Category Archives: Advocacy

ADHD Advocacy and Social Media: “Play Attention”

Changing your working hours to playtime makes all the difference.November 2019 Newsletter

Hello again,

Welcome to the chilly nights of November. This begins the holiday season traditions and getting together with friends and family to celebrate. Holidays, however, often break down established habits and routines and thus challenge normal coping skills. The lack of structure and increased social demands of the season can be a problem for both kids and adults with ADHD. As Erin Synders of Honestly ADHD says in Six Tips for Handling the Holidays,  “We keep coming back year after year torn between the dread of the ADHD-fueled chaos and the hope for something different and more meaningful this holiday season.” If you need more tips on surviving the holidays for yourself or the kids, see our Pinterest Board, Holidays and other Celebrations.

November is also a time for expressing gratitude. This will be my family’s first Thanksgiving without our mother, so expressing my thanks for the year is a little tough. But then I realized that even small things can be a blessing. One thing that helped get me out of bed and kept me going the past month was by following other advocates, searching for the best they had to offer, and sharing on social media. Thank heaven I can call this part of my “work”, so I could use my time to “Play Attention.”

Changing my working hours to playtime made all the difference. The ADHD brain wants stimulation, challenge, novelty, deadlines, and works best when very interested in a project. It’s not laziness or uncaring. It’s a glitch in the way the brain works. Emotions also get in the way with fear of failure, perfectionism, and shame stopping progress. Weak Executive Functions contribute to the problem. Poor planning systems, not being able to picture the first steps, or what the finished project should look like are all examples of what keeps us on track.

I began my advocacy efforts 5 years ago by posting my research for an ADHD non-profit on the “crack” of all social media formats, Pinterest. At the time, the format was perfect for my need to help others with ADHD because many small steps created a finished project and following the stats on “repinning” offered quick rewards that encouraged me to keep going.

Later, I added a website, but maintaining and building my site feels like WORK! I wanted to keep on “playing, so I started a Facebook page. This offered a great opportunity to encourage others while also providing quick clips of valuable information as well as a laugh or two.

Today, many other individuals and groups offer ever more interesting content to support understanding ADHD and advocacy efforts. Together, we are attracting attention and influencing the lives of ever more people. It’s a group effort. Indeed, my featured articles this month come from freely shared writings on various support groups and informational pages.

ADHD and Learning Disability advocate, Nichola Parody, reached out to me on Facebook messenger. I soon began following her new page Heidi and Me, Our Neurodiversity Journey. As a public service, she posted  An Open Letter to my Child’s Teacher.   She describes in some detail her child’s individual challenges and strengths the teacher may expect to see and offers tips on tactics that have worked in the past. The way I see it, she says, “My child’s successful education depends on teamwork, with you and I understanding and supporting each other.” Her example provides a good template to follow in introducing your own child to a new teacher, babysitter or even family members that struggle to understand ADHD.

I found ADHD Marbles: An Analogy on the ADHD Reddit page.  It begins,  “HAVING ADHD IS LIKE HAVING TO HOLD ONTO 100 MARBLES TO BE CONSIDERED AN ADULT…You’re trying to manage all the stuff that neurotypical people are able to manage but it’s just too much. The marbles keep falling out of your hands. And everybody else is giving advice…. It gets discouraging.”

You may have your own analogy, the way you like to explain the experience of having ADHD. If you haven’t come up with your own description yet, maybe it’s time to work on one. Sharing your story in simple metaphors is a great way to combat stigma.

For a bit of fun, I love to follow Dani Donovan,  who creates mental health comics. Her insightful chalk drawings/comics describing ADHD symptoms and how they impact children and adults are funny as well as informative and offer gentle lessons to help others understand ADHD a little better. Follow her on Instagram or Facebook – Support Dani’s work through Patreon.

You can also find “Comics about the daily struggle with ADHD” on the ADHD Alien. Created by Pina, her work is also found on her Tumbler page.  Her Patreon page offers the first views of her work and invites your ideas for her next work. Her comics were originally inspired by the often misunderstood expression of inattentive ADHD, but have expanded to include many different types and other ADHD symptoms. I particularly like the Time Blindness series.

Of course, you can always find the best comics, memes, articles, and videos on ADD freeSources. I invite you to explore ADD freeSources.net.  ADHD Websites and the Find Support section list a number of social media sites that I follow.  Enjoy  ADD freeSources on Facebook or see our many Pinterest Boards.   I know that some of us can get “sucked in” by social media, so be careful. A little bit of time on the right sites, however, can go a long way to provide information, support, and encouragement for your own journey with ADHD.

 

Until next month, take care,

Joan Jager

ADHD: What is YOUR story?

