Focus

I’ve been working on a project that has taken an enormous amount of time over the past year. It is a project that I have chosen to do–a labor of love.

Some of the work has been extremely tedious, monotonous, and time consuming, but it had to be done to achieve the results I’ve envisioned. My project has a deadline, and as the deadline has neared I have ramped up the amount of time I’m investing in it. I spent most of last week-end working on it and am doing the same this week-end.

The end of the project is now in sight, and I expect to be delighted with the results about a month from now. The final steps are much more creative and interesting than were the early steps.  I am finding it easy to lose myself as I work.

While I have never been diagnosed with ADHD as has my husband, Neil, I do find that I have quite a few ADHD characteristics. Hyperfocus is not usually something I experience, however.

Hyperfocus is the term used for the phenomenon experienced by many ADHDers when they become so intensely engaged in something that they lose complete awareness of anything happening around them, including all sense of the passing of time. Today I had some periods of time similar to that, but despite my intense focus I maintained some contact with what was going on around me. This is not possible at times for some people with ADHD. This aspect of ADHD can causes confusion among people who assume that someone who can focus that intensely can’t possibly have an “attention deficit.”

This is a big topic and much has been written about it. If you are interested, you might look at the work of Dr. Edward Hallowell, Dr. John Ratey, Dr. William Dodson, and others. There is also a series of articles on hyperfocus in ADDitude magazine that might get you started learning more about the phenomenon.

Linda Williams Swanson is a partner in Free To Be Coaching, LLC, in Warrenton, VA. Her website is freetobecoaching.com; visit the site and contact her or her husband, Neil, for a complimentary exploratory session. They are presently accepting new clients from age 13-90. (Linda and Neil do most of their coaching either in person, or by phone, Skype, or FaceTime. High school students are usually coached in person.)

Fun!

Today Neil and I went to a program at our grandson’s school and had a wonderful time! We spent an hour or more in his classroom doing activities and seeing the beautiful work he has completed already this year. Then we went to a theater in the old downtown area where the students put on a delightful musical program.

One of the songs, sung by the middle school students, was called “Fun.” I didn’t recognize the song (or perhaps medley of songs), and I couldn’t catch all the words, but the spirit came through loud and clear. The boys and girls were bobbing to the rhythm and were completely engaged in the joy of their performance! It was contagious!

It made me think about the essential place fun or play has in our lives. Sometimes we don’t think we have time for something so trivial. Kid-stuff, we might call it. But fun is serious business – or at least it’s a vital part of being human. It’s hard to have a balanced life without some fun or play, whatever your age.

Next week ADDA (the Attention Deficit Disorder Association) is presenting a webinar by Dr. Kirsten Milliken called “The Most Fun Non-Medication Treatment for ADHD.” I’ve registered. If you are interested, click here to go to ADDA’s webinar page and sign up. The webinar is on October 29, from 9-10PM eastern daylight time. It’s sure to be fun!

If you’re not free to attend the webinar, check out Kirsten’s web page – PlayDHD. And find a way to put some fun in this beautiful fall week-end!

Linda Williams Swanson is a partner in Free To Be Coaching, LLC, in Warrenton, VA. Her website is freetobecoaching.com; visit the site and contact her or her husband, Neil, for a complimentary exploratory session. They are presently accepting new clients from age 13-90. (Linda and Neil do most of their coaching either in person, or by phone, Skype, or FaceTime. High school students are usually coached in person.)

It’s Not Just Kid Stuff

I’ve just been scanning articles in a couple of current ADHD publications. A clear majority of the topics deal with children with ADHD. While children and young people are an essential focus for thought and research, it’s important to realize that 85 percent of the adults who have ADHD don’t even know they have it. Since statistics indicate that 4 percent of adults over 18 have ADHD, that’s a lot of individuals who are living with challenges they don’t understand and for which they could receive help and support.

Many of those adults who do know they have ADHD feel compelled to hide that fact from their friends and co-workers. There is clearly a stigma. Some thought leaders in the ADHD field don’t recommend letting an employer or future employer know that you have ADHD. They generally give that advice reluctantly, expressing the expectation that such measures will not always be needed. We have this situation today largely because of the misinformation that has been spread by media outlets that are either seriously misinformed or deliberately creating a controversy to build their readership or listening public. With events like ADHD Awareness Month, the ignorance and prejudice will diminish, but it will take time.

If you have a chance to share some facts about ADHD, either to another individual or to a group through a presentation or an article, don’t let that opportunity pass you by. You’ll be helping to move the collective consciousness forward toward the acceptance of ADHD and a greater understanding of neurodiversity. Vive la difference!

Linda Williams Swanson is a partner in Free To Be Coaching, LLC, in Warrenton, VA. Her website is freetobecoaching.com; visit the site and contact her or her husband, Neil, for a complimentary exploratory session. They are presently accepting new clients from age 13-90. (Linda and Neil do most of their coaching either in person, or by phone, Skype, or FaceTime. High school students are usually coached in person.)

 

 

TADD talks

You’ve heard of TED talks. Well, TADD Talks are brief talks about ADHD; the acronym stands for Talking about ADHD. Linda Roggli and ADDA (Attention Deficit Disorder Association) have produced a series of these talks for ADHD Awareness Month.

Today I had the pleasure of listening to David Giwerc’s TADD talk called “From Pathology to Positivity with ADHD: Why It Works and Needs to Be Expanded.” It’s a very upbeat talk, much like David himself. You can listen to it here, and you can listen to others in the TADD Talks series here.

David also has a great article entitled “The ADHD Entrepreneurial Challenge” in the current issue of “Attention” magazine. Click here to go to the web site for “Attention” magazine, though the current issue is not showing there today.

