About the project

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders in children and young people; about 5‑7% of children and young people are affected by this neurodevelopmental disorder (Polanczyk et al., 2007). In Hungary, there is an estimated 70,000 children with ADHD, which means that there is likely to be at least one in every classroom.

Children who struggle to manage their behaviour, pay attention, regulate their emotions, make friends, develop positive relationships with adults, and cope with the demands of traditional educational structures and practices are challenging to deal with for parents and teachers. What is more, these children do not present with these challenging behaviours intentionally. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, which means that it is to some degree present from birth and the difficulties experienced by these children are associated with different neurological and psychological workings.



However, most if not all children with ADHD struggle academically, due to the demands of educational environments (e.g., sit still and pay attention for long periods). However, with the right kind of support, both at home and in school, children with ADHD can reach their potential and become contributing members of their communities. However, if these children do not learn skills to deal with their difficulties, then they are at risk for a range of negative outcomes, such as repeated experiences of failure, low self-esteem, dropping out of school, becoming unemployed or incarcerated, and developing mental health problems (e.g., depression, anxiety). So, ADHD is a problem both for the children, their families and schools, but also the wider community and society. ADHD is very treatable; it is not associated with an inability to learn or with low intelligence.

This project aims to provide teachers in kindergartens with the tools to recognise and work effectively with children with ADHD in the regular (mainstream) learning environment. We are committed to the inclusion agenda, where children with special or additional learning needs have equal rights and are educated alongside their peers and have the same educational and advancement opportunities as children without difficulties or disorders.

Currently, if parents in Hungary, Slovakia and Romania decide that their child is presenting with challenging behaviour, then they can address specialized institutions that will determine the type of special need.

Following examination, a treatment might be prescribed, which in most cases involves cognitive behavioural therapy, which requires special professional support. Such support is mostly available in big cities and central parts of the countries mentioned. In other regions, parents and their children would need to rely on the support from public education. In the case of ADHD, the key figure in this context is the teacher. With our project, we would like to empower teachers, equip them with the knowledge and tools, to be effective in supporting the needs of children with social, emotional, and/or behavioural developmental needs. Similarly, we recognise the role of parents within their child’s education and development.

So, we would also like to support parents in understanding their child’s behaviour, and having the knowledge and skills to support their child developing skills to be successful in school and in life.

We are also mindful of how prevalent stigma and negative attitudes are when it comes to challenging behaviour and ADHD. Often, parents and teachers may hold or be afraid of the negative attitudes towards children with social, emotional, and/or behavioural difficulties in general and ADHD in particular.

We would call on them and on people to recognise and understand that challenging behaviour is often a child’s way of communicating that they cannot cope. A diagnosis of ADHD is often the first step in getting the right kinds of supports and resources children, families, and schools need.

Our guide for parents and teachers will provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to cope with a range of needs and difficulties.

Partners

RAABE KLETT (HU)
ADHD-MAGYAROSZÁG ALAPÍTVÁNY (HU)
COVENTRY UNIVERSITY (EN)
SPOJENA SKOLA (SK)
ELTE BÁRCZI (HU)
DE GYAKORLÓ ÓVODÁJA (HU)
ASOCIATIA CSIPKEROZSIKA (RO)

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Outputs

What results are expected during the project and on its completion?

Our project envisages development of two intellectual outputs:

Digital manual for teachers (O1): it will provide methodological guidelines for work with ADHD children. It will be available in a pdf format, in four language versions (EN, HU, SK, RO).

Digital guide for parents (O2): it will provide information on how to recognize ADHD and guidelines for organising daily life activities, so to ensure proper climate for overcoming ADHD. It will be available in a pdf format, in four language versions (EN, HU, SK, RO).


Transnational project meetings:
in Budapest /2018
in Coventry /2018
in Roznava /2019
in Budapest /2019

Focus groups
for Output 1 / kindergarten teachers from Hungary, Slovakia and Romania
for Output 2 / parents from Hungary, Slovakia and Romania

Joint staff training
Coventry /2019

Dissemination conference
Budapest /2019

The project in numbers

Quantitative project results

600

parents, teachers and other stakeholders (decision makers) reached through general dissemination

1200

min. number of visitors to the project website and social media profiles

90

min. number of kindergarten teachers directly involved in project implementation (involved in survey research, focus groups, development, dissemination activities)

180

min. number of parents directly involved in project implementation (involved in survey research, focus groups, development, dissemination activities)

News

September 2018

Can ADHD be a gift?

Children with ADHD shine. They are smart, curious, alive, cheeky, honest, very humorous, creative, brave, passionate.

ADHD kids are annoying. They are constantly talking, they can not sit still, they always say whatever comes to their mind, they always do what they think, they can not pay attention to anything for a minute. Except of course the TV.

