Support group leaders are often the first friendly face that people associated with ADD Resources. Few have taken on the challenge. Yet, many have served for a number of years. Their commitment to the organization and members of their group is evident at every meeting. They must plan for, schedule presenters, and host welcoming and informative events every month.
Keeping the meetings interesting and on track, not allowing people to wander too far off topic and to keep peace amongst a diverse group, is a real art. For years, they also had to store and haul the group’s Lending Library, cartons full of books and audio and video tapes, back and forth to meetings. Facilitators provide new understanding and valuable tools for coping with the challenges of ADHD. Seeing and hearing about the positive results and changes lives of their members is their highest reward. We’re so grateful that they felt the position of leadership important enough to be worth the effort.
Has the quality of your life been changed by the services they offered? Maybe you found a treatment provider that finally understood? Perhaps you’re a parent who learned to advocate for their child who now enjoys going to school each day. Did you make a new friend or two – someone who understands the way you operate? Maybe you found a favorite book or listened to podcasts from their Members’ Library that helped you cope better with the challenges of ADHD. Did just knowing that you were not all alone make all the difference?
Your are the lasting legacy of ADD Resources. Won’t you please share a bit of your story?
Unrecognized, ADHD may damage lives and relationships. Diagnosis and effective treatment can bring understanding and healing. ADD Resources promoted ADHD awareness through their publications, website, and educational events. Yearly workshops taught teachers how to deal with ADHD in the classroom and the conferences helped other professionals learn how to deal with ADHD in their caseload. Through the ADHD Directory, they helped link you to the providers you needed. They also offered direct help to many people who’s lives are affected by ADHD. The opportunities for involvement, support, and education they offered through the years were numerous, especially to those of you who could attend a local support group and/or a special event they put on. Celebrate the work and/or people that made the organization special.
Since 1994, ADD Resources was there to help you find the information, advice and help you need to cope with the many challenges of ADHD. One of the best things was being able to call up and get a helpful and caring person on the line. With the office closing down, here are a few other ways to find quality information and support for ADHD. It won’t be the same, but there are other organizations that can still help.
( My Spam program holds comments for approval before they are posted. My apologies for the delay. I do monitor the site throughout the day. If this is a problem, Facebook may be the better option for you. )
Just after I graduated from college at forty, I found a note posted in the library about a support group for adults with ADHD. I’d just read “You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Crazy or Stupid?” by Peggy Romundo and Kate Kelly. Maybe ADD was one of the reasons it had taken 18 years to finish my degree. I thought I’d look into the group.
Within months, I’d begun volunteering for mailing parties and had been drafted to serve as a board member. Every meeting was a new opportunity for learning and each volunteer effort a time for sharing stories. I’d found a refuge where my talents were appreciated and my problems understood. I was not only getting better, I finally belonged.
Cynthia Hammer, MSW founded our first support group in Tacoma, WA in 1993. Established as a non-profit a year later as ADDult Support of Washington, Cynthia became the unpaid director. She and other professionals she’d approached to contribute compiled the ADDult ADD Reader to raise funds. In 1995, we started a quarterly newsletter, ADDult ADDvice, packaged it with the ADD Reader and an ever-growing lending library of books, tapes and videos as benefits of membership. We also began hosting public talks, professional workshops for treatment providers and teachers, one-day workshops for parents and others for on work and relationship issues for adults.
Many of our events relied on presenters speaking for gratis or at a discounted rate. For many years, all promotion, preparation, and hosting duties relied on volunteers and board members recruited by Cynthia.
2002 was a banner year. We merged with the Seattle ADHD Support group and changed our name to ADD Resources to reflect expanding our services to parents. By the following year, we’d opened an office, hired staff and hosted our first annual conference. I worked part-time in the office, taking phone calls and meeting new visitors looking for answers. A few became vital volunteers.
