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ADHD and ballet training/careers


NotadanceMa
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I am looking for some valuable lived experience with ballet dancers (and parents)in training or in companies who have ADHD. 

 

Please PM if you don’t want to talk too publicly.

 

My teen is unmedicated ADHD, and currently manages well within the tightly structured environment of vocational training. The school is aware and very good indeed after some guidance from me. 😉 

 

I am interested in how your child experiences their condition as an older dancer in training and/or as a member of a company. 

 

We have met a rather large number of children along the way, and most have decided not to disclose the condition as they dance along their ballet journey.

 

For the most part I am interested in any and all experiences. Information is power.

 

I have posted about School of American Ballet in a separate post and I notice that the American schools are in my experience much more (at least in their prospectus and on the phone) inclusive, transparent and forward thinking than the U.K. 

This of course may not be born out in reality.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi- my DS has ADHD. Medicated, as without medication he was (and is) entirely non-functional due to the severity of his symptoms. He’s in year 10, therefore due to progress into senior school August 23. He is coping well. The school and ballet school are aware, and accommodate his different learning style. He’s very open about it, all his classmates know, he tells people readily -he has found that other people’s tolerance of his little idiosyncrasies is much better if they know. 

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Thankyou for the post @Boys_can_dance I saw you post on a different thread and I believe your boy is in Europe and doing well which is good to hear.

My teen is heading I suspect for medication, puberty+ ADHD is not proving a good mix.

The school are not hugely supportive of the impact that ADHD has on executive functioning because they just don’t really understand it. My teen however is self-aware and is ok for now, and always told his friendship groups without issue. 

 

 

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23 hours ago, NotadanceMa said:

Thankyou for the post @Boys_can_dance I saw you post on a different thread and I believe your boy is in Europe and doing well which is good to hear.

My teen is heading I suspect for medication, puberty+ ADHD is not proving a good mix.

The school are not hugely supportive of the impact that ADHD has on executive functioning because they just don’t really understand it. My teen however is self-aware and is ok for now, and always told his friendship groups without issue. 

 

 

Indeed, the teens can be dreadful. I have an ADHD girl also, unmedicated until she developed severe anxiety at Uni. She didn’t want to take medication, she ‘likes herself better’ without. She does however now use it for her studies- she’s doing medicine.

My DS didn’t even learn to talk properly, as he wasn’t able to listen to people well enough to pick it up. No learning done at all in reception/year one, but as soon as was medicated, made up for lost time and never looked back!

I found DS accepted the medication much easier, as he was much younger when he started it( girls are usually diagnosed much later!).

The ballet teacher has taken to at least  demonstrate what he means in a scetchy way, and lets DS move along, instead of making him stand still, that helps massively. Little things like that can already be enough, and cost them so little.

 

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15 hours ago, Boys_can_dance said:

The ballet teacher has taken to at least  demonstrate what he means in a scetchy way, and lets DS move along, instead of making him stand still, that helps massively. Little things like that can already be enough, and cost them so little.

The movement issue is a really significant issue for my teen. Having to stand still and then attempt to listen and retain info is like a slow death. If no movement is possible, they start to switch off and feel floppy.

At home if we need to talk they will bounce on an exercise ball or spin 😁

I will mention this to the SENCO because they need to move to learn.

You are right it’s little adjustments that can really make a difference.

When my child was younger their first ballet teacher used to let them spin in the corner whilst she taught there was never a problem.

 

It’s often about breaking through old ways of doing things taught as the only way of doing things. 
 

Edited by NotadanceMa
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I'm thinking of the number of professional dancers who got sent to dance classes in the first place because they were "hyperactive/needed to blow off steam" etc.  With more awareness, I wonder how many of them might be classed as having ADHD these days?

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5 hours ago, alison said:

I'm thinking of the number of professional dancers who got sent to dance classes in the first place because they were "hyperactive/needed to blow off steam" etc.  With more awareness, I wonder how many of them might be classed as having ADHD these days?

I know that dancing, significantly increases the amount of dopamine and/or fires up the dopamine receptors in the brain. 
ADHD brain scans shows low levels of dopamine, so certainly in my child’s case ballet has had an amazingly positive impact on their quality of life.

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1 hour ago, NotadanceMa said:

I know that dancing, significantly increases the amount of dopamine and/or fires up the dopamine receptors in the brain. 
ADHD brain scans shows low levels of dopamine, so certainly in my child’s case ballet has had an amazingly positive impact on their quality of life.

Similar for autistic children. My daughter has autism and dance has been the absolute best thing for her. She’s determined to make a career out of it and I worry how her autism will affect her chances but for now it makes her the happiest I’ve ever seen her so we take each day as it comes. 

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1 minute ago, MamaFrosty said:

Similar for autistic children. My daughter has autism and dance has been the absolute best thing for her. She’s determined to make a career out of it and I worry how her autism will affect her chances but for now it makes her the happiest I’ve ever seen her so we take each day as it comes. 

I can really relate. My teen is at vocational school and the school know about the ADHD/Dyslexia and I worry so much.

The dancing for my child is the easy part, it’s often all the bits around it that they find the hardest. Keeping track of time, picking up choreography quickly can be a challenge, losing focus when something shiny gets in their eyeline 😊 having a particularly bad day where they cannot get themselves together at all. 

I am ever hopeful that as each year goes by and each new generation of dancers come through with many more who may be neurodiverse that companies will start to change.

 

I notice today filling out the audition forms for National Youth Ballet they actually have a section on neurodiversity, so do other schools and companies, like Rambert, LCD.

Ballet to me lags behind still and needs to step up way more and pull itself out of its old ways of doing things.

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