ADHD/ADD

ADD/ADHD in Adults is Serious

When Dr. Doron Almagor, Director of the Possibilities Clinic and the Chair of CADDRA (Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance) in Toronto, and Heidi Bernhardt, President of the Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada sat down with journalist Meghan Collie from Global news to discuss Attention Deficit Disorders and mental health, they had an important message. ADD/ADHD needs to be taken seriously. As tireless advocates for adults, children and families affected by ADD and ADHD, they have been voicing this message for a long time. But stigma, misunderstanding and gaps in information prevail. We all misplace our keys, walk into a room and forget why we’re there, and lose the thread of conversations. But in ADD/ADHD these challenges are extreme—and they happen every day. One adult at the Possibilities Clinic explained his plight this way: “My life is like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.” For anyone born after the 1990s, a quick recap. Groundhog Day, a 1993 comedy, stars Bill Murray as a TV weatherman. During an assignment to cover the Annual Groundhog Day event in small town USA, he becomes caught in a time loop and relives the same day over and over again—with all of its frustrations and challenges. And what...

ADD and ADHD in College: Are You Ready?

With summer in full swing, you probably prefer to think about hitting the beach rather than hitting the books. Heading back to high school is one thing, but heading to college or university is something else entirely. Are you ready? It’s exciting to think about new friends, new experiences, and new possibilities. There is so much to be positive about. Being optimistic helps you look forward and dream big!  But your new Psych 101 professor will probably tell you this: the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. So, if you’ve always left your assignments until the last minute, that’s probably going to happen when you hit campus, too. If you’ve lost your wallet, cell phone or keys over and over again, that’s probably going to happen at college, too. If you‘ve struggled to follow your high school teachers—because taking notes and listening at the same time seemed impossible—that’s probably going to happen at university, too. And university or college means new and tougher challenges will be thrown your way, as well. Bigger classes, more reading, more deadlines. Okay. Enough said. You get the idea. If challenges at school are part of your past, they’ll probably be part of your future. And...

Fun (and Functioning) for the Whole Family!

With summer in full swing, you’re probably doing some vacation planning. Maybe you’re seeking “fun for the whole family,” as some venues and theme parks advertise. Not an easy task. How do you plan an experience captivating for your 8-year-old, fun for your preteen, and even entertaining for you and your college-bound young adult? Inherently you know an inclusive experience—one that includes everyone—is key. You are a family, after all.  When thinking about whole-family fun this summer, don’t forget about other things that require a family-focused perspective. You know from experience that when one child is struggling, it can be upsetting—not just for you but for everyone else in your family. Social-emotional functioning can suffer, and so can whole family functioning, if challenges aren’t addressed with an inclusive perspective. Because you are, after all, a family.  When it comes to ADHD, a whole family perspective is also key. If you or your spouse has ADHD, then there’s a 50% chance that one of your children has it, too. And if your 8-year-old child has ADHD, chances are also high that your pre-teen or college-bound kid is heading to high school or university with it, too, threatening mental health and academic success if...

BE ADHD SMART…ABOUT MEMORY

With ADHD, it’s tough to keep a set of instructions in mind until a task is done. That’s because working memory gets overloaded—and distracted—really fast. Working memory is the brain’s juggler. So, if you ask your child to do three things—brush your teeth, put on some socks, and get your knapsack—the juggler tries to hold onto all the pieces at once while it runs upstairs to get the tasks done.   But often those tasks don’t get done. Why?  Because in ADHD the brain’s working memory can juggle only a few things at once, and it often gets distracted. Maybe the juggler is doing just fine holding all three things in mind as it runs upstairs—until it gets bounced off-track by something much more interesting than socks. A toy, a game, a book? Suddenly, the juggler wants to pick up those balls, too. And the toothbrush, socks and knapsack are forgotten, because balls drop when more balls are added.  So, what’s a parent to do? Blogs and books on ADHD will encourage you to do this: 1) look your child in the eye to get your child’s attention, and 2) ask your child to repeat the instructions before heading upstairs. Does this work? Nope. Probably...

Busting the Priority Myth: Stop Prioritizing and Start Succeeding

You want what’s best for your child. You always have. So, when worries arise, your inclination might be to prioritize—to target the problem immediately, and exclusively, before it escalates. In prioritizing, other concerns may become secondary in your mind, relegated to “let’s deal with them later.” Intuitively, prioritizing makes a lot of sense. But it might be working against you. Challenging behaviour? You go to a doctor and seek treatment—and for a while, things settle. Failed exam? You talk to the teacher—and for a while, things settle. Adolescent heartbreak? You enlist a therapist—and for a while, things settle. You prioritize again and again and again, at every turn, at every heartbreak, at every challenge. But development is a moving target, and the priorities keep shifting. You’re exhausted, hopeful, frustrated, confused.  Why aren’t your priorities yielding more success? Maybe because you’re doing just that: prioritizing. And maybe it’s time, once and for all, to bust the Priority Myth. Priorities, listed from highest to lowest and given attention as needs arise, are simply not sufficient for best outcomes. So this notion that priorities are your best bet when it comes to helping your child is a myth.    How do you prioritize when it comes to...

