Help Your Child with ADHD Gain a Strong Sense of Self : Additude

It is one of life’s great ironies that our sense of self comes mostly from others.

As children, we learn who we are and how we are valued by the feedback we receive from other people. If we do something and others respond with warmth, admiration, and pleasure, we think of that action as reflecting the good part of ourselves. If, on the other hand, we do something and it is met with disapproval or withdrawal of love, we have been bad and we must not do it again.

How Kids with ADHD Are Perceived and Judged

There are three basic ways in which this feedback loop goes wrong for children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD). The first is that kids with ADHD rarely behave the same way consistently enough to get a consistent stream of feedback. Sometimes they are empathic and other times self-absorbed. If they find something interesting, they can achieve anything but they cannot do 20 minutes of homework without a meltdown. It can be hard to develop a singular sense of self while evoking contradictory feedback.

The second way things go wrong is when children receive feedback based on neurotypical expectations. While neurodiverse children are trying to discover themselves and what the world values in them, there is a fire hose of feedback telling them they should be like other children. The world tells them that having ADHD means they have “bad brains” and belong on the short bus.

These expectations are often expressed with questions that start with “Why.” “Why” questions demand a justification for failure or falling short: “Why did you get a D when you are smart enough to get an A?” or “Why did you do something so impulsive when you’ve already made this same mistake before?” Parents and others may not say it in so many words, but “Why” questions make a statement that says, “You are not the child I wanted or expected.” Pressure to conform to neurotypical expectations leads to shame. If guilt is the painful gut feeling about what we have done, then shame is that same feeling about who we are. Shame is the only emotion that wants to stay hidden.


Source: Help Your Child with ADHD Gain a Strong Sense of Self : Additude

Explaining the ADHD Brain: Prefrontal Cortex, Emotions, Overwhelm & More : ADDITUDE

Misinformation about attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) abounds among the patients at my busy practice. Many think medication alone will control their symptoms. Others believe that ADHD will not affect their lives once they have graduated from college. And almost none fully understand the way the ADHD brainworks to produce the symptoms they experience. To help, I have developed the Intersection Model — a framework that can be used throughout an individual’s life to make sense of behaviors, impulses, and emotions, and to create strategies to manage them.


Source: Explaining the ADHD Brain: Prefrontal Cortex, Emotions, Overwhelm & More : ADDITUDE

Taming the Temper-Prone ADDer

Original post from ADDitude

‘……….by Sandy Maynard

If you overreact or get defensive for no reason, these anger-management tips can help.

ManageAngryOutbursts0902Do you lash out when your spouse reminds you — nicely — to take out the dog or pick up a gallon of milk? Do you fly off the handle when the boss asks you to turn in the next assignment on time?

I know many people who do, including myself. In fact, many of us adults with attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD) lack restraint when we think that someone is dissing us. The question is: Are they? Because many of us have low self-esteem — after years of negative interactions — we arehypersensitive to criticism, real or imagined.

Bursts of anger have repercussions that last much longer than the few seconds it takes to vent. Having an argument in the workplace can get you fired. Blowing up at a loved one can strain the relationship. And it all takes a toll on your self-esteem — bringing remorse or shame for days afterward.


Get the Anger Out?

My client, Mike, came to me to learn some anger-management strategies after he realized his ADD tantrumshad damaged his relationship with his teenage son, who, like Mike, has attention deficit. Mike had long believed that “getting the anger out of [his] system” was healthy.

Until now. “My outbursts are creating a rift between me and my son that doubling his allowance won’t repair,” he told me. “I need to figure out how to keep anger in check — or I may make front-page news for strangling my son!”

I explained that most teens know which buttons to press, because they installed them. After a good laugh, we identified the times when Mike was most likely to lose his temper — after a tough day at work when he had screwed up an assignment. When he came home to find that his son hadn’t taken out the garbage — again — Mike got upset. If his son had a fender bender, received a parking ticket, or cut out of school early, Mike blew his lid.

Help, Don’t Yell

I reminded Mike that he must maintain realistic expectations about his son, who was easily distracted. Mike came to see that neither he nor his son was perfect, and that he should adjust his own imperfect behavior. Instead of yelling at his teen for forgetting to do a chore, Mike worked on helping him remember to do it by posting a list on a bulletin board in the kitchen and reinforcing it with text messages during the day.

If Mike’s son still forgot — or got into trouble at school — Mike learned to observe his rising anger, and figured out ways to short-circuit it. He took a relaxing walk with his dog and deferred discussions with his son until Saturday or Sunday morning, when he felt refreshed and less pressured by his job. He and his son were able to talk calmly — and productively — during those chats.

Finally, Mike found comfort in a local ADD support group for parents contending with similar problems. It is a great comfort to him to know that he isn’t alone with his anger problems.

Continue reading more short-fuse strategies…    …………..’


Helping ADHD Children Master Time

Original post from ADDITUDE

‘……… Donna Goldberg, Sandra Rief, M.A.

Children with attention deficit disorder often struggle to understand sequence, tell time, and prioritize — with their education paying the price. Find out how to help your ADHD student comprehend clocks, calendars, and other time management skills, here.

ADULT-plannersOrganization and time management are not innate skills. Any child — with or without ADHD — must create and maintain organizational systems that make sense to him. For children with ADHD, whose ability to organize, prioritize, and manage time is affected by neurological deficiencies, setting up and maintaining organization routines can be quite difficult.

That’s where you come in. Understanding and managing time is a huge part of being organized, so think of yourself as your child’s time management consultant. Work with her to not only master time concepts, but learn to take control of time. Make sure your child is involved when setting up routines so that she will be invested in finding what works best for her. Help your child practice her skills on a regular basis, and follow through with the systems you create together.

