I am not expert on ADHD however I do have a degree in special education and about 15 years experience teaching. So, why I do I think I’m qualified to talk about ADHD? In two words life experience, ADHD is something I deal with on a daily basis. This is based on personal observation as well as what I have learned from others about ADHD.
Growing up I just wanted to be normal and like the other kids. Instead I had ADHD, dyslexia and dysgraphia. So, in a short I was very different from the other kids. There was nothing physically that made me look different. To many teachers I was undisciplined, lazy or just plain did not care. However that was not true. Anyone who knows my mom knows that I was certainly not undisciplined. She is one if not the most organized persons I know and she created a highly structured environment at home designed to help me succeed in life. As for laziness I was like most kids, when given a task that I felt confident about and was motivated I could and would do a good job. The truth was that I cared very much about succeeding no one wants to be considered dumb or a failure. It is better to be thought lazy or uncaring that to be considered dumb or a failure.
Sometimes it is just hard to concentrate. Yes, I can choose to concentrate but there are days I am just tired of fighting to keep my mind focused. Distractibility is a big problem for children who have not learned how to concentrate. It is important to learn what things help and hinder concentration. Personally, I work better in an informal environment and with some form of background noise. If it is too quite or too loud I get very distracted. Yes, silence can be distracting because every little noise becomes a distraction. One trick I use when I must concentrate is to wear headphones. It is important that the volume level is kept low. Also, I prefer natural lighting or lamps to bright lighting.
Another common problem for people with ADHD is the inability to complete a task. Sometimes it is just hard to finish a task. Some things just seem too hard and I’m already defeated before I start. Teach your child how to break tasks down into smaller segments. Tip: Use a timer set for 15 minutes during that time your child must work on the task. When the timer goes off allow your child to do something else or take a break for 10-15 minutes be sure to set a timer for the break. When the timer goes off it is time to go back to work.
Poor organizational skills and time management are common problems for people with ADHD. Thankfully, my mom forced me to learn organizational skills. It did take a long time and she often wondered if I was actually learning anything. I have learned that structure helps make sense of my sometimes chaotic world. Making lists of what must be done is a great organizational tool for me. I try to keep the list for the day under 10 items, too many items can be overwhelming.
Having ADHD is not necessarily a bad thing, when controlled it can be a secret weapon. It is that extra edge or energy I need to go a little longer, do a little more. However, when not controlled I’m defeated before I even get started. Usually it gets out of control when I choose not to do the things necessary to be successful. Another plus of ADHD is the ability to multi-task. It can be quit useful to be able to read a book, watch a movie and carry on a conversation or carry on multiple conversations at once.
This is just a quick look at some of the things I have learned about ADHD. I hope that you find this article helpful in understanding what it is like to have ADHD.