What if children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) weren’t treated like they were sick? Instead of labeling the kids, what if we teach them to accept and see themselves as unique, highly gifted, sensitive, or creative individuals? Instead of medicating them, what if we taught them how to focus and calm themselves?
It was the answers to these questions that led me to meet Joey Downs, who is the founder of the Children's Beading Circle, and Nathan Alba, who conducts Reiki healing. They both facilitate a program called “SouLove Rainbow.” It is designed for “rainbow” children whose neurological structure, the program describes, gives them a heightened sensory perception and cognition. To go beyond the technical lingo, it means rainbow children may exhibit the following traits: sensitive, intuitive, creative, passionate, fearless, and giving. They have high energy with strong personalities and are easily overwhelmed by electronic stimuli.
According to Nathan and Joey, it is not uncommon to observe rainbow children connecting more to nature, animals, and colors. Some may struggle with the traditional educational system, and they are often diagnosed with learning disabilities like dyslexia and speech delay as well as ADHD and sensory perception disorder.
Nathan, who describes himself as a rainbow child, and Joey, a mother of two rainbow kids, say they want to empower the parents and children with the program. Nathan explains, “We can teach others to love and support these kids instead of labeling them, so they can shine. This will be a fun environment where they can learn and thrive, while their uniqueness is honored.”
In the SouLove Rainbow program, interactive activities that use movement will be introduced. These can be children’s yoga, relaxation techniques, and even meditation that aim to build self-confidence, decision-making skills, and creative expression. It’s a program that teaches kids to channel or burn excess energy productively.
It probably sounds new age-y to most of you, so I asked Nathan and Joey for a “home version” of their program. They say the following ways may be useful to help children get calm and become focused.
1. Connect to nature. Playing in a park where there’s grass, plants, and trees helps ground your child’s energy. Activities outdoors like biking or running around also releases excess energy, which also contributes to better sleep at night.
2. Meditate and pray. Both meditation and prayer are empowering tools that children can use to counteract stress. Meditation can be taught by asking them to sit or lie down, close their eyes, put their hands over their chest, and feel their chest go up and down while listening to their slow breathing. This simple exercise can instantly calm and help the child focus. Teach children to pray by asking them to think about things they are grateful for everyday. This builds an attitude of gratitude that helps tremendously in teaching children to focus on the positives in their lives.
3. Take care of pets. Having a pet is another wonderful way for children to relax and calm down. Giving your child a scheduled task like walking the dog everyday after school gives him something positive and fun to focus on as he learns the meaning of responsibility. Taking care of a pet also makes one feel needed, which helps build self-esteem.
4. Expose your child to his interest. It could be dancing, baking, softball or activities like painting or bracelet making, anything that will release some of his creative juices. These activities allow him to experience the process of making something with his hands, which can be challenging and enjoyable.
5. Unplug. Spending more time outdoors, playing with pets, meditating, dancing, and other creative activities means less time for gadgets like iPads and the Playstation. It is a good thing because it gives them a relaxing break from games and stimuli with rapid eye images.
If you want to know more about the SouLove Rainbow Program, call 0917-8273073. The program is available at SouLove Center in Alabang Hills.
Mawi Fojas de Ocampo is a wife and working mom to three kids and, in the last 16 years, has held positions in corporate and marketing communications in private companies. She currently handles the corporate marketing communications and public relations for one of the leading hotel management companies in the country. A former magazine editor, she is the founder of parenting and lifestyle blog, Mothers At Work Hub, and teacher of Yu Hezu the art of the bamboo wand.