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Workshop coming up on Mindful Parenting

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“Some Days, I Wish We’d Never Left the House”

If your child stages public meltdowns — not just once in a blue moon, but what feels like nearly twice a week — we feel your pain. A child’s explosive tantrums aren’t just frustrating — they can be downright humiliating for parents who feel the sting of public scrutiny. Stop the madness with these five strategies for parents to prevent, react to, and stop ADHD-fueled temper tantrums.

Do too many of your family meals out resemble wrestling matches worthy of WWE? What about that episode at the mall? Or that meltdown in church?

Some parents of children with ADHD are held hostage by their child’s bad behaviors, unable to go out to dinner, the movies, or anywhere, for fear of their child throwing a tantrum in public.

Say you’re in your favorite fast food place. Everyone is hungry, there’s a wait to order your food, and your child begins whining and having a meltdown. What do you do?

1. Say no, in a calm, matter-of-fact tone.

When Mom harrumphs, “Why do you always have to whine, Jordan?” she tells her child that she is weak and vulnerable. It seems that there is a chance of getting what he wants if he pushes. Kids hear “No” and “Maybe” at the same time.

Instead, parents of children with ADHD should say no in an unemotional, flat tone. Say, “It’s not happening.” No lecture, no explanation. This is just the way it is.

Over time, kids respect this tone because it becomes consistent — and consistency is so important for children with ADHD. It tells your child, “You can count on me, because I don’t change my mind. You can ask 7,000 times and the answer will still be no.”

2. Set clear expectations with specific statements.
Many parents of children with ADHD try bribery or make vague promises and threats: “We’ll see. It depends on how you behave at dinner.”

This is the last resort of tired, frustrated parents. You are saying, “I don’t want to put up with your tantrum now, so I’m going to string you along and bludgeon you with threats throughout dinner.”

When does “bad behavior” start? When the child misbehaves three times, seven times? Does the child really have a chance?

Be confident and specific, so that your kids know what to expect. Say yes or no. Don’t feel guilty about disappointing them.

3. Put out the emotional fire.
What happens if your calm “no” sets off a meltdown? Whining didn’t work, so now it’s time to embarrass you at the burger place with a full-blown temper tantrum.

Good! Take this opportunity to remind your child that he doesn’t get to choose your reactions. You do. Even though you feel embarrassed, frustrated, and resentful, you are not going to match the child’s screaming with your own. Yelling will escalate the confrontation.

Instead, assume a calm posture. Sit down, cross your legs. Color with crayons and ask your child to help. Pull your child into an activity with you. Being calm says that you are in control of the situation — not him.

4. Give your child concrete jobs to do.
Don’t yell, “Stop it now, Jordan! Cut it out!”

Instead of telling your child to stop, tell him what to do. Giving him a specific job, and an opportunity to be helpful, alleviates his anxiety.

“Jordan, do me a favor and save us a table by a window.” “Jordan and Sarah, could you get seven packets of ketchup, eight napkins, and four straws?”

Then give praise for a job well done. Kids with ADHD like to help. Enlist them.

5. Put energy into solving problems.
Have you noticed how intense we get when we’re focused on the negative? Instead, shift the energy of the conversation toward solving a problem.

“Cookies here? Not going to happen. But,” you say emphatically, your eyes wide, “do you think you guys could get your homework done tomorrow in time to bake chocolate chip cookies? Who wants to stir the mix and lick the spoon?”

By following these five steps, you will give your kids the consistency they need. They will learn that negotiating, whining, and melting down don’t work with you. You’re also teaching them constructive ways to deal with anger and frustration, skills they will find valuable as they grow up.


New Routines for Kids with ADHD

All behavior is learned through practice. So create a new tradition in your home. Say, “Jacob, you’re going to get frustrated, angry, and anxious throughout your life. I know that throwing a tantrum doesn’t feel good. What are you going to do the next time you get overwhelmed?” Develop a calming routine that you and your child can practice until it becomes the default response to frustration. The goal is to replace a negative response with a positive one. Here are some sample routines you can use:

  • jumping on a trampoline
  • listening to music
  • playing catch
  • eating a snack together
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Mom’s School Survival Guide

Organizational strategies for mothers with ADHD trying to manage school children with ADHD.

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How to Avoid Focus-Stealing Traps

By: Valerie Bisharat 

Even for people who consider themselves good at focusing, the technology age presents a challenge. Never before have so many devices, cell phone alerts, social media platforms, advertisers, and tasks been competing for our attention. So, we could all probably use a little help getting focused.

