Task Initiation is often a challenge for children and adults with an executive functioning disorder. For a child, it may be lack of initiative in doing homework while for an adult, it may include forgetting or putting off paying bills. Children and adults with task initiation issues generally have a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, Intellectual disability or a learning disorder.
Signs of a task initiation impaired executive functioning skill would be someone having difficulty in getting started on a task and keeping the effort needed in order to complete the task. A child or an adult require external cues in order to complete the task. Also, it will require understanding what is expected and understanding the task. Here are a few strategies:
Limit Distractions. In the classroom any type of added sensory input can defer the student from getting started in their school work.
Create a List. Visual support will help to increase getting the work done for a school-age child, you may want to create a to-do list which the steps are broken down into smaller steps. When a person with an executive function is given a task, it may be overwhelming, making it more difficult to get started.
Use Cues. A clock or a timer will help the child or adult stay on time and understanding the amount of time it will take to complete a task
Break task down. Create where the work is done in chunks so that the work will not be as overwhelming for the student.
Have you ever conducted a training with employees where you experienced a participant interrupting you while you were talking, blurting out answers before you complete your sentence or appearing not to pay attention? Chances are you may have an employee diagnosed with ADHD.
Most people think of children when they hear the word ADHD, but the fact is that ADHD can continue into adulthood and as a life-long challenge. Currently, 4.4% of the U.s adult population is diagnosed with ADHD. Of these adults, 38% are women and 62% are men.
What is ADHD?
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders which is often characterized by a pattern of inattention/or hyperactivity/impulsivity that can impact workplace learning through making careless mistakes,the inability to complete a task, staying organized and excessive talking throughout the training.
Typically, a person with ADHD, the difficulties lies in the part of the brain that allows people to perform higher level task known as the executive function. 90% of people with ADHD also have an executive function disorder. This is the part of the brain that engages in goal-direction and self-regulations.
Two Types of ADHD:
Types of ADHD
Type 1: Inattention Without Hyperactivity
Trouble paying attention
Trouble following direction
Trouble following through with task
Seems disorganized or careless
Slow to process information
Type 2: Hyperactivity Without Inattention
Trouble paying attention
Impulsive speech and action
Difficulty waiting turns
May have a quick temper
Challenges Training Employees with ADHD
Workplace learning in most cases for the participant means learning new information, participating in training activities, sitting for a period of time and given direction.
A participant with ADHD may have difficulty in sustaining attention and remaining focused during lectures.
May need questions repeated
May have difficulty in grasping main ideas or details during the lecture.
Become easily distracted by both internal (day dreaming) or external (noises) stimuli.
May blurt out an answer before a question has been completed.
May have difficulty in listening in environments with noise distractions.
Difficulty in following through with instructions
May talk excessively
Difficulty in taking turn in a conversation.
The upside is that often when a person with ADHD is interested in a topic, they may hyperfocus, meaning they will fully participant in group discussion, and show great enthusiasm for the subject matter.
Strategies that help in training employees with ADHD include:
Telling participants what they will learn
Vary instructions- auditory alone will not be effective, participants with ADHD will need visual aids as well.
Allow for frequent breaks.
Summarize key points of the training as a way to reinforce the lesson
Create a leadership role such as assisting in setting up any training equipment and giving out training material.
When possible, alternate between physical and mental activities.
Stick to the expectation of the time. It will be difficult for the participant to sustain focus once a time of dismissal is given.
Conduct a stretching activity for the group when possible, I would sometimes include a game of “would you rather.” This works great but should tie into the theme of the training.
Tips to remember:
A diagnosis of ADHD also qualifies under the American Disabilities Act regarding workplace accommodations.
There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the U.K.- An estimated 1 in 100 people are affected. Studies also show that 60% of teachers in England do not feel they have adequate training to teach children with autism.
Thankfully across the U.K., a number of trainings that focus on autism help parents, professionals, caregivers and educators learn more about the autism spectrum disorder. below are links to trainings in the U.K.
Leading U.K. charity for autistic children and their families. Provides information, support and services. NAS offers scheduled training events, in-house training and online training modules including training modules on communication, sensory experiences, stress and anxiety and physical activity.
Provides a range of person-centered services throughout the U.K. Autism Initiatives Northern Ireland includes a learning and development department which is designed to meet the needs of all professional staff. Upcoming training topics for July includes, Understanding Autism, Epilepsy Awareness, and Keeping Children Safe. E-Learning courses are also available.
Northern Ireland’s longest-serving autism charity and training provider. Autism NI provides family support workshops and discussion group. Training topics include, Fundamentals of Autism, Understanding Social Skills, Sensory Processing, and PECS training courses are held off-site.
Provides a wide range of training for professionals working with autistic children to parents, educators and caregivers. The organization also publishes a research bulletin designed to meet the needs of professionals working in education with autistic children. Trainings for parents include topics on, transition, sensory processing and life skills
PEAT provides a wide range of training services for parents of children with autism and professionals involved with individuals with autism. PEAT provides in-house training and tailors made programs to meet the needs of parent groups and specific organizations.
The Autism Forth Valley Website includes a table which contains information on training providers and courses including university courses on autism, professional organizations and social service agencies.
Provides a wide range of support services across Scotland for individuals with autism, their families and professionals. Scottish Autism offers external training core courses including, Introduction to Autism and Autism Profiling.
Provides a library with a wealth of information on autism topics from previous conferences in Microsoft PowerPoint format. Geared towards professionals however this are also useful information for parents as well. Sample topics include; psychosexual development in ASD, A guide for practioners and resources for families living in Wales.
Training program includes a range of person-centered and practical courses for people in the public, voluntary and private sectors as well as parents and caregivers. Courses include a fee at an onsite facility. Training topics include, An Introduction to Mindfulness and Making Information Easy to Read and Understand
A training provider delivering online courses on autism for professionals working with children, young people and adults on a host of topics including, Autism Spectrum Condition Advance Level Training and Autism and ADHD
Offers a host of free one-hour webinars for teachers, professionals and parents. The website includes two series of one hour webinars on various topics such as, promoting inclusion, preventing bullying, and neurodevelopment and social competence in autism spectrum disorder.