Updated: May 1, 2020
What do FunHaven, SkyZone, Flying Squirrel, and Lazer Tag have in common? They're all highly stimulating activities where children with ADHD can thrive. No sitting still or sustained attention required. For a blissful hour or so, the child is not faced with the choice to either fit in OR have fun, and the parent isn't worried about provided the extra support for their child to thrive.
What else do these four highly-stimulating places have in common? They are a temporary band-aid on the ADHD child's needs. With little ADHD programming in Ottawa, both the parent and child benefit from these temporary breaks, because it's fun, engaging, and allows the child to be hyperactive in a suiting environment.
In his book "Scattered Minds, Origins and Healing of ADHD" (1999), Gabor Mate has even observed that the area of the brain used to help people focus and concentrate isn't faster in people with ADHD, it's slower. Thus, the body compensates with extra movement or extra stimulation to help get that focus piece back in gear. Mate describes it as the Cortex being a policeman who has fallen asleep on the job, and he needs some extra stimulus to wake him up. Essentially, the extra stimulation for the body and brain can be helpful for a child with ADHD. It's no doubt they enjoy such activities.
Not to mention, the relevance and appearance of ADHD and ADHD symptoms in children and youth continues to rise. Gabor Mate takes a holistic view and observes that with today's living conditions for families, children and youth, we have unintentionally created a breeding ground for ADHD tendencies. He explains: "Rather than an inherited disease, Attention Deficit Disorder is a reversible impairment and a developmental delay, with origins in infancy. It is rooted in multigenerational family stress and in disturbed social conditions in a stressed society." (1999)
So why are professionals and businesses not taking what we know and practice with clients who experience ADHD into a more accessible program option?
With this in mind, Limitless Youth Inc. collaborated with N.U.T.S. and developed new program to use a fun, engaging, and active environment for more intensive ADHD support. We dared to create a program that for the clients felt like a fun, social, and active environment, while underneath was intentional design, content, and skill-building to help them achieve success.
With LightSwitch we aim to help our clients build up their strengths that come from having ADHD. Instead of looking at what they cannot do the same as others, we want to inspire them to see what strengths they have. The program will help them see their creativity, inventiveness, athleticism, humor, and offer support from Child and Youth Care Practitioners to help them hone and learn new skills!
When we first created LightSwitch, Covid-19 wasn't a concern in any Canadian's mind. Now, with the changes to our daily living and routine, we realize that LightSwitch is going to be more relevant of a program than we originally planned.
As mentioned, ADHD specific programming in Ottawa is not vast. While there are services and professionals that can help support these individuals, it can be difficult for families to find solutions in their community to help build the skills specific to ADHD or hyperactivity. Some of the supports that existed for children with ADHD were sports teams, Teachers/helping professionals within schools, and community groups and drop-ins. Amid the current school closures and home confinement, access to these supports are limited if not, canceled for the time being.
So how will this impact children with ADHD and hyperactivity? Not only are their current community supports on hold, but so are their usual coping tools such as outdoor play, athletic activities, and co-regulating alongside their peers.
Practicing delayed gratification takes a back seat when there are fewer plans or achievements to delay for. Low self-esteem and frustration tolerance take a front seat as boredom increases, and adjustments to online learning or indoor activities are difficult. Alongside these few examples, there a variety of ways in which children, youth, and parents affected by ADHD are being hurt by the current conditions we are living in.
Fast Forward to Fall of 2020, when LightSwitch is officially launched! The empowerment program where children learn to ADHD with success! A healthy dose of Movement and Neuron Development while they enjoy the N.U.T.S. course and activities. They learn and build skills with Child and Youth Care Practitioners through fun and engaging activities. The environment and routine are both designed to help the clients regulate. The activities are created to build skills, and helpful take-home resources are put together and created so that parents/guardians can feel empowered to continue the learning at home.
All this and more are part of LightSwitch so that children with ADHD can have an inclusive, accepting environment while building the skills to reach their goals.
To be honest, we could probably write a novel's worth of posts about why LightSwitch will be life-changing for the Ottawa community, and we'd love for you to reach out and learn more about its intentional design during a FREE consultation!