Charter of Children’s Rights

“GIU’ LE MANI DAI BAMBINI” (HANDS OFF OUR CHILDREN) SUGGESTS … (24 RULES FOR A HYPERACTIVE KID)

The list that follows is a summary made by our staff of  two references known: “The Pierino syndrome: the control of hyperactivity” Daniele Fedeli PhD,  teacher of the Psychopathology Clinic at the University of Udine, and “How to operate an ADHD clinic or subspecialty practice, M. Gordon – GSI Publications. These are some practical easy rules helpful in dealing with restless and inattentive children both at class and at home…

1) HELP ME TO FOCUS THE ATTENTION ON YOU
Consider my “way” to get in touch with the environment: I need movement, gestures and raised hands!

2) WHY ALL THESE RULES?
Rules must be set according to my possibilities: few and clear rules. You must show me – each time and clearly – the behavior or the result you expect from me

4) YOU ARE TOO COMPLICATED
Messages must be formulated in a very direct way, without “plays on words”… or I get confused!

5) WHY DON’T YOU SPEAK CLEARLY TO ME?
You must show me how to perform a task, giving instructions with a clear voice. It would be useful for me to repeat your instructions, talking aloud until I have got the sequence.

6) YOU TELL ME TOO MANY THINGS AT THE SAME TIME
Messages should be given one at a time, otherwise I “pile them up” and then I forget them! If you “segment” the requests in an operating sequence (“…first I take the book, then I look for a page, and then I read it without interruption…”), it’s easier for me. If the tasks are too long or complex … divide them into smaller parts! So I can keep my attention and control to reach my aim.
7) I DID NOT FORGET IT… IT’S JUST THAT I DID NOT HEAR IT THE FIRST TIME!
Give me the clues step by step and ask me what I think you have said, and if I do not understand at once … Say it again with different words!

8) I’M IN TROUBLE, I CAN’T DO IT
Give me alternatives to solve the problems: There is more than one way to skin a cat

9) HAVE I ALMOST FINISHED?
Give me short periods of work with short-term goals.

10) I NEED TO KNOW WHAT IS NEXT
Give me an environment with a steady routine, and warn me if there will be changes.

11) IF I DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO YOU IT’S BECAUSE I GET BORED!
I get easily tired, bored, and it is even worse when I am less motivated. Fixing a “routine”, taking the different steps of the day without surprises doesn’t mean I’ll have a dull day!
12) WILL YOU GIVE ME A BREAK?
In fact, no one knows better than me how I feel. So if I ask for a break just to look around and relax, let’s fix it together, but do not deny it…
13) IF I DID WELL, LET ME KNOW STRAIT AWAY
Give me “nourishing” and immediate feedback on what I am doing and remind me (and even yourself!) of my qualities, especially on bad days!

14) IS IT ALWAYS ALL WRONG?
Give me a reward even if it is just a partial success, and not only for the perfection.

15) DO NOT PUNISH ME SEVERELY IF I DO SOMETHING THAT IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU …
If I disturb or I disagree with you, harsh punishments are not so useful: it can only worsen and we will never get to an end!

16) … AND IF I DO SOMETHING RIGHT GIVE ME A REWARD!
If you reward me or charge me a symbolic “price” for my behaviors, you help me to correct myself!(Adults name it “cognitive self control”).

17) MESS RAISES MESS

If the place where you make me work gets me sidetracked … can we eliminate all these distractions? For example, when I do my homework, make me keep on the table only what is really necessary …

18) I DIDN’T KNOW I WASN’T AT THE RIGHT PLACE
Remind me to listen to myself, to feel my emotions, and remind me to think before acting. If I learn to “put some time” between thought and action … I will make less mistakes!

19) IF I LISTEN, I WILL BE LISTENED TO
Can you teach me how to listen to the others? Help me to understand that, if I do not listen I will not be listened too. So I will learn to understand the feelings of the others, and mine by reflex.

20) CAN YOU TEACH ME HOW TO BE LOVED?
Tell me what is appropriate for you adults, how I can ask something without being aggressive, how I can solve a conflict, how I can have a talk without always interrupting the interlocutor. If we act a “role-play”, you and I alone, everything will be easier when it really happens!

21) PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN REPRESSION
Before taking me to places where I can be too excited (such as on birthdays!), remember me how to behave … and step in immediately when you understand that I am going to lose my self control.

22) EACH ACTION HAS A REACTION
If you let me understand that every action has a reaction by people and places, you will help me a lot. Give me simple examples which I can easily understand, even playing with the game of opposites ( “if I abuse the cat, the cat will scratch me,” if I help the dog, the dog will love me, “etc.).

23) AM I WORTH NOTHING?
Often I have a low self-esteem and I feel I am a “failure”:  can you emphasize my bright sides, supporting me and encouraging me? Let me understand that you trust me, please …

24) AM I “THE WAY I BEHAVE”?
I am not “wrong”. It is dangerous and harmful to confuse me with my behaviors, or I will identify with them and I will no longer be able to modify /solve them. What’s “wrong” is not me, but the way I behave: make me understand that I can always decide to do something concrete to improve myself!