As previously discussed, the impact of executive function deficits on a child's or teen's self-esteem and overall school experience can be quite overwhelming. Issues with time management can be reflected in challenges with long-term planning and organization.
Executive function deficits resulting from A.D.H.D. can impact a child or adolescent’s learning experience in several ways:
- challenges with reading comprehension (working memory and recall)
- inadequacies in written expression (organization and planning skills, sustained focus over time)
- overall time management (handing in assignments on time, keeping track of materials, and knowing how to plan for long-term projects.)
The result is low morale. Children and teens in my practice have often likened the experience to sinking in "quicksand", i.e. feeling as though one is in over one's head, with little chance for rescue or recovery, as each day brings with it more assignments and increasing demands.
What can we do to help? Overall, children and adolescents who are managing A.D.H.D. and executive function deficits benefit most from a structured routine.
Here are some issues and suggestions:
1. Loss of materials - A common issue here is loss of materials, books, and resources. Parents can encourage safekeeping by providing one color-coded folder per content area (in folders, bins, and labels). Keeping a close eye on the district's web site is something your child or teen can also do to stay current on assignments.
2. Managing due dates - If your child struggles with remembering due dates and test dates, encourage him or her to text or email the information to him/herself as soon as possible after it is given in class (technology may “reach” your child or adolescent in a relevant way.) He or she can continue to monitor assignments as they develop with the help of a peer.
3. Setting planning guideposts - It's imperative for a child or teen with a long-range project that he or she learns to plan in advance. This is the single most important skill children and teens managing A.D.H.D. can learn, as it improves self-esteem while preventing that "free-falling" feeling. Planning in advance with the use of a large calendar should become as routine as preparing for a weekly spelling test or soccer game.
When a new assignment is given, be it a book report or a Power Point presentation, encourage the use of a poster with set dates in advance of the due date. "Plug in" the nights for reading, note-taking, outlining, writing, editing, and revising. Preparing in this very manageable way will not only result in less last-minute angst and pressure, but will also instill valuable planning skills for long-term success.
If your child becomes frustrated or overwhelmed by responsibilities, remember that it's OK to take a time-out. Giving your child or teen some space, an oasis of time to decompress, is often helpful and has been proven to increase productivity. Once relieved of what is perceived to be intense pressure, he or she will return to the same assignment with a clear mind, renewed eyes, and improved perspective.
Be sure and look out for our next blog on Monday, September 10th on impact of A.D.H.D. on reading comprehension and what we can do to implement effective strategies for success!
Carolyn Polchinski, M.S.Ed. is a Clinical Professor of Reading and Literacy Education and licensed Learning Specialist based out of Scarsdale. She specializes in supporting children in reading comprehension and written expression, and children with A.D.H.D. and executive function deficits.
To learn more about the programs she offers, call 914.325.0297 or email Carolyn@ConfidentReaders.com. You can also read .