Creating a Beautiful, Functional Learning Space for a Child with ADHD
In the UAE, around 4.1% of children (as reported by parents) or 3.4% (as reported by teachers), show symptoms of ADHD. If your child has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it is vital to find extra-curricular activities that will increase focus and help children deal with stress.
Find what ignites your child’s passion and go for it – it might be sports, the arts, or even yoga. At home, make sure your child’s learning spaces are designed in such a way that distractions are kept to a minimum. Finding the right places to store items is also of great importance.
Positioning of the Study Desk
Ideally, a child’s desk and study materials – pens, rulers, scissors, etc. – should all be located in a dedicated learning space. Placing a desk in an area that the whole family uses can be a problem, since children with ADHD can have problems concentrating and need peace and quiet when working.
The desk should also be outside the child’s bedroom, which should be minimalist in design, with few pieces of furniture or items that could potentially distract your child’s bedtime.
Key Pieces of Furniture
Organization is key when it comes to designing rooms for children with ADHD, since they can easily get bored with repetitive tasks such as homework, sometimes grabbing items that distract them. The desk should be totally clear, with all material kept inside the drawers.
A desk with various drawers is key, as it will help you file different materials. One drawer can have all art supplies, the other math tools (such as rulers, protractors, compasses, etc.), another can have writing materials (pens, markers, pencils, tools for writing support, eraser, etc.).
Keep in mind the idea of creating ‘spaces’ for different activities in common areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, as well. Children should have a little storage space of their own in different rooms of the home, with all the material and equipment they need for each activity.
A Peaceful Spot for Extra-Curricular Activities
If your child’s favourite extra-curricular activity includes sports, try to find a place in the home where they can practise it between lessons. A quiet spot with little to no furniture, perhaps a mat or soft cushions, is ideal for practising yoga or mindful meditation when your child takes study breaks.
Helping More than One Child with Homework
If you have more than one child and enjoy teaching them or supporting their homework activities, a crucial piece of equipment are soft mats in different colours. Ask each child to sit on their own mat, to encourage them to stay in the same spot. If they share a desk, you can use coloured tapes to separate each space.
Children can then be asked to use only the items within their own space.
Soothing Colour Schemes
Use a calming colour for study areas – blue has been shown to calm brain waves, which is excellent for calming a child who may have had a stressful day.
Don’t Shy Away from Technology
We are often warned of the increasingly large role technology plays in the lives of our kids, but children with ADHD can learn from apps which are created to capture their attention.
Smartphones and tablets can also be used to create alarms, to partition the time a child has to complete each task. Store technology in the same place in the study room, and set time limits for usage.
Designing a useful, relaxing learning space for a child with ADHD is challenging, but also lots of fun, allowing to you give free rein to your creativity as you apply all you have learned about ADHD to the different zones within your home.
Keep your child’s learning space clutter-free and minimalistic in design, using storage spaces and intelligent distribution of furniture to promote tranquil learning.