Aspiring to Optimal Functioning


by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Supporting the What Kind of World do YOU Want? series

I Have A Dream . . .

. . . of a time when we have a solution that allows all of us with Attentional Spectrum Deficits to do more than aspire to Optimal Functioning – even though I’m finding it increasingly difficult to believe that I will live long enough to see it.

 

Over the Rainbow?  REALLY?

After TWO DECADES of non-stop advocacy:

We still have far too many people who refuse to believe that ADD is “a real disorder . . .

despite incontrovertible scientific evidence that overwhelmingly underscores the validity of the ADD diagnosis, including:

  • Medication studies – double-blind, placebo controlled
  • SPECT analysis demonstrating differences in ADD brain
    architecture as well as neurotransmitter functioning
  • Heritability & Twin studies and
  • The identification of several gene markers.

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Symptoms of Attentional Struggles


Part 4 in the Intentional Attending series of posts — As I said in Part 3 (The Dynamics of Attending), one of the goals of ADD Coaching is to identify areas where our clients can improve on the intentional direction of attentive awareness.
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Dynamic Difficulties

Symptoms of Attentional Struggles - Problems with any or all phases of The Dynamics of Attending are why many people - ADD and otherwise - struggle to have much of a life beyond the all-too-familiar "mess it up, clean it up" cycle.

© Phillip Martin, artist/educator

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Problems with any or all phases of The Dynamics of Attending are at the very heart of ADD/EFD characteristics.

That is why many people – ADD and otherwise – struggle to have much of a life beyond the all-too-familiar “mess it up, clean it up” cycle.

Diagnostic ADDers typically have impairments in at least one of the Dynamics, often all three in combination, which dominoes into problems with the registrationlinking and retrieval stages of the memory process.

However, every single person living
has problems with each of the Dynamics of Attending
in some situations at some times —

WHICH MEANS they struggle with:
#1  – Focusing on the Intended Object 
and/or
#2  – 
Sustaining the Focus, and/or
#3  – Shifting Focus at Will

A few of the ways those occasional “mind blips” show up in our behavior provide very funny stories – afterwards. Unfortunately, some of them (or too many of them) lead others to conclude that we are not reliable and can’t be trusted — and lead us to doubt our own talents and abilities as well.

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Zebras, hoof-beats and Dr. House: Differential Diagnosis


Differential Diagnosis: WHAT is it?

and WHY do I care?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie,
CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
#1 of a 2-parter in the Comorbities Series

(To find out how the Zebras relate, read the article!!) 

differential diagnosis is one which examines all of the possible reasons for a set of symptoms in order to arrive at an identification of the cause (or combination of causes) of a presenting problem.

It’s a fairly simple process of elimination that can become unblievably complex in an eye-blink, “simply” because so many diseases and disorders present with similar symptoms,

Although the term “differential diagnosis” initially referred to issues of physical health, today many doctors in the mental health field also use this system of diagnosis.

Diagnosticians specialize in differential diagnosis.

Everybody’s favorite Diagnostician

And who would that be?

Why, House, of course!

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The Dynamics of Attending


Part 3 in the Intentional Attending Series of Posts — As I said in Part 2, Brain Waves, Scans and ATTENTION —  One of the goals of ADD Coaching is to identify areas where our clients can improve on the intentional direction of attentive awareness.

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The ADDCoach.com™ Favorite Model of Attention

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

A small man in the foreground watches fearfully while a larger one in the background juggles planets, both in the clouds, surrounded by worlds.Problems Juggling the Elements of our Worlds

Similar to Sylwester’s three-part model of attention (described in the prior article of the Intentional Intending Series of posts), I, too, favor a three-part portioning of the attentional pie.

I have found it more useful from an ADD Coaching perspective to focus my own study and observation of attention on the tasks involved in three “sub-domains” of a particular area of  the Sohlberg/Mateer model: selective attention.

I refer to these three domains or sub-divisions, collectively, as

The Dynamics of Attending:

    1. Focusing on the Intended Object
    2. Sustaining the Focus
    3. Shifting Focus at will

Underlying each of the Dynamics is the same impaired element of cognition common to all of the Executive Functioning Disorders: VOLITION.

