Teaching inattentive ADD skills in baby steps

In an earlier post I mentioned that it is important to not give Inattentive ADD (ADHD-PI) children or adults too many instructions all at once as they will only process a few instructions at a time. Giving a slew of instructions at one time will only lead to nothing getting accomplished.

As important as this rule is it is also important to remember that, at first, the end product of what we are requesting of people with ADHD-PI and Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) will be far from perfect. We must let go of our tendencies to want perfection and accept their efforts no matter how wanting.

The work of improving the skill will come later. At the beginning we need to praise and reward the fact that whatever it was got done at all. A commenter to this site put it this way, "You've got to let go of the 'how' it’s done".
I try to think about watching my kids accomplish any goal in terms of watching a baby learning to walk. We don't tell a baby learning to walk to stand up straight, to not spread their legs apart so much, to walk faster and to not wobble so much. We applaud every baby step no matter how sloppy. I think this is what we need to do when we are trying to teach skills to kids and adults with ADHD and SCT.

We need to recognize that this is a challenge we are presenting them and take that perspective and not the perspective that the child or adult is just being sloppy. Most kids (and adults) with ADHD and Sluggish Cognitive Tempo, even the very oppositional ones, are doing the best that they can. If they could do better they would.

Our role as parents, partners and friends is to be the cheer leading section of these 'early walkers' and applaud every accomplishment no matter how small and incremental.

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