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Procrastination in ADHD children

Attention Deficit / Hyper Activity Disorder known as (ADHD) which is a neurological condition that affects the ability to regulate attention in a child or adult. ADHD does not mean that a child finds it hard to concentrate rather it means that the child is attending to everything around him but is finding it hard to single out their attention on one task at hand to get through it successfully. As a result some children react to it by overacting behaviorally; being hyperactive, difficult to control and impulsive while on the other hand some may react to it by being sluggish, inattentive, and drifting in their own world.

ADHD is a learning disability caused by neurochemical imbalance. The Neurotransmitter that is affected is Catecholamines. This neurotransmitter governs attention, motor behavior, and motivation. Hence an ADHD child finds it difficult to moderate his attention, Impulses, behavior and response to stimuli. This neuro chemical imbalance damages the executive functions of the brain.

Executive functions are like brain’s CEO. It can be understood as actions we perform to accomplish self-control, goal-directed behavior, and the maximization of future outcomes. When executive function is damaged it results in disorganization, difficulty getting started and finishing work, remembering homework, difficulty memorizing facts, writing essays or reports, working complex math problems, remembering what is read, completing long-term projects, being on time, controlling emotions, and planning for the future.

Researches done with ADHD children show that 89-98 percent of children with ADHD have deficits in executive skills. ADHD children experience roughly a thirty percent developmental delay in some skills such as, organizational and social skills, ability to start and complete work. The brains of students with ADHD mature three years more slowly than their peers. This explains why their executive skills are delayed. ADHD children suffer with reduced levels of brain chemistry in the area of the brain responsible for boring work like reading and writing hence these students can play video games for hours but struggle to complete their homework in a timely manner.

Procrastination is the inability to start work in timely fashion. Ability to start and finish work in time is an executive function of the brain. Hence when an ADHD child procrastinates it’s not because they are lazy, or lack interest in learning but because they have a deficit which affects the healthy development of the brain. ADHD children lack mental flexibility to shift their attention from one task to another. They also find it hard to concentrate and focus on anything that requires sustained mental effort and so procrastination is also used as an avoidance technique by these students.

Strategies to help ADHD children get over procrastination:

ADHD children require hyper organization. They lack the ability to take responsibility or to initiate a task. Hence they require special support with organization. Defining the work timing, what has to be studied, arranging the study material and providing a schedule will help them to get started with things.

ADHD children work best with high structure. There daily schedule has to be defied in details and followed very consistently. Study time has to be defined and they should be encouraged to study at the same time every day. Having same study time everyday gives the brain opportunity to prepare itself for the approaching work time and helps the brain to orient and focus better and get started with the work immediately.

ADHD children should be encouraged to study at same place or same desk every day. By sitting in the same place the brain starts associating the place with work and helps to get started with work immediately and is focused.

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