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The Dynamics of Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)

A person with Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), will often have problems filtering out distractions from the environment (sights and sounds). This becomes a problem when one is trying to focus on one task, such as reading a chapter in a book for class. Noises or visual distractions from the outside interfere with the ability to concentrate. This inability to maintain focus can then lead to feelings of frustration and even anger.

Distractions from the Outside

Internal distractions coming from one's own thoughts and feelings can also lead to difficulties concentrating on one task. When one has internal pressure to get many things done, or distracting thoughts, this too can lead to lack of focus. Many people with AD/HD experience difficulty re-directing these thoughts and feelings so that the task at hand, such as reading the chapter can be completed.

The inability to filter out external and internal distractions can lead to fatigue, which is often viewed by others as laziness. The truth is, many people with AD/HD actually have a lot of energy and are very hard workers but they spend their energy too quickly in too many different places because they have problems staying focused on one task at a time.

Internal Distractions and Thoughts

There is hope for the ability to improve concentrating through self-imposed structure. Some of the following are essential for day to day activities:

  • Make a "to do" list for the day (let it be reasonable, not too long)
  • A "to do" list can also be done electronically, with online calendar and alerts and reminders
  • Don't start one task until one has been completed
  • Mark off completed tasks on your to do list
  • Take frequent breaks if needed while working on a task, just as long as you return to it after your break

Self Management

Contact Student Access Services (SAS)

Phone: (530) 938-5297
Toll-free: 1 (888) 397-4339
Fax: (530) 938-5378