- The Keys to Remembering What You Read
- ADHD reading problems
- ADHD and ADD
- Comprehension problems
- ADHD and dyslexia
- 5 Tips for reading success
- More resources
- Reading Comprehension and the College Student with ADHD | ADDA – Attention Deficit Disorder Association
- Active Reading Strategies
- “R” Is For Reading and Remembering
- Solutions: in the Classroom
- Solutions: at Home
- Do You Have ADHD and Struggle with Reading?
- Tips for Parents of Children with ADHD
- Tips for reading with your infant or toddler
- Suggested books for your toddler
- For more information
- ADHD and 20 Ways to Remember What You Want
- Short Term and Long Term Memory
- Remembering What You Want
- Share Your Tips
The Keys to Remembering What You Read
By: Ann Dolin
Learning is an active process, not a spectator sport. It requires energy and most important of all, concentration. For many students, focus is not a problem when they are reading about subjects they enjoy.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In the course of their studies, students have to plow through a good deal of material they find dense and boring.
And this is when taking the time to take good notes while reading becomes so useful in enhancing learning.
Note taking works on a number of levels. It heightens attention by forcing students to actively engage with the material they are reading.
Just as importantly, it encourages students to put the material into their own words and into some meaningful order. This simple task improves comprehension because the student must summarize the information he's just read.
Reiterating and condensing text is one of the very best ways to understand and remember.
There are a number of methods for taking notes while reading. The most basic involves margin notes and “self-talk,” a technique in which the reader questions himself about what he's reading.
You can coach your child to use this strategy by saying, “After you read a page in your novel (or a section in your textbook), ask yourself, 'What did I just read?' or 'What is the main idea here?' ” His answers should be briefly recorded in the page margin.
If writing in the textbook is not an option, your child can use Post-it notes.
Another effective way to improve comprehension is selective highlighting. Highlighting is a great strategy, but it can often go wrong.
Over the years, I've met many kids to whom I've given the official diagnosis of “highlighter happy.” These students take a great strategy and use it incorrectly by highlighting AS they read.
By the end of the page, practically every sentence is marked.
Instead, teach your child to read first and then go back to selectively highlight only the essential terms, phrases, or dates AFTER he or she has read the section or passage.
Interestingly, studies have shown that students are better able to retain information that is color coded.
But the color of the highlighter is not important (although most favor yellow or pink); it comes down to personal preference.
Consider purchasing highlighting tape when marking in the school-issued text isn't an option. Removable colored tape can be purchased at www.reallygoodstuff.com.
Now, in order to prepare for an upcoming test, your child can review what's been “highlighted” with tape and remove it as he masters the materials.
Both highlighting and margin notes are effective as stand-alone strategies, but even more powerful when used together.
Taking good lecture notes is absolutely essential to academic success. Lately, I have started to believe the best use of these methods is not for taking lecture notes, but for taking notes while reading. My tutors and I are big fans of adapting the columned note-taking method originally developed for lectures (often called Cornell Notes) for this use.
To set up columned notes the student divides or folds the paper into two sections, labeling the left one-third “key words” and the right two-thirds “notes.” On the left the student records the main idea, and on the right he jots down an explanation using short phrases.
This note taking method helps kids to be more independent learners. Your child can fold his paper vertically on the line between the keywords and notes so that he can quiz himself and not rely on someone else to assist with studying.
With only the left column visible, he asks himself, “Who was Paris?” and then says the answer. He checks his reply by flipping over the page.
He continues to review in this manner, repeating and retesting himself on the terms he cannot automatically recall.
Older students can take this method one step further. Instead of simply recording a key word or concept, they write the chapter subheadings in their text books as a question.
For example, if the heading is “Natural Selection and Adaptation Modify Species”, the student would jot down “How does natural selection and adaptation modify species?” They then add details in the right column that answer the question. Voila – the student now has a ready-made study guide!
To get an added bang, studies show that if students summarize their notes within 24 hours of initially recording them, they're more ly to remember the information for a test.
Three-column notes are highly effective for younger students and visual or tactile learners. In addition to the first two-columns, a third section for a drawing is added. By drawing a picture of the concept or term, children are hooking a concrete visual image to the information they need to remember. This is one powerful strategy!
Regardless of the note-taking method used, many students are under the impression that “less is more”. While being succinct is important, the fact is that the more notes students take, the more information they will be able to recall later. In this particular case, “more is more!”
