When you have ADHD sometimes paying full attention during small group studies can be a real challenge. Despite being interested in the topic and discussion, the mind can easily wonder. Being in a smaller setting makes it even more noticeable to others when you are not paying attention.
I have completed over 10 Beth Moore bible studies, but I can’t handle watching her videos; some of which are over an hour long. I lose focus less than 15 minutes into her talking. Thankfully I have her workbooks to keep me on track with taking notes. I find that it is much easier for me to watch her videos on my own during the week where I can stop them and take breaks instead of watching her talk continuously for over 60 minutes.
I’ve also been part of small groups where we take turns reading chapters directly from the bible or a book; this type of small group does not work well for me as I become impatient and then struggle with the urge to read ahead.
Our struggles are individual and varied, however, you’ll know you’re having trouble in your small group if you experience the following:
-Forgetting what it is you had intended to say in the midst of your discussion
-Interrupting others while they are talking
-Impatiently waiting your turn
-Reading your bible or small group curriculum instead of watching the DVD that is playing
-Growing easily bored with the topic your peers are discussing
Disclosure is important, if you trust your small group leader or facilitator, let him/her know ahead of time that you have trouble with Executive Functioning as a result of ADHD. Share with your facilitator some of the habits you might display so they know that you are not doing these things consciously or intentionally. When people don’t know about ADHD it can be easy for them to dismiss your symptoms as disrespectful or inconsiderate. You don’t have to share your diagnosis with others in the group, but I find that if they understand your challenges, it helps to decrease misunderstandings.
There are ways to help manage your symptoms during small group sessions:
–Time: Consider what times of the week and days are best for you. Maybe it is better for your to meet in the morning instead of an evening session where you are more likely to be tired, and your medication is starting to wear off. Are your times together long and drawn out, or is it short, yet effective?
–Be mindful of the study format: Does this group prefer book-only studies? Are they DVD oriented? Are there workbooks where you can do personal study during the week or take notes while you are with the group?
Physical Environment: Where is the group meeting? In a home, a coffee shop, or in a church facility? Consider any additional distractions such as pets, small children, or customers if you meet in an eating establishment. If these types of environments don’t work well for you, consider finding another location.
–The people: Yes, as Christians we are to get along, but that does not always happen. With ADHD, it is easy to become irritable, withdrawn, easily frustrated, and emotionally distant. If you don’t mix well with the others in the group there is nothing wrong with seeking out a small group with peers who you have more in common with or get along with. ADHD in adults is still misunderstood within our North American culture, and if those in the small group are not considerate and understanding of your symptoms you will have a difficult time with being in a community with these individuals. If those you are in a close group with are not accepting of you, it will make it a challenge for you to learn and grow in your Christian walk.