Welcome to November. ADHD Awareness month may be over, but the 20017 International Conference on ADHD is soon upon us. CHADD and ADDA invite you to Connect and Recharge from November 9th through the 12th.
If you have to miss the conference, you can still enjoy ADDA’s podcast archives recorded for ADHD Awareness month. TADD Talks (Talking about ADD) are like TED Talks, only shorter, with presenters from the conference speaking. Two of my favorites each run about 8 to 10-minutes.
I didn’t discover that I had ADHD until my mid-thirties, but the clues had always been there. At school, I was the noisy space cadet who failed to wait her turn or stand in line. I struggled in a number of subjects, especially writing and homework. “Fails to meet expectations” was always the first comment on my report cards. College and young adulthood brought additional responsibilities and more opportunities to fail.
With marriage and children, my ability to manage my life effectively was marked by dumb mistakes and last-minute efforts that remained incomplete as often as not. None of my earlier “foibles” had been resolved and managing and maintaining a house while keeping myself on track was beyond my ability. I began to search for answers.
Turns out, I was actually good at finding information. I love research and learning in general and and have become pretty good at collecting resources. Utilizing my strengths helps minimize my ADHD symptoms and allows me to be my best self. Unfortunately, I was not as adept at putting what I learned into practice. As Russell Barkley says, ADHD is not a matter of not knowing what to do, it’s a matter of NOT doing what you know.” I needed an education in learning how my brain works best, to find the right blend of treatments and develop coping strategies that actually worked for my unique style of ADHD. Everyone must travel their own path from Discovery to Acceptance. Hope you like what I’ve put together for you this month.
The ADHDJourney: Help for the Road Ahead by Cynthia Hammer (If the link doesn’t work, copy and paste http://addfreesources.net/add-journey/)
Strategies for living a better life with ADHD – Because pills don’t teach skills.
For many people with ADHD, common problems include Chronic Disorganization of our environment, a lack of awareness of time, and problems with starting and/or finishing tasks. Lack of awareness of ADHD symptoms further complicates the issue. Not knowing WHY you struggle invites other’s criticism and causes shame and doubt that you will ever “grow up.”
Between high school and young adulthood, I struggled. Didn’t turn in one single English paper at college, kept changing majors and after 4-years of incompletes and credits that didn’t add up, I had nothing to show for my efforts. Outside of school, I often lost my keys, regularly ran out of gas, frequently lost my car in parking lots and worse, almost always neglected to eat on schedule. I had a hard time keeping a job, mail piled up, bills were often overdue, and laundry waited until I ran out of clothes.
But after I married and bought a house, I was lost. I bought a number of beginner cookbooks as well a many on cleaning and organizing trying to learn just HOW in THE WORLD other people could do it. A husband and children around the house REALLY complicated my life. I was having a difficult time meeting my own and societal expectations of womanhood. I just wasn’t “normal” and I felt like a failure much of the time.
I DID make it through some very busy years, but usually by “putting out fires,” rather than managing my days and tasks well or without a lot of negative consequences. I went into action in emergency situations, when feeling ashamed, or facing deadlines, but they were mostly hit and miss solutions. Sometimes, I was actually interested in getting something and could get that thing done, but regularly failed to deal with everyday matters. One of the areas I struggled was around the household.
WHAT I KNEW THEN
“The problem with dishes, “I would say, “is that you no sooner get them done than you have to do them again the next week.’ Some though that a great joke, but it was all too true. I kept searching for the elusive “Perfect” system to keep house and home together. I learned to clean using Don Aslett’s books in my twenty’s. I tried Sidetracked Home Executives in my thirties. Both systems were too much for me to handle. Some things stuck, but I never found something just right for ME.
After discovering ADHD in my thirties, my eyes were opened as to why my life kept getting “off the track.” Although I wouldn’t be diagnosed for 5 more years, I found a local support group htttp://addfreesources.net/find-support-for-adhd/ and began to learn how my “brain worked.” I discovered that I didn’t have to do it all myself and learned to ask for help.
In time, I developed strategies, until I had some semblance of order in my life. F.L.Y. Lady tips with Marla Ciley, became my go-to method by my forties. ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D. was also a great help. (Updated in 2016 to include apps, online calendars, and other computer or smart phone-based technology.) Most importantly, I began to accept myself, “warts and all.” My goal was no longer perfection, but simplicity and “good enough.”
Step-by-step, I began to create habits, use systems and build personalized routines that were unique to my needs and abilities. I’ve collected a number of goodies that outline ideas that have inspired me and provided a framework on which to build.
WHAT I KNOW NOW
ONE – Valuable Systems are the Keys to Good Time Management. You’ll find a great introductory article for parents, children, and adults with ADHD in Time Management – It’s a Family Affair by Coach Cindy Goldrich. Adapting systems to fit your own needs can be creative and necessary because situations change and we must adapt. See 80 Unusual ADHD strategies from ADDitude Magazine readers for a number of examples.
To design your own systems, ask a series of Who, What, When Where, and Why questions.
WHO is affected? WHO will do it?
2. WHAT needs to be done?
3. WHEN and HOW OFTEN?
4. WHERE will we do it?
Your needs will change and you may tire of some of your current strategies. Revise them by continue to ask yourself these questions to fine-tune your systems.
THREE – I already wrote to-do lists for projects, but developing a To-do list habit was a game changer for me. April Perry of Learn Do Become provides two basic starting points. I got these tips from a free video on their Facebook page promoting their program.
1st – Identify next action – Not the whole task, just the first step or small action that will get you through the job until it’s completed. Don’t worry about every step involved, just the NEXT one.
* Of course, this important step-by-step process is not-so-easy when you have ADHD. It’s harder for us to execute. It requires Executive Functioning skills that don’t come easy to many of us with ADHD. To control your list so it doesn’t control you, see From To-Do to Done by Lynne Edris. It will help you with this crucial first step of managing your To-do list
2nd – Use a Context-based To-do List routine. Create separate sections for:
FOUR – For a great collection of Planners, see Planners, Journals and Calendars – You can find many free To-do lists and planners and how to use them, as well as many available for purchase.
FIVE – I like visual reminders and keep a copy of this printout on my refrigerator. Simple Steps for Staying Organized -This printable from Andrea Dekker has become my housekeeping mantra.
SIX – The last few months, I’ve been following a simple housekeeping routine of 4 simple steps. I found them in an eBook by Dana K. White of A Slob Comes Clean. The most important point she makes is that you MUST do them EVERY DAY. (She spends a chapter for each trying to convince you that she really means EVERYDAY.) Get started by doing each task for a week. Only then do you add the next.
Do the dishes everyday. EVERY DAY!
Sweep the floor EVERY DAY!
Pick up bathroom (Not cleaning, just clearing out anything out of place.) EVERY DAY.
Make a 5-minute sweep of living spaces EVERY DAY
She claims that most other housekeeping needs are projects, different from routines, but made easier by having your basic needs met first. I don’t quite agree with all of this, but the everyday routine has been working for me in the last few months. Dana’s book, How to Manage your Home Without Losing your Mind, offers more reality-based homemaking tips. Check out her website for details.
SEVEN – Zen and the Art of Homemaking – If you need help getting started on your organizing “Projects”, see 18 Five-minute De-cluttering Tips to Start Conquering your Mess. Another article by Leo Babauta includes the self-explanatory, The Clean-as -you-Go Principle. Developing the habit of putting things away and cleaning up a bit when you’re done with a task can be a great time-saver. Personally, I follow a 30-second and two-minute rule by taking the time to attend to things in small increments of time. See Zen Habits’ Leave No Trace for more on this approach.
EIGHT – ADD free Sources on Pinterest! I’ve curated a number of Boards with hundreds of ideas on homemaking, organization, and getting things done. Many other boards may suit your needs as well. – I know, overkill for some of you, but it’s been said that the thrill of the hunt on is addictive for many of us with ADHD.
Next, Go for Progress,not Perfection. Start addressing your clutter and CHAOS. Take it Step-by-step with Marla Ciley with homemaking tips from the FlyLady. (Trigger warning – Take the daily shiny kitchen sink premise with a piece of salt. Once or twice a week is enough for me! But, developing some of her routines really worked for me, like writing down a simple 3-step routine for morning, afternoon and evening. I like this introductory video: Rockin’ Routines
The final video isHow to get Comfortable in the Kitchen. You might like this 8-minute video with Jessica McCabe and her guest on the How to ADHD YouTube channel. Make shopping and eating simpler and meals more interesting.
(Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva
I didn’t discover that I had ADHD until my mid-thirties, but the clues had been there. At school, Teachers saw a noisy space cadet who failed to wait her turn or stand in line. I struggled in a number of different areas as well, especially writing and homework. “Fails to meet expectations” was always the first comment on my report cards.
College and young adulthood brought additional responsibilities and more opportunities to fail. With marriage and children, my ability to manage my life effectively was marked by dumb mistakes and last-minute efforts that remained incomplete as often as not. None of my earlier “foibles” had been resolved and managing and maintaining a house while keeping myself on track was beyond my ability. I began to search for answers.
Through pure luck, I found a local support group with monthly speakers and a growing library of books, audio, and videotapes. The director of the group, Cynthia Hammer, MSW provided inspiration and help with her handout The ADD Journey: Help for the Road Ahead. Cynthia outlined 4 steps to the process – from first realizing there may be a problem through what holistic treatment for ADHD can do for you or your family. It’s a long article but covers what it means to find success with ADHD quite well.
Discovery and Diagnosis
For many of us, hallmarks of ADHD are Chronic Disorganization of our environment, a lack of awareness of time, and problems with starting and finishing tasks. Medication and other treatments help. For more on that, see A PHYSICIAN’S PERSPECTIVE on ADHD MedicationsbyDr. Ted Mandelcorn.But additional strategies to manage your life effectively are necessary. The rest of the Newsletter provides more specific strategies for restructuring your life and environment. You CAN live a better life with ADHD, but as the saying goes, “Pills don’t teach skills.”
At the age of 62, I’ve tried a number of ideas on how to keep my life and household on track. Some worked, but many were not very useful with ADHD symptoms confusing the issue. My feature article this month is a collection of resources I’ve collected that ARE suited to the way the ADHD mind works.
Manage your Life, House, and Home with ADHD– What I know now that I wish I knew then. –I’ve included ideas for Planning, To-do lists, De-cluttering, Developing Systems, Creating Habits, and building Routines. I’ve also included pertinent Pinterest Boards and a few videos. Many of the ideas, but not all, deal with keeping your house, home and family under control.
You might also like these Unusual ADHD Coping Strategies You Haven’t Tried. It includes 80 ADHD strategies for living a better life with ADHD from ADDitude Magazine readers. Adults and parents devised, modified, and refined these ideas themselves to work for them. They also recommend a few APPs.
Best tips for adults: For Disorganization, impulsive moments, and getting things done.
For parents: Discipline tips, getting teachers on your team, and tips for getting kids to sleep.
APPs 4 U: To do more each day, calm down, and to manage time.
“Too often being productive is the only measure by which we judge a man. But success can come in many forms…. “Who you are and your associated self-worth is not based on how well you do things…Learn how to focus on what’s important, so you don’t get emotionally hijacked by the expectations of inconsistent performance.” ~ ADHD coach David Giwirec
Enjoy ADDA’s TADD Talks (Talking about ADD) They are like TED Talks, only shorter, with presenters from the conference speaking. Two of my favorites each run about 8 to 10-minutes.
Parents take a front seat this month, but we’ve got a little something for everyone.
ADHD Awareness – Where can I learn more? and What does it mean for you?
Interventions to help increase performance
Being an effective advocate for your child
2 short informative, but fun videos for both children and adults.
October is ADHD Awareness month As the official website attests, “Knowing is better.” They cover basic information, provide personal stories, and are sponsoring a video contest that’s sure to entertain.
Try to find time for the ADHD Awareness Expo, from October 2nd – 17th. Watch at least a one or two of Tara McGillicuddy’s interviews with top names in the field at this FREE online event. Sign up now. Videos are pre-recorded and available for 24-hours after 12 noon each day.
Another online event is ADDA’S Daily TADD Talks! TADD recordings are like TEDTalks, but about various ADHD topics and only 9 minutes long . You’ll also be able to see many of these speakers in person at the International Conference on ADHD November 9 – 12 in Atlanta! Consider this an appetizer!
I first became aware of ADHD when I read You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Crazy, or Stupidby Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo. I ended up crying through most of the book. I had always known that I was a bit “different,” but never knew there was an actual name that described my personal foibles and disappointing failures. Amazingly, I found a wonderful Adult ADHD support group with a library of books, audio and video tapes in my hometown.Thus began a life-long path of learning to understand and live with ADHD.
II’ve collected a number of resources to inform and support diagnosis, treatment and other necessary services for children and adults with ADHD. I would get numerous calls a day asking for help to find Treatment and Support. This section also includes a money concerns section with sources for more affordable medications and mental health care.
Yes, having ADHD can be challenging but you CAN develop tools that help. We can choose to ignore our symptoms and roll with the punches or we can identify our problem areas and find ways to cope more effectively. Happy (aka Meagan) of Happy Hyper Shiny outlines a few ways she finds calm, keeps track of her thoughts and belongings and makes sure that things get done inADHD CHOICES: Things I CAN do!She says:
“I don’t have to subject my family to my crazy.”
“I am still a work in progress. We all are.”
“But my thought process has changed.”
“There is a lot more I CAN do than I give myself credit for.”
Are you learning new skills to help you design your life to work for your needs?
If you’re thinking of starting a side-gig or other project outside of a traditional workplace, check out these tips for Working from Home with ADHD by Sara Jane Keyser – It’s all about balance, organization, and planning, so these strategies are always good advice.
This summer I realized that I needed more structure to my days and started using a weekly planner with good results. Having a written schedule allows me to plan and execute projects more effectively. I have even keep on top of Important but Boring tasks by breaking them down into doable steps. Together, these small actions add up and have helped me get things done that I had put off for months and even years.
Emily Ley sells a good planner, but she also offers a collection of Printables that I like. (Basic, Simple to use and FREE) Another Printable, How to Eat an Elephant, can help you outline and plan large projects. It’s from Sidsel Dorph Jensen. Remember, with ADHD, it’s SO important to WRITE things down. Don’t depend on your memory. Keeping a to-do list or a done-list is a start, but there are many more tools to help you be more effective.
Have some fun with this ADHD song, music and lyrics by Josh Anderson. He writes, “I thought that I would put it up here for everyone to see. I hope that you like it! This is pretty much how my brain works every day!
For more great videos, from informative to inspiring, see our ADHD in Video section.
The number one thing that children object to is yelling. It’s perfectly understandable that a parent’s frustration with a child’s behavior spills over and out, but it’s scary and generally ineffective with children with ADHD at inspiring the behavior you’d like to see.
ADHD overwhelm is real. To survive, we think we must tackle the most visible of our symptoms, the disorganization, forgetfulness, and unfinished tasks first. But it helps to start at the beginning with basic self-care. I’m not talking about pedicures or spa days. Many of us neglect basic needs for supporting ourselves physically and mentally. We don’t even realize that they may be part of the problem and increase impairment from ADHD symptoms.
Yet, a poor diet, disturbed sleep, a lack of exercise, and not taking time for breaks are common problems for children and adults with ADHD. We also don’t make time to rejuvenate, to refresh our mind and bodies.
For this month’s newsletter, I’ve found a few good articles on self-care as well as a Printable on getting organized that I keep on my fridge and consult often. It’s not easy to develop new habits and routines to help carry you through the day, but it is possible. To remind you why the effort is worth it, I’m including two articles on coping with ADHD in the family. We all hope to feel safe and accepted at home, but a misunderstanding of behaviors caused by ADHD can evoke anger, judgment, and shame. Finally, I have a short video for adults and another for the kiddos.
For solid information on ADHD and the many ways it impacts lives, check out Laurie Dupar’s FREE “Succeed with ADHD Telesummit, “ July 17th to the 24th – 20 one-half hour presentations with 24 hours to listen to replays. http://succeedwithadhdtelesummit.com/Sign up now.
Enjoy the summer.
Take care of yourself and try not to get sunburned.
Welcome to summer. I still feel like having more than 16 subscribers is some sort of cosmic joke forcing me to write on a schedule. I’ve decided that instead of getting out a new post, I’d put together a short newsletter with a few things that I hope you find useful. Not sure just which way to go yet, so I am taking my inspiration from a quote by Sam Goldstein, a pioneer in ADHD research and treatment.
“The most important things we can offer Children and Adults with ADHD are Love, Acceptance, Respect, and Empathy… In the absence of these things, all of the Other things you do are unimportant.” ~ Sam Goldstein
So that’s the tone I’ll aim for. Please leave a comment and let me know whether any of this “hits home” for you. I’m hoping for one comment per one hundred subscribers. Maybe then, you’ll seem real to me.
Treating ADHD isn’t easy, but there are ways to make it a little simpler. One of the biggest questions remains whether or not to medicate. Fears of drugging your kids and turning them into robots may inspire you to look for alternative treatments. Some of them, despite little reputable proof of effectiveness, have gained a lot of attention. And that’s Okay. Research takes time and money. Some alternative treatments like mindfulness and Omega 3 supplements are showing positive results. If you DO decide to try medications, even the most experienced of professionals will be using a process of trial and error to find the correct medication and dosage that works for the individual patient. Each individual’s treatment must be tailored to fit their own needs – to address their symptoms WITHOUT causing intrusive side-effects.
Treatment for ADHD is usually multi-faceted. Whether you choose medication, dietary restrictions, neuro-feedback, or essential oils, treatment should also include education, support, parent training, putting new routines and habits into place, and behavior therapy or behavior modification. Whichever methods you choose, it’s important to track both positive and negative results so you know whether your attempts are really making any difference. You could use any of the ADHD Screening tests from my most popular page, but the Arlington Center for ADHD has developed Medication Effects Rating Scales for Children and Adolescents or Adults that will help you record all changes you observe and any negative side effects that arise. For children, the Weiss Functional Impairment Rating Scale will help you be on the lookout for your child’s emotional and behavioral response to treatment.
Don’t just rely on public opinion, popular media or on-line support groups for your information. I’ve put together a collection of reputable ADHD websites so you can choose those that most appeal to you. The more you know about how ADHD affects the brain and how to make that brain work most efficiently, the better your life can become.
An essential article to read is Secrets of the ADHD Brain by Dr. William Dodson for ADDitudeMag about what “turns on” the ADHD mind. Most people, he writes are “neurologically equipped to determine what’s important and get motivated to do it, even when it doesn’t interest them, but the person with ADHD “can’t get started until the task becomes interesting, challenging, or urgent.” Novelty or something you’re passionate about can also get us going.
We need to work with the ADHD nervous system to get things done. You need to find out what gets you “in the zone” and “create your own ADHD owner’s manual.” Taking care of boring, everyday, or mundane tasks is helped by creating structure – developing habits and building routines that keep you on a schedule and help you keep track of ideas, things, and upcoming tasks. These take some time to put into place, but you can make a big difference in your own or your loved one’s life through your ongoing efforts.
Even small changes can reap big rewards. This is how Leo Babauta of Zen Habits changed his lifestyle and embraced fitness – Small steps, one week at a time! He calls it leveling up. I used the same idea to lose thirty pounds two years ago. 7-Steps to Get Fit Gradually
Click through to see the full explanation, but these are the bare bones.
Listen to your self-talk.
Make a list of the tasks you need to do
Consider what help you can get.
Plan the day.
Write out the day’s route map
I’m pretty impulsive and tend to judge myself harshly for when I make mistakes, so learning to STOP first, take a breath, and get past my self-criticism and doubt freed me to actually take action. I had always made lists for projects but never thought of making one for each day. It’s called scheduling, but I had no idea how to do it. Learning to ask for help was tough at first because I thought that I needed to do it all myself to prove myself worthy. Mapping out what to do first, second, and next really helped with doing errands as well as finishing tasks. I knew I was getting better when I had my purse, keys, to-do list AND I knew where I was going — all before I backed out of the driveway! I’ve been working on strategies to manage my ADHD for over twenty years and I’m still amazed at what I can get done in 15-minutes that used to take me all day.
