Oprah Winfrey 6o minutes  20/20  CNN  Dr. Phil  Fox News  Harvard business publishing Good Morning America  Dr Oz  cnbc log  youtube verified by Psychology Today

Dr Hallowell ADHD and mental and cognitive health

A resource about ADD, ADHD, and mental health




  • edie: Letter to Dr. Hollowell's blog/response Having raised 3 c...
  • Mel Baggs: I don't know whether I have ADD or not. I do, however, have...
  • blueroses4me: Dr. Hallowell, Your book, "Driven to Distraction", was ...
  • Ingrid: I try to be clear with my son that we evolutionarily selecte...
  • NIcole: Dr. Hallowell, in response to your advice on "connectedness"...


sign-up for Dr. Hallowell�s newsletter

Back to site

Dr. Hallowell's Blog

March 20th, 2015

Mindfulness Workshop for Adult ‪‎ADHD

Mindfulness Workshop for Adult ADHD‬. As Dr. Hallowell describes it, having ADHD is like having a powerful race car for a brain, but with bicycle brakes. Treating ADHD is like strengthening your brakes. Starts April 8th!

Practicing Mindfulness techniques helps us to become more aware of our surroundings, calm ourselves and respond appropriately, instead of falling back on our “knee-jerk” reactions.

Learn more and register at Hallowellnyc.com.


March 17th, 2015

Dr. Hallowell Upcoming Live Presentations

March 17 – Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School , SiriusXM Channel 111 – Work and Life with Stew Friedman

We encourage conversation from listeners. Please join in the dialogue. Listeners can:
Call 1-844-WHARTON (1-844-942-7866), Email businessradio@siriusxm.com, Twitter under @BizRadio111

Time: 7:00 PM Eastern Time. Learn more here.

March 18 – West End Day School – Growing Up Happy: How to Cultivate Sustainable Happiness for your ADHD Child

Location: 255 West 71st Street, Manhattan, NY.  Time: 6:30 – 8:00PM

The event is open to the public. For additional information, please contact: Samantha @ 212-873-5703 x329.

March 19 – Jewish Family Service of Metro West New Jersey – When You Worry About the Child You Love

Dr. Hallowell will speak at the Jewish Family Service of MetroWest 2015 Joseph F. Goldberg Memorial Learning Disabilities Seminar. Location: Liberty Middle School, 1 Kelly Drive, West Orange, NJ. The event is free and open to the entire community. Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Sylvia Heller 973-765-9050 ext 1708 or email her at sheller@jfsmetrowest.org

March 21 – Bradley Hospital – Keynote: Teaching Children to Be Resourceful, Persistent and Resilient

Barrington High School, 220 Lincoln Ave., Barrington, R.I. Hours: 8 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. (8:45 a.m. – keynote address). 25th annual Parenting Matters conference. This half-day event offers parents, childcare providers, social workers and teachers a unique opportunity to learn from top child development and behavior professionals in a casual setting. 30 Workshops. Tickets $30. Learn more here.

March 11th, 2015

Dr. Hallowell Offers Support to Those Feeling Desperate

If You are Desperate. . .

Take my hand. If you are desperate, just take my hand. You don’t have to believe anything, just take my hand. Listen.

It will all work out. It has before. It will again. It will all work out. It always has. It will again.

Whatever it is that has you feeling desperate, it will pass. Nothing lasts as it is. Everything subsides. Even pain. Especially pain.

Stay with me. Take my hand. That’s what I need when I am desperate, and I’ve had serious moments of desperation in my life, more than a few.

Take my hand. Please stay with me. We are in this life together.

All of us. Has someone betrayed you or threatened you? That happened to me, once really badly. I could tell you about that. Maybe later?

Have you done something that’s gotten you into trouble? Who hasn’t!

Are you desperately worried about someone you love? That’s especially hard, because you have so little control.

Whatever your situation, you do have me, at least right now. You also have everyone else in the world, it’s just pretty hard to feel their presence. They’re there, though. One day science will prove exactly how and where. They’re there and with us from the afterworld, too, at least if you ask my opinion, but that’s a totally different topic. You don’t need opinions and speculations now, you need solid comfort and relief.

Things will get better. Take it to the bank.

You sure don’t need theories or slogans. I Googled “feeling desperate” and got a lot of sites with solutions (usually for a fee, once you entered and scrolled down a bit), Biblical citations, and literary references to books like The Little Prince or Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Those books are wonderful fables, but you need something more immediate right now.