After all, focusing in the right way on the right things at the right times is a critical life success skill – one that psychologists have discovered we can improve with practice.

First, what is focus?

According to Daniel Goleman, a leading psychologist and expert in attention science, and author of Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, there are different types of focus.

“There are many varieties of attention, technically speaking, each with their best applications,” he explained to Forbes. “Getting a job done well requires applying concentration, for instance, while creative insights flow best when we are in a loose, open awareness.” In other words, while focus involves how we’re casting our attention (we’re always focusing on something!), different modes of attention exist and are best used for different tasks.

Goleman casts the types of attention – which neuroscientists study through fMRI or functional magnetic resonance imaging – into three general categories. He argues that we can have “inner,” “outer,” or “other” focus, or focus on the self, other people, and the world around us. The most successful of us develop and balance out this “triad of awareness,” because “a failure to focus inward leaves you rudderless, a failure to focus on others renders you clueless, and a failure to focus outward may leave you blindsided.”

Inner focus involves developing self-awareness, or listening to our inner voice. Self-control, or willpower, involves placing our attention on a given task and keeping it there. This second skill, which we also think of as concentration, is what many of us think of when we say we want to focus better. It’s what we’ll be focusing on – pun intended – in this article.

But how do we successfully use our willpower? Goleman says there are three ways.

  • Voluntarily disengage our focus from what’s distracting us
  • Work toward resisting distraction so that we don’t gravitate back to it
  • Concentrate on what we’re supposed to be doing and imagine how good we will feel when we achieve it

When we’re practicing concentration, it’s important to practice these three habits.

Other awareness involves focusing on others and how we relate to the people around us. It requires developing our empathy and understanding how other people are feeling.

Outer awareness refers to focus on the world around us: political, cultural, and economic dynamics, to name a few. According to Goleman, understanding the world is critical for being strategic and innovative.

How attention and concentration work

What’s happening on a brain activity level when we’re concentrated versus distracted? To answer this question, it’s important to understand the two “systems” that psychologists like Daniel Kahneman say govern the brain.

Kahneman, a Nobel Memorial Prize winner, calls these System 1 and System 2, the automatic and reflective systems respectively.

System 1, or the automatic system, is our involuntary brain network that’s always scanning our environments and processing stimuli. It’s the system that causes us to automatically jump when someone touches our shoulders unexpectedly, or step closer to the sidewalk when a car comes careening by. It makes fast decisions and is always humming in the background. When we’re trying to focus, environmental stimuli – including something as insignificant as a co-worker pulling a door closed – can serve as distractions.

System 2, or the reflective system, is voluntary and we use it to make rational, deliberate, analytically-based decisions. It’s the system we use when we sit at our desks and plan projects, strategize, and otherwise analyze our work and lives. Engaging System 2 requires willpower to get the job done. While our willpower muscle can be strengthened with practice, it also gets fatigued. That means we can’t rely on concentrating for indefinite periods of time. Also, when we’re concentrating, our brains are expending energy to suppress distractions. Concentrating comes at a metabolic cost – when our brains get tired, we’re less productive and sharp. It takes longer to complete tasks and we’re more susceptible to making errors in our work.

How to avoid distraction traps

So, how do we improve the duration and stamina of our concentration? Here are four tips to help you out.

  • Minimize all distractions that you have control over.

Eliminate any extra noises, alerts, and computer tabs from your workspace. This includes phone alarms, text alerts, and your inbox. We want to reduce the amount of external stimuli that System 1, the automatic response system, reports to System 2 (resulting in distraction). The less often our external environment demands our attention, the better we’re able to sustain concentration.

  • Practice training your “focus muscle.”

Goleman shares, “The ability to focus is like a mental muscle. The more we work it out, the stronger it [becomes].”

How do we practice focusing? He offers a research-based, four part practice – originally discovered by Emory University professor Wendy Hasenkamp – for doing mental focus “reps”:

  1. Focus on your breath
  2. Recognize that your thoughts have drifted off
  3. Let go of your current thought
  4. Focus on your breath again and stay there

That four-step process is “one rep.” Each time you lose focus, you practice that rep. Goleman explains that this simple but challenging practice strengthens the brain’s circuitry.

