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Ballet Talk for Dancers
DCDancemom

Ballet and ADHD

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dinkalina

My kids take concerta XR. It lasts around the 9 hour mark and then they are on their own. This is especially tough for rehearsals that are at night. They do not have problems with appetite but the life of a dancer does not lend itself to regular meal time. This is so true for my oldest DS who is off dancing professionally. He sometimes doesn't get home until 10:00pm or later and still has to fix himself supper. He packs lunch and snacks but I imagine he eats everything in sight when he gets home. My kids are big breakfast eaters, lunch is usually meh because of school lunch or uninspiring offerings, snacks before bed and in between. Some days we have to eat supper super early, sometimes is backs right up to bedtime. It just depends on rehearsal and class schedule. They always have health snacks with them as well - nuts, dried fruit, yogurt, granola. Interestingly enough, its the one DK who is not medicated we struggle to keep weight on. Her metabolism is like a humming bird's - 3000 calories per day at a minimum to maintain what she's got and that is sometimes not enough. She eats every 2 hours just to keep the calories coming and to counteract the affects of her high exercise level.

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Justinitforfun

Such a timely thread. I was just doing a search for this topic on this board just a couple weeks ago. My 11yo DD has just this year been diagnosed with ADD (ADHD-inattentive type) and has had just a few days of medication. So far it is helping a lot with school. Lack of focus, trouble learning new choreography, and trouble remembering corrections have been recurrent complaints of her teachers, especially early this year. I did discuss with the director that I had some suspicions about processing, and attention, though I haven't gone back to talk to her again since we did all the evaluations. I will eventually, because initially her teachers were making the assumption that she just wasn't trying hard enough, and I want them to know that there is a reason other than poor work ethic that it takes her longer to learn combinations, and that it shouldn't be held against her. Unfortunately, most of her classes are evening, so her medication won't be helpful for dance. One thing that we have done this year is occasional privates so that her ballet teacher can work on corrections with her, without the distraction of the rest of the class. I think of it as "dance tutoring". Just like we would do math tutoring if she couldn't keep up in math class, this has definitely helped her keep on track for dance class. And really, it has nothing to do with her ability, it's just that she needs the one-on-one to focus on her personal corrections. It has also helped her teacher see that she truly is interested in working hard and doing her best.

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Oglefresh

DD is 11 and on merit scholarship at an attached academy. She is on adoral and we absolutely let all the staff know as we did not want her to get labeled as disinterested and she dances obviously late into the evening and at times when meds are wearing off her focus can be affected. Everyone has been good teaching around this but they have expectations of her and will push her to go beyond which I think is great. She is getting much better picking up choreography though it can be a challenge compared to some girls who pick it up quickly.

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Momof3darlings

Here is a recent news article that is being shared on social media: Dance helps boy with ADHD While not about ballet specifically, it shows what dance itself has done in this situation. There is an article attached as well, but you have to scroll down a bit to find it on some browsers.

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pointetheway

That is a wonderful article. It is always rewarding to read a story about someone who has found their passion.

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balletmuse

Momof3Darlings thank you so much for sharing! That put a big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. So happy for that child. I started my child in gymnastics and then dance to help get her energy out. I think it's part of her unique gifting to have to move.

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DCDancemom

What a wonderful story! Thanks so much for sharing.

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Momof3darlings

Here are a few more for you. My SO's child has ADHD and several other disorders. We keep these in a file on our studio computer.

 

Dancer needed to move to think

 

Karina Smirnoff

 

She's not sick, she's a dancer--Ted Talk

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newballetmom

Thank you for sharing those links. I also have a child who seems to need to move to learn so they really hit home.

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Momof3darlings

A post/link was removed by a moderator because it was a personal blog. We don't allow blog posts. In case others find links worthy of a share here, please be sure to check out our guidelines for links.

 

Here are a couple of others. I think I've shared all the ones I can share. Our others are blogs also, so I won't. Google does wonders for finding those.

 

Roxy Rivara

 

Dancer Matures in Russia

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Jennrlb

My daughter loves ballet and does want to pursue it professionally, but she has ADD and struggled to retain corrections and remember choreography. She had never had any issues at school, but we were seeing some things at home too. Ultimately after talking to her doctor, we out her on medication. She takes it at school at lunch so it will still be working when she gets to dance class in the evening. Almost instantly her teachers noticed a difference and commented on how much more focused she was. I don't love the fact that she has to take medication, but the results do justify it.

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dorcasguest

As a parent of a 14 year old DD who has been in ballet since age 5 BECAUSE of her ADHD, you have a teacher who is not very good at classroom management and honestly needs to be educated on how to handle this at your daughters age level. If you can find another ballet school, do so. I would even suggest a ballet school that does strictly ballet and has teachers that are invested in the school where they teach. I placed my daughter in the most strict ballet school at age 5 that required buns to be a certain way and leos to be the same color with no finger nail polish, cute tutus, underwear, etc etc. I will tell you this...it paid off.

My daughter is currently not medicated and her ADHD does NOT prevent her from learning choreography...she actually learns choreography very very fast so this is an individual trait and not a characteristic of ADHD. What my DD does have a problem with is keeping everything in her bag nice and neat and NOT LOST! It helps that I purchased stickers with her NAME on them and put them in EVERY SINGLE THING THAT SHE OWNS, including a sticker in EACH shoe. I gave up and often clean her bag because there will be dirty tights from Monday on THursday or a granola bar wrapper if I do not keep up with the madness. It is QUITE frustrating as she "lost" a brand new pair of pointe shoes right before she left for her summer intensive at ABT.

With that being said, I think the discipline of ballet helps the ADHD child. I think it gives them something that they are good at, it gives them a stable group of friends as well as school can be tough on some children with ADHD, and that power and capability of being able to do many things at once with conviction can often create excellent stage presence.

 

I would only hope that you evaluate the teacher that is not giving her corrections and remind your daughter that she should always watch the corrections given to the "chosen child" and do the same herself. It also helps to be next to the "favorite" of the class and listen for those corrections as well and when or if you are able to change schools or teachers the following year...one gets to start anew.

Read as much as you can on ADHD and google *book-adhd-attention-girls* and you will find a book with great information. I personally think that ballet is the core and great training and modern just falls in place afterwards. Expose her to as many professional ballet performances as you can afford in your town and try to engage with a school where the professional company exists so that she can have the opportunity to perform alongside the company like in Nutcracker or ballets like La Bayadere that use children. Hope that helps...Good luck!

 

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Moxie

I swear ballet saved my ADHD son. A lot of the ballet boys he knew had ADHD. We had the best luck with Daytrana patch. He just removed it 2 hours before he knew he'd go to sleep. That way he was medicated in the evenings for ballet class.

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Charlottel

Hello, I  have a daughter who is 14 years old and is on ADHD medication. She’s in a very serious intensive ballet school with a lot of pressure and stress. She loves it, but I wonder if the medication stifles her musicality and creativity as a dancer. She used to be more spontaneous and alive and I wonder if the medication numbs her a bit . I feel She has improved in focus and her technique has improved but she seems to have lost her love of dance(becoming more serious  and self-conscious ) I wonder if any of this has to do with her medication . She is on 30mg of Vyvanse....

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