3 Get Focused Advice for the ADHD Remote Learning Student
Learning at home is full of distractions; there is your sister watching the television, your brother playing his online games, and the noise coming from the outside. While focus is an essential factor in remote learning, students with ADHD struggle and find it hard to focus on their schoolwork.
With all the distractions and challenges that you may encounter as a student with ADHD, what do you think are the things that will help keep you in focus while learning?
This blog will give you three focused Tips for the ADHD Remote Learning Student.
Stick to your medication routine
Staying healthy is what matters most because your behavior starts with yourself. If you feel good about yourself, that’s step one to feel good about your day too and if that happens, you will be inspired on whatever it is you’re doing, well in this case in your schoolwork.
If you have ADHD medication, take it regularly or as prescribed. It helps reduce the tendency to have an overactive and thinking brain, inattentiveness and impulsivity. However, not everyone is too keen on medication. If this is you, I encourage you to look into alternative ways to help your cognitive skills. You can read more tips on this on my Instagram page. There is a lot of advice for whether you are taking medications or not to improve your lifestyle through a good self-care routine.
Just a reminder, be responsible with your medication. If you want to know more about what I mean on this topic go here.
Set a goal
It’s Monday, the weekend felt so short and you feel lazy. What do you usually do to start your day?
Make a goal for today or for the week. Starting your day with a goal in mind will help you keep your focus. You can start with one goal a day and set the alarm on your phone daily to remind you of what you need to do. Once your alarm rings, never ever snooze it, make it a habit to really begin “doing” and start the day with a no procrastinating mode of operation. Eventually, when you’ve already got the hang of doing your tasks on a daily basis, you will be set on your routine.
To be able to do that, first, you have to know what you have to achieve and commit to it. Use your planner. I have a great and easy one I use with clients and share it in a previous video. You have to create a plan, a step by step process on what needs to be done. That plan of small activities will help keep you on track and focused.
Create the mood
One’s environment affects their behavior significantly. For your online class, create a regular study space for yourself and keep it organized. Setting up a dedicated learning environment will help create a positive mood for you and it will help you focus on achieving or finishing your task.
Having your work done in one place repeatedly allows you to be familiar and establish your daily routine. Your space can be anywhere around the house, wherever works best for you and wherever you feel most comfortable. Having a designated place for your daily class will help you stay organized. Keeping your important files in one place will make it easier for you to access everything.
Staying at home is a global effort to stay safe and healthy amid the pandemic. In our current situation, online classes are the best option for students to keep going and still be on track on their academic journey. It can be challenging at first because online classes have its fair share of challenges in reality. These Tips for the ADHD Remote Learning Student tips will help navigate ADHD and the stressors.
Michelle R. Raz, M.A. Ed., is a professional executive function coach and educational consultant. She specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD be the best version of themselves in their academic and career journeys. You can follow her for fun and motivational ADHD facts and free advice on Instagram or Facebook.
Sharing ADHD Medications: Should you, or shouldn’t you?
This post was developed in collaboration with Adlon Therapeutics L.P, a subsidiary of Purdue Pharma L.P. Personal opinions expressed within this post are my own.
In a world where peer pressure is a big thing, drugs might seem fun, and curiosity is a significant influencer. Where do you stand in sharing ADHD medications? Do you think it’s OK? Or do you think it is a risk?
As teens and young adults head back to school and interact with other students in one way or another, this is an important topic. After an extended time apart from friends, it may be exciting to reconnect in person or virtually through classes, but it can pose some risk of vulnerability for those with ADHD who have medical prescriptions and pressure from friends to share them.
Parents of ADHD students may have heard of some kids misusing and sharing their medication. It is real, and it is worrisome. ADHD medication sharing and misuse can happen, especially among teenagers and young adults. Misuse includes use of medicine by someone other than who it’s intended for, using prescriptions in ways or amounts other than prescribed, or to get high.
This issue may seem shocking to some parents, but the dangers are there. Being in the know and aware of the possibilities and discussing them with your student can help keep your student from succumbing to a potentially dangerous situation.
There are two types of ADHD medications: stimulant medication and non-stimulant medication. Stimulant medication is the one that is more often misused. There are several ways kids misuse and share medications. Most commonly, misuse of ADHD prescription medications come from the curiosity of a peer who chooses to experiment with the medication.
