Think about what made you choose to read this blog post. What makes these decisions for us, these every day decisions that we don’t even really think about? Easy answer is, our brains. And some brains have ADHD.
Our brains are so amazingly complex. New synapses can be created, ingrained as patterns after lots of practice. Imagine taking a walking path or a bike path for the first time. No one has ever used it, and you can tell (by using your brain!) because there are no imprints in the dirt. We use that same path over and over, and we find that there will be new imprint marks from our footsteps, bike tire, etc as we use this path more and more. This is similar in how we create new synapses and patterns in our brain. Our brain is responsible for every decision we make, from executive functions such as planning and time management, to functions that keep us alive such as breathing and heartbeats.
Our brains are forever molding and changing from before birth throughout the lifetime. And while our brains may look pretty much the same, we must conclude and accept that there are variations and differences in each person’s brain. More simply stated, all brains are different. If our brains work differently, we have to realize that optimal functioning is a personalized collaboration of skills that cater specifically to us. Just because we might have to do things differently to set our brains up for optimal function (which we are all capable of with the right set of skills) doesn’t mean our differences have to be negative.
An ADHD brain requires more stimulation for engagement. ADHD brains are always going to seek this extra stimulation. This might be displayed in ways such fidgeting, spacing out, thinking of one million things at the same time, being super focused on something that stimulates us. But because of this extra – yet brilliant – activity, executive function is also affected. ADHD brains have poor working memory because they’re thinking of so much at once! Those with ADHD have trouble retaining information if they are not engaged, and struggle with time management and planning.
But, no fear! We have tips, tricks, and ADHD life hacks to help!
- Planner systems must attractive to the brain for engagement or WE WON’T USE THEM! Color schemes, stickers, doodle spaces, list spots, brain dump slots – WHATEVER! Make your planner system work for you! It’s not successful if we don’t use it!
- Alarms! SET THEM! Set 17 of them! Whatever you need to do, do it! Set them to move to a new task, reminders to do tasks, reminders of when we need to leave for an appointment, etc.
- Allowing longer time for homework/task completion, accepting that it’s okay to take a break every few minutes if your brain needs. If we try to “power through,” we won’t retain any of the information. It’s okay to take “brain breaks!”
- Find people who will kindly guide, accept, and support your brain! It’s okay to ask for help or to check with someone in class to ensure we have all our assignments, due dates, etc. written correctly.
- Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Not every day is going to go great. It’s okay to implement behavioral modification skills to set our unique brains up for success. And success is possible for all of us if we have the right set of tools in our toolbox that work for our brains.