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
You may not feel much like celebrating if you are discouraged and frustrated with ADHD. Negative thinking, constantly focusing on what is wrong, and denying or ignoring what is good and right is characteristic of people with ADHD.
People with ADHD have tremendous vitality and enthusiasm. They are creative and fun to be with when they are in an environment which supports them. Get a job which thrills you and a partner who believes in you to find the sparkle and passion of life.
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-knowledgeis the first step. ADD 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.
Negotiate with other workers/family member/friends/employees for help in areas where you struggle. (Hint: Ask them for help in areas where they shine – or at least don’t mind doing with the right incentive). What can you offer or trade to make their lives easier? Make it a point of honor to follow through with your end of the deal.
1stName your challenges both at home and at work. What are your weaknesses? When and where do they cause you the most problems? For basic challenges of ADHD, refer to any ADHD symptom checklist. The official DSMV diagnostic criteria or any of the ADHD screeners we list are good choices. You need to separate your ADHD from yourself. You are NOT the disorder. Your symptoms cause certain behaviors, like being late or missing deadlines, but they don’t define you.
It’s also important to identify the situations when problems are most likely to show up. Being in a hurry, under stress, and during times of transition between places or activities are common reasons. Certain environments can also bring out symptoms. Being unable to move about freely, noise levels and visual distractions are just a few. We often think of ADHD as involving “getting things done,” but don’t neglect to note emotional reactions and uncomfortable social interaction as challenging symptoms.
2ndKnow exactly what your strengths are. Your values, talents, and skills are all contributing factors. You probably have a general idea, but the more specific you can be, the better. According to Myers-Briggs Type Indicator practitioner, Nila Nealy, “You don’t need someone else to tell you what your strengths are. Your heart knows them. Still, I believe that sometimes we take them for granted or are so sucked into the “you must be broken” viewpoint that using tools other people have created can be helpful.” (2) Don’t forget that you have friends and family that can also help you identify your strongest points. (After all, they know you, love you anyway and are probably your biggest fans)
“Give yourself permission to proceed with identifying, embracing and integrating your unique brain wiring into your life,” ~ ADD coach and trainer, David Giwerc. “The standardized ways of learning, processing information, and performing may not work for you…Your job is to discover the options that naturally work for you and integrate them into your daily life…Educating others in your life about what works best for you, can help you facilitate home, school and workplace environments that…serve you.” (3)
Another reason to utilize these tools is that self-esteem is a core issue of ADHD and you may not be comfortable “claiming” your strengths without outside verification. Don’t neglect to ask those who know you well what they think are your strongest points. Your friends and family are likely to be your biggest fans. Don’t let self-denigration get in the way of accepting their positive feedback
3rdYou can’t wait until you ‘get over’ your ADHD before you start your life. Develop strategies that reshape how you approach life. Leading with your strengths rather than 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. It is based on getting the help that you need to highlight your ability rather than simply shoring up your weaknesses.
As an adult with ADHD, focusing on what you can’t do may come so naturally that you cannot see the positive aspects of who you are and what you have managed to achieve. Helping to define your “purpose” in life is a great way to inspire action. Partly due to our feelings of shame and inadequacy, we tend to believe that something that comes easily to us has little value. But the ADHD brain “lights up” when we are interested in something and many of our struggles fade away when positively engaged.
“What is something that you are really good at doing? Something that comes naturally to you? Something that you do with hardly any effort or difficulty?
What is one thing that when you do it, you forget about the time, about eating, about using the bathroom, or about any of your responsibilities? Meaning, you are so focused that you naturally forget about everything else.
What is something that you can talk about for hours, and when you talk about it, it lights you up, gets you excited, and gives you energy?”
There are also many Tools for Discovering your Strengths.
Discover your Strengths by assessing your values. – In recent years, some people have proposed that ADHD itself conveys certain strengths. In 2015, the VIA Institute on Character, in conjunction with the ADD Coach Academy, conducted a research study to identify whether there are indeed specific strengths of people who have been diagnosed with ADHD. (5) Instead, but not surprisingly, the study found that most people with ADHD had shared difficulties in areas related to impulsivity and sustaining attention. Their weakest ”Strengths” were Prudence, Self-regulation [self-control] and Perseverance. Although the qualities of Creativity, Humor, Kindness, and Teamwork did rank slightly higher in people with ADHD, their highest “Character Strengths” were uniquely individual.
What was a revelation, however, was that when individuals worked in accordance with their highest values, their weaknesses proved to be situational. That is, they were far less of a factor in getting things done when interest inspired action. As David Giwerc explains, “When you focus on what ignites your heart and your positive energy, you will always be able to self-regulate.” (6) That is why a “Strength-based” approach works so well. You can continue to struggle to “will” yourself to do work which does not inspire you, or create an environment where your interest and urgency based nervous system works with you to achieve what you desire. The eight-minute video at the bottom of the page explains more about character strengths and their place in creating a meaningful life.
VIA Reports– Take the VIA survey, but receive more in-depth reports of your personalized profile. Learn what all 24 of your strengths mean and how they can help you reach a more optimal, positively fulfilled life, whether you are using for yourself or with others. ($10 for youth, $20 to $40 for adults)
The VIA survey is also available for free at AuthenticHappiness at Penn State. Results are not as complete.
Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator Tests
MBTI is what it says it is, an indicator. It points you to the general area of preferences you have for interacting with the world, taking in information and making decisions. Some ways just may feel more natural than others. The MBTI assesses how you get energized as well as the ways you perceive and express yourself.
Official MBTI assessment with certified professionals ($50 or $150 with person-to-person feedback from a certified MBTI practitioner.
The Open Extended Jungian Type Scales was developed as an open-source alternative to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. A statistical comparison of the OEJTS with three other online MBTI alternatives found that this test, the OEJTS, was the more accurate. 50 questions. 5 to 7 minutes.
If you want to investigate even further, I recommend the Gallup book, Strengths Finder 2.0– Buy the book. ($18 (+ S&H) Use the code within to take the online test. *One use only. Your Goal is to Identify your top 5 talents. (You can take the test online at Gallup’s Clifton Strengths, but the book provides great personal stories and ideas for using your strengths at work and in your social life.) Top five strengths are the same price as the book ($20) but a report on all 34 strengths is $89. You can upgrade with book purchase for $69)
Remember, the first step towards advocating for yourself, for receiving the help that you need, is getting to know yourself. Explore those areas where you struggle as well as those where you have competency and shine. You are so much more than your symptoms. Don’t battle endlessly with your challenges. Ask for help. Discover your strengths, your best self. Create a more positive future for yourself. You deserve it.
During their younger years, it is the parents responsibility to speak up for his or her child to get their needs met at school. However, as therapist Louise Levine writes,
“Doing everything for your children may make you feel like a successful parent but it may not let your child be a successful person.”
“Before children leave the protective shelter of home and zealous parenting, we need to help them practice basic techniques and instill competencies that will enable them to:
Feel comfortable conversing about their disability,…
Identify their warning signs,…
Advocate for themselves,…
(Have systems in place that)… will help them…manage their lives, and
Have a sense of humor about ADHD….and their own particular foibles.” (1)
For all children, the ability to view the future with hope is central to their future success. According to the Gallup Student Poll, hope, engagement and well-being are all factors that have been shown to drive students’ grades, achievement scores, retention, and future employment. (2) For students with ADHD, knowing that they have areas of competence and strengths that can help them overcome their difficulties gives them hope.
Realizing that many of your weaknesses are not personal but symptomatic of the disorder and exploring strategies to address specific problem areas provides a sense of power and competence they may not have felt before. Knowing that asking for help is often met positively builds social trust. Being skilled in requesting options to standard requirements at school can also help students to re-engage with learning. The ability to affect their environment and how people react to them increases self-esteem and, in turn, affects their sense of well-being.
