Archive for ADHD General Information – Page 2

Family Meetings For Parenting ADHD Kids

As a parent of a child or teen with ADD/ADHD, you’re likely always looking for parenting strategies that work. If you’re like many parents that I work with, you find some that work, and then after a while, your child (gotta love ‘em :-)) goes and changes, and then you feel like you’re back to the drawing board.

One of the strategies that can be very helpful, and is often not taught – is having family meetings. Family meetings – when they are done well – can be very helpful (and if they are done poorly, they can really back fire!).
That’s why I’ve interviewed ADD Coach Diane O’Reilly for this coaching video for you. She discusses how to run a Family Meeting to help your family to function better. And not only is Diane a trained, expert coach, but as you’ll hear – she has 4 boys – three of whom have ADHD (and one is on the ‘borderline’, she says), and she herself has ADHD. So Diane knows how to use this strategy to make family life run better.

Just click play to watch this video:

Click here for iPhone/iPad compatible video.

If you’ve found this video helpful, and you’d like to join our coaching training call on Monday February 13th at 8 pm Eastern time (or even if you can’t make it live, you can get the recordings), just click here to join the “Insiders” program:
Join ADD/ADHD Insiders

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It’s My Birthday. Will You Do Me a Favor?

birthday 150x150 Its My Birthday. Will You Do Me a Favor?It’s February 3rd, 2012 and that means I’m one year older today.

41 years old, to be specific.

It may be weird to ask for a birthday present… but I’m going to do it anyway (heck, it’s my birthday – there’s no harm in asking…)

Will you share one thing that I’ve been able to help you with in the past year with ADD/ADHD?
It could be that I helped you change your perspective and inspired you. Or maybe you learned about a new strategy, medication or alternative treatment that could help. Whatever it is – however small or big, I’d love to hear it.

This blog, my emails and all of the information that I share is meant to help you (and our society at large) to understand ADD/ADHD better, and to get the right perspective on ADD/ADHD. I focus on differences rather than deficits, encourage a strength based approach and I believe that knowledge is power – i.e. when you have the right information, you can make the best health choices.

Nothing could be better than hearing how my material has helped you.

Just leave a comment on this post.

It would make my day.

Thanks in advance icon smile Its My Birthday. Will You Do Me a Favor?

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ADHD & New Year’s Resolutions

Today is January 4, 2012, and I sent an email today to my email subscribers asking them two simple questions:

  1. What is your #1 New Years Resolution this year?
  2. Have you achieved your New Years Resolutions in the past?

I asked people to just hit ‘reply’ and send in an email to let me know the short answers to these questions. On other occasions, I have used ‘survey software’, which makes it easy to tabulate and summarize responses, but this time, I thought if people just had to hit ‘reply’ in their email, then they’d be more likely to respond.
And did you ever respond!
In the first 8 hours after the email was sent – I received 153 email responses!
I am appreciative, honored, and touched by the emails sent. I wanted to summarize some of the comments and issues which came forward.
First, I’d like to give you some background.

The Issue With New Year’s Resolutions:
Every January 1st, many people ‘resolve’ to improve things in their lives. The gyms are full, the diet clinics are doing brisk business, and people plan to change their lives.
And by Valentine’s day (or maybe even by January 7th?), the resolutions are gone, forgotten, and things are back to ‘normal’.

And when it comes to people with ADD/ADHD, it can be very hard to make and keep resolutions. The symptoms of ADD/ADHD include poor focus, distractibility, impulsivity, etc. And, many people with ADD/ADHD have executive functioning difficulties. One executive function is: goal directed persistence! If everyone in society has trouble with keeping resolutions, how easy is it going to be for people who have trouble with ‘goal directed persistence’?!

And when it comes to family members who care for their loved ones with ADD/ADHD, they often get so burned out by their daily support and advocacy that it can be hard to focus on themselves…

So, with all of the odds against us here, why did I want to talk about New Year’s Resolutions?

It is my personal belief that we need to continuously strive for improvement. We need to evaluate where we are, and continuously set goals to reach the next step.
And not everyone agrees with me… BUT on New Year’s – this is a chance when everyone is considering New Year’s Resolutions. Many people are thinking about setting goals, and they want to achieve them.
I view this as a chance to help you – if you want it.

