Tips to Eliminate Distractions for ADHD Kids
Getting organized and doing things in an organized fashion helps to limit distractions for ADHD sufferers and also helps them reinforce a skill that does not come naturally to them. Especially children with ADHD seem quite lost with organization. However, if they are surrounded by clutter, it can lead to great distraction and valuable time lost on completing tasks. A clean, organized environment creates a space where minds can focus more easily and have fewer opportunities to wander.
The use of bins, folders, bags and bookcases or other containers and furniture to organize toys, papers and books can help tremendously. Labels are also important, and they can be pictures and/or words to help identify what goes into the containers. Research studies show that increased organization helps improve school performance. Engage your child in the design of his or her organizational mechanisms and routine and then have them participate in a daily organizational regime including homework, chores and cleanup on a regular basis to reinforce organizational skills.
Also to eliminate distractions it is important to identify triggers. Triggers for distraction can include: TV, cell phones, messy environments such as disorganized school work and a cluttered room all can cause reduced focus and a wandering mind. On the other hand, background noise such as TV or music at a low volume can sometimes increase concentration for select students. Therefore, it is important to know that triggers for distraction are individual and need to be explored for each child. You do this by watching your child, and being aware of what causes him or her to get distracted. Then, talk to your child, and discuss how and why you will slowly eliminate these factors at times when concentration is most needed, such as while completing homework or chores.
Designated Study Space
Include your child and find a place where he or she can study and do homework on a regular basis. This also can be a place where your child can draw, read and do quiet creative projects. Find a space that is comfortable, relaxing, quiet, well-lit with plenty of school supplies and free from distractions. While it may take a few tries for the right spot to be found, once it is designated, have your child work there daily.
ADHD and College
For teenagers, entering college is an exciting and scary time, but for youth with ADHD it can be a source of anxiety and confusion. Many more opportunities for distraction, far less guidance and less structure is available, especially if your child is attending college away from home. This is a time when friends are more important than ever. Read our article about Importance of Friends.
Time Management and Schedules
Before classes start, discuss a plan on how they intend to manage their time, schedules, and homework. With a lot of unstructured time in college, the workload for a full-time student can be daunting. Help your child create a plan for classes, labs, studying and balancing a social life.
You can help your child develop a daily routine based on their needs , wants and schedule. Check-in often—you can use phone, e-mail, or Skype as a regular way to check-in and lend support and guidance.
Help your child navigate college by creating a schedule of administrative deadlines like registering for classes, getting books, class schedules, etc. along with developing a checklist of what is needed for each task.
Find Support Services
Most colleges and universities offer services for students with learning disabilities. Try to visit the college over the summer and inquire about various support services (sometimes called Student Disability Services). Determine if accommodations such as alternative testing or individual tutoring are available. Inquire about the college’s writing resource center if your child struggles with writing assignments. Service staff can also help your child communicate special needs to professors, such as extra test taking time, or specific seating. Make a separate plan with your teen to ensure that this is addressed for all classes.