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
ADHD coach Sarah Jane Keyser offers a similar process to be more productive and to make your days go smoother in 6 Steps to Survive ADHD Overwhelm – Learn to Plan your Day.
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,
All photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Modified on Canva