A physician takes into account many factors when prescribing medication. It is simply not safe or legal for someone to offer their prescription to someone else. Teens and young adults are subject to peers asking them to share or sometimes sell their prescriptions. The significance and consequences can be downplayed within peer groups who just want to “try it.”
Why are teens and young adults with ADHD doing this?
There are some reasons why this happens. The most common thing I hear is that they may want to help a friend get an extra boost in focus and energy to help with their schoolwork. Or they may do so for seemingly harmless fun and peer pressure to use them recreationally.
Sharing or selling pills is a considerable risk. Teens and college students who have not been diagnosed with ADHD sometimes want to try prescription stimulants to improve their grades. However, for those without ADHD, the medication does not increase attention span and can make them stay up all night or increase their heart rate. Some students find these effects desirable and want to continue doing this without understanding the risks.
Prescription stimulants are Schedule II controlled substances and, even when used as prescribed, have risks including severe psychological and physical dependence, substance use disorder, overdose, severe cardiovascular events as well as increased blood pressure and heart rate, and new or worsening mental or psychiatric problems. Misuse of prescription stimulants can increase these risks. In addition, prescription stimulants have common side effects including decreased appetite, insomnia, and nausea.
Given the risks of this alarming concern, there are some ways to help your student prevent this from happening.
1) Keep an open line of communication and discuss the potential of this happening. You might even be surprised at how much they already know about other students who have done this.
2) Help them feel responsible for taking their prescriptions properly. Inform them of the reality that other people misuse, share their medications, and enlighten them of the risks that it may cause them.
3) Set a time to discuss this with their physician. If you observed your child misusing their medication and cannot talk to them about it, having their doctor talk to them is a good idea.
Sharing ADHD medications: Should you, or shouldn’t you? There are NO justifications to making this a good cause. This is not helping anyone out and could potentially cause serious harm.
Young adults with ADHD should not share their medications and those who are not diagnosed with ADHD should not take ADHD medications. Sharing prescription stimulants can cause health problems and/or lead to substance use disorder – and it’s illegal.
You do not want to go down that road!
Here is an excellent relatable video about a high school student, Kyle, who is confronted by a peer about sharing his prescription stimulant medication. Please share it with any student that may face peer pressure with their prescribed medications. http://kyleschoiceisyours.com/
Knowledge is power. Just being aware of this pressure can open up a great line of communication with your student as the school year gets started. It can give them time to think through what they would do if confronted by a friend, just as Kyle was in the video I shared.
It can help avoid some real legal problems that come along with sharing medications. I will post a blog about the consequences of sharing medications in another blog.
Michelle R. Raz, M.A. Ed., is a professional executive function coach and educational consultant. She specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD be the best version of themselves in their academic and career journeys.
College is a big deal, especially for incoming freshmen. It is the most awaited time for students to finally have their freedom, freedom from home, freedom from their parents’ rules. Entering college is a new era of making friends and opening up themselves to the excitement and fear that goes along with it.
And then comes Covid-19
It’s like someone just popped all the balloons at a party and turned off the music! This has had such a significant effect on college life that many students are opting to take a year off and wait this out.
So, what about the students that are going ahead with their college plans for this year?
Adapting to a new normal is filled with uncertainty, fear, and disappointment. Let’s discuss some of the possible challenges that you may encounter along your college journey and what possible solutions you can do to still create memories.
Cut the cord and finally have some freedom!
Now that COVID-19 has turned the world upside down and schools have transitioned to online learning, you might feel that you’re still stuck if you are living at home. You still live in the same house as your parents and you still have to follow their rules. So much for you cutting the cord and being independent, you are thinking.
While at home, challenge yourself to be more independent. Do activities alone, finish some chores alone, or give yourself time to the things you need to learn before wanting the freedom that you’ve always wanted. Do you know how to balance your bank account? Know how to set up utilities in your name? What bills do you pay on your own? Take some time to set yourself up with some personal finance skills needed to be genuinely independent while staying at your parents’ house. You might just get some useful guidance and input. Trust me, they will most likely be very eager and willing to help you out!
Social Life Stifled!
