ADHD Toronto study needs participants

ADHD (Young Adults, Parents, and Professionals) are interviewing young adults with ADHD, their parents, and professionals who work with young adults with ADHD. The insights drawn from these interviews will be used to develop health solutions and programs that better meet patients’ needs. Your personal information will be kept strictly confidential.

They are interested in interviewing individuals who meet the following criteria:

Eligibility Criteria:

Young Adults:   18-24 years old with ADHD   Canadian (both English- and French-speaking)   Currently attending or preparing to attend college/university   Available to be interviewed by phone between September 3 – October 17

Parents:   Parents of 18-24 year-olds with ADHD who are attending or preparing to attend college/university   Canadian (both English- and French-speaking)   Available to be interviewed by phone between September 3 – October 17

ADHD Educational Counselors, Student Support Services, or Health Care Professionals:   Professionals in a university/college setting who work with young adults with ADHD   Canadian (both English- and French-speaking)   Available to be interviewed by phone between September 3 – October 17

The interview will take about 45 minutes. The young adult interviews will be followed by 5 days of journal-writing (10 minutes per day). There is a financial incentive for this study.

If you are interested in participating, please contact

Thank you for your interest!

ADHD Treatment info at Toronto Danforth Ward 15 Community Program Fair

Come learn about how to support your family member with ADHD at this community hub event.

Mary Lynn Trotter MSW RSW will be on hand Thursday Sept. 27 from 3-7:30 to meet teachers, administrators and parents who are seeking supports for students with ADHD and related learning differences.

The event is sponsored by the Toronto Danforth Ward 15 Community Hub, and includes many local agencies serving children and families.

It is also a chance to let us know what services you need in your community.

The event is at Chester ES and Westwood MS – 114 Gowan/994 Carlaw Ave. (northeast of Broadview/Mortimer).


Please bring your questions about:

- what is ADHD

- how to find out if my child might have it

- where to get a proper diagnosis

-what are the treatment options

- how to work collaboratively with my child’s teacher

- how to include sports activities as key adjunct therapies

- what supports are available in the community for free

- what OHIP won’t cover

- how to find a parent support group

- how counselling helps ADHD

- how to improve my child’s behavior

- does mom or dad also have ADHD

-IEPs and IPRCs – what are they, and how do they help


ADHD included as exceptionality

Here is the link to the Ontario government memo that outlines the recent changes to ADHD as an exceptionality, which will result in changes in school supports:

This can mean big changes for parents with children who have an ADHD diagnosis, but no second diagnosis. In the past, many of these parents were not eligible for school support for their child’s learning challenges relating to their ADHD. Only if a child had a second exceptionality, such as a learning disability, would their needs be addressed.


Now, it is up to the school districts themsevles, through superintendeants, principals, and classroom teachers to support the intent of this policy change, and ensure children with ADHD receive all the help they need!


Here is another link to a terrific resource to provide your classroom or resource room teacher, also done for the Ontario government:

If you need help advocating for your child’s rights at school, call me today to book a consultation.

We are lucky these changes have been made, let’s ensure our children get their full benefit.

Report cards out Monday

If this week’s report card isn’t what you expected, or you need some help clarifying what it means, call me for a free consultation. I’ll help explain what the comments mean about your child’s ability to learn – which are far more important than actual grades. Get an early appointment to help prepare for your parent-teacher interview later in the week. And remember: if you’re not ready, you can always ask them to book it later.

Eat Well for Learning Success

Although it can be a struggle, ensuring your child with ADHD or a learning difference eats a healthy breakfast and luch on school days is imperative. Having a school lunch program helps; kids tend to eat what their peers are also being served. But sending a lunch that is colourful, varied each day and includes a few of the food groups will help maintain blood sugar levels and mood throughout the day. Contact me to to learn more about using meal planning and food shopping to support your child.

