Book Excerpt: Facilitating Lasting Change: Empowering the Client with Strategies for Success

A room that looks like it’s been hit by a tornado. A teen that constantly shows up late for band practice. A young person who can’t seem to hold a cohesive conversation. These are just a few of the issues experienced by young people with ADHD that make it difficult for them to be successful. Why is it that young people with ADHD often struggle to engage in actions and accomplish tasks that may seem relatively straightforward or easy to adults or even peers? Adolescents with ADHD struggle to accomplish tasks and achieve goals for a variety of reasons. One of the most fundamental sources of challenge is their characteristically weak executive functioning skills. Whether it be skills in personal organization; ability to manage time and prioritize tasks, activities, and responsibilities; or the capacity to listen well and communicate in an effective fashion, young people with ADHD are not wired in a way that makes acquiring these skills easy. Because of their brain makeup, these young people often don’t have their neurologically based executive functioning skills sharpened or honed to the point where they can actually control day-to-day processes of managing time, getting along with others, prioritizing and scheduling tasks and activities, keeping up with personal hygiene, and so on.