Ryan is seven and a boy – like uberboy. The no-fear, fights playground equipment, stupid stunt doing, rowdy, super hyper, dirty, gross smelling boy.
And he likes to knit.
To the haters out there – you’re just jealous of his mad skills.
A few weeks back, as I was sitting and working on getting this guy knitted (still working on that…) Ryan came up to me and asked me if I would show him how to knit. I was slightly skeptical at first, I mean the boy has major ADHD issues and he wants to knit? Uh huh… sure. But I figured there was no harm in trying to teach him if he seemed interested. I mean, this is the same boy that I have taught to do digital scrapbooking. And paper scrapbooking. What can I say, my dude likes to get his craft on.
Back to him learning to knit.
I grabbed a slightly large set of needles, let him pick out some yarn, and we sat down and got down to the business of learning to knit. It took a couple “Ryan, stop. Look at what I’m doing. Ryan, focus please or I’m going back to my knitting.” but we eventually got a good groove going. I showed him how to cast on, undid the stitches, put my hands over his and guided him through casting on, undid those, then let him cast on on his own. Then we did the same with learning a regular stitch. By row three he was on a roll. By last week he had mastered the task of watching tv as he sat knitting. Little dude picked it up with a speed and ease that just astounded me… and left me feeling slightly jealous since I still remember my first few months stumbling through learning. Don’t get me wrong, that boy drops at least one or two stitches each time he sits and knits, but I always pick them up for him, and tonight he managed to fix one on his own. He gets frustrated sometimes with it, and he can only do a garter stitch since I haven’t gone over purling with him yet. But he rocks that garter like it ain’t nobody’s business.
Sunday, as he was sitting knitting and watching a movie I asked him how he’s doing it. Normally my boy has trouble just sitting through a 30 minute tv show, and here he was sitting knitting and watching a movie. He wasn’t fidgeting. Or talking non-stop. Or playing with toys as he “watched.” Or terrorizing everyone. He was just sitting there quietly working and watching the movie. I was in awe. He told me the knitting helps him sit and watch the movie. He didn’t expand on it any, so the best I could figure was that the constant moving of his hands, plus the split attention, was helping him keep his ADHD in check.
So I did what any curious mom would do; I hit up Google. Apparently there is quite a bit out there about how knitting helps people and kids with ADHD. This was my favorite thing I read on it:
"Some teachers in mainstream schools and colleges are using knitting to enable them to teach pupils with ADHD and kinesthetic learners … . Knitting appears to occupy the brain sufficiently to lessen or stop hyperactive or disruptive behaviour whilst at the same time enabling the pupil to take in information and to learn.”
How about that? Turns out Ryan was on to something.
If you’re interested in reading up on ADHD and knitting check out any of these links:
Right now Ryan is working bit by bit on a scarf for his teacher. He’s doing it in 4-6 row color blocks (I’m not letting him go over one block in a sitting) using size 13 needles and yarn from my rather large yarn stash. If you want to follow along on his journey you can watch his progress in pictures on my project for it on Ravelry.