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Updated 08 October 2015

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Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 7 years old. At age 13 he stopped taking stimulant medication.

His Mom, Debbie, shared her tips for helping Michael stay focused by tailoring his interests. At swim meets, Debbie gave him a signal from the sides when he showed signs of frustration – she made a 'C' with her hand, which stood for “compose yourself.”

When Michael kept grabbing a classmate’s paper, Debbie asked that he be seated at his own table. When he moaned about how much he hated reading, she started handing him the sports section of the paper or books about sports.

When Michael’s attention strayed during maths, she hired a tutor and encouraged him to use word problems like “How long would it take to swim 500 meters if you swam three meters per second?”

She told ADDitudeMag: "All kids can fail us at times,” she said. “But if you work with them, nine times out of 10, they’ll make you proud.”

Head on over to our ADHD Centre for more on managing the condition.

 
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