Tips for Buying Gifts that Help Transform Attention Deficits into Assets
Shane Perrault Ph.D.
While children with Attention Deficits do not come with a manual, here is a proven “3 Step Strategy” that will help empower you to turn your child’s attention deficits into assets by encouraging you to think about intelligence in a way that most reflects your child’s unique strengths and learning style.
Step 1: Discover your child’s unique “Intelligence Type”
Fortunately, all great minds don’t think alike. In fact, there are many ways to be Smart. One proven way to help children with ADHD excel in and outside the classroom and develop confidence is to help them discover and harness their unique brand of intelligence.
Believe it or not, our educational system mostly determines who is smart based on two types of intelligence (verbal and math), despite the theory of multiple intelligences that was developed in 1983 by Harvard University education professor Dr. Howard Gardner. This theory suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on verbal and math I.Q. testing, is far too limited.
Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences which account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults. He specifically lists these multiple types of intelligence as nature smart, logic smart, picture smart, music smart, word smart, body smart, people smart, and self smart.
To identify your child’s unique “Intelligence Type,” start by having your child take a multiple intelligence test, “MI” test. This test will identify how their mind processes information and solves problems. It will also provide valuable insights into unlocking their hidden strengths, make learning easier and more fun. In addition, feedback from this test can be used to build your child’s self-confidence and minimize behavioral problems in the classroom.
To discover your child’s “Intelligence Type,” I suggest the two of you complete a FREE computer scored test. (Click here). Upon completion of this test, a brief narrative will be generated that specifically identifies your child’s unique “Intelligence Type.”
Step 2: Select a holiday gift that develops their unique “Intelligence Type”
Having completed “Step 1”, you now know more about your child’s unique intellectual abilities. Here are a few ideas to help you select a potentially transformational Christmas gift this year.
If your child is:
“Nature Smart” Buy a gift that exposes them to nature. For example, you can purchase tickets to the zoo, or some gear for them to go hiking or kayaking. These activities not only allow them to enjoy nature, but also get in some fun exercise and quality time as the two of you enjoy these activities.
“Word Smart” Buy books or word games. Children with ADHD tend to hyper-focus, and have been known to avidly read a book on their favorite topic. Computer based word games like “Scrabble” are also highly recommended.
“Logic Smart” Buy board games. Chess, Monopoly or Cash Flow Quadrant build lasting strategy skills, plus you can spend quality time with your child as you play these games together. Garret Loporto, author of The Davinci Method, reports that adults with ADHD are 300% likely to start their own businesses. Board games like these are great spring boards in developing some of their hidden entrepreneurial talents.
“Picture Smart” Buy arts & crafts related gifts or a camera. Many children with ADHD are extremely creative and have advanced visual/spatial strengths. An expensive camera isn’t necessary, but helping your child to develop a hobby like photography could be priceless.
“Music Smart” Buy a musical instrument, karaoke machine or pay for a music coach. For example, you can start with a beginner’s guitar and a book on how to play. Maybe this gift can blossom into a performance, a family karaoke night, or your child joining a band.
“Body Smart” Buy a sports club membership or pay tuition for a sports camp. Keeping them active helps manages hyperactivity while developing social skills and discipline. Exercise also allows children to shine, and develop athletic and competitive mastery — which raises self esteem. Consider how enriched ADHD Olympic champion Michael Phelps’ life has been enriched by swimming.
Step 3: Select a holiday gift that transforms a “Deficit” into an “Asset”
In addition to providing information about your child’s intellect, this information could provide a few ideas to help you select a gift that potentially transforms a deficit into an asset.
Poor Social Skills: Does your child need to develop better social skills? Give her two tickets to an event, and encourage her to invite a friend. Alternatively, enroll them in group activities where their strengths will give them a decided advantage. For example, if they are nature and logic smart, consider having them take a beginning horticulture class, or day camp program at the zoo or aquarium with their friends.
Easily Distracted: If your child is easily distracted, or can only pay attention for short periods of time, then try a computer based “Simon Says” game, or a puzzle. Both of these games require children to develop focus and task completion skills needed to succeed in the classroom. While “Simon Says” develops your child’s short-term memory ability, puzzles require them to learn to follow instructions and remain engaged in the project until the puzzle is completed. (These are some of the same skills cutting-edge Attention Training Systems like Play AttentionTM utilize to help children with ADHD learn to focus.) In addition, once he completes a particularly meaningful puzzle, you can frame it and hang it in a prominent location. In addition to learning how to focus and stay on task, your child will be proud of his accomplishments.
Because all great minds don’t think alike, harnessing the unique strengths of children ith attention differences may require that you employ some “outside-of-the-box” tactics when shopping for this year’s gifts. This proven “3 Step Strategy” will help empower you and Santa to put a gift under the tree this year that is part of the process of transforming your child’s attention deficits into benefits.