Posts Tagged ‘ADHD’

Recently, I’ve noticed that I’m slacking.

I started this ADHD Coaching journey all gung-ho, and now this little engine is loosing steam. I need to be more consistent with my ADHD, and not dive in, wear out, and jump back out. 

So after a little brainstorming session, I discovered that there are definite coping skills I use to help me remember and be consistent with ADHD.

Here are a few things that have helped me be more consistent with ADHD. 

1. Use reminder apps. 

You know how that morning tone coming from your phone or your alarm clock can set you on edge? It works, right? You wake up and know it’s time to get up, so you do it and move on with your day. That’s how reminder apps work!

There are two i-Phone apps I really like on setting to-do alarms, “Due” and “Weave”.

“Due” works great at setting repetitive tasks like, “take your meds,” “write that blog post,” and “finish your lesson plans”. There are many options on the alarm setting with intervals of hours, days, or even weeks and months making it easy to remind yourself of important tasks in the future, like changing your oil. 
“Weave” is project oriented. This means that I can break a task down into bits (a skill that is crucial to us Attention Deficit kids) and set reminders by task piece, and not panic about the entire thing all at once. 

2. Being consistent with ADHD means “just do it”. 

How many times have I cried to the tune of, “I don’t wanna”?

My coach, Dana Rayburn, laughed when I told her this. “Make fun of yourself!” she said, “make it worse than it really is by saying it in a baby voice, ‘WAAA!!! I DON’T WWWWAAAANNNNAAA!!!”

I tried that, and found that I insulted myself by poking fun at my 2-year-old self-ego. So instead, I went back to the first thing she told me. I looked at myself in a mirror, said, “Self, you need to grow up. Just friggin do it.” 

It worked! I may have to let out some not-so-pretty words, but it is truly the best tool in my toolbox of consistency with ADHD!

3. Focus on one thing at a time. 

Those of us who understand Attention Deficit know that we focus on too many things at once, failing to finish one task because we start on another. By reminding yourself to “finish this first” you can prevent that distraction all-together. 

Also, remember to keep it simple. Don’t add complex tasks to your already growing to-do list. Do what you know needs to be done, and then think about the rest.

Watch for my next blog, which will talk about focusing on one thing at a time in more depth. 

Tell me, how do you stay on task? I want to hear from you!

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There is this thing called boggling with ADD/ADHD (and maybe some of you regular folks as well).

Boggling is where one’s brain power shuts down completely. It is where frustrations occur and ADD/ADHD kids start walking in circles in an attempt to complete some task (that may never be completed!)

Anyway, this is my Boggle story!

I have perhaps failed to mention that I am a decent musician. It’s by no means something I do as anything more but a hobby, but I’m not too shabby.

In fact, I play that sexy saxophone fairly well, I dapple with guitar chords (okay, I can play quite a few songs, and read tabs), I tinker on the piano (mostly by ear, though I’m fully capable of reading the music), and I’m a downright pro at that little plastic flute you probably had to learn in the 5th grade. I know all the fingerings and even figured out how to play the theme song to The Titanic, yup, the very one that is touted as coming out in 3-D pretty soon.

That being said, there is one instrument I have wanted to play forever and always. The Fiddle. Oh, what a sleek instrument! How many times have I drooled over a flirty fiddle player on stage, crooked grin and sharp looks.

Not to mention the sound! Oh how beautiful is a fiddle singing in the middle of a rock-song? And what is Southern Country (specifically Texas Country) or blue-grass without a fiddle?

My adoration of fiddlers aside, I had a chance to fiddle with a fiddle yesterday. It was glorious!

Here’s the story:

On our way home from town my husband proposes we invite his young cousin over to show us his new “toy”.

I wasn’t too excited at first, it was getting late and I had to be at work the following morning, but I caved at the thought of getting to tamper with a fiddle, an opportunity I had never had before.

This cousin of his, Trestin, came by at around 8:00 pm, fiddle in hand. I was enthralled the second it came out of the case. He held it up and showed us what he could do, busting out a few notes and proudly displaying a small sense of accomplishment at his week’s worth of self-taught practice.

After a few moments, Jake and I took turns playing; laughing as we sought for the right amount of pressure to slide the bow across the strings and learned about rosin, a distinct lack of frets, and the difference in a fiddle and a guitar.

In less than ten minutes I had looked up information and played the scale for the key of G, still seeking the right amount of bow pressure, I began to get frustrated. I gave the fiddle back to my husband and his cousin to play for a few moments.

Upon taking the fiddle back, I promptly figured out the easiest song I know to play. It’s probably the first song I ever play on a new instrument, “Mary Had A Little Lamb.”

In less than an hour, I had pulled up sheet music to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” and “Amazing Grace,” but it doesn’t end there; I also figured out how to play them.

