Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fw: ADDA September 08 eNews!

Come Together and Create!
Peter S. Lopez aka: Peta Email: Sacramento, California, Aztlan

----- Forwarded Message ---- From: Attention Deficit Disorder Association <>

Sent: Tuesday, September 9, 2008 7:31:03 AM
Subject: ADDA September 08 eNews!

September 2008
Official Newsletter of the Attention Deficit Disorder Association

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In This Issue
President's Message
Send Us Your Treatment Providers
Fuzzy Agreements
AD/HD is a Real Plus
AD/HD Awareness Week: Sept. 14-20
Is It You, Me or ADD?: A Book Review
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Read more about
AD/HD Awareness Week
in this issue of The ADDA e-News!

President's Message
Dear ADDA Community,
Wow, I can't believe it's been less than 60 days since Linda Anderson passed on the baton of the ADDA presidency. It has definitely been a busy couple of months, beginning with preparation for the ADDA national conference and then having the opportunity to connect with old and new friends during those four special days in Minneapolis.

And there was no time to rest when we returned. Working closely with the ADDA board and staff, we've been busy strengthening our committees and committee structure, recruiting new volunteers, transforming the ADDA Web site into an Internet community, and preparing for AD/HD Awareness Week (September 14 - 20). Of course, I've also been adjusting to this new role as well!

I did, however, take some time over the last couple of weeks to follow the Olympics and witness Michael Phelps' journey to gold. I couldn't have been more thrilled to see him win those record-breaking eight gold medals. I would have been proud of his accomplishments anyway, simply as an American citizen, but as an adult with AD/HD, and the mother of two young men who also live with AD/HD, I couldn't be prouder if he were my own child! He and his mother are wonderful examples of the incredible success adults with AD/HD can achieve when, as children, they are supported and encouraged to develop their strengths rather than concentrating on their challenges.

That's certainly my goal for my own children. But, as someone who didn't receive an AD/HD diagnosis until adulthood, I didn't get that kind of support as I was growing up. Not receiving it as a child certainly didn't mean I was doomed for failure as an adult, although it certainly made achieving a modicum of success more difficult!

Whether you've been fortunate enough to have gotten support and encouragement since childhood or you're just discovering how to negotiate the challenges of living with AD/HD, ADDA exists for all of us. By providing resources, support and opportunities for networking and connecting with others (both real time and virtual), ADDA helps each of us reach for and grab onto the success every adult with AD/HD can achieve. It's no accident our logo is someone reaching for the stars... and touching one!

But to be perfectly honest, ADDA is in a very tenuous position right now. Many of our constituents struggle in the workplace and are unemployed or underemployed far too often, while some of us struggle with managing our finances even when we are working. The resulting membership dues income is not sufficient to support the needs of so many adults (and professionals) who rely on ADDA's services. In fact, dues make up less than 10 percent of the total ADDA income. In addition, obtaining funding from traditional philanthropic sources typically available to advocacy organizations like ADDA presents its own set of challenges.

As a 'hidden' disorder, AD/HD invites suspicion and skepticism, and there are far too many people who don't believe the disorder even exists, especially in adults. And frankly, unlike other patient advocacy groups who primarily focus on children's issues or more 'serious' disorders, as adults we simply don't have the "awwww" factor that pulls on heartstrings and entices individuals to give, despite the serious impairments and challenges that can result from adult AD/HD. And without a major sports or entertainment figure to publically support AD/HD, we lose out on dollars and credibility. Sadly, most celebrities are not willing to publically acknowledge their AD/HD. (Bless you, Michael Phelps!) As a result of these and other factors, ADDA is really struggling financially; we're challenged to keep expenses down, while identifying the consistent sources of income needed for ADDA to continue operating.

Most non-profit patient advocacy organizations like ADDA get the majority of their income from membership and individual member and associate donations. As I've been struggling with what services we may have to cut and how to bring in additional dollars, it occurred to me we've never asked you, our members, constituents and friends, to help support us in those same ways. Although many of you would like to help but simply cannot afford it, there are an equal number who are incredibly successful and who I know would be happy to help ensure ADDA can contribute to the success of others.

I'm trying to learn to ask for help when I need it--something difficult for a lot of adults with AD/HD like me. As a good friend keeps reminding me, how can we expect to receive what we need if we don't ask for it?

So, I'm asking you:
  • Become a member of ADDA or renew your current membership.
  • Convert your membership to "professional" if you work in an AD/HD-related field. The difference in dues is minimal compared to the additional benefits you receive.
  • Make ADDA your charity of choice, and encourage friends, family and colleagues to do the same.
  • Make a recurring donation online or by snail mail (15000 Commerce Parkway, Suite, C, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054).

