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Creating an ADD-friendly Lifestyle Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D. Director Chesapeake ADHD Center Silver Spring, MD.

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Presentation on theme: "Creating an ADD-friendly Lifestyle Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D. Director Chesapeake ADHD Center Silver Spring, MD."— Presentation transcript:

1 Creating an ADD-friendly Lifestyle Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D. Director Chesapeake ADHD Center Silver Spring, MD

2 The “Four S’s” of ADD-friendly Living Structure (routines, habits, accountability) Support (from others) Strategies to reduce symptoms Simplification

3 Apply the “4 S’s” to Daily Life Home life School Work Social interactions

4 ADD-friendly Home Life

5 An ADD-friendly Family Provides a model for ADD-friendly Living Parents with ADD become role models for their children with ADD ADD is treated with Understanding Patience Humor Appreciation

6 An ADD-friendly Family Creates an ADD-friendly Living Environment Casual, sturdy furnishings Organized, uncluttered “Launching pad” “Landing pad” Adequate storage Work together to maintain order Get help to maintain order

7 An ADD-friendly Family Focuses on Solutions, not Problems Model problem- solving Minimize criticism Alternate solution Perfection not goal Catch ‘em being good New habits take time

8 An ADD-friendly Family Recognizes and Celebrates Strengths Areas of interest Areas of strength Focus on “green zone” of strengths and interests Minimize “red zone” activities – areas of frustration and difficulty

9 An ADD-friendly Family Teaches Patience and Perseverance Anger control Relaxation techniques Reasonable goals Nobody’s perfect Sincere apologies No holding onto anger

10 An ADD-friendly Family Learns to Laugh over ADD Dilemmas Parents share own struggles Telling humorous stories about oneself helps children learn self- acceptance

11 An ADD-friendly Family Uses ADD-friendly Communications Central message center You haven’t “told me” if you haven’t written it down Sticky notes

12 ADD-friendly Memory and Planning Systems Big visual reminders Put it where you CAN’T miss it Daily planning session Day planners Skoach

13 An ADD-friendly Family Focuses on the important things Loving Encouraging Cooperative Doesn’t always focus on errors Enjoys spending time together

14 Reduce ADHD symptoms through ADD-friendly Daily Habits Sleep Nutrition Exercise Exposure to nature/sunlight Daily planning

15 Sleep Habits Adequate sleep is critical to a well- functioning brain Delayed sleep phase syndrome Developing good sleep habits Sleep deprivation creates a double-dose of ADHD – impacts the pre-frontal lobes just as ADHD does

16 Nutrition Maintain steady blood sugar levels through protein Importance of B vitamins and Fish Oil Good nutrition requires planning

17 Exercise and the Brain Aerobic exercise increases dopamine levels Aerobic exercise increases neurogenesis and increased dendritic connections Spark – by John Ratey, MD

18 ADD-friendly living focuses on stress reduction Stress increases ADHD symptoms Do a stress assessment Look actively for ways to reduce stress

19 When ADD is not well-managed, stress increases Fatigue Disorganization Poor time management Unhealthy daily habits Emotional over- reactivity Conflicts in relationships

20 The importance of order “I need order on the outside because I feel so much disorder inside my brain!” External structure helps the individual to feel calmer and more focused

21 Develop Systems that Work WITH You “Put the sidewalks where people walk instead of trying to get people to walk on the sidewalks” Build in self- reminders Develop systems to support habit development

22 ADD-friendly Organizing Strategies To get it done, make it fun! To get organized, get energized Divide the dreadful into micro- moments

23 ADD-friendly Organizing Strategies Think like a restaurant server Sprint to the finish line EAST is least successful Choose just one, then get it done.

24 ADD Clutter Factors If I don’t see it, I won’t remember it Decisions are hard, so it’s easier to keep everything Not knowing where to start

25 More ADD Clutter Factors Too much addition, not enough subtraction Poor ability to estimate Poor memory leads to duplicates

26 Launching Pads Helps you get organized for departure. A specific, adequate, convenient area near departure door where coats, backpacks, briefcases, umbrellas, and any other items needed before departure can be collected.

27 Launch Pad Checklist Purse/wallet Briefcase/backpack Gloves, jacket, hat, umbrella Musical instrument or other specialized items Athletic gear Items to return to store Stamped envelopes to place in mailbox

28 Landing Pad Separate from launch pad. Specific place for anything coming IN to the house - mail, newspapers, purchases Purse, keys, wallet, umbrella, coat, etc. return to the launching pad.

29 ADD-friendly Habit Development “If it weren’t for bad habits, I wouldn’t have any habits at all!”

30 ADD-friendly Habit Development 1.Tie new habit to an existing one 2.Make it easy 3.Make it hard to ignore 4.Put reminders everywhere 5.Visualize yourself doing the new habit

31 Habit Development, cont’d. 6.Practice “instant corrections” 7.Get back on the horse and ride 8.Problem-solve if it’s not working 9.Practice for 30 consecutive days 10.Keep a record 11.Reward yourself!

32 ADD-friendly “Dig-outs” Make it fun music, companionship, encouragement Give away immediately “Age” your discards

33 Dig-outs should be incremental Define small area Tie the bow Get appropriate storage containers Use label maker Don’t keep working until overwhelm takes over

34 Too many interests, too little time “Too much at once” “Rotating” activities Use or lose

35 ADD-friendly Physical Environments increase productivity Color Lighting Convenience Adequate storage

36 ADD-friendly School Environment Problem-solves with student to reduce ADD challenges Is calm, focused, supportive environment Provides multiple reminders

37 ADD-friendly Teacher is: Excited about the subject Organized Flexible Encouraging Problem-solves with student Understands ADD and works with it

38 An ADD-friendly Career Focuses on areas of interest and strength Minimizes tasks in areas of weakness Good match with temperament

39 An ADD-friendly Work Environment Supervisor is supportive Admin support is adequate Paperwork is minimized Employer is reasonable structured and organized

40 ADD-friendly Social Environment People that Understand ADD Support your strategies for change Appreciate the best in you Help you problem- solve Help you laugh at your foibles Don’t add to the chaos

41 Skoach – ADD-friendly Time and Task Management Like a coach – Skoach helps you break down daunting tasks into do-able bits and then plan each step Like a personal assistant – Skoach automatically creates your schedule according to your deadlines and priorities Like a mom - Skoach provides reminders thorughout the day because it goes with you everywhere (online and mobile)

42 ADD-friendly Ways to Organize Your Life Many of the ideas in this presentation come from ADD-friendly Ways to Organize Your Life coauthored with Judith Kolberg, Professional Organizer


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