June Newsletter, 2019

     This month, we feature, “My ADHD Journey: Living with ADHD in Pakistan.” The author, Haseeb Waqar, has mined his life for information about the many ways that ADHD has impacted his life and how he has changed his story from one of failure to one of increasing success.  Long summer days give us the opportunity to relax, to just “be.” I suggest that it is also a good time to reflect on your own journey with ADHD.

Just a list would do, but recording your story, in the spoken or written word, has greater power to inform and transform your life.

This doesn’t have to be complicated.

Use your remembrances from childhood.

  • What do your parents remember about you?
  • How well did you do in school?
  • What challenges did you face?
  • How did you feel about yourself?
  • What tactics did your parents and teachers use to ease your struggles?

Recall your journey towards wholeness.

  • What have you learned about ADHD?
  • What are your struggles and how have you overcome them?
  • Who and/or what has guided your understanding of what you need to succeed?
  • What tools and skills have you developed to address your difficulties?

Claim the unique abilities and values that guide your vision of the future.

  • What “drives” you? Gives you purpose and direction?
  • What is your mission in life?
  • Have you developed supports that will help you along the way?

 

Coach Linda Taylor proposes that “At the heart of successfully managing ADHD is redefining or eliminating the measure of normal.” Use the power of story to define YOUR normal.

As Haseeb says, “We should all have the opportunity to know who our true self is, and to learn to focus on our strengths and gifts rather than our weaknesses…You have many great qualities that define you more than your diagnosis ever will.” Celebrate them. Use them to create the life you were meant to live.

Most of all,

be good to yourself,

 

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources.net  

Additional resources: If you’re struggling with defining your strengths, check out the tools for self-discovery found in both of these articles. Be the Best Version of Yourself: Explore your Strengths by Coach Marla Cummins and/or Self Advocacy for ADHD: Know Yourself. Our Pinterest page ADHD: From the Trenches features many personal stories

 

 

Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

Modified on Canva.com

 

 

My ADHD Journey: Living with ADHD in Pakistan

By Haseeb Waqar

“My “ADHD” isn’t some label.
I own my ADHD.
I love it.
I thrive with it.
Don’t pity me.

I have been through hell and back more than once, and I’m still here, and I’m giving it my all to help as many people as I can and I’m proud of that.

I have many great qualities that define me more than my diagnosis ever will.

 

 

A boy was born. That hyperactive ball of energy did not sleep for the first 9 days of his life” tells my mother with a tiresome yet loving smile on her face. That, I would say, was a rock-solid hint as to what would come in time. I remember school being a dreary daily battle; running from one conflict to the next, never really understanding why things around me went so wrong. Unfortunately for me and multitudes of other kids my age, corporal punishment and indifference were the social norms in our schools and community. I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere, nobody understood me or even wanted to understand me. By the age of 10, my life of constant conflict had finally taken its toll on me. That little boy – once full of curiosity, joy, and always a chatty ball of energy – now become a fearful, silent recluse seeking solitude.

My mother noticed that I had gradually stopped talking in our home and began worrying for my well being. Before I knew it, my mother had changed my school hoping I might find more compassionate and understanding teachers there. For the first time in my life, luck hit me hard. I found myself in a happy place brimming with kindness and understanding – and with it my confidence and self-esteem sky-rocketed. All that built up shame and guilt from my past washed away as time went on. I felt joy every day and most of all: I finally felt normal. My mother showered me with her constant care and supported me through my ups and downs. Thanks to her vigilance, I couldn’t have felt any better.

Then on, I was oblivious to the term ADHD. What is it? What does it mean? Back then I didn’t care – I was living my life as a carefree teen, oblivious to how ADHD was affecting every aspect of my life. As fate would have it, my uncle – who is an ophthalmologist in the UK – had always suspected that I might have ADHD. He sent my mother a pamphlet detailing what ADHD was and all its symptoms. That is how I first came to know of the term ADHD and I was in for a huge revelation.

I could see my entire life reflected in what I was reading. I never realized that all of these things I struggled with were direct results of my ADHD. I finally started to feel like I wasn’t lazy, crazy or stupid. My curiosity naturally drove me to investigate everything there was to know about ADHD. As I kept on reading, I found myself overtaken by a myriad of feelings. I was completely shocked at how nobody had known why I was struggling all along and why no one had tried to help me. I was relieved because my life suddenly made sense, all this new knowledge was proof that every conflict that had brought me and others misery was never intentional on my part.

I couldn’t believe how a general lack of ‘basic’ understanding of ADHD had held my life hostage for so long. I felt immense regret over innumerable past conflicts that need not have happened. On the other hand, I couldn’t have been more grateful for the fact that now I had an explanation for why I had struggled all this time. The next challenge: Survive in a society without any tools and support systems for myself.

