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March 3, 2014   

Attention Talk News 


In This Issue . . . 


null Why does DeShawn Wert refer to "executive function" as the "meat and potatoes" of ADHD? What is it and where does it come from? In the featured article in this issue, DeShawn shares her insight on executive functions (EF) and explains how EF manages abilities like organizing, sequencing, prioritizing, and many other abilities. Read what she has culled from her research on EF and working memory. Find out what she recommends to customize your brain function. Her article is titled, titled "QUESTION: What Is One Strategy You MUST Do if You Have ADHD to Be More Productive? ANSWER: Externalize Your Brain."      


In our section on Attention Talk Radio news, get the details of our recent shows and be sure to listen. In our interview with Marie Paxson, titled "ADHD Gap Year before College: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," she shares the good, the bad, and the ugly based on her experience as a parent with a son who took a gap year or two.  


Also, in our interview with Judy Brenis, "ADHD Heroes," we hear her stories and highlights of her new book, ADHD Heroes." Judy shares stories of inspiration and motivation of people with ADHD that may encourage you, as well.   


Recently, Deborah du Plessis was our guest on Attention Talk Radio in the show, titled "ADHD and Dyslexia: The Ugly, the Bad and the Good."  Do you have both ADHD and dyslexia?  Listen to the show and see if you can identify with Deborah.  


Coming March 5 on Attention Talk Radio, be sure to tune in and hear David Flink in the show, titled "Addressing ADHD Stigma Eye to Eye."  David discusses the stigma of ADHD and reveals his own story. He also shares his view that it may be helpful to "own it" and talk about it  if you have ADHD.  On March 12, we have an interview with Michelle Garcia Winner scheduled. She will be talking on the topic of "ADHD: What is Social Attention and what Is Social Thinking?"  Be sure to listen.   


On Attention Talk Video, check out our recent interviews with Dr. Charles Parker entitled "How Did Brain Imaging Change This ADHD Medical Professional?" Dr. Parker answers the question: What role does brain imaging play in the mental health field?" In an earlier release, guest Jackie Minniti discussed "Social Charades: A Teacher's Solution to Help ADHD Kids Get Along with Others." In the interview, Jackie identifies social charades and offers some tips to help parents whose ADHD kids struggle in getting along with other kids. 

Also, catch ADHD coach Kim Kensington doing her standup comedy in the video, entitled "ADHD Pro Kim Kensington Comedy - Live & Unplugged." Watch the video and get her answer to the question, "How many adders does it take to change a light bulb?" 
Featured Article    

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QUESTION: What Is One Strategy You MUST Do if You Have ADHD to Be More Productive? ANSWER: Externalize Your Brain 

by DeShawn Wert, BS, MEd, ADD Coach



Since becoming diagnosed with ADD at 48, I've made several "adjustments" to my life:   
  • I left an unfulfilling, soul-sucking position.  
  • I've created a thriving career that motivates me.  
  • I enjoy a life that is now defined by my wishes, rather than others' expectations of me. (BTW--It feels great once you get past the fear.)  
  • I've lost friends by becoming my own advocate and believing in myself.  
  • I've found some new tribe members based on a shared passion, not just geography.  
  • I have delved into deepening my understanding of the brain I was born with.  


It is this last bullet that has led me to define myself by becoming, as Joseph Campbell says, "the privilege... to be who you are." The good news? I'm getting it. I'm figuring how this brain-wiring thingy works for me. I'm seeing a process... that is followed by customization. A "tweaking," if you will, that is needed for each person's individual brain.  


Executive Functions...We All Have Them  

The word that bests describes this overall process is "externalize." To be successful with ADHD, you are going to have to externalize your memory and build motivation into your lifestyle! To do that, you must understand your brain and how it works for you, how the prefrontal cortex works to provide you with the decision-making, planning, and follow-through processes.  


Let me shed some light on what has been determined so far. Dr. Russell Barkley (and associates), Dr. Thomas Brown (and associates), and many other researchers in many fields who study the brain are making some incredible discoveries. One part of those discoveries, I call the "meat and potatoes" of ADHD is the Executive Function (EF).  


Every single person born has an executive function. It is part of the prefrontal cortex and starts developing through play and pretending when we are very little. As we grow, our executive functioning grows, too. We have developmental milestones that have a distinct order in development. But somewhere along the line, ADHD people's development starts to become delayed and they are no longer keeping up.  


Measurable differences in the development of ADHD people differ from their peers. Research has shown that genetics, genetic predisposition combined with environmental toxins, and brain trauma are the three main causes of ADHD. So you can forget bad parenting, too much watching TV, and over-playing video games are THE cause of ADHD, as popular media likes to persist in sharing.  


Many of the current EF debates are centering on the orchestration of EF (Is it the conductor?) or the individual function's ability to work those (broken) instruments?. The consensus on an exact definition of EF is still being developed, as we speak, by the professionals, but what I've been able to determine from my reading is that EF has to do with your mind's ability to regulate all the abilities used for decision-making. Function abilities like... organizing materials, sequencing tasks, prioritizing what's important, regulating self-talk and actions, starting tasks, keeping track of time, finishing tasks, and remembering to do the task...EF is the part of the process that manages your abilities so you are able to PRODUCE and be PRODUCTIVE.  