Like a guarantee. Who doesn’t like a guarantee? I can guarantee you, if you hang in there, things will get better.

Pain passes. Humiliation passes. Loss passes. Death takes, and then subsides. Betrayal passes.

The person who betrayed me, really bad, that I mentioned before? She and I are now friends. Never in a million years could I have predicted that during the seven years of suffering she caused me. But I forgave her. It was the best thing. It was a gift I gave to myself. Now I don’t feel awful or hate life when I think of her. I actually smile. We like each other again.

If I knew exactly what was bothering you, maybe I could help better. But maybe I don’t need to know, because feeling desperate, at its core, is pretty much the same regardless of the cause.

I’m still here. I’m not going anywhere. Things will get better. Just hang in there.

Get angry at me if you’d like to. When I feel desperate I often get angry at people who tell me things will get better. How could they possibly know? It makes me mad.

But it’s also what I want to hear because it’s what I want to believe.

Life is so hard. For us all. The good thing is it’s not hardest on all of us at the same time. So when one of us is more or less ok, we can help offer hope to those who are in the depths. It’s sorta like how we get each other through.

Each other. See, we’re the key. That’s not a theory, it’s a fact. You know it, I know it.

We’ve all been in the depths. If you’re there now, I can tell you, I’ve been there, too. Now, I have your hand. Maybe then, you had mine. So we can’t be all that far apart, if you get what I mean.

Being human keeps us close. We all have to play by the same rotten rules. Age, suffer, and die. Lose everyone and everything.

Maybe not everything. As long as someone has hope, there is hope. And as long as there is hope, desperation will subside.

Please allow for hope. Don’t block it out. It will come.

When I’m desperate, the worst moments are when hope, all of a sudden, vanishes, and all I can see are the very worst outcomes. It’s like a cloud blocks out the sun and my world goes dark. It’s just a feeling that overcomes me, with no warning, in periods when I am living in fear, sorrow, or danger. My world goes dark.

But, sooner or later, the cloud does move on, thank God, and the sun, such as it is, returns. I say “such as it is” because in those periods even the sun doesn’t restore me completely.

It’s such a cliche but it’s so true: life is all ups and downs. Thank God the downs don’t last forever, and I guess it’s just as well the ups don’t either.

If you’re in a down, please let me be with you. Think of me, a person you don’t know, talking to you right now, a person who’s been very down, but who, right now at least, has hope. Think of me just trying to get next to you in spirit to pump in some of the hope you don’t feel right now.

Hope is a potent force in the universe. Ok, that’s a theory, it’s my theory. When I’m desperate what I need more than anything is hope. Desperate basically means out of hope. Full of fear, but no hope.

Take my hand. Hope is what gets you to take it. Now let me transfuse some of my hope into you. Just hold on, it comes through naturally, just like it did when you gave it to me back when.

Even if you can’t hold my physical hand, which you can’t of course because you are reading this and you don’t know me from Adam, even so you can still feel as if you were holding my hand through my words. These are words of hope.

They are hard earned words. I won’t tell you all the troubles I’ve seen, but I’ve seen many, and I’ve been places where I felt nothing but fear, where I felt no hope at all.

Let me hold you now. It will work out. It always has. It always will.

Now, turn on a piece of music you love, let the music divert you and take you, and then come back and read this again, ok?

March 10th, 2015

Dr. Hallowell ADHD Summer Camp July 13-17, 2015

Hallowell Summer Camp: A summer camp like none other. Families will learn, connect and adventure together in the most beautiful place in America, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

 From childhood through adulthood, ADHD can present both difficult dilemmas as well as unique opportunities for change, growth, and success. Dr. Hallowell’s goal is to help people master the power of ADHD while avoiding its pitfalls.

when the treatment of ADHD begins with an effort to find what is good and useful and powerful in a person and ferrets out their often hidden talents while emphasizing what’s valuable, then the person sees him or herself in a positive light.

When explaining ADHD to a child, Dr Hallowell says, “You have a turbo charged mind – like a Ferrari engine, but you have the brakes of a bicycle. Don’t worry, though, because I’m a brake expert.” When ADHD is properly treated, the person can fulfill their dreams and succeed in whatever ways their talents lead them. Many doctors, lawyers, CEO’s, inventors, actors, writers, explorers, entrepreneurs and innovators in diverse fields all have the trait so misleadingly called ADHD.

Interweaving introductory information with advanced material based on his strength-based approach to diagnosis and treatment, these seminars will show you how to unwrap the gifts of ADHD and how people who have ADHD can succeed at the very highest levels and make a great contribution to society they most surely have in them to provide.

