Everyone has trouble being motivated at one point or another. But imagine how hard it is to feel motivated when much of what you try regularly goes awry. While everyone makes mistakes students with ADHD have distractibility and memory deficits that lead to frequent mistakes, and the subsequent correction from parents and teachers.
This can lead to low self-esteem and defeatism, but not if the people around the student use these eight simple rules that can defend your child (or anyone you know with ADHD) against giving up in the face of these types of challenges.
We can remember the rules by using the acronym DELICATE.
D is for DECREASE
Always point out when the number of mistakes decrease. The more practice, the fewer mistakes!
E is for EXPECTATION
Anyone would be less likely to be discouraged by mistakes if they realize that mistakes are to be expected. Look at a pencil! The inevitability of mistakes is why pencils have erasers!!
L is for LEARNING OPPORTUNITY
The only difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is how it is defined. Any mistake can be used as a learning opportunity. Success means making progress-not being perfect.
I is for INCOMPLETE
When a mistake is made, don’t regard it as a mark of failure, but as an indication that a project remains unfinished: There is more work to do, more to learn from this project.
C is for CAUSE
Since we know that mistakes are inevitable, and that every mistake is a way to learn more, take the time to think about the cause when a mistake is made. What is causing trouble or confusion that caused this mistake? What can be learned to improve going forward?
A is for ACCIDENT
And sometimes mistakes are just accidents. Making a mistake can be a way to learn something or show that more can be learned, but it is not a judgment on the person who makes the mistakes. Making a mistake does not make a person bad.
T is for TEMPORARY
Mistakes are not the end of the story. They can happen at any point along our journey and are only temporary. They can teach us something, so slow down and learn from them to move ahead with confidence later.
E is for EFFORT
We can’t make mistakes if we aren’t trying. The very fact that a mistake was made means that effort has been expended. Effort is good, and proof that one is trying! The only way to avoid mistakes is to stop trying, which will not help you improve.
By applying these eight concepts to mistakes we can change our attitude towards our own mistakes, and can support all students, especially those with ADHD challenges, when mistakes are made. This development of a “can do” attitude is helpful for all of us!