Read these 12 Techniques, Strategies, & Guidelines Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about ADD-ADHD tips and hundreds of other topics.
Control the environment, not the child. No matter how often we hear that control is an illusion, high control individuals continue to perfect their craft at the expense of another's free will. People will respond better when their cooperation is solicited and they have input into a decision making process. Children that help create family rules can't complain when they break one that they helped to create. It's easier to provide tools such as timers and schedulers than to constantly complain about the impairment when it shows up as tardiness, oversleeping, or other delaying behaviors.
Use discernment. Discernment is different from judgment. Discernment is the ability to see what is not readily visible to the average mind and it involves accuracy of viewpoint based on evidence or facts. Judgement, on the other hand, fails to appreciate the nuance and subtlety of individual differences and leans toward rejection of others based on instanti mpressions. Developmental delays come with the territory. These delays are not character flaws or moral failing—they are simply biologically driven realities. Impulsivity, forgetfulness, tardiness, and sleep difficulties are not intentional; they are part of the condition.
Listen. Listen. Listen. Learn to discern the hurt behind the anger. Anger is a secondary emotion. When anger occurs it is because the person experienced an unpleasant, painful, or threatening event. ADHDer's are sensitive, even if it doesn't appear that they are (they mask their true feelings very well). Humiliation and shame and criticism are such a part of their inner self-talk that they don't need to hear it from others. When hurt feelings occur and anger is the response, focus on the hurt behind the wall of anger.
Pay careful attention to diet and sleep needs. The ideal diet for AD/HD is high quality protein and complex carbohydrates. Food is medicine. We literally are what we eat. The human brain is a protein factory and it requires a large amount of protein to function properly. Diet and nutrition is important for all of us but especially for those individuals with neurologically based disorders.
Nutrition is critical for optimal functioning. Evidence based studies connecting diet to behavioral functioning is a rapidly burgeoning field. According to experts, breakfast and lunch should contain 60% protein and 40% complex carbohydrates. Dinnertime allows for a greater intake of carbohydrates, but some protein should be consumed. Water is the best drink. Water is what the body needs and wants. Diet is the cornerstone of a healthy life.
Poor diet increases irritability, distractibility and mood. Like adequate nutrition, adequate sleep is critical to human functioning. Insomnia affects behavior and performance. Sleepiness, exhaustion, and fatigue exacerbate ADHD symptoms. Sleep is critical to overall wellness. Insomnia often accompanies the symptoms of ADHD. No one performs well when he or she is tired. According to John Ratey, M.D., “enough sleep is that amount of sleep it takes for you to wake up without an alarm clock.” Monitor these basic needs carefully.
Collaboration is the key to engaging your child in problem solving. By working with your child in a cooperative way you are modeling positive behavior and providing support at the same time. Be a friendly guide when your child needs your help.
Hold your child accountable for behavior. Use consequences that teach. Reframe
negative behavior in a positive way. People are responsible for their behavior. Behavior has consequences. Rearing your child to be respectful, honest, dependable, and ethical has its roots in holding them accountable for his or her actions. ADHD is not an excuse for inappropriate behavior.
Teach compensatory skills. Punishing an AD/HD youth for skills they lack is punitive, not instructive. If a child has difficulty with fractions, invite them into the kitchen to bake a cake or other treat. Practical, hands-on
experience often clarifies abstract concepts. Ask your child to extend her hands. Ask her to look for the letter ‘L.' Show her that the hand that makes the letter ‘L' is her left hand. Left begins with the letter ‘L.'
Monitor school achievement and seek accommodations to foster academic success. Your child's teachers are your powerful partners in your efforts to help your child meet academic success. Early alerts provide ample time to make changes or implement a different kind of support system. Adjust medications if necessary to help your child improve his or her focus.
Avoid harsh interactions, harsh punishment, and hostile interaction. Focus on what you can change and be reasonable in providing a consequence for inappropriate behavior. Inner dialogue is powerful. Negative inner dialogue can be extremely harsh. When addressing a behavior that needs change or improvement consider carefully about how to present the information. Difficult and awkward messages can be delivered with kindness and tact. ADHD individuals, like everyone
else, want to do their best but their intentions are sometimes derailed by
distraction. It isn't necessary or helpful to attack behavior in an angry mode; in fact it is destructive. Hostility freezes attitudes and forward movement. Courtesy and respect advance agendas. Positive human contact is essential.
