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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

Archive for January, 2017

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Dr. Hallowell’s ADHD Summer Family Camp

Time for camp!

Even though it is chilly January where I am, near Boston, I want to devote this Note from Ned to the unique summer camp I’ve been running with Rob Himburg and my wife, Sue, for 11 years now.

Spanning just under one week, July 17 – July 21, this camp is a one-of-a-kind experience. I am not a marketer by training or inclination, but I am someone who loves to share good news and great ideas, so I really want you to know about this camp if you have a child–or a spouse–with ADHD.

This camp is indeed a great idea. I wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t. That credit goes to Rich Odell, a brilliant and innovative educator who came up with the idea back when he was director of the Leelanau School in Glen Arbor, Michigan.

He said to me, “Ned, why don’t we create a week-long camp for kids who have ADHD and have their parents come too? You could meet with the parents every day in the morning, and Rob Himburg could meet with the kids.” Instantly, I loved the idea.

Rob Himburg, then on the faculty at Leelanau and now head of his own school, is a master teacher, a kind of pied-piper whom kids of all ages adore. He meets with them in the morning and devises some kind of fun activity–cooking, canoeing, puzzle-solving, hiking–that has build into it strategies for improving executive function, one of the achilles’ heels in the world of ADHD.

Not knowing what to expect, 11 years ago we convened our first group. It was an immediate hit. The secret to its success, and what makes it unique, is that the parents come with their children. Not only do the parents get to have time with their kids, but the parents also meet other parents who are dealing with the same issues, while kids meet other kids who also have the fascinating trait called ADHD. Every year, the families make friends with each other and by the time Friday arrives, no one wants to leave.

The experience is rooted in my strength-based approach to ADHD. I see ADHD as a complex condition, full of positives and negatives, strengths and weaknesses, victories and frustrations. I tell kids that having ADHD is like having a Ferrari engine for a brain, but with bicycle brakes. My job is to help strengthen the brakes so they can win races.

Seeing ADHD not entirely as a disorder but rather as a complex combination of talents and areas of weakness helps both the person who has ADHD as well as the people who love him or her get into a more positive frame of mind and feel more motivated and inspired to do the work required to reach the best outcomes.

The week at the camp reinforces this message every day. The parents group is especially powerful because parents know how often their children have been misunderstood, labeled, and made to feel small and less-than. At the camp they receive a fresh and more accurate picture, that highlights the strengths and talents, while acknowledging the downside and frustrations as well.

The parents love it because they see the real child, the full child and because there is time for people to tell their stories in some detail. While I provide a wealth of didactic material, the heart of the parents’ sessions are the stories they tell, the tears that fall, the laughter that fills the room. Each year people comment on how inspiring and uplifting the parents’ sessions were, as well as practical and educational.

My wife joins me one morning and gives a session on ADHD in couples. Her session is always one of the most highly rated. She now also helps us produce and run the week.

Also starring in the show is the spectacular scenery of Glen Arbor, Michigan, especially Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, as well as the Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor, where most people find their accommodations, and where the morning sessions start out. And the fine restaurants and movie houses of Traverse City are only a 45 minute drive away.

If you’d like to learn more–and I am so eager to share this treasure with you that I hope you will–go to our website, hallowellsummercamp.com, or, for a more personal touch, call my wife, Sue, at 781-820-0881. She loves the camp as much as Rob and I do, and she is eager to tell you all that you’d like to know, including the kind of first-hand knowledge you can’t really get from a website.

As many of you know, I believe the key to pretty much everything of value in life is found in connection–with people, with ideas, with beauty, with whatever grabs your interest and your heart. This unique week is guaranteed to be a week of connection like few others you’ve ever experienced.

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Dr. Hallowell’s Complete Cape Cod Institute Seminar

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From childhood through adulthood, ADHD presents both difficult dilemmas and unique opportunities for change, growth, and success. The goal of diagnosis and treatment is to transform ADHD from a chronic liability into an overall asset in life. The purpose of this seminar is to show how to do precisely that and to present all the exciting new information we have learned about ADHD in the past decade.
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