I recently attended the 11th Annual ADHD Coaches Organization conference in Virginia. It was an amazing gathering of professional ADHD Coaches and an opportunity to share and learn from the tops in the field. As a group, we truly do understand the challenges that people who have ADHD face and we have the skills to help children and adults minimize the effects of ADHD on their day-to-day lives and more easily achieve their goals.
How to Best Support People with ADHD
Here are 3 of the many take-aways from the conference I wanted to share.
First, our conference began with a great opening exercise. ACO President-Elect Tamara Rosier had us each Pause and Set our Intention for the conference. What did we want to make sure we experienced and learned as we approached the next three days? I can’t tell you how beneficial that step was in helping us each Focus and be Mindful as we planned out our time. As I tell teachers – helping their students know Why they are being asked to learn something can truly help the brain engage and develop long-term memory for the learning.
One breakout session I attended focused on helping people become more mindful of where and how they forget things and, more importantly, some great tips on what they can do to support remembering in the moment. So often losing or misplacing things happen as patterns of behavior. Here is one of the things they suggested:
- Choose an item you (or your child) typically forgets, misplaces, or drops mindlessly (keys, lunchbox, shoes, etc.)
- Visualize yourself in the situation where you typically leave the item behind.
- Draw the environment where you typically leave the item behind (the bedroom, the playground, etc.). Try to really see the space so you can imagine walking around.
- See if you can put an X in the spot (or spots) where you typically may leave the item behind. Try to think about what happens as you enter the space and what you often do.
- Look at the drawing and see if you get some clues from the environment to create an anchor or structure to help you remember. This can help you can plan in advance an association so you can plan to intentionally place the item (when I go to the refrigerator for a snack I will empty my pockets and put the keys next to the it).
Visualizing your environment and the flow of your day can help support your brain in remembering. Thanks to Tracey Bromley Goodwin and Holly Oberacker for that tidbit.
Finally, another topic that was discussed during several sessions had to do with dealing with the Emotional aspects of ADHD. As coaches, we all recognize how challenging it can be for people with ADHD (and the rest of us I might add) to sometimes manage frustration, anxiety, and overwhelm. One take away from a session was that, just as I mentioned in the above scenario, making a Connection between a feeling and an action can help you take Control of your emotions. When you recognize that uncomfortable feeling (in your body, in your thoughts), Disengage from the thought or experience. Literally Breathe and get out of your head. Then ask yourself One Question that can inform you what to do next. That take a Conscious Action.
What do these 3 things have in common? It’s often all about the PAUSE to create that moment of INTENTION. Learning to Stop and Breathe can truly change the course of your day.