If you do have some classes in person, making new friends while not meeting other students without wearing a mask is awkward at best. How are you going to know them? Maybe you have an online class that is hybrid with some in-person and some remote learning. In this situation, you can get the benefit of actually seeing the person without a mask! I know seeing them online is different than knowing them personally, but it can be a hybrid situation like the classes themselves. It will certainly give you something to look forward to when it is safe to go out with friends without masks. Having something to look forward to is a good feeling too. Making new friends in the middle of this pandemic is one of a kind experience for sure!
The excitement of a change of scenery after so many months at home…
One of the things that you might be excited about college is the change of environment. Arriving on campus and realizing that you are still: confined to wearing masks, staying in your dorm, pod or apartment to study, eat with little socializing can leave you feeling disappointed and frustrated. How can you really have the freedom to explore and enjoy the new scenery change if you are so confined? Maybe, this is the time to take up hiking or biking. Often college towns are in ideal areas for outdoor opportunities. If you did not get to leave and remote learning is your only option, you can look at the positive. A good thing that studying at home can offer us is being in the comfort of our own home with no negative influences and distractions around you. You might just have a stellar academic semester. During this challenging time, appreciating the little things at home is one positive way to look at it.
As you navigate this fall with Covid-19 and college challenges, think outside the box and find ways to make it work out the best it can for you. It is a good practice to find the positives or lessons in the face of challenges. When this pandemic of over, you will be better equipped to face whatever the next challenge is in life.
Dark Impact of Remote Learning for Students with Disabilities
COVID 19 has caused pandemic that brought a lot of changes to our way of living. One of the most affected areas is education, especially for students with disabilities. The pandemic has resulted in schools shut all across the world and as result, education has changed drastically with the rise of remote learning where lectures will take place remotely on digital platforms.
While schools are having transition from traditional face to face classes to online education, there are several issues that must be given attention to. A big portion of that is the disadvantages of remote learning to students with ADHD.
The following are the barriers to education through remote-learning practices that students with disabilities may encounter along the process.
Need for one on one instructional support challenges.
Students tend to learn faster, master more instructions and remember lessons in one-on-one teacher and student interaction or the traditional face to face learning method. One-on-one learning relationships encourage students to take control over their studies, have the confidence to communicate what they need, and receive the attention that will enable them to focus on what they’re doing.
Now that classes will be through online learning formats, there are several things to worry about. Teachers paying attention to students and their educational requirement will not be as personal as before. Giving the students the instructions online is different from supporting and guiding them.
Behavior Modification and intervention needs.
Nobody can’t force a child to change his behavior. However, there is one thing you can do. Change the environment in a way that he’ll be more motivated to change. Behavior modification is about modifying the environment in a way that your child has more incentive to follow the rules.
While behavioral intervention for ADHD students is finding a way to understand and modify or change behaviors that interfere with the student’s ability to learn.
The need to modify a child’s behavior depends on the personality of the students. When developing behavior interventions, it is important to remember that every ADHD child is different.
With the students having more time at school than at home, behavior modification and intervention is often exercised at school by their teachers. A change in learning environment is a factor to look at. Students are expected to also change their behavior in a different environment. They can lose their focus, get distracted easily and take a more relaxed approach to their studies.
Mental Health issues: Depression, Anxiety and Isolation.
For some people, depression, anxiety and ADHD happen to co-exist, but for others, depression or anxiety is a result of ADHD, with low self-esteem and a poor self-image caused by ongoing feelings of being overwhelmed by life due to many ADHD symptoms that they are dealing with on a daily basis.-
Studying at home with ADHD alone is a challenge, what more if the student is suffering from depression and anxiety? How hard can it be for them to accomplish remote learning? It will be difficult for students to complete tasks that require high-motor and cognitive skills. They may feel confused, scatterbrained, overwhelmed or easily frustrated. Even basic everyday tasks become difficult for them.
Students with disabilities are at higher risk due to the needs and impacts for remote learning mentioned above. Amid the challenges and risks, the most important thing to keep in mind is the education and safety of students and teachers must be balanced. Education is important but enjoying and learning through the process is what makes it more valuable.
Can you think of other challenges that might get in the way during remote learning sessions?
What are those and how do you think will it affect the quality of a student’s education?