After failing to find support at home, I reached out to as many ADHD specialists across the world as I could. Constantly practicing vulnerability, introspection and brutal honesty helped me become more self-aware. With time and tons of self-work, I became capable of talking openly and publicly about my struggles and how I overcome them.

ADHD manifests differently for everyone, and no one should have to go through life feeling the way I felt. We should all have the opportunity to know who our true self is, and to learn to focus on our strengths and gifts rather than our weaknesses.

This is why I decided to go down the path of becoming an ADHD Behavioral Consultant, enabling other kids and adults with ADHD feel more confident, more courageous and less alone on the crazy journey that is ADHD. I want to empower those people, like me, who have been struggling for so many years.

Whether it be in daily life, social situations, career choices, etc. I want you to know that I can help. You are not alone. I know what you have been going through, and I want to help make you the best and happiest version of yourself. No matter where you are in life, I am always happy to talk about your experience with ADHD and to help you find your path in life.

Additional resources: Our latest newsletter was inspired by the points Hasseeb outlined in his story. We’ve provided questions to help you reflect on your own journey with ADHD. See ADHD: What is YOUR story? If you’re struggling with defining your strengths, check out the tools for self-discovery found in both of these articles. Be the Best Version of Yourself: Explore your Strengths by Coach Marla Cummins and/or Self Advocacy for ADHD: Know Yourself. Our Pinterest page ADHD: From the Trenches features many personal stories.

About the author: Abdul Haseeb Waqar is an ADHD Behavioral Consultant in Peshawar, Pakistan.  His mission in life is to help others with ADHD feel more courageous, more confident, and less lonely on the crazy journey that is ADHD. Haseeb is focused and intentional about mastering his ADHD and fighting stigma in his community. He loves talking to fellow ADHDers and listening to their stories.

He feels blessed to have found his ADHD tribe in his online community of friends. Their presence brings immense joy and helps him survive the hard times.

Haseeb uses the tagline The ADHD Rebel on Facebook.

Find him on Instagram @adhd_hasseeb.

 

Photos of Haseeb found on the ADHD Rebel on Facebook. Modified on Canva.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADHD: Create your Best Life

ADHD: Create your Best Life, as Unique as You Are

March 2018 Newsletter

 

Hello again, and welcome to our new subscribers,

The year is MARCHing by, but I am pleased that I have been able to meet many of my goals so far. I’ve been developing tactics are helping me feel much more in control of my life. I’m also working to hold my head high without shame or jealousy for others accomplishments. I remind myself daily that judging myself for what I WILL NEVER BE only hurts me.  It isn’t easy, but I’ve had a lot of help along the way.  For ME, I’m doing well. I’m learning to accept how ADHD and bipolar disorder affect my world and learn ways that allow me to express myself, live without stress, AND be happy in my work. As the song goes, I did it MY way.” But all of us are uniquely ourselves and must follow our own path to happiness.

 

ADHD is complex and different for each person. There’s a saying among ADHD professionals, “If you’ve seen one case of ADHD, you’ve seen one case of ADHD.” Although there are similarities of symptoms, no two cases are the same.  In the same vein, there are no simple answers to effectively treating individual cases. Types of medication used and dosages vary according to personal responses.

 

Another common saying is, “Pills don’t teach skills.” Developing these skills and systems must also be crafted for to meet individual needs. It’s also important to note that ADHD is a chronic condition that can be managed but not cured. A number of non-medical interventions have been found to be useful.

 

It’s important to remember that successful treatment doesn’t mean you can correct everything that’s affecting your ability to cope. It’s about accepting yourself and making good decisions based on what you do naturally, without the struggle. As ADHD coach David Giwerc says, “Your job is to discover the options that naturally work for you and integrate them into your daily life.”

 

This month we have something for both parents and adults to develop personalized strategies that Work WITH the ADHD brain. In “The ADHD Brain: Unraveling the secrets of your ADD Nervous System,” William Dodson, M.D. suggests that you write your own rules. The ADHD nervous system is activated by things or tasks that are interesting, challenging, or urgent. Rather than focus on where you fall short, you need to identify how you get into the zone.

 

 

I’m honored to have three guest authors who have generously shared their work this month; Lou Brown of Thriving with ADHD, ADHD coach and Organizer Sue Fay West, and Cindy Goldrich from PTS Coaching.

 

The first article encourages you to accept that not all strategies work for all people. The next few help you identify challenges as well support your novelty seeking ADHD brain by defining and learning to use your personal strengths and interests that inspire you and to create and meet goals that support YOUR values.

