I have always been fortunate to be surrounded by kids – nephews, nieces, students, little friends and now my baby. I strongly believe that a teacher’s relationship with her students is almost like that of a parent. A teacher worries about her students’ well being, she wants them to have the best and she often scolds them for their own benefit. Today I want to share one of my experiences with a child with ADHD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a group of behavioral symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Common symptoms of ADHD include:
- a short attention span or being easily distracted
- restlessness, constant fidgeting or overactivity
- being impulsive
I came across a child who was suffering from ADHD. We were in Santo Domingo for a year because of my husband’s job and I joined a school as an English teacher to keep myself busy. I was teaching Grade 3.
There was this one particular child in my class who was the most difficult to manage. He would not sit in one place, he would never ever concentrate, he would simply ignore everything I would say and even when he sat quietly he seemed to be lost in his thoughts. Initially I tried a lot to make him comfortable but he did not care at all. Quite naturally, I was irritated with him, honestly I did not like him at all.
Once I was busy teaching when Nifel got up and started roaming around in the class. He went from one seat to another disturbing everyone. I went to hi and as soon as I put my hand on his shoulder, he scratched me and the next thing I know was that he pushed me as if he was trying to save himself. But I had just put my hand gently on his shoulder. It was so disturbing for me that I had tears in my eyes. I went to the Elementary school Principal’s room and told her that I can’t take it anymore. This was the time she disclosed that Nifel had ADHD. I was taken aback. I knew what ADHD was but wasn’t really that informed. So, I googled, I read all night about it. I don’t even remember when and how but I was crying. That little boy was having a very hard time. It wasn’t under his control. I felt sorry for writing all those notes to his mother complaining about his conduct. Finally, I read what I can do as a teacher to help Nifel….
I started being even more patient to him, started appreciating him for even slight improvement. It wasn’t easy in the beginning because his hyperactivity was not under his control sometimes. He was under medication. But this surely helped. He was always interested to do something in class because he liked being appreciated. I tried involving him as much as possible. We used to have Talent Hunt in class, he would dance and sing and even acted as a radio jockey.
Mine was a small relation but his mother is one strong woman. Nifel , his mother comes to my mind, if it was that difficult for me to handle him for an hour, how his mother would be doing 24×7. Yet, she was always smiling, never ever gave ADHD as an excuse for his actions. When I did not know about Nifel’s problem, I often complained about his behaviour to his mother and she always promised that she would try to make him understand, never ever told me about ADHD, she did not use that as an excuse. A gentle, polite mother.
Whatever I tried to help Nifel was a silent apology to him, to his mother, a silent apology to tell them that I was sorry, I was sorry for judging a child, I was sorry for being strict with him when he was already struggling.
Today, Nifel is a hero, he plays soccer, he likes science and he is improving. I wish the best for him and for every child.