You can also practice focusing for progressively longer bouts of time. For example, you can start by focusing intently for ten minutes at a time and build up from there.

Remember: we can practice being more focused and get more proficient over time. We get better emotional regulation and less stress, both factors that translate to better focus.

  • Meditate.

Studies suggest that meditating regularly reduces mind-wandering and increases our ability to maintain concentration over extended periods of time. A review of 23 different meditation studies found that people who practiced for a few months improved their ability to suppress environmental stimuli, which is critical for maintaining attention. And, another review of 30 different studies on mindfulness and meditation showed that just eight weeks of mindfulness-based stress reduction produces results in the brain similar to that of a long-term meditation practice.

Try meditating for five minutes a day to start. If you want to learn specific techniques for meditation, take an in-person class or use an app like Headspace.

  • If possible, put your phone in a different room.

We all know that receiving a text or email can cause a distraction. But a recent study from the University of Texas at Austin suggests that having our cell phones within reach – even if they’re powered off– reduces cognitive capacity, or ability to concentrate.

In the nearly 800-person study, researchers asked participants to perform tests that required concentration. The results? The participants who left their phones outside the room outperformed those with phones on their desks and in their bags, by a large and slight margin respectively.

Professor Austin Ward, who helped lead the study, explained: “Your conscious mind isn’t thinking about your smartphone, but [the process of requiring yourself to not think about something] uses up some of your limited cognitive resources.”

Next time you sit down to make headway on work, try leaving your phone out of sight and notice what changes.

Better self-control equals…

Developing self-control sure takes effort, but data shows the payoff is likely worth the work. The Dunedin Study, a multi-decade long longitudinal study, tracked over 1,000 people as children then assessed their health and wealth outcomes, as well as their criminal histories, as adults. The study revealed a strong link between degrees of self-control and success in those areas, and that self-control can be learned.

Although the relationships between these two related findings may not necessarily be causal, it’s powerful to know that with incremental changes, we can very likely heighten our physical and financial well-being.

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How to Remove Hurdles to Writing for Students with ADHD

Half of all kids with ADHD struggle with writing, which can make every assignment — from straightforward worksheets to full-length essays — feel like torture. Boost your child’s skills with these 18 strategies for school and home.

Studies suggest that more than half of children with ADHD struggle with writing. These students may have an overflow of creative ideas, but often struggle when it comes to getting these ideas onto paper.

Children with ADHD have a hard time getting started — and following through — on writing assignments because they have difficulty picking essay topics, locating appropriate resources, holding and manipulating information in their memory, organizing and sequencing the material, and getting it down on paper — all before they forget what they wanted to say.

But these hurdles don’t have to stop them from writing. Discuss the following ADHD writing strategies with your child’s teacher so you can work together to ease the difficulties attention deficit children have with writing.

Solutions in the Classroom: Guide the Writing Process

—Set up a note system. Ask the student to write her notes about a topic on individual sticky notes. She can then group the notes together that feature similar ideas so she’ll be able to easily identify the major concepts of the subject from the groupings.

—Start small and build skills. Ask students with ADHD to write a paragraph consisting of only two or three sentences. As their skills improve, the students can start writing several paragraphs at a time.

—Demonstrate essay writing. With the use of an overhead projector, write a paragraph or an entire essay in front of the class, explaining what you are doing at each step. Students can assist you by contributing sentences as you go. Students with ADHD are often visual learners, and tend to do better when they see the teacher work on a task.

—Give writing prompts. Students with ADHD usually don’t generate as many essay ideas as their peers. Help the children with ADHD increase their options for essay assignments by collecting materials that stimulate choices. Read a poem, tell a story, show pictures in magazines, newspapers, or books.

If the student is still struggling to get started, help him by sitting down and talking about the assignment with him. Review his notes from the brainstorming session and ask, “What are some ways you could write the first sentence?” If he doesn’t have an answer, say, “Here’s an idea. How would you write that in your own words?”

—Encourage colorful description. Students with ADHD often have difficulty “dressing up” their written words. Help them add adjectives and use stronger, more active verbs in sentences.

—Explain the editing process. Students with ADHD have a hard time writing to length and often produce essays that are too short and lacking in details. Explain how the use of adjectives and adverbs can enhance their composition. Show them how to use a thesaurus, too.

Solutions in the Classroom: Use Accommodations Where Necessary

—Allow enough time. Students with ADHD, especially those with the inattentive subtype, may take longer to process information and should receive extended time to complete assignments.

—Don’t grade early work. Sensitive students are discouraged by negative feedback as they are developing their writing skills. Wait until the paper is finished before assigning it a grade.

—Don’t deduct points for poor handwriting or bad grammar. Unless an assignment is specifically measuring handwriting and grammar skills, when a child is working hard to remember and communicate, let some things slide.

—Use a graphic organizer. A graphic organizer organizes material visually in order to help with memory recall. Distribute pre-printed blank essay forms that students with ADHD can fill in, so they’ll reserve their efforts for the most important task — writing the essay.

—Grade limited essay elements. To encourage writing mastery and avoid overwhelming students, grade only one or two elements at any given time. For example, “This week, I’m grading subject-verb agreement in sentences.” Tighter grading focus channels students’ attention to one or two writing concepts at a time.

Solutions at Home

—Encourage journals. Have your child write down his thoughts about outings to the movies, visits with relatives, or trips to museums. Add some fun to the activity by asking your child to e-mail you his thoughts or text-message you from his cell phone.

—Assist with essay topic selection. Children with ADHD have difficulty narrowing down choices and making decisions. Help your student by listening to all of his ideas and writing down three or four of his strongest topics on cards. Next, review the ideas with him and have him eliminate each topic, one by one – until only the winner is left.

—Brainstorm. Once the topic is identified, ask him for all the ideas he thinks might be related to it. Write the ideas on sticky notes, so he can cluster them together into groupings that will later become paragraphs. He can also cut and paste the ideas into a logical sequence on the computer.

—Stock up on books, movies, games. These materials will introduce new vocabulary words and stimulate thinking. Explore these with your child and ask him questions about them to solicit his views.

—Be your child’s “scribe.” Before your child loses his idea for the great American novel, or for his next English assignment, have him dictate his thoughts to you as you write them out by hand or type them into the computer. As his skills improve over time, he’ll need less of your involvement in this process.

—Go digital. Children with ADHD often write slower than their classmates. Encourage your child to start the writing process on a computer. This way, she’ll keep her work organized and won’t misplace her essay before it’s finished. Also, by working on the computer she can easily rearrange the order of sentences and paragraphs in a second draft.

—Remind your child to proofread. Let your child know that he’ll be able to catch errors if he proofreads his rough draft before handing it in.

High-Tech Writing Helpers for Kids with ADHD

Portable word processor

These battery-operated devices look like a computer keyboard with a small calculator screen. Lightweight and durable, portable word processors can be used at school for note-taking and writing assignments. Back home, files can be transferred to a PC or Mac. Basic models cost about $20.

Speech-recognition software

Also called speech-to-text software, these programs allow students to read aloud into a microphone and see their words appear on a computer screen. Good programs include Dragon NaturallySpeaking, for PCs and Dragon Nuance, for Macs.

Word-prediction software

Software such as Co:Writer Solo ($325) helps with spelling and builds vocabulary, providing a drop-down list of words from which a student can choose. It also fills in words to speed composition. Some programs read sentences aloud, so the writer can hear what he has written and catch mistakes as they occur.

Electronic spell-checkers and dictionaries

Enter a word phonetically, and these portable gadgets define the word and provide the correct spelling. Talking devices read the words aloud. Franklin Electronics offers models beginning at about $20.

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How to Avoid Focus-Stealing Traps

Even for people who consider themselves good at focusing, the technology age presents a challenge. Never before have so many devices, cell phone alerts, social media platforms, advertisers, and tasks been competing for our attention. So, we could all probably use a little help getting focused.

After all, focusing in the right way on the right things at the right times is a critical life success skill – one that psychologists have discovered we can improve with practice.

First, what is focus?

According to Daniel Goleman, a leading psychologist and expert in attention science, and author of Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, there are different types of focus.

“There are many varieties of attention, technically speaking, each with their best applications,” he explained to Forbes. “Getting a job done well requires applying concentration, for instance, while creative insights flow best when we are in a loose, open awareness.” In other words, while focus involves how we’re casting our attention (we’re always focusing on something!), different modes of attention exist and are best used for different tasks.

Goleman casts the types of attention – which neuroscientists study through fMRI or functional magnetic resonance imaging – into three general categories. He argues that we can have “inner,” “outer,” or “other” focus, or focus on the self, other people, and the world around us. The most successful of us develop and balance out this “triad of awareness,” because “a failure to focus inward leaves you rudderless, a failure to focus on others renders you clueless, and a failure to focus outward may leave you blindsided.”

Inner focus involves developing self-awareness, or listening to our inner voice. Self-control, or willpower, involves placing our attention on a given task and keeping it there. This second skill, which we also think of as concentration, is what many of us think of when we say we want to focus better. It’s what we’ll be focusing on – pun intended – in this article.

But how do we successfully use our willpower? Goleman says there are three ways.

  • Voluntarily disengage our focus from what’s distracting us
  • Work toward resisting distraction so that we don’t gravitate back to it
  • Concentrate on what we’re supposed to be doing and imagine how good we will feel when we achieve it

When we’re practicing concentration, it’s important to practice these three habits.

Other awareness involves focusing on others and how we relate to the people around us. It requires developing our empathy and understanding how other people are feeling.

Outer awareness refers to focus on the world around us: political, cultural, and economic dynamics, to name a few. According to Goleman, understanding the world is critical for being strategic and innovative.

How attention and concentration work

What’s happening on a brain activity level when we’re concentrated versus distracted? To answer this question, it’s important to understand the two “systems” that psychologists like Daniel Kahneman say govern the brain.

Kahneman, a Nobel Memorial Prize winner, calls these System 1 and System 2, the automatic and reflective systems respectively.

System 1, or the automatic system, is our involuntary brain network that’s always scanning our environments and processing stimuli. It’s the system that causes us to automatically jump when someone touches our shoulders unexpectedly, or step closer to the sidewalk when a car comes careening by. It makes fast decisions and is always humming in the background. When we’re trying to focus, environmental stimuli – including something as insignificant as a co-worker pulling a door closed – can serve as distractions.

System 2, or the reflective system, is voluntary and we use it to make rational, deliberate, analytically-based decisions. It’s the system we use when we sit at our desks and plan projects, strategize, and otherwise analyze our work and lives. Engaging System 2 requires willpower to get the job done. While our willpower muscle can be strengthened with practice, it also gets fatigued. That means we can’t rely on concentrating for indefinite periods of time. Also, when we’re concentrating, our brains are expending energy to suppress distractions. Concentrating comes at a metabolic cost – when our brains get tired, we’re less productive and sharp. It takes longer to complete tasks and we’re more susceptible to making errors in our work.

How to avoid distraction traps

So, how do we improve the duration and stamina of our concentration? Here are four tips to help you out.

  • Minimize all distractions that you have control over.

Eliminate any extra noises, alerts, and computer tabs from your workspace. This includes phone alarms, text alerts, and your inbox. We want to reduce the amount of external stimuli that System 1, the automatic response system, reports to System 2 (resulting in distraction). The less often our external environment demands our attention, the better we’re able to sustain concentration.

  • Practice training your “focus muscle.”

Goleman shares, “The ability to focus is like a mental muscle. The more we work it out, the stronger it [becomes].”

How do we practice focusing? He offers a research-based, four part practice – originally discovered by Emory University professor Wendy Hasenkamp – for doing mental focus “reps”:

  1. Focus on your breath
  2. Recognize that your thoughts have drifted off
  3. Let go of your current thought
  4. Focus on your breath again and stay there

That four-step process is “one rep.” Each time you lose focus, you practice that rep. Goleman explains that this simple but challenging practice strengthens the brain’s circuitry.

You can also practice focusing for progressively longer bouts of time. For example, you can start by focusing intently for ten minutes at a time and build up from there.

Remember: we can practice being more focused and get more proficient over time. We get better emotional regulation and less stress, both factors that translate to better focus.

  • Meditate.

Studies suggest that meditating regularly reduces mind-wandering and increases our ability to maintain concentration over extended periods of time. A review of 23 different meditation studies found that people who practiced for a few months improved their ability to suppress environmental stimuli, which is critical for maintaining attention. And, another review of 30 different studies on mindfulness and meditation showed that just eight weeks of mindfulness-based stress reduction produces results in the brain similar to that of a long-term meditation practice.

Try meditating for five minutes a day to start. If you want to learn specific techniques for meditation, take an in-person class or use an app like Headspace.

  • If possible, put your phone in a different room.

We all know that receiving a text or email can cause a distraction. But a recent study from the University of Texas at Austin suggests that having our cell phones within reach – even if they’re powered off– reduces cognitive capacity, or ability to concentrate.

