Spring has finally come! Time for new beginnings and
inspiration. Towards that end, we have a variety of
articles for you this month to help you move
We also have a first - an article from a reader about his experiences as a coach with ADD. It's a wonderful (brings tears to your eyes) story about helping kids with ADD see their potential.
And speaking of potential, this issue explores what a health and wellness coach can do to help you reach your personal health goals. Sarah Reiff-Hekking has been doing this for years and has some specific ideas for you.
Last, but not least, Dr. Hallowell has two big national TV appearances coming up - on 20/20 this Friday night (May 1) and on the Dr. Phil Show, tentatively scheduled for May 4th. Forgiveness and marriage with ADD are the topics. More details are below.
With that, a happy spring to you all!
Melissa Orlov, editor
Q: Is there such a thing as generic Adderall? I have heard stories on the internet that the generic doesn't work as well as the brand.
A: Generic Adderall does exist and, yes, some people find it is not as effective for them as regular Adderall. One suggestion would be to try the generic if your doctor suggests it but monitor closely its effectiveness. If you feel it is not as effective as the non- generic version ask your doctor to write "no substitutions" on your next prescription.
Q: My son is 15 and has ADD. Do you have any advice about driving lessons? Should he be taking medications?
A: Teen driving and ADD is a worry, and research shows that how poorly one drives correlates with the severity of the ADD. This make sense, since distraction is a big factor in accidents. Impulsivity also contributes to poor driving - something the auto insurers have recognized for a long time. (They have noted that lower credit scores correlate with car crashes in adults.)
Make sure your teen has lots of practice with you in the car, and understands that it is particularly important for someone with ADD to not be further distracted while driving, so he shouldn't eat or talk on a cell phone while driving. Friends can also be a distraction. You may wish to limit his driving friends around while he is still learning.
Medication can certainly help him focus, though if he has been able to focus enough during school then perhaps he is on the less acute end of the ADHD scale. Consult your son's doctor to get his opinion. Emphasize that medications do wear off, so that he shouldn't feel as if he is somehow "protected" by them - he'll still need to focus on his driving extra hard.
by Dr. Ned Hallowell
When it comes to struggle-stoppers, prevention tops the list. If you can speak your feelings, openly and simply, and if your partner can listen and empathize without getting defensive, you can stave off many struggles.
Since struggles and fights usually emerge out of a
context of deprivation, one or both members of the
couple feels he or she is short on something.
The "something" might be:
The list could go on and on. The point is to learn the habit of asking yourself, Of what do I feel deprived? What am I not getting that I need? Speak that need before you start to argue, fight, or get the need met somewhere else. Don't make the mistake that most couples make of getting entangled in the substance of the struggle. Instead, look at the context in which it occurs. Look for the deprivation and address that, rather than addressing the substance of the struggle.
For example, if you are arguing over child-rearing practices and getting nowhere, try not to get all tangled up in issues of the argument. Instead, step back and ask, "Why are we fighting like this? Is it just because you think I spoil our daughter and I think you are too harsh on her? Or are we both feeling kind of disappointed in ourselves because this isn't so easy?" Here the deprivation might be of self-esteem. You might be lashing out at each other instead of acknowledging underlying feelings about whether or not you are being good enough parents.
In addition to feelings of deprivation, another common source of struggle is hurt feelings which lead to a desire for revenge. When you feel hurt, it is human nature to want to hurt back. I think of this as one of the basic Laws of Human Nature: For every hurt, people seek an equal and opposite hurt. You could write a history of the world based on that one Law. And, sadly, you could write the history of most marriages that ended in divorce based on that Law as well.
Instead of obeying that Law, when you feel hurt, try asking yourself the following question: "What do I want my pain to turn into?" Your first reply will be, "I want him to hurt just as much as I do, preferably more!" You can see how that feeling could launch you into a struggle that might last for years. Hurt follows hurt follows hurt. If you're not careful, that cycle can rule your entire relationship. This kind of struggle feeds on each person's desire to be right. "She deserves to suffer, because she was entirely in the wrong." Each party invests their energies and intellect in justifying their positions rather than getting out of the struggle.
