If you’re like us (or a human being for that matter) you probably remember at one point getting in trouble for something like chewing gum or doodling in class. You may also remember being very annoyed by this, and maybe even thinking that your teacher was “out to get you.”
First of all, unless you had a truly horrid teacher, they were not in fact “out to get you” – for the most part they really did just want you to pay attention and learn. Problem was, however annoying to the teacher, the very things that got you in trouble might have actually been helping you.
“From the student’s point of view, that seems like an arbitrary rule. Who cares, as long as you chew quietly and don’t stick it in some other kid’s hair? Well, maybe they’re worried that chewing gum will make you too smart…chewing gum can and does help you focus and concentrate, not to mention relieve your boredom and tension…”
PUT THAT IPOD AWAY AND CONCENTRATE!
“Kids tend to like their music, and they tend to like it wherever they are. This has been a source of annoyance for teachers since the days of the transistor radio…after all, what could be worse than a kid listening to noisy, thumbing beats when he or she is supposed to be studying? How could anyone possibly concentrate with that racket banging around their ears? Actually, not only is it possible to concentrate despite the loud music, the music actually helps…”
STOP FIDGETING AND PAY ATTENTION!
“You know that kid. Hell, there’s a good chance you were that kid. The one who wouldn’t sit still in class, constantly playing with whatever he happened to have lying on his desk. He, incidentally, is just doing what comes naturally…and making himself healthier in the process…”
STOP DOODLING AND PAY ATTENTION!
“If you’re an adult, you probably indulge in idle doodling whenever a notepad and a boring meeting collide. If you’re a kid, it’s every time there is a boring lecture. Many tens of millions of stick figures and band logos have made their way onto the printed page thanks to this…then you got caught and your teacher showed the whole class that flying unicorn you had been idly crafting, to the amusement of everyone. Cue laughter, childhood trauma…It’s a bit unfair, really, because all you were doing was helping yourself concentrate on what the teacher was saying…”
*Editor’s note: If you recognize the above post, it’s because we originally included it in our Guide to Student Life and ADHD. We didn’t want others to miss out on it!
If you’re looking into a psychoeducational assessment for yourself or your child, there are certain things to consider before taking the plunge.
First of all, what is a psychoeducational assessment? One definition (among many available online) states that it is an “estimate [of] an individual’s abilities and educational achievement levels.” In an nutshell, this means that it is a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in several domains – including cognitive ability, academic achievement, information processing, and more.
What else should you know before booking a psychoeducational assessment? Below are 5 questions to ask before committing to anything:
Who will be conducting the testing? Only a psychologist can formally sign off on a psychoeducational test, so the testing would need to be conducted by, or under the supervision of one.
What type of tests will be conducted? Similarly, what will the assessment be looking for?
Does the report include recommended accommodations for work/school? An assessment should be considered a stepping stone to moving forward. Find out how the clinical team approaches recommendations and accommodations so you know what sort of support will be offered when all is said and done.
What happens after the assessment? This question is similar to the one above. Getting a diagnosis is only the first step to getting help. Find out if they provide follow-up support once your assessment is complete. Better yet, can you continue to work with the assessment team for treatment?
Is there any help with funding? Private insurance and OSAP can be potential sources of financial support for an assessment, so find out if the clinic can help with this. Otherwise, you’re looking at anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000.
Getting a psychoeducational assessment can be an expensive but worthwhile investment. We hope these suggestions will help you make an informed decision.
For more information about psychoeducational assessments, check out:
All Dogs have ADHD is a simple, easy-to-read book that offers children a refreshing take on what it’s like to have ADHD. Written by Kathy Hoopmann as a follow-up to All Cats have Asperger Syndrome, the book uses photographs of dogs to help explore a variety of characteristics that will be familiar to children (and adults) with ADHD, such as feelings of restlessness, excitability, getting easily distracted, and more. All Dogs have ADHD not only offers insight and understanding into the day-to-day highs and lows of life with ADHD, but is also a powerful source of helping ADHD children feel understood.
This is a book we highly recommend – if you’re in the clinic come check it out at our boutique!
According to a recent study published by the British Medical Journal, there are no associations between ADHD medication and suicide attempts or suicide. This is reassuring news to those who may have heard otherwise. Prior studies – which have often been criticized for having too small sample sizes or flawed methodology – have hinted that ADHD medication might actually raise the risk of suicide.
