It is highly probably, as a swimming teacher, that you will have a child with ADHD in your swimming class at some point.. About 3-5% of children within the UK are affected with ADHD.
What is ADHD
Everyone with ADHD will be different, but there are some common behaviours which children may display like:
Find it hard to keep still
Have a lot of energy
Talk a lot
Find it hard to focus
Unable to control impulsive behaviour
Whilst this can be true of all of us, children with ADHD find it gets in the way of them doing stuff in their day-to-day lives. Their brains work differently, so they need to learn in a different way. It's because when different parts of the brain try to talk to each other the messages in some parts cannot be sent properly, which is why a child may get fidgety when they should be still or shout out when they need to be listening. All children are different so having an understanding of what's happening for a child with ADHD will really help you to know how you can best support them during their lessons or have more understanding of why they are behaving they way they are. And not just being 'naughty'.
How you can support children with ADHD
A one-size fits all reaction to challenging behaviour doesn't help and certainly getting frustrated or angry is not the solution. It may take a little time, and a bit of trail and error to know what will work and often the child will be able to tell what they need.
Some suggested tips to introduce:
Finding out what the child is interested in and incorporating those interests into your lesson plans
Give the child the opportunity to talk to you and ask you for help if they don't understand - this can be quite tricky if you are stood on poolside during the lesson
Having a routine to the lesson
Letting the parent and child arrive to your lessons earlier so they can find out what the plan is for that particular lesson, to prepare themselves for it and understand what will be expected of them.
ADHD will have a huge impact on a child's life. Making and keeping friendships can be a challenge so they can experience rejection from their peers, which may lead them to experiencing high levels of anxiety and loneliness.
For some children they may not develop time awareness so won't be able to track time passing. This may mean getting so engrossed in something, that they don't realise they should have moved on to doing something else - frustrating for a teacher but totally understandable for a child with ADHD.
Undertaking exercise is a great way to help control the symptoms of ADHD, so the more we can encourage children with ADHD to join our swimming lesson and schools the more supported the child will feel and have skills they can use to support themselves all the way through their life.
If you do have a child in your lesson with ADHD and you want to know more about it here are some useful websites to browse: