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.
Talk about change, this pandemic has made a huge impact on how the world works, thinks and lives. Working from home has become a part of the new normal. During these challenging and uncertain times, almost all businesses large and small has made a transition to work remotely. Having objectives that would be beneficial for both the company and the employee, aiming to protect the people and to keep the business up and running. While it is mandatory to adapt to big changes like this, people with ADHD tend to think that they cannot work from home.
The reality is, you can!
In this episode I share some of the tips on how to start working from home.
First and golden rule: Do not check your emails before your start to work
Staying and working at home has become a challenge for everybody but it will become easier when you finally found the proper ways and strategies that goes along with it. It may be hard but it is not always a challenge. The best attribute that can help you is to be creative and think of what can help you achieve and deliver work in no time.
For all our friends with ADHD, everyday can be tough but look at it as an opportunity to be better, to be more productive and to be more creative than yesterday. The tips above are just some of the guidelines that will help you overcome the thinking “I can’t work from home” because, you can!
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.
A Damaged Spirit, Cognitive Struggles and The Determination To Overcome
A 4-part story of adversity, courage, hope and success for one TBI survivor
Lisa, with a damaged spirit and facing many cognitive struggles, embraces her disabilities in the midst of healing with the will and determination to overcome her challenges.
This is part two of a four-part series of how one traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor overcame obstacles to improve her quality of life when appropriate resources seemed out of reach. We learned how Lisa’s life changed after a terrible accident in Part I: Overcome Obstacles Instead of Being Overcome by Them. These obstacles and challenges associated with TBI survivors include many skills associated with execution functions of the brain. These skilled functions can be thought of as the command center of the brain that controls the cognitive processes such as decision-making, impulse control, attention, emotional regulation, and working memory.
Here is part two of her story.
Change Takes Time
Have you ever heard the term, “doing a geographical”? Many times, geographicals do not work but in my case, it saved my life; literally. Somehow, I was able to get a good job in another county. I got good references from people in the other community, I think mostly so I would leave. If people think they fooled me, they did not but I needed to go somewhere else to pick up the pieces before my pieces were so broken, they could not be repaired. The job did not work out even though I told the employer about the head injury and how it may take longer for me to get the information into my long-term memory, but once I got the information into my long-term memory, I was good.
The trainer grew so impatient with me, she snapped pencils in frustration.
I knew my time was done then.
So began my employment woes.
Headaches after the accident were brutal and constant. One day, after moving to the new community, I had the worst headache, my speech was worse than it had been since the accident (four years prior), and I thought I was having a stroke. To the Emergency Room I headed only to be diagnosed with a migraine and sent on my way. The clinic connected me with a kind patient navigator who turned out to understand my circumstances better than most, being a TBI survivor as well. This kind soul connected me with resources that assisted with getting services and referrals to people who deal with TBI.
I felt like the thunderstorms were heading east and finally, sunny weather was in my forecast.
The new community had their own ideas about my “strange” behavior and I again faced judgement and incorrect opinions. Employment opportunity labeled me “a liability” and spread the word through the county of my ineptness, which spread like a wildfire. There is nothing better in the world than being judged, tried, and convicted of being an indecent person by people who have no willingness to understand someone who is different, and in their opinions, insignificant. What if it had been them in the accident, how would they feel?
During my recovery, I have seen the kind side of people for the first encounter, then the (not so) subtle body language telling me to stay away from them. Talk about a self-esteem killer! It has been my experience that people push away what they do not understand, and rebuke what is different than their interpretation of normal. So, is their version of normal the norm for the rest of us? Why are they so special?
Just saying. Is anyone relating to any of this?
Aside from doctors and becoming a subject within a sample population for a research study to receive free treatment for my TBI in exchange for data for the researchers, I found another form of rehabilitation. Having been dealt more rejection after the accident than I had previously experienced in life, I found acceptance, in school.
Remember the words from the Junior Associate lawyer who pretty much told me I would not amount to much in life? If you do not, I did. Thinking I had nothing to lose, I applied to a university expecting to be laughed at (behind my back of course) but instead, I got accepted. Let me repeat the word, accepted.
Between the words of the Junior Associate lawyer and reading the word, accepted, I was motivated to prove all the doubters wrong.
School was tough. I did not retain the information within the reading assignments the first time, the second time, or even the fifth time. I had to reread the material repeatedly to comprehend enough to answer one question. I do not believe any of my professors knew how hard I had to work, they just commented on my being a good student.
While the rest of the world (it seemed) thought this “different, awkward, and strange” woman would not amount to much, I trusted God’s plan for my life, whatever that was, and each time I got a good grade, I felt accepted and more than my brain injury, I was learning how to process information, formulate sentences, and re-learn critical thinking skills.
I began to have belief in myself again.
Someone within the community who knew I was living out of my pick-up truck or a motel when I had money, told me about a job possibility they knew I had experience with. I was upfront and honest with the potential employer regarding my injury and after going through some hoops, I was offered a job and have been with the employer for nearly eight years.
The job schedule worked with my academic studies and eventually, I was able to move into my own apartment after seven months of living in my truck or in a motel. I still get people who judge me and think they have the right to draw erroneous conclusions as to why I am the way I am, but I really don’t care anymore as I trust my abilities and know my job. If I cannot do my job due to having a tough day with overstimulation, I have an agreement with my boss that I will call and take the day off.
There have not been many days I have had to call off work for overstimulation reasons. But the words of people who have tarnished my reputation have created a disrespect of me within the employment that no matter how much I recover, to them, I am just the pain in the butt who shows up for work and does her job.
Gossip kills not only a reputation, but it also does damage to a spirit.
As I sign-off for this post, I am going to share with you that this “awkward” and “different” TBI survivor graduated with honors and received a bachelor’s degree five years after the accident without using accommodations.
My determination wanted to do the work without crutches; I needed to prove to myself that I could do it.
Walking across the stage to shake the hand of the university’s president with one hand and grasp my diploma holder with the other hand did so much for my self-esteem and belief of becoming more than my brain injury.
To the doubters, it almost felt like I was giving them the bird, though I knew there may be nothing I can do to prove them wrong in their own minds. But to myself, I found a part of me that I did not know existed before the accident. Maybe there was a blessing in disguise within a terrible experience.