| Aug 27, 2019
Tackling ADHD With Love
The door to Denis’s classroom is completely covered with colorful phrases, drawings, and clippings. Among the phrases written by hand, one stands out: "We learn from mistakes and celebrate the success of others." Carelia, the teacher and creator of the murals, smiles and proudly explains: “Students must be encouraged, especially those who have learning disabilities.” Such has been the case for Denis, a 7-year-old boy from a family with limited resources who was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
In 2018, Yerlin, Denis’s mother, went to the Fabretto Education Center in Esteli, Nicaragua, to seek help for her son. “At school, Denis suffered from abuse. The students were afraid of him, and the teachers constantly scolded him because they did not understand ADHD,” recalls the mother. But thanks to the professional support received at Fabretto, in a short time, Denis began to show significant progress and to smile as he had rarely done before.
At Fabretto, Denis received psychological therapy and his teacher, Carelia, has played a critical role in preparing him to become a part of a regular classroom. The teacher has received training in play-based educational methodologies for primary education students, similar to Montessori. Through playful activities, children have managed to transform from mere recipients of information to protagonists of their own learning. “Less than a year ago, Denis did not know how to read or write. Today, he is an outstanding student and loves to visit the center’s library frequently,” explains the elementary school teacher.
Carelia has taught the rest of the students to serve as support for Denis. Through social reinforcements such as hugs, praises, or any other manifestation of affection, they manifest to him how well he has acted. “Children with hyperactivity have to be treated with patience; here [at Fabretto] we are convinced that the best solution to any problem is love.”
Denis’s mother, sister, and grandmother have also learned the value of affection in the child’s recovery and development. “Before, my daughter and I cried because we did not understand what was happening to Denis. We did not know how to deal with him, and that’s why we scolded him all the time. But Fabretto’s staff has instilled in us the patience and techniques we need to help him with his studies at home,” says his grandmother, Rosa.
Denis has shown not only great progress in his social, emotional, and educational skills but also a significant change in his nutritional state. “Before in his most critical moments, he could not eat, but now, he remains at the table and finishes his entire meal calmly,” says his mother, Yerlin.
Thanks to the joint work between the family and the school, today, Denis can identify the critical moments of hyperactivity on his own and then put into practice self-control techniques. “When Denis is very restless, he performs breathing exercises on his own and asks for permission to leave the classroom to walk for a bit,” explains his teacher, Carelia.
At Fabretto, we are convinced that through quality personalized education, and by working hand in hand with all the members of the community, we can create environments where children like Denis can truly thrive. Thanks to people like you, we can continue to support children like Denis.