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DIY Children Toys And Crafts - How I Got My ADHD Child Interested

Updated on March 8, 2015

Problem and Objective

My son, now almost 6 (March, 2015), elder in my set of two children is very hyperactive and attention deficit. He loses focus fast and can't seem to concentrate on anything for more than 5 minutes at a time. Storytelling was a lost cause and for a child who did not talk until he was two and half years, I needed to find a way to get him interested and talking.

I focused on three things:

1. Getting him interested.

2. Keeping him interested.

3. Doable, easy projects that can be wrapped up in about half an hour, tops.

Backstory...

In laymen terms, ADD or ADHD in children can be said to be a disorder which doesn't let a child concentrate on a single thing for long periods. This can have far reaching effects on the social life and academic prowess of a child.

Speech Delay...

My child, in particular had always been inattentive and hyperactive. He had no language until he was 2.5 years old and only spoke 3-4 words up until 3 years old. When he was two years and 11 months, I had another baby, a girl. Then on, I saw a marked improvement in my son's speech. Maybe it was natural progression or maybe it was the effect of having an early talking sibling, or maybe both. Today he is two months short of 6 years and he has yet to be able to speak fluently. Still, he has come a long, long way. He is now receptive to instructions both at school and at home. We were advised to not put him in a "normal school" after his preschool, but we decided to go with our gut and he seems to be doing fine. The teacher is absolutely okay with his performance and behavior. Lately after around 10+ months (vacations included) of being with the same teacher, he has become rather naughty and has been reported by the teacher to be playing truant with other children. I think that is a good sign that he is able to find common ground with some of his classmate, something he has not been able to do with the kids in his school bus. Since during the travel time in the school bus the only way to bond is by talking, he doesn't seem to be making much progress. But when in class he is able to play and engage physically and that he is a master at.

Diagnosis...

My son was diagnosed with autism and ADHD by some doctors others ruled out autism, some said he had low IQ .... one thing everyone, including us agreed on was that he was highly hyperactive and his inattentiveness and refusal to engage verbally or socially has got him put in the autistic/low IQ bracket. Personally, my diagnosis would be attention deficit, hyper-activeness and language delay/disorder (both receptive and expressive). I refused to put my child on any meds and decided to play the wait and watch game. I promised myself that I would put him on meds only if he was not able to function normally without them.

One things about my son is that he doesn't have any health/behavior issues, other than those listed here. He does have some awkwardness in social communication which is largely due to his imperfect mannerisms of communicating. He does not have the irritability or rebellion typical of ADHD kids, nor is he withdrawn or shy or anything. He has always been a playful, healthy child.

Speech Delay...

My child, in particular had always been inattentive and hyperactive. He had no language until he was 2.5 years old and only spoke 3-4 words up until 3 years old. When he was two years and 11 months, I had another baby, a girl. Then on, I saw a marked improvement in my son's speech. Maybe it was natural progression or maybe it was the effect of having an early talking sibling, or maybe both. Today he is two months short of 6 years and he has yet to be able to speak fluently. Still, he has come a long, long way. He is now receptive to instructions both at school and at home. We were advised to not put him in a "normal school" after his preschool, but we decided to go with our gut and he seems to be doing fine. The teacher is absolutely okay with his performance and behavior. Lately after around 10+ months (vacations included) of being with the same teacher, he has become rather naughty and has been reported by the teacher to be playing truant with other children. I think that is a good sign that he is able to find common ground with some of his classmate, something he has not been able to do with the kids in his school bus. Since during the travel time in the school bus the only way to bond is by talking, he doesn't seem to be making much progress. But when in class he is able to play and engage physically and that he is a master at.

Diagnosis...

