Staying Active and Productive While Managing ADHD
Finding ways to manage and work through any personal conditions we deal with is simply a part of life for many people, and a great example is the condition of ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. ADHD in children can have an impact on things like focus, concentration and learning, often a significant impact at that, but this reality absolutely does not mean that someone dealing with ADHD can't manage it and lead a normal, healthy life.
At Learning Technics, we proudly offer quality ADHD behavioral therapy and related programs for those dealing with this condition, including at-home treatment programs that are perfect for both children and parents. Among many key tenets of our programs and other forms of ADHD treatment is this important theme: It's still easily possible to be active and productive while dealing with ADHD, no matter how old the person in question is. Here are some simple tips on how to go about doing so.
For some people who suffer from ADHD, one of the key impacts it has on their life is trouble with planning or remembering to do things. This is where using a calendar or planner can come in extremely handy, as it gives you a central place to track all upcoming appointments, events and so on. You can use a physical paper planner, an online calendar or even a smartphone app – whatever works best for you and helps you stay on top of things.
For kids, especially younger ones, a visual approach can be even more helpful. In addition to, or instead of a regular calendar, consider getting them a whiteboard where they can write down or draw pictures of upcoming events. This way, they can see everything laid out in front of them in an easily digestible format. Furthermore, parents of young children with ADHD may have to take a more active role in helping them stay on track, such as sitting down with them each evening to review the next day's schedule and ensure they know what's coming up.
Break Things Down Into Smaller Tasks
Another common issue people with ADHD face is feeling overwhelmed by larger tasks, leading to difficulty getting started on anything. If this sounds familiar, it can be helpful to start breaking down the task at hand into smaller, more manageable pieces. For example, rather than thinking about writing an entire research paper, break it down into individual steps like coming up with a topic, doing preliminary research, drafting the paper itself and so on.
Once again, this strategy easily applies to children who are dealing with ADHD. For example, rather than telling them they need to clean their entire bedroom, break it down into smaller tasks like making the bed, putting away clothes and so on. Not only will this make the task feel less daunting, but it also allows them to experience a sense of accomplishment as they complete each individual step.
Build in Transition Time
Whether you're making your own schedule or that of your child, it's important to be mindful of how long each individual task will actually take to complete. This is especially important for those with ADHD, as they may need more time than others to transition from one task to the next.
For example, if you're scheduled to leave for an appointment at 2:00 p.m., you may want to start getting ready at 1:30 p.m. rather than waiting until the last minute. This will give you time to wrap up whatever you're doing, get yourself organized and mentally prepared for the next task ahead. The same goes for children – if they have a playdate at 3:00 p.m., start getting them ready at 2:30 p.m. so they have time to transition out of whatever they're doing and get ready for the playdate.
Don't Over-Emphasize Multitasking
While multitasking is beneficial for many people, those with ADHD -- again, especially children -- may struggle with it more than others. This is because ADHD can impact things like focus, concentration and task switching, making it more difficult to juggle multiple tasks at once.
Therefore, it's generally best to avoid overemphasizing multitasking when working with someone who has ADHD. Instead, focus on helping them learn how to complete one task at a time and how to transition smoothly from one task to the next.
Take Frequent Breaks
In addition to built-in transition time, it can also be helpful to take frequent breaks throughout the day, especially if you're working on a particularly challenging or overwhelming task. This will give you a chance to clear your head, refocus your attention and come back to the task at hand with a fresh perspective.
For children, breaks are just as important – if not more so, largely because kids will have a much harder time recognizing their own need for a break. As a parent of a child with ADHD, it's important to be mindful of when they may need a break and proactively offer one to them. This could be after they've completed a task, when they seem to be struggling or even just periodically throughout the day.
Manage Your Environment
One final strategy that can be helpful for managing ADHD is to take a look at your environment and make any necessary adjustments. This may mean decluttering your workspace, setting up a designated work area in your home or using noise-canceling headphones to minimize distractions.
For children, this may mean making sure their bedroom is tidy and organized, setting up a quiet place for them to do homework or even just providing them with some fidgets or other sensory toys to help them focus.
At the end of the day, there's no one-size-fits-all solution for managing ADHD – what works for one person may not work for another. However, by implementing some of the strategies above, you can hopefully make things a bit easier for yourself or your child as you look to remain productive, active and healthy.
For more on this, or to learn about any of our ADHD therapy online, at home or in any other setting, contact our team at Learning Technics today.