For those with ADHD, knowing there are ways around your difficulties that don’t involve constant struggle is truly liberating.
We have found a few strength assessments and self-advocacy programs that can help your teen through this process.
FREE – Interest Profiler – Discover what your interests are and how they relate to the world of work. The Interest Profiler helps you decide what kinds of occupations and jobs you might want to explore based on your interests.
Self-advocacy for ADHD: Know Yourself On-line resources for identifying learning styles and personal strengths as well as exploring interests. Know why your personal style is important. Pursue self-evaluation as well as talking with friends, parents, and teachers about what they perceive as your strong points.
BUILDING A BRIDGE From School To Adult Life – A Handbook for Students and Family Members to Help with Preparation for Life After High School (92 page Workbook – Includes strengths and interests survey as well as self-advocacy tips)
Articles Discover Strengths Advocacy Training Downloadable e-Books Support and Websites
Does your ADHD child qualify for an IEP plan or section 504? Maybe yes, but the school must agree. The law has left a large gray area open for interpretation. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) covers students who qualify for special education. Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Generally, IDEA plans are more restrictive and more apt to apply to students with Learning Disabilities than those with ADHD.
Section 504 covers students who don’t meet the criteria for special education but who still require some accommodations in the regular classroom. According to attorney Lisa M. LaVardera, Esq., “Section 504 is essentially a civil rights anti-discrimination statute, designed to level the playing field between a person with a disability and his non-disabled peers.” Another major difference is that Section 504, as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act is, not federally funded. (1)
In either case, eligibility for accommodations and/or modifications is based on an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. These life activities include, among a variety of other things, concentrating, learning, sitting, working, thinking, and interacting/cooperating with others. Since many of these are often affected by ADHD, your child may be included. A diagnosis alone, however, is not enough. AD/HD symptoms must be documented as significantly impacting learning or behavior through a specific evaluation process. The school may provide the service at no cost, but it is more likely that you will have to pay for it yourself. Plans are currently underway to curtail Medicaid funding that has helped pay for evaluations in the past.
Your goal is to advocate for the needs of your child – to speak up and to ensure they have the help they need to learn. Remember this: Know your child – his strengths as well as weaknesses. Build a good relationship with the teacher and other staff members. Help them identify possible accommodations and put them into practice. Examples of possible accommodations are seating students closer to the teacher, providing note taker, allowing more time on tests, requiring less homework, using daily report cards to monitor behavior or weekly planners to keep school work on schedule. A few simple changes may make a huge difference. Beyond that, know your rights, bring someone with you to official meetings and document everything!
Successfully advocating for your child can be a daunting task. This is an area where finding local resources, organizations, or parents who have already gone through the process and will “teach you the ropes” can be invaluable. Find a parent who has “gone before you”. Locate a support group or parent advocacy organization and get ready to work. Although you may ultimately decide you need to hire a professional advocate to negotiate for the help your child needs, there are a number of resources available to help you learn to navigate the system.
Exceptional Children Assistance Center – Technical Assistance for Parent Centers
Information about the approximately 100 government-funded parent centers in the U.S. that teach parents of children with ADHD (or any other disabling condition) how to advocate for the services their children require. Every state has at least one center.
Note: A school psychologist once contacted our non-profit when I was manning the phones. She trying to find affordable treatment for a low-income student who was struggling in class. When asked why the school wasn’t stepping forward to provide the funding, she replied, “…Regarding the school district paying for an evaluation, I can see the smoke going up from our administrators—at even the suggestion. We are instructed to be ever-so-careful when we “encourage” that a child be evaluated. If we sound like we are recommending or insisting, the school district could be held liable to pay for it. In other words, that is an absolute no-no.”