Your Responses To My Email Questions:

154 emails in the first 8 hours!
The first 80 or so got personal responses, and then I had to just read the emails, because I was running out of time.
I did read every email, and let me say this:
I am very touched and appreciative to each and every one of you who wrote in (and if you respond after this post goes live, I will happily read your email as well!)
As I was reading your emails, I realized that when you wrote in, you were letting me in to your hopes, dreams, and sometimes wounds (from previous hopes and dreams which didn’t go well). I was touched and honored that you were kind enough to share this very personal information with me. And I don’t take it lightly.

In my email to you, I wrote the list of the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions according to About.com. They are:
1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
2. Fit in Fitness
3. Tame the Bulge
4. Quit Smoking
5. Enjoy Life More
6. Quit Drinking
7. Get Out of Debt
8. Learn Something New
9. Help Others
10. Get Organized

But I wanted to know what your top resolutions were.
While this isn’t an official ‘tally’, here are some of the top themes which came up over and over again when you wrote in your #1 New Year’s Resolution:

  1. Have more patience (with my ADHD child, spouse, or with myself)
  2. Declutter, and get organized
  3. Lose weight/gain health
  4. Spend more time with friends/better connection with family
  5. Save more money/spend less/earn more
  6. (I resolve to) Not make any more resolutions because I always let myself down
  7. I don’t make resolutions, I work on year round improvement

When it came to the question of “have you been successful with resolutions in the past?”, the answer was a resounding “No”. Though there was a (powerful) minority who have been partially or fully successful in the past with resolutions.

There were several emails which I’d like to quote:

Regarding question 1: What is your #1 New Years Resolution this year?

John said: For the first time, to set goals for myself.

N. said: This year number one is : Take care of myself FIRST.

A humorous response: Marvin wrote: I’m a 70 year old who was diagnosed with ADHD almost 20 years ago. I have had the same resolution for several years and am one of the few people I know who has consistently been successful in keeping theirs: No new tattoos. (Of course I don’t have any old tattoos).

Regarding Question #2: Have you achieved your new years resolutions in the past?

Suzy said: (I don’t achieve my resolutions because) Like you said…..I don’t persevere. Top resolution should be to be more self disciplined…..that would take care of a lot!!

Kay wrote: No it is the same each year, the list is the same…. same goals, same ending.

Psalm says: Resolutions are rather intimidating to me. I prefer to think of goals, such as small, incremental, attainable goals.

Jennifer: I have not always achieved my resolutions but I have when I am very specific with the goal.

N. wrote: Yes, I achieve them because I type them up and paste them inside my wallet, checkbook, reading material etc and post them where I will see and be reminded of them every day plus I announce them to my inner circle for support.

Of course, as you can see – your wisdom came through in the emails. As you were sharing your comments, many of you revealed the answers to success with setting and achieving goals and New Year’s Resolutions.

And remembering the importance of the fact that we are in the area of mental health, there were some emails which were very personal, and acknowledged how hard things can be for people. Here is one example:

As J. wrote: My New Years resolution is to learn to live with ADD and all it brings, to fight the bully at work who constantly yells at me and to not commit suicide because of my poor self-image. Have I achieved my past new year’s goals? No, of course not.

Of course, I personally emailed J., and encouraged a visit to the doctor and/or therapist to work on J’s issues and challenges. (Our thoughts and prayers are with you, J!)

After reading 154 emails with people’s hopes, dreams, wounds and fears, I reiterate that I was personally touched and honored that you shared all that you did.

In the next few days, I’ll be sharing some thoughts and ideas for your on how to do well with your New Year’s Resolutions this year. Your emails have motivated me a lot to make sure to give you some helpful tips and strategies.

I’ll wrap up with this:

Jamie wrote: “Thanks…just curious…what were yours?”

When it comes to resolutions, I do take the time to review the past year, take stock, and look forward to the new year, and I do set goals. I set specific, measurable goals, with deadlines on them (3 month, 6 month, 9 month, 12 month) – and my goals are written down.

