Strategies for ADHD/ADD
If you'd like a plan that's designed around your particular difficulties, please do get in contact with me.
1. If you have a problem sustaining attention
Lack of focus, being easily distracted, can be a key worry whilst studying. I have seen students lose attention as soon as a noise or a movement happens in the room for a required length of time. People with ADHD/ADD may have problems with
- Filling in forms
- Listening to instructions
- Drifting off
- Wrongly presuming you know what others are about to say
- Interrupting others whilst they are speaking
Strategies you can use to help you focus when required
- When filling out forms, music can distract the busy part of your mind allowing the functional area to do its job.
- Turning down your own inner voice and assumptions whilst listening to others.
- Confirming what others have said by saying it back to them.
- Visualise the instruction.
- Focus on the mouth of the person talking to you, to help you listen.
- Having the ability to speed up and slow down the pace of your thinking. Meditation technique is very useful.
Mastering your focus and the pace you choose to be gives you authority with your peers and peace of mind.
2. If you feel as though you can't see the wood for the trees
I would describe someone with ADHD as being a "natural". When artificial processes are imposed on this kind of person, the "unnaturalness" can be overwhelming. This could be being asked to follow a timetable, or write something down or fill in a form.
Feelings that can arise from the intrusion of an artificial process can be
- Being disconnected from the world
- The inner critic opeates on hyper drive
- Confused and disorientated
- Experiencing the sensation of being trapped, and the frustration that creates
Strategies for dealing with compulsion
- Make a plan.
- Where situations have gone out of control, explain what has what's happened and suggest how to avoid those situations in the future.
- Explain "unnatural" concepts (like time). Time is a "made up" concept therefore difficult for naturals to grasp. Part of being overwhelmed is tasked needing to be ordered and a sense of time to do the task within.
- How to access "calm".
3. If you suffer from anxiety as a consequence of ADHD/ADD
Anxiety is very common in people with ADHD/ADD because they feel they have no control over their environment and that they are not understood. People don't "get" them
How this anxiety might manifest itself - a student's story
Whilst invigilating an exam I came across a student who was very distressed.She described that she was very worried about messing up her exam despite revealing that she had done very well in previous tests.
After further questioning I asked if she had been diagnosed with a neurodiverse difficulty such ADHD, dyslexia or dyspraxia. It turned out that she was very anxious about being diagnosed, if it turned out that she wasn't neuro diverse, she was worried that she may have a mental-health issue.
After some support I encouraged her to be tested. She was thrilled to be diagnosed as ADD, dyslexic and dyspraxic. On this occasion it was very important to have an assessment in order for her to understand her difficulties and then to start putting strategies in place.
Her grades continued to improve, her anxiety levels dropped and she had more energy.
4. If you have difficulties in keeping still
There is a natural desire to move in everyone. Those with ADHD are less able to control this impulse for long periods of time because it's an artificially imposed restriction, and that's something they don't find easy.
I have found many neurodiverse people have a need to move and that this movement helps them to listen. Often some of their best ideas are while either talking with others or walking.
Often we are asked to learn in a way that is unnatural to use.
Strategies that might help you contain your restlessness, when that's needed
- Squeezing stress balls
- Solving 3D puzzles
- Make models (with children that might including lego building)