ADHD Awareness – Understanding + Intention = Positive Change

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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!

ADDitude Magazine offers advocacy and stigma-busting tips in their ADHD Awareness Month Toolkit and by sharing 31 truths about the condition.

***My own ADHD Awareness board on Pinterest also offers a lot of good material.

I first became aware of ADHD when I read You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Crazy, or Stupid by 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.

I’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.

In ADHD Awareness: What’s Next?  Coach Jennie Friedman of See in ADHD describes the benefits of providing new understanding about ADHD.  “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.”

“But, just knowing about ADHD isn’t enough.” Becoming aware is just the first step to getting effective treatment for ADHD, The benefits can be life-changing, but there are a number of practical and emotional issues involved in the process…. The way that ADHD affects each individual varies and the specific areas in which there’s struggle are unique to each person.” There are no hard and fast rules.”

Kristi Lazzar. writing for ADHD New Life Outlook, says, “It’s so important to get diagnosed…Everything about yourself that you, or others, never understood starts to make sense.” In Learning to Accept Myself After my ADHD Diagnosis, she wrote, “I could finally be myself and stop wondering why I couldn’t be like everyone else. I could stop the self-loathing. I now had a name for my behaviors, which gave me something to work with…  It’s okay if I have my quirks — it’s who I am. Getting a diagnosis gave me that, and I will be forever grateful.”

 

To explore further, see my Pinterest boards, ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment, Undiagnosed + Untreated ADHD = Unfortunate, and ADHD from the Trenches.

 

Another featured author this month, Mary Fowler, shares ADHD challenges and accommodation strategies in her mini-workshop for teachers. First, we must understand,” she explains, that most ADHD management is not a problem of knowing what to do. It’s a matter of doing what we know.” Mary describes in detail many specific tools to help children “do what they know” through simple support techniques in Increase On-Task Performance for Students with ADHD 

But, DO NOT expect that using these ideas just a couple of times will change their behavior in the near future. That’s like expecting a child in a wheelchair to get up and walk up the stairs because they’ve used a ramp for a while. People with ADHD need Point of Performance or P.O.P. interventions to “do what they know” It’s not a lack of knowlege, but  an inability to perform mundane or confusing tasks at an assigned time that is affected by ADHD.

“What you need to know about Attention Deficit Disorder:

  • Accept that supports may be needed throughout the school day, month, year,
  • or even across the lifespan of a person with ADHD.
  • Interventions have to happen in the here and now on an as-needed basis.
  • Their use often requires coaxing and coaching from an external source (teachers, parents, peers, visual cues, and/or technology).
  • The strategies ONLY work when they are used.”

Although Mary’s advice is quite useful the classroom, the same understanding of ADHD and principles for getting things done remain true for all ages. It is well worth reading for yourself as well as sharing with your child’s school

Advocacy and Homework

If your child is struggling at school, you’ll find that “most teachers appreciate your clearheaded understanding of your child’s problems and any possible interventions you can suggest,” says Mary Fowler in 8 Tips to Help you be your Child’s Advocate. One parent also recommends  Sentence Starters to Use When Talking to Teachers from Understood for Learning and Attention Issues. These are great ideas for developing better communication with your child’s school.

For children and parents who dread homework, see Strategies to Make Homework Go More Smoothly. It provides routines and incentive systems to help kids complete AND turn in their work. Peg Dawson, EdD, of Child Mind claims ”This is the best guide to helping kids do homework successfully that we’ve seen.” For a printable version to share, download the ADHD: A Primer for Parents & Educators from The National Association of School Psychologists. 

 

VIDEOS

I really like The ADHD Manifesto, by Andrea Nordstrom of the Art of ADHD. Andrea is a professional ADHD Coach for adults wanting to turn their amazing ideas into reality.

The Art of ADD is not about being normal or fitting it. It’s about being ADD and using that medium to create a masterpiece out of your life. We don’t do life the normal way, we do it the ADD way! (3-minutes)

 

The ADHD Poem by slam poet IF – 4-minute spoken word poem by IF.  “My childhood tasted like chaos…At 8, I was diagnosed a disaster… a Hurricane… Having ADHD is like being an exclamation point in a world of commas. … But, isn’t being different the one thing we ALL have in common?”

 

You’ll find an animated version of the ADHD Poem on IF’s home page.

 

 

Until next month,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources

       

(Photo courtesy of ohmega 1982/FreeDigitalPhoto)  Modified on Canva – http://www.canva.com

(Photo courtesy of pakorn/FreeDigitalPhoto)