Tag Archives: Accommodations

Employees with ADHD – Job Accommodations

Is ADHD affecting your work? Get help.

What is AD/HD?

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects three to five percent of American children and adults. AD/HD is usually diagnosed in childhood, and the condition can continue into the adult years. Many individuals with AD/HD are undiagnosed until adulthood (NINDS, 2011).

The common characteristics of AD/HD are impulsivity, inattention, and/or over-activity (DSM-IV-TR, 2000). Failure to listen to instructions, inability to organize oneself and work tasks, fidgeting with hands and feet, talking too much, inability to stay on task, leaving projects, chores and work tasks unfinished, and having trouble paying attention to and responding to details are the primary symptoms of AD/HD. Although individuals may have both inattention and hyperactivity symptoms, many individuals predominantly display one symptom more than another. Therefore, the DSM-IV-TR identifies three subtypes that can be diagnosed:

  • AD/HD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type:  The major characteristics are fidgeting, talking excessively, interrupting others when talking, and impatience.
  • AD/HD predominantly inattentive type:  The major characteristics are distractibility, organization problems, failure to give close attention to details, difficulty processing information quickly and accurately, and difficulty following through with instructions.
  • AD/HD combined type:  The individual with combined type meets the criteria for both hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive type.

What causes AD/HD?
Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role. Like many other illnesses, ADHD probably results from a combination of factors. In addition to genetics, researchers are looking at possible environmental factors, and are studying how brain injuries, nutrition, and the social environment might contribute to ADHD (NIMH, 2011).
How is AD/HD treated?
Currently available treatments focus on reducing the symptoms of ADHD and improving functioning. Treatments include medication, various types of psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments. Much like children with the disorder, adults with ADHD are treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of treatments (NIMH, 2009).

AD/HD and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Is AD/HD a disability under the ADA?
The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet (EEOC Regulations . . ., 2011). Therefore, some people with AD/HD will have a disability under the ADA and some will not.

A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment (EEOC Regulations . . . , 2011). For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, visit http://AskJAN.org/corner/vol05iss04.htm.

Accommodating Employees with AD/HD

Note: People with AD/HD may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people with AD/HD will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What limitations does the employee with AD/HD experience?
  2. How do these limitations affect the employee’s job performance?
  3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
  4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine accommodations?
  5. Can the employee provide information on possible accommodation solutions?
  6. Once accommodations are in place, can meetings take place to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations? Can meetings take place to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
  7. Would human resources or personnel departments, supervisors, or coworkers benefit from education, training or disability awareness regarding learning disabilities? Can it be provided?

Accommodation Ideas

Time Management: Individuals with AD/HD may experience difficulty managing time, which can affect their ability to mark time as it passes incrementally by minutes and hours. It can also affect their ability to gauge the proper amount of time to set aside for certain tasks. It may be difficult to prepare for, or to remember, work activities that occur later in the week, month, or year.

  • Divide large assignments into several small tasks
  • Set a timer to make an alarm after assigning ample time to complete a task
  • Provide a checklist of assignments
  • Supply an electronic or handheld organizer, and train on how to use effectively
  • Use wall calendar to emphasize due dates
    • Develop a color-coded system (each color represents a task, or event, or level of importance)
    • Allow co-worker or supervisor to add entries on the calendar, or to double-check entries added by the employee with AD/HD

Memory: Individuals with AD/HD may experience memory deficits, which can affect their ability to complete tasks, remember job duties, or recall daily actions or activities.

  • Provide written instructions
  • Allow additional training time for new tasks
  • Offer training refreshers
  • Use a flowchart to indicate steps in a task
  • Provide verbal or pictorial cues
  • Use post-it notes as reminders of important dates or tasks

Concentration:  Individuals with AD/HD may experience decreased concentration, which can be attributed to auditory distractions (that can be heard) and/or visual distractions (that can be seen). People with AD/HD report distractions such as office traffic and employee chatter, opening and closing of elevator doors, and common office noises such as fax tones and photocopying.

  • To reduce auditory distractions:
    • Purchase a noise canceling headset
    • Hang sound absorption panels
    • Provide a white noise machine
    • Relocate employee’s office space away from audible distractions
    • Redesign employee’s office space to minimize audible distractions
  • To reduce visual distractions:
    • Install space enclosures (cubicle walls)
    • Reduce clutter in the employee’s work environment
    • Redesign employee’s office space to minimize visual distractions
    • Relocate employee’s office space away from visual distractions

Organization and Prioritization: Individuals with AD/HD may have difficulty getting or staying organized, or have difficulty prioritizing tasks at work.

