In This Episode:
Did you know that approximately 30% of people with dyslexia also have ADHD. Tune in to this episode to learn more.
ADHD can take a few forms: inattentive, hyperactive, and a combined type. In this episode, we dive into each one and talk about a few strategies that you can try to make life a little easier.
- What is ADHD
- How it affects daily life
- Strategies to make things easier
Connect with Lisa Parnello:
- Follow on Instagram @ParnelloEducation
Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
- Understanding Dyslexia and Structured Reading Online Course
- ADHD and Dyslexia Video by Understood
- Forbes Article: ADHD and Entrepreneurs
Other Resources I Love:
Hello and welcome to Dyslexia Devoted the podcast dedicated to building awareness, understanding and strategies to help those with dyslexia. I'm your host Lisa Parnello, dyslexia therapist and founder of Parnello education services. This show features information stories, candid interviews and experiences with dyslexia at all ages. Join me as we dive into today's episode of dyslexia devoted.
Hello, friends and welcome back. Did you know that people with dyslexia have a higher incidence of ADHD. In fact,
it's about 30% of those with dyslexia also have ADHD. Welcome to Episode 10, of dyslexia devoted and today we will be talking about ADHD and how it impacts those who have it along with dyslexia. I'm so excited to share with you that dyslexia devoted has just reached 200 downloads in just the first nine episodes. Do me a favor and share with a friend to help spread the word. You can send a link or a screenshot to someone that you know that you think might enjoy this podcast too. So our topics today, ADHD, and what is it, how it impacts daily life, and some strategies to help. What is ADHD. It's a neurological condition, meaning it originates in the brain, just like dyslexia. It is characterized by a few different things, impulsivity, meaning thinking before they act. hyperactivity, we all know what that looks like. distractibility and inattentiveness, it used to be categorized as either ADHD or a DD now with the more recent DSM five, they now tend to categorize it as all considered adhd with different subtypes. It could be ADHD, inattentive type, ADHD, hyperactive type, or ADHD combined type. So let's take a minute to break those down. Let's talk about the inattentive type. That's the one that tends to fly under the radar the longest, especially in girls who know how to look like they're paying attention when they're really not, but they're quiet and not being disruptive. So people don't always catch it. And so you will see a student with ADHD inattentive type, that seems like they might have it together. But then when you look a little closer, they don't really know what's happening in class, they don't have all their assignments written down, they might tell you, Oh, I wasn't listening, when the teacher said that. Or if it's an adult, that might be somebody who looks like they're sitting quietly in a meeting, but their brain is thinking very different things than what the meeting at hand is about. The inattentive type makes it harder to get things done because their brain is wandering in different directions than what it should be focusing on. ADHD, the hyperactive type is the one that most people have a general idea of what it is, they're wiggling, they're bouncing around, they're fidgeting with something in their hands. If it's a kid, they might be fiddling with Legos, while they're supposed to be paying attention to something different. If it's an adult, they might be clicking their pen or tapping their toe, it might have different ways of coming out. But generally, it's a lot of movement, or they say driven by a motor is often what is used to describe it, especially in giving some of the assessments. And then there's our last one, which is the combined type. Combined type means that they can't sit still. And their brain is wandering in different directions. Combined type tends to be the kiddos who caused the most trouble in a classroom, because they can't sit still, and they're not paying attention. And so they often get flagged by the teacher a lot quicker than the students who are wiggly but know what's going on, or the student who's sitting really quietly but not paying attention. And so understanding the different versions of ADHD is kind of important because sometimes certain kinds of ADHD come across as being a kid who gets in trouble versus a kid who doesn't. And a kid who gets in trouble more often is actually likely to get help a little sooner than the kid who can sit quietly in the back of the class, even if they're not paying any attention at all, and they don't know what's going on. Either way, any type of ADHD means that there's going to be some sort of impact on that person's day. Now into the second section of the podcast today, how does it impact daily life?
