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!
Medication to treat ADHD, namely stimulant medication, has for a long time been subject to a huge amount of scrutiny. There are many fears and misunderstandings surrounding ADHD medication, and the question “are ADHD medications safe?” is an extremely common one.
In response to this question, our friends over at TotallyADD.com posted the video below. Check it out!
When testing for ADHD, it’s important to consider the role of anxiety in an individual’s life. Along with symptoms of depression, symptoms of anxiety are extremely common when focusing difficulties are in the picture.
What can vary, however, is the source of the anxiety. Is it ADHD that’s causing secondary symptoms of anxiety? Is it anxiety that’s causing focusing difficulties? Is it a fun combination of both?
If ADHD truly is in the picture, it makes sense that an individual could feel secondary symptoms of anxiety. When you have difficulty coping with symptoms of ADHD, it can be frustrating. It can be overwhelming. It can cause worry, rumination, avoidance, and more.
On the other end, anxiety on its own can lead to symptoms that look like ADHD, such as difficulty concentrating, difficulty staying on task, and restlessness. For example, if you’re paralyzed by anxiety, it can be extremely difficult to sit down and focus on what you need to do.
This is why it’s so important to seek out a professional who truly knows ADHD, what it looks like, and what it doesn’t look like.
Anecdotally, we often have people come through our doors who have been wrongly identified on either end. It’s an extremely frustrating experience having gone through sometimes years of treatment, only to realize that you haven’t been dealing with the root cause of your difficulties, such as symptoms of ADHD.
To be fair, it’s not a perfect science. Things are never black and white.
But, it’s certainly worth the effort seeking out the appropriate supports as a first step: a thorough medical assessment and a professional who truly knows their stuff.
When you have ADHD, you not only have to manage the signs and symptoms that come with a diagnosis, but also people’s reactions to those very same symptoms.
This is why it’s so important for individuals with ADHD to advocate for themselves and establish a supportive environment with the help of the people in their lives – family, friends, teachers, coworkers, and more. This can make a huge difference in helping someone thrive – it can help an individual with ADHD accept their diagnosis, better manage their symptoms, and capitalize on their strengths.
Luckily for Canadians with ADHD, there are quite a few opportunities available that play a role in setting up that supportive environment. We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s important to recognize how far we’ve come. So, to celebrate Canada Day, we highlight some facts about what it means to have ‘ADHD in Canada.’
ADHD in Canada:
Almost every school board in Canada – except in Quebec and BC – has now acknowledged ADHD as a recognized learning disability, meaning students “have the right to equitable education opportunities and should not be barred from receiving additional support.”
**Prior to December 2011, a diagnosis of ADHD alone did not qualify a student for an official “exceptional student” designation.
The Canada Revenue Agency allows individuals with ADHD to claim a disability tax credit. Claiming the disability amount will lower your taxes!
**A qualified physician must complete the T2201.
Canada has a multi-disciplinary alliance of healthcare professionals called CADDRA (Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance) whose purpose is essentially to make our healthcare professionals more adept at diagnosing and treating ADHD. They provide practice guidelines, host an annual conference, and disseminate the newest research. **Australia recently purchased CADDRA’s Practice Guidelines for implementation down under!
Canada also has a national, non-profit organization called CADDAC (Centre for ADHD Awareness in Canada) whose purpose is to help Canadians access information and resources for ADHD. They also advocate for individuals and families, and provide bursaries for those who cannot afford support.
**In 2010, CADDAC wrote a Provincial Report card for the fair treatment of ADHD across Canada. Ontario failed at the time, but subsequently joined the other provinces in recognizing ADHD as a learning disability.
Canada has its very own stimulant medication, called Biphentin, that is not available in other countries.
** Canada has at leasteight first-line medications for ADHD, compared to many countries where Ritalin is still the only option.
Canada is a leader in the fair treatment and highest standard healthcare for individuals with ADHD. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but take comfort in knowing your environment is among the best in the world when it comes to ADHD. Go Canada!
Parenting teens? A tough job. Parenting ADHD teens? A particularly tough job. Full stop.
If you’re a parent of a teenager with ADHD, one book we highly recommend checking out is ‘You’re Ruining my Life: Surviving the Teenage Years with Connected Parenting’ by Jennifer Kolari.
Although not specific to ADHD, this book is great for parents who want guidance on how to improve their relationship with their child. The book delves into the science behind changes in the adolescent brain, but also provides clear strategies on how to deal with confrontations, build emotional independence, and strengthen the bond.
The Message: Yes, they may be driving you up the wall, but it’s important to remember that your crazy teen is actually an “amazing crazy teen” that sometimes just needs a little bit of empathy. Right now, their body and mind are making huge changes – they’re in the process of experiencing “one of the most intense and complicated transitions of their entire life.”
Sample Tips from the Book:
Decide ahead of time which battles to choose: what’s okay, a maybe, and a no-way issue? Take a took at the common issues you have with your teen, and decide which ones you’re able to let go, the case-by-case ones (the maybes), and the ones you’re never going to be okay with.
Choose a neutral time to discuss your expectations. You won’t get far in the heat of the moment, so choose a time where you’re both relaxed to explain that something’s not working, and discuss your expectations moving forward.
Give your teen a role in discussing the issues and in deciding how they’re going to alter their behaviour. Change has to come from within if it’s going to be long-lasting, so give them some say in how things are going to be addressed.