Part 1: HERE
Part 2: HERE
Caveat: This strategy does not work at all if the child hates juggling and is just doing it to go through the motions.
ADHD or ADD
ADHD kids cannot pay attention. They cannot focus. That is why the condition is named Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. What I find more insidious is the condition Attention Deficit
The thing about ADHD and ADD is that it is a continuum. The cut off point between what constitutes a special need is rather arbitrary (in my opinion). Hence, your child may be poor enough at focusing to damage his own potential but not that poor that he/she is classified as ADD/ADHD simply because he does not fall within the cut-off boundaries.
In Dr. Pet's classes, we do not focus on results. We focus on behaviours that lead to results. Then, our results look after themselves. Our facilitators are trained to WATCH children's faces and body language. We had been wrestling with one child's poor focus for 2 years. This was the borderline ADD type, with vacant eyes and slow reflexes. I fairly pulled out my hair trying to unlock his potential.
As a last resort, I placed him on Juggling Therapy. He started Juggling Therapy every day since early September 2015.
15 minutes EVERYDAY.
To date, he can do close to 100 rounds, and has graduated from 3 balls to 4 balls. His ability to control his attention has improved immensely. This was a boy that I had written off as dumb. When many in his class were topping their classes/levels in English, this one failed.
I teach all the students. I provide the same materials to all of them. I mark all their work the same way. Others top the class/level. This one failed. I felt like a failure too. After months of Juggling Therapy, he scored 2nd in class in Dr Pet's comprehension test. I am so amazed, I have trouble believing it. I marked his comprehension paper 3 times to be very sure.
For those who are interested to read/view...
(1) Juggling grows white matter in the brain: See HERE (for the raw research paper) and HERE (for a simpler layman report).
(2) Juggling improves academic performance: See HERE and HERE.
(3) Juggling helped an ADHD child focus and do well in school. See HERE.
Results of Juggling Therapy
Out of desperation to help kids who were borderline ADHD and ADD, I searched for unconventional interventions. We have had good results.
No... we have AMAZING results when the parents ENSURE daily and sustained practice. Some parents are indisciplined. They know what is right to do but they cannot follow through in a disciplined way. Then, not even I can help their kids. I think I am already going beyond the call of duty when I pore through research papers to troubleshoot and find solutions. I absolutely refuse to go to a student's house and personally supervise HW or therapy. I also absolutely refuse to nag/motivate parents to do what they know they should do. If you don't have the self-motivation to help your kid, I don't help you.
So, I give up and request the parents to source for one-to-one tuition where a dedicated tutor will sit next to the child and force the child to focus. However, this does not resolve the root of the child's attention deficit problem. The tutor is merely a crutch to help a handicapped child.
I searched high and low. I even booked a booth at the Causeway Point library to look for more research papers on juggling. I could not find any proper neuroscience research that linked academic results to juggling. Researchers usually examine in any single paper ONE narrow focus on an issue. I suppose the effects of juggling on academic performance is a complex and multi-faceted one and it is still a very little understood phenomenon.
Desperate to understand, I got myself a trainer (JimmyJuggler). The activity was so taxing that I had to go and sleep after a 1 hour lesson. I tire easily because of health issues. So, I am not a good gauge. The Husband, however, also found it mentally taxing. Other parents who have tried it, say the same thing.
This is my experience...
(1) The moment I lose focus, even for a millisecond, all the balls drop. My guess is that the parts of the brain that control attention grow in gray matter. This is my guess.
(2) The moment I get happy (when I am doing well) and anxious (when I drop the balls), everything veers out of control. I am guessing that Juggling rewires the brain for emotional control too.
(4) My 2 kids, with very strong focus abilities, picked up juggling very fast. The Daughter was juggling 3 balls within 15 minutes. Smelly Boy shot the balls all over the room in his enthusiasm one night and the next night, he came in juggling like a pro.
Parents can buy Dr. Pet's book on How To Motivate Children to WANT to Study, HERE.
Please also watch this space. I am not yet done with sharing strategies on
How to Work With Dreamy Kids.
Gifted and High Potential
We are now rolling these therapies out to the GEP and Hi-Potential students to further strengthen their brains and help them cope with the heavy GEP workload.
Part 4 is HERE.