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.)

 

 

Apps

Today the November/December issue of “Scientific American Mind” arrived. I always look forward to its arrival, not only for the articles, long and short, but also for the “Head Games” near the end of each issue. This is a special, tenth anniversary issue with a focus on “The Future You: What’s Next in Brain Health.”

I have only had a chance to flip through this  issue, but I was drawn to the section called “Reviews and Recommendations” where there are a couple of pages of short reviews of mobile apps that “help you manage your mental health.” They all sound interesting, and I haven’t tried any of them, but here are a few that especially caught my attention:

“SuperBetter” for iPhone/iPad, which costs $4.99 and is designed to help one work toward specific goals through “gamifying” them. That’s a new word to me, but apparently it means you turn your goal quests into a game in which you create adventures involving, for example, bad guys (triggers or obstacles) or “PowerPacks” of predefined quests. You can even join forces with “allies” from Facebook or from among the other SuperBetter users. Research at Penn showed that “19 people with self-reported depression improved by 17 points on a standardized depression test.” That was after playing for six weeks. Those who did not play the game improved by six points.

“Headspace” for iPhone/iPad and Android costs $95.88/year for the full content. It is a guided-meditation app that “helps users achieve mindfulness, or a nonjudgmental, focused awareness” of their current emotional state. Each session lasts ten minutes and is guided by a former Buddhist monk.

“30/30″ for iPhone/iPad is free and is designed for folks who are prone to distraction. It’s a time management app that starts with prompting you to set up your todo lists for the day, including estimated time you expect each task to take. Then you can set a time (perhaps 30 minutes) for the app to count down during which you focus and work on the task with no distractions whatsoever. At the end of that period of time, your get a break of a predetermined time. Apparently research shows that breaking tasks into smaller chunks with frequent breaks as rewards helps people stay on track.

There are about ten apps described in this month’s issue and I’ve only described three. There are also fascinating articles, so you might want to check out “Scientific American Mind” if you haven’t already done so. Enjoy! I plan to.

 

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 complementary exploratory session. They are presently accepting new clients from age 13-90. (Linda and Neil do most of their coaching either in person in Warrenton, Virginia, or by phone, Skype, or FaceTime. High school students are coached in person in Warrenton, VA.)

ADHD Awareness Expo

Today I’d like to share with you some information from Tara McGillicuddy who has organized what looks to be a fabulous event for ADHA Awareness Month–the ADHD Awareness Expo:

Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed with ADHD, love someone affected by ADHD, or simply want to learn more about ADHD, it can be extremely daunting to discover the sheer volume of information that’s out there and available to you.

That’s why Tara created the ADHD Awareness Expo – a virtual gathering of ADHD Experts, professional ADHD coaches, service providers, and authors, gathered all in one virtual space to make your information gathering as easy as heading to a department store.

The 5th annual ADHD Awareness Expo is being held the week of October 26th through November 1st, and the best part about it is that there’s no travel required.  That’s right – it’s held virtually, so all you need to do is grab a comfortable seat at your computer and explore all the ADHD products, services and options available to you.

I’ll be there, of course, since it’s such a great opportunity to gather information, find out more and simply interact with the ADHD community – did I mention attendance is free?  That’s right, all of this information, at your fingertips, from the comfort of your own home – free.

I’d love to “see” you there! Just follow this link to register and claim your free spot to attend!

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 complementary exploratory session. They are presently accepting new clients from age 13-90. (Linda and Neil do most of their coaching either in person in Warrenton, Virginia, or by phone, Skype, or FaceTime. High school students are coached in person in Warrenton, VA.)

Introversion

Tonight I’d like to share a link for a web site called Intelligent Introvert. It is the site of a leadership coach named Jeanine Cogan. On this site Dr. Cogan offers a great deal of information for the one-third to one-half of the population who are introverts.

Does it seem surprising that a person might have ADHD and also be an introvert? A search for “ADHD and introvert” brings up quite a few interesting discussions. Introverts may be as misunderstood by themselves and others as are folks with ADHD. I may have mentioned previously in this blog that recognizing my introversion was as significant a development for me as discovering his ADHD was for Neil. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for helpful information for introverts, and I think this site is a terrific source.

Today I received an emailed invitation from Jeanine Cogan to a free one-hour teleclass on October 30. It is the first session of a series of classes she is offering for a fee, and I plan to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in that class to learn more about the full program.

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 complementary exploratory session. They are presently accepting new clients from age 13-90. (Linda and Neil do most of their coaching either in person in Warrenton, Virginia, or by phone, Skype, or FaceTime. High school students are coached in person in Warrenton, VA.)

Crises

Today has been a strange one weather-wise. Here in Northern Virginia we have had above-normal temperatures and a lot of rain and, according to local radio, a lot of traffic accidents. I wasn’t able to walk my two miles outdoors, so I’ll be doing my alternate of 4.5 miles on the indoor bike.

Also, my beloved iMac is suddenly not available to me because the keyboard has stopped letting me spell anything containing the letters a-s-d-f-g-h-j-k, and sometimes other letters just for fun. I’m very fortunate to have a mobile device for typing this blog! I’ll be using it until I can replace my keyboard.

Things that pop up out of the ordinary — rain, balking computers, and more major crises – can actually perk up some ADHD brains. Those unexpected happenings are interesting, novel, and they inspire creative alternatives. If we aren’t hijacked by anxiety, crises can create the alternative to boring routines that makes ADHDers the go-to people. These are times when we can focus more clearly than others because the interesting, novel, challenging crisis is where we shine.

Have you ever experienced that? I’ve noticed that if I am planning an event and my anxiety is ramping up as it nears, if something unexpected happens that requires altering the plan, my anxiety lessens.

I’m finding that the words aren’t flowing very well tonight, probably because of the tiny keyboard I’m using, so I think I’ll ponder the issue further and perhaps come back to it on another post this month. So long for now.