How quarantine is impacting childhood development in kids with ADHD?
The coronavirus has affected everyone in one way or another, but for children who had only known school, everything that was familiar to them for their entire lives completely changed overnight. As far as children with ADHD, there are some positives and negatives that come from required homeschooling, most of which is conducted from a computer screen.
Though hands-on activities and school resources are a bit more difficult to come by, there are some positives related to ease of focus relevant to screens, a lack of fellow students, and some other factors. Here are some pros and cons regarding quarantine and its effects on children with ADHD.
For many children with ADHD, screens have been proven to keep their attention longer than a typical teacher/classroom setting. Thus, the process of learning is actually becoming easier for many kids with ADHD, so long as they have supervision making sure the screen is, indeed, what the child is focusing on. Without supervision, a houseful of toys, videogames, siblings, and more can certainly take a kid’s attention away from a teacher on a screen. Another pro regarding screens is the simple fact that staying inside is the right thing to do to prevent the spread of the virus. Generally, you want to encourage your children to get outside and play as part of their well-being, but social distancing is still better for them, for the time being.
Neurodiversity is the practice of treating students of all learning types and levels equally, and it also has pros and cons relative to remote learning. One of the pros is relative to children with ADHD, as it is not something that all teachers know how to properly deal with, but most parents of children with it, do. Relative to classroom activities, however, some parents have obviously not seen what works best when helping their children pay attention, so communicating with teachers is important, too.
Cons (and how to keep them at bay)
The lack of structure related to a typical school day can make school from home seem even more mundane, and thus more difficult to pay attention to. Creating a schedule at home, similar to the one they had at school, can help combat this effect. Make sure your kids are getting up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, and even having a recess period during the school day.
Distractions are aplenty at school… but there tend to be even more at home. If possible, make sure your child has a clean workspace, devoid of anything they would use as entertainment (aside from the computer, of course). Keeping tabs on their screens can be as distracting to them as anything else they can find online, though, so encouragement and reward are the best ways to keep your kids from opening up unrelated windows to social media or other distracting websites.
Another con is that teachers and counselors can’t relay information about your student to you if it is no longer really their responsibility to keep an eye on them “in” the digital classroom. In addition to the simple fact that there is another human in your home who was previously at school, it’s important to remember that someone was watching that human, and now you have to take on some of that responsibility to ensure he or she stays on track.
Given that the pros section has a lot of things relevant to increased focus due to screens, it’s important to keep a close eye on your child’s development and success on tests and homework. There is a very good chance he or she winds up working better in a remote classroom, and you may want to consider this as an option even after schools go back to the brick-and-mortar classes.