As a parent of a child with ADHD, you have undoubtedly spent a great deal of time advocating on behalf of your child. With that in mind, how can you best begin preparing them for the times in adulthood where they will need to advocate on behalf of themselves?
Most children with ADHD struggle with transitions at times. When these struggles happen frequently and escalate into meltdowns, tantrums, behavior challenges, and defiance the effects are felt by everyone in the family.
It’s no secret that getting and staying organized is a challenge for kids with ADHD and for many of their parents. While it’s important to teach kids with ADHD organizational skills, the first step in helping your kids stay organized is to first become more organized yourself.
In my previous post I discussed the reasons why so many kids with ADHD struggle to successfully transition from one activity to another throughout the day. The good news is that while transitions are much more difficult for kids with ADHD than kids without ADHD, with some targeted support and accommodations, transitioning between activities can become much easier.
While it may appear that a disorganized child with ADHD is careless or sloppy, often these students care very much about their materials and wish they could have a neat desk like their classmates. The problem is that the executive functioning skills required for organization are underdeveloped, making it almost impossible for them to maintain an organized desk and work area on their own.
When you have ADHD it’s important to make studying as fun as possible. After all, it is much easier to focus on something that you find interesting, right? With ADHD, knowing how to study for the SAT is half the battle. While nothing can take the place of a structured SAT study program, these fun activities can be great supplements. Since they’re fun and interesting, you’ll be able to stay focused even after you’ve reached your attention span’s limit with your traditional test prep materials.
This year for the first time the College Board will be offering an SAT test date over the summer. The August SAT presents a very appealing option for teens with ADHD who feel too busy or overwhelmed during the school year to tackle SAT test prep. In addition, the August SAT gives seniors the opportunity to take the test twice, once in August and once in October, before having to shift gears and focus on writing college application. For juniors, taking the SAT in August can alleviate some of pressure they will fell during what is typically the most academically rigorous year of high school.
Your child says that listening to music or watching television helps him or her concentrate when doing schoolwork. But is he or she right? Sitting down to concentrate on homework is hard when you have ADHD. Not surprisingly, kids, teens, and their parents are always on the lookout for ways to make homework less painful. For many families that I’ve worked with, arguments often erupt over whether or not the television, music, or other noise should be allowed during homework. Desperate to help their kids get their work done, many parents are willing to make more concessions during homework time than they would for other activities and chores throughout the day. But do things like television and music really help kids with ADHD concentrate? Or are they simply fun distractions? Let’s look at what the science has to say.
Childhood today is very different from childhood 30 years ago, when time outside of school was spent playing in the neighborhood, often unsupervised and undirected by adults. Today kids and teens typically attend a host of extracurricular activities after school, with little free time in-between. Do a quick search online for “overscheduled kids” and you’ll find hundreds of articles warning parents about the perils of enrolling kids in too many extracurricular activities. These articles typically highlight the negative effects that too little free time can have on creativity, imaginative play, and social development. What these articles rarely discuss, however, is the reality faced by many parents who frequently work during the after school hours and need these activities to keep their children and teens safe and occupied. Parents of children and teens with ADHD face another reality as well: unstructured and unsupervised downtime often quickly leads to impulsive and sometimes unsafe behavior as well as sibling arguments. As a result, unstructured time often ends with a punishment for bad behavior, or is simply replaced by screen time in an effort to keep the peace at home.
In my last post I talked about reasons why ADHD and procrastination often go hand-in-hand. ADHD tendencies like preferring instant rewards over long-term payoffs, difficulty with time management, feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start, low self-confidence, and being easily distracted all contribute to difficulties with procrastination. Take a minute to read thought my last post and see if any of these ADHD tendencies apply to you. Once you understand why you procrastinate you’ll be able to take some simple steps to stop the procrastination cycle. Start with one or two of the procrastination busters below that you think might be most helpful for you. With the right strategies for you and your ADHD you’ll be able to stopping putting off all of those things that you should be doing today!