Ann K. Dolin, M.Ed., is the founder and president of Educational Connections, Inc., a tutoring and consulting company in Fairfax, VA and Bethesda, MD.
In her new book, Homework Made Simple: Tips, Tools and Solutions for Stress-Free Homework, Dolin offers proven solutions to help the six key types of students who struggle with homework.
Numerous examples and easy-to-implement, fun tips will help make homework less of a chore for the whole family. Learn more at anndolin.com or ectutoring.com.
Dolin, A. (2010). The keys to remembering what you read. Homework Made Simple Advantage Books.
ADHD reading problems
While not all children with ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and ADD Attention Deficit Disorder experience difficulties when it comes to reading, some studies estimate around half may struggle with literacy skills.
That’s because attention issues make it harder for children with ADHD to concentrate on a text. They may have trouble following a narrative, connecting a text to their prior knowledge of a topic and/or guessing at the meaning of unknown words met in context. If auditory processing is also an issue, sounding out words may be a challenge.
When ADHD and dyslexia present together, which occurs in about 1/3 of ADHD cases, both reading fluency and comprehension are impacted. The child may take longer to get through a page and stumble when reading aloud. There can also be difficulties sitting still for long periods, in order to read the assigned pages.
Over time, this can lead to frustration, avoidance of activities that involve reading and writing, and low self-esteem.
Moreover, students in later grades are expected to use their reading skills to learn about new subjects and complete homework assignments. Comprehension challenges can negatively impact progress across the school curriculum.
The good news is there are plenty of comprehension strategies and resources that can help a child with ADHD achieve his or her full potential in the classroom.
ADHD and ADD
ADHD is sometimes used as a catch-all term for children who have both ADHD and ADD Attention Deficit Disorder without the hyperactivity. Parents and teachers might find it easier to recognize the former by the characteristic impulsivity and high levels of activity children with ADHD exhibit.
They may be fidgety or disruptive at school, blurting out answers and often getting up to move around the classroom. Their handwritten work tends to be messy and they can have trouble concentrating for long stretches of time.
Children with ADHD respond well to tactile learning that incorporates movement. They do better when they learn in short bursts, interspersed with breaks that allow them to expend some of their extra energy. Read more about ADHD.
On the other hand, a child with ADD can sometimes go unnoticed at school. Attention issues are related to executive functioning in the brain, which controls working memory. The child with ADD may appear to be paying attention to a lesson or reading a book, but by the end of the activity they will find their mind has wandered and they haven’t retained any of the information covered.
The symptoms are less visible than ADHD and there may be less acting out and disruptive behaviour, but progress and marks on exams will be poor. Other problems, including low self-esteem and a lack of confidence in the classroom, may also be present. Learn more about ADD.
Reading is a cognitively demanding activity that forces children to process information on multiple levels, from recognizing words and assigning them meaning to understanding the gist of a text.
They have to pay attention to specific details presented by the author as well as make predictions and inferences about what they have read. As reading becomes more complex in later grades, speed and efficiency also become important.
A problem for children with ADHD is that reading requires them to focus all of their attention on the task at hand. The child must retain multiple pieces of information long enough to engage with the content. Keeping so much active in working memory at once can be exhausting.
Fortunately, there are a number of strategies that can help enhance comprehension. These include activating the topic beforehand through pre-reading questions and activities, teaching skimming and scanning to assist children in following a narrative, and modelling summary techniques to enhance information retention. Learn more about developing writing skills.
At school, asking kids to run a ruler down the page as they read is a way to add a kinaesthetic element to an otherwise stationary activity. A teacher might also have them practice active reading by taking notes and jotting down questions in the margins. This helps to engage their bodies and minds and focus their attention on the task at hand.
See below for more tips and strategies for enhancing comprehension in children with ADHD.
ADHD and dyslexia
Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that impacts on decoding skills and can cause difficulty sounding out words. Sometimes ADHD and dyslexia can occur together. When a child struggles with both ADHD and dyslexia there may be a lack of phonemic awareness, or an ability to break words down into their component sounds, blend new sounds together to form words, and rhyme.
Children with dyslexia may also have trouble recognizing common words by sight. They often continue to read at a slow and halting pace as compared to their peers.
However, there are plenty of strategies that can help, including a focus on phonics, word and sound play, repeat exposure to sight words, and even a multi-sensory touch-typing course for older children.