  • Develop color-code system for files, projects, or activities
  • Use weekly chart to identify daily work activities
  • Use the services of a professional organizer
  • Use a job coach to teach/reinforce organization skills
  • Assign a mentor to help employee
  • Allow supervisor to assign prioritization of tasks
  • Assign new project only when a previous project is complete, when possible
  • Provide a “cheat sheet” of high-priority activities, projects, people, etc.

Social Skills:  Individuals with AD/HD may have limitations in adaptive skills, such as communicating with others, or exhibiting appropriate social skills. This might manifest itself as interrupting others when working or talking, demonstrating poor listening skills, not making eye contact when communicating, or inability to correctly read body language or understand innuendo.

  • Provide a job coach to help understand different social cues
  • Identify areas of improvement for employee in a fair and consistent manner
  • Make attendance at social activities optional
  • Use training videos to demonstrate appropriate behavior in workplace
  • Encourage employees to minimize personal conversation or move personal conversation away from work areas
  • Provide sensitivity training (disability awareness) to all employees
  • Encourage all employees to model appropriate social skills
  • Adjust the supervisory method to better fit the employee’s needs
  • Allow the employee to work from home
  • Adjust method of communication to best suit the employee’s needs
  • Use role-play scenarios to demonstrate appropriate behavior in workplace

 

Hyperactivity/Impulsivity:  Individuals with AD/HD Hyperactivity-Impulsive type may exhibit over-activity or impulsive behavior. This could be disruptive to the work environment or could inhibit efficient and effective work performance.

  • Provide structured breaks to create an outlet for physical activity
  • Utilize a job coach to teach/reinforce techniques to control impulsivity
  • Allow the employee to work from home
  • Review conduct policy with employee
  • Adjust method of supervision to better prepare employee for feedback, disciplinary action, and other communication about job performance
  • Use services of EAP
  • Provide private workspace where employee will not disturb others by tapping, humming, or fidgeting

Multi-tasking: Individuals with AD/HD may experience difficulty performing many tasks at one time. This difficulty could occur regardless of the similarity of tasks or the frequency of performing the tasks.

  • Separate tasks so that each can be completed one at a time
  • Create a flowchart of tasks that must be performed at the same time, carefully labeling or color-coding each task in sequential or preferential order
  • Provide individualized/specialized training to help employee learn techniques for multi-tasking (e.g., typing on computer while talking on phone)
  • Identify tasks that must be performed simultaneously and tasks that can be performed individually
  • Provide specific feedback to help employee target areas of improvement
  • Remove or reduce distractions from work area
  • Supply ergonomic equipment to facilitate multi-tasking
  • Clearly represent performance standards such as completion time or accuracy rates

Paperwork: Individuals with AD/HD may experience difficulty completing paperwork efficiently and effectively. This is due in part to workplace distractions and difficulty with time management, disorganization, or prioritization.

  • When possible, automate paperwork by creating electronic files
  • Use speech recognition software to enter text or data into electronic files
  • Save time filling out paper forms by completing information in advance, using pre-filled forms, or adhering pre-printed stickers
  • Use checklists in place of writing text
  • Supply large quantities of regularly-used forms
  • Color-code forms for easy identification
  • Re-design commonly used forms
    • Use large font
    • Double space or triple space
    • Provide adequate space for hand-written response

You’ll find more appropriate accommodations in JAN’s article on Executive Function Deficits. http://askjan.org/media/execfunc.html

Attendance: Individuals may have difficulty getting to work promptly because of the varied activities, processes, and interruptions they may experience while preparing to leave their home and/or during their commute.

  • Allow flexible work environment:
    • Flexible scheduling
    • Modified break schedule
    • Work from home/Flexi-place

Getting to Work on Time: Employers can have time and attendance standards for all employees. Because getting to work on time is the responsibility of the employee, the following ideas are for employees who are having trouble getting to work on time because of executive function deficits:

  • Have a routine of putting and keeping things in their place (keys, phone, glasses)
  • Prepare for the next day’s work the night before
  • Create a checklist for yourself and others
  • Place sticky notes on the door, dashboard, or wherever you will see them
  • Turn off distractions – including cell phones
  • Set a timer or a programmable watch to pace yourself

 

 

Situations and Solutions:

A journalist with AD/HD experienced sensitivity to visual and auditory distractions. The employer provided the individual with a private, high-wall cubicle workspace in a low-traffic area. The employer added an environmental sound machine to mask office noise.

