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- Title: Puzzle Assembly
- Domain: Cognitive and Affective
- Equipment: 4 sets of jigsaw puzzles: 100 pieces, 200 pieces, 500 pieces, and 1000 pieces
- Client Group: Children age 4 and up with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Goals: Gradually improve ability to focus on a single task
- Choose a quiet place with minimum distractions as the location of the activity.
- Ask the child which 100 piece puzzle they would prefer.
- Open the puzzle and ask the child to start assembling it.
- Help them assemble the puzzle by finding the pieces
- Engage in friendly conversation
- If the child loses interest, do not push them to continue, and finish the session
- Repeat the process in the next session and make sure that it takes at least slightly longer.
- When one puzzle is complete, a larger one should be selected.
- Did you enjoy assembling the puzzle?
- Do you feel like you could assemble more the next time than you did this time?
- Do you feel any different than before the session?
Justification of Activity
Children learn especially well when the activity involves some form of playing (Colliver and Fleer 1559). Jigsaw puzzles hold a unique quality of always showing the progress of the activity. While the child with ADHD may still lose interest in it after some time, they may be compelled to finish it when they see the missing parts of the image. With each session taking longer, they get used to focusing on a single task.
For additional effect, the task can be performed with the involvement of the child’s parents. A child is likely to react more positively to socializing with them, rather than a therapist. Another variant may involve a more competitive approach to puzzle solving with both the therapist and the child competing to assemble two different puzzles. Competition may make the activity more engaging, depending on the personality of the child.
Colliver, Yeshe, and Marilyn Fleer. “‘I Already Know What I Learned’: Young Children’s Perspectives on Learning through Play.” Early Child Development and Care, vol. 186, no. 10, Oct. 2016, pp. 1559–1570. Taylor and Francis+NEJM, Web.