Kids with dyslexia tend to benefit from over-learning. Repeatedly seeing, hearing and typing words can help reinforce language in memory.
5 Tips for reading success
- Read together. Impulsivity can sometimes make a child with ADHD take random guesses when reading vs. taking the time to sound a word out. That’s why it’s particularly helpful for them to read along with an adult or an older child who can model proper decoding.
The child also sees the letters and hears the word at the same time, reinforcing phonics skills.
- Involve movement in learning. Have plastic letters or magnets on the refrigerator that children with ADHD and dyslexia can move around into different configurations. Substitute vowels and practice blending and rearranging sounds.
Developing phonological awareness is also achieved through rhyming, learning silly songs, and the kind of wordplay found in Dr. Seuss books. TIP: For older children who find wordplay too babyish, you may try a typing course Touch-type Read and Spell which will show the word on a computer screen, read it aloud and ask them to type the correct keys.
Learn more about teaching kids typing.
- Find content that interests them. Help children understand that reading can be fun by choosing a topic or genre that gets them excited. Engage their imagination before they begin reading and ask them to make predictions about the book.
Point out, read, and discuss text wherever you find it, even if it is the advertising slogan on the back of a cereal box!
- Read regularly in short bursts. Requiring kids with ADHD to sit still for extended periods can be asking a lot.
Try to incorporate 15 minutes of quiet and focused reading time in their daily schedule, preferably after exercise or at a time in the day when they are most ly to be calm. It may be helpful to observe a child for several days. Note down when he or she is most focused and then schedule reading time accordingly.
- Praise their efforts. Keep a record of all of the books you’ve read together and note down the pages they read on their own. Colorful charts on the refrigerator, stickers and calendars which record achievement are all useful tools in encouraging intrinsic motivation when it comes to reading. Learn more about motivating your child to read and reluctant readers.
If one approach to literacy support for a child with ADHD doesn’t work, try another! You might consider hiring a private tutor, and/or joining a support group to get tips from other parents. For older children who may be self-conscious about needing extra support, sometimes the best method is one that doesn’t advertise itself as reading centered.
Touch-type Read and Spell (TTRS) has been used by many families to enhance their children’s reading, writing and spelling skills.
It involves learning through the medium of touch-typing. TTRS teaches typing in a unique, dyslexia-friendly and whole word way. With the ability to type and the right kind of assessment in school, students with learning differences can use laptops in standardized exams. It’s also a great solution for kids who have difficulty handwriting, including those who struggle with dysgraphia.
TTRS follows the dyslexia-friendly Orton-Gillingham approach and builds students’ confidence gradually by providing plenty of opportunities for repetition, accompanied by positive feedback.
The step-by-step structure and modular design mean students proceed at a pace that is right for them and only move on to new levels when they feel comfortable and ready. The word lists are those from Alpha to Omega by Dr Beve Hornsy et al.
Do you have any strategies for helping kids with ADHD improve their reading skills? Join the discussion in the comments!
Reading Comprehension and the College Student with ADHD | ADDA – Attention Deficit Disorder Association
Understanding and remembering what you read is not only a personal rush, it saves you a lot of valuable time! Rereading the same material over and over is a sink hole that will drag you down and keep you from having enough time to get all of your assignments done. So what’s a better way?
Active Reading Strategies
Active reading simply means “getting involved” when you read something. Instead of just letting the words roll past your eyes while your mind goes somewhere else, active reading engages your brain in the material you’re reading.
In order to get your brain fully engaged, you will need to give up the idea that reading is a spectator sport! Reading is as full engagement as it gets – if you really are reading. Just staring at a page, thinking about a million other things and watching the clock isn’t reading, it’s wasting your time.
Step 1 – Mindset and Purpose
Ok, so how do you turn reading into a participant sport! The first step is to get super clear on why reading this material has personal meaning for you! The reason or reasons can be different for each assignment.
Dig beneath the obvious (and totally useless) reasons such as “The prof assigned it.” and “I have to.” Your ADHD brain won’t care about what you have to do until the absolute last minute – and that will be too late!
You’ll need a real reason to read the assignment. Reasons come in two flavors: carrots and sticks! “Carrots” are rewards and “sticks” are negative consequences. Here are a few real reasons that might be true for you:
- I want to be ready for the class discussion so I’ll have something meaningful to say
- I can become the class expert on this small part of the course material
- If I get a good grade in this class, my reward will be (really cool thing you want!)