A social worker with AD/HD had difficulty completing handwritten paperwork in a neat and timely fashion. The employer created electronic forms for the employee, which allowed him to type responses. The employer arranged computer files labeled by month to help the employee prioritize open cases. The employer also sent email reminders of deadlines.

An office worker with AD/HD experienced impulsivity and often interrupted co-workers by entering offices without knocking. The employer helped identify appropriate techniques for approaching co-workers, such as keeping a daily list of tasks to discuss with others, then emailing or calling to set aside time to talk about work-related projects.

A retail employee with AD/HD often forgot the closing and cash-out procedures, which resulted in missed printouts of daily sale reports. The employer created a numbered checklist that identified each step for proper closing procedures and identified which reports to run from cash registers. This accommodation benefited all employees.

A delivery person with AD/HD had difficulty with time management. She spent excessive time making deliveries and would forget to return to the warehouse between daily runs. The employer provided a personal organizer watch that could be programmed to beep and display a written message many times throughout the day. This auditory and written prompt helped the employee move quicker from task to task, and helped remind her to return to the warehouse to gather her next load.

A teacher with AD/HD experienced disorganization in her classroom due to clutter from many years of teaching. The employer provided a job coach to help the teacher learn organization techniques, to help separate and store items, and to dispose of previous student work and projects from yesteryear.

 

Information about JAN

Source – Job Accommodation Network – Accommodation and Compliance Series: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,  Retrieved December, 6, 2105 from https://askjan.org/media/adhd.html

The Job Accommodation Network is a service of U.S. DOL’s Office of Disability Employment. Article may be reprinted without copyright infringement.


JAN provides free, confidential technical assistance about job accommodations and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

(800)526-7234 (Voice) 
(877)781-9403 (TTY)
Live Help
Email

JAN’s Accommodation and Compliance Series is designed to help employers determine effective accommodations and comply with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This information provides a starting point in the accommodation process and may not address every situation. Accommodations should be made on a case by case basis, considering each employee’s individual limitations and accommodation needs.

References

American Psychiatric Association: Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

EEOC Regulations To Implement the Equal Employment Provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act, as Amended, 29 C.F.R. § 1630 (2011).

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2009). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  Retrieved November 17, 2011, fromhttp://www.nimh.nih.gov

National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) (2006). NINDS attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder information page. Retrieved November 17, 2011,from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/adhd/adhd.htm

Updated 03/01/13

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Self advocacy for ADHD: Know yourself

Tools for discovering your strengths. Live well with ADHD. Self-advocacy can give you the opportunity to speak for yourself regarding your needs and help to secure the necessary support at work or school and for your personal life. We don’t have to struggle so hard. Developing self-knowledge is the first stepADD Coach Dana Rayburn reminds us, that, “When properly treated, ADHD loses much of its power over our lives. As adults, we can paint a new picture of who we are and what we contribute to the world…” (1)

The goal is to develop your strengths and delegate your weaknesses.

Don’t go it alone, feeling you have to prove yourself over and over again that you CAN persevere! The truth is, delegating the things you aren’t good at, or just plain don’t like, is a good idea for anyone. If you have ADHD, however, it can make the difference between constant struggle and an enjoyable, successful life.

Negotiate with other workers/family member/friends/employees for help in areas where you struggle. (Hint: Ask them for help in areas where they shine – or at least don’t mind doing with the right incentive). What can you offer or trade to make their lives easier? Make it a point of honor to follow through with your end of the deal.

 

1st  Name your challenges both at home and at work. What are your weaknesses?  When and where do they cause you the most problems? For basic challenges of ADHD, refer to any ADHD symptom checklist. The official DSMV diagnostic criteria or any of the ADHD screeners we list are good choices. You need to separate your ADHD from yourself.  You are NOT the disorder. Your symptoms cause certain behaviors, like being late or missing deadlines, but they don’t define you.

It’s also important to identify the situations when problems are most likely to show up. Being in a hurry, under stress, and during times of transition between places or activities are common reasons. Certain environments can also bring out symptoms. Being unable to move about freely, noise levels and visual distractions are just a few. We often think of ADHD as involving “getting things done,” but don’t neglect to note emotional reactions and uncomfortable social interaction as challenging symptoms.

