Reply To: Is this an ADHD symptom : Inability to process busy info

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#126747
Dr. Eric
Participant

Very common.
ADHD isn’t really an attention deficit, it is a deficit in being able to prioritize info.

I actually use the crowded restaurant example.
Even though the volumes are the same for someone with ADHD and a neurotypical, the neurotypical is better able to attend to the person they are talking to and ignore the background noise.

However, they would still be able to react if someone said, “watch out” before dropping a sizzling fajita platter, so the sounds are still getting through.

When we psychologists test, this is called “figure-ground”, and we can test for it both visually, like you described, or auditorily, like I described.

I consider this second-tier evidence. It is not a direct symptom, and some folks with ADHD can do ok on these tasks in a unique, challenging 1-on-1 situation, but around 70-80% of the time, my kiddos with ADHD do worse on these type of tasks.

I believe the challenge is bigger in real-world environments.

For reading, try a reading window, that blocks everything, but a line at a time.

You can find them online or at teacher-supply stores under reading window, reading ruler, or similar names.
You can make a homemade one by cutting an index card.