eBooks to Download
Guidance on 504 Plans Issued by U.S. Department of Education (2016 )- Clarifying the rights of students with ADHD in our nation’s schools. – “Regardless of how well he or she performs in school, a student who has trouble concentrating, reading, thinking, organizing or prioritizing projects, among other important tasks because of ADHD may have a
disability and be protected under Section 504.” 42-page document Know your Rights 2-page overview
CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD) specializes in in-depth information about ADHD and Educational Services in Public Schools – Basic articles are from the National Resources Center for ADHD and available for all, but many articles, especially those about advocacy, are reserved for members. (Families- $53 a year)
National Center for Learning Disabilities – For more than 35 years, NCLD has committed itself to empowering parents, transforming public schools, and advocating for families and children challenged by learning and attention issues.
Understood – For learning and Attention issues – 15 nonprofit organizations have joined forces to support parents of the one in five children with learning and attention issues throughout their journey. Help children unlock their strengths and reach their full potential. Includes a secure online community, practical tips, and more.
LD Online has a great introduction to LD/ADHD symptoms and accommodations. Copy and paste this URL: http://www.ldonline.org/educators – The official site of the National Joint Committees on Learning Disabilities, LD online provides pertinent information for parents, educators, even kids. the basics, expert advice, and personal stories.
Wrightslaw.com Complete and accurate, Wright’s Law offers a wealth of information about disability law and how it may pertain to school – Applies to all disabilities, but ADHD has its own section.
See Wrightslaw’s Yellow Pages for Kids.com– Directory – Find Disability Specialists and the Organizations that may help your family (Free Listings). Not specific to ADHD concerns, but a great resource! They list a wide variety of services: educational consultants, psychologists, educational diagnosticians, academic therapists, tutors, coaches, advocates, and attorneys for children with disabilities. You will also find special education schools, learning centers, parent groups, community centers, grassroots organizations, and government programs for children with disabilities
Understanding Special Educationprovides help navigating the special education system as well as how to work collaboratively within your school district. The site provides parent-friendly information on all aspects of the process as well as a Q & A section and a parent-to-parent forum. (Host: Michele Hancock, M.A., P.P.S)
The Cost of Not Treating ADHD by Steven Kurtz – “We’re already paying the cost, and our kids are too.” “Many kids with ADHD, and other conditions, just find their problems compounding as they get older. And they are less and less responsive to treatment. Kids with untreated ADHD often become adults with untreated ADHD, and with that comes a whole host of adult-sized problems.”
How much does it cost to test for ADHD? Consumer Reports – $700 to $1600 was the average assessment cost. – “About one-third of the parents in the survey reported that the costs of treating their child for ADHD were covered completely by their child’s health plan, with two-thirds of respondents reporting half to all treatment costs were covered by insurance.”
The Affordable Care Act has new regulations to make sure that mental health treatment is covered to the same extent as physical care. Therapies for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse — which often come along with ADHD — are among a core set of 10 services called “essential health benefits” that must be covered with no out-of-pocket limit. Included in these are prescription medications, which are usually a major component of ADHD treatment. Knowing that a pre-existing condition won’t exclude you from getting affordable insurance is also a bonus. So is the option of keeping children on their parents’ policies until they’re 26. (1)
Before health reform, one out of five people who bought their own insurance had no mental health benefits. This change is long overdue. One drawback may be that by placing the primary care physician is at the center of treatment, Doctors may decide to treat ADHD themselves by just prescribing medication, rather than referring to a specialist. With the high rate of mental health issues and Learning Disabilities so commonly associated with ADHD, however, a complete diagnosis and a holistic treatment plan may be beyond the expertise of primary providers. (2) They may not appreciate the value of parent training to managing behavior or family therapy to educate and help all members of the family.