Positive comments and rewards for good behavior and noticing good choices pays off. Look for the best and you'll find it. Energize these behaviors! It is human nature to gravitate toward people who are naturally upbeat, positive, and happy. Because ADHD has a strong connection to low self-esteem and sometimes depression, having someone frame your experience in a positive way helps with self-esteem and self-motivation. Acknowledgement of the positive efforts that were done well creates the motivation to move forward and keep trying to master a new skill, concept, or simply stay on task.
One of the most common and frustrating problems facing students who have ADHD is the feeling of being overwhelmed at the prospect of having to do homework or study for a test. The prospect of reading a book can provoke anxiety in a student who has ADHD. While all of these feelings are very real, and clearly unpleasant, the reality is that with a little bit of careful planning and a good strategy for proper time management, students who have ADHD can do just as well as other students in any academic subject. By practicing good study skills, they often do far better than students who don't have to think about how they manage their time in order to complete required school work.
Use a Day Planner
A Day Planner, assignment notebook or any type of pocket calendar or book-size calendar is a great way for a student who has ADHD to keep track of when their assignments are do. As soon as a teacher gives an assignment, write down what that assignment is, and when it is due. When you get home, you may want to make a note of it for each day leading up to the due date. That way, you can't forget what you have to do.
Make a Daily To-Do List
Time management is constantly an issue for students who have ADHD. When it comes to your school work, make a daily to-do list. If you use one notebook for all of your classes, the smart thing to do is to keep that to-do list at the front of the notebook. Write down all homework assignments, reading, studying for tests, memorizing or other stuff you need to do. If you have long term projects such as research papers, make a point of including that work in your to-do list. Don't wait until a couple of days before the assignment is due to look for resources, only to discover that they've been checked out of the library. Start looking for the material you need to do your project as soon after you get the assignment as possible.
Schedule Study Breaks
People who have ADHD almost always find it impossible to work productively if they have to focus on something for long periods of time. Figure out how long you can work productively and then schedule breaks. This doesn't mean that if you study for an hour, you can take a break of several hours. After studying for an hour, take a ten or fifteen minute break. Use that break time to get up, walk around, get some fresh air or a drink of water.
Break Up Tedious Assignments Into Smaller Pieces
This is especially helpful when it comes to reading assignments. Most students who have ADHD cannot focus well enough for long enough to read large assignments at one time. When it comes to reading entire books, regardless of whether or not they are interesting or pleasurable to read, the same thing is true. A smart strategy is to divide the amount of reading you have to do into the number of days you have to do it.
If you have to read 250 pages of very technical stuff in a week, that means that you'd have to read no less than about 36 pages a day. Reading 36 pages a day is a lot easier than trying to read, digest and understand 250 pages in a day or two. If the prospect of reading those 36 pages at one time seems overwhelming, break it up into two sittings in a day.
Your study environment is also very important. Make sure that you have a place that's neat, well-organized and free of any potential sources of distraction. If you study in your bedroom or dorm room, you may have to get into the habit of tidying up on a regular basis. It is far easier to study productively in a neat and well organized environment. If you are like many people who have ADHD or ADD and find it hard to block out sound and activity around you, then be sure you have the necessary quiet. If necessary, consider using ear plugs or noise canceling headphones.
Every person who suffers from ADHD has to figure out what strategies are most effective at helping them be more productive. It takes time to figure these things out and to learn to adapt to doing things differently. Change is always difficult -- especially for people with ADHD because they get used to routines. Over time, better grades and positive feedback, coupled with less anxiety and frustration will make all of this work worth the while.
For some adults with ADHD, visual or auditory cues are an effective way to stay on schedule throughout the day and remember important to-do items. For example, if you tend to become hyperfocused on a project and want to avoid missing a meeting, you can use a computer- or phone-based timer application that will alert you when a specific amount of time has passed. These timers can often be programmed to create an alert noise or to come to the top of your computer screen at the designated time. If you need a stronger nudge, you might consider using a kitchen timer with a loud ringer or a digital watch that beeps until you turn it off. Another way to incorporate visual cues into your daily routine is by color-coding. If you use a planner to keep track of your schedule, you could designate a specific color for each category in order to take in information at a glance. For example, using bright pink for appointments could help to distinguish those commitments from other types of work.