ADHD Toronto study needs participants

ADHD (Young Adults, Parents, and Professionals)

Selfcarecatalysts.com 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 diane@selfcarecatalysts.com.

Thank you for your interest!

ADHD at work

Adult ADHD is becoming more known, better understood, leading to improved lives for people affected by it. One area where ADHD can be managed is in the workplace. It can, and should be thought of as a disability. For those working for a progressive employer, it is hoped this is something  you are able to share. Just like in school, you should be able to ask for accomodations.

But for others, in more traditional settings, disclosing that you have ADHD may be more of a burden than a help. This is an unfortunate reality. Adult ADHD is a disorder that still carries stigma, much like disclosing you have depression or anxiety.

So, we rarely see people taking time off to deal with their ADHD treatment. What happens instead is ADHD comes to work with you each and every day. If you are lucky enough to be in a job that is a good fit, such as sales, or something with a lot of variety, you may have managed to be effective at work despite the challenges of ADHD.

Another solution is to learn how ADHD affects the tasks of your job. For many, it means getting a handle on organization, time management, deadlines, hyper-focussing, setting priorities etc. What you really need is an assistant.

That’s where devices, such as computers, smart phones, even alarms can help. There are many new tools to help ADHD’ers better manage their work demands. To find out more, put “assistive devices” into your search engine to see what’s available. There are now many apps to help you – whatever your challenge.

For example, some of the new technologies have timers and alarms connected to the calendar. Put an appointment in, and you will be notified before that appointment comes up. What a relief…you can dive deeply into that assignment, and not have to worry that you might miss your next appointment.

Do you have a favourite? Please comment on this blog, so others with adult ADHD can see what works. And if it didn’t work for you, it might work for someone else with ADHD.

ADHD is an employment barrier you can address

As a social worker practising in Toronto, I work with people who have ADHD, and other adults who face a variety of barriers to employment. (For those interested, check my other website, www.vantagepointcareers.com). Because of my social work background, I bring a different focus to the area of career development, or career counselling.

Social workers are educated and trainined to help people understand and cope with their challenges – and we all have some! So, I decided to take that approach into my work with career counselling.

For adults with ADHD, understanding what your barrier is should not pose a problem. You have likely known since you were young that you had a type of disabilty that made school, and later paid work difficult. If you were lucky enough to pick a career well suited to ADHD, you already conquered one of the biggest barriers you migh have faced!

Career counselling for ADHD includes helping people understand the unique ways ADHD affects their work styles, productivity, and creative process. As you know, there is no clear cut career plan for an ADHD client – each person is uniquely different in terms of the way ADHD poses challenges, and indeed, what strengths in confers.

I have found that people with ADHD, like any other significant issue, have to go through a process of acceptance before they can become very comfortable talking about it in terms of their on the job performance. This is where working with a career counsellor trained in ADHD is very helpful.

Before any client begins to seek out interviews, or even dust off their resume, I like to work with them to be clear and confident about the impact of ADHD on their working lives. Today many workplaces have accomodations in place to support you. Researching your local job market – talkiong to people who work in H.R. is a good place to start. Often, magazine reviews of top companies will point out who has excellent HR policies in the area of disability.

Rather than think of ADHD as a hurdle to be overcome, work to see it as a way of describing how you behave in certain situations – and how you manage it – well.

For more information on workplace disability and accomodations, please contact me.

ADHD Treatment Tips – Make New Habits

If you’re like many other individuals with ADHD, you’ve likely had difficulty developing habits – whether it is a consistent study schedule, or even remembering to put your keys somewhere you’ll always find it.

As is often the case, you may start out with high motivation and high drive to put that habit in place – this time you’re going to make it stick. But, as the days go by, maybe that motivation wavers, maybe something gets in the way and you forget to keep up your habit or decide that it’s too much trouble. Maybe you even forget that you had that great idea to begin with.

The fact is, although habit-building is a powerful way to introduce structure into your life, developing a habit takes time – it can be all too easy to become discouraged if you’re not successful at first and give up.

In developing a habit, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to create the structure and support needed for each new habit change so your chances for success are strong. Below are 5 such strategies, adapted from a great book called ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize your Life, designed to help you make that new habit stick.
1.Tie a new habit with an old one. Since most of us have ingrained habits, it’s easiest to develop a new habit if it’s tied to an old one. As an example, if you decide you want to start going for morning walks, try putting your running shoes and jacket by the door where you always go to pick up the morning paper.
2. Make the habit hard to ignore. Using the same example, try putting your running shoes in an obtrusive place, so you can’t open the door to get the paper without picking them up.
3.Put reminders everywhere. When first starting out, try putting sticky notes where you are sure to see them that remind you to act on your new habit. Want to remember to put your keys in the same place every day? Place a sticky note right by the door where you see it as soon as you walk inside.
4.Get back on the horse. Habits take time. Forgetting is not failure – it is part of developing a habit. If you forget one day, start fresh the next. Better yet, start fresh as soon as you remember – if you wanted to go to the gym in the morning, stick with a plan B and go in the evening instead. You can get back to going in the morning the next day.
5.Problem solve if it’s not working. Maybe you need a different reminder, maybe you need to tie it to a different habit, or maybe it would fit better into a different time of day. Whatever it is, take the time to look at what has been working and what has not, and go from there.

Kolberg, J. & Nadeau, K. (2002). ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize your Life. Routledge, New York: New York.

Vancouver politician tackles ADHD

Today’s Globe and Mail newspaper has a well-written story about a Vancouver woman coming “out of the closet” about her ADHD, and also an editorial about the disorder. This is an excellent resource to share with your older children/adolescents – perhaps explain to them that having ADHD is something adults have to contend with, but can learn to manage in order to be successful.  Here’s the link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/new-health/health-news/coping-with-adult-adhd-first-you-need-a-diagnosis/article2186527/

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.

 

 

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