As you already know, every person with ADHD struggles to maintain attention. However, did you know that mental hyperactivity is linked with an inability to stay focused.
To say that someone with ADHD cannot pay attention doesn’t tell the whole story. The reality is that we cannot focus attention on one task. Parents often say, “but my kid can concentrate on video games for hours. Why can’t she do school work?”
For starters, when we are interested in something, we can spend hours on end on it. And I know what you’re thinking... duh we can, we are interested in it. But the thing is, we want to know everything there is to know about that thing. In addition to that, our time blindness shows up in these circumstances because we lose track of how much time has passed. Before we know it, we’ve spent all day on this one task.
So, why can’t we transfer this level of hyper-focus to school? School was set up for the neurotypical learner. There are so many moving parts that we must master for us to be successful in school that we get easily overwhelmed. Before we know it, we are buried with work and unsure how to manage it.
This happens because we lack the skills needed to manage time, organize, breakdown assignments, get started & self-advocate
I can imagine one of your biggest frustrations is your child’s time blindness. When it comes to school, procrastination is the name of the game because they “have plenty of time.” They constantly ask for just 5 more minutes, but that quickly turns into much longer than 5 minutes.
ADHDers are in a constant state of overestimating or underestimating the amount of time it takes to complete a task. Part of this has to do with a lack of awareness of how long 10 minutes actually is. Sometimes, our time struggles stem from not knowing every step that needs to be taken to complete a task, so they cannot accurately predict the amount of time it will take.
So what do we do to help improve time blindness?
Start by having your child put together a short playlist, maybe 3-4 of their favorite songs. When they have a task to complete, use the playlist - be sure to play the songs in the same order every time.
Let’s use the example of cleaning the room. If your child knows she only needs to clean until the playlist is over, she will better estimate how long she has to clean. She can then apply this to other tasks that need to be completed.
Now that we have a plan to know the amount of time we need to spend on a task, we need to see each step to complete the task. Having a 10-15 minute playlist to clean your room is great. But, it is useless if we do not know the steps to take.
Start by getting out a pen and paper. Together, write down each step to take to have a clean room in 10-15 minutes. Be sure to write it down because we are masters at forgetting!
When it’s time to clean the room, start that playlist and begin working through the cleaning checklist. As your child works through this a few times, they will start to correlate where they are in the playlist with which step they should be on. The combination of having a sort of timer and a checklist will help your child better grasp how long it will take to clean their room.
Stuff everywhere... All. The. Time.
We are tornadoes that destroy everything in sight, leaving others to pick up the mess. Whether it be a messy backpack or leaving shoes everywhere, it seems messes just follow us everywhere we go.
Why? Why can we not take 5 seconds to put our shoes where they belong? Why can we not put our papers in the proper spot in our folders? Why can we not get everything we need for soccer practice from our house to practice?
It is so frustrating when you have to remind someone a million times to do something, and it still doesn’t get done.
Let me tell you why. Remember how I mentioned earlier we are time blind? W