Children Attention Deficit Disorders – How Do I Teach This Type of Child

baby ballet class
children attention deficit disorders

Over the last few years of teaching dancing, I have noticed that I have had more and more cases of children attention deficit disorders.  

I can’t quite put my finger on when these numbers started increasing to the level that it has now gotten to, but suddenly there are about two in every four classes, whereas before I maybe had two in my entire studio.

What Is Attention Deficit Disorder?

Attention-deficit or hyperactivity disorder is defined as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity that is more frequent or severe than expected for a given level of development.

Children with ADHD have difficulty paying attention and focussing their attention to details. They also find it difficult to follow through with instructions. They battle to organize tasks, misplace their belongings often, are forgetful and are very easily distracted.

In class, the child will find it very difficult to sit still and will fidget and blurt out answers. They tend to talk a lot and interrupt other conversations and games.

Children with attention deficit disorders aren’t able to wait their turn. Background noise can make it worse for them.

Unfortunately, this sort of behaviour often attracts negative attention from teachers and classmates, and because of the rejection and criticism, it can lead to asocial behaviour, withdrawal and depression.

More About Children Attention Deficit Disorders

Children have different kinds of learning problems, but ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder seems to be the most common at the moment.  The child is not always hyperactive, he could just have an exceptionally short attention span.

Many adults nowadays also have ADD.

In most cases, doctors have recommended that the children be put on Ritalin or a similar drug.  In some cases, the child can be helped with more natural alternatives.  

Other common symptoms for children attention deficit disorders include:

  • Impulsivity
  • Restlessness
  • Poor organizational skills
  • Procrastination
  • Willful
  • Stubborn
  • Tend to have a lot going on at once but fail to finish anything
  • Have a strong desire to be free and independent
  • Love excitement and danger
  • Get bored quickly
  • Don’t follow at an organised pace easily

It’s not all bad though. On the positive side people who suffered from this disorder in the past have been visionaries, dreamers, explorers, inventors (Edison was a classic), path-finders, entrepreneurs (almost all entrepreneurs have ADD), creative types, original thinkers, paradigm breakers, trend-setters, freethinkers, as well as being big-hearted, trusting, generous, and fun.

So rather think of an attention deficit disorder as a condition that can be associated with tremendous success in the end.

You can read more about treatment for ADD here.

Children Attention Deficit Disorders And Teaching Them

It is a concern, and the child does need to be helped if he or she is to function normally and progress at school or in extramural activities.

Having a hyperactive child in a dance class is no fun for the teacher or the rest of the students in the class who are there to learn.  

Instead of standing still and listening to what you are saying, the child is either swinging on the bars or running circles around the other children.

As a dance or ballet teacher, it is very difficult to control a class that has a child like this in it, and sometimes the only remedy is to let the child seek treatment and return to class once he or she has calmed down.Children Attention Deficit Disorders

As a teacher, you are going to need great levels of patience, consistency, and creativity to get these children to concentrate on something long enough to get it right.

If I see bad behavior coming, I try to ward it off by giving the child something to do, like the handing out of props to the other children.  Try to stay positive and reward the child with lots of praise when he or she does well.  Offering rewards for hard work also help, like stickers or a star next to his name on the chart.

When teaching the attention deficit child, make sure that you explain things very clearly and again if necessary.  

Try to do the most difficult steps at the beginning of the class while they are still fresh.  

If you need to teach a long dance, break it up into segments and teach bit by bit.  Repetition is key, as often the first time that you explain something, the child’s mind will be elsewhere.

Keep the class moving at a rapid pace.  ADD children get bored easily, so keep them moving, even if it is just to repeat steps.

If you have some children attention deficit disorders in the class, please let us all know below what you do when you teach them and let us share our ideas.



Teach My Child – Or Not?

teach my child

teach my childShould I teach my child or not? Whether it be school, karate, ballet or swimming and as a ballet teacher with a daughter, this question has often entered my mind.

Luckily my good friend teaches with me, so I send my daughter to her for the ballet, and I teach her the Modern and Hip Hop. I only teach her the ballet on occasion when my friend has to go away to examine.

I really have to make sure I don’t push her any harder than I do the rest of the class, and sometimes it is tempting, as she is sometimes lazy.

I would just hate to become one of those pushy mother teachers, who insists on perfection from her daughter. I have enough of those types of mothers in the studio as it is, and don’t want to be labeled one myself. I want my daughter to choose for herself what she wants to do, whether it be ballet, music or sport. At the moment, she still loves her dance and doesn’t play too much sport, as she would rather not miss dance classes.

Here are some of the teach my child pro’s and cons that I have found over the years.

Teach My Child Pro’s

  • You can monitor their progress better.
  • It is something you share an interest in and do together.
  • You know your child better than anyone else, and can see her faults and correct them with ease.
  • Your child normally has the same body limitations as you do, which lets you teach her from your own experiences.
  • You can spend extra time discussing her progress after hours with her and have something in common to talk about.

Teach My Child Con’s

  • Your child sometimes does not listen to you as well as she would somebody else.
  • She could back chat you or correct you in class in front of her peers.
  • She probably will not enjoy correction from you in front of her peers.
  • She may not push herself as hard as she would for another person.
  • She may try and show off or play up in front of her friends.

History shows that there has in the past been extremely successful parent and daughter scenarios. Take for instance Marie Taglioni, who was known to suffer tremendously under the strict training of her father, but he made a world famous ballerina out of her. I don’t know if many teenagers today would put up with what Marie had to put up with from her Dad.

I also know a lot of teachers who have successfully trained their children, and some of them have gone on to be great dancers or even great teachers. It may be in the genes, or it may be that the parent pushes the child a little harder, in order to achieve the same successes that she had.

There shouldn’t be a problem with teaching your own child, although I prefer not too. The problem may come in later as the child gets older. He or she may express a wish to go to another teacher, or may feel victimized by you in class, or not like being corrected in front of his or her peers. In this case, it may be best to look at the situation from his or her point of view and try to be objective.

Please leave your thoughts on this topic of whether to teach my child or not below.