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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

Archive for September, 2016

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

College Coaching, ADHD and Self-Advocacy

It is that time of year again….the time our young adult children to leave for university.  For most parents, there is a certain degree of angst.  For those of us who have children with a history of ADHD, executive functioning challenges or a learning disability, the worry is magnified.  Will my son keep up with his assignments? Will my daughter get into “the wrong crowd” because of her impulsivity issues? I know he is registered with the disability office for extra time on test and assignments….but will he think to use these services?

One of the first items I assess when working with a college coaching client is their level and propensity to self-advocate.  I often ask them what self-advocacy means to them.  No matter where the student goes to school, the typical response is, “Well, that means I can stand up for myself.”   This is a perfectly acceptable response and sets the platform for the next level of conversation.

Self- advocacy is often inter-changeable with being self-aware.  It is knowing your limitations and being self-aware in order for to communicate that you may need help.  It is the ability to express your worry and anxiety when it is not always comfortable to do so.  I often give the example of when you are at a very nice restaurant and the meal you ordered is absolutely dismal.  Under-cooked, over-cooked, soggy –  you name it!  First, I ask my college student, “Would you call the waiter over immediately to ask for something else, would you ponder over it or would you just eat the meal that was served?”  Going through this step by step process is important because I am entering the world of the student’s thought process. This measure of self-advocacy is not very different than asking their professor to allow for a two day extension on a paper when the student also has two tests and another paper due on the same day!

I express that both events are a bit uncomfortable.  No one wants to complain or feel vulnerable but the result is very often positive, as long as you ask in a respectful and tactful manner.  A meal they are happy to eat and a paper that will be a better reflection of their ability represent the rewards of self-advocacy!

I role play with the student so they feel comfortable self- advocating since many of my clients never had experience with this in high school.  My goal for them is to be confident and comfortable having these real world interactions because these skills will serve them long after college in their personal and professional lives.

For a complimentary phone consultation, please call Christine L. Robinson, M.Ed. Certified ADHD Coach/Educational Consultant at 617-842-0634 or Christine@HallowellCenter.org Skype or Facetime sessions are also available

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Attention Surplus Individuals Need Not Apply!

Note from Ned

I have written about InventiveLabs in the past.  They have come up with a new program that I think is so exciting I am writing about them again.  The founders, Rick Fiery and Tom Bergeron (no, not that Tom Bergeron), whom I have come to know well, are exemplary people.  They really are in this to help the millions of young adults who are talented, but just don’t fit in traditional educational settings.

In fact, Rick and Tom are two of my Top-shelf, A-List, Prime Time, #1 heroes.  Like many people these days, I lament the culture of anger, selfishness, and fear that has grown up around us since 9/11, fifteen years ago today, as I write this note.  As a country, indeed a world, we need so desperately to connect with each other, to regain trust, to reach out and work together creatively to make the changes that will save a world that urgently needs saving.  That’s exactly what Rick and Tom are doing.  Their start-up, InventiveLabs, epitomizes the best of what free enterprise can do in the hands of ingenious, committed people who are willing to make sacrifices and lay it all on the line.  Tom and Rick are not getting rich, they are trying to survive so that people who come to their amazing operation can thrive.  I urge you to go to their website, InventiveLabs.org, learn more, get inspired and get involved.

But first let me tell you more about the new opportunity from their little engine that could, their amazing outpost in an old warehouse building on the north shore of Massachusetts some 40 miles from Boston. It is a little slice of what the best of humanity has to offer. As I have said for years, the evidence is clear that many of the most accomplished people on the planet have become successful by learning to harness their ADHD superpowers. They have realized this through hard work, hyper-focus, and entrepreneurialism. In many cases they were able to derive their success by locking in on an idea and playing it out. Many of us have these great ideas, but we don’t know exactly where to start and how to bring the idea to fruition. Inventive Labs has created an amazing new alternative available for people with ADHD to help do just this!

Starting in January 2017, InventiveLabs has created a new-to-the-world Pitch Competition and Business Accelerator. The twist is only teams where someone has a documented learning difference, such as ADHD, are eligible to participate. In other words, attention-surplus teams need not apply! So far they have collected over $200,000 in prizes for the 8 teams that will compete in this inspiring event. Microsoft is one of their key sponsors so far and the outpouring of support for this event is accelerating. In addition to the prizes, angel investors will be at the event evaluating each idea for possible investment. For those that don’t know, angel investors tend to be high net-worth individuals that would like to invest in new startups. And guess what? Many of the investors that will be present have ADHD themselves – imagine that!

What is unique about this program is that Rick, Tom and their business mentors will work shoulder-to-shoulder with each team for 4 months helping them prep their idea for presentation to Investors. So if you have an idea, but don’t understand how to put together a business plan or investment pitch, these guys can help. They have a proven record of success over the last 2 years in doing just that for individuals with all types of learning differences. They will educate on aspects of what are called “lean startup principals” and get you to the finish line ready to shine in front of the pitch competition judges, investors and the world! And, if you have too many ideas, they can help with that too.

I can’t tell you how transformative this program is. Instead of requiring people to “fit in” to what society expects, it gives people that think and learn differently the opportunity to reshape society on their own terms. If you are pursuing your own idea, your own dream, in your own company, then you get to make the rules. And InventiveLabs is leading the way in demonstrating to the world the innate superpowers we all possess. For those where college is not the answer or they are stuck in a job that does not play to their strengths, I think this will finally provide a pathway to truly have that chance to change the world.

I urge you to visit the InventiveLabs.org website to learn more and contact them. If you work at a company that could possibly support this amazing cause, please put them in touch with Tom or Rick. The bigger the prize pool, the better for everyone. And if you have an idea, or ideas that you would like to pursue in a supportive environment designed for the ADHD mind, this could be your answer.

People try to sell us on things all the time, every day.  Believe me, InventiveLabs is one idea eminently worth buying into, and Rick and Tom are two men who are doing everything they can to make this world a better place, especially for the deserving people who have trouble getting started.  I hope you will spread the word and support this great organization.  Please go to InventiveLabs.org now.

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

Finding Your Rhythm

“The human brain has never been as taxed as it is today. Finding your rhythm is more important than ever.”

Hope you all enjoyed a relaxing Labor Day Weekend. Now that our summer if “unofficially” over, the kids are back to school and the days are getting shorter, our daily routines are changing.

As we establish our new routines, it’s important to find our rhythm so we can get the most out of each day. When you find your rhythm, you don’t plan everything you’re doing; you’re just dong it. You’ll be “in the zone.” Allow the “daily grind,” the things you do repetitively every day, to be taken care of by the automatic pilot in your brain. It’s that force that allows us to do much more than you think, which frees the frontal lobes to do the creative, sophisticated work they are uniquely qualified to do.

In Distraction Podcast #25, you’ll learn more tips on finding your rhythm; including the #1 thing you can do every day to help you stay focused and accomplish your goals. Listen and you’ll also learn tips on:

  • dealing with difficult people;
  • managing toxic worry;
  • delegating;
  • forgiveness; and more.

If you missed last week’s mini-episode, “5 Simple Tips to Prepare for Back to School,” click here.

As always, thank you for being a part of my “Podcast Community.” Please let us know how we’re doing and if you have a topic you’d like me to discuss.

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