In a well-known Zen story, a centipede was asked how he could coordinate all of his numerous feet without stumbling. The centipede said that he had never given it a thought. From that time on, the centipede became unable to move.
A strategy is a process to solve a problem. Adults with ADHD have spent years filling their mental “toolbox” with strategies for every situation. Strategies include mnemonics to remember people's names, fancy planners to organize the day, buying noise canceling headphones to drown out distractions. Are these strategies really providing long term solutions to the core problem?
A skill is an automatic action which you take when a situation arises. For example, communication skills allow us to chat with friends, motor skills help us walk, and cognitive skills help us learn.
Cognitives skills are often weak for people with ADHD. This is why they often turn towards strategies to help them cope in the world. However, these strategies are only temporary fixes.
Let’s examine strategies versus skills:
The strategy of mnemonics is great for remembering. A popular mnemonic that helps one remember the colors of the rainbow or visible light spectrum is ROY G BIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). Many children learn this early on in school. However, unless you have a career as an artist you will most likely never use the mnemonic again.
The skill of remembering uses short term and working memory. Practicing these in isolation builds automatic memory. Allowing you to not struggle to remember people’s names, or with reading comprehension.
Buying a planner with stickers, color coded tabs, and fancy artwork on the outside is a great strategy for staying organized. That is when you can find it! They often get lost under the piles of other things on the desk or kitchen table.
Developing and practicing the skill of spatial memory helps you to automatically know where your fancy planner is no matter where you put it down. Which helps you to be more organized than ever before and is a skill that will even help you navigate around a city!
Headphones have come a long way from just allowing you to listen to your own favorite music to canceling out the whole world so you can have your own musical concert. Invention meets strategy for allowing one to filter out distractions that keep one from getting work done or being overwhelmed in a big crowd.
Being able to mentally filter out those auditory distractions is the skill of discriminatory process. When you learn to automatically filter out sounds, you can begin to pay more attention to completing your work, or not becoming overwhelmed in a big rock concert crowd!
Many people with ADHD make the choice to use a quick fix strategy because they don’t feel they have the time to work on the skill. These strategies are just good coping mechanisms to help them look like they are thriving. However, they rarely work because they do not become automatic skills. These skills are called executive function.
Why keep trying strategies when there are ways to work on your skills that last a lifetime? Play Attention specializes in the most comprehensive approach to strengthen the cognitive skills that lay the foundation for strong Executive Function.
Within your customized Play Attention program, your personal executive function coach will set up your profile so you can practice and develop life long skills including:
Short Term Memory
And so much more!
Let us learn more about your specific needs and customize a plan so you can stop relying on mere strategies and begin developing skills that truly improve your executive function. Click here to schedule your consultation. Or call us at 828-676-2240.