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Brain Waves, Scans and ATTENTION


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Part 2 in the Intentional Attending Series of Posts —
As I said in Part 1, The Link Between Attention and ACTION, before I can explain what you need to DO to be intentional with attention, I need to explain a little more about the relationship between memory and attention – and before I can do THAT, we need to come to an agreement about the meaning of this “Attention” term! 

Brain Waves and Vibrational Frequencies

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Drawing of a screen of medical monitor showing the up-down lines that indicate the functioning of what they are monitoring

ALL changes in attention and focus produce a variety of specific patterns in the brain.  These patterns can be recorded using technologies developed and refined since the 1990s, the ten year period that was declared The Decade of The Brain

Whenever our state of awareness and concentration changes,
brain waves change vibrational frequenc
y

A neurofeedback practitioner, for example, can tell by looking at an EEG read-out whether a person hooked up to a special computer is asleep or awake, strongly focused or daydreaming.

The REST of this article will help you understand how measuring brain waves relates to attention and what’s involved in becoming INTENTIONAL with your ATTENDING.

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Expectations Mismatches & Moon Men


Frustrated expectations are difficult to overcome.

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Graphic: Johnny Automatic

“You do something right ONCE and they
hold it against you for the rest of your life!”

~ Mel Levine

One of the complaints you often hear about ADD/EFDers (and all of us struggling with kludgy Executive Functioning) is that our cognitive and functional abilities are erratic.

In posts to come, I will share with you what I have discovered about WHY that it so: why our behavior seems so unpredictable, and what we can do to change that perception.

I would like to introduce you to some of the theories and concepts that underlie the manner in which I work with Executive Functioning Deficits of all types — a way that allows you to put the pieces together so that you understand what you need to DO to be able to drive your own brain — without the constant fear that it will break down on the road!

Prediction is key

An ability to predict the impact of your particular combination of cognitive challenges allows you to realign expectations realistically, so that you can design action plans that are likely to succeed. Almost more important, through prediction’s crystal ball you will be able to design action plans that produce the kind of results that are more likely to be perceived by others as successful.

Subsequent posts will say more about learning to predict yourself. I want to begin by tackling the “perception of others” part of the equation.

In this post I want to describe an unconscious dynamic in our society that makes it tough for ALL of us, but especially for those of us with Executive Functioning Deficits.

It is very difficult to allow yourself the experience of success when the feedback that surrounds you focuses primarily on real or imagined “shortcomings.” And it happens ALL the time. What’s up with THAT?

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TYPES of Attentional Deficits


by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Drawing of a brown-skinned man in a hat, walking through a shallow body of water, cat-tails growing in the background. He is about to be surprised by a crocodile because 100% of his attention is on a book in front of his face: Safety Tips.Attentional Deficits: Three Biggies

While ALL attentional deficits are, strictly speaking, neurological events – meaning that they are marked by changes in the pattern of brain waves, the location of area doing the work, and the neural highways and byways traveled to get the work done  – it is useful to think about them in three separate categories:

  1. Physical
  2. Neurological
  3. Situational

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The Link Between Attention and ACTION


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Awareness is a factor of ATTENTION!

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Black and white drawing of a womans staring intently at something slightly to her right - eyes and eybrows onlyIn order to be able to take ACTION in response to information, a person must
retain an awareness of the information.

You can’t act on information you don’t recall – and you can’t possibly remember information about which you had no conscious awareness in the first place.

Nobody can ACT on information they don’t have.

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ADD & Organized?


Organization for ADDers is NOT Pipe Dream

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In support of The Challenges Inventory ™ Series

Drawing of a man popping out of the top drawer of a file cabinet, holding a file, with a self-satisfied smile on his faceYes, even YOU can learn to be organized —
JUST AS SOON AS YOU UNDERSTAND

the REASONS why you’ve been stopped in the past.  

Here’s the kicker: it’s a different mix of stoppers for every single one of us.  

If you don’t understand how YOU work, you’ll never be able to determine what YOU need to do to to keep from spending half your life looking for things that were “right here a minute ago.”

So much for helpful hints and tidy lists!  

That said, what follows is an Organizing Overview summarizing concepts that need to be embraced and understood if you want to have a shot at working out what YOU need to do for YOU to be organized.

In a series of articles to follow, I will “unpack” the list and explain the concepts.  FOR NOW, reflect on the list itself, and stay tuned for articles to follow.