Location: The Homestead Resort, Glen Arbor Michigan,

Fee: $975 per person

Learn more at HallowellSummerCamp.com.

March 10th, 2015

Dr. Hallowell in Seattle, WA March 11

Dr. Hallowell will be at the Seattle Town Hall, downstairs, on March 11th at 7pm.

You can purchase $5 tickets to his speaking event, A Strength Based Approach to ADHD, here.

Find out more about the Hallowell Todaro Center.

March 10th, 2015

Dr. Hallowell Answers a Mom’s Question on Dyslexia

Dr. Hallowell,

I am a great admirer of yours and sincerely appreciate your informative, practical, optimistic books and newsletters (particularly the Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness).  They have meant a lot to me over the years as a parent of a struggling son with dyslexia and associated focus and stress problems.

My son attended a private school from 4th to 6th, and we were introduced to your wonderful body of work, and I am grateful to you and the School for the great progress it enabled my son to attain, as well as the confidence he regained there after being behind the eight ball for four years in public school. He is now 13 and, unfortunately, back in public school (eighth grade).

You have referred to dyslexia as a gift. We have explained this to our son and are trying to help him to find and pursue his passion in life and to pursue his talents outside of school.  He is gifted athletically and musically, and is also a bright, kind, intuitive and empathetic person.

Unfortunately, it seems that the nature of school -especially public school-is to force students (especially those with disabilities) to focus on their weaknesses with little opportunity for discovery and development of their talents.

I am bothered by the nagging question as to whether-by putting so much effort into his reading and into helping him to be successful in school- we are somehow helping to sublimate or even worse diminish his gifts.  I understand that the brain can indeed be “rewired” from a neurological perspective to enable a person to more easily function in the neurotypical world through intensive reading remediation, for example.  What does that effort do to his/her dyslexia “gift”?

Our son has been successful against the odds in nearly attaining grade level reading and understanding, yet it seems to me he is less optimistic, intuitive, curious and able to problem solve than he used to be.  Is this the unfortunate tradeoff a dyslexic person has to make in order to be academically successful at a younger age? The success stories one hears about from the likes of Stephen Spielberg and Henry Winkler and others seem to always be that they struggled through school and did not realize until adulthood why.  Of course they went on to be very successful in spite of their childhood school struggles.  I know stress plays a role in my sons struggles (though he does not present as an anxious child in public) and we try to deal with that through tai chi, for example. But I worry that on a  more organic level, this brain “rewiring” in order to help him attain average reading skills is somehow harming the exceptional abilities he has resulting from his “dyslexic brain” gift.

I hope I am making some sense. I cannot imagine sitting by and letting him struggle in school without trying to get him appropriate help. However, I do worry about him losing his gift in the process.

Many thanks for all that you do and for reviewing this email and considering my question.


Dear Helen,

I found your letter so compelling, as well as of general interest, that I will include it in my next newsletter, along with this reply, if that is all right with you.

I’ve written and said many times that both ADHD and dyslexia are composed of positive as well as negative qualities, which is why it doesn’t make sense to call either one a total disability nor a pure gift.  Both part good, part problematic.

I’ve also said that I do not treat disabilities, I help them unwrap their gifts.  In the case of both ADHD and dyslexia, these gifts can be extremely difficult to unwrap, but unwrapped they can be!  I’ve spent an entire career doing just that.

Sometimes people misunderstand me, and misquote me as saying that I believe ADHD and dyslexia are gifts.  That’s not what I’ve said or written.  I’ve said they can turn into gifts, or they can ruin lives and be horrible curses.  It’s all a matter of how one manages these conditions.

I know.  I have both ADHD and dyslexia myself.

To unwrap the gifts embedded in these conditions, one must get the right help, and, often, spend many years doing the work needed to develop the positives both these conditions contain: creativity, originality, intuition, tenacity, depth of thought and heart, sparkle, humor, and more, much more.

In the case of your son, who is being tutored to help him overcome the negative side of dyslexia, he is getting the right help in that regard. It can take years of tutoring to develop fluency in reading.

However, that should not be the only intervention.  He should also receive attention to his talents, his interests, his fledgling skills. It is imperative he not only be tutored in what he is challenged by–reading, in his case–but that he also spend considerable time developing what he is good at and what he likes.

Balancing the interventions between tending to the deficiencies and developing the assets–this is the best way to go.

Warm Wishes,



  • No feed items.