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Overcoming Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

VICTORIA SEIKETSO SETHIBE
Last week’s article discussion was focused only on the inattentive type of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

It is important to note that inattentiveness in learners can also be accompanied by hyperactivity, hence Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This type of disorder is also not uncommon in schools, especially among boys. Learners need to know that there is great potential behind that inattentive and hyperactive behaviour, if only they could be proactive in managing the two disorders. Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity disorders simply indicate that there is something in the brain that influences behaviour, emotion and learning. Often people find it challenging to socialise and get along with people who have ADHD, due to their inattentive and hyperactive behaviour. Having awareness and being proactive can go a long way in avoiding the following challenges:

Many years of calls from school authorities as children are not able to meet expectations at school In some cases, many years of corporal punishment due to child’s disruptive behaviour Child struggling at school with low test results, not because the child is incapable, but because the child is extremely inattentive and usually procrastinates doing homework.

Low self-esteem resulting from low grades and rejection from other people due to difficulty in accommodating extremely inattentive and hyperactive behaviour.  Being negative, which is usually a “coping mechanism” adopted by ADHD learners when they feel rejected by others Below are some of the tips that might be helpful in overcoming extremely inattentive and hyperactive behaviours in learners:

 

Attention to diet

As a general rule, learners need to be mindful of their eating habits. Healthy food breeds healthy brains. The closer parents align their children to their ethnic diets the better. I am not a dietician but I believe that eating the food that you know have been tried and tested by the generations (who lived longer) before you is a layman’s guide to healthy eating. Since most of our learners are predominantly from Bible reading families, I would advise them to stick to the conservative Old Testament diet, it is wholesome. Over-processed food is evidently not working for you.

 

Resolution of family issues

Learners need stability and structure at home. Unstable family structures can bring anxiety in learners and this can easily distract them while they are at school. Parents need not under- estimate the power of family therapy to objectively help families, including learners, adjust to the ever changing

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family structures. Family therapists, just like doctors, lawyers and other professionals do charge for their services, and family therapy is a service worth investing in. Peer counselling is a very popular form of counselling and it is handy as a ‘first aid’ type of service. There are however, some life challenges that need some well thought of, well planned and culturally sensitive interventions. On that note, this notion that counselling must always be provided free of charge and randomly by anybody who volunteers to do so is not necessarily a long term solution. 

 

Exercise

Any form of exercise always comes in handy, even something as easy as walking. A long leisurely walk in a quiet but safe place can help you to meditate and detox your mind. There are numerous games that can train your mind to stay focused for desired lengths of time.

 

Strategic study techniques

Inattentive and hyperactive learners are prone to procrastination. The key to overcoming your source of procrastination is to determine your unique distractors and find specific solutions. Everyone with ADHD is different, and has different things that work for them. For instance, if you know that you are a Facebook or cell phone addict, it is advisable to switch off your cell phone and give it to a strict person to retain it while you are studying. If studying in your bedroom tempts you to retire early to bed, then use a different room. These may seem obvious but I know that ADHD learners do not always make time to sit back and reflect on their distractors.

Another useful technique is to study repeatedly in small increments. Remember your biggest challenge is your short concentration span, so there is no point trying to force your mind to study over extended period of time. If your average concentration span is 20 minutes, then prepare your study table such that you have many productive 20 minutes increments in a week.

You should also make it a habit to study consistently and repeatedly. Learning is a process and it takes time to master a skill. Cramming the night before a test isn’t just stressful but it is also ineffective. Our brains are not meant to absorb and retain information at the eleventh hour. Repetition is key to learning.



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