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The Power of Self Awareness and Strategy Development

Matt was a sophomore in high school and came to Navigating ADHD a month into going remote due to Covid.  Matt had always struggled with turning in assignments on time and advocating for himself.  Remote learning was turning into a disaster for Matt, who by the way was an extremely bright and creative young person.  When his mom asked if it was possible to help Matt learn new ways of doing things the answer was a solid yes! Later, when Matt also asked if this was possible he was so excited to learn the answer was yes.

 

Matt explained that he always felt like he was playing catch up.  He would think his work was up to date but would later find out that assignments were missing in multiple classes.  The work would then pile up and then he had to constantly choose whether to do the past due work or to do the current work. Matt soon learned that this is a common occurrence with ADHD and it wasn’t because he was lazy or didn’t care enough about his grades.  Matt quickly discovered that his brain had been operating off of the FALSE belief that an internal checklist of what needed to be done was all he needed. 

 

Once Matt understood that he needed to take everything in his head and put it on paper he quickly found success.  The first step Matt took was he created a weekly schedule of assignments so he could see the entire week.  Matt liked the idea of a list so he simply used a sticky note for each day of the week and listed the assignments including time to study.  Each day he would look at the day’s sticky note, add any additional information, and would number each assignment according to the order he would do it in.  During this process Matt also realized that his sense of time was significantly off.  What Matt thought would be a quick 15 minute assignment would sometimes turn into a 45 minute assignment.  Matt started to double the amount of time he thought an assignment or study session would take in order to have a better sense of what he could realistically get done each day. 

 

The level of stress Matt was experiencing due to late assignments greatly decreased and his grades began to clearly show his understanding of the material.  Matt was able to take this new self awareness and apply it to other areas of his life as well!

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