When it comes to listening with ADHD, many of us have fallen short of the mark. But, in our defense, most students have never even been taught ‘how to’ listen well. Do you remember a class in school called ‘how to listen well.’ I don’t.
Listening is more than just hearing what someone is saying.
Hearing is only one piece to the puzzle of communication.
My mother is the superintendent of the W. Va School for Blind and Deaf. She has also been involved in Special Education for the better part of 3 decades. I’ve witnessed her negotiate million dollar grants, lobb y for fair testing and IEP’s, even be flown to the Middle East to create their first ever Special Ed school system. Earning the superintendent position before she knew America Sign Language (ASL), brought many challenges. As she became embedded in learning ASL, my family began learning ASL as best we could. Pay attention to this story.
Many people listening with ADHD can listen to a person talking to them while doing something else entirely; while staying involved with the conversation.
This was not true when trying to communicate with a deaf person. What I noticed was shocking to me. I had to force myself to watch, stay attentive, allow myself to be engrossed in the body language, the gestures, the facial expressions, the passionate inflections, and try my hardest not to miss one single movement.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that if I missed even one
single hand motion, the entire message was lost.
In fact, I find it very easy to focus on watching a passionate deaf person communicate, as compared to a boring speech from someone who uses their vocal chords and tongue poorly.
When it comes to listening with ADHD, one must realize that we aren’t working with an attention deficit – it truly is a surplus of attention. The inability to filter out all the distracting things going on around us can be overwhelming – until we are taught how to focus on purpose.