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ADHD Awareness Month: October 2021

Oct. 26, 2021, 11:45 a.m.
October is ADHD Awareness Month, and we are dedicated to sharing insight into what ADHD is, how it can impact people and things that can be done to support people with ADHD in the learning and working environment.

Firstly, ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and it is defined by three fundamental behaviours: Inattentiveness, Impulsivity and Excess Activity. All of which are out of proportion to the person’s predicted growth. ADHD is not a learning disability and most people who have it are quite clever, but it can disrupt other areas of life, including the way people work and learn. ADHD is not cured by medication however talking to therapists is the best approach in managing the condition.

ADHD may affect individuals by:

- Impacting Executive Functioning Responsibilities (organisation, planning, maintaining attention, focusing, concentration, making good decisions, impulse control, learning and information retention)
- Inhibitory Mechanisms (Which prevent us from being hyperactive, speaking out of turn, and self-regulating emotional responses)
- Limbic System (Responsible for emotional changes, energy levels, sleep routines, memory and coping with stress)
- Poor Self-Esteem, high levels of frustration, and incorrect social skills result from both personal and social life. Negative patterns of behaviour can accumulate, leading to mood and behavioural disorders in some people.

6 signs of ADHD in adults and children can include:

- Having trouble listening
- Avoiding doing activities that require sustained effort
- Struggling with organisation and time management
- Finding it hard to sit still
- Talking or interrupting excessively
- Frequently losing belongings

If you’re an organisation that wants to support people with ADHD, you could implement the following:

- Within team environments, try to keep clear and consistent regulations in place
- Provide feedback regularly and rapidly, so they can easily connect behaviours with the act that produced it
- Frequently recognise and praise ‘desirable’ behaviour to encourage and provide positive reinforcement. All behaviours are people expressing a feeling, try to focus on the feelings rather than the behaviour (Bored, frustrated, anxious)
- If someone interrupts regularly, try to agree on a subtle gesture or remark to alert them of their disruptive behaviour and encourage them to self-manage their behaviour
- If someone can not be motivated to concentrate for the length of the meetings allow them a break so that they have an agreed exit process and return time. This may diffuse tension and minimise opportunities of confrontation, which also encourages the person to self-manage how they feel, behave and maintain productivity.
- Allow for some changes in the workplace that accept agitation behaviours. For example, allow for staff members to move desks, move about in the office or have sensory tools such as a stress ball or chill out area.
- Support people with ADHD by providing a breakdown of tasks into bite sized pieces and step-by-step directions.

Further advice on ADHD can be found here: https://adhduk.co.uk/