Myth – You can’t teach someone with ADHD to be organized and plan ahead.
Although it is true that people with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) are thought to have “executive function” challenges, which is the ability to keep track of time, organize tasks and activities, think ahead regarding consequences of their actions, etc., these skills can be taught. This myth is related to the previous one in that it perpetuates the idea that people with ADHD are somehow inherently unable to do things that other people can do.
There are many helpful strategies that a person with ADHD can learn to help them become more organized and plan ahead. Some of these strategies include:
- Implementing a “reverse calendar” in which you take a full-year calendar and fill in important dates, deadlines, etc. for the next 12 months. The idea is to have a visual reminder of what is coming up, so you can better plan and prepare for it.
- Breaking down tasks into smaller components so they are easier to manage. For example, studies have shown that people with ADHD do better when preparing for a presentation if they break it down into smaller tasks, such as creating an outline, writing a script, practicing, etc.
- Creating checklists of what needs to be done. People with ADHD often forget to include little things like gathering supplies, putting them away when done, etc.
- Keeping a calendar of daily activities. At the end of each day, write down what you did and put it in your daily planner the next morning. This way, if you feel like you aren’t getting anything done, you can look back and see what you actually accomplished.
There are many other strategies that can be used to help people with executive function challenges. If you feel like your organizational skills are lacking, consult an ADHD coach who can work with you to develop a personalized plan. Remember, it is never too late to learn new skills!
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