Category Archives: Strategies

Tis the Season: ADHD Style

 

Tips for a happier, less stressful holiday season.December 2017

I used to love shopping and spent days searching for just the “right” gifts.  My holiday plans were exciting but very time-consuming and impossible to complete on time. I constantly overestimated my ability to cope with the additional stress of this time of year. Also, the post-Christmas “let-down” lasted through January and half of February. I eventually realized that extreme self-care was a necessary part of my treatment for ADHD and Bipolar Disorder. I now limit my activities to those that I value the most. Maybe simpler preparation and holiday plans can increase your holiday pleasure as well

I love my ornament collection, so I do put up a tree.  But I no longer shop or make gifts for most of my family and friends. Instead, I choose gifts of service or plan activities for just a few people. As a bonus, I can schedule them for a later date when I have more energy and time. I also continue to bake my favorite cookies and candy for holiday get-togethers. I bring to-go containers so my “goodies” do double duty as small gifts. (and I can’t gorge on them later!)

For many of us, adult and child, some of our traditional preparations may be too involved to handle gracefully.  This year you might want to explore creating your own traditions that better meet your family’s values, personal abilities and everyone’s need to feel safe and calm. Be aware that children with ADHD need regular routines and often struggle with transitions. Schedule your activities and allow plenty of quiet time.  Prepare for changes in routine and plan ahead for both the excitement of the season and downtime during school vacation. Holiday activities also bring additional social challenges for both you and your child. Come up with short explanations for the uninformed about why and how you and/or your child are best helped when problems arrive.  Your goals are comfortable stress levels for all and less friction at parties or family get-togethers.

My Pinterest Board, Holidays and Other Celebrations, covers many of the situations you’re likely to face.

 

The holidays are a time for giving, gratitude and granting forgiveness. If you’d like to encourage charitable giving as a practice for you or your family, print out the 30-day Kindness Calendar from Action for Happiness for some great ideas on ways to contribute.  find  photo kindness-calendar

 

Being thankful is also a great tradition that begins with Thanksgiving and culminates with giving thanks for holiday gifts. (Some of you may even still write Thank You notes!) But, did you know that making gratitude part of your daily routine is a wonderful way to start any day? Being positive helps banish negative thinking and the complaining that can be so damaging to our happiness. ADHD and the Practice of Gratitude by Kari Miller Ph.D. offers some ideas on how to get started.  She includes these 5 Ways to Develop a Gratitude Habit.

  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Make a gratitude collage.
  • Practice gratitude with your family or make it part of your nighttime routine.
  • Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
  • When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead.

 

If none of these suggestions fit your style, 3 Ways to be Grateful (That Don’t Involve Gratitude Lists)  from Jessica McCabe of How to ADHD has a 4-minute video of other ways to express your feelings.

Gratitude is also one of the 9 Ways to Get Organized with Minimal Effort By Donna Smallin Kuper.   She writes, “Be grateful for all you have – It’s more than enough. Remember that the most important things in life are not things.” Donna’s other advice includes:

  • Start somewhere. Anywhere.
  • Declutter in short bursts.
  • And let go of perfect!

Forgiving yourself and others can also help bring peace to your life and not just for the holidays. Practice letting go of the pain of being “different.” Forgive yourself any perceived ‘failings” you’ve experienced because of ADHD. Also, forgiving those who have denigrated or shamed us helps us better control our emotions. Remember that attaining this peace is a work in progress. As Sara Paddison says in Quotes for Forgiveness by Stephanie A. Sarkis, Ph.D. for Psychology Today,

“Sincere forgiveness isn’t colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don’t worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them.”

“Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time – just like it does for you and me.”

 

When it comes to understanding the complexity of ADHD, we must also forgive the experts who don’t yet have all the information we’ve been hoping for. But our knowledge is expanding each year. We’re getting a whole new view of how the ADHD brain works and help in discovering the best treatments. 6 Things You Didn’t Know About the ADHD Brain by William Dodson, M.D. and Thomas Brown, Ph.D., in ADDitude Magazine is A MUST READ article.  It contains new research on ADHD that helps details how the ADHD brain works and why the Executive Functions are affected. Furthermore, they explain the part of the brain that stimulants impact and that we now know some individuals need less medication than the minimum available dosages, while many others require amounts greater than the maximum dosage allowed by the FDA.

