Learning with ADHD can be challenging to say the least. While there is no one easy formula to make everything go smoothly, there are many small things parents can do for their kids that will make learning with ADHD more of a joy. Step one of finding the joy in learning with ADHD is understanding how our brain works and how we learn. Then, you’ll be able to apply that knowledge to your kids to help them better achieve their goals.
Try these 4 tips to help make learning with ADHD a better experience for your child:
1. Learning with ADHD is better in chunks
Just like the brain can only focus for a short time, the brain can only take in so much information at one time. Studies have long proven that by breaking down learning material into smaller parts the brain can better digest, learn, and recall the material at a later time.
Yet, we often disregard this fact and press on like our brains can handle it. This is an illusion. We think we are learning the material, but we aren’t.
When learning with ADHD, remember the best method is to help your child break their study material down into chunks. Instead of reading the whole chapter, break the chapter up into parts. Then, help them study each part until they know it.
2. Reviewing with ADHD should happen in smaller doses
When you’re learning with ADHD, reviewing is just as important as learning the first time around. When reviewing for the test, don’t try to review the whole semester’s material at once. Break it up into sections, and make sure your child knows each section before moving on to the next.
It’s almost a waste of time to try to read straight through all your notes. You won’t digest anything at a deep level. The brain needs time to slow down, focus, and process. When you read lots of material, the brain becomes scattered trying to put too much together. Practically, this mean it’s hard to create fixed neural pathways.
When you review in smaller doses, the brain has the processing power and bandwidth to now make the necessary connections and absorb the material on a deeper level.
3. Your child needs to learn like a master
When a trained pianist wants to learn a new piece, he doesn’t try to sit down and play it from start to finish. Why? Because the brain can’t handle it.
The performer makes all kinds of mistakes — mistakes of fingering, timing, rhythm, tone, etc. — and guess what? The mistakes are internalized by the brain as if that was the correct way to play!
That’s why musicians often struggle at the same spot, because it’s the mistake that has been practiced, not the correct composition.
What is true for the musician is just as true for your child. What the musician must do is iron out these wrinkles. The same is true for ADHD parenting and helping your child learn. Instead of practicing the song from start to finish, the musician and your child must isolate the problem area. Go as slow as your child needs to go to correct the notes and get the rhythm right, and repeat over and over to the brain and fingers internalize the correct way to play.
It is this same process that must be in effect when studying or memorizing anything, not just music. Otherwise all kinds of gaps will show up in our understanding.
4. Aim Small; Miss Small
When we isolate what we are trying to learn, we give the brain maximum resources to dedicate to actually absorbing the material and internalizing it.
The wider you read/study, the less deep you will read/study.
This couldn’t be any more important for when you need to memorize something. When learning with ADHD it’s best to teach your child to memorize only a small chunk at a time; as small as it takes to be able to recall without mistakes. Then move on to the next chunk and memorize only that chunk. When the second chunk is memorized, then consider going back and putting the first and second chunk together.
If you teach your child these 4 tips, we’re confident that he or she will find a new degree of success learning. For more tips and helpful pointers topics like learning with ADHD, be sure to join the FastBraiin Insider & download FastBraiin’s e-book, 21 FastBraiin Strategies to Thrive with ADHD.