This is a short excerpt from the manuscript for the upcoming book "Married to Distraction", to be released in the beginning of 2010. If you are interested in more of Dr. Hallowell's ideas about marriage, see the "Events" section below.
by Rebecca Shafir
RS: What is life and wellness coaching?
RS: Who can benefit from coaching?
RS: Why get professional help with this?
RS: What are the steps you guide people
through to fuel their focus?
Life and Wellness Coaching takes a commitment of about 3 months, once a week or twice a month (phone or in person coaching 25 or 50 minute sessions) to get the process going. The fine-tuning maintenance process can be brief or ongoing depending upon what works best for the client.
For more information and to speak to Dr. Sarah Reiff- Hekking contact the Hallowell Center at 978.287.0810.
Interruption (changing the subject, finishing someone's sentences, barging into a conversation) is the #1 most annoying, often unforgiveable and self-sabotaging thing you can do in a conversation. It's bad enough that general interruptions amount to 2.1 hours every day. An interrupter not only runs the risk of offending the speaker, but lessens the chances of getting heard when it's his/her turn to talk. The interruptee will rarely grant the interrupter a second conversation. Chronic interruption results in lost customers, medical errors and poor first impressions.
There certainly are times when we have to cut the conversation short. This can be done politely by holding up an index finger at shoulder level and saying, "Excuse me, but...(and give your reason)." Otherwise, if you've been accused of being "an interrupter," here's how to break the habit:
Forget yourself! The most successful way to avoid interrupting is to "forget yourself and get into the speaker's movie." While they talk, forget your movie (your agenda or point of view) and imagine what it's like to be them. Listen with curiosity. What makes the speaker talk? Why do they need you to listen right now? Pick up cues others often miss by studying their facial expressions and tone of voice while you listen.
When I "forget myself" and lock in to the speaker, I save time. When a person is heard mindfully, the heart of what makes them talk surfaces. Problem-solving is faster and the relationship is strengthened.
Avoid non-verbal interruptions: No shifting in your chair, glancing at the clock or shuffling papers while the speaker talks.
Jot reminders. If you tend to be impulsive and distractable, you may have trouble keeping your thoughts or questions on hold. Keep a little notepad and pen handy and jot down just a word or two you feel you may forget.
Count to 5. Finally, when you think someone has finished talking, count silently to 5 and watch them. If they have any more to say, they'll say it then. Otherwise, it's your turn to talk, and you just might be heard.
Rebecca Shafir is the author of "The Zen of Listening". She has recently started to offer A Mindful Communicator's Minute via email. To sign up to receive this free monthly tip, go to her website.
What Michael Phelps Means to Me
Michael Phelps is an inspiration to millions worldwide. He is especially beloved in the ADD community, for he is "one of us." It it well-publicized that he was diagnosed with ADD in the fifth grade. Many in our community are now familiar with his story: his mother was told by one of his teachers that Michael would never focus on anything, he was started on Ritalin, and then later Michael weaned himself off of it. The rest is history.
His example provides validation for a belief that has been long-held in the ADD community: ADDers can accomplish amazing things and compete with the best of them. There are countless other successes just like him who succeed in business, medicine, sports, and other fields; but perhaps at no other point in history has a known ADDer achieved so much on the world's stage.
I personally have a story which demonstrates how much Phelps' accomplishments have inspired me, and also those around me.
I am the boys soccer coach for one of the best high school teams in my state. I am also a former professional player. Throughout my playing career, I struggled with issues of impulsivity, disorganization, tardiness - all of the classic struggles those with ADD deal with. It made matters worse that I was undiagnosed until the age of 28. Though I accomplished much as a player, there is no doubt I would have achieved more had I been armed with a diagnosis earlier. Having a role model like Phelps, for instance, might have made a world of difference to me. It could have confirmed the idea that though I was a little different, there is no reason I couldn't achieve the lofty dreams and goals I had set for myself. With my playing days long gone, I have decided to set similarly high goals for myself, but this time as a coach. And now I have the example of Phelps to draw inspiration from.
This past fall I had a very special and talented group of players to coach. They were so talented that there were times when I doubted myself. I said "how could such a flawed person such as me lead this group of amazing soccer players? They deserve someone better!" But Michael Phelps was there to inspire me. I constantly reminded myself of his achievements. Indeed, his name became a mantra for me- I would repeat it to myself in times of doubt. Michael Phelps. If he could do it, I thought, then so can I.