We have all gone after scrumptious confectionaries and delicious chocolates in childhood! Some, or probably, many of us, have carried the urge to gorge on ‘sugary foodstuffs’ into adulthood too! Apart from warning us about the risk of health issues, doctors do not condemn us for possessing ‘a sweet tooth’! In other words, it is a perfectly natural occurrence. Then, why should anyone be surprised that ADHD brains have a craving for sweets? It is because the craving is excessive in nature.
The ADHD brain asks for sugar all the time!
Does a normally functioning brain require sugar/glucose?
The answer is ‘yes’!
Glucose is the fuel for all your cells to remain active and function well. It is responsible for the activities of two crucial neurotransmitters in your brain. They are dopamine and norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters are chemicals secreted by the brain. They behave as messengers, carrying messages from one nerve to another in diverse regions of the body.
Dopamine and norepinephrine control your cognitive behaviors, moods, emotions, responses to pain, movements and actions, etc.
Dopamine, specifically, is the happy neurotransmitter. It rewards you when you do something well with feeling emotional well. For example, you store the lessons learned from good experiences in your brain, creating a motivation to do it again. It can motivate you to take up greater challenges where you feel the same emotional well-being. Over time, you it can help you learn to make good decisions and even acquire leadership qualities.
As dopamine secretion increases, you experience excitement, joy, exhilaration, etc. This enables sustained motivating behavior. At the same time, nothing goes overboard, because your normally functioning brain keeps everything under control.
How is the ADHD brain different?
Unlike the ADHD individual, neuro-typicals experience a sense of gratification even while completing mundane chores well. Their brains are not over-aroused. They do not become bored easily. In contrast, the ADHD brain remains unsatisfied and bored with tasks that offer no challenges. The symptoms display themselves easily. Attention wanders. There may be irritation, temper-tantrums, frustration, etc.
These are the signals to indicate that the ADHD brain is in distress. It is demanding glucose to activate dopamine secretion. This is possible when the ADHD patient consumes foods containing carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, cookies, sweets, etc. Carbohydrates convert into glucose rapidly.
The individual experiences suppression of restlessness. If you have noticed, ADHDers can eat continuously, they are not keen to adhere to set mealtimes.
Their brains are eternally seeking stimulation.
Another odd aspect is that ADHD brains become more active towards the evening. This is the time when the individual prefers to engage with social media, play video games or watch television. It does not help that the blue light emanating from these screens make the brain even more alert.
Naturally, the patient finds it difficult to sleep. Waking up early is also a problem. Such irregular patterns in the sleep-wake cycle have adverse effects on the family’s waking and resting hours.
The ADHD brain is continuously striving to self-regulate. Its stimulation needs vary by the neurotransmitter levels within it. Whatever is the case, it struggles to get its response right.
ADHD brains always wants something riskier, faster, funnier, bigger, louder, etc. There is no satisfaction at all!
However, the brain and body can only take so much. Over time, when everything gets to be too much, the sufferer becomes physically and emotionally overwhelmed. This is often seen as the crash.
Research shows that small amounts of sugar can help the ADHD brain function optimally. The overall goal is to find a balance to help self-regulate this dopamine seeking brain while fueling the energy needed to function optimally.
My suggestion is to keep a journal of what you eat and how you feel cognitively for that given day. When you have a few days logged, analyze it and see if there is a pattern.
Can you use it to help satiate your sugar craved brain and feel balanced?
If you have questions go to my website www.razcoaching.com and use the ASK Raz! Q&A. Or follow my www.Instagram.com/razcoaching. I do daily mini blogs with tips of inspiration. I post almost every day. There’s something in there for you that can help you with your focus for the day.
Willingness, Desire and Determination Led Me Here: Dr. Lisa
This is the final part of a 4-part story of one very brave and dedicated TBI survivor. While this story concludes here, I can assure you Lisa is not done. She has more ambition than I have ever seen in a person. She is your comeback kid in spite of so many obstacles placed in front of her over the years. These stories only scratch at the surface as to the challenges she has faced and endured throughout her life.
She still struggles with executive functions but has a wealth of knowledge and resources to help her navigate them to be successful. She is now Dr. Lisa who can help others with a wide range of mental health issues that are keeping them stuck from living to their fullest potential. She works with others now using her wealth of knowledge and personal experiences to have profound effects on many lives.
