Actually, they can.
But, the trouble is they can also hear the clock ticking, the monitor humming, people shuffling their feet. And they can see clouds passing outside the window. And they can smell lunch cooking, and they are noticing how itchy their jumper is and how hard their seat is.
Fact: ADHD brains are wired differently to neuro typical brains.
In nerotypical brains, part of the prefrontal cortex actively screens out sensory information that is not relevant right now. It acts like a door, shutting out stuff that we don’t need to pay attention to, such as background traffic noises, clocks ticking, people coughing, etc etc.
For people with ADHD, that door is always open. There is no screening out. All of that sensory information comes into the brain in a constant, relentless stream and is noticed and paid attention to.
Meaning, it’s incredibly difficult to focus on one thing, even if it’s really important, such as what your teacher is saying. That takes a mammoth effort.
And it’s exhausting!
A brilliant way to increase focus and attention on one thing such as the task in hand, is to factor in frequent learning breaks. Break down tasks into short parts and build in recovery periods. This enables pupils to apply themselves then rest, apply, then rest.
It’s kind of like breaking up a marathon into a series of short sprints and recovery periods. Meaning that they can cross the finish line!
Discover more proven strategies for managing the behaviour of students with ADHD by downloading Calm and Refocused from our website.