2nd  Know exactly what your strengths are. Your values, talents, and skills are all contributing factors. You probably have a general idea, but the more specific you can be, the better. According to Myers-Briggs Type Indicator practitioner, Nila Nealy,You don’t need someone else to tell you what your strengths are. Your heart knows them. Still, I believe that sometimes we take them for granted or are so sucked into the “you must be broken” viewpoint that using tools other people have created can be helpful.” (2) Don’t forget that you have friends and family that can also help you identify your strongest points. (After all, they know you, love you anyway and are probably your biggest fans)

“Give yourself permission to proceed with identifying, embracing and integrating your unique brain wiring into your life,” ~ ADD coach and trainer, David Giwerc. “The standardized ways of learning, processing information, and performing may not work for you…Your job is to discover the options that naturally work for you and integrate them into your daily life…Educating others in your life about what works best for you, can help you facilitate home, school and workplace environments that…serve you.” (3)

Another reason to utilize these tools is that self-esteem is a core issue of ADHD and you may not be comfortable “claiming” your strengths without outside verification. Don’t neglect to ask those who know you well what they think are your strongest points. Your friends and family are likely to be your biggest fans. Don’t let self-denigration get in the way of accepting their positive feedback

3rd  You can’t wait until you ‘get over’ your ADHD before you start your life. Develop strategies that reshape how you approach life. Leading with your strengths rather than your weakness allows you to fully express yourself in new ways.  It’s about accepting yourself and making good decisions based on what you do naturally, without the struggle. It is based on getting the help that you need to highlight your ability rather than simply shoring up your weaknesses.

As an adult with ADHD, focusing on what you can’t do may come so naturally that you cannot see the positive aspects of who you are and what you have managed to achieve.  These few simple questions from Nancy Ratey’s The Disorganized Mind: COACHING YOUR ADHD BRAIN TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR TASKS, TIME, AND TALENTS may help get you started.

  • What are my strengths?
  • What seems to come naturally to me?
  • I enjoy doing ________________________ most in life.
  • What special skills or attributes do people notice about me?
  • What kinds of positive feedback do I receive from others?

You can also reflect on these points from the ADDitude Magazine article by ADD Coach Robert Pal, “What are my Strengths? Repairing Self-Esteem after an ADHD Diagnosis.”

  1. What do people say you are really good at?
  2. What activity gives you energy?
  3. What’s working in your life?
  4. What do you think you’re good at?
  5. What do you enjoy doing?
  6. What’s important to you?
  7. What are you looking forward to in the next two to three weeks?
  8. What are you proud of?

 

There are also many Tools for Discovering your Strengths. 

Discover your Strengths by assessing your values. – In recent years, some people have proposed that ADHD itself conveys certain strengths. In 2015, the VIA Institute on Character, in conjunction with the ADD Coach Academy,  conducted a research study to identify whether there are indeed specific strengths of people who have been diagnosed with ADHD. (5) Instead, but not surprisingly, the study found that most people with ADHD had shared difficulties in areas related to impulsivity and sustaining attention. Their weakest ”Strengths” were Prudence, Self-regulation [self-control] and Perseverance. Although the qualities of Creativity, Humor, Kindness, and Teamwork did rank slightly higher in people with ADHD, their highest “Character Strengths” were uniquely individual.

What was a revelation, however, was that when individuals worked in accordance with their highest values, their weaknesses proved to be situational. That is, they were far less of a factor in getting things done when interest inspired action. As David Giwerc explains, “When you focus on what ignites your heart and your positive energy, you will always be able to self-regulate.” (6) That is why a “Strength-based” approach works so well. You can continue to struggle to “will” yourself to do work which does not inspire you, or create an environment where your interest and urgency based nervous system works with you to achieve what you desire. The eight-minute video at the bottom of the page explains more about character strengths and their place in creating a meaningful life.

VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire – FREE Well researched test (VIA stands for Values in Action -120 questions in 15 minutes

VIA Youth Survey (Also FREE, but for ages 10-17) Takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

VIA Reports – Take the VIA survey, but receive more in-depth reports of your personalized profile. Learn what your strengths mean and how they can help you reach a more optimal, positively fulfilled life, whether you are using for yourself or with others. ($10 for youth, $20 to $40 for adults)

 

Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator Tests

MBTI is what it says it is, an indicator. It points you to the general area of preferences you have for interacting with the world, taking in information and making decisions. Some ways just may feel more natural than others. The MBTI assesses how you get energized as well as the ways you perceive and express yourself.

Official MBTI assessment with certified professionals  ($50 or $150 with person-to-person feedback from a certified MBTI practitioner.

The Open Extended Jungian Type Scales was developed as an open source alternative to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. A statistical comparison of the OEJTS with three other on-line MBTI alternatives found that the OEJTS was the most accurate. 50 questions. 5 to 7  minutes.

