POINT OF PERFORMANCE
The Point of Performance is often overlooked, not understood or not valued enough in the understanding of behavioural outcomes in ADHD. What is Point of Performance I hear you ask? Professor Russell Barkley and Dr. Sam Goldstein state, ‘it’s the critical place and time for performing a behaviour or a task in a natural setting.’ AKA the point where the work or behaviour is being done.
I had a client that told me she had a cruel, cold child that is incapable of empathy.
I asked her why would you feel that – “because my dog died who had been part of the family for 18 years ALL of his life and he came home from school and his sister and I were crying on the floor –
he asked “what’s wrong with you?”
I told him about Jupiter and that he had died, he just shrugged his shoulder and said “Well he was old” and walked out of the room…
I said, “I see why that would be upsetting, but was there a time a few days, or a week or so later that he got upset and started crying?”
“Well yes, he did, he got really sad and cried and kicked his kennel about 5 days later,”
I asked “why did he do that?”
“because he wanted him to go down to the lake to play ball. They did this all the time.”
I said “That is empathy and deep feelings – it just happens for them at the point of performance. When they feel it.”
The point of performance is very vital to learn and understand, understanding this and implementing strategies can change everything when dealing with ADHD.
The son didn’t lack empathy, he wasn’t able to pull those feelings to the now – Executive Function- mind eye- self-awareness. The son’s logic was that the dog was old, and he did not show emotion from the pain of loss until he was directly affected from the loss. That is the point of performance, when they feel it, when you need to act, when the feeling is happening, when an action is needed to be performed.
ADHD-ers don’t have trouble knowing what to do but immense trouble doing what they know. There are many ways to have better outcomes at the point of performance. Working memory is an impaired area that helps maintain and keep important information in mind that is necessary to complete a task. Think of all the steps that are needed to get homework done… by putting cues and making it physically visual can keep them on track at the point of performance… you could have lists they tick off or reminders they can read to stay on track, such as don’t space out, read directions fully, check your answers, and ask for help when you need it, are all thing they could use to get through their homework. Each reminder should be designed to address the problems that each child is experiencing at the point of performance. Understanding and compassion is also needed from you when and if the appropriate behaviour is off at the time of your child’s point of performance.
ADHD children and adults are not cruel, naughty, lacking in empathy or intelligence they know what to do and even have all the emotions that are expressed in a situation, the problem lays in the timing and delivery of those emotions and correct behaviours.