Five Ways To Fit Mindfulness Into A Busy Routine

For kids with ADHD/ADD, it’s easy for their minds to wander to other things, especially when completing tasks they find challenging or less interesting. Mindfulness is a great tool that parents and kids can have in their toolbox. It can help bring our attention to the present moment and help cope with difficult feelings and the challenges of day to day life. Mindfulness has all sorts of benefits, but one roadblock can be fitting in time to practice mindfulness during a busy daily routine. Good news - mindfulness isn’t just about sitting quietly, picturing a calm place, or doing yoga. Mindful moments can happen anywhere and anytime - really! Let’s have a look at 5 ways parents and children can fit mindfulness into a busy daily routine: 1. 4-3-2-1 Game The 4-3-2-1 game is simple: Ask your child, what are four things you see? What are three things you hear? What are 2 things you feel? What’s one thing you smell? Attending to what’s in our environment, right here and right now, can help orient kids to the present moment and to what they are experiencing. Another benefit of this game is getting distractions out of the way before settling down to the task...

Improve Your Child’s Reading Through Direct Instruction

I remember watching all the other kids skip rope. It looked so easy for them, yet no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I was left feeling frustrated and embarrassed. For children that struggle with reading and writing the feelings of frustration and shame can be just as intense. What’s more, if you have a child that struggles to read or write, you will likely know how difficult it is to get them to practice as they, for good reason, avoid things they find difficult. As a Direct Instruction Tutor my first goal is to see my students succeed and feel confident and motivated. Direct Instruction is a trademark program that works by teaching students all the skills needed to read and write. As students begin to experience success they become less reluctant to tackle reading challenges. Using the programs, along with patience, understanding, games and prizes, struggling readers learn to read. Through Direct Instruction, children will develop the tools to ‘crack the literacy code’. If you are interested in a consultation to see if the program is a good fit for your child, please contact The Possibilities Clinic and we will be happy to assist...

The Memory Mullet: ‘Business in Front’ meet ‘Party in Back’

If you’re an adult of a certain vintage, you probably remember the mullet. It’s a hairstyle that’s hard to forget. The hairstyle of choice for aspiring rock stars, the cut had two distinct features: short hair in front and long hair in back—or, as it was affectionately coined, “business in the front and party in the back.” Personal tastes aside, this was probably a tough cut for stylists to achieve (and a tough style for me to draw, obviously!). How do you take short hair in front and long hair in back and create a style that looks cohesive? No doubt, it was hard work for even the most experienced stylist. At The Possibilities Clinic, I talk with parents and students about memory a lot. I draw a lot, too—on the newly installed whiteboards—to try and illustrate abstract concepts from neuroscience, like how memory works.  When I speak with students about memory, I often hear this: “I have a bad memory,” or “I studied hard, but I completely blanked out on the test!” My next question is usually, “Well, how exactly did you study?” The answers tend to have similar themes: highlighting the textbook, reading notes repeatedly, writing out notes over and...

How To Optimize Development While Waiting for an Assessment or Therapy

When I see families for assessment of development, learning, attention or behaviour, many recommendations are patient- and condition-specific. However, others are useful for any child with any developmental concern. There are many aspects that contribute to healthy child development, many of which are modifiable. No diagnosis is required for these interventions so anyone can start them at any time. Here are some things to consider: Early intervention is key! Referral: If there are red flags at 15-18 months, a referral should be made. Wait lists range from several months to over one year so a child still may not be seen until 2.5-3 years. If concerns dissipate, the appointment can be cancelled. Speech and language assessment: Any parent or physician can refer to Early Abilities/York Region Speech and Language/ErinoakKids etc...

FREE LECTURE! Making Memories Stick: Study Skills for School Success in ADHD

A Free Lecture for parents and professionals who work with children and teens with ADHD and Learning Disabilities, or who may struggle in school. Based on their observations that students with ADHD who study hard for tests and exams still struggle to remember the information at test time, Drs. Almagor and Miles will discuss effective memory strategies that are fun and creative, and that will make information more memorable for students with ADHD and Learning Disabilities. In the Q&A session, the experts will answer your questions about memory, ADHD and Learning Disabilities strategies inside and outside the classroom. Speakers: Doron Almagor, MD, FRCPC and Brenda Miles, Ph.D., C.Psych. When: Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 7pm Where: University of Toronto’s George Ignatieff Theatre 15 Devonshire Place, near Bloor & Bedford Avenues Registration is FREE (sponsored by Camp Kennebec), but you must register in advance at https://www.campkennebec.com/adhd-experts-talk/  ...