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Working Together with ADHD

groupphotoWorking together in small groups is a common occurrence in middle and high school classrooms these days. Teachers have noticed that students learn, share and cooperate when they have a common goal or purpose. In the “work” world many projects are team or group projects so it is a skill necessary for a student’s present and future.

Group work:

  • Encourages the development of communication skills
  • Develops alternative ideas and perspectives (and conflict resolution skills)
  • Enhances social skills and interactions (and provides a safe environment to test ideas).
  • Boosts critical and creative thinking skills and develops active thinkers

If you have ADHD then a group’s lack of structure, unclear expectations, and multiple “leaders” can be either a distraction or a blessing. A teen’s ADHD brain loves stimulus and as long as the ground rules have been clearly understood, then the novelty of a group approach can help feed that brain. It is quick to think in novel ways, is open to other perspectives and able to make connections quickly. Of course, they can also take the group off topic and off schedule if not carefully monitored.

Although some teens want to keep their ADHD and its challenges a secret, others have accepted it as part of who they are. A group can provide a smaller, yet safe environment for them to experiment with their ideas and to practice their social skills of cooperation, problem solving and conflict resolution. It can also provide peer role models for communicating, while monitoring and inhibiting their own (often impulsive) behaviors. Others in the group can help keep themselves and the teen with ADHD on track through accountability and setting deadlines with clear expectations for effective time management and project completion.

Imagine the possibilities of having a group of teens with ADHD encourage, share and problem solve together. It could change their world and yours.