 

A better understanding of ADHD can change the way we react to people with ADHD. It helps us pause, show empathy, and problem solve together.  Danya Abram’s video on Facebook, Behavior is Always Communication from Lemon Lime Adventures is great for parents and teachers.  As she says, “It’s easy to look at these behaviors as just what we see. It’s easy to make assumptions about why our children are acting out or doing inexplicable things.” Like an iceberg, what you see on the surface is 7-times smaller than what lurks beneath. “I challenge you to look for the other 85%. Look deeper.”

If you’d like something for your child to do over their vacation, Danya has an awesome workbook for just $14, The Super Kids Activity Guide to Conquering Every Day: Awesome Games and Crafts to Master Your Moods, Boost Focus, Hack Mealtimes and Help Grownups Understand Why You Do the Things You Do

Hope you find some “treasures” in this month’s newsletter. Enjoy the holidays and I’ll see you next year!

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources.net

Title: (Image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva www.canva.com

Recommended Pinterest Boards:

For more ideas for gifts for both children and adults, try:

If you’re looking for items or activities for yourself, or other adults and children, see;

You can also find most of my boards on the ADD freeSources Facebook page: Look for Pinterest on the left side Menu

   

 

 

Newsletter: ADHD Strategies

From Discovery to Acceptance: Strategies for ADHD

 

Hello everyone.

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.

“ADHD Meds – Use Your Brain All Day!” (Copy and paste https://add.org/tadd-2017-adhd-meds-use-brain-day/)with Dr. John Bailey  and  From shame to compassion: Internal Family Systems and ADHD” with Michel Fitos, AAC

 

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.

 

  1. The ADHD Journey: Help for the Road Ahead by Cynthia Hammer (If the link doesn’t work, copy and paste http://addfreesources.net/add-journey/)
  2. Strategies for living a better life with ADHD – Because pills don’t teach skills.

Read the entire Newsletter here>>>

(If the link doesn’t work, copy and paste http://addfreesources.net/from-discovery-to-acceptance/)

If you or your children struggle with the upcoming holidays, see my Pinterest board Holidays and other Celebrations.

 

It’s good to connect with all of you,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources

Find us on Pinterest or Facebook

 

Manage your Life, House, and Home with ADHD

9 House and Home Systems for ADHD

What I know now that I wish I had known then.

I DIDNT HAVE A CLUE

 

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.

 

TWO- Hazel Thornton of Organized for Life has a wonderful series on developing Six Organizing Systems Everyone Needs.

She covers:

  1. Laundry
    2. Dishes
    3. Launch Pad
    4. Flow of Paper
    5. Flow of Things
    6. Getting Stuff Done

To design your own systems, ask a series of Who, What, When Where, and Why questions.

  1. WHO is affected? WHO will do it?
    2. WHAT needs to be done?
    3. WHEN and HOW OFTEN?
    4. WHERE will we do it?
    5. WHY?

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:

  • Home
  • Phone
  • Errands
  • Computer
  • To discuss

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.

  1. Do the dishes everyday. EVERY DAY!
  2. Sweep the floor EVERY DAY!
  3. Pick up bathroom (Not cleaning, just clearing out anything out of place.) EVERY DAY.
  4. 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.

NINE – VIDEOS!
The first is:  Making your bed EVERY DAY: the best way to start your dayAdmiral William H. McRaven’s commencement speech convinced me. You can find the rest of the Admiral’s Ten Tips on YouTube.

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 is How 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

 

 

 

ADHD Awareness – What next?

 By guest author, ADHD coach Jennie Friedman

 

October is ADHD Awareness Month. The latest and greatest information will be available to everyone with Internet access.  Myths will bust, and more people will get over the stigma that surrounds the condition.  And more people will discover that they, or someone they love, has ADHD.

We now know a lot about ADHD. It is a neuro-developmental disorder, which impacts the executive functions, a construct used to explain how the brain matures. These impaired functions of the brain are associated with activation, focus, effort, emotions, memory, and action. In other words, most of the skills needed for building self-control.

Change is possible though. The ADHD brain works by its own rules. There’s a perpetual need for stimulation or novelty seeking behavior that’s characteristic of the condition. Creating structure and developing routines helps, as does an interest in the task or subject, a sense of urgency, or immediate consequences or rewards for their actions to help successfully manage their life.

