How to Help a Loved One With ADD and Concentration

If you know anything about attention-deficit disorder (ADD), you know people who have it struggle with focusing for long periods of time. That is true, but the extent of it varies from person to person. In my case, I have extreme difficulties focusing. That also means I struggle to do two day-to-day activities at the same time. Multitasking is very hard for me to do. My friends don’t understand why I can’t do something as simple as holding a conversation and deal a deck of cards simultaneously. My sister can’t talk to me while I’m driving. I even struggle with reading out loud in class, which is a form of multitasking. If you have a family member or friend with ADD, take these things into consideration.

1. If they tell you to stop talking, don’t take it personally.

They could be focusing on something more important, and you talking just makes it harder. I can’t text and talk, I can’t drive and talk, I can’t even talk and count. To you, your conversation may feel important, but if they are trying to complete a task that is critical to them at the moment, you can wait. I feel bad telling my friends and family to stop talking, but they listen anyway so I can focus. If you don’t stop talking, they could get upset at you and then they would be focusing on their anger and not on your conversation, or what they were originally doing.

2. Don’t get upset if they ask you to repeat something you just said.

This kind of goes along with the first point, but if they tell you to repeat what you just said, they could have been thinking and not entirely listening to what you said. It’s not that they don’t care about you — it’s that their minds wander unintentionally. My mind tends to wander frequently after a long day. When I get home from school, my parents could be telling me something, and I don’t comprehend a single word. I just simply ask them to repeat what they said, and they summarize it for me. To add onto that, telling them something more than once is not annoying to them — it helps them remember it more.

3. Don’t get discouraged if they forget something.

If you tell your friend or family member something really important to you when you are not 100 percent sure they are paying attention, chances are they will forget it. My parents tell me to do simple things, and five minutes later I am thinking about the big math test I have in two days, and what they told me to do is completely off of the radar. They don’t get upset — they just calmly remind me that they told me to do something, and I get onto doing it. I tend to forget things people brought up only once in the beginning or middle of a long conversation. Just consider that they could have been thinking of something else closely after you told them to do something. And don’t be mad if you have to remind them a couple of times; most of the time, it helps them stick it into their mind.

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