In the nearly 800-person study, researchers asked participants to perform tests that required concentration. The results? The participants who left their phones outside the room outperformed those with phones on their desks and in their bags, by a large and slight margin respectively.

Professor Austin Ward, who helped lead the study, explained: “Your conscious mind isn’t thinking about your smartphone, but [the process of requiring yourself to not think about something] uses up some of your limited cognitive resources.”

Next time you sit down to make headway on work, try leaving your phone out of sight and notice what changes.

Better self-control equals…

Developing self-control sure takes effort, but data shows the payoff is likely worth the work. The Dunedin Study, a multi-decade long longitudinal study, tracked over 1,000 people as children then assessed their health and wealth outcomes, as well as their criminal histories, as adults. The study revealed a strong link between degrees of self-control and success in those areas, and that self-control can be learned.

Although the relationships between these two related findings may not necessarily be causal, it’s powerful to know that with incremental changes, we can very likely heighten our physical and financial well-being.

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20 Things to Remember If You Love a Person with ADD

By: June Silny

It’s a fact; a person with ADD is hard to love. You never know what to say. It’s like walking through a minefield. You tiptoe around; unsure which step (or word) will be the one that sets off an explosion of emotion. It’s something you try to avoid.

People who have ADD/ADHD are suffering. Life is more difficult for them than the average person. Everything is intense and magnified. Their brilliant minds are constantly in gear creating, designing, thinking and never resting. Imagine what it would feel like to have a merry-go-round in your mind that never stops spinning.

From emotional outbursts to polar opposite extremes; ADD presents several behaviors that can be harmful to relationships. ADD is a mysterious condition of opposites and extremes. For instance, when it comes to concentration, people with ADD cannot concentrate when they are emotional or when their thoughts are distracted. However, when they are interested in a specific topic, they zone in so deep that it’s hard to pull them out of that zone. Starting a project is a challenge; but stopping it is an even bigger challenge.

True love is unconditional, but ADD presents situations that test your limits of love. Whether it’s your child, boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or soon-to-be spouse, ADD tests every relationship. The best way to bring peace into both your lives is to learn a new mindset to deal with the emotional roller-coaster that ADD brings all-day-every-day.

Understanding what a person with ADD feels like will help you become more patient, tolerant, compassionate, and loving. Your relationships will become more enjoyable and peaceful. This is what goes on in the mind of a person with ADD/ADHD:

1. They have an active mind

The ADD brain doesn’t stop. There’s no on/off switch. There are no brakes that bring it to a halt. It is a burden that one must learn to manage.

2. They listen but don’t absorb what is being said

A person with ADD will look at you, hear your words, watch your lips move, but after the first five words their mind is on a journey. They can still hear you speak, but their thoughts are in outer space. They are thinking about how your lips are moving or how your hair is out of place.

3. They have difficulty staying on task

Instead of keeping the focus on what’s in front of them, people with ADD are staring at the colors in the painting on the wall. Like walking through a labyrinth, they start moving in one direction, but keep changing directions to find the way out.

4. They become anxious easily

As deep thinkers, they are sensitive to whatever is going on around them. Being in a noisy restaurant can sound like you are standing in the front row at a Metallica concert. A depressing news snippet can set them into end-of-the-world mode.

5. They can’t concentrate when they are emotional

If there is something worrisome going on, or if they are upset, a person with ADD cannot think of anything else. This makes concentration on work, conversation, and social situations almost impossible.

6. They concentrate too intensely

When the doors of their mind open, the person with ADD dives in like a scuba diver jumping into the deep ocean.

7. They have difficulty stopping a task when they are in the zone

And under the deep ocean is where they stay for hours. Even when their oxygen is running low, if they are enjoying the view, they won’t come up for air until they’re almost out of oxygen.

8. They are unable to regulate their emotions

For a person with ADD, their emotions are flying wild, out of proportion and cannot be contained. The tangled wires in their brilliant brains make thought and feelings difficult to process. They need extra time to get their systems up and running properly.

9. They have verbal outbursts

Their intense emotions are hard to regulate. Since they impulsively say whatever they think, they often say things they later regret. It’s almost impossible for them to edit their words before they release them.

10. They have social anxiety

Feeling uncomfortable knowing that they are different, people with ADD are often uncomfortable in social situations. They are afraid they will say something foolish or react inappropriately. Holding back feels safer.