When someone with ADHD is not engaged, their symptoms include:

  • Distractibility
  • Poor Memory
  • Poor Listening Skills
  • Restlessness
  • Time Blindness
  • Intense Emotions
  • Chronic Procrastination
  • Poor Organization Skills

But, just knowing about ADHD isn’t enough. There’s a process involved after you first become aware. First, there is the issue of getting a diagnosis. Then comes the process of getting treatment, Medication, therapy, coaching, and/or other tools and strategies only work when they are used.

Some newly diagnosed people will mourn that they had not been aware of ADHD sooner. Others experience a sense of relief, that finally there’s an explanation, a reason, and it’s not their fault. There is also the question of who to tell and what can you expect from them. There’s your partner, the family, friends, coworkers, and others who will either be told or not and all of the rigmarole involved in deciding who knows what. Lastly, there are the challenges that persist after diagnosis and treatment and how to go about finding those solutions. It’s a lot to deal with.

Ultimately, there’s always going to be a lot of confusion surrounding ADHD. How it affects each person is unique to them. True, there are broad commonalities among the ADHD population. There’s the unusual way they process time, as well as how they have trouble prioritizing and organizing. And there’s the issue of not staying motivated and engaged with something; everything becomes boring at some point, and that’s when they can easily shut down. But the degree to which these things affect the person vary and the specific areas in which there’s struggle are unique to each person, so there are no rules. That’s why ADHD so confounding.
You should know that developing coping skills is ongoing. There’s no magic bullet to solve any of the challenges of ADHD because they vary from individual to individual. (Editor’s note: Although, utilizing their unique personal talents, interests, and strengths can be very helpful.) And, on top of that, many times, when a solution to one challenge comes about, it’s only a temporary Band-Aid until a newer, more interesting fix can be found. Each “fix” builds upon the other. 

Now you know the process to ADHD Awareness. Hopefully, this article will lessen some of the confusion. Enjoy the process.  Learn and grow in confidence that you CAN handle this.

Do feel free to comment below if you still have questions and/ or something to share.

By the author of A.D.H.D. A Different Hard Drive?  ADHD coach and podcaster, Jennie Friedman. Originally published as The Process to ADHD Awareness Month http://www.seeinadhd.com/process-to-adhd/

Hire Jennie as a personal coach or choose her reasonably priced group coaching program, Reach Further.  Listen to Jennie’s podcasts at See in ADHD as well as at Technicolor Mindset which offers group coaching for entrepreneurs and other professionals.

(Photos courtesy of pakorn/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva http://www.canva.com

Book photo courtesy of Amazon – Free with unlimited, $4 on Kindle and $10 in paperback

 

 

Increase On-Task Performance for Students with ADHD

By Mary Fowler

 

Whenever I present a workshop for teachers, I ask audience members to describe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in their own, non-clinical words. It’s been compared to a remote that never stops switching channels, the Energizer® bunny, loose papers in a strong wind, being lost in the fog, and electricity without a cord. Their similes capture the essence of the core symptoms of ADHD: inattention and /or impulsivity and hyperactivity. They also help us imagine what it must be like to have ADHD. They foster empathy and a desire to help.

Still, in the day-to-day grind of teaching, when problems emerge, our best intentions and sensitivities are tested. Wiggling, fidgety, loud, disorganized, disruptive, hurried, careless and off-task behavior coupled with messy, incomplete, or missing work are tough challenges in the classroom, even on a good day.

The chronic nature of ADHD school-related issues has been known to frustrate more than a few teachers (and parents). This frustration may have to do with the expectation that interventions can cure ADHD. They don’t and they can’t.

Here’s the real deal: the manifestations of ADHD are seldom (if ever) fixed once and for all because these problems often arise from environmental expectations, conditions, and triggers. Thus, these students are highly susceptible to the world around them and the world within them.

Most ADHD problems can be called “POP” or “point of performance” problems where students have difficulty being on point or on task.

What is on-task performance?
• Doing what you are supposed to be doing.
• When you are supposed to be doing it.
• In the way you are supposed to be doing it.

The “what” or “it” can be following a rule, working on a task, using a social skill, etc.

Some students lack the necessary skills to perform appropriately. Generally students with ADHD know what they are supposed to be doing. It’s just that where the rubber meets the road—at the point of performance—they lose traction and don’t do what they know. Distractibility, hating to wait, restlessness, losing materials, or missing pieces of the whole interfere with their best intentions to do what is expected and to do it well.

Typically, the off-task or off-rule behavior of students with ADHD is not a matter of choice. It’s a symptom of ADHD and an indicator that an intervention is needed. Here’s the good news: ADHD point of performance problems can be managed effectively (not to perfection). Most ADHD management is not a problem of knowing what to do. It’s a matter of doing what we know.

Here’s what you need to know and accept about ADHD interventions and strategies:

  • They have to happen in the here and now on an as needed basis.
    • They work when they are used.
    • Their use often requires coaxing and coaching from an external source (teachers, parents, peers, visual cues, and/or technology).
    • They may be needed throughout the school day, month, year, or lifespan.

Teachers often ask, “Shouldn’t these students learn to use these interventions on their own?” The point is this, if they didn’t have ADHD, they would be doing what they know! We can provide self-awareness and self-management strategies. Still, these students (and adults) will require coaching to do what they know.

In students with ADHD, “think first” or “wait” do not enter into the self-control picture. So what can you do?

A POP intervention wouldn’t try to curb the need and impulse to call or blurt out. Instead, the teacher would direct the student to write down the thought. Or, if the student has difficulty writing or is a young learner, you might anticipate and call on this student frequently (or immediately). Or, use a silent signal as a cue to wait. Silent signals work because they are visual and thus don’t compete with the words the student is trying to keep in mind the way your verbalization does.

For the case where the student is unsure or anxious about what to do, you may assure the student that individual attention will always be given as soon as everyone else is on track.

You might also try a technique known as the two-response answer method. Let students know ahead of time that you will be asking every question twice—even if the first answer given is correct. This method encourages students to listen to one another, signals students to wait, and allows students who might not volunteer to participate. It also allows you to call on reluctant students and gives them an opportunity to shine.

Raising a hand before speaking is a behavioral expectation. Behavioral expectations are but one type of POP problem. Off-task behavior is another. The first type of problem may be a nuisance, but it doesn’t generally have a significant impact on academic performance. Off-task behavior, however, is a significant academic issue. It affects all aspects of the learner’s performance, especially the quality and quantity of task output.

The GPS (global positioning system) is a navigational system that works in the here and now. It is goal-oriented. It is problem-driven and solution-focused. When a driver needs to know how to get somewhere, the receiver calls upon every positioning satellite in the sky to devise a meta-strategy—a plan. The GPS then monitors the course as the car moves along. The “voice” gives corrective feedback whenever necessary.

Let’s say you want to drive across the swamp. The GPS doesn’t wrestle with alligators it meets along the way. It doesn’t get hung up in the past and the future. The GPS lives entirely in present time and its aim is to get you to your destination (across the swamp) even if that means charting a new course.

Though I sometimes worry that one day my GPS will go “bonkers” because I’ve gotten so far off track, to date my receiver hasn’t lost its cool or showed any irritation. No yelling, no blaming, no shaming, no name calling, no idle threats, no long diatribes. When I miss a turn or get off track—it simply says, “Recalculating.”

Students with ADHD go “bonkers” when improving off-task performance requires teacher-driven “recalculations.” If you find yourself wrestling with alligators and drowning in the swamp, there’s an easy solution. Let go of the alligator: be goal oriented, problem-driven, solution focused and flexible. Be prepared to go back to the drawing board.

Remember, students with ADHD either lose sight of the goal (they fail to focus and sustain), or they’re not sure what the goal is (they have difficulty selecting the most important versus the most interesting information). These behaviors are not a matter of choice but rather an outcome of the neurological underpinnings of ADHD. Most students with ADHD don’t require different teachers. They require cool, calm, “recalculating” teachers who use effective and hands-on approaches.

There are three essential GPS components for all ADHD interventions:

  1. The scaffold—these are the structures, strategies, supports and skills you put into place that enable the student to improve performance. ADHD strategies are not so much an issue of knowing what to do but of doing what you know. ADHD scaffolds work when you use them. They belong in the here and now. Teachers often say to me, “If I do this for a student, then next year…” Or, “If I make this accommodation, what will happen when she gets to elementary school and beyond?”

Sadly, I have to report that when scaffolds are not used, student outcomes become predictably grimmer as time goes by. Furthermore, most adults with ADHD continue to need interventions and accommodations and some will seek the services of ADHD coaches.

