Thoughtful Parenting: Helping teens with ADHD get organized
The life of teenagers is a lot more complex these days, as teens are inundated with tasks that need their constant attention. The concept of time for a person with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be difficult to grasp. Even the best intentions can be thwarted due to lack of time management and prioritizing tasks. Sticking to a schedule and being quick with tasks is the norm in our fast-paced era. Organization and time management are more important than ever.
Talk to parents of a teens who are trying to help them become organized, independent, responsible young adults and you will most likely hear about how hard it is to get them to make schedules. It can be overwhelming for teens who are trying to balance their homework, school life, sports and other obligations. It can be even more of a stress for a teen with ADHD, who tends to procrastinate, have difficulty prioritizing and often delays tasks. It can lead to a lot of tension in the home and affect the teen’s self-perception. A helpful tool I have used is to “create interest” in mundane tasks and streamline activities in a very structured way.
It is rare to see a teen without a smartphone these days, and smartphones can be the catalyst for your time-management plan. I use a lot of technology with students to help them become organized, arrive at class on time and get things done, and this approach has proven to work extremely well through the years. Every day, new apps hit the market, and many of them are brilliantly designed to support the attention patterns of our modern society. ADHD-friendly apps provide an outline to follow and foster the creation of a focused plan that not only keeps teens on time, but also enhances their productivity. The key for teen buy-in is having the tool set up initially by the parent, tutor or personal coach with a few basic tasks to complete. Once the student understands the concept (taking about a nano second) you can help create weekly reminders in their phones to use the app for all their “to do lists.” The sense of accomplishment can launch a student in a new direction of a balanced life and harmony in the home.
Following are three great apps for teens with or without ADHD.
Listatic is an app all ADHD teens should have in their smartphones. From grocery lists to chores to homework to appointments, this app arranges and classifies information into three sections: active, later and completed. Listastic allows the user to color-code lists, conceal them or call them up at a set date.
Coach.me is an interesting app, because it combines the concept of task lists and social networking for the benefit of the user. The app is a community user group that helps users build habits for the long term and keep them. Using social networking and a day-by-day chart, the app helps users follow up on when and how often they’re doing a certain task. Available tasks start from simple habits like “floss teeth” or “clear clutter,” leading to the more difficult “wake up on time.”
This app is perfect for the management of simple reminders and checklists, as well as larger or longer-term projects. It allows users to organize their actions by color — a significant aspect for visually oriented ADHD teens.
Michelle R. Raz, M.A. Ed., is a professional executive function coach and educational consultant working nationally. She is a member of CHADD and ACO. Learn more on her website at coachingacademics.com.
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