The biggest thing to understand is it someone with ADHD, it's not that they can't pay attention is that they're paying attention to the wrong things. Or they're paying attention to too many things at the same time. And so they get bits and pieces of everything without the big picture of anything. It's not that they're not paying attention. They're paying plenty of attention. They're paying more attention than most they notice everything. And that's the problem. Normally, we try to break down what is the important information and filter out the other stuff. kids with ADHD often have trouble that filter out the other stuff plan, they might see a squirrel outside the window, they might notice if somebody else's tapping their pencil, they might notice if there's a sudden breeze and then they might notice the kid next to them is talking at the same time as their teacher is talking. They're trying to listen to both conversations at the same time that can be really challenging to try to tune in to what's really important when you notice everything and are paying attention to everything all at one time. Another thing that people don't realize relates to ADHD is hyper focusing. Everybody thinks About the ADHD that is the fact that they can't focus. But they can also hyper focus where they're super tuned in to one particular thing, usually when they're really motivated to do it for an extended period of time. And that can come in handy. Sometimes, they can get a lot done during that time. But they can also lose track of time, they can lose all track of time, they forget that it's time to eat, it seems to them like it's just been a few minutes when it's really been a few hours. And a lot of times, you'll see this with kids when it has to do with Legos. If it's an adult, you might see them perusing the internet and looking up something and then they go on a tangent, look at three other related websites. And all of a sudden, it's three hours later. And then they forget, oh, no, I was supposed to go do this other thing before it got dark, and now it's already late, then they lose all track of time, because they're hyper focused on one particular thing and tuning everything else out. So this ties in really closely with that executive functioning piece that we talked about in episode nine. So if you didn't listen to that episode, go back and check that one out to learn a little bit more about executive function, because ADHD has a very strong impact on executive functioning or lack of functioning. Another thing that you will see is they might start a sentence mid thought, they don't realize that the person that they're talking to wasn't part of the initial thought in their head. And they just start going with the second half of the sentence. And what they were thinking about, that's that executive functioning piece with perspective taking and realizing that you aren't in their head. And you weren't actually part of that first thought they got them going. And then they realized they wanted to tell you the thing they were talking about without the backstory of where that thought came from trying to be able to understand what they mean to say, and what actually comes out of their mouth can be a little tricky, but often it's because they have some really exciting idea they want to share, and they forget to clue you in on where that idea came from. One other way that it connects to executive functioning that we talked about before, is regulating emotion, they might have really impulsive reactions. So if they get upset by something, it might all of a sudden involve suddenly smacking their kid brother. And because they get really annoyed that they took their toy, instead of starting with like, Hey, can I have my toy back with them starting from where you should, when you're trying to solve a problem, and not resorting to physical violence. If it's more of an adult, they might get really upset and raise their voice. Or they might cry if they are really upset by something without trying a few other strategies first, and so that regulating emotion piece is a big part of ADHD, that you don't always realize because everybody thinks about the hyperactive face. But it really involves a lot of other things under the surface that you may not realize. Let's look closer at what it looks like in school or homework time that you might see. You might see the person being very fidgety, they can't sit still, they're tapping their toe, they're going through their crayon box, when really they just need to pick one color, and then they start rearranging, they might start switching between tasks. And they don't realize that they didn't actually finish the first thing before they started the next thing, they might be spending too much time on the unimportant things and spending a lot of time on this one set of details that they find really interesting but wasn't actually part of the assignment. They may not realize that when things are due, and how long it will take. And they might say, Oh, it's not due till Friday, I'll work on it on Thursday without having that planning piece of realizing how long it's really going to take to do that project. It's due on Friday. So maybe you should do a little bit each day, they might walk away and then forget to come back. And then out of that, they might end up thinking that something is done because they've remembered working on it. But then they forget that they stopped working and didn't actually end up finishing it.