The current study, led by Henrik Larsson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, reviewed the national patient registry information for nearly 38,000 individuals in Sweden diagnosed with ADHD that were or were not taking ADHD medication. Not only did the records not show an increase in instances of suicidal behaviours when patients were taking ADHD medication, they actually found a decrease in instances for those taking ADHD medication vs. not. That is, the results hint that there may actually be a “protective effect” – as described by Larsson – in taking ADHD medication.
In our ever-evolving world of smartphones and technology (that this writer can’t even begin to fully understand), the search for ADHD apps is becoming increasingly important to our clients. If there are apps out there that can help with our everyday frustrations, why not take advantage of them?
First of all, what is an ADHD app? Well, by our definition, an ADHD app is an application for your smartphone (or computer) that appeals to an ADHD-style brain. It doesn’t have to be created specifically for an ADHD individual, but it does have to be “ADHD-friendly.” For some examples, please check out our previous blog entry: ADHD-friendly apps that help with time management and organization.
Now, on to location-based reminders. Location-based reminders are our go-to suggestion when asked about ADHD apps. The idea behind it is great: You can set a reminder for yourself, but instead of setting a specific time, you set a location using your GPS – when your phone picks up that you’ve arrived at that specific location, the reminder pops up.
As another option, you can set the reminder to pop up when you leave a specific location. Want to remember to pick up the dry cleaning on the way home from work? There’s an app for that! Set the reminder for your work address, and watch the reminder pop up as you leave the building!
Why is this so great for an ADHD brain? Individuals with ADHD tend to be very focused on the “now” – what’s right in front of them. Anything else tends to fall in the category of “not now.” Let’s say you want to remember that dry cleaning, so you set a reminder for 5:00 when you’re done work. But what if you’re running late? What if the reminder pops up, it’s briefly in your “now,” you dismiss it, go back to work, and the reminder quickly shuffles into the “not now”?
This is where location-based reminders come in - they help ensure that whatever it is you want to remember will pop up at the moment where you actually want it to be in your “now.”
Where can you find location-based reminders? As you might have guessed, there isn’t one specific app for this. At the risk of being vague, they now seem to be available on most reminder apps. If you have an android phone, an example of an app where you can find location based reminders is Google Keep. If you have an iPhone your hunt will be a little bit easier – location-based reminders are built-in to the operating system’s Reminders app.
If you haven’t already discovered the joy that is a location-based reminder, check it out! Once you get the hang of setting them it will be well worth your effort!
Exercise has long been our go-to recommendation for clients with ADHD looking for an alternative, or supplement, to medication. Stimulating the body’s core also stimulates the pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain affected by ADHD. In fact, Springboard’s medical director, Dr. Ainslie Gray MD, can actually reduce a patient’s dosage of stimulant medication if s/he is getting at least 20 minutes of exercise each morning.
With or without ADHD, we all know that exercise is important. That being said, it’s one thing to intend to get outside and exercise; it’s another altogether to actually go out and exercise. Well, we’ve got good news!!
Just getting outside might help ADHD, no exercise required (but still recommended)!
Vitamin D and ADHD:
Some studies show a lower concentration of vitamin D in people with ADHD. We found an article that explores this connection and offers evidence that increased levels of vitamin D could have a positive effect on symptoms of ADHD.
Some quotes from the article:
(1) “Vitamin D can boost levels of the antioxidant glutathione in the brain….[A]ntioxidant deficits can worsen ADHD symptoms, and fatty acids (namely omega-3′s) are frequently administered for ADHD and related disorders.”
(2) “Perhaps the strongest correlation, however, may be between vitamin D and depressive-like symptoms, particularly those associated with seasonal affective disorders (SAD)…In other words, vitamin D supplementation may be particularly useful in individuals with ADHD who also have co-occurring depressive or anxiety-ridden symptoms.”
(3) “In this study we found a lower prevalence of ADHD in areas with high solar intensity (SI) for both U.S. and non-U.S. data. The preventative effect of high SI might be related to an improvement of circadian clock disturbances, which have recently been associated with ADHD.”
Most of us know the feeling of being in a boring meeting that doesn’t seem to end. It can be dreadful. That being said, meetings are a fact of life in a work environment – at one point in your work life, you’re going to be stuck in a boring meeting.