  1. Ongoing monitoring—sometimes we select the wrong intervention. In general, ADHD interventions fail because their use isn’t monitored or adjustments are not made along the way. That approach is akin to fixing a leaky faucet valve without adding a washer or using plumber’s thread as a sealant. Monitoring behavior guides and directs the performance along the path. Be sure that you don’t confuse monitoring with “gotcha” or “see—nothing ever works with this student!
  2. Positive feedback—I once asked a student, “What does ADD mean?” He replied, “It’s just another way to call a kid ‘bad.’ I think ADD should stand for Adult Deficit Disorder.”

It’s no wonder that he came up with this answer. Recent research as reported by Dr. Sydney Zentall notes that 75 percent of the daily feedback received by students with ADHD is negative. Positive feedback helps them stay on the appropriate behavioral path and serves as a key performance motivator. Feedback encourages, appreciates, and supports the person.

In addition to using the global meta-strategy described above, here are some specific strategies you might try for some of the typical behaviors that interfere with performance.

For stimulation seeking—a lot of “off task” ADHD behavior has to do with stimulation seeking and the way stimulation affects the brain’s ability to focus and sustain performance.

The general principle of ADHD intervention for stimulation seeking is not to restrict it. Instead, allow stimulation seeking on terms that work for the classroom situation.

What do these students need to do?

  • ADHD expert Roland Rotz suggests “fidget to focus,” or allow movement through stability balls, treadmills, or frequent breaks. You can also provide manipulatives, such as stress balls, toy animals, or plastic tangles. (AKA as fidget toys or tools)
    • Add or allow arousal ingredients to tasks. (Reduce arousal if it’s too high with quieting activities.)
    Use color (e.g., overlays for the last third of a reading page).
    • Use manipulatives (or fidgets) for tasks—Legos®, Wikki Stix, or colored markers.
    • Switch between high interest/low interest tasks.
    Create interactive lessons with games.
    • Eliminate rushing by removing all external incentives to finish quickly.

For getting and keeping their attention—students with ADHD, like all living beings, are always paying attention. The question is what’s getting their attention? The attentional problems of these students tend to rotate around three concerns: figuring out what to pay attention to, determining what’s important versus what’s interesting, and staying the course until completion of the goal. These learners will find it difficult to set goals, prioritize, and say “No” to distractions. Once their minds wander, they often can’t find their way “home”—home being where they are supposed to be focusing their attention. Home may be obvious to you, but it is not to them.

What can you do to get and hold attention?

  • Add interest and novelty to all tasks.
    • Talk less and do more.
    • Use silent signals to redirect attention.
    • Use specific directives
    Simplify visual presentations.
    • Make task structures clear.
    • Highlight directions and give them one at a time.
    • Microsize—break all tasks down into manageable parts, monitor each phase, and provide positive feedback.
    • Use self-monitoring strategies—tracking time on task, timers, graphing daily performance.

For working memory and executive function issues, imagine if you had trouble saying “No” to distractions but still had to keep certain information in your mind so you could complete a task. For instance, you’re silently reciting a new phone number you want to program into your phone and the phone rings. If you’re at all like many people, if you haven’t written that number down, you know where it goes—somewhere far and away probably never to return again.

Now imagine that you have ADHD and your attention constantly gets pulled to an internal or external distraction and needs to be redirected. Like these students, you’d probably lose a lot of information from your mental desktop—that place known as working memory. You can tell working memory (or working with memory) has been disrupted when you catch yourself saying, “Now, where was I?”

Working memory allows us to hold information in mind while we work with bits and pieces of it or with something else entirely until we are ready to come back to the info on the mental desktop and use that information to complete a task. This can be tough enough for many of us. Now, add some impulsivity—the hate to wait and rush through without thinking through—part of ADHD. Couple that with some hyperactivity and shifts in attention and focus. The effect is not surprising. Working memory affects many aspects of task performance for students with ADHD.

To my mind, working memory issues certainly make a compelling case for having a “GPS system” in the day-to-day management of ADHD issues.

What can you do?

  • Externalize. If it can be held in mind, it can be written down to hold it in place—dry erase boards, cue cards, posted formulas, rules, etc.
    Use models, rubrics, timelines, planners, graphic organizers, checklists, daily action plans, and step-by-step guides.
  • Use color—it attracts attention, categorizes, distinguishes objects, and helps with organization.
    • Design and monitor organizational routines—and make time for them to be used.
    Post the daily schedule.
    • Provide note-taking assistance to the degree necessary.
    Use peer support when appropriate.
    • Train mnemonic strategies, e.g. POW—plan, organize, write.
    • Make and use flash cards.