I stunned the boys in the room. In that time frame my poor husband quit playing altogether claiming that he “doesn’t play with people who suck.” His cousin learned the songs as I taught them to him.

I make it sound so easy here! In truth, my ADD/ADHD got in the way…oh about every five minutes.

I would get extremely frustrated with my inability to play fluently and have to give up the fiddle and teach what I learned for a few moments. The result of this was astounding, not only did I learn faster, but by taking short breaks from one type of learning (doing) and instead using another type of learning (teaching) I prevented myself from Boggling.

I learned a valuable lesson! Focus on what I can do, rather than attempt more than I can deal with at one time. Short, frequent bursts of learning intermittent with short, frequent breaks can really help prevent boggling from occurring in the ADD/ADHD brain!

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So I’m not the greatest gardener in the world. In fact, generally speaking my gardening skills are murderous. Literally. Nothing green lives under my neglectful, ADD sense of responsibility.

Until I ran across succulents.

You see? Certain types of plants actually do better under the care of a neglectful owner.

It all started last summer when I wanted to spruce up our porch. I came home with $50 worth of cactus and succulents and proceeded to plant my very first DIY planter. I used an old washtub I found in a run down barn across the street, drilled in a few holes on the bottom, filled it with potting soil mixed with well-draining soil, and planted my cute little succulents.

And it was cute.

Until my cute little succulents took over the old washtub and began to cascade over the side. Now I wonder exactly how big that plant is supposed to get and what the heck I’m going to do when it takes over the front porch…

That being said, it appears I can grow succulents as well as my grandfather can grow fruit trees. I’m quite proud.

So, having found something that may stay alive in our full-sun flower beds, my husband and I set out to make our flower beds…well… Flower beds. Other than the two rose bushes that were well established when we moved in, I can’t keep any of the “normal” plants alive.

I bought the plants fairly small, because, well, I learned my lesson about small plants. They grow. Sometimes they grow to be quite large. My succulent from last year has tripled in size in less than a year. What does that tell you?

In all this I’ve learned quite a lesson. Not everyone can grow a Begonia, but not everyone can grow a cactus either. My grandfather claims he can’t grow any form of succulent or cacti, he “smothers” them with water.

Every human is different, and that’s okay. It’s just all a matter of “what works for you.”

For me? I can’t wait to see how much my neglect can make those plants in the front flower bed blossom.

I have been so good these last two weeks working with coach Dana Rayburn . I’m quite proud of my accomplishments.

1. My bathroom is still tidy and clean.
2. This blogging thing is going well.
3. My kitchen has stayed tidy (an overflow of that “be mature” and “just do it” mantra).
4. My laundry, perhaps from keeping my bathroom tidy, is almost all done.

So today I took on another task. Since I’m off all week this week, I decided I wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything for at least part of the week.

My goal was to use part of this week to get my house clean before school (work) starts again next Monday.

The “just do it” mantra took over today and I’m afraid I may have overdone it a bit.

Here’s what happened:

We have no space in our house. It’s say, 125 years old. We’re lucky that the previous renters put in closets, even if they are only 4 square feet…

Anyway, so there is no “master” in this house. It’s built in a square, two bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen. There is no space for things like a dining table, and cabinet space is severely limited. All this is packed into a 900 sq foot home.

Well, lack of space for clothing is probably 1/4 of my issues with organizing, washing, and folding laundry. Truth be told, there is nowhere to put most of it as the hubs and I have been sharing a tiny dresser and the two tiny closets. So when his mother asked if we wanted another, much bigger dresser, we jumped on the opportunity.

But let’s talk about what a new dresser means! It means space for clothes, but it also means a rearranging of furniture in our tiny bedroom. Do-able, right?

Wrong. I haven’t rearranged furniture in nearly a year. The husband HATES when I rearrange furniture. He literally can’t stand the idea of changing his routine to function in a new space. So I’ve been compliment and left things “as are” for quite some times (no, seriously, moving things around has caused some of the most ridiculous fights ever).

When I came in and noticed the new dresser I was ecstatic, “you’re gonna have to help me move the dressers around.” I told him.

Nope, he wasn’t gonna help me do nothin’! So, today, I “just did it”.

Oh.

My.

God.

How long has it been since I cleaned this room? A decade? No wonder my allergies were taking over my life! It was horrendous! What turned out being a simple rearranging of furniture fell into full-fledged spring cleaning of our room. I mean, I washed windows, walls, curtains, fan blades, vacuumed enough to empty the filter three times, and scrubbed down the new and old dresser to make them shine. I also threw out an entire bag of trash…

And I’m not done yet.

Sure, the room is clean, but now I have to replace things like photographs, a jewelry box, go through my drawers to put clothes in the new dresser, organize those clothes, go through the old bedside tables that no longer fit in the room and move them to the back bedroom.

Oh crap! That will require me to move that room around too.