All researchers seem to agree it is a problem with working memory (short term) and emotional self-regulation. So, what I culling from research is this...  

  • IF our INTERNAL brains are wired differently and we have issues with TIME and SELF-REGULATION  
  • THEN we need to develop EXTERNAL ways to systematize our time blindness to the future and create motivation to start, maintain, and complete projects, especially those projects that seem uninteresting.  


Customizing Your Brain Function  

Here is where the customization comes in! You need to find strategies to keep your short-term memory functioning for you through the use of external memory systems. These systems can include paper, pencil, logs and planners, schedulers, task management software, audio recording apps, alarms set with labels...anything that works for your particular EF strengths and downplays those parts of EF that don't work so hot for you. You will have to experiment, read, and become aware of what works for you. This is where ADHD coaches and other support groups can help you learn about EF and can help you to determine strategies that are customized for your brain.  


Set up a motivational system that works for you and your personality quirks. When you work out, do you need to be with others or by yourself? Pay attention to what works for you and use them to your advantage. Create some rules that work for your lifestyle. Here is a great example, I have a coaching friend who won't get on her computer until she has had breakfast, brushed her teeth, taken her shower, and dressed for the day because, if she doesn't, she will still be in her jammies by lunch! Knowing herself and creating a set of rules help her, allow her to regulate her habits to be more productive. 
Copyright DeShawn Wert, B.S., M.Ed., ADD Coach


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 Recent Shows to Listen to in Our Archives

Deborah is 44, has severe ADHD and dyslexia, and is a loyal listener of Attention Talk Radio. In this episode of Attention Talk Radio, we interview Deborah to get an inside look at her observations as an individual with severe ADHD and dyslexia and talk with her about trouble she has in reading, recalling faces or names, trusting her own judgment, telling time accurately, and managing time. Deborah also reveals the many things she discovered to help her move forward in life, as well as her observations around what she sees as positive and unique about herself. We also talk with her about predicting the future, judging character, unique solutions, and discoveries in teaching herself photography. If you are challenged by ADHD, dyslexia, or both and want a show that will make you think, this is the show for you!

There are many inspirational stories of people out there with ADHD who have done some amazing things. In this episode of Attention Talk Radio, we interview Judy Brenis, the author of ADHD Heroes. In the interview, Judy shares with us her stories, inspirations, and highlights of her new book. Do you have ADHD? Need inspiration and motivation? This show is one you won't want to miss.

ADHD Gap Year before College: The Good, the Bay and the Ugly
Are all ADHD students ready for college after high school? What if they're not ready? What if they need to mentally heal from the trauma of high school? Ever hear of a gap year? What is it? What does it look like? In this episode of Attention Talk Radio, we interview Marie Paxson on the topic. She shares the good, the bad, and the ugly based on her experience as a parent with a son who took a gap year or two. If you have an ADHD student in high school, you won't want to miss this show.


Addressing ADHD Stigma Eye to Eye
Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 8 pm ET
What is the best way to deal with a learning disability or ADHD stigma? David Flink, a man with dyslexia and ADHD, says, "Eye to eye; the best way to do it is to talk about it." David's organization, Eye to Eye, specializes in just that. In this episode of Attention Talk Radio, we talk with David Flink about stigma and the benefits of discussing it and owning it. We also learn more about David's own story.

ADHD: What is Social Attention and What is Social Thinking?
Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 8 pm ET
For those with ADD, ADHD, or ASD, regulating attention is difficult enough in usual circumstances, but what about in a social environment? What is social thinking? What is social attention? Has any research been done in this area, and what does it all mean? In this episode of Attention Talk Radio, we interview Michelle Garcia Winner on the topic of social thinking and social attention. We talk about these issues in the context of social skills and how to manage them. This is a show you won't want to miss.

Be sure to visit the Attention Talk News website  


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Video News



Are those with ADHD always underemployed? According to ADHD career counselor Wilma Fellman, the answer is no; however, it is common.  So what is the trick? Watch our interview with Wilma to gain insight on what to focus on when it comes to casting yourself in the role you were meant to play. 
Are Folks with ADD Always Underemployed?

Social Charades:
A Teacher's Solution to Help ADHD Kids Get Along with Others
Just telling an ADHD child to get along with others isn't enough.  It isn't that simple.  If it were, then it would have been done by now.  In this video we interview Jackie Minniti (, a retired teacher who shares an effective strategy she found that works. It is a simple form of social charades.  If you're a parent or teacher who interacts with an ADHD child, you will love this interview.
Social Charades: A Teacher's Solution to Help ADHD Kids Get Along with Others  

When psychiatrist Dr. Charles Parker ( got into brain imaging, it changed his life as a mental health professional. Watch our interview with him as he shares how it changed the way he looks at and approaches attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
How Did Brain Imaging Change This ADHD Medical Professional? 

Kim Kensington ( live, doing her standup comedy act, "Procrastination on Procrastination." It matters little if you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or not.  This video is just plain funny!

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Copyright 2014 Attention Talk News, Tampa, FL, USA.  All rights reserved. 

Editor's Note

Jeff Copper, Editor

Our intention is to share audio, video, and printed content to capture your interest and perhaps inspire you to pay attention to something differently. Enjoy.

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