Focus on how your child is smart, not on how smart your child is. Multiple Intelligences looks at the 8 ways that your child can be smart. Multiple Intelligences and ADHD go together because it is a strength based approach. This kind of approach is essential for children with ADHD because they are often noticed for what they are doing wrong.
CHADD stands for Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a national organization whose mission is to improve the lives of those with ADHD. We have a wonderful chapter in Boca Raton headed by ADHD & Personal Success Coach Joyce Zelcer. Dr. Rohn Kessler spoke at CHADD in December 2016 on Multiple Intelligences and ADHD.
Verbal and Mathematical Intelligence: A tale of two multiple intelligences and ADHD:
Most children who do well in school are average or above average in Verbal/Linguistic and Logical/Mathematical Intelligence. These skills are measured by traditional IQ tests. Children who are strong in Verbal Intelligence think in words, are chatty and can tell stories. Children with mathematical intelligence think logically and like solving problems. Research shows that less than only 10% of children with ADHD are strong in both of these intelligences. So in addition to problems with attention, they are weak in the intelligence that is prized in the classrooms .
Kinesthetic Intelligence: A tale of a strong multiple intelligence in ADHD:
Some children with ADHD have strong Kinesthetic Intelligence. They use their bodies in skillful ways and are often good in sports. In addition, the physical activity has a calming influence and actually strengthens attention.
Dr. Kessler told an inspiring story about a boy that he worked with. Charles was so good at skateboarding and other extreme sports that companies were giving him merchandise. But he was so frustrated in school that he was often in trouble and in danger of getting expelled. He was even getting uncontrollable at home. Charles was actually good in mathematical intelligence, but no one knew it.
Dr. Kessler worked with him using cognitive training software and strengthening his kinesthetic intelligences. He was encouraged to continue with his extreme sports as long as he attended sessions regularly and completed the cognitive training workouts on his home computer.
Charles was Amazed!
Charles was amazed at what was happening. He was recognized for what he was doing right. This increased his confidence and decreased his frustration. Because he was also doing cognitive training Charles was creating new neural patterns enabling him to pay attention. Because he could focus he was able to strengthen all the intelligences. His teacher noticed his analytical abilities and he did better in school . He became much less oppositional because he wasn’t being continually frustrated by his inability to pay attention.
As a reward, Dr. Kessler taught him how to juggle. Since he had such strong kinesthetic intelligence, he was a natural. Word of his juggling prowess spread at school. When the vice principal came up to him, he thought that he was in big trouble again. But she just wanted him to juggle at the end of the year extravaganza. His mother got him glow in the dark juggling balls. The lights were turned down low and he put on quite a show.
Monthly CHADD Meetings
In addition to Dr. Kessler’s presentation on ADHD and Multiple Intelligences, the monthly Boca Raton CHADD meetings always have interesting speakers. CHADD meets monthly during the school year, usually on the second Tuesday of the month from 7 pm – 8:30 pm. We post notifications of the meetings on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/SparksOfGenius/.