I’m good at this!

Stefan Hasselblad

Over the last two years the discussion regarding ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and related problems has had a high profile in Sweden. More and more Swedish children are now getting neuropsychiatric diagnoses such as ADHD, Aspergers and Tourette’s Syndrome, and some researchers claim that at least 5% of all Swedish mainstream children suffer from behavior disorder depending on biological causes.

During the CARESS project I had the opportunity to work with two 7-year old children with quite severe ADHD problems. Both of them attended mainstream school. For a year we met once a week having Soundbeam sessions lasting 20-40 minutes.

The first time I met Nicolle she had real difficulty just picking up a small ball from the ground. She has since infancy had problems of overactivity and poor concentration, with delay of her linguistic development in general. The child psychiatrist has established that Nicolle has a severe ADHD problem with hyperactivity, and a very short attention span. She is constantly moving around, and has involuntary movements with her hands when she gets excited.

My targets were to improve Nicolle's:

1. Motor activity
2. Power of concentration
3. Ability to take instructions
4. Self-esteem

Her main activity was to throw-and-catch an object through the beam and wait and listen for the sound to stop before she threw or caught the object again. We started at a short distance to the beam with a large pillow and gradually continued with three different sizes of balls, and expanded the distance from the beam during this year. With the help of the Soundbeam 2's ability to gate the sound we were able to start with a the sound quite short and end with the maximum duration (6.3 sec.) At the end of the project Nicolle could stand with her back against the wall throwing and catching a small ball at maximum length of time over several minutes, feeling very proud and saying "I'm good at this!".

"I'm good at this!"

Her involuntary hand movements disappeared and she learned to prepare herself before throwing and catching, bending her legs and stretching out her hands in front of her. Nicolle is now shows improved listening skills and capacity to concentrate over longer periods. This has been confirmed by her remedial teacher and her personal assistant. She can now receive instructions and work independently over longer periods. In the beginning Nicolle was often uncertain whether the sound had faded out and therefore she would ask to make sure if that was the case. Little by little as her self esteem has become better she has stopped asking. Her pride in the presence of her classmates over her improved skills also became obvious during a visit to her school where we demonstrated for her class what we had been doing during our Soundbeam sessions. From having shown great resistance towards participating in the gymnastic lessons earlier on Nicolle now goes to these lessons with joy and a greater self confidence.

Nicolle has had problems accepting that the project is over and that we shall not continue. But her parents think that she has become easier to deal with at home, her motor activity has improved and she is listening a lot better and is more calm now.