To people without ADHD, these ideas may seem ridiculous, but planning involves executive functions that just don’t come naturally for me or over 90% of people with ADHD. Executive functions are the complex management systems whose development is delayed in the ADHD brain. As these systems mature, you develop the ability to self-regulate, helping you to control both your actions and emotions. A good article with a graphic that may help you better understand this important aspect of ADHD is the Brown Model of ADHD by Thomas E. Brown.
Take it one step at a time. One day at a time. You don’t have to struggle so much.
You CAN live a life of grace and purpose.
I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment if there’s anything special you’d like me to address next time. Take care,
Welcome. Thanks for inviting me into your inbox. I’m new to having more than a few subscribers, so please bear with me as I try to figure out what you might be most interested in.
If you’re the parent of a child with ADHD, I have a collection of online articles, websites, activities, and videos that your kids might like. It’s been popular in Parent groups on Facebook this week. See my Kids ADHD Page – Things to read, do and watch.
I like Why I Chose to Medicate my Child by Dianne Dempster about how a family that eats organic and prefers holistic treatments for illness came to the decision to try ADHD medication for their son. “I knew that I could always have my son stop taking the medication; but, if he never tried it, I wouldn’t really know if it would help him or not…Ultimately everything comes back to my son.” If you’re considering a stopping medication over the summer break, ADDitude magazine has an article weighing the pros and cons of medication holidays.
For myself, as an adult with bipolar disorder and ADHD, one of my biggest challenges with the greatest reward has been coming to believe and trust in myself. “For many of us, with ADHD or not, there’s an underlying feeling of not being good enough, wanting to be better, wanting to be in better shape or better at things.” Unconditional Acceptance of Yourself by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits addresses that pain, helping to repair that feeling of being unworthy.
Getting the word out on feeling better about having ADHD, Kari Hogan of ADDing to the Mayhem shared 16 Steps to Better Self-Esteem with ADHD that details many non-medical treatments that will improve your daily functioning and make you feel more confident in yourself and more in control of your life.. (These ideas work for kids and teens as well.)
“Your first step is STRUCTURE.
By creating structure, each day, you’re giving yourself a reason to wake up and get out of bed!
The second step echoes the first step. Set up a daily to-do list. This will give you a sense of accomplishment (it gives you a reason to be proud of yourself).
Step 3. FOCUS on your good qualities…”
I have the feeling that this is just TOO much information but hope you will find something that meets your needs.
Can’t afford a personal ADHD coach? You have other options!
ADHD Coaching groups and other coaching options, including self-coaching.
Most ADD Coaching Groups are offered periodically by a just a few different coaches. To find them, your best bet may be Google or another search engine. I do know of a few regular groups. Some are rather expensive, but are still less than individual coaching and a few are quite reasonably priced.
Reach Further – Finally, a truly affordable ADHD coaching group offered by Jennie Friedman. Facebook community for accountability, online meetings and shadow coaching available a few times a week. Try the first month for FREE. Just $29 a month thereafter!
ADHD Coaching Corner – An informal women’s support group led by Elizabeth Lewis with coach Jennie Freidman checking in on Wednesdays. Meet Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Shadow coaching Saturday mornings. Currently just $15 a month, but that’s bound to go up.
ADHD reWired Coaching and Accountability group with EricTivers – Limited to 12 persons – Meet three times a week for ten weeks on Zoom – August 23 – October 27, 2017 – Price unknown – Requires an interview to get in and registration is confusing. Some discounts may apply
Virtual Online Group with Coach Rudy Rodriguez, LCSW – Meet on Zoom Mondays from Noon to 1:30 Eastern – Facebook for accountability. Includes two 15-minute private sessions a month. Folder and handouts – Starts in the Fall of 2017 – Limited to 10 members – Cost unknown
You are Not your Adult ADHD Workbook – Coach and organizer Sue West – Your roadmap to managing your days. It’s possible. In small steps. Workbook $27. For personal coaching, as well, price increases accordingly. $100 an hour
Maximum Productivity Makeover – Six full video modules with training manuals and workbooks. Accountability group page, Weekly emails to keep you on track – Coach Linda Walker – Self Study is $385
ADD Crusher – A virtual coaching program from Alan Brown. 10 sessions in two Videos with Audio Companion. Four hours of ADD-beating instruction. Plus, PDF Toolkits for each of the strategies (or, Ways), provide “crib notes” to help you put the learning into action. – $96
Cynthia Hammer, MSW was the founder of ADD Resources. Beginning as a single support group for adults in Tacoma, Washington in 1993, it grew to a national organization by offering educational events, building a strong web presence and providing valuable connections within the ADHD community. Ms. Hammer first led efforts to incorporate as the non-profit ADDult Support of Washington in 1994 and served as their Board President for 8 years. In 2002, they joined with the Seattle Adult support group, re-organized as Attention Deficit Disorder Resources, and expanded their focus to include parents and children. Cynthia became the Executive Director of ADD Resources until she retired at the end of 2007.