16 Personalities – FREE Informal assessment of Types

If you want to investigate even further, I recommend the Gallup book and Strengths Finder 2.0 – Buy the book. ($12 to $16  (+ S&H) Use the code within to take the online test. *One use only.   Your Goal? Identify your top 5 talents. (You can buy a version of the test only through another site, but the book provides great personal stories  and ideas for using your strengths at work and in your social life.)

 

Remember, the first step towards advocating for yourself, for getting the help that you need, is getting to know yourself.  Explore those areas where you struggle as well as those where you have competency and shine. You are so much more than your symptoms. Don’t battle endlessly with your challenges. Ask for help. Discover your strengths, your best self.  Create a more positive future for yourself. You deserve it.

 

Another article that helps you define your strengths. Be the Best Version of Yourself: Explore your Strengths by Marla Cummins

The Science of Character – Values in Action – VIA Character Srengths

Sources

1) “What ADHD Awareness Really Means” by Dana Rayburn  http://www.danarayburn.com/add-adhd-coaching-2/what-adhd-awareness-really-means/   (Harvested 9-12-2013) No longer online.

2) “On Self-Awareness” – Excerpt from the “Human Condition”- Blog by Nila Nealy –http://www.nilanealy.com/  Saturday, January 10, 2009  (Harvested 9/14/2010)

3) Excerpt from Permission to Proceed: Creating a Life of Passion, Purpose and Possibility for Adults with ADHD (pages 76-77) by David Giwerc, MCC, Founder and President, ADD Coach Academy (2011)

4) The Disorganized Mind: Coaching Your ADHD Brain to Take Control of Your Time, Tasks, and Talents by Nancy A. Ratey (2008)

(5) Character Strengths Classification http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths/VIA-Classification

(6) Podcast from the 2015 ADHD Awareness Expo – The Best Things about Adults with ADHD with David Giwerc

 

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What is ADHD?

What is ADHD- What causes ADHD-How isNote: I’ve divided this extensive article into a number of smaller posts. You may read this article in its entirety here: What is ADHD? – NIMH

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood brain disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity). These symptoms can make it difficult for a child with ADHD to succeed in school, get along with other children or adults, or finish tasks at home.

Brain imaging studies have revealed that, in youth with ADHD, the brain matures in a normal pattern but is delayed, on average, by about 3 years.1 The delay is most pronounced in brain regions involved in thinking, paying attention, and planning. More recent studies have found that the outermost layer of the brain, the cortex, shows delayed maturation overall,2 and a brain structure important for proper communications between the two halves of the brain shows an abnormal growth pattern.3 These delays and abnormalities may underlie the hallmark symptoms of ADHD and help to explain how the disorder may develop.

Treatments can relieve many symptoms of ADHD, but there is currently no cure for the disorder. With treatment, most people with ADHD can be successful in school and lead productive lives. Researchers are developing more effective treatments and interventions, and using new tools such as brain imaging, to better understand ADHD and to find more effective ways to treat and prevent it.

 

Republished from NIMH – “What is Attention Deficit Disorder?” – – Retrieved May 26, 1915 – No longer posted online. They now use an “Easy to Read” article instead. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml NIMH publications are in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission.

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How can I work with my child’s school?

How can I work with my child’s school?

If you think your child has ADHD, or a teacher raises concerns, you may be able to request that the school conduct an evaluation to determine whether he or she qualifies for special education services.

Start by speaking with your child’s teacher, school counselor, or the school’s student support team, to begin an evaluation. Also, each state has a Parent Training and Information Center and a Protection and Advocacy Agency (Link works) that can help you get an evaluation. A team of professionals conducts the evaluation using a variety of tools and measures. It will look at all areas related to the child’s disability.

Once your child has been evaluated, he or she has several options, depending on the specific needs. If special education services are needed and your child is eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the school district must develop an “individualized education program” specifically for your child within 30 days.

If your child is considered not eligible for special education services—and not all children with ADHD are eligible—he or she still can get “free appropriate public education,” available to all public-school children with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability.

For more information on Section 504, consult the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which enforces Section 504 in programs and activities that receive Federal education funds.

Visit the Department of Education website  for more information about programs for children with disabilities.

Transitions can be difficult. Each school year brings a new teacher and new schoolwork, a change that can be especially hard for a child with ADHD who needs routine and structure. Consider telling the teachers that your child has ADHD when he or she starts school or moves to a new class. Additional support will help your child deal with the transition.

20 Tools to Enhance your Memory

20 Tools to Enhance your MemoryBy ADD coach Marla Cummins

(Note: Many links return to other articles by Marla Cummins on her site.)

For adults with ADHD, not being able to remember your intentions is what can sometimes get in the way of following through.