The news for low-income families is not as good. “In 2012, the Supreme Court gave states the choice of whether to join the Medicaid expansion or not. Unfortunately, almost half of the states have decided not to do so. That means that 6 to 7 million Americans won’t enjoy this enhanced access.”(3) Even with Medicaid, finding a physician will be difficult. “Under the present Medicaid reimbursement rates, physicians are paid only about $45.00 for a basic visit, while $75 per visit is the break-even point for most private practices. So the physician has to take a $30 loss for every Medicaid patient that he or she sees and has increased paperwork to even get the reimbursement.” (4)
Find Health Insurance
Alternatively, let your fingers do the walking. Check the Community Pages in your local phone book under Mental Health for local federally funded clinics. They accept Medicaid, Medicare, most insurances and will adjust their rate according to your income. (Note: Some areas do not consider adults with ADHD (alone) as qualified for treatment. Others will treat if it’s in combination with another mental disease or disorder). Children’s clinics, however, deal with ADHD concerns on a regular basis.
Or, use Google. I had good results using the words community mental health with city, county, and/or state
The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation is another possible way to go. You do, however, have to prove you are not employable or under-employed due to your ADHD or combination of disabilities. I know quite a few people who got a lot of help through DVR a number of years ago (including paying for a diagnosis for ADHD,) but their funding has been hit. – Find your state’s Voc-Rehab services
Clinical trials don’t cost a thing and you may even be reimbursed for your time.
(There’s no guarantee you’ll get the drug being tested, but you can often get a free evaluation for ADHD.) For a listing of current studies, see the National Institute of Mental Health.
2-1-1 is an Information and Referral service to help people connect with important community services and help them find help in their community more easily. Call 2-1-1 or Search for a 2-1-1 Call Center. Available in many states, 2-1-1 can help you find organizations that may assist with a broad range of needs. You may find help paying for medications or financial assistance with other essential needs such as food, clothing, rent and utility assistance, child care, employment supports, services for older adults, etc.
Social Security Income and Social Security Disability Income
Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, provides monthly income for those who cannot work due to a disability such as depression, bipolar disorder or other mental disorders. You must meet strict eligibility criteria to qualify.
The basics of SSDI – “Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to any worker who has a “disability” as defined by the federal government and who has paid into the Social Security system for a specified amount of time, depending on their age. In order to qualify as “disabled,” an SSDI applicant must show that he is almost completely unable to work at any job whatsoever.”
Social Security Disability and ADHD (link works) – This article focuses primarily on children. – They need to show a MARKED inability to succeed in school and strong documentation is required. For adults: Adults must be unable to earn more than $960 per month gross (with that inability also caused by MARKED impairments. Most importantly, to win disability benefits from the Social Security Administration based on attention deficit, or ADHD, a person must have measurable functional deficits, in the context of school or work performance. (URL: https://www.disabilitysecrets.com/adhd-attention-deficit-social-security-disability.html)
SSI / SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery – SOAR
Help for the homeless with mental illnesses, a process where eligible individuals can have their disability case expedited. SOAR’s online training course (Link works – Or copy and paste) https://soarworks.prainc.com/course/ssissdi-outreach-access-and-recovery-soar-online-training) is about 16 hours long, but it leads you through all the steps to help clients apply for SSI or SSDI. – To be eligible you must be at least 18, diagnosed with a serious mental illness, and homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The SOAR process is designed to have a decision for disability claims within 90 days.
• “Image courtesy of Luigi/FreeDigitalPhotos.net” Modified on Canva.com
(1) “The Affordable Care Act: Good for ADHDers”
by Katherine Ellison – www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/19/10545.html
(2) “An Update on How the U.S. Affordable Care Act Impacts Mental Health Care”
By John M. Grohol, PSY.D. – http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/11/01/an-update-on-how-the-u-s-affordable-care-act-impacts-mental-health-care/
(3) “Affordable Care Act : Will It Impact Your ADHD Child’s Treatment?” http://newideas.net/adhd-affordable-care-act-impact
(4) “One of the Best Things to Happen to People With ADHD? Obamacare” by Dennis Thompson Jr. http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/obamacare-best-thing-happen-people-with-adhd/
Finding a doctor for diagnosis is only the initial step in managing your ADHD symptoms. The list of additional resources below can help you move forward in your understanding of yourself and the challenges of ADHD. For optimal treatment for ADHD, you may find a need for a variety of professionals from different fields.