 

Of course, no newsletter on ADHD can ignore the ever prevalent strategies that HAVE proved useful with time management, organization and increasing productivity for some people. We have two articles with ideas for both children and adults. They won’t all work for you, but it’s amazing how the RIGHT changes, even small ones,  can make your life easier.

 

Just for fun, I’m posting a short cartoon that likens the ADHD brain to a movie director that keeps falling asleep on the set. See the newsletter online for an excellent Rap song, “You Don’t Know”, to promote ADHD Awareness. It’s G rated, so the kids can enjoy this one as well.

 Let Me Be Your Camera – Understanding ADHD and Executive Function What happens on a movie set when the director keeps falling asleep? (2 1/2 minutes)

Continue reading>>> ADHD: Create your best life, as unique as you are.

 Hope you enjoy these choices and find them useful in your lives,

Take care,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources.net 

 

 

Resources: The ADHD Brain: Unraveling the secrets of your ADD Nervous System

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva

 

ADHD: Create a life as unique as you are  

 

ADHD: Create your Best Life, as Unique as You Are

 

Personalized Strategies Work WITH your ADHD brainADHD is complex and different for each person. There’s a saying among ADHD professionals, “If you’ve seen one case of ADHD, you’ve seen one case of ADHD.” Although there are similarities of symptoms, no two cases are the same.  In the same vein, there are no simple answers to effectively treating individual cases. Types of medication and dosages vary according to personal responses.

Another common saying is, “Pills don’t teach skills.” Developing these skills and systems must also be crafted for to meet individual needs. It’s also important to note that ADHD is a chronic condition that can be managed but not cured. A number of non-medical interventions have been found to be useful.

It’s important to remember that successful treatment doesn’t mean you can correct everything that’s affecting your ability to cope. Addressing your challenges can only take you so far. At some point, you must realize that your goal is not to be “normal” but to do “enough” with what you have, warts and all.

It’s about accepting yourself and making good decisions based on what you do naturally, without the struggle. As ADHD coach David Giwerc says, “Your job is to discover the options that naturally work for you and integrate them into your daily life.”

I’m learning to accept how ADHD and bipolar disorder affect my world and develop those strategies that allow me to express myself, live without stress, AND be happy in my work. As the song goes, I did it MY way.” But all of us are uniquely ourselves and must follow our own path to happiness.

ADDulting with ADHD: Avoiding ADHD Life Hacks Overwhelm by Coach Lou Brown

We are all beautifully unique, no ‘one size fits all’ life hacks actually exist….”

“The trick is to get to know your ADHD, your likes, and dislikes as well as your strengths and challenges. And to then use this knowledge to work out which life hacks may work for you and your unique brain wiring, before giving one a go.”

Self-Advocacy for ADHD: Know Yourself (Includes tools for discovering your strengths).

Tools for self-discovery. Advocate for yourself by using your strengths to meet your challenges. Leading with your strengths rather than struggling to overcome your weakness allows you to fully express yourself in new ways. It’s about accepting yourself and making good decisions based on what you do naturally, without the struggle. Self- advocacy involves asking for help to support your own efforts.

  Encouraging Self-Advocacy in Teens  is also helpful and appropriate for ages eight and up and 8 Tips to Help you be your Child’s Advocate by Mary Fowler is for getting your child’s needs met at school.

 All three articles encourage you to:

  •  Name your challenges both at home and at work.
  • Identify the situations when problems are most likely to show up.
  • Know exactly what your strengths are. Your values, talents, and skills all contribute to forming your personal strengths.
  • Develop strategies that reshape how you approach life.

Exactly WHAT TO DO is another matter. The next articles offer a myriad of ideas that may INDEED be overwhelming. But keep in mind that they are only lists of ideas that have worked for other people, both with and without ADHD. Instead, you MUST make these ideas work for YOU. What helps others may be useless for you.

ADHD at Home and Work: 46 Small Steps to Save Time  by Coach and Organizer Sue Fay Working with Executive Functioning ChallengesWest

No big overhauls. Just tips to simplify your life. Categories include:  Working with Executive Functioning Challenges, Tips For home and work as well as Finances, Time, and Self-care. 

Time management: It’s a Family Affair by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC adds:

“Effective time management skills are essential to all adults and children. By becoming proactive in how you approach time you can make a noticeable and systemic difference in the in your life and the lives of your family members.”

Addressing your challenges can only take you so far. In “The Secrets of the ADHD Brain,” William Dodson, M.D. suggests that you write your own rules. The ADHD nervous system is activated by things or tasks that are interesting, challenging, or urgent. Rather than focus on where you fall short, you need to identify how you get into the zone. At some point, you must realize that your goal is not to be “normal” but to do “enough” with what you have, warts and all. As Ned Hallowell, M.D. recommends in ADDitude Magazine:

• Do what you’re good at.
• Don’t go it alone.
• Ask for Advice.
• Get organized “enough” to get by….”