Overcoming, One Day at a Time
I went back to school with the focus of studying how mental health can impact the quality of life for mild to moderate TBI survivors. I listened to fellow TBI survivors discuss their struggles with low self-esteem, depression, and shame as these variables were reported to be the most common among the survivors. Negative encounters with people have turned me into an introvert, my desire to understand what other survivors and I experience has turned me into a researcher.
When I walked on-stage for my doctoral hooding ceremony, as a graduate with high distinction, I thought about all the obstacles, steps, motivation, and my desire to serve other people. School enabled me to mature in ways I could not believe. School was my rehabilitation process. The car accident changed my life no doubt, but school provided me with opportunities to learn.
When people said, “I can’t help you”, school taught me how to look for other resources to try to help myself.
Do not misunderstand, we all need someone, and at times, we need a professional to talk to. I need to give credit to my vocational-rehabilitation counselor because she has put up with a lot from me over the years. She met me when I slurred my words, could not form sentences easily, and I forgot so many things (even the counselor’s name at times), but the counselor also nudged me even when I wanted to be left alone.
Over the years, she has put me in touch with some great resources such as Michelle who have helped me learn in a face-to-face manner how to deal with things which I struggled and still struggle with. I do not mind sharing that Michelle has been of great help to me when I have needed to process overstimulation and processing issues.
Having someone who understands my challenges and who wants to help instead of belittling, is such a blessing. One thing among many, which I have learned is, my mind can tell me there is no one who seems to be willing and able to help me, that is just in my head.
Wonderful professionals aside, there must be a willingness, determination, and a desire to change. Some of the greatest help to change comes from within, and through faith in a power greater than myself. For me, that is God, through the love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
I chose to share my story because so many people are stigmatized by circumstances beyond their control and in the end, each of us has a choice on how we deal with the cards life has dealt us.
In my case, when I hit an obstacle, it knocked me down and I had to muster the motivation to get back up and try again. Sometimes, it is people who have endured hardship in life who work the hardest to make meaningful changes in their lives. Did I prove the doubters wrong? I have no idea, and frankly, it does not matter because the biggest doubter was myself. If you would have asked me eleven years ago if I would be where I am today, I would have laughed until my ribs hurt.
Someone was watching out for me, carrying me when there was only one set of footprints, and believed in me when I did not believe in myself.
My life is not a bed of roses and I do struggle, but through all the trials, obstacles, and joys, yes joys, there has been one constant in my life and that is faith. Without faith, I would have died at my kitchen table ten years ago. Without faith, I would not have had the courage to move forward when I kept hitting negativity by others and roadblocks within my own denial. Though there have been many challenges in my life, I count my blessings and realize I would not be where I am today without the love of God and His faith in me, when I had no faith in myself.
Life is still a struggle and though I have initials after my name, I am still disrespected by those who cannot see past the blinders in front of their eyes and only choose to see me as “different”, “awkward”, or “odd”. The shunning, rejection, being passed-over for jobs I am more than qualified for, and the sense of not being good enough to fit in society, some would say it is all in my head, but when the same thing keeps happening and only the location has changed, it gives one pause. The other day, I was talking with a member of law enforcement, having a casual conversation and when he found out I have a doctorate degree, I thought he was going to fall flat to the ground. The look of shock on his face was somewhat funny, but at the same time, it was insulting.
In recent weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about inequality with most reference to race. Discrimination and presupposition are equal opportunity social bias and injustice perpetrators. People do not ask to be born a certain way, nor do people ask to be injured and disabled.
Learning to accept the difference between who they once were and who they are now is a huge challenge in and of itself. Being discriminated against because someone is different, that’s not only social unjust, it shows a lack of self-respect for the individual(s) who cannot accept difference from their own perspective.
My name is Lisa. I have many flaws and many talents. I am, different. I am, a TBI survivor. I am, TBI Survivor Strong.
Lisa Marie Ansell, EdD, LPC, NCC, CBIS Licensed Professional Counselor National Certified Counselor Certified Brain Injury Specialist Adjunct Professor at a Private University
If you missed the previous parts of this story you can find them here: part 1, part 2, part 3.