You may have received a diagnosis of ADHD from a professional, sat in a meeting regarding your child’s diagnosis and realized that you have the same qualities, or you read about ADHD and knew that this is your story.
By Judith E. Lipson, M.A., LPC
I’ve never liked the term ADHD. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder focuses only on the negative aspects of this group of traits. But, since the term provides a meaningful shortcut in discussions about educational settings, employment, and other conversations, I use it.
When working with clients, or presenting to parents and professionals, I focus on the qualities of ADHD. These can include difficulty with:
- Time management
- Attention to details
- Following directions
- Driving – directions, impulsivity or inattentiveness
- Self-esteem and motivation
- Writing – organization of thoughts, fine motor challenges
- Reading – light sensitivity, avoidance
Consider also the gifts that come with ADHD. You are often intelligent inventors, entrepreneurs, and creative original thinkers excelling in non-traditional learning or work environments. You have compassion, live in the present and easily inter-connect with others. You see the big picture and motivate others with your enthusiasm and energy.
Some adults notice that their ADHD, which was a significant challenge in school, is no longer much of a problem. These individuals have usually found a job where movement is allowed, spontaneity and novelty are frequent, and detail work is at a minimum.
Others experience ADHD significantly impacting their life and find the need to take medication during their adult years. Some adults take it daily while others have determined with their physicians that the only time they need ADHD medication is when they have a very detail-oriented activity to complete.
With or without medication, it is important to use strategies that correspond to your gifts. Here are a number of strategies that adults have found helpful. Remember that you might wish to personalize them for your style.
USE A CALENDAR (paper or digital) to keep track of your appointments and deadlines. Carry it with you at all times.
TO-DO LISTS I used to carry a small pad of paper to list and check off items. In today’s digital world there are many free apps for smartphones to assist you. Since I forget to look at them, I now use the “all-day” portion of my iPhone calendar to list these specific tasks on the day that I’m most likely, or most need, to complete them. I use the calendar’s specific time slots for appointments.
ACKNOWLEDGE COMPLETION of your to-do items for personal reinforcement. I place an X in front of each to-do item to confirm its completion.
LONG TERM PROJECTS Chunk these into manageable tasks. I find it helpful to not only put in the due dates, but also to note the day I will tackle each project/task.
SET ALERTS If you are going to need an hour to arrive at your destination, be sure that your alert notifies you sufficiently in advance of departure time. It’s also wise to set an additional alert the day (or hours) prior as reminder.
ALARMS Set multiple alarms, possibly across the room. There are also vibrating-pillow alarm clocks. You might awaken a half hour prior to your get-up time to take your ADHD medication; then when the real alarm goes off it is easier to engage the day.
ORGANIZATION and CLEAN UP
- The entire project does not need to be completed in one attempt.
- Begin at a specific section like your desk surface or kitchen countertop, or start in a corner and move around the perimeter of the room.
- Instead of saving stacks of magazines to read later or keep for reference, access articles and information from the web.
- Use a dark bag for garbage. A clear or different color can be used to collect items for donation. Everything else gets put away.
- Use totes, buckets, crates, etc. to store groups of items together.
- Provide visibility for what you use often.
- If you are a collector limit items to a specific area/bucket. No room for new items? Sell or donate.
- Give yourself an incentive for each completed task.
Life with ADHD means you have likely experienced a number of incidents that led you to feel less than others. School, social events, family, and bullying can make you believe that you don’t fit the expectation and must not be okay. This is not true!!
Honor who you are, display your gifts to the world, and present yourself confidently to the younger generation and your peers. It’s time to be proud of Who You Really Are.
Judy Lipson is a Licensed Professional Counselor and educational strategist in West Bloomfield, MI. She helps clients of all ages who have learning difficulties; work or school related anxiety; ADHD; Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorders; and those who wish to Remember and Become Who You Really Are. Contact Judy at 248.568.8665 and firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit www. SpiralWisdom.net for more information.
This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to replace medical care.