This may seem like an awful lot to do, but it truly is worth the effort. We are all deserving of love and the best treatment available. Addressing one thing at a time goes a long way. Take the first step.

All the best for you and your family,

Joan

Featured Videos:

They Don’t Know   (6-minutes) Building ADHD Awareness from Singing for Superheroes – “They Don’t Know” stars DeMarcus Ware, his two sons, Snoop Dogg, and Steven Battey.

“They don’t know… how much you go through. They don’t know the truth. You’re not alone. There’s someone just like you. If you give me your hand, I’ll hold it all the way. No need to be ashamed. You’re going to change the world someday…”

 

Let Me Be Your Camera – Understanding ADHD and Executive Function What happens on a movie set when the director keeps falling asleep? (2 1/2 minutes)

Picture credits:

Title: (Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva

Self-Advocacy “Image courtesy of ponsulak/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva.com

ADHD at Home and Work: 46 Small Steps to Save Time (Photo courtesy of twobee/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva.com

ADDulting with ADHD: Avoiding Life Hack Overwhelm (Photo courtesy of Supertrooper/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva.com

Resources:

The ADHD Brain: Unraveling the secrets of your ADD Nervous Systemby Dr. Dodson

Seven Daily Habits to Close the “Success Gap” by Ned Hallowell

 

 

 

 

ADDULTING WITH ADHD: Avoiding ADHD Life Hack Overwhelm

Guest post by Coach Lou Brown

Which life hacks might work for you personally?“ADHD Life Hacks” is a hip way of describing strategies, tools, tricks, shortcuts, skills or novelty methods that individuals with ADHD may use to assist them with their organization, memory, productivity and/or efficiency.

 

I love reading about other people’s life hacks. It’s a great way to gather ideas to experiment with. However, with so many tips and tricks out there, working out which life hacks might work for you personally can be very challenging.

For example, many individuals with ADHD become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of suggestions offered to them.  But being overwhelmed can be a trigger for procrastination or make us want to give up altogether.

Whilst other individuals, after excitedly trying a recommended life hack to only discover that it didn’t work for them, end up feeling like a failure which fuels their deep-seated belief that something is wrong with them.

But there isn’t.

The strategy they tried simply didn’t work for them because we are all beautifully unique. And because, no matter what anyone asserts, no ‘one size fits all’ life hacks actually exist.

Instead, the simple truth is a strategy that works for one person with ADHD may not work for another.

So how can you avoid ADHD life hack overwhelm?

The trick is to get to know your ADHD, your likes and dislikes as well as your strengths and challenges. And to then use this knowledge to work out which life hacks may work for you and your unique brain wiring, before giving one a go.

Additionally, it can be helpful to:

  • View other people’s life hacks as ideas to experiment with, rather than recommendations.
  • Respect your uniqueness. If you decide to give someone else’s life hack a try and find that it doesn’t work for you, don’t view yourself as a failure. Remind yourself that we are all beautifully unique and that the strategy simply didn’t suit you and your individual brain wiring, strengths, interests, etc.
  • Maintain an interest-based focus. The ADHD brain is wired for interest; therefore, strategies you personally find appealing or interesting are more likely to work for you. For example, if you love technology and playing with electronic devices you are more likely to find apps and gadgets extremely helpful. However, if you don’t you may find them overwhelming and ineffective.
  • Look after all of you. Sometimes all the life hacks in the world won’t work if you are tired, debilitated by your inner critic, anxious, or feeling defeated. Diet, exercise, sleep, rest and relaxation, your frame of mind, etc. have a huge impact on your ability to manage your ADHD.
  • Drop the need to be perfect. There is no such thing as perfection (and striving for unattainable perfection can be a slippery slope to overwhelm, depression and anxiety). Instead, accept yourself completely, be your own best friend and your own cheerleader, for there isn’t a relationship in your life that is more important, or that has more impact on your health and happiness than the one you have with yourself. Oh, and while I am at it, avoid comparing yourself to others. You deserve to feel successful on your own terms, so define your own meaning of success.
  • Understand life hacks may have a use-by date. That is, if your brain becomes bored with a life hack you are currently using, you may need to be flexible and inventive in order to reignite your interest in a task again. The need to do this will lessen (1) if you use strategies you are innately interested in or which tap into your special strengths and passions, and (2) if you keep reminding yourself why completing the task or achieving the goal is important to you.

