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Zebra Stripes for ADHD

A monthly newsletter of stories tips and news for those concerned with ADHD, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, No. 13

Sarah Jane Keyser : ADHD Coach


High up in their favorite tree, Chip and Chap, Joey's monkey friends, 
were whispering quietly punctuated with an occasional guffaw of monkey
laughter.  Then they separated. Chip went off to the great muddy pond
to see Mama Tamus the hippopotamus.

"Hmmph, hmmph, for that ruffian?  Hmmph", she replied.

Chap found Eeyore, the visiting mustang, who  listened to Chap's
message and replied with a hearty yeigh, yeigh.

They made the rounds and talked to all the friends in their little
community, even Miss Zebette the teacher and Mama Giraffe.

Later, Joey came out of school by himself. Koko and Sammy, his zebra
friends, had disappeared. He wandered alone wondering where they had
all gone. Mama Giraffe wasn't under her favorite acacia tree; even
Eeyore wasn't grazing  on his preferred Bermuda grass.

Sammy arrived at a gallop, "Joey, Joey, come on. I told you to meet me
down at the water hole. We're all waiting."

"You did? Oh! I guess I forgot!"

"You forgot again!  Well, now, come on!"

"Yea, yea, I'll come in a minute."

"No, now!" and Sammy gave him a little kick.

 Sammy came down the path to the water hole, "He's coming".

They were all there; as Joey appeared, they all  shouted,

"Happy Birthday, Joey".

Joey stopped. His white stripeless hide blushed bright red. He opened
his mouth and brayed a loud "Heeee Haww". He gave a big buck and
started running around wildly, bucking and kicking. 

"Joey stop, stop". 

But Joey wasn't listening, he was just so excited he couldn't stop
running around. He nearly ran over the smaller guests and knocked over
the table with the presents. Finally Mama Tamus put her large body
square in front of Joey. Chip jumped on his back and yelled in his ear,
"Stop, Look, Listen!"  (See the September issue 
http://www.coachingkeytoadd.com/newsletter/newsletter-no5.html ).

Joey came to a stop, looking a bit sheepish.

 "Gee whiz, this is all for me? I thought you'd all forgotten my
birthday. I don't know what to say.  Well, er, um, Thank you all."

They all laughed and cheered. And a good time was had by all.

Birthday Party Tips for children with ADHD

Many years ago when my children were of that age I organized quite a few parties, I don't remember how many. In those days there were no theme parties or professional organizers to run children's parties for you.

At the time my kids got pretty hyper, they weren't as out of control as some get, but as I knew nothing about ADHD in those days, I was always perplexed about why my kids got so excited while the neighbors could handle it so nicely.

Now I know that birthday parties can be a big problem for children with ADD or ADHD and also for Moms who have ADD (ADHD). It's a made to order overwhelm situation. More people, more movement, more food than any of them are used to. Children who are hyper can go through the roof and if they are hypo they can disappear into space.

Here are some tips which could help you have a great birthday party with ADHD whether or not you are having a professional organizer do the work.

    Before the party:

  1. Review the program for the party with your children before the big day so they know what to expect when. Children with ADHD can easily get lost when there are many things happening.

  2. Have your birthday child draw a timeline for the party with pictures to illustrate each event on the program. Post it in the party room and during the party help him stay focused by referring to the time line.
  3. Food:

    Sugar does not cause ADHD, but we do know that a high intake of sugar can aggravate hyperactive behavior and even make some kids who are not really ADHD act hyper.

  4. Serve some protein rich food such as tuna fish sandwiches before the ice cream and cake. Protein provides food for the brain to function better (not necessarily perfectly) and it will slow down the absorption of the sugar in the cakes and ice cream.

  5. Consider having a carrot cake which provides fiber and carbohydrate to slow the absorption of pure sugar or a cream cheese cake which has protein.

  6. Limit the amount of sugary treats. Give non food things as favors or prizes.
  7. Social skills

    Many children with ADHD have difficulty making and keeping friends. A birthday party is an opportunity to practice some basic social skills for being accepted in a group.

  8. Greeting guests. Some children just don't know how or forget under the stress of the moment. Rehearse in advance how to greet a guest. Smile, look the guest in the eyes, and say "Hi...... I'm glad you could come, and thanks for the present." On the big day, stay near-by so you can prompt him gently if necessary.

  9. Taking turns. If your child has difficulty taking turns explain (maybe for the umpteenth time, repetition does get through eventually) why its important to respect the rules of a game. Talk about the game(s) you will play during the party.

  10. Saying goodbye. By the end of the day, he's tired, you're tired, I wouldn't make a big deal about saying goodbye. Just " So long, thanks, see ya" or what ever is the parting expression in your neighborhood.

If you have a child who is inclined to be oppositional and knows what to do but does the opposite, tell him about Joey the Zebra who has no stripes. http://www.coachingkeytoadd.com/newsletter/newsletter-no1.html).

These ideas are not guaranteed and I haven't even tested them because I didn't know then what I know now. They are based on current knowledge of what works for managing ADHD. If you have some experiences, pro or con, I'd love to hear about them.

For more about me, Sarah Jane Keyser, About Sarah Jane

Do you need a safe place to talk?   email me today for a free coaching session.

You May Use This Article In Your Ezine Or Web Site

You are welcome to use material from Zebra Stripes in whole or in part, provided its use is non-commercial and not for profit and as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site links. Please send me an email at Sarah Jane Keyser so I know where you're using my material.

Here's the attribution you'll use: "By Sarah Jane Keyser Adult ADD Coach. Sarah Jane Keyser helps adults and parents of children with ADD to live life fully. Please visit her site at http://www.CoachingKeytoADD.com for more articles and resources on living more easily with Adult ADHD."

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