How much better the first attitude is, right? How much easier it is to accept a child this way!

The positive attitude, the strength-based approach is exactly about this - to see the best, not the worst. To consider those things an advantage, a difference, which we have experienced as a disadvantage so far.

But why is this important? If we insist too much on the child's shortcomings, it can hurt his self-esteem. Children who are being constantly disciplined and scorned, who always hear that they are lazy, dumb or bad, will sooner or later believe these about themselves. They will be discouraged to an extent that they will forget or won’t even discover the things in which they are good at or what they do with pleasure. They will be distressed, moody, and ultimately they will really perform much below their own abilities.

It is not the point that we shall not let the child know if he is doing something unacceptable. But we should not to identify the act with the child, and should discover the strengths, abilities and possibilities of the child.

With the help of encouragement, love, acceptance we shall bring the best out of them.

The three classic symptoms of hyperactivity, considered today as "disability," as the main symptoms, meant the survival for humanity some time ago - but in some social contexts it is still beneficial.

  • Those who are constantly on the move - overactive - are looking for food, shelter, and other vital things.
  • Those who constantly monitor all external stimuli - it's easy to divert their attention - will notice what can be harmful or useful for survival.
  • Those who respond quickly to external noises and prospects - impulsive - can easily notice the attack of the predators too.

When talking about strengths, we mean the intellectual, physical and interpersonal skills, capacities, tendencies, interest and motivation of children. Each child has different strengths and abilities, and when children and the people around them appreciate and understand these, children can learn and develop based on these.

But what characterises these kids? What are the virtues we can build on in their case?

Keep in mind the good qualities, admire them and help children capture these strengths in their sails!

When we focus on weaknesses and difficulties, we see complaints and create problems. When we focus on strengths and positive things, we see opportunities and solutions. In the same situation, we give the same child a chance for optimal growth.

Sources:

https://www.additudemag.com/how-to-praise-a-child-with-adhd-parenting-done-right/

http://semmelweis.hu/klinikai-pszichologia/files/2012/06/laszlozsuzsa-gyermekkorimagatartaszavarok2010.pdf

Thomas Armstrong: Tényleg ADHD-s a gyerekem? Jaffa Kiadó, Budapest, 2017


August 2018

What if the child fights?

Anger is a natural human feeling and is not necessarily bad. Children, on the other hand, need to be taught to express themselves in a productive way and to let their anger go - this is a critical step towards emotional maturity.

Children with ADHD have many hard-to-tolerate features, in addition this, they often lag behind their contemporaries in their ability to handle frustration and emotions. This often leads to unwanted behaviour. If we are aware that this problem is a part of ADHD, it can help to keep our peace of mind and support children in modifying their behaviour.

"Hitting" is a problem for all children, regardless of whether they have ADHD or not. This kind of behaviour can not be tolerated either at home or in educational institutions, so parents, above all, must take actions against it. We can not always find the cause of aggression, but the impulsive reaction must be prevented and changed.

The following article describes some of the methods that can help your child to be in charge of his/her emotions and not to hit. Do not wait for immediate results, the key to change behavioural strategies is time and persistence.

Determine the problem. Each time the child is physically aggressive, tell him exactly what he was like when he lost control, what he was doing and what he could do differently. Do not say "do not fight," but determine together what he can do to control himself if something annoys him.

The questions that can guide the child to this:

- why were you hitting?

- do you think this behaviour was right?

- what other acceptable methods can you tell me, when you're angry and you have to overcome your anger? (e.g. talk to the kindergarten teacher, use your words, or just move away, etc)

- was fighting listed among these methods?

- what are you going to do next time?

Exercise critical situations in form of a role-play. Role-playing game changes the mind's brain as if he was training a muscle. Practice will help the child to react properly in a real-life situation.

Positive reinforcement. Notice and reward good behaviour. Praise her with words, that you can see how much she managed to control herself, but you can also designate specific rewards that a child can have for his good behaviour. This can be facilitated with the help of a "Goodness" notebook where you can register the occasions when she has been able to remain calm - and there is no entry in those times when there is an issue. Collected points can be exchanged for greater rewards.

Be an example yourself. Control your own emotions. It is not easy to stay calm when the child hits someone for apparently no reason, or because of nothingness he gets tantrum, but try. Appropriate behaviour (take a deep breath, calm but definite speech instead of yelling) can serve as an example for impulse control for the child. Do not shout or spank the child in anger because it's just oil on fire and the kid will learn the bad example of handling anger.

Teach her to formulate her feelings. Children often lose control if they can not figure out what's frustrating them. But if they can already say is "I'm very angry", this may prevent anger turning to violence.

Anger is just a symptom of something, not the destination. Teach the child to stop and think why he is angry. This will allow control over the feelings and he will be able to ask for help.