So, all the best to you! May you find the life hacks that work for you – the ones that enable you to successfully manage your ADHD so you can thrive and live your best life.

If you have anything to add, I invite you to share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

About the author: Lou Brown is an ADHD CoachLife Coach, and blogger who is working towards ICF Accreditation with the ADD Coach Academy. Lou specializes in helping individuals with ADHD and their families understand and accept an ADHD diagnosis, as well as develop the knowledge and skills required to effectively manage the disorder using a strengths-based approach.

Her dream is a world in which every person with ADHD is understood, embraced and supported; where information and good quality treatment is easily accessible. And in which individuals with ADHD thrive and flourish, achieve their dreams, and live full and happy livesContact her through http://thrivingwithadhd.com.au/

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

 

Original article:  http://thrivingwithadhd.com.au/blog/adhd-life-hack-overwhelm/

Additional Reading:

From ADD freeSources: ADHD at Home and Work: 46 Small Steps to Save Time by Sue West

From Psych Central: 7 Strategies for Thriving with ADHD by Margarita Tartakovsky – Link works, but If link doesn’t go through, copy and paste: https://psychcentral.com/blog/7-strategies-for-thriving-with-adhd/

 

 

 

 

 

8 Tips to Help you be Your Child’s Advocate

By Mary Fowler

1. Be knowledgeable and stay informed.

  • Most teachers appreciate your clearheaded understanding of your child’s problems and any possible interventions you can suggest.
  • Read and keep up to date on new research.

2. Use knowledge to help, not to hammer.

  • Knowledge helps create solutions for problems. But sometimes knowledge can be used to beat up on people who “should know better.” That’s like calling someone a “stupid idiot.”
  • You want to help by sharing your knowledge.

3. Speak up, not out. Good communication skills are crucial for effective advocacy.

  • Always be polite and respectful, even of people who don’t seem to warrant your respect. Act as if they might rise to the occasion one day.
  • Be aware of your tone, volume, and body language. Don’t make accusations. If you feel you’re going to lose it, excuse yourself. Nothing gets solved during a shouting match.

4. Know your intention. Before meetings, have an agenda.

  • What are your child’s needs?
  • What do you hope to accomplish?
  • Is there a specific problem that needs attention?
  • Put your energy there.

5. Stay focused on your intention.

  • Don’t get side-tracked by emotional issues that may come up in conferences or phone calls. Either you or the school personnel may have an agenda.
  • Stick to the agenda of solving problems and meeting needs. The meeting will move more smoothly.

6. Use conflict resolution skills. Don’t get too invested in the belief that your way is the only way.

  • Conflict resolution is a negotiation. Both parties have perspectives and issues that belong on the table.
  • Look for ways to solve the table topics that create wins for all. Avoid the
    “I win/you lose” agenda.

7. Bring a skilled advocate to meetings. It can be intimidating to deal with school staff on your own, especially when you’re first learning about ADHD and feel as though you are in over your head.

  • Parent/child advocates can help you. Look to your local disability support groups to
    find these names.
  • Find your local disability support groups by reading newspaper calendars, asking school personnel or your child’s treatment professionals, or by searching the Web.

8. Keep good records.

  • Get a large three-ring binder.
  • Fill it with records of anything pertaining to school: report cards, meetings, phone
    contacts, evaluations, intervention plans, and so on.

 

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 20 Questions to Ask If Your Child has ADHD.

Reprinted, with permission of the author, from 20 Questions to Ask if Your Child Has ADHD© 2006 Mary Fowler. Published by Career Press, Franklin Lakes, NJ. All rights reserved.

 

 

“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)

 

 

“Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhoto.com” Modified on Canva http://canva.com

Tools for Discovering your Strengths

Tools for discovering your strengths. Live well with ADHD. Self-advocacy can give you the opportunity to speak for yourself regarding your needs and help to secure the necessary support at work or school and for your personal life. We don’t have to struggle so hard. Developing self-knowledge is the first stepADD Coach Dana Rayburn reminds us, that, “When properly treated, ADHD loses much of its power over our lives. As adults, we can paint a new picture of who we are and what we contribute to the world…” (1)

The goal is to develop your strengths and delegate your weaknesses.

Don’t go it alone, feeling you have to prove yourself over and over again that you CAN persevere! The truth is, delegating the things you aren’t good at, or just plain don’t like, is a good idea for anyone. If you have ADHD, however, it can make the difference between constant struggle and an enjoyable, successful life.

You are uniquely made and have a lot to share with the world. Don’t let self-judgment stop you from becoming all that you can be. For more about learning your strengths, building self-awareness, and developing powerful self-advocacy skills, CONTINUE READING HERE.

