When you hear the word acronym ADHD, there are a couple of thoughts that might run through your mind. “I feel bad for whoever has that.” Or maybe “so they’re just really hyper, right?”
Those who suffer from ADHD will typically have more energy than those who don’t, yes. But there is also the component of not being able to focus, or feeling like your wires has crossed and there is just too much stuff going on in your head.
So you might wonder how this mixes in with art. How can someone with ADHD focus long enough and enjoy creating it?
Change Your Thinking
The first thing to do is turn what looks like negative symptoms into positive opportunities:
Impulsive nature Willing to take chances
Questions authority Better at thinking “outside the box”
Restless Less likely to settle
Easily distracted Can notice small details
Once you, as the teacher, parent, or friend are able to reposition your views on ADHD that will make it much easier to help the person get more involved with the arts. The person in question, however, will have their own hurdles to jump before they realized that they have more potential than they think they do.
The first is that they need to build confidence. Those with ADHD (particularly kids) have a strong need for mastery of some skill. Whether it’s coloring, painting, making things with their hands, or a physical form of art such as dance, finding their niche will help them take off.
The next thing to keep in mind is to start off easy. No one can master a gorgeous watercolor painting overnight. For small children, start off by encouraging them to trace cartoon characters they like and then color them in. No matter how big or small the project, showing how proud you are of it can go a long way.
Then, make sure the supplies keep coming. If you find that coloring books are not their thing (think about really not wanting to color inside the lines), consider giving them normal sketch pads and plenty of things to draw/color with. They may like that instead!
Those who have ADD or ADHD can have the ability to over-focus on something that interests them. So if they like something, they will really like it. Help them to discover their areas of interest and that might be a common theme in their art. Once they finish something they started- praise them. They will then have multiple reasons to try and finish their art!
If it is the actual sitting down that is making your artist restless, try having them stand up at an easel, lying down, or even kneeling in front of a table. No matter what, however, one of the most important traits for someone with ADHD to practice is perseverance. Following through with projects that were started will play a huge role in getting them to turn ideas into creative pieces of art.
Once they finish with an easy line drawing, suggest another step to make it look more finished, and praise them every time they take it another step. Don’t let them get frustrated with it, because then they will associate the frustration with the art creation process. Mount and frame whatever they create in order to encourage them!
Why They Need Art
Those who suffer from ADHD will typically have a harder time expressing themselves with words. They may not have the ability to explain what is going on in their minds to other people. Art is something that can help those with hyperactivity to better express their thoughts and emotions and give them an outlet to release everything on their hearts and minds.
At Hunakai Studios, we want each and every person to be able to experience the benefits of art and expressing themselves creatively. Even those who have a hard time concentrating can have their lives changed by the arts!