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The Mary Poppins Approach

posted Dec 27, 2011, 5:26 PM by Susan Nguyen   [ updated Apr 19, 2012, 11:17 AM ]
One of the areas of Executive Function which figures greatly in our ability to “move forward” in all areas of our life, is called “Activation, Arousal and Effort”. This is the ability to get started, pay attention and finish a work. The controlling mechanism for this is in the  prefrontal cortex of the brain. People with ADHD often have difficulty with the areas of executive functioning due to a lack of neurotransmitter activity there. If, however, the activity is stimulating, the “neuros” are able to transmit exceptionally well, and PwADHD can excel.

The secret, therefore, is to find out how to stimulate the PwADHD into being excited about an otherwise boring activity. The answer can be found in the Mary Poppins Approach. “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Find the fun, and **snap** the job’s a game!”

Buying into the first premise, “In every job that must be done” enables one to confidently forge ahead in any task to find “the element of fun” in it. This is the Activation part. For example, I know there is something fun about getting my Christmas cards done. Therefore, starting to do them isn’t going to be a recipe for torture. Quite the contrary, I know I will enjoy it. I exercise a little bit of discipline in getting out the cards, and opening up my photo albums on my computer, and start the project. And yes, as predicted, picking out what photos to include proves to be enjoyable, as well as choosing a format in which to place them.

And so it begins. As I proceed with writing the short (very short as I want to be merciful to my card recipients) explanation of the photos, I find I don’t mind it so much. The finishing part of the activity involves mailing the cards. Initiating physical activity is not easy for me, but keeping in mind the “every” part of “every job” I muster up that little bit of discipline and step out the front door, leaving the car behind to walk to the post office. Walking, another “job” I usually dread,  is not so bad. In fact, I even take time to enjoy the scenery and fresh air. After I get back, I feel energized and ready to initiate my next activity.

Which happened to be..........writing this blog entry ;)