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ADHD at School

How can I focus on school work with ADHD?

Hi, my name is Sara and I have ADHD. I have stopped taking my medication (my doctor took me off cause I talked to him about some alternatives) and ever since I stopped taking it (2nd semester of last school year) my grades have begun to go down. Way down. So this year I started off the year with a bang; I was doing good, then my grades begun to plummet and now I am having a very hard time bringing them back up before the semester is over. I am currently failing 3 out of 5 classes. I have noticed that I tend to put my focus elsewhere instead of on homework and now that has bit me in the bud. Do you guys know of any ways to help me focus more on homework/schoolwork and not something completely unrelated to school? Thanks! Sara


Do you have a schedule? Maybe try taking frequent breaks. Reward yourself for staying on task for a certain period of time each day with something you want to do.Set a timer! are you taking meds? Find a place with less distractions ...? Library, classroom after school, cubicle, wear headphones, earplugs I do not have ADHD but I’ve tried many things for my son and so far he’s doing better in high school.

Posted by JulieBmotherof3 on Nov 20, 2013 at 7:34am

Julie. Is your son taking meds?  My son is in high school and resists taking meds. He doesn’t like that he has to start his day with a pill. He struggles in school to do his homework. I’m so thankful that he’s a senior because the school system as it is doesn’t work for his style of learning.  He uses earbuds too. Music is his passion and he uses it to relax. Do you have other suggestions that work that I could pass on to him?  And that also could help anyone else reading this?  😊

Posted by RFA13 on Nov 20, 2013 at 4:56pm

Hi Sara. First off, thank you for posting. You must be a very self-aware and thoughtful person to take the time to ask these questions and share your struggles. I work at a school for bright students with ADHD and other learning differences. We exercise, every morning as part of our schedule. Exercise is proven to help with focus and mood regulation. Perhaps try a few weeks of routine exercise in the mornings and see if that has an impact. The no magic bullet but looking at your lifestyle and modifying habits related to sleep, diet and exercise will help. Sleep is huge - make sure you are getting enough of it. The other comments about reducing distractions is important. Do not even open Facebook (and other social media) or other appealing internet sites until a designated time(s) in the day. The temptation to pop back and forth while you are supposed to be working is too great. Finally, consider finding a teacher, counselor or a friend whom can support your organization. Someone you make yourself accountable too each day- sharing your short term and long term goals and progress. You have the power to make changes. Just the fact that you are writing in this venue shows how much you care.

Posted by Katie Theeke on Nov 20, 2013 at 8:49pm

Hi Sara, are you in high school or college?  Just out of curiosity, it sounded like you were doing well when you were taking ADHD medication…could you go back on medication?  You mentioned alternatives but it doesn’t sound like that route is working.  Everyone has their reasons for taking medication or not to take the medication but I would encourage you to rethink taking it, assuming you didn’t have any major side effects.  Maybe a different medication if you struggled with side effects from the last time you took it. 

Routine is key!  Keep a planner or Google Calendar or something to keep track of your time and assignments, tests and quizzes so you can see what is ahead.  Make sure you remove your phone, Facebook or whatever else might be distracting when you are trying to study.  Make sure you study in a place that works for you…if noise is a distraction then you should try to go somewhere quiet.  Attend tutoring if available.  See if you school has any kind of help for students with ADHD, if it is college you should be able to find resources on campus to help but if you are in high school I’m not sure.  I hope this helps.  Good luck!  Kari

Posted by koutdoors on Nov 20, 2013 at 8:59pm

I am a college student in the exact same situation. I went off my meds for a while because I didn’t like feeling as though I needed to rely on drugs and I wanted to try alternative methods. However, my grades started dropping, and as I forgot deadlines, got distracted during lectures and missed classes, my grades started dropping. I was overwhelmed. Trying to keep a schedule, exercising regularly, avoiding distractions- nothing really worked.
It made me realize that I just don’t have the tools to focus on my own in this situation. If you think about it, the way the school system is designed is completely opposite to the way my mind functions, and in order to succeed, I had to take advantage of all the resources available to help me. 
If the meds worked for you, consider going back on. You may want to try a lower dose as well as talk-therapy, or some other type of combined treatment. Look at all your choices and find out what works for you.

Posted by vorpalAmy24601 on Nov 23, 2013 at 10:59pm

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