ADHD and Motivation

A common concern that a parent might have for their child with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder is that they display a lack of motivation. Asking a child with ADHD to perform a simple and mundane task can turn into a major obstacle in many households. A lack of motivation in children with ADHD is not because they simply don’t want to do something, it is because they are experiencing symptoms that may cause an overwhelming feeling. 

1. Does ADHD Cause Lack of Motivation?

A child with ADHD may experience symptoms that cause them to struggle with executive functioning skills such as a lack of focus, attention, prioritizing and processing. Daily battles coping with these struggles will undoubtedly take a toll on a child that has not yet learned how to cope or mentally overcome these challenges. It takes a child a lot of mental energy to complete a task that a neurotypical child might be able to complete with ease. Due to this draining feeling, a child with ADHD might seem like they are unmotivated in the eyes of their parents and teachers. With focused interventions, tools and teaching, a child with ADHD can overcome their symptoms and turn unmotivated behavior into hyperfocus that will help them reach their goals.

2. How to Motivate Someone With ADHD?

To motivate a child with ADHD, parents can work with their child to complete short achievable goals while using a reward system. Setting large and long term goals may seem like an impossible task and lead to unmotivated behavior. Set small milestones and provide rewards when each goal is completed. LightSail’s online reading platform allows parents to set goals for their children. Over time, with the assistance of their parents, children will be able to set their own goals and become intrinsically motivated to complete their daily tasks. 

3. ADHD and Intrinsic Motivation

Teaching a child with ADHD the importance of being intrinsically motivated will assist them to complete seemingly daunting tasks on their own. A child with ADHD may need more support and scaffolding to become intrinsically motivated. When a child becomes intrinsically motivated, they will become self-starters and get satisfaction when they complete a task independently. Parents can provide extrinsic rewards and slowly fade them away as the child becomes comfortable with completing tasks. Children will continue to remember the satisfaction they get when completing a task and will eventually not need the extrinsic motivation as it turns intrinsic. 

Posted on 9.Sep.21 in Struggling Readers

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