ADHD Awareness Month, October, 2013

It is not exactly a “Hallmark Moment” to celebrate, having ADHD every day of your life. However, there are many ways that we can learn how ADHD affects individual people whom we know, and how we can be more patient and understanding so that we reap the benefits of their gifts.

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This site, ADDitude, has many resources for any month of the year. In particular, though, there is an expert giving a free webinar, and I recommend it to anyone interested in this subject.

Dr. Brown's book on ADHD and Executive Functions
Dr. Brown’s book on ADHD and Executive Functions

His name is Thomas Brown, MD, and he’s written many excellent articles and books on recognizing and treating ADHD. You can listen to him via ADDitude’s website, http://www.additudemag.com/awarenesswebcasts.

October 16, 2013, 1PM EST
Exposing ADHD Myths: Science’s New Understanding of ADHD
with Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D.

In addition, this site is hosting many other intriguing talks, and has lots of articles and handouts that might help raise awareness of the issues facing people with limited attention, memory and executive function skills.

It is worthwhile to reduce the stigma, I think, especially within the school system. That doesn’t mean people with ADHD should be allowed to remain unconscious of their effects of their behavior on others, or be excused from doing their very best at any given moment. It means there needs to be a recognition of the condition, a plan in place to know what to do if that person is not able to perform at the moment, and a support system in place for making up work later on. Dr. Mel Levine referred to the first part as “demystification”.

I was stunned when meeting a 5th grader who was very ashamed of having ADHD. He thought it meant he was possibly mentally retarded. He was extremely worried that he would be pulled out of his regular class where his friends are, and put into the special education class. He wondered if it meant he had autism too.  He worried that he was unconsciously doing things that upset other people and he did not know about it! That’s a heavy psychic burden for a 10-year-old boy, especially one who is very active and talented in many, many areas. Interestingly, he had a lot of compassion for those kids who are in the special education class; he wondered if they had friends, or if they got in trouble for their “behaviors”. Somehow, though, he ingested all those negative messages about special education, and doubted his own version of reality. THAT is what I would like to help dispel. That’s where demystification comes in.

So, yes, I will be on some bandwagons, and I will be handing out some of ADDitude’s flyers. Viva demystification!