Jul 14, 2010

This Week's Brain Challenge: Attention Deficit Disorder

Summary: Starting off our series on overcoming brain challenges during communication, we address ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) in both adults and children. This overview provides some great tips and links.

Brain challenges can be categorized under almost every letter of the alphabet. Let's start off our series on the unique communications strategies needed for people with "challenged brains" at the top of the alphabet: with ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder.

Also sometimes called Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), ADD is prevalent in children and adults who have an obviously hard time sitting still for any lengthy period. Children "fidget" frequently when they're young. But after the age of 7, it's common for them to begin learning to sit still when appropriate, such as during school lessons or worship services. Adults also wiggle and squirm when their minds are on something else--extreme worries about their children in the next room, for example. However, if you are an adult (or the parent of a child) who cannot be still on any given day, you may consider learning more about ADD.

Those with the ADD diagnosis also face other challenges:
- lack of focus / inability to concentrate on one subject at a time;
- high energy levels;
- chronic disorganization.

What this looks like to the outsider is:
- distraction away from the conversation or task at hand, either by looking elsewhere or by regularly asking the speaker to repeat what's just been said; making simple mistakes in work;
- extreme "playfulness" (jumping, skipping, and general horsing around of a physical nature that can sometimes unwittingly violate another person's space boundaries); also loudness of voice;
- constantly losing items or forgetting dates and times and other important information.

As a business professional, parent or otherwise responsible adult, how do you overcome the extreme challenges of ADD to be successful in the world? How do you communicate with others appropriately--especially when you have a hard time even hearing them in the first place? Below are some practical tips for minimizing your own communications struggles with ADD.

(1) Be aware of yourself. The more you know your limitations, the more you're able to expand them. Later this week, we'll discuss some specific ways you can become more self-aware.

(2) Improve your concentration. There are a number of online games to help you on this front. Brain games are an excellent way to mitigate brain challenges. Check out this one from Lumosity that's designed to train your attention.

(3) Rely on external resources. You can stay organized better by using organizational tools. Most smart cell phones have alarm clock and calendar applications that come in very handy (pun intended) when you use them on the go wherever you are. If you are less electronically inclined, you can purchase a datebook and carry it with you to stay on track. Some styles even have pockets and pouches for important items like credit cards, keys, and whatever else you prize (but can't seem to find).

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2010

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