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A Little ADD Lens™ Background


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Looking through The ADD Lens™

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Magnifying Glass held over a page to make the content appear larger and easier to read.This is part two of the Chapter 1 excerpts of The Boggle Book: How to stop screaming at your spouse, kicking the dog, and losing your cool, finally and forever!  

(Click HERE to go back to Part 1)

This excerpt will give you a little background context and introduce the concept of looking through The ADD Lens™as if every single reader had a full-blown case of diagnostic ADD. Read more of this post

My Boggle Book


All content in the Boggle Series is copyright protected & has been excerpted from:

THE BOGGLE BOOK:

Drawing of woman in apron struggling to hold a door shut - water streaming out from all sides.How to stop screaming at your spouse,
kicking the dog, and losing your cool,
finally and forever!

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
all rights reserved

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ABOUT “From My Books”


Blogging by Book Excerpt

Drawing of rolling book cart like those found in smaller libraries - loaded with booksAbout those orphaned books I mentioned in Menage a Moi — I suddenly had an epiphany.

Why wait for publication to start getting the content in the hands of those who need it???

So, as time permits (or whenever I’m too covered up to write a new post for one of the other categories), I’ll pull content from one of my MANY books in process to share with you in this section.

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What ARE Executive Functions?


 by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part 2 in a Series (click HERE for Part 1))

What the heck ARE Executive Functions ANYWAY?

Well, that all depends on who you ask!

While there is certainly a consensus that executive systems are involved in handling situations outside the domains of most of the processes of the body (whether ‘automatic’ or something under our conscious control) – and while there is very little disagreement that executive processes are not controlled by the same processes that produce our emotional reactions –

the exact nature of executive control
is difficult to pin down and articulate.

Until science discovers more about the neuro-chemical, bio-electric  processes underlying brain function, all anybody can really do is attempt to describe them based on how and where they work – or don’t!

Try to describe the elements that combine to allow an orchestra to create beautiful music . . .

 . . . see the problem?

You can’t really say much about it until you know what kind of music the orchestra is trying to make beautiful.

AND . . .

as challenging as it would be to come up with a list of ALL of the kinds of music any orchestra might play . . . it’s not a whole lot easier to agree even upon a set of categories into which all the factors could be be sorted.

So it is with the executive functions . . . which will never stop science from TRYING to categorize! 

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ABOUT Executive Functions


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 by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part 1 in a Series 

Executive Functions

Sorry, no trophy wife gets a new gown for these functions.  Execs, you’re off the hook too; no need to get the tux cleaned.

We’re referring to cognitive abilities that most adults take for granted as products of intelligence, education and maturity — items like planning, problem solving, concentration, mental flexibility, and controlling short-term behavior to achieve long-term goals.

If that list of mental abilities looks a tad familiar, it’s because it is incredibly similar to a list of traits with which those of us with Attentional Spectrum Disorders experience big-time problems!

Sound like your experience with ADD?  Oh yeah! ADD is a front-runner in the Executive Functioning Disorders relay race. Individuals with TBI find that many of their post-brain injury impairments fall in this arena as well. Read more of this post

Top Ten Questions about ADD meds


Considering ADD Medication?

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Updated legacy post -orig. 09/12/99

line drawing of a middle-aged doctor with glasses: shoulders and headTen Important Things to find out from your doctor or your pharmacist

First Things First: Doctors are only human — OVERWORKED humans.  They also have a lot of patient information to keep track of.

On top of that, it may take a change or three to titrate meds for each patient (find the right medication, the right dosage, the right timing, etc.).

So it’s always wise to double-check your prescription EVERY time.   Make sure the medication, dosage and timing are the same as last time, and point out anything that’s different before you leave the office.  

When you pick up your medication at your pharmacy, check it again.

So that means you’re gonna’ write down the information the FIRST time, right?
THEN you’re gonna’ transfer it to something you will keep in your wallet – or to your PDA or cellphone – something you always have with you, right?
(while you’re waiting for your very first prescription to be filled is an excellent time to do this, by the way!)

I use “ADD” or ADD/EFD, avoiding the “H” unless I am specifically referring to gross motor hyperactivity.  (Click HERE for why).

NOW, on to those Ten Things . . .

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