Hey there! Is it just me or is it getting more difficult to keep the attention of children with ADHD and/or autism? Now more than ever, children are struggling to focus in school or at home. I notice it even in my counseling sessions. It’s a challenge to stay on-topic and on-track. I understand- there are a lot more important things going on in our world right now compared to what’s happening in our session together. Just like adults- kids are dealing with burnout from the pandemic.
Staying focused on a single subject is already a challenge, if not impossible, for kids with ADHD. Last week, a client and I came up with a fun game to practice staying on-topic in a conversation. We ended up having a blast and were both in stitches in a few minutes. So, with their blessing and their title credit, I wanted to share the game with you today!
What is the longest and most boring conversation in the history of the universe? It’s the one that you and the child create together about whatever topic you come up with. You can draw topics out of a hat, close your eyes and point to a word in a dictionary, or pick the first word that comes to your head. My client and I chose the latter. The first word that they thought of is boats. HOWEVER. My client happens to be *obsessed* with boats. That’s not the most boring conversation in the world to him. Therefore, we had to pick a different topic. We ended up choosing snails. Slow, slimy snails.
In the game, you and your partner have to maintain eye contact and talk about your chosen topic for as long as possible. Bonus points if you can do it in an exciting voice. You can’t change the topic or you lose. That’s it. That’s the game.
You can make this more interesting by adding a third (and fourth) person to come into the conversation and try and change the subject to something more exciting. Since I’m a family counselor, we were able to get the client’s guardian involved with us. Do you know what the guardian tried to change the conversation to instead? You guessed it, boats. I wish you could see my client’s face as they attempted to continue thinking about snails rather than his passion.
This game is wonderful for practicing staying engaged in conversation. It involves active listening while also thinking of how to contribute to the conversation- two very difficult skills.
I hope you try having the longest and most boring conversation in the history of the universe!