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Basic Coping Strategies for People with Attention Deficit Disorder

written by: Mandi Raymond • edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick • updated: 2/25/2011

For individuals with attention deficit disorder, there is often a haze about life that is hard to see clearly through. Task and time management are often a mountain to be climbed and the journey is full of distraction and despair. With a few easily implemented changes, life can become manageable.

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    Overwhelming Chaos for All Ages

    Coping strategies for attention deficit disorder are important to learn because no matter what the age group, individuals with attention deficit disorder face daily issues such as time management and difficulty completing tasks. Implementing some basic strategies for dealing with the daily challenges faced by these individuals is the key to making life more fulfilling. The strategies for dealing with attention deficit disorder may seem like very remedial efforts, but even the smallest steps can make a big difference in the life of someone with this disability.

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    Tools for Success

    While medication is certainly an option for many individuals, a lifestyle change is still necessary in order to create the opportunity for success. Medication for ADHD is merely a tool to be used in conjunction with coping strategies for sufferers. This is certainly the best combination for many. One such helpful way to promote success in the life of a person with attention deficit disorder is physical organization. For children, this could mean that the bedroom contents and drawers should be labeled so that they always have a place to return to. The simple task of cleaning up a bedroom can be overwhelming to someone with this mental affliction. Having a specific location to put items will eliminate having to complete the thought process behind finding locations.

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    Time Management

    In addition to organizing items in a room, individuals with attention deficit disorder can benefit from a variety of calendaring systems with alarms and tickers. This is especially useful for adults who can easily be lured off schedule by distractions. In the current era of technology, cell phones can work very well as one example of a coping strategies. Most of these telephones come with a calendar, including an alarm, that can be set with multiple alarm settings. It can be helpful to set alarms for basic things such as time to leave the house. Individual alarms can be helpful for task completion such as setting a time for one hour for a child to complete a specific task.

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    Cross it Off

    Checklists work very well also. The inability to stay on target and complete tasks is something that plagues individuals with this disability. Having the ability to check or cross the item off a list can give a sense of fulfillment to the individual and keep them in tune with where they are going in their tasks for the day. This can be a simple chalk board, planner, or can be accomplished with one of the many electronic aids for calendaring. As far as the impulsive nature of this mental disorder, it would be worth your while to read Coping with Impulsive ADHD-Caused Behaviors, especially if you have school-aged children with it.

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    Simple is Effective

    Applying any of these seemingly small changes to the way the individuals live their lives can mean putting an end to the chaos typically plaguing people with attention deficit disorder. Every bit of organization and the act of breaking down large tasks into smaller ones is the best ways to work at managing the overwhelming feelings of despair that can be felt by individuals with this disability. For every successful task completed by a person with attention deficit disorder, a bit of self esteem is built. In general, individuals with this disorder have low self esteem likely do to the inability to stay focused. But help is available if you remain proactive in seeking it out.