ADHD is not easy to manage. Yet, it is a highly manageable condition. We can’t cure it, but we can enable students to reduce any disabling effects of this condition. We simply have to do what we know. “Doing what we know” may seem like a Herculean task. In practice, it’s using an ounce of prevention rather than a pound of cure.

In all my workshops, I invite teachers to commit to this simple intention:

I will act as though what I do makes a difference.

When we are not making the difference we want to make, we don’t change the people around us. If we change what we do, the people around us change as a result.

 

Share what you did with me and I’ll pay your experience forward. Write mary@maryfowler.com

 

By Mary Fowler http://www.maryfowler.com – Mary trains educators and parents on ADHD, emotional challenges, and classroom management practices. An internationally recognized expert on ADHD, she is the author of four books, including the bestseller, Maybe You Know My Kid (3rd edition), Maybe you Know my Teen, the original CHADD Educators Manual,  and my favorite introductory book for parents 20 Questions to Ask If Your Child has ADHD.

 

Reprinted with permission. Original source: How to Increase On-Task Performance for Students with ADHD?  Originally published in the New Jersey Education Association’s Review in March, 2010 www.njea.org/njea-review

 

 

20 Questions to Ask If Your Child has ADHD  – “Think of this book as facts with personality. Answers are written in an easy-to-read, conversational style from a parent who’s been there”. Organized into four easily manageable categories:• General/Medical Information • Social/Emotional Well-being • Home Issues • School Issues. ($10 on Kindle – $13 for paperback)

 

 

 

(Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freeDigitalPhoto) Modified on Canva – http://canva.com

 

 

 

 

ADHD Life: September 2017 Newsletter

September 2017

Hello again,

Summer is almost over and school is in session again. But, none of us really stops learning. When you’re dealing with ADHD, your need to know more AND to apply that knowledge in your family or work life never ends.

What are YOU doing to increase your understanding of ADHD? Is there room for improvement in your response to your children or how you react in daily life? You can continue to struggle or choose to learn more to help yourself and your children. Everyone deserves to thrive with ADHD and find success, but it takes work. Are you learning new skills to help you design your life to fit your needs?

We have a number of resources this month from ADHD Parent coaches. Yafa Luria Crane expands on a textbook understanding of ADHD and reveals what’s REALLY going on beneath the surface. Diane Dempster from Impact ADHD shares parenting strategies you may have thought of yet. Cindy Goldrich has organization tips for kids.

I wish that I would have read these years ago when I watched my nephews every summer. Instead, I judged their actions and my own lack of control over their behavior as moral and personal failings. In my ignorance, I even called them the “nephews from hell.” With understanding and practice, you don’t have to repeat that mistake with your own children.

Nor do you need to bear the burden of condemnation that I piled on myself for so long. I didn’t know why I struggled or what to do about my chronic disorganization, lack of follow through and emotional distress brought on by worry and frustration.  The good news is that once you know what’s causing the problems and get some ideas on how to handle them, you can learn to “live well” with ADHD. Our guest blogger this month talks about the role of making good choices in managing ADHD symptoms. We CAN learn to change our mindset and environment to successfully navigate through our ADHD life at home and work.

Check out of videos this month as well. One’s just for fun, but I found a great collection for parents in need of answers as well.

Continue reading Newsletter here >>>>

 

As always, see our Pinterest boards and Facebook page to further your understanding of ADHD and learning new ways to take care of yourself and your family.

Enjoy the last gasp of summer. Be well,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources

 

(Photo courtesy of arztsamui/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva.com

 

Continue reading Newsletter here >>>>

ADHD Life: Beyond a Textbook Understanding

Never stop learning and adapting. September 2017

 

None of us really stops learning. And, when you’re dealing with ADHD, your need to know more AND to apply that knowledge in your family or work life never ends.

Our feature article this month, “Think you Understand ADHD? Don’t leave out the best parts!” by ADHD Parent coach and educator, Yafa Luria Crane, MA, MS, MEd, helps clear up some common misconceptions about ADHD.

Talking about ADHD as a deficit is not the only, nor the most helpful, way to think about ADHD. The best understanding is comprehensive – it is a biological, mental, and emotional difference.”

