Children With ADHD Learn New Skills Through Playtime

A recent study found that instructing children with ADHD about social cues and how to understand them could help overcome many behavioral problems.

ADHD, a common childhood disorder, has caused many hardships for children and can lead to detrimental growth and maturation. These children often have problems with hyperactivity, staying focused, and controlling their behavior that can cause difficulties when it comes to making friends, understanding social cues, and paying attention both in the classroom and at home.

However, a recent study at the University of Sydney is helping to fight these challenges. the study found that instructing children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder about social cues and how to understand them could help overcome many behavioral problems. Researchers introduced play therapy to a group of fourteen children with ADHD between the ages of six and eleven. Therapists working with the children by exaggerating a number of social cues to see if the kids could learn to identify them in their playmates.

Each session was videotaped and shown to the youngsters after playing to help them understand “good" and “not-so-good” conduct. After watching each of the sessions, the University of Sydney’s occupational therapy chair and lead researcher of the study Professor Anita Bundy, stated that the children were able to learn new social skills through the repetition of exaggerated cues.

The therapy helped the children learn “‘How do you know when someone is having a good time and what your playmate likes or when they would like to do something different’,” said Professor Bundy. "These things, like showing boredom, are obvious to most of us but not to them.”

Professor Bundy also stressed that although children with ADHD are good at giving cues, they are not as good at reading cues sent by others. “Either they have no playmates because kids get fed up with them or their playmates become compliant and do what the child with ADHD wants them to do.”

Children with ADHD often end up dominating playtime that can be off-putting to other children.

Around the Web

Playtime helps ADHD kids learn new skills [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Choosing Toys and Games for Kids With ADD/ADHD [Everyday Health]

ADHD at Playtime: Finding the right activities [Inside ADHD]