I know from plenty of personal experience with forgetting everything from the mundane to the important, it can be really frustrating.

But, rather than berate yourself because you think you should have a better memory, you can adopt workarounds to help you remember what you need and minimize your frustration.

Below I’ve curated a lengthy list of possible options you can apply to the various situations in your life. And, if you can think of more, please share below.

Short Term and Long Term Memory

First, a little bit about why you may have such a hard time remembering information at the time you need it.

One reason is that short term (working) memory is often weak in adults with ADHD.

  • That is, you may not hold information long enough to follow through on it. So, you say to yourself, “I need to drop off that folder at Joe’s office before I leave.” Then you turn around to get your jacket, pack up and forget about the folder. All within the span of a few minutes!
  • Because you do not hold onto information long enough it also does not enter your long term memory. So, it is lost to you until Bill says to you, “Hey, Lisa, I didn’t get that email you said you would send when I saw you in the hall yesterday.”

Challenges with long term memory are also common for adults with ADHD.

  • This can mean that you have difficulty remembering your intention to do something in the future. So, as you are leaving the office you have this nagging feeling you are supposed to do something before going home. Not until you get home do you remember you were supposed to pick up the take-out!
  • Also, you may have difficulty recalling information when you need it. You go to the meeting and can’t remember all the details of the report you want to share.

Bottom line. Your memory, like mine, may be more like Swiss Cheese than a trap door. That is ok, as long as you use some of the methods below to help you remember what you need when you need it.

Remembering What You Want

    1. Paper Based Task Managers– If you are looking for a comprehensive paper-based system to manage your to-dos, try the Planner Pad.

Their webpage is oudated, but don’t be discouraged. See this article about why to use it.

  1. Electronic Task ManagersYou may opt for an electronic system to manage your to dos. These range from the simple, like Remember The Milk,   to the more comprehensive like OmnifocusNozbeToodledo or , Todoist.

 

  1. Put It Where You Can Do Something About It– For example, when you have books to return to the library, clothes to donate, etc. put them in the car where you can see them. That way you can take care of them when you are out and about. Could save you an extra trip.

 

  1. Just Do It!– If a task is going to take you less than 2 minutes (literally), it may be worth it to just do it rather than trying to figure out how you are going to remember to do it later. Of course, you want to be careful that doing that task doesn’t take you away from what your primary intention in the moment.

 

  1. Put It In Your Calendar– You calendar contains the hard landscape of your life. A commitment for a specific day and/or time should go in your calendar. Right away. Even if it is tentative, put it in your calendar and mark it as “tentative” until you can confirm it. That way you will not double-book.

You can find more tips on using your calendar here.

 

  1. Post It Where You Can See It– Maybe you want daily reminders of how you want to be or what you want to achieve. Whether it is a quote, list or vision board to visually illustrate your hopes and dreams, post it in a prominent place where you are most likely to see it regularly.

 

  1. Tie It To Another Habit– It is always easier to remember to do something if you can tie it to an already well-established habit. For example, if you are trying to remember to take your meds, put them by your toothbrush.

 

  1. A Plain Piece Of White Paper– I’ll admit this isn’t the most environmentally sound option. But it is one I use every day. Write the 3-5 tasks you are committed doing each day on a piece of paper and put it where you will see it (middle of your desk, taped to your monitor, on the wall, etc).

 

  1. Weekly Review– To offset the pull of immediate gratification, the weekly review is the time when you assess where you are vis -a- vis your projects and goals in your various areas of focus, as well as plan the next action steps. By doing this on a weekly basis you can be confident you are remembering your important stuff and time is not just slipping away.

 

  1. Post A List– When you notice you are out of something, immediately put it on a list that you leave on your fridge or another easily accessible place. That way you won’t worry about trying to remember it when you get around to creating your grocery/errand list.

 

  1. Read It Later!– We all know what a “time suck” the internet can be. And it may be that you are pulled to reading something immediately because you don’t think you will remember to read it later. Try an application like Instapaper,  Readability  or Pocket  to save articles you come across. And then you can refocus on your original intention.

 

  1. Electronic Notebook– An electronic notebook, like OneNote or EverNote,  is a great place to keep track of and remember all of your random ideas from project planning to lists.

 

  1. Send Yourself A Message– When you are out and about and something suddenly comes to mind, rather than assume you will remember it later, call, text or email yourself a message. But don’t wait. You know those ideas can be fleeting. Well, at least for me…

 

  1. Set An Alarm– Use an alarm to remind yourself of appointments. Since transitions can be a challenge, you may want to set two alarms. The first alarm will remind you to stop what you are doing and get ready. The second will be the reminder that it is time to go!