“We don’t need a “cure” for ADHD – ADHD is our genius. We need support… But every human, including the coolest, most successful people in the world, needs support.”

Parents need support too! On Facebook, the Honestly ADHD Parent Support group and Impact ADHD Parent community are both quite good. For other online and in-person to meet your needs see: Find Support for ADHD.

Diane Dempster, another Parent coach and co-founder of Impact ADHD,  shares 5 Tips to Make Life Easier as an ADHD Parent.

For more specific strategies for your children for school or at home, see Organization for Children: Supporting Executive Functions by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M, ACAC.

 

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 in ADHD 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.

 

 

FREE Resources

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.

For other ideas, from the simple to the more complex, see my latest Pinterest Board, Planners, Journals, and Notebooks.

 

Videos:

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.

 

I found a great Resource for Parents from our guest author, Yafa Crane Luria, MA, MS, MEd,  ADHD Parent coach, and educator. Her ADHD Question and Answer Video Collection  offers over 100 short videos about parenting children with ADHD.  For more information and freebies, see her blog, Blocked to Brilliant: Parenting your Awesome ADHD Child.

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.

How do I stop yelling? (3-minututes)

Another all too common parenting response may be spanking. But, is it effective? Or does it only cause harm?  “Is it ever Okay to spank your ADHD child?”  (1 ¼ -minute)

Yafa also offers a full-length parent training video on YouTube (1 ½-hours)

Easiest Ways to Motivate your ADHD Child or Teen

 

See our Pinterest boards or Facebook page for more resources to add to your understanding of ADHD and to learn new coping skills for yourself and your family.

Thank you for your time,

Joan Jager

 

(Title Photo courtesy of arztsamui/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva.com

(Parenting Photo courtesy of Photostock/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva.com.

(Working Photo courtesy of Vlado/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva.com

6 Tips for Working at Home with ADHD

Enthusiasm + Strategies for organization = Success

By Sarah Jane Keyser

Enthusiasm + Strategies for organization = Success

 You have a great idea! Making jewelry, children’s games, or the best widgets ever, and you want to do it from home.

I worked at home for years. I dropped the kids at nursery school, drove to the office, ran my programs on the computer, grabbed my listings, collected the kids and studied my results at home for the next day. My work as a computer programmer was ideal for telecommuting.

Today with the internet, creating your own business right from home is a real possibility. It means less time wasted in commuting hassles (saves gas too), and precious time used more efficiently, but it is a lot of work.

What does it take to start your own business? First, of course, you need an idea, but it takes more than an idea to create a business. Successful entrepreneurs have strong internal motivation. They are able to set goals, schedule time, meet deadlines and communicate regularly with partners about problems and progress.

What happens if you have ADHD? Organizing, planning, deciding, and managing time, are usually very difficult for people with ADHD.

Hey! ADHD is where you get all those ideas, enthusiasm, energy, the very ingredients you need for success. Yes, you still need good strategies for organization and time management just like everybody else.

Here are some tips to keep ADHD from turning dreams into nightmares:

  1. Set boundaries. The whole family must respect your work time. Children have difficulty accepting that Mom is home but not there; get a baby sitter if you must. Keep a clear division between home and work papers including bills and financial documents and material such as telephone and computer usage. Your accountant will love you.
  2. Get started. Do you waste a lot of time messing about? That nasty commute you want to avoid is actually a useful transition from home to work. I plan fidget time; it helps me to get started in the morning or to switch from one task to another.
  3. Curb perfectionism. Know when to stop. When in doubt, ask a partner or a colleague to do a reality check on what more you need to do.
  4. Stay on task. Do you wander from one task to another and find at the end of the day that you haven’t done half of what you planned? Set a timer to go off every hour. When it rings, check that you are doing the task planned and review the agenda for what’s next, or try a vibrating watch to refocus your attention. With practice, you will learn to control your attention without the fireworks.
  5. Delegate. One big problem for many entrepreneurs is trying to do it all. Everything is in your head and it’s difficult to trust others to do it the way you want it done. With ADHD, it’s important to recognize your weaknesses and find someone who is good at doing what you can not like accounting.
  6. Regulate your energy level.Accept that you aren’t always going to be in racing form. We all have good moments and less good moments. I have to take time to recharge my batteries with a cup of tea or by walking the dog. These are the moments when I get my best ideas. Schedule time to eat, exercise, sleep and relax. You’ll still have time to succeed.

