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 this started increasing to the level that it has now gotten to, but suddenly there are about two in each class, where as before I maybe had two in my entire studio.
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. It is a concern, and the child does need to be helped if he or she is to function normally and progress at school.
Having a hyperactive child in a dance class is no fun for the teacher. 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 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.
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 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 helps, 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 teach children attention deficit disorders, please let us all know below what you do when you teach them and let us share our ideas.