When he eventually became depressed — common for kids with ADHD — I made it my mission to ensure Nick’s teachers knew what interventions were working at home and what could help at school. Here’s what I’ve learned, and what I think every teacher should understand, too.
Some classroom interventions are helpful and others only make things worse. Parents can be a valuable resource.
Screens are sucking up so much of our time that people aren’t able to do what they really want, said Edward Hallowell, a psychiatrist who lives in Arlington and runs centers focusing on ADHD in Sudbury and around the country. This can put people in “survival mode,” making them impulsive, angry, inflexible, humorless, and unproductive.
“It’s exhausting to live a disconnected life that doesn’t have meaning,” he said. “Now more than ever . . . you have to be able to say no. You have to be able to say, ‘I’ll get back to you on that.’ ” The Boston Globe
ADHD isn’t a death sentence. In fact, it’s a condition that can bring incredible gifts. Pointers for professionals and parents on how to explain ADHD to a child in a way that emphasizes strengths and builds confidence.
“In my 30-plus years, I have learned that the moment of delivering the ADHD diagnosis ranks among the most crucial. It can determine the arc of a person’s life.” | Read more from Dr. Ned Hallowell on explaining ADHD with positivity →
My goal is to help people master the power of ADHD while avoiding its pitfalls. When the diagnosis of ADHD emphasizes what is wrong with a person, that person immediately starts to see himself in those negative terms. Shame, fear and self-doubt grow. However, when the treatment of ADHD begins with an effort to find what’s good in a person by using a strength-based approach to ferret out their hidden strengths and emphasizes what is positive, then the person sees himself in a positive light.
When explaining ADHD to a child, I say, “you have a turbo charged mind – like a Ferrari engine, but the brakes of a bicycle, and I’m the break expert.” When ADHD is properly treated, the person can achieve great heights: doctors, lawyers, CEO’s, dreamers, innovators, explorers and even Harvard grads. Founders of our country may have had ADHD. The flip-side of distractibility is curiosity.
I have a Crazy Family… and you may too. In fact, many, many people come from “crazy”. Listen to this great podcast with me and Dr Charles Parker on Corebrain Podcast. We discuss the lessons I learned from my family, my challenging childhood and why I became a Psychiatrist.
KUOW interviewed Dr. Hallowell and Lesley Todaro, Hallowell Todaro Center, about erasing the stigma around the word “crazy,” the relationship between ADHD and creativity, and talking to kids about ADHD.
“Most people who have exceptional talent have one or another of the conditions we diagnosis, whether it’s anxiety disorder, ADHD, dyslexia, major depression, substance abuse,” says Hallowell. “It’s rare to find someone who has major talent who doesn’t wrestle with one or another of those conditions.”
If you miss ADDitude’s online webinar “From Shame and Stigma to Pride and Truth: It’s Time to Celebrate ADHD Differences,” with ADHD experts Dr. Hallowell and Dr. Dodson, no worries. Thanks to ADDitude, you can LISTEN HEREand learn how to celebrate your ADHD.
Giulia Rhodes, The Guardian recently interviewed Dr. Hallowell about his Memoir. In her article, Mental Illness Swam In My Genes…, she asked him why he wanted to become a psychiatrist. Dr. Hallowell replied: “I wanted to become a psychiatrist because I wanted to understand my people in particular and crazy people in general.” The “selfish desire”, he says, was always to save his family: “There was a drive to repair families, repair my own – though it was too late for that, of course.”
Dr. Hallowell is a featured expert on this important subject.
Of all the problems your kid could have, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder seems relatively benign. But the potential long-term consequences of ADHD are scary.
One parent made it her mission to ensure her son’s teachers knew what interventions were working at home and what could help at school. Here’s what she has learned, and what she thinks every teacher should understand, too.
In his interview with Matt, Dr. Hallowell shares his personal stories about why he loved his Mom, his dad’s mental illness, why he wrote his Memoir, his unusual journey to becoming a psychiatrist and even how he was conceived. His interview also supports the importance of removing the shame surrounding mental illness. LISTEN NOW!
How many times have you found yourself sitting in a meeting, yawning, pinching yourself or grinding your teeth? How many days have you gone to the coffee machine multiple times, begging the caffeine to create some energy and get you out of this rut at work? Most people wake up, maybe grab some breakfast or at least a shot of caffeine, go to work, and assume they can stay consistently focused without taking any steps specifically designed to replenish and maintain their energy at work throughout the day.
If you’re having difficulty staying focused and feeling stuck at work, you can follow the 6 tips below, adapted from Dr. Hallowell’s book:
Prep works relies on “the sensational six.” Do the things recommended below and your brain will give you much more time in flexible focus if you prepare it every day by following each of these practices so you’ll spend less time in a “rut” and be more productive.
Sleep – one of the greatest favors you can do for your brain and your entire body is to get enough sleep. Sleep is tonic. Reset your priorities to make time for sleep. Set a regular bedtime and get-up time. Do make sure you have comfortable bedding. Reserve your bed for sleep; not work – don’t bring your screens into the bedroom.
Nutrition – when you don’t eat right, your brain can’t function well. Eat a breakfast with protein. Eat a balanced lunch. Use a fruit snack and a burst of exercise to combat the blahs. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables to feed your brain the micronutrients it needs. Watch the amount of coffee you drink.
Exercise is beyond doubt one of the best tonics available for your brain. You can start by walking every day with a friend; schedule time each week to play a game of some sort; i.e., golf, squash or tennis; or join a gym.
Mediationcan lower stress levels and blood pressure, increase energy and cognitive function, and make you calmer and happier. You can start by sitting in a comfortable chair, both feet on the floor and both hands comfortably placed on your lap. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. In, out. Watch your thoughts float by like leaves on a river. Try not to evaluate your thoughts, but rather let them pass by without a comment or a care. You can meditate for just a 5 minutes or more. Try to meditate daily and it will help you focus better.
Mental Stimulation – When you stretch your brain by trying new tasks or doing everyday tasks in a way you’ve never done them before, you are doing something that will not only enhance your ability to maintain focus, but also help stave off the ravages of aging, include dementia.
Connection –The human connection is the most powerful force in the world for growth, health, fulfillment, and joy. I call connection “the other vitamin C” or “vitamin connect.” You can get tips on ways to connect here.