The proposed intervention I would like to talk about in this paper is about children with Attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Also known as “ADD/ADHD is a neurological disorder. According to the National Institute of Health, between 3% and 5% of the population in this country are affected by ADD/ADHD. The major symptoms of the disorder are distractibility, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, poor attention span and impulsiveness (ADD.com)”. A self- help group is an “organization which provides an environment encouraging social interactions through group activities or individual relationships especially for the purpose of rehabilitating or supporting patients, individuals with common health problems (Kurtz, 4)”. The target population for my group would be boys between the ages of seven and twelve who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. The proposed practice would take place in specifically set up classroom in the selected school.
The justification for starting this group is because this disorder is sometimes a lot to deal with on your own. It is also difficult for a child to ask for help and realize that this is common disorder that can be helped. This group will hopefully aid in the solution to this.
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“ADD is Attention Deficit Disorder-Inattentive Type and ADHD is Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity. ADD and ADHD can both be difficult and cause distractibility, forgetfulness, disorganization, difficulty following rapid conversations, and low self esteem (ADD.com)”. Every child is different and has different and unique needs from the child sitting right next to him. The problem with this is that, in the classroom, there are so many kids and only one teacher. (With the exception of a co-taught class) By taking the selected children and having a group with them, it may be easier for them to talk with others about the feelings they are experiencing. This will also help them to feel not so alone.
The group process will follow a simple outline. Setting up instructions for the group to follow and the student explain how long they have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Confidentiality and trust are two major issues that the group must talk about. It is so pertinent that the group understand that what is said here in the sessions is between the group only. Confidentiality is the success to trust.
Depending on the personalities of the kids in the group and if I were to have a co-leader, I would like to have three sub groups within the one large. This would help get the group more intimate, and closer. These sub groups would change every week, this way everyone would get to know everyone. I would give the boys time to talk about anything that was on their minds for the first few minutes. This would hopefully enable them to feel more comfortable with each other and see that they can relate to each other on a certain level.
Often it is difficult for a child with ADD/ADHD to overcome their hesitance and resistance to adults in any setting. Children in general feel that all adults are their superiors, making them feel that they can not be themselves and must always be proper. They have a problem relating to a figure that is so different to them. Making them realize that in fact, I am there to help them and that I am on their side is one of my main goals. This will probably be one of the more difficult goals to achieve. Children with ADD/ADHD are frequently the kids in the classroom to be called out on and reprimanded in front of anyone. This makes the child feel inferior and embarrassed causing resentment and difference from the teacher; all adult figures. This is why in most cases there will be problems at home with parents as well. To help the boys feel safe and to get them to talk in the group session, I will ask basic questions. To obtain answers the option of passing is always available; assuming that there will be at least a few students that will always want to talk. In groups that I have worked with, I have noticed that boys will usually interrupt and talk over anyone if something pops into their heads. In order to prevent this, I would have a ball or some sort of object that only the person speaking can hold.
Even with the ball or object, I would predict arguments or disagreements to come about. Children, especially boys can be stimulated by any idea that is contrary to theirs. With this given I would fix this situation by asking each of the individuals to explain what made them start feeling like they needed to refute the other one at a time. I would then want them to tell me what they could have done instead of arguing. There will of course be at least one submissive person that won’t argue and will listen to everyone. I would then ask them if they had any suggestions as to how this situation could have been differently. I would also open this opportunity to the entire group. Doing this the feelings and thoughts of both individuals arguing will be covered and hopefully expressed.
The sense of recognition, approval, and belonging are the major factors that will help the boys deal with their disorder. Realizing that there are others that have the same disorder as them may help them realize they are not alone. The opportunity for them to ask each other and myself why they have this, how to deal with it, and how to talk about it, isn’t always given to them. Families aren’t always able to give the same support that kids their own age can give. There is something about dealing with an issue, with someone the age of you and is experiencing the same thing as you that makes it easier.
The goals of my group are to give boys with ADD/ADHD an environment where they can be themselves for an hour, with individuals dealing with the same issues. This would be a “safe” place, where they can talk about how to deal with their thoughts and feelings. My younger brother often found it hard to talk to anyone at school about what he was experiencing and feeling. Talking to my parents was probably the last place he wanted to go, because he feared he would get in trouble and they just wouldn’t understand.
I would like to give teachers, school nurses, and physicians the opportunity to refer students to my group. In order to be part of the group however, I think it would be a good idea to get the permission of the parents. It is on the progress of each individual, which would decide on when they would leave the group. (Of course, anyone would be able to leave they wished to). It would also be important to me to be in constant contact with the nurse, and teacher of the student. It is also vital to be in contact with the parents. With the help of these important people in the child’s life, more can be accomplished.
I would like to have a group of fifteen boys. With this the group would meet once a week either before or after school. I think it is important to not take then away from their lunch time and recess. This is the one time during the day that they can use their energy and be with their friends without having such tight restrictions. It would be my ideal to have the sessions go one for as long as possible; with members leaving when they feel they are ready and new members coming as old leave. I would also like to meet with each individual once a week on a one on one basis. This would give them the personal attention they need and help make them comfortable with me. With this I also think that I would be able to ask each individual if they have any suggestions for the big group, or if they have any problems with how things are going. This way I wouldn’t be picking on one person in front of the group.
As for rules of the group, I would like for the group as a whole to come up with them. I find doing this allows for each of them to contribute and understand them clearly. It also allows for the kids to feel as though I am not limiting them and have control over them. It gives them a sense of being in charge and controlling how the group is going to go; which is what I would like to happen to a certain degree. I would of course, make sure that the basics, like listening to each other, respect everyone, and always be positive are covered.
Specific topics that I would like to cover with the group are how to deal with feelings, organization with school, sports, and family. I would like to have a broad topic at each session and then have the kids talk about whatever it is they feel about the specific topic. I think it is very important to start each session with a review from the previous session. With this they can make comments if they like. In each session I would make sure that somewhere in their notebook (consistent each week), was a reminder of when our next session is. This is so important with ADD/ADHD kids.
Below is a detailed outline of how a session would run:
I. Boys would sit down and start talking amongst themselves about whatever they wish (relates or not)
II. After five minutes I would summarize what we had done the previous week and ask if anyone had any comments or input. I would handle this situation depending.
III. Next I would explain to the group that the topic of today’s session was school.
IV. I had stated that I would want my group to separate into three sub groups. To do this fairly I would have them pick out of a bag filled with three colours. Each colour would be a group.
V. In these groups they would share something having to do with the broad topic of school. I would carefully be listening to what they were saying and ask questions or give input where needed.
VI. After a few minutes pass by, I would like for the three groups to join as one again. We would then have one large discussion. Everyone would say what they had to say and give suggestions or maybe even help each other out. This would help them to realize that other people their age can relate.
VII. After this large discussion, I would ask them to take out their notebooks and write down the reminder when the next session will be. I wish them a good day and tell them I when I am available through out the day if they need me.
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