Secrets of ADHD Treatment

You have ADHD — so your treatment plan should be based on how people with attention deficit think, feel, and live.

Secrets of ADHD Treatment Part III

CHANGE THE FORMAT OF A TASK

People with ADHD find it hard to demonstrate what they know to someone else. Many children who know the material aren’t able to show it on a test. They struggle with the ways they are required to demonstrate that knowledge. To tap into their strengths, ADHDers should look for ways to access their abilities.

> A young man with ADHD struggled with writing assignments in his junior year of high school. He had to read books that he would have never chosen himself, and he couldn’t get excited about analyzing these boring books. Each assignment was torture. After encouragement from his parents, he talked with the teacher about another way he could demonstrate his knowledge. He could write parodies of the books he read rather than analyze each one.

This student demonstrated a better grasp of the style, language, and structure of the assigned reading than anyone else in the class. At the end of the year, he was awarded the English department’s prize for best student.

GRAB THE REINS AT SCHOOL

Adults and kids with ADHD want someone else to put things right or to make things interesting. Usually, if things are going to be interesting and engaging, we have to take steps to make it so.

> Be proactive with course assignments. If there are five English courses from which to choose, find out which instructors are bright, engaging, funny, and creative. Sit in on some classes. Ask people who have taken their courses what they are like. An interesting teacher will increase the chance to finish the course and get an A. To insure that a child gets into a desired course, have an accommodation written into his IEP that allows him to register ahead of his classmates and to choose a teacher who works well with ADHD and LD kids.

CREATE COMPETITION

People with ADHD are able to master new jobs and activities quickly, only to lose interest in the things they just mastered. Challenge and competitiveness can help. Trying to beat a personal best or a rival, or imagining the task as a video game in which you have to get to the next level, can work for many ADHDers.

> A man with ADHD worked in quality control at a local bottling plant. He had the mind-numbing job of picking out bottles with defects as they whizzed by on a conveyor belt. He couldn’t focus.

He hit on the idea of imagining that he was going pheasant hunting, one of his favorite sports. He saw the imperfect bottles as birds that might jump up at his feet. His productivity and accuracy improved. When he got tired of pheasant hunting, he imagined hitting a baseball every time he found a defective bottle.

FIND A NUDGE

Body-doubling is a technique used by tutors. It can help in the workplace, as well.

> Fred is an attorney with ADHD who was exhausted from trying to meet deadlines just before they came due. He arranged with his paralegal to manage his time and docket. He kept his desk clear of distractions, and his paralegal brought him one case at a time. They discussed each case and decided what needed to be done before he started on the task. The paralegal checked back every 15 minutes to see if he was still working. At the appropriate time, the paralegal took away the original file, billed the hours, and body-doubled Fred into the next task.

At first, Fred was embarrassed about having a body double, saying, “I feel like a child.” His productivity, billable hours, and improved quality of life soon won him over. “The product is still mine,” he said. “I just need a nudge to get me started.”

Most of these techniques work well for ADHDers at work and at home. So start today to move forward with your life.

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