*sigh*

I have a feeling I overdid it today…

Thanks for allowing me a break.

*walks off mumbling*

“Be mature. Just do it. Be mature. Just do it. Be mature. Just do it. Be mature. Just do it.”

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In dog training, one thing I work on religiously is threshold training.

Essentially it works like this: I place them in a stressful situation during training, and we work at “threshold.” A threshold is the point where they are uncomfortable, but not totally stressed and overwhelmed. The point in this training is to get the dogs comfortable with an uncomfortable situation before it overwhelms them. Then the trainer click/treats even the smallest steps toward progress until they are ready to move on.

Let me give an example.

Ask yourself: can your dog be in a down-stay, off lead, while someone drops a piece of steak on the ground and a squirrel simultaneously decides to race within catching distance of your dog? No?

Well, here is how to teach that.

1. Train a sit in the house.
2. Train a down in the house.
3. Train a sit-stay in the house.
4. Train a down-stay in the house.
5. Train a down-stay and “leave-it” in the house.
6. Work on duration of “stay” in the house until dog can stay for up to 5 minutes.
7. Move to a secured yard, on lead.
8. Work on sit-stay outside.
9. Create instances where dog has to ignore food and/or other animals.
10. Work on duration, on lead, in yard with distractions.
11. Remove lead.
12. Work on duration, off-lead, in yard.
13. Work on duration, off-lead, in yard with distractions.
14. Replace lead, take dog to a new “spot” like a park.
15. Repeat steps 8-13, changing location until dog can behave in a predictable way, every time.

Obviously, this process takes time. Months to years for some dogs, days for others. But this is how champions are made. All those dogs you watch that balance on tight ropes and bring a ball to their master while howling the happy birthday tune and wagging their tail like its fun worked at threshold to learn every step of that training process.

This highly scientific method of training is very, very successful.

Why? Because it takes place step by step, bit by bit. It satiates the dogs internal fear of a situation by slowly praising them for every, single positive outcome.

If trainers step out of that realm of workable threshold something crazy happens. The dog refuses to work. He gets upset, begins barking, shows visible signs of being overwhelmed, and paces. There will be no “sit” out of Fido even though he can do it EVERY time in your kitchen. Why? Because he is overwhelmed. He has not been taught what to do when that steak falls or a squirrel races by. To not try desperately to grasp those things is quite likely against his instincts.

Why then do we not use these same methods on students, or those we supervise? Would it not be a more reliable form of teaching and training?

Too often I hear that we will punish people for their faults, every little thing they do wrong. Place them in a tough spot. Change or be changed! That’s the law around here! That is how humanity works, after all, right?

Imagine if instead of using fear and punishment to teach, we used positive reinforcement. What if instead of fear mongering we won respect and taught in a fun, steady way, working at threshold and on a one-on-one basis. How would people respond?

I bet our world would change in 1,000 ways.

The Funny Things :D

Posted: February 12, 2012 in Humor, Mental Health
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If you don’t laugh about it, you’d cry. Right?

I feel that way all the time.

So I figured I’d write a post about some of the funniest things I’ve done that were caused by ADD.

My favorite story involves me taking my keys out if my purse to go to the bank. Then I had to drive the twenty miles back to work (where I placed my purse back in its little cubby hole before tromping to my car) to get my purse, an item I’m never without. Then I drive back to the bank, 40 miles round trip…

Another time I got all the way dressed and forgot to put on foundation before the usual eyeshadow, mascara, and blush. It took me nearly ten minutes to figure out why on earth my face was so pale.

Or how about how I forget to grab a towel every time I shower? You’d think I’d learn by now. My wonderfully, awesome, amazing, wonderful, super, great husband actually is so used to this lapse in judgement that he puts towels out for me every time I hop in the tub.

How has he learned and I haven’t?

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That wonderful man! Thank God for people who know. What on earth would I do without him?

Drip dry?

Growing Up

Posted: February 11, 2012 in Mental Health, pets
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Some of my best friends are my dogs. Paisley, above, is my most challenging furry child.

I honestly think she has the doggie version of ADD.

Most would never guess that Paisley here has been in basic training, beginners agility, sequencing agility, and rally obedience courses totaling more than 32 weeks of professional training!

While that training no doubt saved her life, there is still little to show for it. Though she has a perfect sit, a nice heal, and a calm demeanor, she STILL finds creative things to destroy in the house sometimes.

But one thing is really working, maturity. The older Paisley gets, the more calm and relaxed she becomes. She has settled down into a wonderful home companion. She will never make a Rally or Agility champion, but she may make a glorious therapy dog within the next couple of years.

Naturally, I won’t be stopping her training anytime soon, because she always has new skills to learn.

The moral of the story is simple. Though learning and training are always necessary, sometimes the greatest solution to a problem is simply growing up and being mature about it.

Thank you, Dana, for those words of wisdom!