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How to Embrace your ADHD Strengths in Adulthood

Each of our brains contains unimaginable strength and complexity. There are as many connections in a single cubic centimeter of brain tissue as there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy. It’s no surprise that adapting to how our specific brain works is a process that requires time, trial and error, and constant lifestyle adjustments.

For those adults living with ADHD this process can be frustrating, and it can be easy to focus on what is going wrong while losing sight of the strengths and neurodiverse gifts it can bring.

 Here’s how to embrace your strengths to minimize challenges and set yourself up for success!

Identify your Strengths

Think about what activities fill you with the most energy and motivation. This will provide you with some insight. If this proves difficult, ask the people closest to you what they observe to be your strengths. In addition, practice reframing perceived negative traits into positive qualities.

Impulsive → Creative

Hyperactive → Full of energy

Forgetful → Present-minded

Easily distracted → Rich, stimulating inner world

Put Strengths into Practice

Once you have identified your personal strengths you can then use them to minimize challenges that may come up in work tasks and projects, family scheduling and planning, or completing college courses.

 For adults that get easily distracted, use your creativity to release your thoughts so you can regain focus.

Task switching, or transitioning from one task to another, is more common than ever with smartphones, streaming, and internet rabbit holes. Start becoming conscious of when you are switching tasks and make a written note to come back to the original task. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you get used to this process.

-Use a distraction log or bullet journal to take advantage of your active mind and get your creative ideas down onto paper to give yourself the chance to implement them.

For adults that have trouble getting started, use your problem-solving skills to plan ahead and prioritize each task.

Because of the desire to seek novelty in every moment, day to day tasks may seem more tedious and mundane. Accept this unique quality, use your strong persistence to problem solve, and plan ahead by prioritizing each task- starting with the most important.

 -Set up a pre-work routine and create a list of rewards to choose from after completing each unmotivating task. This can help you stick to your plan.

 For adults that struggle to meet deadlines, use your ability to hyperfocus to get ahead on tasks.

Hyperfocus, or the ability to zero in and focus 100% on something for an extended period of time, can be harnessed as a powerful tool for productivity. When in a hyper-focused state, recognize the opportunity and try to get as much done as possible to get ahead for times when you are not as motivated.

 Set a timer and predetermine a milestone to achieve by the end of each work session. Plan for what you will transition to and why it’s important in order to maintain a well-balanced life.

Once we accept that there is more right with us than wrong with us we can start recognizing challenges as opportunities to use our strengths and begin living our lives with confidence and authenticity.

 

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Three Essential Tools for Homeschooling During COVID-19

With countless homeschooling resources and articles circulating online, you may be feeling overwhelmed and pressured to cultivate the “perfect” learning environment for your child.

Before we get into strategies, let’s take a moment to acknowledge how wonderful of a job you are doing. You did not sign up for this scenario, but here you are not only getting it done but also doing research and seeking techniques to improve, and that is something to admire.

Here are three common roadblocks as well as three simple and essential tools to help you manage this temporary journey through homeschooling.


Road Block #1: My child is disorganized and procrastinating on assignments.

Tool Needed: A Planning System

Whether it be daily, weekly, or monthly having a consistent system will allow your child to mentally and physically organize their obligations and manage their time.                                                                                                                       

 Bullet Journal: a method for an all-in-one planner, with freedom for personalization.

Weekly Planner: to be filled out in the beginning of the week and adjusted as tasks and events come up.

Tip: Have your child pick one consistent location for the planner (Google calendars, notepad in phone, physical journal).


Road Block #2: My child is struggling with downtime and is complaining of boredom.

Tool Needed: A Flexible Routine

If we know what to expect, we feel safe and able to adapt to chaotic situations. Routines can be loose or strict depending on your family dynamics during this unique time.

Block Scheduling: focused blocks of time pieced together to create an ideal balance of work time and free time. This is a great editable template to try.

Loop Scheduling: geared towards homeschool setting, allows for flexibility among tasks and freedom of choice in activity or subject.

Task Cards: used to create a visual schedule; boosts a child’s independence and allows them to plan and prioritize.

Tip: If something about your current routine is not working then try a different resource, flexibility is key.


Road Block #3: My child lacks the motivation to sit down and do school work.

Tool Needed: Positive Reinforcement

Children who are struggling to stay motivated may respond well to incentives.

Incentive Tracker: motivates children by rewarding them for completing actions that align with their goals.

Ways to Encourage: give specific praise for your child’s actions and efforts rather than their grades or ability.

Tip: If your child is feeling stuck, encourage them to take a short, 10-15 minute “brain break” to stretch, eat a snack, or call a friend to reset.

These three quintessential tools will set a foundation of skills that will carry over into the rest of your child’s life and will prepare them for any roadblock that comes their way because this too shall pass!

Better Sessions at The Rankin Institute

Lisa Podell, owner of Better Sessions spoke to 60+ parents and educators on the topic of How to Model Executive Functioning Skills for your Child. Over the course of the evening, parents learned how to expand their toolkit with new ways to successfully communicate with their child, integrate executive functioning skills into their daily tasks and create customized goals to experience immediate, positive changes. 

Parents and Teachers Participate in Better Sessions Workshop at The Rankin Institute.

Lisa Podell, Owner of Better Sessions

 

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