With Phelps as an inspiration, I did my best job ever as a coach. My team was ranked as high as 8th in the nation at one point! We finished the regular season with a perfect 18-0 record, the first time any team has done that in the thirty year history of our league. One of our players was named an All-American. More important than any of these notable records, however, was the experience every member of the team had. We all had so much FUN and incredible friendships were formed. At the end of most seasons, I usually beat myself up about all the things I had done wrong . This year, for the first time in my life, I am at peace with the job I did and I am so proud of everyone involved in my program, including myself. None of this would have been possible without Phelps. He was with me every step of the way.
I have a very close connection to one player in particular on my team, a fellow ADDer. He is a very talented player, but struggles a bit with temper issues. I worked closely with him all season, and tried to mentor him, so that he could hopefully forgo all the painful lessons I have had to learn as an undiagnosed ADD athlete. I talked to him about Michael Phelps and sent him emails about Phelps' achievements.
On November 11, 2008, my team was going up against one of the top teams in the state in a crucial playoff game. A few hours before the game, I wanted to inspire this player of mine so I texted him the words "Michael Phelps." Then a couple of hours later I texted him again: "On 8/8/08 the Beijing Olympics began. Michael Phelps won eight gold medals. Today is 11/11/08 - magic is in the air."
You wouldn't believe it, but with about eight minutes left, this player broke a 1-1 tie with a magnificent game- winning goal, giving us a 2-1 victory. Our fans and the players erupted in ecstatic celebration, but no one was as excited as I was. It was one of the greatest moments of my 31 years, and easily the highlight of my coaching career. The pride and joy I felt in those waning minutes of the game as my team beat this worthy opponent are feelings I will never forget.
A few hours after the game, I was eating a celebratory dinner with my parents. A text arrived on my cell phone from the hero of the day, my protégé with ADD. It read: "Michael Phelps."
Recapture the Romance with Ned and Sue Hallowell - a special weekend event to take place at the wonderful Waldorf Astoria in New York City on June 5- 7. This interactive seminar weekend is for all couples looking to reconnect with all that they love about their mate and to refurbish their love. Register early to assure your space! For more information, go to the Hallowell home page. Note: The Boston seminar for ADHD couples is sold out.
Cape Cod Institute: Dr. Hallowell will be giving a one week course on his strengths-based approach to ADHD from June 29-July3. For a full agenda and more information, go to this link.
Dr. Hallowell on Dr. Phil: Dr. Hallowell recently joined Dr. Phil to tape an episode of the Dr. Phil Show on the topic of "Can This Marriage be Saved?". They explored how ADD can affect marriages and what can be done to help. As of this writing, this show is TENTATIVELY scheduled to air on May 4th. Please go to the Dr. Phil website this weekend to verify the air date. Check your local listings for exact time.
Dr. Hallowell on 20/20: Dr. Hallowell was interviewed as an expert on the topic of forgiveness on 20/20 - in this case around forgiving a murder. This show is scheduled to air on May 1st on ABC at 10pm EST - please check your local listings for details in your area!
Forgiveness, and Dr. Hallowell's book "Dare to Forgive" could make a great choice for your next book group or church discussion group. Dr. Hallowell has put together a very interesting discussion guide around the topic which you can find at the main Hallowell website.
MAY 1-3 - Mill Valley, CA: The Hallowell Enrichment Weekend for parents of children with ADHD. Held at the Ring Mountain Day School. Call 231-334-5800 immeidately to register.
MAY 7 - Sudbury, MA: Low Energy Neurofeedback System overview (free) - 7-8:30 pm. Call 978-287-0810 to register.
MAY 9 -Sudbury, MA : Unwrapping the Gift of AD/HD: The Hallowell Way - MAY 9, 9am - 5pm - free conference for the community at the Hallowell Center in Sudbury, MA. Dr. Hallowell and other staff will present. Pre-registration is required at 978-287-0810.
MAY 20 - Franklin, MA: Career Planning: Make Better Decisions, Create a Life - presented at the Franklin Municipal building, 355 E. Central St. on May 20th by Robin Roman Wright.