My son was diagnosed with autism and ADHD by some doctors others ruled out autism, some said he had low IQ .... one thing everyone, including us agreed on was that he was highly hyperactive and his inattentiveness and refusal to engage verbally or socially has got him put in the autistic/low IQ bracket. Personally, my diagnosis would be attention deficit, hyper-activeness and language delay/disorder (both receptive and expressive). I refused to put my child on any meds and decided to play the wait and watch game. I promised myself that I would put him on meds only if he was not able to function normally without them.

One things about my son is that he doesn't have any health/behavior issues, other than those listed here. He does have some awkwardness in social communication which is largely due to his imperfect mannerisms of communicating. He does not have the irritability or rebellion typical of ADHD kids, nor is he withdrawn or shy or anything. He has always been a playful, healthy child.

Below: One of the first crafts projects we did over the summer when after he had turned 4

This simple project had humble intentions:

  1. Using simple things, get him interested in making anything.
  2. Let him help if he wants.
  3. Simple pasting and coloring which can participate in.
  4. Display item which he can take pride in for a while (until it become unusable).


Getting the child involved while having fun

This is one exercise which requires little resources and a child of age 1 year and upwards can enjoy it.

This includes crumpling little 1.5 x 1.5 inches squares of colorful kite paper and sticking them. You can take simple line drawings of animals/birds/cartoons or scenes. And stick the papers in a systematic manner so as to create a picture. You can print out some shapes and then color them and ask the children to stick crumpled kite paper to those areas which correspond to a color. Sticking a big eye or two will make the animal look more real.

Tackling the Storytelling Problem

We all hear about how storytelling and constant engagement helps a child develop early speech. Now, what do you do when the child wouldn't engage without you more than a few seconds. As a toddler he only learned the basic instructions. At age 3+ he would not learn any poems or listen to any stories. Cartoon time meant something which didn't require following of a storyline. The antics of Oggy and the Cockroaches amused him no end and he gained several mannerisms and some rouge language from them.

Other than that, he wouldn't sit down for a story. I tried to tackle this problem using a cardboard puzzle game. He has been fond of solving puzzles since he was barely 2 years. He would just guess and frantically try each piece until they all fit and a picture was formed. He did not use a problem solving approach, still it showed us clearly that he wasn't "slow". After just 1-2 attempts at 3-4 piece puzzle he would be able to put each piece back together by memory.

So, I got a 9 piece puzzle for him and would solve it again and again with him retelling the story every time. Often I would have to grab his impatient hands as they tried to solve the puzzle in a jiffy without caring about the story.

This way he started to listen to the story and then could also fill in pieces of it when I prompted him. His story telling skills still leave a lot to be desired, but he has finally become calm enough to pay attention to stories.

Creativity With Learning

Going forward with our no-cost theme, I undertook another project which I knew my son would enjoy. He could get his hands wet with learning to tell time while making something he liked and could relate to.

The reasons I chose this over anything else is:

  1. Easy to make and low cost.
  2. The child could paint and even write the numbers up to 12. Any 4 year old would jump at the chance of getting to decorate a colorful clock.
  3. He could learn to tell time and move ask questions about it by moving the hands of the clock.

There are some toys made by experts that are particularly helpful for children who have some amount of hyperactivity in their behavior.

In particular, I have found the fidget toys to be simple yet effective ways of keeping those little hands busy for a while.

Another project that I have looked into.. flash cards to enhance reading skills

Comments

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    • Only1Talat profile image
      Author

      Only1Talat 3 years ago

      Thanks @Jasmeetk and @ChitrangadaSharan ! I really appreciate your support. I hope you will continue supporting such projects and articles. I intend to write more based upon my personal experiences.

      Thanks for the pin and upvote.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very nicely done hub, explaining well how the kids can be involved in various art and craft work and thus teaching them to focus their attention..

      This subject is close to my heart and I appreciate your efforts in highlighting this.

      Nice creative craft ideas too. Thanks, Voted up and pinned!

    • Jasmeetk profile image

      Jasmeet Kaur 3 years ago from India

      very interesting... voted up!!

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