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Part 1- Taekwondo: The Right Activity for My Son With ADHD

From Cub Scouts to Jujitsu to Piano to Soccer to Taekwondo

Many Moms and Dads today have experienced Mister Toad's wild ride when

it comes to finding the right after school program/activity for their child with ADHD and/or Autism. Finding a quality program that "fits" your child and your life, can definitely pose a challenge!

To start, maybe you don't live in an area that offers many choices. If you are in a larger metropolitan area, chances are much greater that you will have a few of

everything in each category. If you are in a medium or small size town, you may be much more limited. When I moved with my then 5 year old son Jared from a city of 3+ million people to a town of about 20,000 people, my own "kid in the candy store" mindset got a big wake up call. From restaurants to pediatricians to churches to extracurricular activities, our options dwindled MAJORLY. But because it's always important to try to see the silver lining, I will say this. I would not return to the city of 3+ million people. For. Anything. The significant decrease in my stress levels in not having to drive in a city like that or be assaulted by the constant rudeness each day makes the decrease in our activity choices well worth it. Less stressed out Mom or Dad = calmer kid.

Is finding the right extracurricular activity even important enough to really even think much about it?

It definitely has been for our son. Let me pause for a moment. A great after school activity or program is not a cure-all for ADHD or Autism. Duh, you might say to me. Of course we both know that it's not a cure or even a treatment. But for my son, who has high functioning Autism and mixed type ADHD, I believe it's a critical component of a comprehensive plan to help him grow into the very best version of himself he can be.

Ok, we found a couple possibilities, now what?

If you are fortunate enough to live somewhere where you have several choices that might work for your child, your schedule, your budget, etc., then it's time to start yer' engines. My son Jared had no preferences and no idea of what he wanted to try. Actually he didn't want to try anything, because my sweet boy knew inside himself that he struggled socially with other kids and it made him very uncomfortable interacting with them. But since he is an only child, he doubly needed the opportunity to socialize and make friends, or at least practice making friends without hopefully scaring too many off. The first four activities we tried for him actually did not go very well, and we did scare off a few potential friends, but it was all in the name of learning and growing.

Scouts, Jujitsu, Piano, and Soccer - Oh My!

Don't be afraid to let your child try each of the activities you have chosen together. Or all of them, if need be. I didn't start out thinking this way. I naively thought that my son would magically morph into a savant during his very first piano lesson, stick with it, and become the next Mozart. Of course that didn't happen. Even Savants have to practice. Jared would NOT practice. At. All. Next...

As for the Soccer, which lasted all of two lessons, the other kids were really into the game "as is," and became very upset when Jared tried to recreate the game by picking up each of the orange marking cones, stacking them up on his head, and running away with them. He came back, but still. It happened for the 2nd (and final) lesson too. So much for soccer.

Jujitsu. Absolutely refused to stay on the mat or bow to the Sensei. Would not follow directions. Stared at the ceiling fan. Gave dirty looks to the folks in the bleachers. Would walk off of the mat at anytime without warning. Next...

Scouts. Would shout out answers to questions before other kids had their turn to answer. Walked off stage during ceremonies. Would get up out of chair and walk around, verbally grading the other scouts' nature artwork over their shoulders. Begging for others' snacks. Not to be...

Finally. Taekwondo. Read Part 2 of 2...


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