Be empathetic. Tell the kid that you understand how angry he is and how difficult it is to control aggression. If the child feels that you understand him, it is less likely that he will get angry.

Limit electronics. The more the child watches TV, the less time and energy he will have for more useful activities and real social interactions. Watching a little TV does not hurt, but set limits. In addition, violent media does not help solve the problem either.

Make notes of critical situations. Documentation can help you identify patterns that will allow you to intervene in a timely manner before it becomes too late.

The above methods can help not only end unwanted behaviour but also develop the necessary skills.

In the manuals, we will present more detailed strategies for dealing with children's aggression.

Sources:

https://www.additudemag.com/behavior-modification-helped-child-stop-hitting-at-school/

https://www.additudemag.com/stop-hitting/

https://www.additudemag.com/download/angry-child-teaching-emotional-control/?src=embed_link

https://www.fatherly.com/parenting/how-to-handle-a-violent-child/

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July 2018

What is the real "executive" age of ADHD children?

The maturity of executive functions of children with ADHD-type behaviours often falls short of their peers. Parents and teachers often are puzzled of the phenomenon that a child who is otherwise smart is unable to work independently on a particular task.

But what are the executive functions and why are they important?

Executive functions (collectively referred to as executive function and cognitive control) are a set of cognitive processes that are necessary for the cognitive control of behavior: selecting and successfully monitoring behaviors that facilitate the attainment of chosen goals.

Executive functions include basic cognitive processes such as attentional control, cognitive inhibition, inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Higher order executive functions require the simultaneous use of multiple basic executive functions and include planning and fluid intelligence (i.e., reasoning and problem solving). Source: Wikipedia

The real age of the executive functions is the age at which the child's brain works. ADHD children are 30 to 40 percent behind their peers. This is manifested in the control of their emotions, body, impulses, social behaviour (or lack thereof), and general maturity. -Source-

If executive functions are disfunctioning, this can make it extremely difficult to perform complex tasks, keep rules, and make it difficult to perform almost any goal-oriented behaviour. – Source -

The children concerned are having difficulty analysing, planning, organizing, scheduling, starting and ending tasks, having difficulty managing and managing failure, not remembering multiple-step, complex commands and therefore failing to comply with them, it is difficult for them to balance their things such as sports, entertainment and learning.

How can we help the children?

There are several ways to enhance executive functions. First of all, it is very important to understand and accept the child's condition. This is the basis for any change or intervention.

A great help for children struggling with the disorder of the executive function is to ensure the right routine, order, and daily schedules.

It is very important for parents and teachers to cooperate, to plan a common strategy. You should focus and work on one problem at a time, then move on to the next one.

The kids involved can have a very good use of checklists, daily check cards, and reward systems. It helps to set a time limit for each activity. When learning new things, it is practical to approach it as practical as possible.

It is a good idea to strengthen the child's self-confidence and share his joy and pride. Praise the development of his personality, not just the learning outcomes. -Source-

Classical martial arts are also a great help in the development of executive functions, as they develop the discipline of body and mind together.

It is important to know that the disorder of executive functions is not only typical for ADHD children, but this disorder can be diagnosed on its own.

In the manuals prepared in the project, we will present strategies to strengthen executive functions in more details.

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June 2018

Myths & Facts about Attention Deficit Disorder

Myth: All kids with ADHD are hyperactive.

Fact: Some children with ADHD are hyperactive, but many others with attention problems are not. Children with ADHD who are inattentive, but not overly active, may appear to be spacey and unmotivated.

Myth: Kids with ADHD can never pay attention.

Fact: Children with ADHD are often able to concentrate on activities they enjoy. But no matter how hard they try, they have trouble maintaining focus when the task at hand is boring or repetitive.

Myth: Kids with ADHD could behave better if they wanted to.

Fact: Children with ADHD may do their best to be good, but still be unable to sit still, stay quiet, or pay attention. They may appear disobedient, but that doesn’t mean they’re acting out on purpose.

Myth: Kids will eventually grow out of ADHD.

Fact: ADHD often continues into adulthood, so don’t wait for your child to outgrow the problem. Treatment provided on time can help your child learn to manage and minimize the symptoms.

Myth: Medication is the best treatment option for ADHD.

Fact: Medication is often prescribed for attention deficit disorder, but they are only help to focus and might not be the best, or the only option for your child. Effective treatment for ADHD is multimodal therapy that also includes education, behaviour therapy, support at home and school, exercise, and proper nutrition.

Source: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/attention-deficit-disorder-adhd-in-children.htm

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May 2018

The power of praise

ADHD children are constantly struggling with lack of self-esteem. There is tremendous strength in praise for such a child, so teachers and parents shall always organize activities so that the child can do something good, have a sense of achievement and be praised. For children with ADHD, it is particularly important because they are generally receiving less positive comments: people often complain about them, have to retrieve things and or are punished because of their "inconsiderate" behavior.