 

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Joan Jager
ADD freeSources.net

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Tools for Discovering your Strengths – Introduction to Self-advocacy for ADHD: Know yourself

Unconditional Acceptance of Yourself

What if we applied unconditional acceptance of who we are? What if we took a good look at ourselves, our body, our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, and said, “You are perfectly OK. You are perfectly good”?By Leo Babauta

Many of us are familiar with the idea of loving our spouses, children, or parents unconditionally — and we might even try to practice that unconditional love, though imperfectly.

But do we try to love ourselves unconditionally?

Consider whether you do any of these (I sure do):

  • Criticize your body.
  • Feel like you need to improve at things.
  • Feel guilty about things you do.
  • Feel undisciplined, lazy, unhappy with yourself.
  • Not feel good enough.
  • Fear that you’re going to fail, because you’re not good enough.
  • See yourself as not that good looking.
  • Feel bad about messing up.

For many of us, there’s an underlying feeling of not being good enough, wanting to be better, wanting to be in better shape or better at things. This isn’t something we think about much, but it’s there, in the background.

What if we applied unconditional acceptance of who we are? What if we took a good look at ourselves, our body, our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, and said, “You are perfectly OK. You are perfectly good”?

Would that be a whole different experience for you? Could you accept every single thing about yourself, just as you are, without feeling that it needs to be changed?

I know what many people will immediately say: “But what’s wrong with wanting to improve, with seeing things that need to be improved? Doesn’t feeling bad about ourselves motivate us to change?”

Yes, it can be a motivator. But feeling bad about yourself can also be an obstacle: people who feel that they are fat, for example, are more likely to eat poorly and not exercise, because they see themselves as fat. They are likely to feel bad about themselves and to comfort themselves with food, alcohol, cigarettes, TV, Internet addictions.

What if instead, you loved yourself, fat body and all? What if you loved yourself, laziness and all? What if you loved yourself, all that is ugly and incompetent and mean, along with the beauty and brilliance and kindness?

This person who loves herself (or himself) … she’s more likely to take actions that are loving. Doing some mindful yoga, or taking a walk with a friend after work, eating delicious healthy food like beans and veggies and nuts and berries and mangos and avocados, meditating, drinking some green tea … these are loving actions.

Acceptance isn’t stagnation — you will change no matter what. You can’t avoid changing. The question is whether that change comes from a place of acceptance and love, or a place of self-dislike and dissatisfaction. I vote for unconditional love.

 

Originally published on ZenHabits by Leo Babauta, who allows others to freely re-post his work. Thank you, Leo – Source

“Photo courtesy of Stock Photos/FreeDigitalPhotos.net” Modified on Canva

 

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Children with ADHD… What Teachers Need to Know

“Why doesn’t my child’s teacher ‘get it?’ ” “Why doesn’t she understand how ADHD really impacts my child?"Written by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC

 

Why doesn’t my child’s teacher ‘get it?’ ”  “Why doesn’t she understand how ADHD really impacts my child  – that he is not lazy, unmotivated, nor intentionally manipulative?”   I know this opens up a whole set of emotions for many parents out there, so before I go any further, I must clarify two important issues.

First, teachers are individuals, each with their own background, knowledge, and experience.  Unfortunately, many parents and children have had negative experiences with some teachers, but there are also many teachers who have, through their compassion, knowledge and methods, opened the door to learning and personal growth in ways that have been life changing.  Most teachers go into their profession with the intention of enlightening the lives of the children they touch.

Which leads me to the second issue-   Most teachers, especially general education teachers, are not specifically taught about how to recognize ADHD, or how to teach and support children with ADHD.  They may receive a general overview of the symptoms, but they are not given extensive education about the many issues involved in supporting a child with ADHD.

It is this second issue that creates the greatest concern and potentially devastating impact on children.  Here are some of the concerns it raises:

  • ADHD involves a great deal more than impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness.   It impacts many areas of learning, including their ability to manage their materials, time, emotions, and productivity.  Without a full understanding of how ADHD is impacting the specific child in the classroom, a teacher might, unknowingly or unintentionally, make assumptions that are false about that child.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 9.5% or 5.4 million children 4-17 years of age have ADHD.  By and large, these children are in the regular education classes.  That means that each regular education class probably has at least one child with ADHD in the classroom.
  • Along with ADHD, there are often co-existing conditions which can complicate the learning in ways that a teacher may not realize.  For example, depression and anxiety may be playing a role in the child’s life and this may not appear evident in the classroom.
  • Many parents look to their children’s teachers for advice and guidance regarding their children’s development and education.  In fact, a recent survey conducted by Parents Magazine and The Child Mind Institute found that a staggering 83% of parents said that they would want their child’s teacher to tell them if he thought their child should be evaluated for a psychiatric or learning disorder.  (Parents Magazine, May 2012, “Attitudes About Children’s Mental Health”).  While experienced teachers may be in a position to notice atypical behavior or performance in a child, without the proper knowledge or training, they must tread very lightly in what and how they communicate to a parent.  Their observations are helpful, in fact, they are a valuable component to the diagnostic process.  However, they must make it clear to any parent that they are NOT qualified to diagnose, and that their observations are within the limited scope of the classroom.

