This is the second in a series of articles about living with ADHD for families and adults put forward by the Prince Albert branch of the Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan. The purpose of this series is to assist those who live with this disorder, and their families, to live better lives. ADHD is marked most often by chronic inattention, impulsivity, and frequent hyperactivity, coupled with inconsistent performance of tasks and behaviors. This disorder is most frequently observed and diagnosed in childhood. However for about two thirds of those diagnosed, the symptoms continue into adulthood. The most common treatment of the symptoms is the ongoing use of a variety of medications designed to manage the symptoms.
Although there is no known cure, there is management of the symptoms. A multi modal approach is utilizing care and attention to physical factors such as nutrition, exercise, sleep and medication. Developing knowledge about what ADHD is and how it affects the individual including strengths, weaknesses, and behavior patterns is a second foundation block to making life with ADHD better. A final support in effective ADHD management is developing skills and strategies that assist the individual to be more consistent in utilizing behaviors to work through some of their ADHD moments more successfully. Included in these skills is the ability to self-advocate and not use the disability as an excuse.
A second executive functioning skill often found to be weak in people with ADHD is the skill of emotional control. This is often seen as individuals overreacting emotionally especially when things don’t meet their expectations, or when they are faced with criticism. Constructive criticism is generally not well received by people with ADHD as so much of their past is marked by activities that have not worked well. Many times this function is marked by individuals not reacting well to sudden unexpected changes in their lives or plans that don’t work out. Even changes caused by the weather can be upsetting.
There are many strategies that can be learned and applied when there is a need for emotional controls. A seemingly simply way is to exercise vigorously on a regular basis. Many have found that it is hard to remain angry while walking briskly. The difficulty is finding time to exercise regularly and get all those emotional feelings out in a safe environment. Another strategy is to rehearse and practice scenarios that a child or adult can expect to run into, such as receiving feedback on work or assignments from supervisors, coaches or teachers. This strategy usually involves role-playing where a friend, coach or parent helps develop and practice appropriate scripts or approaches that can be used comfortably and almost automatically in real life situations.
If you are interested in ADHD coaching, for your child or for yourself, you are invited to call LDAS at 306-922-1071 to get more information on coaching for your specific needs. If you have ADHD or have a child with ADHD you are invited to attend our bi-weekly ADHD Support Group that meets at the LDAS Center 1106 Central Ave. The group meets from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Please call LDAS to preregister.
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