Encouragement and praise give children confidence, and they will be able to do things they did not even think they can.

At the same time, timing is important for praise to reach its goal. You do not always have to find everything that the kid does exciting, only when he really invested energy in the activity. We shall help them to succeed so they can overcome themselves.

It is important to praise the effort, not the child. e.G “You worked very hard to make this”

In the case of young children, it is worth considering a reward system. If they do something that we expected from them (and has not done it so far), they can get a point, a sticker or a chip. These can be exchanged for chocolates or small things that the child desires.

source: Edward Hallowell M.D. Why Praise Is So Important for Children with ADHD -

In the Manuals to-be-developed in our Helping Hand project for kindergarten teachers and parents we provide similar practical help and ideas for educating ADHD children.

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April 2018

Not sick, only born in the wrong age and place

"It is not surprising that in far-off, less developed areas ADHD is regarded as a real treasure, a valuable asset, that is the basis of successful predation and species maintenance. But in modern societies, ADHD people are less likely to find their place, as their environment is stigmatising and repressing them saying they are incapable to carry out certain tasks. Hoever both them and society would be better off, if instead of marking them with attributes as scattered, dreamy, restless, overbearing, impulsive, hyperactive, they would focus and rely on how enthusiastic, creative, curious, innovative, easy to attract their attention is with a new stimulus, they are masters of hyperfocus, empathic (as they know how to get out of line), determined, entertaining and full of energy. "

In the article adults living with ADHD share their experiences of the benefits of the syndrome (article in Hungarian):

https://divany.hu/eletem/2018/03/20/adhd_elonyei_pozitiv_oldalai/?utm_source=index.hu&utm_medium=doboz&utm_campaign=link

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February 2018

What do you know about ADHD?

What are the most problematic behaviours most frequently encountered? What difficulties does this cause to you in the everyday life? Do you get the right support and information that can make your family's life easier? Are you in touch with education, healthcare professionals, psychologists? Do you have the opportunity to seek advice? To join a supportive community?

In which ways would you need help in the future? (educational publications, introductory lectures, educational aids, assistive interventions, teacher training, professional discussions, supervision, etc.)

Our Helping Hand project provides kindergarten teachers and parents with practical manuals to help them support the integration, everyday life and happiness of children affected by ADHD.

In the first phase of the project, we will assess the knowledge and needs of the people affected by questions similar to those described above, so that our publications provide as much assistance as possible for families and teachers who are using them.

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January 2018

Why did we start this project?

More and more children of pre-school age - some researchers say that their proportion may be up to 5% - are diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. There are countless minors in educational institutions who have never been diagnosed. Students with ADHD find it hard to sit still in classroom, have temper tantrums, and have no patience to perform even the simpler tasks - they are often stigmatizes as “bad children“ by the nursery-school communities and by other parents.

It can be proven that schoolchildren who were already "problematic" in kindergarten also face difficulties at the further levels of education - although ADHD's symptoms are clearly recognizable even at a lower age. If not handled properly, it may cause a life-long problem.

If children are given adequate attention and treatment on time, they will become well-performing members of children and adults societies alike - as their skills and intelligence are often above average.

Our project aims to provide tangible, practical guides and tools for kindergarten teachers and parents to help support these stunning, but often difficult children.

Project status and current events

We are preparing for the project kick-off meeting, which will take place in Budapest on 29-30 January 2018, with the participation of the project partners: the Hungarian Raabe Klett Kft., The ADHD Hungary Foundation, the ELTE Bárczi Gusztáv Faculty for Sepcial Education, Conventry University, Debrecen University Practice Nursery School, Spojena Skola in Slovakia Roznava,, and the Romanian “Csipkerózsika” Association.

Expected events in the near future:

Questionnaires will be used to assess the initial knowledge of teachers and parents and begin to define the framework of the manuals prepared for them.

Articles, things to read

Hiperaktivitás, ADHD, figyelemzavar – Hogyan ismerjük fel? (Hyperactivity, ADHD, Attetion Deficit - How to recognise?)

Psychologist Csilla Kálózi-Szabó quotes the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity in her article. (article in Hungarian)

ADHD-s a gyerek vagy csak túl kicsi még? - Has the child ADHD, or is he only too young?

The article draws attention to the life-specific risks of ADHD diagnosis. (article in Hungarian)

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Contact

Address
Raabe Klett Educational Consulting and Publisher Ltd
1116 Budapest, Temesvár Str. 20.


Phone
Customer service:
(+36 1) 270 9352
Fax: (+36 1) 349-8773



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