How ADHD Affects Motivation

In my recent readings, I came across this article at ADDitude. It paints an accurate picture of how ADHD affects more than just focus.


If your child has ADHD, I highly recommend you read the article. Here are some highlights:


Two things that can get in the way of motivation are the pressure to succeed and the natural separation from parents that occurs as teens. Part of helping a child with ADHD is teaching them to navigate the pressures they face as well as the emotional upheaval that happens as they learn to separate from their parents.


This makes me think about the importance of scaffolding and allowing students to spiral back again and again to lessons and strategies they are learning. Give your student many chances to learn a new skill, whether it is using a planner or taking notes. Don't expect them to know how to do it after practicing a couple of times. They will need multiple opportunities to practice.


In terms of the students feeling pressure…it is a fine line to walk for parents and teachers to push students toward their full potential without increasing their stress. One thing to know is that students with ADHD are often more emotionally sensitive and can exhibit oppositional behavior, meaning that they may react negatively to too much pressure.


I encourage parents to balance their expectations for their child (going to a particular college, getting particular grades) with the child's expectations for themselves and their goals. It can actually be better for the student if the expectations are lowered while they are learning skills and then slowly increased as they grow and improve. Giving them agency can go a long way toward their motivation to change and succeed.