11. They are deeply intuitive

For people with ADD, the surface is an invisible exterior that they penetrate. They see beyond it. This is the most enjoyable aspect of ADD. This inspirational trait is what makes creative geniuses. Inventors, artists, musicians, and writers thrive in this zone.

12. They think out of the box

Another wonderful aspect of ADD is that because they think differently, their abstract minds see solutions to problems that the concrete thinker cannot see.

13. They are impatient and fidgety

Annoyed easily, wanting things to happen immediately, and constantly playing with their phones, twirling their hair, or bouncing their leg up and down; a person with ADD needs constant motion. It’s a calming Zen activity for them.

14. They are physically sensitive

Pencils feel heavy in their hand. Fibers in fabric that most people wouldn’t feel can be itchy. Beds are bumpy. Food has textures you can’t imagine. Like The Princess and the Pea, they can feel a pea under twenty mattresses.

15. They are disorganized

Piles are their favorite method of organizing. Once a task is complete, papers related to it are placed in a pile, where they stay until the piles grow too high. That’s when the person with ADD becomes overwhelmed, frustrated, and cleans up. People with ADD have to be careful to not become hoarders. It’s hard for a person with ADD to keep things in order because their brain doesn’t function in an orderly manner.

16. They need space to pace

When talking on the phone or having a conversation, people with ADD think better when they are in motion. Movement is calming and brings clarity to their thoughts.

17. They avoid tasks

Making decisions or completing tasks on time is a struggle. Not because they are lazy or irresponsible, but because their minds are full of options and possibilities. Choosing one can be problematic. It’s easy to avoid making decisions because they are over-thinkers. They obsess and dwell in the depths of their own minds.

18. They can’t remember simple tasks

Another paradoxical trait of ADD is memory. People with ADD can’t remember to pick up their clothes at the cleaners, milk at the grocery store, or appointments. On the other hand; they remember every comment, quote, and phone number they heard during the day. No matter how many post-its or calendar reminders they set; their distracted mind is always elsewhere. Visible items are easier to remember. That’s why they have fifteen windows open on their desktop.

19. They have many tasks going on at the same time

Due to the constant activity in their mind, once a task is finished, they are ready to move on to the next task without closing up the prior task. The more going on at once, the better. Multi-tasking is one of their favorite activities.

20. They are passionate about everything they do

The emotions, thoughts, words, and touch of a person with ADD is powerful. Everything is magnified. This is a blessing when channeled properly. When a person with ADD does something, they do it with their heart and soul. They give it all they’ve got. They are intense, perceptive, and deep. This quality is what makes the person with ADD so lovable.

Basically, a person with ADD/ADHD has trouble controlling their impulses. They also have many awesome qualities that you will enjoy once you understand how they think and feel. Compassion, empathy and patience will carry you through the most difficult times. It’s important to take extra care of yourself; take alone time regularly, do what you enjoy, find a support group, a therapist or a compassionate wise friend, take frequent vacations, meditate, find hobbies and your own passion. Most of all, learn how to breathe.

Some of the greatest inventors, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and writers had ADD/ADHD. They succeeded because they had a loved one just like you supporting them through their daily struggles. Replace your anger with compassion. Realize how they struggle to do what comes easy to you. Think of the ADD brain, as one with electrical wiring in the wrong circuits. Next time you think that they are lazy, irresponsible, disorganized, and avoiding responsibilities; try to remember how hard they have to work extra hard to achieve a simple task.

Yes, ADD/ADHD people are hard to love, but once you understand the burden they are carrying, your heart will open up. Love and compassion will take the place of anger. You will see into their sweet and good soul.

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When Children Can Benefit From Playing Video Games

Children with anxiety and ADHD can learn to control their emotions by playing games connected to a heart-rate monitor

The video games track a child’s heart rate, displayed on the screen. The games get increasingly difficult as the player’s heart rate increases. To be able to resume playing without extra obstacles the child has to calm themselves down and reduce their heart rate.

“What we’re trying to do is build emotional strength for kids,” said Jason Kahn, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Mighteor, a Boston-based company and spinoff of Boston Children’s Hospital. BCH runs an accelerator and funded some of the research and development of the products. They retain a small piece of ownership of Mighteor. Dr. Kahn worked as a developmental psychologist at Boston Children’s for seven years and maintains an affiliation there but launched the company in November.

The games help children “build muscle memory,” he said. So once they are able to reduce their heart rate over and over again the response of physiologically calming themselves down becomes more automatic.

