Understanding and supporting people with ADHD

Understanding & Supporting People with ADHD

– In DSM5 ADHD is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder
– He states that parents should look at it as a developmental delay
– In the area of executive function which are all our life management skills (plan, organise, finish what you start, learn from mistakes)
– it can impact any aspect of a person’s cognitive abilities
– they are typically behind in skills such as:
– focus in the classroom, impulsivity, self-control, self-monitoring, distractedness, stress, mind wandering at the wrong time,
– other things can mimic ADHD – anxiety, learning difficulties
– genetics plays a big part in ADHD being present in an individual
– ADHD – 3’types: Inattentive, impulsive & combined (occurs in multiple settings & is persistent over time), cannot be explained by something else going on in your life, & are impairing your function in life
– ADHD can also be considered an Executive Function Disorder
– note: games can encourage mindlessness / mind wandering

– EBP to improve executive function
1) focus on what is going well in their life & transferring across
2) look at problems – ask what can we do about it
3) Russell Barkley’s concept of “externalising the system” where you create a structure around you that reinforces/imposes/ will support planning & organisation that is challenging for you [structuring your lifestyle/your daily living][this is doing a good job managing your own ADHD]
– treatment involves life management skills
– attention training
– task management (planning, organising, Keeping track of time – time management, to do lists, information management, writing skills)
– emotional development (quick to get upset, quick to shut-down & give-up is linked to executive function)
– EF is also linked to grit, mindset,
– persevere & problem-solve
– attention transition (often have shift of attention issues – is difficult) – cannot talk & play video game (can be seen as oppositional, & yet it is an executive Function issues)
– ADHD – person know what they “should” be doing, but often can prioritise & be present
– note ADHD affect large parts of the brain, not just PFC

– when we punish a person with ADHD are we in essence punishing somebody for having a disability?

Academic Performance can be improved by:
1) motivation comes from positive feedback & success [difficult to achieve – perhaps adopt growth mindset approach to learning, making mistakes, but continuing to put the effort in]
2) – combining awareness of ADHD with a solution where you think of ways to improve self-management skills (co-developing plans) [understand it is not intentional]
– parent training
– CBT for child
3) medication has been found to be very helpful for people with ADHD (noting all medications have side-effects – discuss with GP as all people respond differently)
4) broader daily living/lifestyle skills
– sleep
– exercise
– mindfulness (eases stress, trains attention, boosts resilience)
– develop awareness & be present [focus on the breath]
– yoga can be a mindfulness practice
– note: we all get distracted – no need to be frustrated if distracted – just bring attention back
– you do not need to be still
– mindfulness is uniquely helpful with ADHD
– helps person recognise when they are very distracted

For parents:
1) – it is recognised that parenting a person with life skill difficulties is inherently stressful
2) – look at EF issues from perspective it is not deliberate – makes you less angry – helps you problem-solve
3) – talk to child about EF delay & how work on it

Source: The Psychology Podcast | Broadcast date: 9 Nov 15


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