can be socially awkward, have low self esteem, and be very defiant. The list goes on and on and ADHD affects children differently. While one child with ADHD may have a difficult time making and keeping friends, another child with ADHD can be the most popular kid at school. Each child with ADHD is unique and so are their symptoms. Even ADHD medication can affect children differently. What works wonders for one child’s focusing could turn another child into an emotional wreck. When it comes to treating ADHD, it’s a whole lot of trial and error unfortunately, but once you find something that works, it can be a Godsend for your child and your family.
My child’s behavioral therapist has taught her some wonderful coping mechanisms, like deep breathing and imagining she is in a forest when she is feeling overwhelmed. At home, my child and I do role playing and act out situations that may arise in real life, so when they do happen, she will know what to say and do.
My child has taken role playing and her love for acting (She started Drama this year) and turned it into her very own play therapy as a way to cope with her ADHD. She comes up with a situation that she has recently found herself in and has her toys and dolls act it out in a video. She has covered topics such as becoming distracted in school and starting ADHD medication. This is great therapy for her, because it helps her to really think about the situation and her feelings and it is all on her terms. The best part of all is she is providing the therapy for herself through playing, which I think is absolutely amazing. We decided to turn her videos into a series called The Shiny Playground on My Little Villagers’ YouTube channel. She hopes her videos will help teach other young children with ADHD that they are not alone, as well as educate children without ADHD about what it is like for children with ADHD. She is helping bring ADHD Awareness to the world and she is only seven years old! Kids with ADHD are truly amazing!
She also hopes that The Shiny Playground videos will inspire other children with ADHD to do their own play therapy at home. Not only is it a great way for children to work through their emotions and really think about what is going on in their lives, I am finding that it is teaching my child excellent life skills. For example, she is learning great organization and planning skills. She organizes the scenes, characters, and most important of all, the scripts. She carefully plans what the story will be about, which is helping her learn to not be so impulsive and to be more patient. She is also learning to control her behavior better. On her very first episode of The Shiny Playground (Sam’s Classroom Trouble), she was very excited and practically screaming in the video. After I explained to her that her screaming may hurt people’s ears, she has been making a conscious effort to keep her voice at a reasonable volume. Parents of children with ADHD know how difficult it is for our children to pause and take note of their behavior and then alter it, so for my child to do this is truly remarkable to me.
If you have a young child, we hope you will show them The Shiny Playground series and encourage them to do play therapy at home. If you or your child has an idea for The Shiny Playground, please leave a comment. My child would love to hear your suggestion! Thank you!
Thank you to Cristina Margolis for this truly inspiring post! To see more from Cristina on her website, click here!