What if, every day, you were asked to do all of the things you just weren’t good at—obligations that you found so onerous, you would gladly pay someone else to do them for you? Scrubbing the toilet, mowing the lawn, hosting your in-laws, cleaning out the basement—how far would you go to avoid them? Would you put them off? Maybe even tell a few white lies?
For many students coping with executive function challenges, ADHD and other learning disabilities, those types of tortuous tasks would include organizing, planning, initiating projects, completing homework, reading long tracts of text, studying, taking notes, and remembering to turn in assignments and prepare for tests. And almost every day during the school year, that’s what they’re asked to do. Is it any wonder that students avoid those obligations, procrastinate, and even resort to lying in order to escape the frustration and aversion that schoolwork can generate?
Students with learning differences don’t lie and evade because they are morally deficient. For them, it’s simply a coping mechanism. Parents and teachers can help students address this issue and change the cycle with simple tactics. Watch for patterns related to this type of reaction and try to disrupt them, work to remove the shame of lying by showing that you understand the situation, remember that the behaviour isn’t personal, try to avoid situations where lying becomes the only option, and help the student recognize and strategize for ways to manage the problem more effectively the next time around. This piece on understood.org offers some helpful tips and guidance.