Adult ADHD and Learning

May 14, 2014 Elizabeth Prager

It's always the easiest to learn when material is taught right in line with your learning style, with or without adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I think the flip side of any learning style is your ability to support your learning style. There are ways to take notes and pay attention that enhance your learning style no matter the lecturer's style. I'm not doing a great job right now in my current class at supporting my own style, because sometimes it feels like it takes too much work.Over my bajillion years of schooling, I have discovered what works for me and what doesn't. The following lists are what I've found that affect my attention span, learning and general feelings of happiness during lectures and other learning situations.

We can't rely on the speaker to address our learning needs when we have adult ADHD. Here are ways to take control over you own learning with ADHD.

Adult ADHD and Learning - What Doesn't Work

  • PowerPoints - When there are 17,000 words per slide, I find it's only possible to read about 1/4 of them. Bullet points in presentations are fine and all, but it's easy to ignore what the teacher is saying and feel secure you have all the info. Until you need to recall the information.
  • Computers - Whether it's my laptop or another student's, they're distracting. The light that comes off the computer can give rise to headaches and decreased attention spans.

Adult ADHD and Learning - What Works

  • Paper and pencil - You can use pen if you prefer. My ability to recall information when I have physically written it down (and often drawn pictures to represent) is so much better. Writing puts the information in a weird part of your memory, because it's morphed with muscle memory.
  • Group work - When you can talk out the information with someone else after you've "learned" it in class, it seeps so far inside your brain. Reviewing with someone who may have gotten a few tidbits you missed is definitely a fantastic way to go.

None of my likes or dislikes have much to do with who is teaching and how they're teaching (though, yes, it is a teacher's choice whether or not to use PowerPoint filled with words). We have some control over how we learn if only we put the time in. The reason it's not going well in my current class? I keep bringing my computer to class instead of taking notes by hand. Silly, silly me!

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APA Reference
Prager, E. (2014, May 14). Adult ADHD and Learning, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 17 from

Author: Elizabeth Prager

Michael Fischer
May, 15 2014 at 6:26 am

Great article!! When a parent finds out that their child has ADHD it can fill like the end of the world. When in fact a wonderful world will truly begin.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Elizabeth Prager
May, 15 2014 at 12:00 pm


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