If you have ADHD, the tagline for the video below by TotallyADD.com says it all: “By adulthood, the hyperactivity of childhood seems to disappear…But it may actually turn into restlessness, stress, fidgeting, frustration, anger, or impatience making a business meeting pure torture!”
If you have a meeting coming up and you’re anticipating having a tough time time getting through it, here are 5 ADHD-friendly tips to consider:
Take notes. Even if you never read the notes again, the act of writing can help engage your focus and get you through a meeting with a lot less headache. If distracting thoughts or ideas come up (e.g. stuff that doesn’t have to do with the meeting), write those down as well – the sooner you get them out of your head, the sooner you can get back to the task at hand.
Participate. Being an active participant in a meeting ensures that you’re going to be more engaged with what’s going on and less likely to check-out from boredom. That being said, if you tend to dominate the conversation in meetings, you might want to consider participating on paper – write down your questions and comments, and be selective about what you end up saying out loud.
Use a fidget “toy”. Contrary to what you might have been taught growing up, fidgeting (in a controlled way) can actually help you better focus on a primary task (e.g. paying attention during a meeting). A fidget toy doesn’t have to be obvious – something as subtle as a stress ball or an elastic band can do the trick.
Stand up if you need to. If the vibe in the meeting allows for it, get up and move around – this can do wonders in helping you re-engage your focus. If you get the feeling this won’t be received particularly well, excuse yourself to go the washroom – that way you can take a quick walk to re-energize.
Be proactive. Anticipate your needs before you go into the meeting. Take a walk around the block before it starts. Always get distracted because you’re thinking about lunch? Grab a pre-meeting snack. Need to mentally prepare yourself to go into the battle zone? Now’s the time to give yourself a pep talk. Whatever works!
How do you talk to your child about them being diagnosed with ADHD? What do you tell them?
First of all, we find that the more your child knows about their diagnosis the better. For this reason, we generally recommend that you don’t keep the diagnosis from them. This is an entirely personal decision, but it’s important to consider the fact that keeping ADHD a “secret” from your child can imply that there’s something implicitly “bad” or “shameful” about the diagnosis. On the other end, the more they understand ADHD and what it means for them, the more empowered they will be to advocate for themselves.
Some other thoughts to consider when talking to your child about their ADHD diagnosis:
Learn more about ADHD. The more you know about ADHD and what that means for your child, the more you’ll be able to transfer the appropriate information to your child.
Use a positive analogy. We often liken ADHD to a symphony orchestra – your brain has amazing musicians, but sometimes the conductor who’s supposed to be in charge of organizing all of them will fall asleep. So, now that we know your conductor is falling asleep on you, we’re going to figure out new ways to wake him up, and help you play beautiful music!
Focus on the positive aspects of ADHD. Having an ADHD diagnosis doesn’t mean that there’s something “wrong” with them, it just means that their brain works a little bit differently from others. Better yet, share this list of 25 great things about having ADHD with them!
When ADHD is present in a relationship – whether that means one partner has ADHD or you both do – tackling the daily to-do list can be a challenge.
Many different dynamics can come into play here. For example, a non-ADHD partner might end up feeling like they’re tackling the brunt of the work, and they might start feeling resentful of this. On the other hand, the ADHD partner might not even realize what they’re doing right or wrong, or they might be feeling frustrated themselves that they can never seem to get it right.
Whatever happens in your household, the key here is to communicate and brainstorm a different way of handling things. If you or your partner is feeling frustrated or resentful, something needs to change. So, now’s the time to talk about it!
Here are some tips to consider when tackling that to-do list as a couple:
Pick your chores based on interest. Once you break it down, you might find out that one of you really doesn’t mind doing the laundry, while the other absolutely despises it. Or, if that doesn’t work, flip coins to make it even!
Use a whiteboard or create a visual list of things to do. Both partners can contribute to the list, and making it visual ensures that it won’t be forgotten. It can be incredibly frustrating (on both ends) when one partner asks the other to do something and then it gets forgotten – this is a great way to eliminate that potential barrier!
Check off items when completed. Self explanatory.
Avoid comments related to HOW things get done. In the grand scheme of things as long as the effort is made and something gets done, the process doesn’t really matter.
Express appreciation when your partner does something that helps both of you. This will make a huge difference with the tone of your relationship, but also in reinforcing the effort made when a partner goes above and beyond.
This list is by no means comprehensive – it’s simply intended to give you some ideas to get the ball rolling. Try some things out, see what works, and take it from there!