Now you are all set. On your mark, Go.

In a nut shell :

  1. Set boundaries: keep work and home separate
  2. Getting started: allow time to warm up
  3. Curb perfectionism: know when to stop
  4. Stay on task: do what works to stay focused
  5. Delegate: Let others do things you are not good at
  6. Regulate energy: respect your natural rhythm

 

About the author: ADD coach Sarah Jane Keyser worked for many years with computers as a programmer, analyst, and user trainer, but her struggle with inattentive ADD kept getting in the way of her plans and dreams. Once ADD was identified and the great need that coaching filled, she added ADD Coach training in preparation for a new career. Her credentials include ADD Coach training at the ADD Coach Academy. The Newfield Network’s “Mastery in Coaching” and “Coaching Kids and Teens” by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett MCC. Sarah Jane coaches in French and English by telephone. (Re-published with permission)

Source: http://www.coachingkeytoadd.com/stories/workfromhome.html

Learn more about ADHD and contact Sarah Jane at Coaching Key to ADD

(Photo courtesy of Vlado/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva.com

 

ADD freeSources News – May 30, 2017

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.

When you think about ADHD, the controversy about prescribing stimulant medications is paramount in most people’s minds. The decision to medicate is intensely personal and not an easy choice to make. Dr. Ted Mandelkorn graciously let me re-post an extensive article that will increase your knowledge: A PHYSICIAN’S PERSPECTIVE on ADHD Medications – Therapeutic Treatment of ADHD.  Also, Gina Pera wrote a great article this month for ADDitude on 10 Medication Fallacies even Doctors Believe. 

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.

Joan Jager
ADD freeSources.net

Follow ADD freeSources on Pinterest or Facebook.

20 Momentum Strategies to Combat Procrastination

Lack motivation? Okay. What you need is movement.By ADHD Coach and Organizer, Sue West

Procrastinating or just have no motivation today? Here’s a quick list of 20 strategies to get yourself moving, so you can catch a bit of momentum. As you gain momentum, often you’ll just keep going. You may or may not “find” motivation, but momentum is what’s needed. Not every task you work on “needs” motivation. That’s a feeling, right? What you need is movement.

The Practical Momentum Strategies

1. What’s the most interesting part of the project? Start there.

2. What part of the project will you be best at? Start there.

3. Play first. Get it out of your system. (Set a timer to stop the play though.)

4. Do the difficult first, with “play” as the reward.

5. Set a timer and stop at the end of 5-15 minutes, just enough to get you started.

6. Write or draw out your list of steps and take just the first small step. Just one.

7. Change your environment. Go to someone else’s office, a coffee shop, a library and use the change in environment to wake up your mind.

8. Listen to music (instrumental), TED talks, a book, or a class while you work. Yes, the choice is important, of what you listen to and what you choose to work on. It takes some thought.

9. Work on the tedious tasks while someone else comes to your office or home (e.g., bookkeeper, cleaning service, assistant). Use their presence to focus you on your own task. Or while your children do their homework.

10. Talk through your project with someone else first.

11. Read about how others have handled this project – the experts.

12. Hire it out.

13. Can you work in a team for support on at least one piece? Connections can give you momentum to keep going.

Lack motivation? That’s Okay. What you need is movement.The Psychological, Emotional, and Self-Talk Strategies

1. Ask yourself: Why am I not starting? What am I afraid of?

2. Say something like: I know how to do this. I know I can start it, just dip my toe into the water and see what’s there.

3. Ask yourself: Have I already made some decision? Do I need to let this go?

4. Ask yourself: What is the best and worst that could happen? What are the benefits of starting now versus waiting?

5. Break up the work so you can set small, interim deadlines before the big, looming one.

6. Self-care: Sometimes it’s the rest of your life which is draining your mental energy. Focus on self-care first.

7. Have you ever had this happen before on a similar task? Think about what you did to get started.

A psychologist once told me that you can either start with the practical to get traction, or you can start with the psychological. Either way, both are key elements. So start at one end and work towards the middle and you’ll get what you need.

 

 Guest post by Sue West – Certified ADHD coach, Certified Coach Organizer, Master Trainer in chronic disorganization.  President of the Institute for Challenging  Disorganization – 2015 to present.   For more about Sue and contact information, see: CoachSueWest.com 

Original source

 

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