ADD Empathy – 101


ADDvice for non-ADDers 

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
From the Walking A Mile in Another’s Shoes Series

Illustration thanks: Paul Lowry via Flickr

TOUGH LOVE

Those who can SEE will never really “get” the struggles of those who cannot – but hey, could you at least TRY to believe what they say is difficult for them to do?

Could you at least TRY to stop offering advice from your sighted paradigm,
especially in that tone of voice that might as well be adding,
“Listen, you idiot, wrap your simple mind around this?”

And if you can’t do that . . .

Keep a sock at the ready and stuff it in your mouth, if that’s what it takes to keep from shoving your “sighted” platitudes down their “what-part-of-BLIND-don’t-you-get?” throats when they tell you that your idea won’t work for them. (TWO socks if you’re a “vanilla” therapist or non-ADD parent talking to your own ADD-flavored offspring.)

Does that sound harsh?

I promise you that is exactly how your tough-love “helpful” suggestions land with your ADD loved ones.

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Boggle: To Design is to Decide


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Onward and Upward

Excerpted from my upcoming Boggle Book ©Madelyn Grifith-Haynie-all rights reserved.

Now you are ready to design
your Boggle Space.

Re-read through the lists you have created (in that notebook I hope you took the time to create).

We want to work with externally stored information that will allow you to work with minimal decision anxiety.  

Remind yourself what is soothing to you and what you definitely do not want around.

Don’t wait to decide at the moment you are faced with the objects in the space.

  • Deciding is one of those pre-frontal cortex stressers.
  • The farther away from the actual experience, the easier the decision.

Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to pack for a trip with a list?  That’s because you separated the process of deciding from the actual handling of clothing.  If you try to decide on the spot, ad hoc, you will have a much tougher time.  The further the decision from the action, the easier the action.

Prelude to disaster – clearing cobwebs

As I said at the end of the last article, before you go back to designing your Boggle Space, we need to clear away possible mental roadblocks to keep you from cheating yourself out of the success that you deserve.

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When the Game is Rigged


Reward and acknowledgment, part 3 


By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Another in a series of articles from my upcoming book,
TaskMaster™ – see article list below

Don’t be STINGY!

Think back to my earlier reminder that, during the training phase, you make good with those cookie bribes frequently.

Remember that I said that you can reconsider what has to be done for what kind of reward once the training is complete?

Don’t forget as you reconsider, however,
that you are working with an inner KID.  

Most adults I know have lost touch with how much they loved cookies as a kid.

Oh, we remember that kids love cookies, all right, that’s not the problem.

  • In fact, most Moms resort to keeping the cookies in a place the kids can’t reach them.
  • They say they want to keep the kids from eating every single cookie in the jar.

In another unbelievable application of black and white thinking, “You may not eat all of the cookies” transforms into “You may not eat ANY of the cookies” before a three-year-old can figure out what happened.

Since Moms generally dislike interruptions when they are busy and most Mom’s are pretty busy most days, repeated requests for a cookie are quickly considered whining for a cookie. Most Moms don’t like to give in to whining.

The game is rigged!

What’s the poor kid supposed to do? You’re too busy to stop long enough to crack the cookie safe on request and in a minute never comes.

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Boggle: The TBZ


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The Temporary Boggle Zone

Excerpted from my upcoming Boggle Book ©Madelyn Grifith-Haynie-all rights reserved.

There is no reason to go another day without a Boggle Space.

While you are preparing your very own Boggle Space, there will be many times when you will need a place to go NOW.

When those times arise, the Temporary Boggle Zone, is command central: the TBZ.

Where is the neatest corner of your living space — out of the normal traffic patterns of your household?

It also needs to be a place other than the Boggle Space you are designing for yourself. If it is behind a door you can close (and lock!), so much the better.

Claim it as your own. 

For now, place a chair in that out of the way corner – facing the corner, if need be — somewhere, somehow you will not be able to see looming reminders of anything you need to handle.

Explain to the people you live with that you are developing a system to deal with ADD and emotional reactivity, and that you need their help.

Whenever you go to your Boggle Space, they must leave you totally alone until you “come out” — they can ask you no questions and you will be taking no phone calls.

The only emergencies you will even consider must involve bloodshed,
fire or flood.

Other Ways to Get it Done

Some clients have used a second bathroom for a TBZ so that they could avoid having to “train the family” or deal with the teasing that would probably follow in the early stages of the process.

That method would never work for me because the bathroom is one of those rooms that seems to always need some kind of attention and I don’t find the reminder of that fact particularly soothing.

The only rule here is that you must find a place that you can use as a TBZ immediately. You are going to need it sooner than you think. And the sooner you learn to use Boggle tactics the easier your life will be.

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Coaching Tips For Parents Of LD & ADD/HD Children


Artwork courtesy of Phillip Martin

Playing on the SAME Team
Guest blogger: Dr. Steven Richfield

A parent writes:
Both our son and daughter struggle with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder.

As they struggle so do my husband and I. Communication breaks down into arguments, problems arise in school and among peers, and we are often unsure of how to handle their emotional ups and downs. Any suggestions?