David’s message in both his talk and his article includes two vital points for ADHDers:

1. You need to understand your own unique ADHD brain wiring.

2. Focus on your strengths and stay positive.

Listen to David and you’ll be inspired to move forward in both of those areas! Listen to more of the TADD talks and you’ll be further helped on your way to understanding your own unique brain wiring and discovering your strengths..

Linda Williams Swanson is a partner in Free To Be Coaching, LLC, in Warrenton, VA. Her website is freetobecoaching.com; visit the site and contact her or her husband, Neil, for a complimentary exploratory session. They are presently accepting new clients from age 13-90. (Linda and Neil do most of their coaching either in person, or by phone, Skype, or FaceTime. High school students are usually coached in person.)

 

Pause for Poetry

This will be a brief post because poetry is often brief. Today I had the joyful experience of hearing a person I truly admire read several poems. They were by Mary Oliver from a new collection called Blue Horses. The poems she read brought tears to my eyes and to hers. I don’t often read poetry, but the poems I read most recently happened to be by Mary Oliver.

One of my posts this month was about pausing. I’m going to take time each day to pause and ponder a poem. I think I’ll start with Mary Oliver’s New and Selected Poems, Volume One which is on my bedside table needing more attention. Want to join me? It’s good for the soul.

Linda Williams Swanson is a partner in Free To Be Coaching, LLC, in Warrenton, VA. Her website is freetobecoaching.com; visit the site and contact her or her husband, Neil, for a complimentary exploratory session. They are presently accepting new clients from age 13-90. (Linda and Neil do most of their coaching either in person, or by phone, Skype, or FaceTime. High school students are usually coached in person.)

Misunderstanding ADHD

Today I listened to a broadcast of This American Life entitled “Is This Working?” that I recommend to everyone. It is about prejudice and punishment and revenge and injustice and many things that are broken in our society, especially regarding children and schools.

The broadcast is also indirectly about students with ADHD (though ADHD is never mentioned), because students who are challenged by ADHD can behave in ways that are misunderstood, leading the students to be misjudged and categorized and punished, much as were the young people interviewed in the broadcast. ADHDers can experience prejudice, since people who don’t understand ADHD (or other forms of neurodiversity) can fear and scorn those whom they don’t understand. An important emphasis in the broadcast is that once a child is treated/labeled as a troublemaker, that child begins to feel like a troublemaker and to behave in ways that confirm that label. Was any child anywhere ever helped to become a functioning and contributing adult by being labeled negatively and stereotyped as a child?

Knowledge is the key to opening minds. One reason ADHD Awareness Month is so important is that it puts forward facts about the nearly ten percent of human beings around the globe who have this type of nervous system. If you or someone you care for is dealing with ADHD, look into the multitude of resources found online or in your community (or elsewhere in this blog), not only in October but throughout the year. The more ADHD is understood, the more any misunderstood group is understood, the happier and healthier we will all be, individually and collectively.

Linda Williams Swanson is a partner in Free To Be Coaching, LLC, in Warrenton, VA. Her website is freetobecoaching.com; visit the site and contact her or her husband, Neil, for a complimentary exploratory session. They are presently accepting new clients from age 13-90. (Linda and Neil do most of their coaching either in person, or by phone, Skype, or FaceTime. High school students are usually coached in person.)

Coaching especially for ADHDers

Many people are helped enormously by working with a life coach. A life coach does not need to know anything about ADHD to be certified by the International Coach Federation (ICF). That makes sense, since less than ten percent of the population has ADHD. But for those folks who do, it can be quite important that their coaches have at least some understanding of the impact of ADHD.

One reason for this has to do with the kinds of challenges and expectations that coaches can hold for their clients. After all, folks go to coaches for help moving forward in their lives. They usually expect to be challenged and inspired to take steps they were not taking on their own. The problem is that folks with ADHD aren’t motivated to get moving in the same way neurotypical folks are, and if a coach doesn’t understand this, he or she may come down too hard on the ADHDer who is doing the best he can.

The coach is not likely to be the first person who has found the ADHDer did not follow through in the expected way. Failing to meet expectations is probably a pattern that has become all too familiar to the ADHDer. To the coach, as with others before her, the ADHDer may appear lazy or irresponsible or lacking in some other way. It may not occur to a coach who is not knowledgeable about ADHD that the client’s brain operates in a different way from most of her clients.

Not only will a more knowledgeable coach support the client in discovering unique ways of functioning that work with the ADHD nervous system; the coach will also want to educate the client about ADHD, since often there is a large information gap. The result of this lack of understanding can be that the ADHDer has lived all his life feeling different or inferior. The coach therefore has an opportunity to help the client learn to understand his unique nervous system and at the same time to begin to uncover strengths that may have lain dormant, strengths that will support the client as he begins to learn new truths about himself.

If you have ADHD or think you might, there are several places to find coaches trained in ADHD. One is through the ADD Coach Academy (ADDCA). Click here for ADDCA’s listing of trained coaches

Another source of ADHD-trained coaches is the ADHD Coaches’ Organization (ACO). Click here for their find-a-coach page.

The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) also has a Professional Directory where trained coaches and other professionals can be found.

Or, if you think I might be able to help you after checking out our web site, please use the contact form or email me directly.

Linda Williams Swanson is a partner in Free To Be Coaching, LLC, in Warrenton, VA. Her website is freetobecoaching.com; visit the site and contact her or her husband, Neil, for a complimentary exploratory session. They are presently accepting new clients from age 13-90. (Linda and Neil do most of their coaching either in person, or by phone, Skype, or FaceTime. High school students are usually coached in person.)