We also added additional support groups, 2 of them for parents – each with their own library. 2004 connected us to a wider audience with the new version of our website and the National Providers Directory. Cynthia wrote a monthly e-news. Just notes really, but always packed with new sources of information she’d found online. To provide support via the web, Cynthia approached presenters to provide free monthly podcasts. We soon added another each month. Over 100 are now saved in the Podcast/Webinar archives reserved for members.
Cynthia retired at the end of 2007. I left at the same time. Francine Lawrence replaced Cynthia, with Kathy Engle serving as the office manager. Kathy took over the reins as Executive Director a year later and managed the organization for 3 years. I returned to work with Kathy as a volunteer. The office was getting busier with more calls for help from further away. Making connections among the growing number of available providers and services available for ADHD showed how far the field had grown since the organization was begun. We started a Facebook page to serve a wider audience and opened an online bookstore which provided additional funding until Amazon began selling many of our titles at a better price.
Events were getting more professional but still depended on the kindness of local providers, both to present and promote. Board members and select volunteers provided hosting duties with the event facility providing basic services. Kathy Engle, Dr. David Pomeroy and other members of the Board of Directors also updated The ADHD Reader in 2011, seeking new articles on the latest information about both children and adults. Several new support groups were started, but keeping facilitators was a problem. We owe those who have served faithfully as group leaders a debt of gratitude.
Kathy’s departure brought difficult times. The duties of the director of a non-profit organization involve combining the support and efforts of many good people and transforming them into services that inspire and benefit many. Filling the position is not an easy task. For nine months, Steve Curry served as the interim director in addition to his full-time job. Brandon Koch worked part- time and we carried on as we were able. Thanks to hours of overtime, Steve pulled off the planned conference, but we had to close the bookstore and the lending library, and began using email and the answering machine to cover the hours when no one was in the office. Webinars also fell by the wayside. Many of the services we’d pioneered were now available elsewhere.
Laura Del Ragno took over in early 2013 but on a part-time basis. She had two months to plan, promote and host a workshop on relationships and we’d lost our office lease. Seeking to protect the membership section of the website, access to the many articles that had previously been public became inaccessible. Navigating the website became a frustrating experience. When Laura left, Brandon continued on, working with the office manager, Janice Tharp, and occasional volunteers.
Late in 2013, Megan McDonald was brought in as the new executive director. Due to the lack of continuity during the previous years, she and her staff have a steep learning curve. They need to recreate infrastructure, connect with old friends and supporters of the organization as well as redesign the website. Meanwhile, the board has been revitalized. They are asking for the help of volunteers and members to maintain and rebuild ADD Resources into a vital organization by providing both local support and information through web services.
We now host 6 support groups in Washington state including one for partners. Three more are planned to open by 2015. Working towards building the faith and loyalty of members whose support continues to drive the non-profit’s funding base will take time. But, with your help, those who work with and for the organization will be able to serve the ADHD community well through the coming years.
Editors note: Unfortunately, the organization was unable to recover financially and did close its doors in March of 2016. If you would like to share some way that the people or services of ADD Resources impacted your life, pleasevisit the Memorial page and leave a comment.
I retired last year. I still go the meetings every month.
Joan Riley Jager (2014)
Note: In the three years since retirement, I have curated a Pinterest page with over 15,000 pins about ADHD and related topics. I now have almost 10,000 followers. February 29, 2016
A series of short articles by Sarah Jane Keyser. Follow the links.
ADD has strengths as well as weaknesses; like heads and tails, you can’t have one without the other.
Attention Deficit Disorder is not an illness (in spite of the name) and there is no “cure”. ADD is a way of life, a difference in the way you see and move in the world.
You can learn to manage the world and use your brain.
There are many ways to train your brain. Usually, a combination of medication, ADHD coaching strategies, and exercise is most effective. Each individual needs to discover what combination works best for him or her.
Here are some ways that you can change your life:
Life Styles for ADD – You can do many things for yourself. A good program includes exercise, what to eat, how to breathe, how to get to sleep and how to enjoy.