Cynthia had a knack for inspiring others to give of their time and talents as freely as she did herself. She built the organization one person at a time, finding speakers and authors, collecting volunteers and creating alliances that allowed a very small group of people to accomplish much with very little money. Until ADD resources opened its office in 2002, she shouldered the day to day tasks and relied on the Board of Directors and a solid core of committed volunteers for larger efforts. Later, the Executive Director would have at least one part-time staff member, an intern, or volunteer to help keep up with the many daily and larger responsibilities of keeping the organization functioning well. This may help you remember those who have served as the Directors and staff since 2002.
At different times during the last twenty years, I’ve been a group member, served on the Board of Directors, and worked an employee under Cynthia, and as a volunteer when Kathy Engle was the Director. I wrote an article for the new Director Meg McDonald in 2014 about the history, work and many of the people involved in ADD Resources over the years. I called it 20 Years a Fan.
Every event was a new opportunity to build awareness and confidence. These were great times, getting together with others who understood and had ideas that could change lives. Support groups were always free. Many people formed friendships that provided emotional support and validation that continue till today. In addition, ADD Resources sponsored a number of special events each year that attracted a wider audience. Here are the names and attendance numbers of ADD Resources’ Public Talks, Workshops, and Conferences from 1995 – 2011.
An array of knowledgeable physicians, therapists, coaches and professional organizers have shared their expertise with ADHD concerns over the years, covering a wide variety of topics suitable for both adults and parents. Many contributed articles for the Adult ADD Reader in 1993 that are still pertinent today. We had a great collection of reputable and interesting material that helped make our website such a great resource. We were also lucky to have a number of local professionals willing to present for support groups, at conferences and later for the bi-monthly Webinars. We owe them a debt of gratitude. Here are just a few of the many professionals who helped to provide such a wide breadth of material for us to offer.
We did host a final Conference with David Nowell, PhD, and author Gina Pera presented at a Workshop for Adults in 2012. We also managed a Couples Seminar with Rick and Ava Green from Totally ADD! in 2013, but the days of being able to attract a crowd to in-person events were over. We had already been turning to the internet as a means of providing education. Beginning in 2006, we began offering free Webinars and built an extensive library of podcasts available to members. By 2012, there were over 100 titles to choose from. For many, recordings were the most convenient way to acquire this knowledge.
Funding the organization, however, remained a problem which the Board and Director Meagan McDonald were unable to overcome. The office closed in the Fall of 2015. Despite their best efforts, the time had come to close down the organization. Thanks to all the Board Members – Past and Presentwho worked diligently to keep the doors open for so long.
After hearing about the closure of ADD Resources, I created a Pinterest Board using the Way Back Machine to document the people and work of the organization. Well done everyone! Working together, you’ve made a difference in the lives of many.
Note: While contacting people about this page I found out about the passing a great friend to ADD Resources, Nancie Payne. Nancie specialized in accommodations for the workplace. We could always depend on her to present at a local group, for a workshop or a conference. Nancie earned our Cynthia Hammer Award in 2010 and served as the Board President for Learning Disabilities of America since 2014. Please see Understood Mourns the Loss of LDA President Nancie Payne.
Joan Riley Jager – If you’d like to leave a personal message, you can contact me at email@example.com.
Won’t you please take a moment to honor the work of this fine organization? You may comment on Facebook or on our Memorial page.