Other times, you might see that a student has gotten their work done, but then they forget to turn it in or they forget to bring it to school once it is completed. So then they might still lose points anyway, they might get sidetracked when they're reading and start looking at the pictures and get lost in their thoughts and then start thinking about other things related to that topic that it reminds them of. And then they end up getting a little mixed up about what was a thought in their head versus what was actually written down in the text. You can see it a lot in writing. And they will start to become a lot more repetitive and say something that they've already said because they got distracted and forgot that they already mentioned that. Or they might be talking in circles without giving some of those key details that really make that story makes sense. While it can be terrible in school, it can actually be pretty beneficial in life, we have to remember that school is only a small part of life. And with the right career choice, ADHD can actually be an advantage. There are a lot of people who become founders of companies and CEOs because of this boundless energy. The fact that they aren't held into a tiny box that has to focus on every single detail of everything, but they learn how to focus on just the most important details. They learn how to pay attention to multiple things all at one time. And then they can use that to their advantage. And they can accomplish a lot more in life
because they don't get so sidetracked by every tiny little thing after a while they start to get used to paying attention to the really important details. And that multitasking piece can come in really handy especially if you're starting a brand new company and you're in charge of a lot of different things until you've gotten bigger and then can hire people to take care of some other tasks for you and things like that. I was reading an article earlier from four words about a CEO with ADHD and how he's discovered that it has helped him with his job in life, as opposed to hindering him. So I'll link that in the show notes for you if you'd like to read it too. Also, in one of our upcoming episodes, we're going to be talking about the power of dyslexia, and the positive powers of dyslexic thinking. So stay tuned for that one, make sure you subscribe if you haven't already, so that you know when that episode goes live, all right into our last topic today, what are some strategies that you can do to help? One of the big things is to give chances to get energy out before needing to focus. And this helps with ADHD of all ages. So not just kids can be adults to going for a nice long walk, if you're an adult, if it's a kid, go out and play and get all that energy out, maybe go walk the dog, go for a run one of those things, before you know that you have to go home and sit down. So if it's a kid, make sure that they get to go out and play as soon as they get home from school, not going straight to homework, let them get some of that energy out. But set some limits on play time. And then reward with more play time when the actual work is done. And that can be for an adult to go get some energy out, get some of your work emails done. And then go do something you really enjoy right afterwards got to have that positive reward system built in, no matter what age you are, gotta have some of those little motivators that keep you going and doing what you need to get done. Even if it's not what you want to get done. You can also try different kinds of regulation strategies. So sometimes running amps you up, it makes you more excited, it doesn't actually calm you down. So trying to think of things that might calm down, such as deep breathing, things like that. One of the ways that I really like to work with kids, especially who are a little extra energetic is in through the nose and out through the mouth. which funnily enough is actually one strategies I learned because my asthma when I was a kid, but it actually works quite well with all children, just to force them to think about something tangible like in through your nose and out through your mouth and making sure they do 10 Really deep breaths to help reset their brain can be more of a calming activity, sometimes running around, amps people up, so sometimes doing something heavy. So for example, I've filled down the bottles with Santa before and had the kids carry them. And then that way, they're grounding themselves with a little bit of heavy work that weighs them down, as opposed to running, which sometimes amps them up. And then doing a little bit of heavy work and sometimes reset, but making sure it's not too heavy. Obviously, if it's a small kid, you got to adjust it. So sometimes I might have bottles that have different amounts of sand in them. So the littlest kids might do one size, versus the bigger kids might have to sand jugs, if it's a middle school or something like that. So try different things, see what might help to reregulate that student or that adult in order to get things done. If it's an adult, maybe it's a barbell, and not a jug of sand. And so doing whatever might help reset and doing different forms of regulation. So if one way doesn't work, because not everything works the same for every person, each person might have a different way of resetting. Another thing is to set breaks in between. So that might be setting a timer. For example, if there is about an hour's worth of work done every 20 minutes, take a five minute break. So setting an