Children with LD and ADD/ADHD present unique challenges and rewards to parents. The vulnerability of a fragile ego, the unthinking behaviors rooted in impulsivity, or the steep decline of emotional meltdowns, can render even the most patient parent looking for tools and techniques to manage their child’s unpredictable behaviors.

These scenarios fall under the heading of what I have come to call the “Now, what do I do?” syndrome. It is a question echoing through the minds of all parents at one time or another.

As a child psychologist who trains parents who regularly witness these scenarios, I help empower parents with tools and tips to manage the emotional and social currents of ADHD and LD children.

Here are some to consider:

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PLEASE DO NOT BUY


An open letter to my readers and the advertisers I just realized are using this site to promote their products:

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

I author a no-fee WordPress Blog on WordPress.com

I can’t opt out of your ads – I get that.

Your right to [attempt to] sell to me exceeds my rights in total.  I get that.

You’ve PAID for the privilege.

  • Our world has devolved to the place where cash is king.
  • I must learn to live with that, regardless of my personal feelings about it.
  • My personal dollars have now become my ONLY personal votes.
    My only choice is where I choose to spend them.
  • I will not buy products from obnoxious advertisers. EVER.

A boycott of ONE, joined by others, which may well build to an internet movement if you and the companies you include in your means of making a profit don’t heed the warning of my words.

I can also purchase and use the products and services of advertisers who deserve my patronage as an acknowledgment of their respect for me and for the value of the time and attention of my readers.

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Doling out the Cookies


Reward and acknowledgment, part 2

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Another in a series of articles from my
upcoming book, TaskMaster™
Virtue is not its own reward – Part I
LinkList to articles HERE & below

 

Before we leave the discussion about acknowledgment, lets talk about how it works.

An acknowledgment, properly executed, carries one message and one message only:  GOOD JOB!

Think about the way we talk to each other.  Think about the subtext of the messages we send when we praise.  Think about the words we use.

•  Not bad!
•  Decent!
•  Almost perfect!
•  Great!  Now try it again with your back straight.

Excuse me?  I don’t know about your inner three-year-old, but mine hears an underlying message that takes away as much as it gives.

What tries to pass for acknowledgment above leaves me with the not-so-subtle feeling that, no matter how hard I try or how much I do, I will never be “perfect enough.”

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Virtue is not its own reward


Beating Back Task Anxiety – part 1

By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
One of a series of articles from my
upcoming book, TaskMaster™

Reward and acknowledgment

The misunderstanding and misapplication of the reward phase of task management is the single biggest mistake I notice in the world.

Don’t undervalue this part. 

The seemingly silly concept coming up is the single most important distinction to which you will ever be exposed.  

It will sometimes be the only thing that will keep you on track as you work your way through the items on your plate – whether that means filling out the Challenges Inventory™, putting together your Boggle Space, or getting through the rest of this article!

We are ALL Peter Pan

Inside every one of our grown-up selves lives an I’ll never grow up three-year-old who wants a cookie.

Maybe we can convince that three-year-old to behave for a while without that cookie, but eventually even the most well-behaved three-year-old is going to stage an old fashioned temper tantrum because s/he is tired of working on behaving and wants a reward for all the work s/he has done already!

Our inner three-year olds are totally uninspired by concepts of goodness and virtue and rewards in the afterlife.  Our inner three-year olds are wiser than we know.  Nobody behaves for sake of good behavior itself.

Playing by the rules, waiting our turn, and being quiet so that the grown ups can talk about important things (when we would much rather be free to do whatever we wanted at the playground down the street) is hard work.  

And if you think you’re getting all that hard work for free, you’d just better think again, buster!!

Three-year-olds want regular, recurring, tangible rewards for their efforts!  If you want to continue to motivate your inner three-year-old so that s/he will work with you instead of slowing you down with chronic distractions, the most effective way is BRIBERY!

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Task Anxiety Awareness


Task Anxiety 101 – Part 1

By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
The second of a series of articles from
my upcoming book, TaskMaster™
– see article list below

Task Anxiety 101 - Part 1

Get out your notebook

Before I go into a bit of background explanation about task anxiety, I am about to ask you to make another list.

For those times when you attempt to complete something or in response to attempting to begin something, make a List of Ten activities you find yourself doing INSTEAD.  What is it that YOU do that leaves you chronically behind and befuddled.

As I asked in the first article in the TaskMaster Series:

What were some of the tactics you used to deal with your anxiety about not knowing how to tackle a particular task?
(Those supposed “procrastination” activities you took on instead of what you intended or needed to do)

I find it more useful, AND more accurate, to reframe those tasks as “avoidance” activities: avoiding task anxiety.

So now it’s time to get to work on changing a few things.

I’ll get you started by sharing my own list of activities I do when I “go unconscious” about my own task anxiety. To get the benefit of this section, you need to connect PERSONALLY – so take the time to write out your own List of Ten, so that you will be able to do the four exercises that follow.

