So, can your child successfully navigate preschool with ADD/ADHD? At Oak Village Academy there is only one response to that question:
Yes… Sí… Oui… Ja… Da… Sim… Ken… Hai… Gee… Haa’n… Oo… Shi… Baleh… Na’am…
Also “yes” in any other language of the world.
In fact, some experts agree that the earlier children with ADD/ADHD are introduced to a school-like environment… the easier it may be for them to handle school as they age.
ADD And ADHD Are Now Interchangeable Terms
Before we go into to the benefits of having a child attend preschool with ADD/ADHD, let’s first understand some vocabulary. #LearningTime
Prior to 1994, physicians diagnosed people with either attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADD is simply ADHD without the hyperactivity (i.e. squirming/fidgeting). After 1994, physicians just use the term ADHD to encompass ADD and ADHD… So generally, physicians today use the all-encompassing term “ADHD” when making a diagnosis.
ADHD Symptoms And Diagnosis
ADHD is a chronic neurobehavioral condition that affects almost 11% of all children in the U.S.
Children with ADHD may:
- have trouble controlling impulsive behaviors
- be overly active
- have problems paying attention
And not to be confused with an overly active or cranky toddler… the symptoms of ADHD do not disappear. This can lead to increased challenges at home, school or around peers.
According to the CDC, most children with ADHD exhibit the following symptoms or characteristics:
- daydream… a lot
- forget or lose things
- squirm or fidget
- talk too much
- make careless mistakes
- take unnecessary risks
- struggles with resisting temptation
- trouble taking turns
- difficulty getting along with others
The Mayo Clinic also identifies the three subtypes of ADHD:
- Predominantly inattentive
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive
- Combined inattentive/hyperactive-impulsive
Effects Of—And Treatments For—ADHD
Some children with ADHD may have low self-esteem, problems with relationships and poor academic performance in school. The symptoms may lessen with age, however there is no cure for ADHD. In early childhood, physicians often recommend behavior therapy which can assist the child (and their parents) to learn successful strategies to manage their ADHD. After that, medication is usually the next course of action.
Children can exhibit symptoms as early as age three, and usually before age 12… The symptoms can range from mild, moderate and severe. Boys are more frequently diagnosed than girls and tend to exhibit more hyperactivity. Girls tend to be quietly inattentive. Early diagnosis of ADHD can have a profound impact on how a child responds to treatment and the successful development of coping strategies.
The Experts Say Preschool Is Preferable
Dr. Mark Stein, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at the University of Washington, posits that preschool may provide the first observation and validation of ADHD in children… And that parents of preschoolers with ADHD should get them into a structured school setting. Unfortunately, some parents tend to take children with behavior “problems” out of school, when in reality they need to be in a social environment with other children and trained staff.
According to Dr. Stein, “The idea is to not run away from structure, but to get more intensive services. The parents need the respite, and the kids need to learn to be socialized.”
Finding The Right Preschool
All parents take care and conduct due diligence before deciding on a preschool for their children. Parents of children with ADHD have to be even more diligent in their selection process. Clearly, the general factors come into play such as location, affordability, certifications, staff and teaching philosophy. The experts agree that a top priority for children with ADHD is having a “highly-structured surroundings and consistency through set routines, policies and procedures.” In addition to these, parents of children with ADHD should also consider the following:
- Ratio of staff to children
- Education and experience of staff in caring for children with ADHD and/or special needs
- Communication with parents in creating a program specific for their child
Oak Village Academy Welcomes Children With ADHD
The prevailing wisdom is to provide a structured environment, with consistency and outdoor play for children with ADHD. The experts agree that parental involvement—including open communications and developing a specific plan for a child with behavioral problems—may be one of the best long-term strategies for success. This is exactly our mission and learning philosophy. At Oak Village Academy we provide the following:
- A highly trained staff that observes each child carefully to learn about their individual development, needs, interests and temperament. We then choose strategies that will most support each child in their brain development.
- An organized daily schedule for daycare and preschool.
- Always treat family members as equal partners in a child’s growth and learning.
- An emphasis on outdoor learning environments (OLE) which means we make an effort to have learning opportunities both inside and outside daily.
We have an open-door policy at Oak Village Academy… And we welcome the opportunity to answer any questions or concerns. Please feel free to contact us at (919) 377-1802.