- This class is the gateway to the advanced classes I’m really interested in – I’m not going to miss out on those advanced classes.
- I don’t have time to read this again and again – I’ll miss out on (something you want to do)
- I’ve got to pass this class or else I can’t (important thing you want!)
- If I get another bad grade I’ll be embarrassed (or I’ll have to explain it to my parents)
Step 2 – Pre-reading Strategies
In just the same way that you’d warm up before working out, you’ll get a lot better traction in comprehending what you read if you do a few basic “warm ups” before you start.
- Quickly flip through the assignment and evaluate the length and difficulty; estimate how long you’ll need to read the material; make a plan for how to structure your time.
- Read the introduction, objectives, vocabulary terms, questions and summary. This will give you the general idea of what you’re going to read about and prime your brain.
- Activate your prior knowledge by recalling what you know about the topic.
- Make predictions about the content. This will help you get engaged by turning reading into a challenge to determine whether your predictions are right!
- “Hack” into an interesting motif to keep things exciting – if you’re competitive, image you’re playing Jeopardy; if you to dance, think about how to choreograph the reading; use funny accents as you read out loud – go “off the wall” and have some fun with it – it will keep you interested!
Step 3 – Active Reading Engagement
Ok, it’s time for the main event! You’ll be actively putting it all together and fulfilling your reading purpose!
- Turn headings and subheadings into written questions and answers! This will help you actively engage with the material and a nice byproduct will be the study guide you create as you go along.
- Turn on the visuals! Create mental images of everything – this engages the visual/spatial areas of your brain and wakes you up!
- Get involved! – agree, argue, be suspicious, make comments, identify confusing points.
- After you finish reading each paragraph, summarize in your own words without referring to the text. If you can’t do that, reconnect to your purpose, reread and try again! DON’T just mindlessly keep going. You can write down your summary.
- At the end of every section, answer the question you posed from the heading before you began reading; write down the answer.
- Add essential terms and their definitions to your notes.
- Feel free to use mind mapping to supplement your written notes – activating your visual/spatial and geometric thinking turns on more brain circuits and keeps you more alert and interested.
- At the end of the reading, summarize the 3-5 most important points. If you can’t do it, read your notes and try again.
- Reading comprehension is a memory activity. Check out this memory article for more tips that will help you remember what you read.
Step 4 – Reinforcement (aka “Studying”)
- The next time you read an assignment for this class, devote the first 5 minutes to recalling from memory what you read in the previous assignment.
- Next, read the notes you took. This process solidifies the information in your mind.
- If you use active reading strategies and the memory strategies in this article, studying for tests and finals will go much easier and smoother!
Active reading and memory strategies make all the difference in whether you are learning the material and effectively preparing for tests and finals or just wasting your time! Your time in college is precious. You still have to work hard, of course, but your efforts will be successful. If you use the right strategies you’ll learn more, get higher grades, and have more time for other things!
Dr. Kari Miller, PhD, BCET is a board certified educational therapist and ADHD coach who has been educating and coaching adults and young people who have ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, emotional challenges, and other complex needs for more than twenty-five years.
She holds a PhD in educational psychology and mathematical statistics, an MEd in Learning Disabilities, Gifted Education and Educational Diagnosis, and a BS in Early Childhood Education and Behavior Disorders. Dr.
Miller provides support across the lifespan – to school-aged students with learning and attention challenges, to young adults in transition to college or the workplace, and to women with ADHD who have passionate dreams, but are frustrated by procrastination, lack of focus and difficulty following through.
“R” Is For Reading and Remembering
Students with attention deficit (ADHD) commonly complain to their parents, “I’ve read the whole page, but I don’t remember a thing. I’ve got to start all over again.” Difficulty remembering what is read is often caused by executive function deficits — the inability to hold key information in working memory.
That’s why many parents of children with ADHD assign their child no more than one or two tasks at a time. In the classroom, students who can’t remember more than two or three facts after reading a page need to take notes or highlight key information.
The following strategies will provide reading help for ADHD students and allow your child comprehend more of what is on the page.
Solutions: in the Classroom
Use pre-reading strategies. The following three tips will focus the student on the topic and increase the lihood of his remembering the information by connecting it to past experiences.