actual timer so that there is a way that the person whether that's a kid or an adult can see Alright, I just need to focus for 10 more minutes, I got this. And then when the timer goes off, you get up, you go get a snack, you go to get a drink of water, do something that gets you moving for a second and then come back to the task at hand. And just making sure to set some sort of limit on that it's not walk away and never come back. It's walk away for two minutes and come right back. And just having some sort of built in break in between. If it is a kid doing homework, maybe it's taking a break between subjects. So they might do reading homework, and then go walk away and do something for five or 10 minutes, and then come back and do math homework and trying to find some sort of way to have a built in break, but setting limitations on it. So it doesn't end up on a tangent that they never come back again. Another thing that you can do is teaching self monitoring, to show a kid to set a five minute timer for themselves. And then they do a check mark,
are they on task or off task at that five minute mark, and then reset the five minute timer again and keep going on their work? And then by the end of their homework time? Then you check. All right, were you more on task or more off task in your five minute check ins. And then they set a goal to try to do better than yesterday. It is never a goal against another person. It is only a goal against themselves to try to beat their own score of how many times was on task yesterday. All right. I'm going to try for one more today. So if it was a 20 minute time period, that would be four checks. So I was off task three out of the four times today. Let's try when my timer goes off that I'm only off task for two out of the four times and then slowly build up. You can also change the duration of how many minutes you think is appropriate. But five minutes is a good one that it doesn't get so distracting that you end up not getting anything done because you're constantly recheck it. Another thing is to set smaller attainable goals. So if there's a really big project, don't tell them do the whole project. Tell them One thing they need to do today, or one thing to do right now, and then once that one thing is done, give them one more thing, and slowly break it down to make attainable goals. So they can say, Oh, I did it. Look, I'm already halfway to my project, as opposed to it being a battle at the last minute, because you're trying to convince them do the entire project. So setting those small, attainable goals will make it feel a lot less overwhelming. And then earlier, we talked about hyper focusing about how the kids or any person really, who has ADHD tends to get hyper focus sometimes. And this is when I pull the you don't ruin a good thing. If a kid is hyper focused on something, even if there's something else they're supposed to do, I let them run with it. I don't stop a good thing. If a kid is suddenly on a roll and getting this huge summer project done, and I we meant to only do 20 minutes of it today, and 20 minutes of it tomorrow, but they're on a roll and they're getting everything done really awesome. I am not going to stop that good flow, ever, ever, ever, ever. Because who knows when that good flow will ever be happening again. So if they are working hard, and they're focused, use that hyper focused energy to your advantage, and just redo the plan of what was going to get done today. 20 minutes of this 20 minutes. So that might mean we do 45 minutes of this major project that's going well. And then tomorrow, we'll do some extra time of the other project that didn't get done. And being okay with being flexible. That is definitely a big part is teaching flexibility. Of Alright, well, this was our plan for today. But this is what we accomplished instead. And that's not a bad thing, we just have to adjust our plan. And that goes back to that executive functioning piece of making a plan. And knowing that if you don't stick to it, that's not necessarily the end of the world. But how can we be flexible to make a new plan, we don't just throw the plan out the window, we adjust the plan, make a better plan that fits our needs with where we are now. And your last strategy is to talk to a doctor only they can decide if trying medication is the best route for that particular person. And understand that trying medication for ADHD often involves a little bit of trial and error. Sometimes that first one they just tried doesn't always work great. And they might need to try a different one. And sometimes medication can make all the difference in the world. And other times it has too many side effects for her particular person. So that's definitely a conversation for a doctor to decide. All right, so let's recap what we have covered for today, which is what is ADHD. We talked about inattentive type, hyperactive type, and the combination thereof. We also talked about ways that it can affect daily life. Lastly, we talked about some strategies that you can try to help with some of those ADHD symptoms. Alright, if you haven't already, go ahead and subscribe to this podcast and share it with a friend so that we can keep spreading the word about dyslexia and all the things that come along with it. Have a great day. Thanks for listening to today's episode of dyslexia devoted. Join us for our next episode by subscribing to this podcast as we devote each episode to different aspects of dyslexia. See you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai