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                                                                                       December 18, 2012
This holiday season is a time of both great joy and great sorrow.  Dr. Hallowell provides his thoughts about the events in Newtown as we all adjust to the news.

Even without tragedy, the holidays can be a stressful time of year - and particularly so if you have ADHD in the family.  In this newsletter you will find useful tips for surviving the holidays. 

It's also a time when families gather and, if you have high schoolers or college students, start thinking about careers, internships and summer plans.  You'll find terrific information to help you with this, as well.

We wish everyone - no matter what holidays you celebrate - a wonderful remainder of the year and look forward to a joyful 2013 with the extended Hallowell "family"...that would be YOU!

Melissa Orlov

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"The engine of a happy life runs better on the power of connection and play than on the power of fear and guilt."

- Edward M. Hallowell, M.D.

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Dr. Hallowell's Response to the CT Tragedy  

Community I learned about this tragedy while standing in line at a juice bar. The news was spreading from cell to cell, as jaws dropped all around me and people went pale. What to say? How to respond? This quickly becomes a trauma, not only for the Connecticut community where it happened but for the country and the world.

How do we humans explain this to ourselves and to our children? Gradually, facts will come out, theories will evolve, some perspective will emerge. But, at core, we still will feel what we all felt when I was standing in line: shock, amazement, horror, and incomprehension. We will invoke a word like "crazy" to explain what we can't explain. I would urge us all to remind one another that while these random acts of terror and destruction do occur and will occur, they must not destroy our belief in one another. Indeed, they prove how much we need each other, more than ever, how much we need each other to be there for us all, we need each other to group together and in our world wide community stand together as solid proof that sanity will prevail, love will prevail, and community will save us from the chaos tragedies like the one that happened in Connecticut seem to portend.

Now it is time to band together. Now it is time to tell our children they are safe, because they are. Now is not the time to hold back on life out of fear, but to step up and, together, boldly press on. Together, we will prevail now, as we always have.


Q: My 8 year old son has ADHD, inattentive type and he is doing very well on Ritilan. Does he need to continue taking his ADHD medicine when he is out of school, or can I give him a break from it?

A: Some parents make the decision to give their child a break from medication when their child's primary issues with ADHD are related to concentration and focus and their symptoms are fairly mild.  Their children have no other significant behavioral or social issues related to their ADHD, and vacation experiences would be just as positive on or off medication. On the other hand, for a child who struggles daily with hyperactivity, impulsiveness, distractibility, social relationships, and so on, discontinuing medication may have a negative impact on this child's self-esteem and confidence. Read more on Dr. Hallowell's recommendations here.

ADHD and the Holidays - A Survival Guide

      Decorate the house. Done
      Mail the holiday cards.  Done
      Buy gifts.  Done
   Sigh...if only planning for the holidays was that simple.  

In reality though, for the nearly 9 million adults with ADHD, Dr. Hallowell knows that the holidays create the perfect storm. It's a stressful time for anyone and when you add ADHD into the mix, it can be overwhelming. It's a never ending cycle of to-do lists: juggling work, holiday parties, tons of lists, chaos with kids and unpredictable surprises along the way that can send even the calmest person into a panic.

If you have ADHD, or are just trying to remain sane in this CrazyBusy world, Dr. Hallowell's tips will help you ease the holiday headache:  

  • Shop early and smart - Last minute shopping is a big no - too much pressure - so start as early as possible.  
  • Make lists - To keep the process from becoming too daunting, make a list of people you need to buy for and don't buy too many gifts for each person.   
  • Schedule but don't over schedule - Stay on task by creating a schedule of events and learn to say "no thanks" to some. 
  • Get enough rest - That will help you stay focused.
  • Carve out exercise and quiet time time - The downtime will really help when you're in crunch time.
  • Keep up your regimen - The holidays are not the time to try something new.  They are the time to stick with what's tried and true to ensure that you're at your best this holiday season and you enjoy yourself.   
Remember to take time and savor the joy of the moment.

Career Planning Steps for Teens and Young Adults - Over the Holidays

If you have an ADHD high school sophomore, junior or senior, or a first or second year college student who is in the dark about career options, the holiday break provides an opportunity to begin the career exploration process.  

How can you help your teen or young adult begin this exploration process?  

Take an interest inventory - Dr. Hallowell and Cathy Corman, in their book, "Positively ADD, Real Success Stories to Inspire Your Dreams," explain that it is important for people with ADD to do something that they are passionate about. Most interest inventories provide a list of occupations that the student, given their responses, is likely to be interested in or satisfied with. If your teen or young adult has taken an interest inventory through either the high schools guidance office or the Career Counseling Center at their college, I would inquire about the results. An alternative is for your child to take the highly regarded Self-Directed-Search® (SDS), that only costs, $4.99.  (Note: for inventories like the SDS the list of possible jobs only identify positions that match interests and do not take into account skills, fund of knowledge or aptitudes.) 

Upon reviewing the results, you might be able to identify some relatives or friends who are in one or two of the jobs suggested or who know someone in that line of work. Encourage your teen or young adult to learn about the real nature of the job from "the horse's mouth" so to speak.  Your son or daughter could ask:
*    What does the day-to-day job entail?
*    How did you get your first job in this line of work?
*    How do you see this job/ occupation/ industry changing in the next 2 years, and the next 5 - 10 years?
(For additional Informational Interview questions, see p. 47 in the book, "What Color Is Your Parachute? For Teens," by Carol Christen and Richard Bolles (2010 edition).

In addition to job titles, SDS® also provides links to O*NET, The Occupational Information Network. A teen or young adult can review summary information on the job, the skills needed, the educational requirements, salary information and more.  Encourage your son or daughter to explore and bookmark the summaries that interest him or her for future reference. Once a student has done some initial exploration, encourage him or her to revisit their guidance counselor or career counseling center in January. 

If you are interested in engaging a Career Coach to help your ADHD teen or young adult, please contact Robin Roman Wright at the Sudbury Hallowell Center, (978) 287-0180 and ask to set up a complimentary inquiry session. 

Dr. Hallowell Live 


Las Vegas, NV    Parker Seminar, January 10   

Tuscaloosa, AL   2013 ADHD Conference and Symposium, January 25-26   

Nashville, TN      Oak Hill School, February 5   

Morristown, NJ    CLA Summit, February 7 & 8

Orlando, FL         American Montessori Society 2013 Conference, March 16 


Events/ Seminars/ Workshops


Jan 7,   Live ADHD Couples Seminar, Melissa Orlov
Jan 19, CrazyBusy: An introduction to Mindfulness, NYC Hallowell Center  
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