There are children who seem restless, fidgety and are unable to sit in a one place for too long. They are impulsive. And they have significant difficulty in paying attention and concentrating for long spans of time at a stretch. These are symptoms of what is called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). All or some of these in combination can be present in an individual diagnosed with this clinical condition. For students, this could be a serious problem, hampering their academic progress and it is essential that they develop an understanding of what they can do about it.
1 Study in short spells: Inattention can significantly dent academic performance. Study for short periods followed by a five- to 10-minute break to refresh yourself.
2 Avoid multitasking: An individual with ADHD should avoid multitasking and dabbling in too many different things at the same time. Juggling too many tasks simultaneously iverts one’s attention from what is essential and needs to be finished.
3 Focus on your teacher: Friends in the classroom can draw one’s attention away from what is being taught. Make a conscious effort to focus on what your teacher is saying.
4 Make notes, use illustrations: Making notes and using illustrations works extremely well. Notes help condense what needs to be learnt and revised. Illustrations help utilise other pathways for enhancing memory and thus work better.
5 Maintain a proper environment: Maintain an environment conducive to learning. Do not have distractions in the form of phone, music or TV. Study at a table and not on the bed. Sit only with the subject book that you are studying and nothing else.
6 Exercise well: Life cannot only be about studies. It is essential to maintain an active lifestyle with physical exercise, healthy food habits and a proper routine balanced with fun activities.
7 Do the ‘E’ exercise: A way of improving attention is using the ‘e’ exercise. It involves cancelling all the alphabets ‘e’ from a single paragraph in the newspaper.
This should be done daily and in particular before initiating studies.
8 The music exercise: Another way of enhancing concentration is the music exercise. It involves listening to a piece of instrumental music, with three to five instruments and then focusing your attention on any of the instruments being played.
9 Focus on sports like racket games: Playing sports which involve active physical exertion and effort is also very beneficial. Any kind of racket or ball games is helpful in taking care of the excess energy and hyperactivity. This can make the person calmer at other times during the day.
10 Talk to a counsellor: In case of anything specific, suggest to your parents that they take you to a counsellor. Discuss and take an expert’s advice.
The author is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Healthcare