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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My son is closing in on 8 years old. He is very active, easily distracted, and impulsive. Not developmentally inappropriate (although maybe a bit more than the majority of kids we are around) and he is making consistent gains in behaving appropriately in a variety of social settings - especially with my quiet guidance.

However, for the first time he has become interested in taking some actual classes. He agreed to try an art class (not usually his "thing") with a group of his homeschool buddies and he has asked me to seek out a gymnastics/tumbling class for him. This is awesome. However, I want him to have as positive an experience as possible. These are both drop off activities, which he is totally cool with, but I won't be there to give him the gentle reminders to help him stay focused and non-disruptive to others.

I'm wondering if anyone here has a child like this that has any advice for techniques (?) my son might learn and use himself for doing this.

Cassandra
 

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No, I don't have that child, but having been a teacher of some activities (aikido instructor, girl scout leader) you can bet I had experience keeping kids a little more focused and non-disruptive.

A good, experienced instructor of kids is going to have experience keeping a relatively good focus on the activities at hand. From my vantage point watching my girls' gym class, I see the boys' class especially unfocused relative to those with girls in them, but it is "contained" ;) and the instructor is pure gold. He gives them a little leeway to move and groove the way boys need to do, and keeps them otherwise on task. I think this is the key for all kids, boys and girls: allowing that wiggle room that kids will need in order to focus the rest of the time.

There are more extreme cases that don't fit in neatly to this, and with no teaching assistant to help me, I have told a parent politely but firmly that I could not teach the child, but this was one instance. Most kids will base a lot of their behavior on the general energy and behavior of the other kids in class. They will focus where other kids focus, and a good instructor will be able to keep a high level of focus on themselves and the task at hand, yet never insist on absolute focus as long as there is no real disruption.

You might want a conversation with the instructor, and have time to observe a class before joining in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your response Sweetsilver. We are committed to both classes (the art one is only 4 weeks and the tumbling/gymnastics is 9 weeks) already so I can't really check it out beforehand. From feedback I solicited before agreeing to the art class I do believe that instructor is experienced and has two active young boys of her own. :) Given that this one will probably be the hardest for him though I would still love to have him have a tool to help himself and not rely just solely on her.

As for the gymnastics, what I hear is that it is pretty hit or miss. The instructors are not as experienced and it seems that he may not even have the same instructor all the way through. So again, some way for him to help himself would be good. And of course the skill is important in so many settings. It is a little hard for me to figure out because I am so not, and never have been, this way. As a child the last thing I wanted to do was draw attention to myself or do anything "wrong." I was terrified of doing anything that someone might think I shouldn't do.

I'll definitely chat with the instructors but in the meantime I'm going to keep searching. Any other suggestions are welcome!
 

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I'm not sure what you mean by "a tool to use".

If you watched the class, you could have a code word or bird whistle you could use to remind him, but expecting him to remember to use a tool is the same as expecting him to remember to leave his classmates alone (not disturbing them).

You can ask for an exception to be made and assist with the class so you can give reminders, or you can wait and see if the teacher thinks there is a problem. Sometimes we parents have higher expectations for our children then teachers have.
 

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Just lost a long response
I'll come back later and try to rewrite when I'm done being mad!!
 

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Okay let me try again
I should start with Little is 10 and has been home for a year and a half
He has ADHD and is emerging literate.
He recently took a 9 week acting class so I'll share what I did.
First I spoke to the organizers about being able to get a refund if it didn't work out, and explained it was because he hadn't taken any classes since leaving school, and ensuring a good fit with the rest of the class and the instructor needed to be confirmed. That was no problem, the organizers was very flexible. Next I spoke to the teacher about how to redirect him if needed, what not to say, and basically opened a dialogue with her, and let her know I wanted to support her.
After every class I checked in with the teacher, and on the way home spoke with Little about how it went. If there was a problem I asked him if he wanted me to speak with the teacher for him, sometimes he said yes, sometimes no.
The teacher or organizer would check in via email during the week to see if I had any concerns also.
For the first two classes I stayed in the room, working quietly in a corner, and by the third class the teacher asked me to work in an outer office, near enough if needed, but out of sight.
After I moved out into the outer office, I kept a snack and a water bottle with me, and Little would come out for a drink of water, or a bite of snack, but what he really needed was a quick walkabout so he could return to his task after a little break.

I don't expect Little to stay focused, use tools, or not disrupt others for a variety of reasons
1. He has ADHD, if he is engaged he can focus, if he isn't engaged he won't.
2. My job as his mother is to only put him in environments where he will be accommodated, and to only leave him with capable professionals. (learned that the hard way)
3. He will develop his own tools and strategies as he grows up, I can suggest but he always wants to be successful and fit in, so my pointing out what is wrong isn't effective.
In a workshop Little had taken in the summer I stayed with him all the time as it was a more technical class, so I acted as his 'EA'. also he has trouble following verbal instruction, so I was able to explain the teacher's instructions. That may be something to note about your guy. Sometimes teachers give multi step instructions, don't get kids doing something early enough in the lesson, spending the beginning of the lesson to explain all about the project and if a child has trouble with language or verbal communication, it can be very frustrating for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay let me try again
I should start with Little is 10 and has been home for a year and a half
He has ADHD and is emerging literate.
He recently took a 9 week acting class so I'll share what I did.
First I spoke to the organizers about being able to get a refund if it didn't work out, and explained it was because he hadn't taken any classes since leaving school, and ensuring a good fit with the rest of the class and the instructor needed to be confirmed. That was no problem, the organizers was very flexible. Next I spoke to the teacher about how to redirect him if needed, what not to say, and basically opened a dialogue with her, and let her know I wanted to support her.
After every class I checked in with the teacher, and on the way home spoke with Little about how it went. If there was a problem I asked him if he wanted me to speak with the teacher for him, sometimes he said yes, sometimes no.
The teacher or organizer would check in via email during the week to see if I had any concerns also.
For the first two classes I stayed in the room, working quietly in a corner, and by the third class the teacher asked me to work in an outer office, near enough if needed, but out of sight.
After I moved out into the outer office, I kept a snack and a water bottle with me, and Little would come out for a drink of water, or a bite of snack, but what he really needed was a quick walkabout so he could return to his task after a little break.

I don't expect Little to stay focused, use tools, or not disrupt others for a variety of reasons
1. He has ADHD, if he is engaged he can focus, if he isn't engaged he won't.
2. My job as his mother is to only put him in environments where he will be accommodated, and to only leave him with capable professionals. (learned that the hard way)
3. He will develop his own tools and strategies as he grows up, I can suggest but he always wants to be successful and fit in, so my pointing out what is wrong isn't effective.
In a workshop Little had taken in the summer I stayed with him all the time as it was a more technical class, so I acted as his 'EA'. also he has trouble following verbal instruction, so I was able to explain the teacher's instructions. That may be something to note about your guy. Sometimes teachers give multi step instructions, don't get kids doing something early enough in the lesson, spending the beginning of the lesson to explain all about the project and if a child has trouble with language or verbal communication, it can be very frustrating for them.
Anna, i'm so sorry you lost your first response (terribly frustrating) and I really appreciate your willingness to take the time to rewrite it. It really was beneficial for me to read about your experience and contemplate your thoughts on the topic in general. Thank you.

Cassandra
 
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