I suggest you don’t use alarms to remind yourself of tasks unless you are committed to doing it at fixed time. Because, if the reminder goes off when you can’t do anything about it, you will learn to ignore those alarms. And they will just become background noise…

 

  1. Wake up and Reminder Services– You may tend to ignore your alarm, but I’ll bet you find it hard to ignore a phone ringing. Telephone reminder services like Wakerupper or Wakeupland can help get you out of bed or to your appointments on time.

 

  1. Tracking– In the beginning just remembering the habits you are trying to build can be the hardest part to following through on them. Tracking your progress is a good way to remember.

And an app, like Beeminder, may be the extra support you need. As you track your goals, they will plot your progress on a yellow brick road and if you go off track they take your money!

 

  1. Meeting Notes– Taking notes during meetings will help you pay attention as well as have the information you need for later. Just as important is reviewing and taking action on your notes soon after.

 

  1. ADHD Coach– If you are working with an ADHD Coach, take advantage of the accountability support as you are trying to build new habits and makes changes.

 

  1. Launching Pad– Create a launching pad by the door where you put everything (purse, briefcase, etc.) you need for the next day. You could carve out a small space or use a small table for your launching pad.

 

  1. Put Your Keys In The Refrigerator– To remember your lunch put your keys with it in the refrigerator.

Share Your Tips

How do you get out of your head and remember what you need when you need it?

 

By Marla Cummins. Please visit Marla’s website at www.marlacummins.com for additional articles and resources on Adult ADHD. Original article posted at: http://marlacummins.com/adhd-and-20-ways-to-remember-what-you-want/

“Image courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” – Modified on Canva.com

 

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Become an Effective Advocate for your Child with ADHD

Successfully advocating for your child can be a daunting task. This is an area where finding local resources, organizations or parents who have already gone through the process and will “teach you the ropes” can be invaluable.Articles           Discover Strengths          Advocacy Training        Downloadable e-Books         Support and Websites

Does your ADHD child qualify for an IEP plan or section 504? Maybe yes, but the school must agree. The law has left a large gray area open for interpretation. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) covers students who qualify for special education. Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Generally, IDEA plans are more restrictive and more apt to apply to students with Learning Disabilities than those with ADHD.

Section 504 covers students who don’t meet the criteria for special education but who still require some accommodations in the regular classroom. According to attorney Lisa M. LaVardera, Esq., “Section  504 is essentially a civil rights anti-discrimination statute, designed to level the playing field between a person with a disability and his non-disabled peers.”  Another major difference is that Section 504, as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act is, not funded. (1)

In either case, eligibility for accommodations and/or modifications is based on an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. These life activities include, among a variety of other things, concentrating, learning, sitting, working, thinking, and interacting/cooperating with others. Since many of these are often affected by ADHD, your child may be included. A diagnosis alone, however, is not enough. AD/HD symptoms must be documented as significantly impacting learning or behavior through a specific evaluation process. The school may provide the service at no cost, but it is more likely that you will have to pay for it yourself. Plans ar currently underway to curtail Medicaid funding that has help pay for evaluations in the past.

Your goal is to advocate for the needs of your child – to speak up and to ensure they have the help they need to learn.  Remember this: Know your child – his strengths as well as weaknesses.  Build a good relationship with the teacher and other staff members.  Help them identify possible accommodations and put them into practice. Examples of possible accommodations are seating students closer to the teacher, providing note taker, allowing more time on tests, requiring less homework, using daily report cards to monitor behavior or weekly planners to keep school work on schedule.  A few simple changes may make a huge difference. Beyond that, know your rights, bring someone with you to official meetings and document everything!

Successfully advocating for your child can be a daunting task. This is an area where finding local resources, organizations or parents who have already gone through the process and will “teach you the ropes” can be invaluable. Find a parent who has “gone before you”, locate a support group or parent advocacy organization and get ready to work. Although, you may ultimately decide you need to hire a professional advocate to negotiate for the help your child needs, there are a number of resources available to help you learn to navigate the system.

Articles:

Chart of the difference between IEP and 504 Plans – Understood.org

Individualized Education Plans Quick and easy article, but covers most of the bases- from Nemour’s Kids Health

Guidance on 504 Plans: Know your Rights  2 page overview  (Updated in 2016 by the U.S. Department of Education)

Accommodating your child’s needs through a 504 Plan by Terry Illes, Ph.D. – Attention Magazine, published by CHADD – August 2007 – Restricted screen makes the article difficult to read but it includes a number of recommended accommodations.