Melissa Feldman, a 39-year-old occupational therapist in Milton Mass., said she heard about the Mighteor videogames through a blog. She enrolled in a pilot group in September for her children, Carson, 10-years-old, and Quinn, 7-years-old, who have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders, among other conditions.

The games have helped the boys stop and give pause when their emotions feel out of control, she said. “I think being able to visualize that happening when they are breathing and seeing their heart rate come down and connecting that has really helped,” she said.

Ms. Feldman said she’s also seen a lot of carry-over into real life. “I’ve seen it become a much more automatic response for them,” she said.

Her older son, Carson, agrees. He says the games have helped him remain calm in situations where he’s upset, like when he misbehaves and can’t swim in his pool.

“I think it’s a fun way for kids to control their heart rate when their feelings are high and energetic,” he said.

Still, he said the games aren’t quite as fun as the regular videogames he plays on his mother’s computer and phone. “They’re maybe three-quarters as fun,” he said. His favorite videogame is still Minecraft.

The impact of the games was tested in two studies.

In a pilot study, they first tested the game in a psychiatric inpatient unit with children with anger management issues, said Joseph Gonzalez-Heydrich, director of the developmental neuropsychiatry clinic at Boston Children’s. They found improvements in just five days and published the results in 2012 in a study in the journal Adolescent Psychiatry.

“A lot of these kids we are seeing are not interested in psychotherapy and talking,” said Dr. Gonzalez-Heydrich, who is head of the scientific advisory board of Mighteor, and said he has a small amount of equity in the company. “But they will work really hard to get good at a video game.”

In a subsequent outpatient study the researchers randomized 20 youth to 10 cognitive behavior therapy sessions and videogame therapy that required them to control their heart rate, and 20 youth to CBT with the same videogame but not linked to heart rates. All the adolescents had anger or aggression problems, said Dr. Gonzalez-Heydrich, who was senior author of the study.

Therapists interviewed the children’s primary caregiver before and two weeks after their last therapy session. They found the children’s ratings on aggression and opposition were reduced much more in the group that played the game with the built-in biofeedback. The ratings for anger went down about the same in both groups. The findings were presented at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry conference in 2015. The study is currently under review for publication.

Some doctors are skeptical that this type of biofeedback using videogames can work as a therapy. Russell Barkley, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, noted that the studies looked at youth with high levels of anger, but not specifically with ADHD or anxiety, suggesting that further study as a therapy for anger control in particular may be warranted.

The Mighteor games just became commercially available in June. Before that about 200 children had been participating in a pilot project.

The company has about seven video games available now and hope to have 50 in a year. Now, customers can buy a three-month, $249 subscription to the platform giving them access to all the games. The subscription includes a tablet and wristband that acts as a wireless heart monitor, as well as coaching sessions for parents. After that, the cost is $19 a month.

Dr. Kahn said they recommend that children play the games 45 minutes a week. The product is geared toward children ages 6 to 14. Parents receive six coaching sessions from clinical social workers when they sign up.

Kyle Smith, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, said last year he began using the videogames as part of the therapy used in an outpatient program for children with anxiety. The children come to the hospital three days a week, where they attend cognitive behavioral therapy sessions.

He incorporates the video games but the feedback is variable he said. “Certain kids really seem to take to it quite well and it’s motivating for them,” he said. “And there’s other kids who have a harder time. If they have motor coordination difficulty or sensory problems it can be a little tougher.”

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heartWhat the ADHD Experts Say about Coaching for ADHD

We recommend that you hire an ADD coach to assist you in the process. Get yourself a coach to help you stay on track- Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo. Authors of You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!
Coaching, it turns out, is one of the most powerful and effective ways for people with ADHD to achieve success.- Thom Hartmann. Writer of 7 books on ADHD who has ADHD.
Coaching is the single most effective tool in ADD self-management.- Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. Author of several books on ADHD who has ADHD
Coaching intervention can make a real difference in how people with AD/HD negotiate their own particular deficits and cope with life on a daily basis- ADDA - Attention Deficit Disorder Association

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About Take Flight Coaching

The name "Take Flight Coaching" was inspired by travel as a metaphor for living. Travel encourages and expands skills and qualities such as exploration, discovery, self-reliance, recognizing strengths, planning, awareness, and an overall openness to following what might be a completely foreign path in order to get where one wants to go.

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