Book Excerpt: A Motivational Approach Toward Success

I hear parents of young people with ADHD say things like the following all the time: “If he cared about getting A’s, he would study for his tests,” or “He says he wants to clean his room, but then he never follows through. He just doesn’t care.” Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? When someone is motivated to do something—when a person wants to do something—the person will go ahead and successfully accomplish his or her goal. This is a premise that many of us operate on, regardless of context. I have learned over the years, however, that for young people with ADHD, having the will to do something is not always enough. These young people may have all of the will and desire in the world to accomplish something—what’s called motivation—but lack the skills needed to get from Point A to Point B. So they may appear unmotivated to the rest of us when really they just don’t know how to proceed. And for those who do lack motivation, it’s not simply a matter of these young people not caring. Something is actually happening in these young people’s brains (their neurobiology) and likely their life experiences, too, that makes motivation difficult, if not impossible.