Casting a Wider Net: Section 504 Revisions – An extensive article by Lisa M. LaVardera, Esq.

FREE Guide to Education Law for Students with ADHD from ADDitude Magazine

Are you ready to retain a lawyer to settle an IEP issue with your child’s school district? If so, this article and the attached worksheet will walk you through the process.

 
Coffee Klatch Special Needs Radio – Choose from a number of interviews on a wide variety of topics. See: Jen Laviano – Special Education Attorney  – Dec 21, 2010

Explore your Child’s Strengths

VIA Strength Survey for Children for Youth ages 10 to 17 
Measures 24 Character Strengths for Children

For more on Character Strengths, see this article from Hands on Scotland: How to help children recognize and develop their strengths.

Parent Advocacy Training

Exceptional Children Assistance Center – Technical Assistance for Parent Centers
Information about the approximately 100 government funded parent centers in the U.S. that teach parents of children with ADHD (or any other disabling condition) how to advocate for the services their children require. Every state has at least one center.

Find a Parent Center near you.

Request for an Independent Evaluation at public expense – Sample letter (Only applies to IEPs)

More Sample letters from The Parent Information Center of New Hampshire

Note: A school psychologist once contacted our non-profit when I was manning the phones. She trying to find affordable treatment for a low-income student who was struggling in class. When asked why the school wasn’t stepping forward to provide the funding, she replied, “…Regarding the school district paying for an evaluation, I can see the smoke going up from our administrators—at even the suggestion. We are instructed to be ever-so-careful when we “encourage” that a child be evaluated. If we sound like we are recommending or insisting, the school district could be held liable to pay for it. In other words, that is an absolute no-no.”  

eBooks to Download

Guidance on 504 Plans Issued by U.S. Department of Education (2016 )- Clarifying the rights of students with ADHD in our nation’s schools. – “Regardless of how well he or she performs in school, a student who has trouble concentrating, reading, thinking, organizing or prioritizing projects, among other important tasks because of ADHD may have a
disability and be protected under Section 504.” 42 page document Know your Rights 2 page overview

An easy to read, step by step Guide to the Individualized Education Program. Provided by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services. 2000. Now in the Archives, but available as a PDF as well as in audio.

Bringing Knowledge to the Table – How to be an Effective Advocate for your Child –   42-page e-book complete with active links on the Special Education process. From IEPs to 504 accommodations it covers both the law and practical application. Includes valuable links.

Websites

CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD) specializes in in-depth information about ADHD and Educational Services in Public Schools – Basic articles are from the National Resources Center for ADHD and available for all, but many articles, especially those about advocacy, are reserved for members. (Families- $53 a year)

National Center for Learning Disabilities – For more than 35 years, NCLD has committed itself to empowering parents, transforming public schools and advocating for families and children challenged by learning and attention issues.

 Understood – For learning and Attention issues – 15 nonprofit organizations have joined forces to support parents of the one in five children with learning and attention issues throughout their journey. Help children unlock their strengths and reach their full potential. Includes a secure online community, practical tips and more.

LD Online has a great introduction to LD/ADHD symptoms and accommodations. Copy and paste this URL: http://www.ldonline.org/educators – The official site of the National Joint Committees on Learning Disabilities, LD online provides pertinent information for parents, educators, even kids. the basics, expert advice, and personal stories.

Wrightslaw.com Complete and accurate, Wright’s Law offers a wealth of information about disability law and how it may pertain to school – Applies to all disabilities, but ADHD has its own section.

Also see Wrightslaw’s Yellow Pages for Kids.com – Directory – Find Disability Specialists and the Organizations that may help your family (Free Listings). Not specific to ADHD concerns, but a great resource!They list a wide variety of service: educational consultants, psychologists, educational diagnosticians,  academic therapists, tutors, coaches, advocates, and attorneys for children with disabilities. You will also find special education schools, learning centers, parent groups, community centers, grassroots organizations, and government programs for children with disabilities

Smart Kids with LD   A great little site offering targeted information with a gentle touch.

Understanding Special Education provides help navigating the special education system as well as how to work collaboratively within your school district.  The site provides parent-friendly information on all aspects of the process as well as a Q & A section and a parent-to-parent forum. (Host: Michele Hancock, M.A., P.P.S)

1) Casting a Wider Net: Section 504 Under the 2008 ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) © Lisa M. LaVardera, Esq. http://addfreesources.net/casting-a-wider-net-section-504-revisions/

Resources compiled by Joan Jager – All sources link as of March 17, 2015

“Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva.com

 

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