See Find Treatment for diagnosis, medical or psychological providers. These include:
Child Psychiatrists, Psychiatrists, Child Psychologists, Clinical Psychologists, Psychologists, General Practitioners, Pediatricians, Neurologists, Behavioral Neurologists, Therapists, Marriage and Family Therapists, Clinical Social Workers, Social Workers and Counselors.
Other types of professionals/services may include ADHD Coaches, Professional Organizers, Support groups, Lawyers, Educational Consultants, Advocates, Information and Parent support organizations, Private Schools, Tutors, and Residential Treatment Facilities. Professionals with an interest in or specialize in treating ADHD will often list their services in ADHD Directories as well.
You may find advocates, tutors, a few coaches, legal help and more here:
Wright’s Law – Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities Listings for educational consultants, advocates, advisors, psychologists, diagnosticians, health care specialists, academic tutors, speech/language therapists, and attorneys. You’ll also find government programs, grassroots organizations, disability organizations, legal and advocacy resources, special education schools, and parent support groups. A good resource for finding help for kids, but there’s no sort for ADHD specific providers
Find a Lawyer/ Advocates for IDEA or 504’s – Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) can provide a list of lawyers who specialize in disability rights. Visit their Web site or call in Washington DC 202-544-2210.
National Disability Rights Network – (Link works) Every state and territory of the United Sates has an organization designated to provide independent protection and advocacy services to eligible people with developmental and other disabilities and/or mental illness. Cover both school and workplace rights. Services include: Information and Referral, Training and Publications, Legal Representation, System Impact Litigation and Abuse or Neglect Intervention.
Note: Many private schools and treatment centers advertise in ADDitude Magazine (Bound version or in their ADHD Directory) as well as in CHADD’s Provider Directory or their Attention 2.0 on-line magazine.
Educational Consultants – Struggling Teens – Directory of educational consultants who specialize in helping parents find appropriate places for children with behavioral and/or emotional problems. When you have a need for specialized placement, they know what’s available and for how much.
In need of intensive care? Oppositional Defiant Disorder or the more severe Conduct Disorder are common comorbidities. Later in life, addictions can be a problem.
Psychology Today’s Facilities Guide – Detailed listings for residential treatment facilities, treatment programs, wilderness programs, therapeutic services and young adult programs
Treatment 4 Addiction – (Link works) Drug Rehab Resource Page contains the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) database, as well as many private treatment centers, therapists, and addiction professionals.
You may find tutors and/or advocates listed in an ADHD Directory, but chances are you’ll need to ask for referrals from local groups, do a computer search and or try the phone directories. Again, ask questions about their general experience and specific knowledge of ADHD. (I don’t know of any professional directories for these fields. If you do, please let us know.)
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 online 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. Please note: CHADD now offers an Accessibility and Language option that includes text to audio in any language as well as oher features. Look for it on the top right-hand corner. Pressing the link brings up Recite me, an amazing tool!
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
The ADHD Enclave on Mighty Networks with Liz Lewis – Facebook pages too much? Try the Enclave. Basic membership is $20 a month, $200 for the year. Community membership with live small-group sessions includes basic services. It’s $50 a month, $360 per year. Meet Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. (Afternoon and evening – 5 pm to 8 pm Eastern) timme. FREE trial.
On-line support groups
If there’s no group meeting nearby, try an online 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.
How to ADHD is a video channel with an active Facebook page. Well researched with easy to understand explanations and strategies. Jessica McCabe appeals to kids, teens, and adults.
For parents facing very difficult behavior, Surviving the Storm is somewhere you can feel comfortable and get understanding support and advice. Do a search for the three Oppositional Defiant Disorder Facebook support groups and find your favorite.
ADD freeSources has a mix of posts about both children and adults, but is open and not a traditional support group.