Helping Students with ADD/ADHD Become Successful Adults Part 2- The Teenage Years

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. “

– Isaiah 41:10 NIV

Last week, we took a journey of what it typically looks like for young children who are living with ADD/ADHD. We looked at some symptoms and some strategies to put in the child’s toolbox to help them be successful. ADD/ADHD looks similar but also has new challenges as young children become teenagers and move on to adulthood. Their responsibilities increase. The rigor in school is elevated as well as demands for their time with activities, family, and friends. Later on, these teenagers will be expected to manage life on their own after graduation. This week, we will continue looking at the symptoms and some possible strategies for helping teenagers build a strong foundation to lead productive and independent lives.

ADD/ADHD in Teenagers

As children begin their teen years, there are many changes they are taking place. Their bodies are changing and they may be more emotional than when they were younger. School, in general, is more rigorous and the homework can pile up throughout the week. Students have more options to participate in extra-curricular activities, such as sports and clubs. At this age, there are a lot of opportunities for fun and self-discovery, but for a person with ADD/ADHD, this can be an overwhelming time in their life. Many students living with ADD/ADHD struggle with these issues as a teenager:

  • Social Functioning- They might have fewer friends or trouble keeping friends due to impulsivity, frequent interruptions, and poor social skills.
  • Academic Functioning– Students may have trouble taking notes, studying for assessments, organizing their materials, planning for upcoming assignments
  • Emotional Functioning– Students may become depressed, have higher anxiety, and show their emotions through misconduct

Strategies to Try

Social Skills

  • Provide opportunities to be a part of a club or a team. If competitive sports are not their thing, try out the YMCA for some great recreational activities to meet other teens.
  • Youth groups at church are also a great place to meet other teens to reinforce positive interactions.

Academics– A lot of times I put these into the accommodations section of an IEP. These usually help out students who struggle with academics:

  • Extended time on tests
  • Preferential seating (Where a student can learn the best)
  • Small group as needed for homework and assessments
  • Tests read aloud to help them slow down
  • Frequent breaks to allow for movement
  • Weekly progress reports
  • An organizational system to keep homework separate from the work that is completed.

Emotional Support

Try out some of these strategies to build up a positive relationship with your teen:

  • Support your child’s interest area
  • Give clear expectations and boundaries
  • Let everyone calm down before settling an argument
  • Focus on your student’s passions and give them opportunities to shine
  • Seek support from outside counseling if you feel this might be beneficial to your teen.

Check out the video below for strategies on discipline for students with ADD/ADHD:

Over the last two weeks, we have taken a look into the world of children and teens who are living with ADD/ADHD. Recognizing the common behaviors and issues at each age level helps to scaffold learning and provide meaningful social opportunities. These teachable moments will help shape teenagers into successful adults. Here are some additional resources to help teach and parent teens. Next week, we will look at what challenges adults with ADD/ADHD face and strategies to cope with weaknesses while also utilizing their many strengths.

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  1. Pingback: Helping Students with ADD/ADHD Become Successful Adults Part 3- Transitioning to Adulthood – Teaching for God's Glory

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