ADHD and Tae kwon do - A Gifted Child's Success Strategy
by Kalynn Amadio
(White Plains, New York, USA)
As a mother of an ADHD child, I want to relate our experiences with ADHD and our family activity of Taekwondo.
I would imagine nearly everyone visiting this website is aware that a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is gifted with spontaneity, creativeness and the ability to focus intensely on any task they take an interest in.
On the other hand, as parents, we are often faced with the difficulty of dealing with a child that is often impulsive, aggressive, hyper and easily distracted. The outside world uses these character traits to define him as "difficult", damaging his already fragile self-esteem.
All kids can be frequently distracted or inattentive and impulsive on occasion, but a child living with ADHD experiences these attributes most of the time. I know that as a parent I have a great deal of influence in helping him perceive these character traits as advantageous, instead of liabilities.
Regardless of the name, ADHD is not just a lack of the ability to be attentive, but it is the ability to deeply focus on a topic of choice. The ADHD child doesn't lack focus but tends to apply that focus in inappropriate ways. He has a low tolerance for idleness and gets bored easily.
I have found that sports can be either constructive or negative for all children but more so for my son. Expelling extra energy is a positive side to sports, but playing on a team is often frustrating to him, his coach and teammates. It can be difficult for him to learn to adhere to the rules and fulfill particular needs of the team.
Tae kwon do, a martial art, can be a tremendously beneficial for the ADHD child as it permits controlled aggressive behavior in a safe environment. The instructor provides direction that is immediately followed so that it retains relevance and gives instant satisfaction.
A martial art like tae kwon do always emphasizes self-confidence, self-esteem and self-control as part of the curriculum. This is important for my child because it has helped him to build the confidence to believe what many consider negative character issues are actually positives.
In our taekwondo classes, children learn the "right action" at the right moment which tempers impulsiveness and turns it into a positive action. Boredom is negligible due to the fast active pace of the class that is full of jumping and spinning, punching and kicking; the hyperactive child can unleash behavior in an appropriate way and be praised for it.
Another aspect of his tae kwon do training is tolerance and respect for everyone no matter what label society might have imposed.
You can never outgrow ADHD, so we must help your children find ways to work with the negative aspects to build success. Giving him the chance to learn how to change negative traits into advantages to take into adulthood has been one the greatest experiences of our families participation in tae kwon do.
I try to remind myself that my ADHD child carries positive traits that are often cultivated by successful businesspeople, entrepreneurs and athletes. Spontaneity, creativity, fast thinking, intense concentration, tenacity and high energy describe the most successful in our history and make them "gifted" by any standard.
To learn more about how tae kwon do training can help your ADHD child, visit Kalynn Amadio's website www.taekwondo-network.com and read more about the types of classes a reputable school offers for kids tae kwon do lessons.