Visual Learning Tips & Tricks for ADHD

Welcome to our Monday series for Turbo ADHD brains (watch the movie, you’ll get the reference, but the short explanation is: slow as a snail when not important to you, and superspeed when you are interested). Coffee is what gets most of us going on a Monday morning, but it’s really the super juice for ADHD brains. SO, coffee and quick tips to learn more about the ADHD brain and how to make it work in your favor.By the time kids enter school, they have a fairly well-established method of absorbing and learning information. Although hands-on school projects present children with sensory and tactile opportunities to learn by touching and molding with their hands, unfortunately, the majority of the material is presented auditorily or visually. For students with ADHD, finding out their preferred and most effective way of learning is a huge foundational step that will save lots of time, energy, tears, and self-esteem issues if figured out early in the process. This is essential not only for school, but as a stepping stone for forming habits to function and thrive in the workplace.The best way to find out their style is by having the child (or the adult) go through neuropsychological testing, which I highly recommend to confirm a diagnosis of ADHD. This testing will also identify strengths, weaknesses, and how the individual processes information. This data is of the utmost importance for creating an effective school individualized education plan (IEP).In my clinical experience, most kids and adults with ADHD are visual learners. For example, when I talk more than 15 minutes, I can tell I am about to lose them, but when I switch to white-boarding our conversations, their attention perks up.Here are a few tips for your visual ADHD student:

  • Use pictures for organizing things, a picture of a shirt on the shirt drawer, a picture of pants on the pants drawer, etc…. kind of what they do in preschool, but keep it going for about 5-7 more years by switching from basic things like clothes to school supplies, books, notebooks and more.
  • Use whiteboards
  • Use drawing and diagrams
  • Take notes with different colors
  • Highlight text in different colors
  • Use flashcards and posters
  • Read a text and draw a picture to summarize, especially good for subjects like history or social studies
  • If memorizing a poem, let them stare at each stanza for a few minutes and ask them to take a photo mentally before trying to recite it

Be creative! If there’s something you can say out loud, find its visual counterpart. If you would like additional ADHD support, I'd like to invite you to the West Valley ADHD Resources & Support Facebook group. In this free community, you will gain positive connections, helpful resources, and support without judgment or criticism for parents of children diagnosed with ADHD (or on the spectrum). I can't wait to connect with you further! Effective ADHD training and coaching requires a different level of understanding and training on a clinicians’ part. If you know someone struggling with such a diagnosis, child or adult, give us a call for a 15-minute free consultation at 623-628-0406 or set up an appointment at Dr. Ruxandra LeMay is a private practice psychologist in Litchfield Park, Arizona with experience in family therapy, ADHD, stress and anxiety management, and executive coaching. She is the author of My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me: The 2-Minute Solution For a Happier MarriageClick HERE to check out her free resources on effective communication, emotional unavailability, intimacy, and anxiety management or join her at www.ruxandralemay.comfor monthly blog posts.