I’ll bet you a year’s free coaching, if you don’t actually DO the exercises, there will be no new insights — and you will dismiss them as a huge waste of time and energy as you read about them.

(At the bottom of this article, I’ll give the skeptics among you a couple of credible scientists
to check out, with links to what they have to say about optimizing internal processing.)

My favorite Boggle Room


An Example from my life

Excerpted from my upcoming Boggle Book ©Madelyn Grifith-Haynie-all rights reserved
Part 2   – CLICK HERE for Part 1 of this particular post- see below for links to  entire series 

My favorite Boggle Room —
because it was the most effective

When I was living in New York City, a high stress place if there ever was one, my Boggle Room was my bedroom.

It is one of the things I miss most about New York, now that I have relocated myself and The Optimal Functioning Institute’s “executive offices” elsewhere.

I lived in a large apartment in a pre-war elevator building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I designed my New York bedroom, a space that was much longer than wide, so that my queen-sized bed was practically in the middle of the room.  At the end of the room toward the foot of the bed I built in an entire wall of mirrored closets.

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Boggle: Driving “Miss Crazy”


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Defensive Driving!

Excerpted from my upcoming Boggle Book ©Madelyn Grifith-Haynie-all rights reserved.

Driving the very car you HAVE

Anyone who has driven an old car with a lag time between stepping on the accelerator and the acceleration of the car itself learns rather quickly that there are certain things that are invitations to disaster – trying to pass on a blind curve or a hill, for example.

We learn to work with the car by thinking ahead and including that lag time in our driving strategies.

We can learn to work with our ADD brains in the same way.

The remainder of these articles from The Boggle Book are going to teach you how to “drive” your ADD brain in a way that allows you to manage the events of your life  — before you end up in a situation that is as much an invitation to disaster as trying to pass on a blind curve in an old car.

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Heartbreaking New York Times ADD Article


Don’t Drink the Kool-ade

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

Another wonderful graphic courtesy of aritist/educator Phillip Martin

“Ritalin, like all medications, can be useful when used properly and dangerous when used improperly. 

Why is it so difficult for so many people to hold to that middle ground?”
~ Dr. Edward Hallowell

Regarding the opinion piece “Ritalin Gone Wrong” by Alan Sroufe, Ph.D.
(NY Times, Jan. 29, 2012):

• You don’t have to believe in medication.
• You don’t have to take it.
• You don’t have to give it to your kids.

You don’t EVEN have to do unbiased research before you ring in with an opinion on medication or anything else having to do with ADD/ADHD.

HOWEVER, when you’re writing a piece to be published in a newspaper with the stature of The New York Times, it is simply unprofessional — of the writer, the editors, and the paper itself — to publish personal OPINION in a manner that will lead many to conclude that the piece quotes scientific fact.  

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Boggle Background


What’s Going On Here?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Excerpted from Chapter Five of my upcoming Boggle Book ©-all rights reserved.

A Little Background

I work with ADD (my own included) as I would work with *physical* rehabilitation — even though, with ADD’s “hidden” nature, it is more difficult to see what’s working effectively, what’s not, and in what combinations.

No one would insist that rehabilitation strategies be the same for two accident victims, even if the accidents were identical and the “body damage” similar, and even if both were “textbook” cases.

You would have to START with the individuals themselves: their general fitness level, weight, complicating realities, and many other considerations.  An easy task for one patient might be well beyond the other: overt when dealing with physical realities, subtler with neurological ones.  You have to be attentive to the clues.

The most dramatic reactions are the clearest indicators because they are easiest to identify. Just as patient feedback (ouch!) leads the physical therapist, client reports of Boggle responses are dramatic starting places that suggest ways to turn “can’t” into “can” in the neurological arena.

So Let’s Start with YOU

What have you been doing to date?  When you are about to Boggle – what have you been doing so far?

Before we go into the ways to deal with Boggle effectively,
think about how you have been attempting to deal with it already.

If you are anything like my clients (and like I was myself before I figured out what would work) you are doing exactly the wrong thing when you sense oncoming Boggle.

You are trying harder.

It won’t work.

In fact, it will make things worse.

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Boggle Considerations


Five Elements of Boggle Technique

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

As I mentioned in prior Boggle articles (see list at end of this article), if you live your life anywhere on the Attentional Spectrum, there will be times when you get so distracted, so overwhelmed, SO un-focused that you simply, literally cannot function at all!

You just lose it!

Some of us scream and yell, some of us throw things, some stomp around slamming doors and cursing, some cry . . .

Boggle can look a million different ways – practically any way at all besides behaviorally appropriate!

This state is what some of the ADD experts refer to as “cognitive shutdown in response to stress.”  It’s what I call Boggle.

Let’s begin by reviewing what I have come to believe are the five key elements you need to understand and address before you can count on changing your reputation from “emotionally volatile” to “calm under pressure.”  This article will explain what I mean by the terms below.  Following articles in the Boggle series will explain what I call “Boggle Technique” in greater detail.

Boggle Technique: Five Key Areas for Focus

1.  Time Out
2.  Education
3.  Communication
4.  Sherlocking
5.  Systematizing

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