Skill Building For Children and Adults with ADD

When discussing skill building with my students,  I always make a point of telling them that the two most important parts of developing a skill are practice and commitment. Here are several skills I use with ADD students.

Awareness is a major issue for children with ADD.  Feeling unfocused or fuzzy is a way I’d describe many kids in my class.  It definitely gets in the way of following routines and instructions. Building awareness is imperative when working with anyone with ADD.  Asking questions is one way to ground the person – questions such as, “How do I know I’m fully here in the moment or fully present?  What am I choosing right now? What am I focusing on?”

These questions help remind the child if they are on or off task.  It’s suggested that you set up a system in which you make the child aware through visual or auditory reminders using clocks, stop watches, computers.  Using timers to keep on track is very effective. As an example, I explain to my students that they have exactly 15 minutes to complete an assignment in class and I time them to the minute.  If not finished, they get to take it home.  The fact that they are timed helps the students to stay on task and not get too distracted. As another example, we know kids can spend hours surfing the internet, playing games or being on social media sites.  Based on a technique suggested by Daniel G. Amen, M.D. in his book, Healing ADD, he suggests that kids with ADD, ADHD can lose all sense of time, so  a clock or timer can be set for one hour which sets boundaries for the child to either get ready for bed, do schoolwork or participate in family matters.

Another suggestion is to use stickers as reminders to “get it done’” in places where the person found themselves distracted, such as on the phone or the computer.  Probably a good idea would be to change the sticker and its message from time to time to prevent getting used to them. The stickers are used to bring the child back to reality and remind him there are still important things to do.  Naturally, this is a good idea for adults as well.

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