Free Consultation for Parents in Toronto

It’s report card time again! Fall term results may leave you wondering: how can I understand and help my child at school? Contact me to schedule a FREE consultation and information session. Email or call 416 875 9474.

Homework Help

Helping a child with ADHD tackle homework can be one of the
most frustrating things a parent faces. Due to the nature of the disorder,
children have a “now” or “not now” sense of time. So, when you are trying to
help your child get started on assignments, most of the time it will fall into
the “not now” category in your child’s brain!

As parents, we are trying to teach our children organization
skills. We are told, if our child has ADHD, that we should “chunk” work into
pieces, so it won’t be so daunting. So, if the assignment is due on Friday,
most parents will try to have their child tackle a bit every day. It’s a good
life skill to learn – don’t leave things till the last minute!

But what seems like procrastination or sheer laziness in
children with ADHD is not a character defect, or an attempt to play power games
with you. They simply can’t grasp concepts of time in the way others do. It
very much is here and now for them.

For most children with ADHD, it is important that they start
getting into a homework habit in primary school, if your school sends home
work. But you can discuss with their teacher whether the amount is right for
your child, whether repeating what was done in class to solidify learning is
necessary for your child, and whether they can complete something else for
homework – perhaps something new and more interesting. They are still learning
good habits – spending some of their home time on schoolwork, but it can be
adjusted to fit their needs.

Also, figuring out who is a good support person to be around
during homework time is crucial. In each family, sometimes one parent has a
better style of working with their child than the other. In other families the
“change of parent” strategy can work when it seems that power plays are
developing. Also, most parents learn that trying to help their own child may
not be the best strategy at all, and opt for a tutor.

Children with ADHD are sensitive, and can have feelings of
shame about not being able to do what is asked of them at school. Having
parents witness this can be overwhelming for them, and thus it is better for
them to get homework help from a third party.

Find out what works for your family, and do get into the
routine of doing homework during the week or on weekends. Your child will thank
you for this structure later when school demands increase.


Back to school

September is just weeks away. If you have ADHD, or have a child with ADHD, you are likely feeling a mixture of emotions.


Back to school means getting super organized again, setting goals, assigning chores, organizing car pools. For those with ADHD, it might mean looking foreward to a return to structure and routine – that’s a good thing! But it also means facing some stressful times, whether it be a new grade at school or heavier demands in the workplace.


It’s a good time for parents of children with ADHD to connect with their school. Principals are often in their offices, and not so busy that they will have time for a phone call or short visit. Bring along any new information you have about your child’s development over the summer, or new needs. And ask now for anything you think you might want put in place – such as a computer. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.


Do think about what type of activities your child wants to participate in this year, and sign them up. Yes, they need tons of exercize. Pick something they enjoy, or think they might like to try. Don’t naturally assume they will play the sports that you did as a child. Put them on teams with friends if that is helpful, or perhaps stick to individual sports – sometimes that’s a better fit with less competition. Every child is different – it might take awhile to figure out what he or she does best, and enjoys the most.


Parents – look forward to the calm and peace of mind that comes from a structured schedule. Yes the summer has been great, but too much unstructured time is not good ADHD treatment! Plan for routines Monday to Friday, with some extra-curricular activities, and some downtime. Depending on the energy level of your child, you will figure out the right balance. And keep some time for just family – meals together, lazy Saturday mornings etc. Needing structure doesn’t mean filling every waking minute. Children still need “free-play”.  An hour at the park can be just as good, or better, than an hour at ballet class. And helping children learn how to fill their own free time is a life-skill.


If you are a back to work or back to school adult with ADHD, it’s also time to organize your schedules, plan for some leisure activity like a class or scheduled workout, and make time for family as well. Do spend some money if you can on “organizers” – such as computers, smart phones, or good quality daytimers. They will be a lifesaver. And, if you haven’t worked with an ADHD coach, maybe this is the time to budget for some sessions. It can be the best investment you can make, in yourself.



