When he is on the X-box, I can talk to him and he doesn’t even hear me!” 🎮

She can color for hours, but can’t sit still at the dinner table. I don’t get it.” 🖍

He is obsessed with dinosaurs.  He can read for hours about them, but won’t do homework.” 🦖

Hyperfocus is not an official symptom of ADHD, yet it is very common.  It seems odd that someone with ADHD can be highly focused for hours on end or even days.
What triggers hyperfocus?

  • A dopamine deficiency makes it hard for a person with ADHD to shift gears to take up boring and necessary tasks.
  • Doing an activity that is enjoyable and interesting, thus providing giving the brain some dopamine.

 

The fine line that parents need to navigate with hyperfocus is making sure that the excessive focus is a positive in the child’s life and not a detriment. 

If a child is escaping into their own world leading to ignoring those around them, and not getting important tasks done, then it is having a negative impact regardless of the activity the child is doing.

And, of course, not all activities are the same. 

A child playing video games for hours is so much different than a child shooting baskets in the driveway for hours because we know exercise is so good for those with ADHD.

However, even if a child is playing with legos for a long time, there needs to be limits so they can do some other necessary tasks.  Setting limits is often necessary.

 

Since many children with ADHD struggle with low self-esteem, finding something that they are good at is such a blessing.

For example, the famous Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps struggled a lot in school due to his ADHD.  His mom supported his passion for swimming by tailoring is education around it. Much of the material she used for his education revolved around swimming and athletics.

Parents can also use the activity that their child is hyperfocusing on as a motivator or reward for doing the things that they don’t want to do.

If you need support with any ADHD related issues, like hyperfocus, be sure to reach out to us.  We would love to help!

– Molly Perry

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