The Prince Albert Branch of the Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan presents article three in a series on helping people with ADHD, or parents of children diagnosed with ADHD, live more successful lives. ADHD is frequently marked by inattentive behaviors, impulsivity, or hyperactivity. These behaviors are often inconsistent in that today the individual can experience success and then, to their and others’ frustration, be unsuccessful the next number of attempts. There is no cure. Often parents will turn to medication for their children in an effort to reduce the effects and symptoms of ADHD. For approximately two thirds of the children diagnosed, the symptomatic behaviors continue into adulthood. Sometimes these behaviors become more controlled with maturity and experience.
One of the Executive Functioning skills that often shows up in those diagnosed with ADHD is the skill called flexible thinking. That is the ability to roll with the flow and be able to change directions when external circumstances call for a change. Often one has to take a different route in order to get to where one is heading or, in extreme cases, find a new destination. Inflexible thinking is evident when there is an inability to see something from a different point of view, such as your point of view versus an employer’s or a fellow-employee’s point of view. This can obviously cause some conflict or debate which could lead to job loss or disciplinary procedures.
One way to develop flexible thinking skills is to take one of those mindsets that causes “I can’t do it” and try a new way of performing the task with some new strategies. This may involve finding a coach to help break the task down into parts and learn ways of successfully doing each part before putting the parts into a whole. Another strategy may be finding new tools or other processes to accomplish the task, even including hiring or assigning the task to someone else if possible! A small way to develop flexible thinking is to learn to understand and break down metaphorical language such as puns, ambiguous words, and figures of speech common in everyday language. For example, to ‘draw the curtains’ may not mean color on them nor create a picture of the curtains. Consider the possibilities created by the word “run” which has at least 70 meanings in the dictionary!
If you or a family member wants to improve their skills living with ADHD you are invited to call LDAS Prince Albert Branch to meet with an ADHD coach to discuss how coaching new behaviors or skills can make life better. LDAS PA also offers an ADHD Support Group that meets every second Wednesday to help people put some of their challenges with ADHD into perspective. The group meets from 7:30 to 9:00 pm at the LDAS Center, 1106 Central Ave. Please call 306-922-1071 to pre-register or to inquire about either service.
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