- Relate the new topic — global warming, say — to past knowledge, such as recent schoolwork or world events.
- Ask questions about the topic: “What would you do if our weather was hotter and our local lake dried up?”
- Ask the student to divide a piece of paper in half, creating a chart. On one side of the chart, have him write “What do I know?” and on the other side, “What did I learn?” Before the student starts reading, ask him to write down everything he knows about global warming. Complete the other half with facts he learned from the assigned reading.
[Free Download: Overcoming Common Learning Challenges]
Teach book structure. Identify components of the material to be read and their relevance: the introductory paragraph, the chapter summary, bold print, headings. Stating the obvious —”The bold words are very important. These are the ones I want you to remember”— is helpful to students with ADHD.
Encourage active reading. When students with ADHD are overwhelmed by lengthy reading assignments, they tend to skim the text — and can’t remember what they’ve read.
Activities that engage the child — looking for key words in the pages, answering questions as he reads the material by filling in blanks on a worksheet or highlighting key points — help him remember the important information.
Allow subvocalizing. Students who learn best by hearing information may benefit from reading aloud softly to themselves. Have these students sit away from the group to avoid disturbing their classmates.
Use a bookmark. Sliding it down the page, one line at a time, while reading helps some students stay focused on the text. For faster and smoother reading, veteran educator and consultant Linda Tilton suggests placing the bookmark above the line of print, not below it.
[Parents Share: How We Build Reading Skills at Home]
Solutions: at Home
Have your child jot down key ideas on sticky notes and place them in the book margins. If your child is struggling to identify key ideas, read a paragraph together, then work with him to find main points in it. Practice with him until he can do it on his own.
Highlight key information. Although highlighting is a great idea, many schools don’t allow students to write in textbooks. If so, purchase a second copy of the textbook, so your son can highlight key information as needed. Another option is photocopying pages from the book for him to mark up.
Divide reading assignments. Break up required reading into three or four segments, separating them with a paper clip. Encourage your child to “read to the clip.” This makes an abstract assignment —”read 20 pages”— seem manageable. She can see how much further she has to go instead of wanting to flip to the end of the chapter.
Read for fun. Help your child find books on topics of interest to him, and discuss the material he’s read with him. Set aside time for him to read to you.
Take a break. Children can’t learn when they’re frustrated or angry. Stop the reading session if tension builds between you and your child.
[How to Raise a Reader]
Updated on August 28, 2018
Do You Have ADHD and Struggle with Reading?
Source: Source: iStock jacoblund
Many patients with Adult ADHD struggle with their professional or school reading. People with ADHD have a tendency to lose interest, miss important information, and become easily distracted. Does this sound familiar to you?
Since many of my patients struggle with this issue, I have developed 7 researched-based steps to improve their reading abilities and comprehension.
WRITE IT OUT
Write down the “why”. Why am I am reading this? Am I reading this for background material? Something I may need in the future? To prepare for a meeting? Or to use for a project or presentation? When the “why” is very clear, it can help you to focus on what to look for and increase your motivation.
START WITH THE END
The other day, a patient told me that he needed to read a very technical document. He was going to attend a meeting where specific questions were going to be asked about the material related to his expertise.
He was able to get the questions ahead of time and then do the reading. Thus, I suggested he write out the questions and answer them as he read the material.
This increased his motivation and helped him delve more efficiently into the relevant material.
ALWAYS READ THE PAPER VERSION
This may sound old-fashioned; however, when people read on the computer screen, there are many distractions. Thus, I always recommend printing out the article or material in a paper form to improve focus.
SUMMARIZE IN ONE WORD
I learned this vital skill in a test preparation class and it has served me well during my training and professional career. First, read the paragraph, and then designate one word or a simple phrase that represents the material.
If you can’t do this, you might get the sense that you didn’t understand what you read. And the sooner you realize this, the more time it will save you. Then, while you are reading, your brain is thinking about how the paragraph can be summarized.
It can be challenging but make all the difference
ENGAGE WITH THE TEXT
I feel I am sounding an English teacher. But engaging with the text is crucial. In the margins, write questions and comments. Which parts don’t you understand? What do you agree with and disagree with? Engaging with the text improves your reasoning skills and your comprehension of the material.