Whatever you can do will help ensure we can continue to support adults with AD/HD. Your contribution will allow us to continue raising awareness about AD/HD and help us to reduce the stigma and shame associated with the disorder.

And by the way, I have absolutely no doubt ADDA will emerge from our current situation stronger than ever. I'm confident we'll continue to help adults with AD/HD 'go for the gold' and reach for the stars by providing the resources, support and networking needed to succeed. After all, I've met many of our members and friends and the professionals who work with them. I have seen the passion and appreciation you have for ADDA and know if you can help, you will now that we've asked. There's a Michael Phelps inside of each of us, and it's our mission at ADDA to help that gold medal winner emerge. Together we can make it happen!

Evelyn Polk Green
ADDA President

Send Us Your Treatment Providers!
As you know, it can be a real challenge to find a professional who really understands AD/HD in adults. You can benefit ADDA and all the other AD/HD adults out there by encouraging your providers to become professional members of ADDA. In addition to supporting a good cause, you also help your providers through the exposure that they receive from our professional directory.

Professional members receive a free listing in our professional directory, which very quickly pays for itself through the new clients it generates. Our Web site gets 60,000 visitors per month and that number will only go up over the coming months. Many of those individuals visit the Web site specifically to locate a treatment professional.

So, if you know a professional who does a good job, have them sign up here.

Fuzzy Agreements
By Dan Pryor

Several months into my first job assignment after graduation, my supervisor dropped by my office and asked me to think about a situation in the IT department. A week later he called me into his office demanding to know why I hadn't dealt with the IT problem. Shaken and confused, I considered my options. Unable to create a clever response, I did the only thing I could--I told the truth.

"I've spent my time doing exactly what you told me to do, I thought about the situation."

His eyes bulged, and his bald head turned beet red as he prepared to clean my clock. Taking a deep breath, he had a "moment." It suddenly occurred to him that I had in fact followed his instructions. I had, indeed, thought about the situation. His flushed face regained its normal color, and a foolish grin replaced his vicious grimace.

The source of our misunderstanding was a "fuzzy agreement." In other words, our agreement was general, unspecific, had no specific follow-up time. It was rife with opportunities for misunderstanding. We both made assumptions regarding what the other was anticipating.

Do any of these statements sound familiar?
  • "I'll get back to you."
  • "I will look into it."
  • "We should get together sometime."
All of these are classic fuzzy agreements. They are big trouble for those of us who struggle with achieving and maintaining focus, especially if the task is uninteresting. But success in the organizational world rewards action and getting things done. Fuzzy agreements provide too many opportunities to dodge important tasks and not get things done.

So, what's the focus deficient AD/HD individual to do? To oversimplify, don't make or agree to fuzzy agreements. When a boss, a colleague or a client says, "Get back to me," don't blindly agree! Instead, ask for clarity.

"What exactly are you expecting, what does 'get back to you' mean?"
"Exactly when do you needs this?"
"Just to make sure we understand each other, what are you expecting by when?"

Incidentally, fuzzy agreements don't work with family members, friends, love interests or neighbors. To refuse to make fuzzy agreements is to go against the stream of normal agreements and delegating. But in terms of succeeding in corporate America, it puts you way upstream from most of your colleagues.

Think about it.
You Can Learn a Lot from Your AD/HD Child--If You Pay Attention!
By Nancy L. Farrow

Being the proud mother of a child with AD/HD has given me certain insights. You and I both know that dealing with AD/HD is not an easy task. Perhaps some of the things I have learned by experience may help you. All the professionals in the world can offer advice, but I think it's a good idea to learn from someone who has walked in your shoes.

Children are the real experts. We can learn a lot by watching them. Want to really know your children? Try observing them without making them aware of it. They can show us what is going on inside of them when we pay attention. When you can't figure out what is bothering your child, try taking them for a car ride. You will be surprised at how they will open up because they are more relaxed and not under so much pressure.

Playing a little game with them is also helpful. You may learn why they are upset, angry or out of sorts. Your child may not understand how to express what they are feeling because AD/HD kids tend to be over-emotional. It is hard for them to control their emotions let alone express them. You may have to look for other clues such as body language, what they don't say, eating habits or sleeping habits. Each child is an expert on what is going on inside of them. Spend more time listening than talking, and when you do talk, make sure it is with them, not at them. Your AD/HD child really needs you to listen!

More often than not we are negative. This is passed on to the child. Help them put their problems into perspective and build their self-esteem on a regular basis. Make suggestions, keeping in mind that they most likely won't take your advice. If they do, they may not tell you. Until they are able to work out problems for themselves, be as supportive and positive as you can be. Never say "I told you so" or "I told you not to handle it that way!" Sometimes experience is the best teacher.

Believe it or not, you are an expert. You spend time with your child and know them better than anyone else. You can trust your intuition and instincts. One of the best resources your child has is you! Never underestimate your value. Plan simple, fun activities. They do not have to be complicated or cost a lot of money. Your AD/HD child needs to learn how to relax. In other words, help your child wind down, handle their stress and enjoy themselves. Let's face it, your child has a lot of nervous energy. It is a good idea to help your child have fun!

As your child grows older, he or she will want to be more independent. They will want your involvement less and less. Take advantage of the time you have to participate in their activities and hobbies while they are still young. You will learn how to better communicate with one another. Spend some time one on one. Seeing the world through your child's eyes is a wonderful thing! It is time well spent, and they will know how important they are to you. Find out about your child's interests. Perhaps you can even purchase a book on the subject of interest.

Remember: it is not the activity itself that is important. It is the precious time you
spend together!

It is quite natural to feel down and inadequate at times when parenting an AD/HD child. It is a tough job handling AD/HD! Seeking professional help for yourself and your child is a sign of strength, not weakness. You have received a precious gift. Accept AD/HD and learn to live with it. Take it one day at a time and, some days, one hour at a time.

Yes, we do get angry and frustrated--at our child, ourselves and the world in general. The trick is to control the anger. Don't let the anger control you. You need to distance yourself from your child. Go to another room. Cry into your pillow or hit it until you let it
all out. Then go back to your child. You will be calmer and better able to handle the problem at hand. And lower that voice! It doesn't hurt to let your child know how you are feeling. If you are angry, say so! You can say, "I am really angry with you right now. I would appreciate it if you would try to think before you speak. I know this is difficult to do sometimes. I believe this is what you were trying to say, is this correct?" And parents, when you just don't know what to do or say, back off! It is always a good idea for you to stop and think before you speak!

If your child has been angry with you for a long time, here is what to do: Say, "I know you have been angry with me. You have a right to feel that way, however, now I think it is time to move on and get off it. We all need to learn as we go. You may always express your feelings to me, but I ask that you do so with respect. When you are angry, calm yourself down and then come talk with me."

AD/HD can be a real plus when it is diagnosed and treated properly, and the challenges it presents are addressed. AD/HD children are often highly intelligent, perceptive, sensitive and creative. When it seems they are not paying attention, they may actually be paying very close attention, but not focused in the area you prefer. When a child (or adult) with AD/HD finds something intriguing, they can pay attention longer and better than anyone else! It may well have been this kind of hyper-focusing that made Thomas Edison, who its been reported exhibited many of the characteristics of AD/HD, one of the greatest inventors in history!

It is important to remember you have a normal (if not extraordinary) child who just happens to have AD/HD. If you think of it in any other way, you may be doing your child a great disservice. Respect and love them. A good analogy, I think, is a person who happens to have a broken leg. They wear a cast for a time. They will not be able to perform certain tasks as well as their peers. But are they abnormal? Of course not! Neither is your AD/HD child. Just as the physical cast will eventually come off, so will the AD/HD childs' emotional cast as they mature.

Be proud of your child. Our limits will be tested, but we have so much to gain in the process. This can be an opportunity and truly a great gift! I am thoroughly convinced we learn far more from them than they learn from us. When the scales are balanced between their emotions and their intellect, they will be the ones who really make a difference in our world. Many of the most influential people in history, such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy and Albert Einstein, are reported to have displayed classic AD/HD symptoms. Perhaps they were so successful because they had supportive parents who helped them learn manage their emotions and other challenges associated with AD/HD.

We also need to pick up on the feelings of the rest of the family. All too often they are neglected because we are focusing so much of our time and energy on the AD/HD child.
The other children and even your mate may not be getting enough individual attention.
First you need to recognize it, and then do something about it. Spend some one-on-one time with each of them, doing something they enjoy. This will go a long way to remedy the situation. A brief, reassuring hug as well as an apology will let them know you are aware of the neglect and are trying to do something about it.

Life with AD/HD will always be a learning experience. In a crisis situation (and we do have them) it is good to remember, "This too, shall pass." You will eventually get to the other side. Do you think it is too tough, and you can't make it? You need to know you will, so hang in there! Parenting is never easy, and with an AD/HD child, it is twice the challenge. The point is, you will not be going through any particular situation forever.

Nancy L. Farrow is a Christian wife, mother and free-lance writer from Pennsylvania.

ADDA, CHADD and ADDitude Magazine Join Forces for AD/HD Awareness Week: September 14-20
While most think of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) as a condition only affecting children and primarily impacting school and learning, individuals and professionals active with ADDA know AD/HD can persist throughout a person's lifetime and can affect every aspect of one's efforts to build and sustain relationships.
In recognition of AD/HD Awareness Week (September 14- 20) ADDA, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) and ADDitude Magazine have joined forces to raise the public's understanding of the impact AD/HD can have on personal relationships throughout an individual's lifetime. This year's theme--"From First Years to Golden Years: AD/HD and Life's Relationships"--focuses on the key times where AD/HD poses relationship challenges. Using the theme as a springboard, we've also provided resources and recommendations for addressing those relationship challenges. Areas addressed through this year's awareness campaign include childhood, college, workplace interactions, romantic relationships and adulthood.
"There is so much the public does not understand about AD/HD that the stigma, myths and misinformation surrounding this disorder are rampant," stressed Linda Anderson, ADDA's Immediate Past President. "Education via awareness-building is the key to providing understanding and hope." In addition to providing information and resources for addressing the relationship challenges that can occur from childhood through adulthood for people with AD/HD, ADDA's Web site also includes a poster in support of this year's theme. Samples can be downloaded from the ADDA Web site. Stay tuned for more details, and let us know about your AD/HD Awareness Week plans!

Is it You, Me or Adult ADD?: A Book Review
by Gina Pera
Review by Linda Anderson, MA, MCC, SCAC

I have the pleasure of reviewing a book written by one of our very own contributing writers, Gina Pera, in this issue of the ADDA E-News. This is not just another book on ADD (AD/HD). It is a really great book about ADD in relationships. Gina writes for the other person--the one without ADD--who lives with someone who has ADD. However, this book is also for people who have ADD.

There is so much meat, so much truth, so much aliveness and consideration in this sharing of the real-world, day-to-day stories of ADD in families and relationships. With tears in my eyes, I found myself reading the book one Sunday morning, thinking of people whose lives could be helped and supported by reading this book.

Pera's sheer brilliance and attentiveness to detail combines with an absolutely beautiful clear and entertaining writing style as she shares information and stories illustrating the inside-out story. Add to this wonderful writing style (graphs, tools, strategies), and this book becomes an incredible value.

When I got to the chapter on "Biological Denial," I was shouting out loud to the universe, "Yes! YES!" In this chapter she explores the distinction between denial and having low-insight or an inability to self-observe. The well-worn and sometimes pejorative psychological term "denial" is used to describe the repression of observations and perceptions in order to avoid unwanted thoughts and memories from emerging. Is this, however, the right term to apply to some folks who just don't seem to get it?

She refers to the research of clinical psychologist, Xavier Amador, professor at Columbia University and former director of research at the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. The work of Amador and his colleagues has helped to explain certain conditions like bipolar disorder, substance use disorder and AD/HD, which affect the frontal lobes, may be accompanied by anosognosia--a clinical term for the inability to see any problem or to accurately see ones symptoms. Conditions affecting the frontal lobe can inhibit accurate self-observation. Yes, your ADD partner, child or boss, might not really see him or herself clearly.

Pera doesn't leave us hanging somewhere between denial and impaired self-observation. She goes on to explore how to begin a conversation with someone who is, perhaps, clearly not seeing things or not seeing things as clearly as you might hope. She writes with absolute respect and understanding about having ADD. Trust me, if you live with someone who has ADD, or if you have ADD, you will find this book a supportive insightful read. I know it will be infinitely helpful for friends and associates of mine who live and work with individuals and families who have Asperger's Disorder, as well.

Attention ADDA Members!

Want to be featured in an upcoming issue of ADDA eNews? Share your favorite AD/HD story with other ADDA members! We are looking for stories on empowerment, coping with AD/HD, funny AD/HD moments or anything else you would like to share with the ADDA community. Contact ADDA's Staff Editor, Erik Caplan at to share your story or for more details.

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ADDA does not endorse any specific treatment, treatment professional, program or service, including those advertised in this newsletter or mentioned within its editorial content. The opinions of the authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect ADDA's position or policy.

Attention Deficit Disorder Association | 15000 Commerce Pkwy | Suite C | Mt. Laurel | NJ | 08054

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