How To Motivate Your ADHD Teen When Distance Learning

How To Motivate Your ADHD Teen When Distance LearningWhen your teen is in a classroom setting at school, they are surrounded by their teachers and classmates. Their surroundings, or environment, can help manage behavioral expectations. For example, teachers who have a good command of their classroom are able to regulate behaviors in the classroom.

Some parents may still find themselves working from home while teens are also taking classes remotely. For teens with ADHD, this situation can become problematic and overwhelming for all involved when not properly managed. It doesn’t have to be this way though. There are some steps you can take to help you improve your teenager’s level of productivity even with distance learning.

Creating a Plan for Teenagers’ ADHD

It’s important to help your teen create a realistic plan regarding their productivity and ADHD. You’ll need to accommodate for the fact that they aren’t in the presence of their peers or teachers while learning. Additionally, you’ll need to take into consideration how detailed the plans are that the school has for your teen. For instance, when your teen is required to attend scheduled video conferences where they meet with their teachers in the presence of their peers, most of your planning will be done for you. Of course, you should still establish clear expectations regarding distractions like social media and video games for teenagers with ADHD during school time. Make sure these are accompanied by agreed-upon consequences.

Creating Incentives for Teenagers ADHD

Teenagers with ADHD who struggle with traditional schooling may not respond well to negative consequences. This is why you should involve your teen in creating a plan that addresses their ADHD symptoms. By involving them in the process of identifying reinforcers (i.e., something that encourage or increases the likelihood of a specific behavior), you give them something to look forward to for successfully completing their schoolwork. Thus, you increase the likelihood of them doing this again in the future.

Focusing On Executive Functioning Skills

In recent years, Executive Functioning has become a growing area of interest in addressing ADHD and other Neurodevelopmental Disorders, like Autism Spectrum Disorder. Executive Functioning is defined as cognitive processes that regulate, control, and manage other processes like planning, working memory, attention, and set shifting (Diamond, 2013). They are essential to functioning in personal, professional, and social settings. Many psychological concerns, such as ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder, can impact executive functioning skills. The promising news is that Executive Functioning skills can be further developed.

If your teen is struggling with Executive Functioning skills, you may consider working with an experienced professional to help facilitate development in this area. Some examples of effective techniques that your teen may learn include planning; self-monitoring; and self- regulating. Executive Functioning skills can be prompted at home with the help of parents and the right environments. For example, parents can facilitate problem-solving by engaging in a dialogue about how to solve a given homework problem rather than readily providing the answer. Teens can also implement the use of technological tools (like graphic organizers) to help enhance Executive Functioning skills (Sohlberg & Mateer, 2001).

Allowing Failure for Teenagers ADHD

Often, ADHD can also present with Anxiety Disorders, so some teens may avoid academic demands due to a fear of failure in addition to inattention or hyperactivity/impulsivity. However, allowing your teen to fail (or at least confront this fear) may help address the anxiety. It may also allow your teen to experience the consequences of avoidance, including the consequences you decide to implement.

While distance learning is going to look different for everyone, Interface Consulting and Psychological Services in Tampa Bay, FL can help determine if your teen has ADHD using standardized assessments, such as cognitive, executive functioning, and attention tests. If ADHD is supported, we can work with you to create an evidence-based treatment plan that fits your family’s unique needs, areas of growth, background, and strengths/assets. We strive to incorporate the latest research (like Executive Functioning skill training) to help culturally/racially diverse teens thrive. We look forward to helping you navigate the unique challenges distance learning provides.

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