I propose two specific remedies.  The first involves you, the parents of these magnificent children.  As you approach your teacher to discuss your child, keep in mind the following:  This is the person who is with your child each and every school day.  Empathize with the fact that they are responsible for managing and supporting not just your child, but also a whole classroom of children.  Even if you suspect otherwise, approach them with the attitude that they want to help and that you value their insights.  However, although they may have the best intentions, they may not yet understand how to help your child, and in fact, may be unknowingly frustrating, alienating and perhaps even harming your child.   If repeated experience with this teacher leads you to conclude that they are not supportive of your efforts to collaborate, then you may want to involve the guidance counselor or school principal.

The second remedy involves educating the teacher.  For many parents, this is a real awakening – the recognition and acceptance that, for better or worse, your child’s teacher does not really know how to best help your child.  So much of what we know about ADHD and how to treat it effectively we learned within the last decade.  You as the parent have had to become an expert in ADHD and your child.  With due respect, and without judgment, request to share with the teacher some of the knowledge, tools and strategies you have learned.  There are wonderful written resources available that you can share with your teacher, but no one besides you can create the shift and reframing necessary for your teacher to see your child through the lens of compassion and insight about the challenges your child faces like you, the parent, can.

Invite them to ask you for insights about behavior that may seem frustrating or illogical.  You must help the teacher understand why certain accommodations and modifications are truly beneficial.  For example, having “note taking” as a goal may be more frustrating than helpful at certain stages of development.   Providing a set of class notes for your child allows him to focus on the teacher since his working memory makes the act of writing while listening too challenging.  If appropriate, you can explain the impact medication has on your child (for example, that perhaps your child isn’t ready to eat during lunch but may really benefit from a power snack around 2 pm as the meds wear off, or the fact that the end of the day might be particularly challenging for your child to learn new material or remember to pack up properly).

For a true, systemic change to take place in the education of children with ADHD, we will need our teaching colleges to mandate a more in depth training of new general education teachers regarding the latest research on ADHD and the best practices for teaching and supporting these children.  We also need our current teachers to be provided with in-service training regarding the same.  (Note from author: I personally welcome the opportunity to speak to any group of current or future teachers who will have me. Located near New York, NY)

ADHD is a neurobiological disorder.  It is not an excuse for poor behavior, and it is not the result of poor parenting.  Yet, unfortunately, I still hear many stories from children and parents that their teachers do not “believe” or “understand” that the challenges the children face in the classroom and with homework are not fully under the child’s control.  If they could… they would

Keep in mind – kids do well IF THEY CAN.  If not, it’s up to the adults in their world to help them figure out why and to help them succeed – either by helping the children develop the skills, or modifying the expectations or environment until they can.  Teachers are on the frontline of education – we must ensure that they are well equipped with knowledge, skills and strategies to support all children.

Here is a list a list of things you may want to help your teacher know.

 

12 Things Teens with ADHD would like their Teachers to know

by Eileen Bailey

1) I forget things, even important things.

2) I am not stupid

3) Please be patient

4) I really do want to do well.

5) I do complete my homework.

6) ADHD is not an excuse

7) I need help to succeed.

8) If you notice me acting in inappropriate ways, please talk with me in private. Please do not talk to me in front of the class.

9) I don’t like having “special accommodations” in the classroom. Sometimes they are needed to help me succeed and do well. But that doesn’t mean that I like it. Please don’t call attention to any special treatment in front of other students. Please do not draw attention to my ADHD.

10) Detailed explanations of your expectations will help me. I work best when I know exactly what you expect from me.

11) Learning about ADHD is one of the best ways to help me.

12) Although I have ADHD, I am not ADHD. I am a person; I have feelings, hopes, and expectations. I have needs. I want to be liked and accepted. I want to feel good about myself. All of this is important to me. Sometimes I act out to hide my embarrassment or shame. This does not mean that something is not important; on the contrary, it means that it is very important and I am hiding my disappointment that I failed.

 

Written by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC        © 2012 PTS Coaching.  All rights reserved.  Articles may be reproduced or electronically distributed as long as attribution to PTS Coaching is maintained. (Link works)  http://www.ptscoaching.com

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