Exam time is normally a very stressful time of year for ADDers. Exams aren’t just about recalling info on the day, but involve managing time and attention, switching focus, planning and organizing and remembering details. These functions of the brain are referred to collectively as Executive Function and are managed by the frontal lobe – the part of the brain that helps us achieve goals.
Problems with Executive Function more often than not runs in the family and is most noticeable when children start attending school and struggle to start and complete schoolwork in time. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) also create shortfall in executive functioning.
Signs of executive function difficulties:
- Struggle with open-ended tasks, because they are unable to prioritise steps.
- Struggle to switch between tasks or topics (from outlining to writing, or from science to history).
- Ignoring the bigger picture and over-focusing on the details.
- Struggle to take notes.
- Difficulty checking own work without guidance.
- Forget to hand in completed work.
Strategies to employ when studying for exams:
- Identify your child’s learning style
- Prepare visual schedules where goals are planned and displayed
- Instead of a few big goals, break them down into smaller, more manageable ones
- Use tools like stopwatches or watches with alarms
- Organise work space
- Minimise clutter
- Try having separate work/study areas that are well-stocked with supplies
- Schedule weekly cleaning sessions for your workspace or study area
- Make a checklist for getting through assignments. For example:
- Get out pencil and paper
- Put name on paper
- Put due date on paper
- Read instructions
- Meet with teachers on a regular basis to review work and study notes.
There are several tests and assessments available to determine if your child has Executive Function difficulties, for example the qEEG which we regularly use to peek inside the ADD mind.
To chat to a therapist about Executive Function or other ADD symptoms your child may be experiencing during exam time, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 011 888 9334.
In our next blog article we take a look at how you can make any holiday with ADD a happy time and we explore the world of ADD-friendly toys that you simply must have on your Christmas wish list.
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