Managing ADHD in summer

Summer is a wonderful time to be a child – days of fun-filled adventures, and none of the pressures of the school year. But for
parents, especially those of children with special needs such as ADHD, summer poses a number of challenges.

Preparation is key! A lack of planning and structure for your child’s day can spell disaster. It is known that children with ADHD have
trouble with transitions. Here we are, just a few days after the end of school, and some of these children are already struggling with their freedom.

Just because other children may be lying around, enjoying some well-deserved down time, doesn’t mean this is a good plan for your child.
In fact, it will likely be a bad idea.  Children with ADHD need a structured day to feel secure.

Knowing what is happening today, and even for the rest of the week, will help them organized themselves. Similar to a school week, have an organized plan for your child from Monday to Friday. Break the days into chunks – keep mealtimes regular, and schedule some quiet time/nap time out of the heat. Children with ADHD need lots of exercise, so pencil it in – or simply add it in with a walk home from camp instead of a drive, or swims in the evening before bed. It doesn’t have to be organized sports, but make sure burning off steam is part of the plan.

Some children continue on their medication for the summer – this can help them perform well at camp or in other scheduled activities where focus,
attention and impulse control is to their benefit. But other parents chose to take a medication holiday when school is out – this is an option, but one that needs to be planned for…with extra
time built in for exercise, stimulation and good nutrition.

Enjoy the good weather, keep your structures in place, and have a great summer.



ADHD in Children: Summer planning

For parents, spring means reviewing how your child has fared at school and making plans for next year.

It also brings up the question: “What are we going to do this summer to keep our child busy?”

Children with ADHD have worked very hard all year at school. It’s time to think about and praise their accomplishments. And it’s time to thank their teachers!

For some, it also means time to review your child’s individual education plan (IEP) and attend individual placement review committee (IPRC) meetings. This might be the first time your child with ADHD is being identified as “exceptional”, or it may be an annual check-in to assess his or her progress.

It can be a very stressful time!  One way to counter the stress is to plan.

School administrators who are inviting you to a meeting give you notice. You are given a choice whether to attend.

This is so important – I urge you to make whatever arrangements you need to to attend these meetings – to bear witness to what is being said about your child, and to play a role in future planning.

It can be hard for the professionals at these sessions to get a full picture of your child. Your voice  can help fill in the gaps. Teachers and school administrators realize that you know your child best. Symptoms of ADHD can often be masked or compensated for at school, but play out more in the emotional safety zone of the family home.

Sometimes, the focus of these meetings is more about your child’s related learning disabilities (if any). For parents facing both LD’s and ADHD, it is imperative that school officials take both into account.

It’s key to give everyone a wholistic picture of your child’s strengths and needs – to make decisions for next year as a team. Remember – you are likely allowed to bring someone with you if you need help navigating the school system. This is where your ADHD coach/counsellor or the person who did your child’s ADHD test comes into play. Ask them if they would be willing to attend. Language interpreters are also allowed.

It’s a good idea to have a plan going in about what you want the next school year to look like, and to ask the school administrators how they plan to get there. Go in with some big picture goals, and remember to keep an open mind. Your flexibility will be appreciated. Take a list of things that were to be accomplished this year and discuss progress and setbacks. Don’t let matters that are important to you fall through the cracks.


This time of year is also a good one to plan for your child’s summer break. As we know, children with ADHD do well in structured envioronments with predictable routines. While other children might be looking forward to a few weeks of couch surfing, this is not in your best interest!

Take stock of your child’s passions and see if you can organize summer programs that they will be excited about. Day camps, or local municipal recreation programs are a good place to start. These may provide low cost enjoyable programming in areas that give your child a break from school, but keep some of the school-like routines in place.

Find out where some of your child’s school-mates are going and place them with a peer if possible. This may also lead to arrangements you can make with another parent for pick ups and drop offs.


Give your child a break, but keep them busy and active. Feel free to contact me for more school/summer planning ideas, or comment here to share tips with other parents!


In good health,


Mary Lynn



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