ADHD and teenagers communicating

Communication can be a challenge for most teenagers. It is a time when you are changing and developing into another version of yourself. Your interests and abilities are emerging and communication methods are changing as well. With technology readily available the ways in which we communicate have evolved and it can now be spontaneous and 24 hours a day. What we need to remember is that the rules around how and what is said hasn’t changed. We need to be respectful and aware of others in a communication exchange.


Knowing that you have ADHD you need to be aware of how it may impact upon your communication exchanges. Are you impulsive, hyperactive and inattentive? How do you manage this at home, in class, in the community and how would you manage at a potential workplace? The following are some expectations that those around you will have of you and some suggestions of how you might manage each one:

Listening to information

In class teachers may expect you to listen to information for up to 30 minutes or longer. Can you do this? If not let the teacher know and work out how you can get this information. Could you tape it and then listen to it in smaller chunks of time later with headphones on, so as not to distract others.

Presenting work verbally

Would you be able to present your work verbally and remain focused long enough to do this? Great if the answer is yes! If not could you negotiate to present via a video, tape or a mix of both and verbally.


Many classes are set work tasks for up to 50 minutes. Are you able to concentrate for this long? If not what can you do to manage this- negotiate breaks with your teacher, set a timer for your top concentration period then take a break and then resume the task once your break time is complete.


Are you aware of and or know what causes or make you act impulsively? Is it boredom, is it because you are distracted, is it because you just want to do something else or did a new idea just pop into your head? Once you identify what it is, work out a strategy with your teacher, classmates, family and friends that can help you to manage this.

Communication exchanges

How we communicate is important. Regardless of whether it is face to face with a person or via technology it needs to be respectful. It is not appropriate to interrupt or speak over the top of another person during a conversation. When using technology be aware of a persons’ right to privacy as they may not wish to be communicating with you on weekends or late at night.

Management of your ADHD is about communication. It requires you to communicate to those around you what you need to help you with everyday life. Communication is about respectful exchanges between people. If you have a further learning disability that you are aware of such as Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD)  or an Intellectual Disability(ID)  then there are further strategies to assist you with different aspects of communication.

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