Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a neurodevelopment disorder commonly diagnosed in childhood. It persists into adulthood in some instances, resulting in cognitive and behavioural issues affecting one’s ability to function optimally in various aspects of life, including academia. At Sunbeam Education, we work with students with ADHD to support them through learning.
Understanding ADHD, its impact, and how to combat its challenges are key components to ensuring these individuals receive the necessary assistance. By doing so, they are better equipped to handle and excel in their academic responsibilities. However, our focus goes beyond simply managing their symptoms. We aim to aid in fostering development academically, emotionally and socially.
This article aims to shed light on the diverse types of ADHD support that exist, to enable those who grapple with this disorder to manage their symptoms effectively and thrive in their educational endeavours. A well-rounded education doesn’t simply focus on the range of abilities in a class; it also pays attention to life outside of school, providing students with every opportunity to succeed in a comfortable and understanding environment.
We have created a list of various effective interventions that are worth considering if you are a student or the parent of a student with ADHD:
The decision to use medication is very personal, so we are careful not to encourage or discourage it. This is typically the first line of approach for managing ADHD. Medicine cannot cure ADHD, but can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning. Stimulant drugs like Concerta, Ritalin or Adderall are commonly prescribed, along with non-stimulants like atomoxetine or guanfacine. It’s crucial to note that while these medications can be beneficial, they also have potential side effects, hence the need for regular doctor supervision.
Psychotherapy offers a vital lifeline for those grappling with ADHD. Addressing symptoms and providing coping mechanisms equips individuals to better manage the condition in everyday scenarios. Cognitive-behavioural therapy can particularly aid in modifying negative thought patterns into more constructive ones. In contrast, behavioural therapy focuses on implementing routines conducive to higher attention levels and increased self-control. Crucially, psychotherapy tailors strategies to each person’s unique experience with ADHD, thereby promoting significant improvements in their overall quality of life.
This type of support involves teaching students to organise their daily tasks and work through their responsibilities methodically. This can include creating checklists, breaking tasks into manageable sections, setting time limits for tasks, and learning how to plan and organise time more effectively.
For younger children with ADHD, it can be beneficial for parents to get involved in coaching or behavioural management strategies. Parenting interventions often involve therapists and educational experts teaching parents strategies to help manage their child’s ADHD symptoms.
Many students with ADHD struggle with traditional classroom settings. A positive educational environment is one where the teacher understands and accommodates the needs of an ADHD student. This can drastically improve academic performance. This involves modified learning materials, adjustment in teaching methods, extra time for assignments and tests, and encouraging active learning. At Sunbeam Education, we offer aspects of coaching and other services, such as help with parenting interventions.
Support groups can be useful in providing a sense of community and understanding, which can be particularly helpful when faced with challenges with ADHD. Here, people share personal experiences, advice, and coping strategies.
Friendships can be incredibly beneficial for individuals with ADHD. They offer a sense of belonging and acceptance, helping to boost confidence and self-esteem. Within friendship groups, people with ADHD can learn essential social skills and gain different perspectives. Companionship can also act as a motivation to manage ADHD symptoms more effectively, as maintaining relationships often requires focus, patience, and organisation. In essence, having a supportive circle of friends can serve as a solid support system for those with ADHD, heightening their well-being and quality of life.
Healthy habits such as eating balanced meals, exercising regularly, ensuring adequate sleep, and limiting screen time can go a long way in managing ADHD symptoms. Something we see regularly with students with ADHD is that they are often highly addicted to their phones. This significantly affects their ability to regulate their dopamine reward system, leading to low sleep quality, irritation, and often burnout.
We have seen significant improvements in students with ADHD through mindfulness. Practising mindfulness, which means staying aware and present in the current moment, can help reduce distractions, improve focus, and teach the student how their mind works, preventing them from falling into the regular ADHD traps. Similarly, relaxation techniques like deep breathing, yoga, and meditation can help to control impulsivity and hyperactivity.
These different forms of support cater to varied individual needs, and often, a combination of these methods may provide the best results. It is essential to remember that what works best for one individual may not work as well for another and that finding the right mix of strategies may require patience and time. It is a journey, but with the proper support, individuals with ADHD can lead a balanced, productive, and fulfilling life.