Does anyone have experience sending their kids to karate that have just add, not adhd?

Jennifer - posted on 02/12/2015 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I have two sons who are both add. They have extreme difficulty focusing for any amount of time. Baseball got dangerous because they would not be looking when a ball came at them. The sensai is very patient but my sons are afraid to go each week because they are aware that it is taking them along time to catch on. They are white belts and cant complete the test for the first stripe. I have tried medication but because they are not hyper at all (they are very low key) the meds would make them like they were in a trance. They would not talk or eat and they lost their happy personality. If anyone has any suggestions about meds for just add kids or any experience with kids and karate with add I would really appreciate it. Jennifer

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Ledia - posted on 02/22/2015

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That is great :) Even if you cannot actually go to the Karate classes more than once a week, just have them practice what they learned at the last class with you for about 15 minutes each day. Ask them to show you what they learned or to "teach you" some new moves.
Going over something we have learned verbally, as well as physically, helps us to cement it into our minds. When my son struggles with his spelling words, I have him write them in the sand in our back yard, or I give him a set of very large letters and let him arrange the letters on the floor to make the spelling words. This helps him learn the words very well because he has to think about spelling the word longer, and he has the physical aspect of the activity to help keep him from getting distracted. I use the same method myself with work presentations--I print the different points of my presentation on pieces of paper, then arrange them on the floor in order. Then I stand on the first point while I say that part of my speech, then move to the next one and say that part. When I am actually delivering the speech, I can attach the words to my physical movements AND to the different views of my living room based on where I was standing.....okay, that sounds crazy, but it works. When your sons get back to Karate class, they will remember the steps they took to show you their new moves, and they can apply them in class!

Ledia - posted on 02/12/2015

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I have ADD without ADHD, and my son MIGHT have ADD without ADHD but it is not affecting him in a way that would require medication at this time, so I have not pushed for a diagnosis for him yet. I know that sounds "off" so let me explain.

Because I have very severe ADD, I see a psychologist (and sometimes a psychiatrist when my psychologist recommends that level of treatment) to keep things in order. My psychologist has armed me with lots of information and tools that help me cope with the symptoms of ADD without medication.
Keep in mind that even medication does not make the symptoms of ADD go away--your children will still have it, and they will still have the symptoms--the medication just strengthens neuro pathways that can help them better cope with those symptoms with the appropriate tools and information they are given. If they do not have the tools and information, the medication can make them feel very badly about themselves because they will start to see all of their shortcomings due to the ADD, but will not know how to fix them.

I will share with you some of the tools and information I use to keep my ADD brain focused in the right direction. I use many of the same tools with my son, and that may be why, even though his brain seems to wonder like mine if left untethered, he does not need medication to cope with his symptoms.

We do take Taekwondo, which is like Karate, but it is Korean. It is a great physical outlet, and even though your kids don't have the hyperactive aspect, physical activity does produce chemicals in the brain that promote focus.

Patterns and clutter need to be kept to a minimum. I know this might seem like a lot of trouble that won't make a big difference, but trust me, it is worth it. When my ADD brain looks at a shelf with several things on it, I LITERALLY cannot see the different items. I just see a shelf piled with stuff. My phone can be right on top of a pile of bills and papers, but I will not see it, because my brain cannot pick apart the different elements that make up the pile. I just see the pile. This is how your boys are seeing the world. If there is a lot of clutter, they are overwhelmed mentally, and really can't see anything at all without putting forth A LOT of effort. It is a very stressful feeling.
Make sure your walls are painted solid colors (Not floral wallpapers and the like). If you must use patterns on the walls, choose very small, monochromatic patterns.
Group like items together. If you have a ton of picture frames, put them together in groups on shelves dedicated just to picture frames. Same for candle holders and other things--group them together. This way, while your kids can't actually see each candle holder or picture unless they really focus on it, they can see a group of frames or a group of candle holders, and know when they look at it, that they are not going to need to pick apart the pile (in their brains) to find a pencil or whatever else they are looking for.
Create a place for their every day things that is easy for them to see and use. Make a hook for their bookbag and coat, above it, hang a wall file ($4 at office supply) for papers they need you to look at. If you have space for a small shelf above it for them to drop small items like keys, ipods, phones, etc. that is also great. It will take a little time for them to get into the habit, but once they do, they will free up so much of their mental efforts.
Create some empty surfaces. This way, when they set down a glass or a phone or whatever, they will be able to see it when they look for it again. If every surface in your home is covered in nicknacks, floral doilies, papers, and other things, they will lose everything they set down. It then requires a lot of mental effort for them to find it again, which takes away from effort they could be using to get better at Karate, or for school work.

Create a STRONG routine for them. For a normal person, knowing they have to take a shower at the end of the day and actually doing it takes little to no mental effort. For the ADD brain, actually taking the shower takes A LOT of mental effort. It is VERY easy for our brains to get sidetracked in the process because we are constantly filtering through 10 to 50 thoughts at once. If you make it so easy they don't have to think about it in order to get it done, it won't matter if their brain gets sidetracked during the process. I am rarely actually thinking about what I am doing unless I have to be. In my bathroom, I have ONE shampoo, ONE conditioner, ONE bodywash, and ONE scrubby. I have ONE towel, and ONE comb. I have everything arranged in the order in which I use it--after my shower, I have a shelf above my sink with my toothbrush, then toothpaste, then face lotion, then deodorant, then perfume--in that order. There is no way for me to screw it up and forget something because I can just look at whatever is missing from the shelf and know what is next. I might do something twice on occasion if I forget to check what's next before I put the thing I'm using back, but that's not that bad. Eliminate ALL distractions for mundane stuff, so they don't have to think about it and can think about more important stuff.


I hope this helps. This is an issue very close to my heart. If there is more I can share with you, I will. One other thing. Do make sure they are practicing the Karate every day outside of their regular lessons, but keep the practices short--5 to 15 minutes depending on their ages. Just make sure there is time for it every day--they will need the frequent repetition to get it.



A note about me and medication:
As with everything in the body (especially women's bodies) sometimes my hormones fluctuate and the chemical imbalance that causes ADD can become more pronounced--too pronounced for me to handle it on my own--and that is when I seek help from my psychiatrist and resort to medication. I don't like the medication--it makes me lose my appetite, it makes me more self conscious--I worry about what people will think about everything I do or say-- and sometimes I get SO focused that I can't move on. Like I'll be putting away groceries, and decide I need to reorganize the whole kitchen, and I WILL NOT be able to stop, even if it means not getting to school in time to pick up my son. That said, medication does have it's place. I do focus much better with it when my body needs it, but when my body doesn't need it, it really just makes things worse.

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Jennifer - posted on 02/22/2015

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Dear Ledia, Thankyou so much for your reply. You have given me a lot of helpful ideas that I can try. My son does feel very self conscience on the meds. I wondered why and now I can see that he sees how much he doesn't understand in the classroom. His IQ tested at 74 which the school says is borderline. I am going to get an outside opinion. I will try to keep up with karate and maybe go more that once a week for more practice. Thankyou for all of your great advice. I really appreciate it.

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