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Bill of Rights for Children with ADHD

Today is “National Child Day” in Canada – a day that “marks the occasion when Canada adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), spelling out the basic human rights for children and youth.” While you may not be interested in reading the actual document, the sentiment behind National Child Day is an awesome one. It is about “celebrating children as active participants in their own lives and in communities, as active citizens who can and should meaningfully contribute to decision-making.”

We here at Springboard Clinic love that idea, and have advocated for it within the context of ADHD since the very beginning: celebrating children as advocates for their lives, and doing whatever we can to support their ability to do so. In fact, we give each child a copy of the ‘ADHD Bill of Rights’ based on that very concept.

So, in celebration of National Child Day, please enjoy the Bill of Rights for Children with ADHD by Ruth Harris:

  • Help me focus: Please teach me through my sense of touch. I need “hands-on” and body movement.
  • I need to know what comes next: Please give me a structured environment where there is a dependable routine. Give me an advance warning if there will be changes.
  • Wait for me, I’m still thinking: Please allow me to go at my own pace. If I’m rushed, I get confused and upset.
  • I’m stuck, I can’t do it!: Please offer me options for problem solving. If the road is blocked, I need to know the detours.
  • Is it right? I need to know now: Please give me rich and immediate feedback on how I’m doing.
  • I didn’t know I wasn’t in my seat!: Please remind me to stop, think, and act.
  • Am I almost done now?: Please give me short work periods with short-term goals.
  • What?…Please don’t say “I already told you that”: Tell me again, in different words. Give me a signal. Draw me a symbol.
  • I know it is all wrong, isn’t it?: Please give me praise for partial success. Reward me for self-improvement, not just for perfection.
  • But why do I always get yelled at?: Please catch me doing something right and praise me for the specific positive behaviour. Remind me (and yourself) about my good points when I’m having a bad day.

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