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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Find out what does ADHD condition mean, and how to support colleagues with ADHD at a workplace.

Last updated: 02 October 2023

What is an ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects children and adults and can impact various areas of life, including academic, social, and occupational functioning.

Individuals with ADHD may exhibit symptoms such as difficulty paying attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can persist throughout life.

In adults, symptoms may manifest as difficulty with time management, forgetfulness, restlessness, and difficulty completing tasks or maintaining focus.

How to support colleagues with ADHD

Here are ten tips you can use to support a colleague with ADHD:

  1. Support their routine, and don’t break it as this is very disruptive and unsettling for a person with ADHD. If they don’t have a routine, ADHD coaching is a great way to help them build one. Encourage regular breaks at least once every hour.
  2. Keep actions simple and make them time-bound to help reduce feelings of overwhelm.
  3. Play to their interests as interest generates dopamine, a key neurotransmitter that’s low in the brain’s of people with ADHD. More interest = more attention = more results.
  4. Be patient and understanding as individuals with ADHD may struggle with organization, time management, proof reading, and completing tasks. Be patient and try to understand that these challenges are not a choice but rather a symptom of their condition.
  5. Communicate clearly and directly as individuals with ADHD may have difficulty staying focused and may miss important details. If you need to repeat something, that is fine and don’t make the person feel bad.
  6. Break down tasks into smaller steps as large tasks can be overwhelming for individuals with ADHD. Breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps can help them feel less overwhelmed and more in control.
  7. Avoid distractions as individuals with ADHD may be easily distracted by noise or other stimuli. Try to minimize distractions in the workplace by providing a quiet workspace or using noise-cancelling headphones. Adjustments will be different for each individual and will require discussion about what these adjustments look like in specific musician-focussed contexts.
  8. Offer positive reinforcement as this can be can be a powerful motivator for individuals with ADHD. Offer authentic praise and recognition for completed tasks, and offer support and encouragement when they are struggling.
  9. Encourage the use of tools and strategies such as timers, reminders, and to-do lists can help manage your colleagues symptoms like procrastination and feelings of overwhelm.
  10. Avoid stigmatising language as ADHD is a medical condition, not a personal failure. Avoid stigmatising terms, such as "lazy" or "scatterbrained," and instead focus on the person's strengths and abilities.

Further resources on ADHD

The contents of this page was provided by Tristan Hunt.

About the author

Tristan HuntTristan Hunt is a renowned Music Industry ADHD Coach, working with Grammy-nominated, Mobo & Brit Award-winning artists and top brands like Pioneer DJ, BIMM, and Sony Music UK. A former AFEM Regional Manager, Tristan's two decades in the music industry and his personal experience with ADHD, dyslexia, and dyscalculia make him a trusted coach for artists and professionals with ADHD.

Certified as a Transformational Coach with specialized ADHD training, he is part of Sony Music UK’s coaching pool. He also has associations with industry giants like Lateral Mgmt and Infectious PR. His contributions to the Association For Electronic Music (AFEM) have been significant, from founding its Mental Health Working Group to serving on its Executive Board.

A recognized voice on ADHD and mental health in music, Tristan has spoken at global conferences like ADE and IMS and has been spotlighted in Billboard, DJ Mag, and the BBC. He holds degrees from Southampton and Birkbeck Universities, a coaching diploma from Animas, UK, and ADHD coach training from ADDCA, USA. Offstage, Tristan occasionally showcases his skills as a DJ.

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