Maintaining the Brain – If your car runs on two cylinders you take it to the garage. If your brain sputters take it to a doctor for a checkup.
ADD Coaching Strategies – A coach is a partner who guides you to new ways of seeing yourself and the world. An ADD coach who knows how ADD feels and understands the ADD brain can help you value your strengths and structure your life.
Celebrating ADD – Learn to appreciate the passion and sparkle which are the gift of ADD.
Published by Sarah Jane Keyser, Copyright 2006, all rights reserved. Learn more about ADHD at Coaching Key to ADHD
Permission is granted to forward or post this content in full for use in a not-for-profit format, as long as this copyright notice and full information about the author, Sarah Jane Keyser, is attached intact. If any other use is desired, permission in writing is required.
*** About Sarah Jane *** 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. Her credentials include ADD Coach training at the ADD Coach Academy, the Newfield Network’s graduate coaching program “Mastery in Coaching” and “Coaching Kids and Teens” by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett MCC. Sarah Jane is an American living in Switzerland who coaches in French and English by telephone.
“Image courtesy of mrpuen–FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva
Join an ADHD support group if you can. Realizing that you’re not alone and that others are facing common challenges is a tremendous step towards building knowledge and coping skills. Change may come slowly, but sharing the journey with others who have been through the ropes can help lift your burden and point the way towards new options.
Many groups also have a list of providers that have been recommended by members over the years. Those attending meetings may share the names of providers they are currently working with. If you cannot find a group nearby, try an on-line forum or Blog. See the bottom of the page for a few of these.
Ned Hallowell M.D. offers these tips for being a welcome member of a group in ADDitude Magazine’s article, “Your ADD Life.” (Link works)
“Save chatter for the right time. Some ADHD support groups schedule casual social periods along with group sharing, while others provide opportunities to mingle only before and after the official meeting.
Balance personal disclosures. Observe one or two meetings before jumping in. Sharing too much may make other members uncomfortable – sharing too little can make you seem standoffish.
Be supportive. Aim for a three-to-one ratio – three responses to others’ comments for every personal comment you make.”
Find a local Support Group
A search at Google
Try Support, your city, and ADHD (Because groups are often held in nearby suburbs, you might try your whole state instead of a specific city to find nearby groups, for example: your state, adhd & support (maybe include parent or adult)
Try Meetup – Find or start a Meetup group near you
ADDMeetup.com “Find Attention Deficit Disorder Groups Near You. Meet other local people dealing with ADD and ADHD. Gather to share your experiences, progress, and thoughts with one another.” Search by country then city. They have groups all over the world. 223 ADD meetup groups worldwide. Thanks to ADHD coach Pete Quily.
ADD Care Meetup Group Meet other local Parents and Caregivers of children with ADD/ADHD. Offer support and share advice with others.
Find Nationwide support groups
CHADD Directory – CHADD is the national leader in support groups. Current listings of their many groups. Most are for parents, a few are for adults but adults with ADD are welcome at all meetings.
ADDA Virtual Peer Support – Would you like to meet with other adults with ADHD without leaving the comfort and privacy of your home? ADDA members* have the opportunity to connect with peers for support in a safe non-judgmental environment 2 evenings a week. 90-minute phone calls every Tuesday and Thursday at 9 pm Eastern time. 5 pm Pacific. (*Membership in ADDA is $50, $20 for students.)
Reach Further – 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.
On-line support groups
If there’s no group meeting nearby, try an on-line forum or Blog. Here are a few possibilities:
ADD Forums – Very active and long lasting forum – Wide variety of specific online message boards just for: men with ADD/ADHD; women with ADD/ADHD; teens with ADD/ADHD; parenting issues; non-ADD spouses, partners, and significant others; careers and job impact; relationships and social issues. Additional message boards for those with co-existing conditions such as ADD/ADHD and: substance abuse, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, or autism spectrum disorders.