READ FOR 15-MINUTE CHUNKS
So often, people have great aspirations and they may avoid a task or project. Aim to read for 15-minute chunks of time. The brain can easily handle this. Planning to read a document or report for two hours feels onerous and the “procrastinating” brain will latch onto a more pleasurable behavior. Thus, aiming for a shorter time period can make the task more approachable.
CHANGE THE ENVIRONMENT
Do whatever it takes to get through the 15-minutes. Stand up rather than sitting at your desk or go to a coffee shop. Changing the environment can make the reading more palatable.
I hope you have found these tips useful and that you try them out today, maybe even right now. Look for something that you have been wanting to read. Give yourself 15 minutes and practice these skills.
I want you to incorporate these strategies in your life. If you do it right now and notice what helps and what doesn’t help, the chances that you will benefit from these tips will be higher. I wish you the best of luck.
Tips for Parents of Children with ADHD
You'll find sharing books together is a great way to bond with your son or daughter and help your child's development at the same time. Give your child a great gift that will last for life — the love of books.
Some parents suspect ADHD early on when their toddler is far more active than other children his age. Yet, the disorder often becomes more obvious when the child enters school.
Often the child with ADHD may act on impulse and may have trouble following directions or sitting still.
How do you know if your child is just very active or has ADHD? It is best to get an evaluation from a trained health professional.
If your child has ADHD, paying attention for long periods of time can be a challenge. So, meet the challenge head-on — make reading time fun time for you and your child. First, pick a quiet spot away from TV, radio, and video game noise. Read for short periods at a time and put the book away if your child loses interest. Pick up the book later and read for another short time period.
Although ADHD is diagnosed later in childhood, adding reading to your child's daily routine is very beneficial. Reading time can help your highly energetic child get ready for naps and bedtime. And remember — reading together for 10 minutes in the morning is a nice way to get the day started on a positive note.
Tips for reading with your infant or toddler
Try reading for a few minutes at a time at first. Then build up the time you read together. Your child will soon see reading time as fun time!
Here are some things you can try:
- Buy books or borrow books from the library. Sing along with the book to hold your baby's interest. Your baby doesn't care if you can sing on key!
- Read aloud. Talk about the pictures and read the text. Help your toddler point to objects you name in the book. Ask questions about the story as a way to hold your child's interest.
- Break up short periods of reading time with play time to give your toddler a chance to move about.
- Continue to read for a few more minutes even if your child squirms off your lap. He may still be listening to the story even though he is playing near you.
Suggested books for your toddler
Remember, when you read to your child often and combine reading time with cuddle and play time, your child will link books with fun times together.
Here are some things you can try:
- Turn off the TV and radio and find a quiet spot to read without distraction.
- Choose books that interest your child, such as books on animals or sports.
- Read aloud and talk about the pictures. Allow your child to pick books too, and ask your child to read aloud.
- Praise your child's efforts at reading!
For more information
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ADHD and 20 Ways to Remember What You Want
For adults with ADHD not being able to remember your intentions is what can sometimes get in the way of following through.
I know from plenty of personal experience with forgetting everything from the mundane to the important it can be really frustrating.
But, rather than berate yourself because you think you should have a better memory, you can adopt workarounds to help you remember what you need and minimize your frustration.
Below I’ve curated a lengthy list of possible options you can apply to the various situations in your life. And, if you can think of more, please share below.
Short Term and Long Term Memory
First, a little bit about why you may have such a hard time remembering information at the time you need it.
One reason is that short-term (working) memory is often weak in adults with ADHD.
- That is, you may not hold information long enough to follow through on it. So, you say to yourself, “I need to drop off that folder at Joe’s office before I leave.” Then you turn around to get your jacket, pack up and forget about the folder. All within the span of a few minutes!
- Because you do not hold onto information long enough it also does not enter your long term memory. So, it is lost to you until Bill says to you, “Hey, Lisa, I didn’t get that email you said you would send when I saw you in the hall yesterday.”
Challenges with long-term memory are also common for adults with ADHD.
- This can mean that you have difficulty remembering your intention to do something in the future. So, as you are leaving the office you have this nagging feeling you are supposed to do something before going home. Not until you get home do you remember you were supposed to pick up the take-out!
- Also, you may have difficulty recalling information when you need it. You go to the meeting and can’t remember all the details of the report you want to share.
Bottom line. Your memory, mine, may be more Swiss Cheese than a trap door. That is ok, as long as you use some of the methods below to help you remember what you need when you need it.
