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Individual and Couples Counselling in Calgary

  • Writer's pictureRovena Magidin

ADHD Insights: Training Takeaways, Quick Tips, and Helpful Links

Learning of the day. I watched a training on ADHD with Dr. David Nowell and I'm so inspired and encouraged, I just wanted to share some of my notes as well as some other resources I found handy. This is, of course, not a comprehensive post, just a few ideas to ponder.

As a Couples Counsellor, I love working with a couple where one partner has ADHD or ADD. It contributes to some very tricky patterns, and by the time couples come to me, they are often at the end of their rope. The part that I love - there's so much we can do that will make a difference. Understanding needs to come first, and then we get very practical - there are so many tools that will help the couple navigate the challenges and enjoying the gifts of ADHD. I will write more about it in the future.

Dr. Nowell's youtube channel:

Great website with all things ADD - Additude Magazine.

And here are some insights from Dr. Nowell:

Everybody’s doing the best they can • Behavior is not incomprehensible or random • Behavior follows patterns which reveal themselves to the curious observer free of prejudice or blame or theory

I thought this is a very helpful starting point when you, your spouse or your child has ADHD, when they(or you) forgot something again, and you can't help wondering "Why??????" Asking why is not helpful. (I admit, I asked this question myself many many times. Why didn't you do this? Why did you forget that? You put this here??? but WHY?. See - not helpful. )

Assume that everyone is doing the best they can right now - with everything they’ve got, they are doing the best they can

If behaviour is problematic:

- is this a skills deficiency? - then teach/learn skills - is this a contingency problem? Environment problem? Motivation problem? - something encourages or punishes this behaviour - there's a reason why we are doing what we are doing. We need to understand the reason underneath the pattern.

THE BIG 5 for ADHD Support: SPECT - Sleep - nothing else will work without enough sleep - Protein - at every meal and snack. More protein - more focus, more dopamine. More information about protein and impact on nutrition for ADHD can be found here. - Exercise - exercise for focus, not fitness - 10 min, varied intensity - Calendar - as a spiritual practice. Who do you want to be and what do you want to do. Schedule that. “Identify what is most important in your life, then organize your energies and commitments around those goals.” Dr. Nowell. I just loved that. I don't think I ever heard it put quite like that. Calendar doesn't just help you remember what to do, it helps you become who you want to be, and stay true to how you want to live your life. - Team - your support system and people around you

A few quick tips:

Curious compassionate CQI (Continuous Quality Improvement) At the end of the day - review the day, what got done, what didn’t get done. With compassion and curiosity ask yourself: "How can I get 10% better?"

Ask yourself, “What am I here to do and be?”

Every choice I make changes my brain and helps me become who I want to be.

“Relentlessly organize your life around what lets you savor every moment.” — Dr. David Nowell

If you need support - ADHD Prosthetics

"In medicine, a prosthetic is a device that replaces something which may be lost through trauma, disease, or a condition present at birth. Prosthetics are intended to restore normal functioning. Prosthetics are not an excuse for the disability; they are meant to scaffold the disability.

So, what is an ADHD prosthetic? With ADHD, prosthetics come in different shapes and sizes. For some, it might be medication. For most, it should be support around behavior, time, motivation, planning, and memory "

• Time prosthetics

- time trackers(what are we focusing on, for how long

- pomodoro technique time tracker • Memory prosthetics

- remembering to remember - what helps you?

- google reminders (when I'm driving near Superstore, remind me to pick up the milk - so the reminder shows up at the right time in the right place) • Sequence prosthetics

- storyboard

- backward planning, reverse engineer the problem, • Motivation prosthetics

- what is the goal, what's underneath the goal - how do we want to feel when we achieve it, what do we think it'll help us be/do or have? Get very clear on that and create a reminder, preferably visual

- reward - what's your favourite part f completing the task? Get very clear on that, have a visual reminder of what you get to have/do after the task is done

- how difficult is the task on a a scale from 0 to 10 - if it's higher than 3, can we make it easier

Comprehensive ADHD treatment (partial list)

• Medication

• Behavioural supports

• Movement

• Working memory training • Neurofeedback

• Diet and supplements

Top-down strategies for self-regulation:

If you need some extra support dealing with how ADHD impacts your relationship, I'd be happy to help. ADHD will impact your communication, you working as a team, and even your sex life. Book your free consultation here to discuss how I can help.


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