Continue for tips on how to help your ADHD child master time concepts and start on the path to better organization and time management.

Understanding Sequence

Children first learn about time by being exposed to sequence and routine: First you have a bath, then you have a story, then you go to sleep. Eventually, sequences include the concept of before and after: Before dinner you will take a bath. In kindergarten and first grade, teachers often put up a daily schedule and use words and pictures to review the sequence of the day. Reinforce these concepts at home by making sequence clear to your child by giving specific verbal cues — first, next, then, before, after — as you develop your own routines.

Ask questions as you go about your routine: What comes next? Do you remember what you did first? Reinforce sequence comprehension by giving a series of directions using verbal cues, and make it fun (“First do ten jumping jacks, then write your name backwards”) and have your child give you directions as well. Tell him that you are doing this to help him learn how to listen carefully and pick up on important words that tell us what order to do things in. Ask him to point out words that are related to time. A child who masters the concept of sequence will be better able to organize and prioritize tasks down the road.

Concepts of before and after eventually develop into yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and develop further into past, present, and future. Again, as your child learns these concepts, support them at home. Talk about future vacation plans or reminisce about his last birthday party.


By the end of first grade, your child should know the names and sequence of the days of the week. He should also know what days come before and after any day you name. As your child grows, the calendar will help him develop other skills, like accountability. He can see when you will or will not be available to help with a project, and can plan accordingly and assume responsibility for himself.

Introduce the calendar concept to your child with weekly calendars. The weekly format works best for ADHD children as they tend to live in the present and they will more easily be able to learn the concepts of yesterday, tomorrow, and so on.

Fill in the dates on the calendar at the beginning of each week. At the top write the month in name and its number (October = 10th month). Next to each day, write the numerical month and day (Monday, 10/24). This will help your child make associations quickly and not have to count 10 months from January on his fingers.

Calendars offers a multisensory learning opportunity: It is a visual record of activities that works kinesthetically as you write down and cross off activities, and it prompts auditoryreinforcement as you talk about the day’s events. Write out everyone’s schedule each week including appointments, dinners, sports practice and so on. At the end of each day, have your child cross off completed activities. Discuss the next day’s activities as you emphasize, “This is what we’ll do tomorrow, Friday.”

clockClocks & Timers

By second grade, students are introduced to the clock and are taught to tell time. Clocks are reviewed again in third grade — and after this children are expected to infer that calendars and clocks can be used to determine the sequence of events and create routines. Unfortunately, many kids, particularly those with ADHD, do not make these leaps and can become lost in school as a result.

Which are the best clocks to teach time to ADHDers? Digital clocks present time as a static present-tense thing, greatly affecting kids’ ability to conceive of and gauge time. Analog clocks show that time moves — and let a child know where she stands in relation to the rest of the hour or the rest of the day. We need to reintroduce analog clocks so children can “see” time and learn to place events in context.

Practice telling time with your child at home. Ask her for a different way to say 6:45 (a quarter to seven, for example). Point out that the clock numbers 12 to 6 relate to after the hour, while 6 to 12 relate to before. Reinforce ideas like this over and over so your child can gain ownership of clock time.

More time-practice:

Set a Timer. To motivate targeted behaviors (like smoother transitions), tell your child he has five minutes to finish his work, and set an alarm to signal when time is up.

Late Again? If punctuality is a problem, include it as a goal on a daily report card or as part of a behavioral contract with your child’s teacher.

Beware of Dawdling Children with ADHD often use delaying tactics—like sharpening a pencil—to put off doing tasks they find boring.


Another essential time-management tool is a planner. Just like adults, children need a place to keep track of deadlines, appointments, and other information. A planner will help your child manage all she has to remember — assignments, team practice, birthday parties — and also enter her class schedule, a friend’s number to call for homework help, and a detailed description of homework and due dates. The most effective book will have the same format as the teacher’s planner. Help your child go over her planner regularly. With guidance, she can learn to write down all homework deadlines and avoid last-minute cramming and unpleasant surprises.

More planning practice:

Check Off That List Create a daily to-do list and help your child get in the habit of crossing off accomplished tasks like “bringing lunch money to office” or “return library books” at school and at home.

Write It Down Ask teachers to take a few minutes at the end of the school day to lead students in recording assignments in their planners. Teachers should present assignments both verbally and visually.

Time Estimation & Prioritizing

Schools assume that by fourth grade a child’s understanding of time and sequencing has translated into the ability to manage a daily schedule and homework. Yet it’s not realistic to expect a child with ADHD to go to her room, sit at her desk, and do all of her homework at once. So help her practice prioritizing.

First, figure out together how many homework assignments she has tonight, which are due tomorrow, and which of those is most challenging. Encourage her to start the most difficult homework first, when she’s fresh and energetic. Consistent use of the planner will help your child learn how to prioritize and manage assignments.

Practice Time Estimation
Make a game out of predicting, timing, and checking your ADHD students’ estimates of the time needed for various activities. How long does it take to walk from the kitchen to the mail box? To complete an assignment? You can also ask teachers to request and log your ADHD student’s time estimates.

A number of the above tips were adapted with permission from and How to Reach and Teach Children with ADD/ADHD, Second Edition, Copyright 2005 by Sandra F. Rief.

More on ADHD Organization

Helping ADHD Students Get Organized for School

Stress-Free Morning Routines for ADHDers

School Organization 101

ADHD at School eBook –Prioritizing, Organizing, Time Management & More

More on Parenting ADHD Kids…

To share strategies for helping your ADHD child understand time, visit the Parents of ADHD Children support group on ADDConnect.  ………..’