Remembering What You Want
1. Paper Based Task Managers – If you are looking for a comprehensive paper based system to manage your to dos, the Planner Pad or the PowerPlanner, specifically made for people with ADHD, are good options.
2. Electronic Task Managers You may opt for an electronic system to manage your to-dos. These range from the simple, Remember The Milk, to the more comprehensive Todist, Omnifocus, Nozbe or Toodledo.
3. Put It Where You Can Do Something About It – For example, when you have books to return to the library, clothes to donate, etc. put them in the car where you can see them. That way you can take care of them when you are are out and about. Could save you an extra trip.
4. Just Do It! – If a task is going to take you less than 2 minutes (literally), it may be worth it to just do it rather than trying to figure out how you are going to remember to do it later. Of course, you want to be careful that doing that task doesn’t take you away from what your primary intention in the moment.
5. Put It In Your Calendar – You calendar contains the hard landscape of your life. A commitment for a specific day and/or time should go in your calendar. Right away. Even if it is tentative, put it in your calendar and mark it as “tentative” until you can confirm it. That way you will not double-book.
You can find more tips on using your calendar here.
6. Post-It Where You Can See It – Maybe you want daily reminders of how you want to be or what you want to achieve. Whether it is a quote, list or vision board to visually illustrate your hopes and dreams, post it in a prominent place where you are most ly to see it regularly.
7. Tie It To Another Habit – It is always easier to remember to do something if you can tie it to an already well-established habit. For example, if you are trying to remember to take your meds, put them by your toothbrush.
8. A Plain Piece Of White Paper – I’ll admit this isn’t the most environmentally sound option. But it is one I use every day. Write the 3-5 tasks you are committed doing each day on a piece of paper and put it where you will see it (middle of your desk, taped to your monitor, on the wall, etc).
9. Weekly Review – To offset the pull of immediate gratification, the weekly review is the time when you assess where you are vis -a- vis your projects and goals in your various areas of focus, as well as plan the next action steps. By doing this on a weekly basis you can be confident you are remembering your important stuff and time is not just slipping away.
10. Post A List – When you notice you are something, immediately put it on a list that you leave on your fridge or other easily accessible place. That way you won’t worry about trying to remember it when you get around to creating your grocery / errand list.
11. Read It Later! – We all know what a “time suck” the internet can be. And it may be that you are pulled to reading something immediately because you don’t think you will remember to read it later. Try an application Instapaper or Pocket to save articles you come across. And then you can refocus on your original intention.
12. Electronic Notebook – An electronic notebook, OneNote or EverNote, is great place to keep track of and remember all of your random ideas from project planning to lists.
13. Send Yourself A Message – When you are out and about and something suddenly comes to mind, rather than assume you will remember it later, call, text or email yourself a message. But don’t wait. You know those ideas can be fleeting. Well, at least for me…
14. Set An Alarm – Use an alarm to remind yourself of appointments. Since transitions can be a challenge, you may want to set two alarms. The first alarm will remind you to stop what you are doing and get ready. The second will be the reminder that it is time to go!
I suggest you don’t use alarms to remind yourself of tasks unless you are committed to doing it at fixed time. Because, if the reminder goes off when you can’t do anything about it, you will learn to ignore those alarms. And they will just become background noise…
15. Wakeup and Reminder Service – You may tend to ignore your alarm, but I’ll bet you find it hard to ignore a phone ringing. Telephone reminder services Wakeupland can help get you bed or to your appointments on time.
16. Tracking – In the beginning just remembering the habits you are trying to build can be the hardest part to following through on them. Tracking your progress is a good way to remember.
And an app, Beeminder, may be the extra support you need. As you track your goals, they will plot your progress on a yellow brick road and if you go off track they take your money!
17. Meeting Notes – Taking notes during meetings will help you pay attention as well as have the information you need for later. Just as important is reviewing and taking action on your notes soon after.
18. ADHD Coach – If you are working with an ADHD Coach, take advantage of the accountability support as you are trying to build new habits and makes changes.
19. Launching Pad – Create a launching pad by the door where you put everything (purse, briefcase, etc.) you need for the next day. You could carve out a small space or use a small table for your launching pad.
20. Put Your Keys In The Refrigerator – To remember your lunch put your keys with it in the refrigerator.
Share Your Tips
How do you get your head and remember what you need when you need it?
Please share, I know others would love to hear more tips!