Many consider attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to be a kind of learning disability, when it actually is a behaviour disorder and does not fall under the learning disability (LDs) umbrella. However, ADHD like LDs has the ability of impacting a person performance in school, at work and in their everyday lives which is why the two are constantly linked. Just like learning disabilities, there are many misconceptions about people who have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and similar to LD many have a false idea of what it is and what it is not. Let’s take some time to understand, what is attention-deficit hyperactivity deficit disorder?
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is common behaviour disorder that exist in both children and adults which is distinguished by consistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness that interferes with the person’s social functions and development.
This may be that student in the classroom, who has a hard time sitting still in their seat. Or whose notes are constantly disorganized, or frequently forgetting homework at home or at school. (Mom and dad does this seem familiar?)
Or in adults this may be someone you work with who is frequently forgetting about appointments, frequently missing details on task. If you live with a person who has ADHD you may know when they were in the kitchen last because the drawers and cupboards are frequently left open. Does this person seem familiar to you?
Scientist are still trying to figure out how ADHD is caused exactly but what we know for sure that it is a disorder that is genetic, and can be passed down from parent to child. ADHD is often misdiagnosed because many of the signs mimic typical child behaviour, and while boys are more frequently diagnosed girls can be diagnosed with ADHD as well. An individual with ADHD either displays one or more of the following symptoms.
Hyperactivity: The constant need to move, fidget. It may seem like the person always has extra energy. They can be always tapping their fingers, fidgeting in their seat, the need to always talk. In adults, it can appear as extreme restlessness, or tiring others out with their constant activity.
Inattention: Trouble staying focus on a task. Consistently day dreaming, mind wondering or extreme disorganization.
Impulsivity: Acting in the moment without thinking. In some cases these actions can put the person at a high risk of harm, the needs for an immediate reward, or inability to delay gratification.
Okay, who has not daydream in class from time to time or said something in the moment they realized they should have after. The difference for individuals with ADHD these behaviours occur more often, are more severe and either interfere their social function at school, at work even in relationships with people they love. Because the symptoms are constant, some children may have a hard time building friendships or for adults keeping relationships because other can become frustrated with their behaviour. While ADHD impacts various aspects of a person’s daily activities it can greatly impact a student’s ability to learn. This is why it is common that students with ADHD may also have a LD or experience academic difficulties as well. So how can we help our friends with ADHD?
It is important to understand there is no one solution fits all when helping a person with ADHD. They key thing is to remember to be patient and kind with them. Some methods of helping individuals with ADHD consist of:
Medication: Majority of medication for individuals with ADHD is to reduce the hyperactivity and impulsivity tendencies while improving their ability to focus. Most commonly done through the use of stimulants. It may seem counterproductive to use stimulant medication to help with hyperactivity and impulsivity system, however stimulants help to increase brain chemicals (dopamine and norepinephrine) that play a role in thinking and attention. Other medical options consist of non-stimulants.
Behavioural Therapy: A form of psychotherapy that helps a person to change their behaviour. This can involve monitor his or her behaviour, or praising oneself for behaving in a favourable way.
Academically: Providing a quiet and tranquil environment to work is key. As it helps to reduce the amount of distractions help individuals to focus.
Nutrition and Exercise: Like the many things in life, a healthy lifestyles goes a long way. For some individuals engaging in physical activity provides an outlet for excessive energy giving them ability to focus and concentrate on task. As well as reducing the intake of certain foods, and maintaining a healthy proper diets (lots of fruits and veggies) has also been noted to help with ADHD symptoms.
How to be a great support to someone with Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Spread kindness- Both children and adults may experience frustration with their ADHD in some cases causing low self-esteem. Just by being kind, patient and even encouraging to these individual can gave a greater impact on their journey.
Outline routines and schedules- For daily activities it helps (especially for children) outline the daily routine and keep it in a spot where it can be easily viewed. For adults this can be done using old school paper and pen, or technology such as phones and smart watches. Set notifications to reminders for key activities that occur daily i.e. key appointments and meetings, or color code notifications red = urgent matter at work, blue= family matter.
Colour code school materials-. Colour is more visual appealing for students. Helping them to organize the school material (especially in middle school and high school level when students rotate classes and teachers) Math= yellow, English = orange, Science= red. If the student has a timetable colour the timetable the same colour as the materials for the class.
Something extra to know
Individuals with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have some of the most extraordinary and creative minds. They have the ability to view problems from an entire different perspective than the average frequently creating new and innovative solutions. It is no wonder why some individuals with ADHD become successful entrepreneurs and business people we admire today.
There are #NoLearningLimits for an individual who has ADHD. Their mind has the capacity of achieving success just like everyone else. Let us know if you need help supporting someone you know with ADHD, our mission is to Navigate You To Success.