My three main goals (or goal categories) this year are:

  1. Family: Support my family more and increase my connection with them
  2. Health: Improve my health and well-being
  3. Finances: Improve my business and financial well-being

Thanks again, and watch for more updates in the coming days.

Best,

Dr. Kenny

p.s. please share your thoughts and comments below in the comments section…


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Holiday Message: Most Of All, Remember…

As we get closer to the Christmas break, life gets much busier…

Whether this is a religious holiday for you or not (i.e. Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza…), no doubt your life has gotten much busier in the past few weeks.

And things become all about the work get togethers, the ‘secret santa’, the family functions, trying to honor family traditions, and of course – trying to find the “right” present for your loved ones.
And if it’s for your child, no doubt, there is the ‘hot gift’ of the season, which is way too hard to find… (I suspect those toy companies do it on purpose!)

This time of year can be very stressful and challenging.
We all put too much pressure on ourselves for the holiday season.

And during all of these stresses and pressures – there’s one important thing to remember: and that is WHY we do all of these things…

Think about it for a moment:

  • Why do you want to get your child or loved one the ‘right gift’?
  • Why do you want to spend time with family? (even if it is your parents, or in-laws, or aunts and uncles who are judgmental, don’t understand you, and don’t ‘get’ ADD…)
  • Why do you try so hard to keep ‘family traditions’ alive?

My argument is this:
We do all of these things so that we can hopefully experience an EMOTION.
All of this hard work, to get us to FEEL a certain way.

What is this feeling that we drive ourselves so hard to feel?

[highlight color="FFFF00"]In my view, we’re pursuing this: an emotion of connection, closeness and love.[/highlight]

And in our day to day lives – we are so busy, so concerned about the stresses of the day, and week, and month, that we don’t often stop and take the time to feel this life-fulfilling feeling with the people we love – especially if they have ADD/ADHD and we have to work so hard to support them… (or if we ourselves have ADD and have trouble keeping up with day to day life…)

My advice to you- and my ‘christmas message’ to you is this:

Take the time to experience that loving connection and feeling with your loved ones this holiday season.
Make THAT the specific goal, and find the time to do it.

For many people, the busy holiday season doesn’t actually lead to this feeling of connection, closeness and love. It just leads to stress, overwhelm, upset, and a desire to get back to the routine of work…
Or maybe you’ve heard yourself saying to yourself under your breath: “I need a holiday after my holiday!”

Now, I’m not saying that you need to avoid the family traditions, and the get togethers, and all of the busy things you want to do, or feel you need to do.
Rather, I’m suggesting this:

1) Be easy on yourself. Don’t push yourself so hard that you get run down, overwhelmed and are ready to snap. That doesn’t serve you, and it doesn’t serve the ones you love. If your house isn’t perfectly neat, or if the Christmas meal is missing the cranberry sauce (or if it’s even take out from a chinese restauarant!), be easy on yourself, and remember, the point of the holidays is a feeling of connection, closeness and love.

2) At some point in your holiday schedule – take some time to do something with the people you love most – and make sure that you nurture a sense of connection, closeness and love.
This may mean going for a walk, or going bowling, or just having a quiet chat when no one else is around.
And when you do this – be sure to open up, and share your feelings. This part is so important – because that will show your loved ones how you really feel.
You may even want to explain how you do all of the holiday ‘activities’ and traditions to try to make it a special time for the family, so that your loving connections will get even stronger. Talk about how important your loved ones are to you, and how much they mean to you.
Give specific examples of things they’ve done that you love and/or are proud of.

Don’t use general statements, like: “You know I love you son.”

Rather, use very specific comments like, “I love you just for who you are. And when you stood up for your friend who was in trouble last September, even though that was a hard time for you, I saw the power of your character, your loyalty and I was so proud. I love you for who you are.”

When a comment is general, kids and loved ones think you just read it out of a book. But when you open up, and acknowledge them for what they’ve done and who they are – then they know you mean it. Everybody appreciates when someone sees who they really are, and acknowledges them for being themselves.

And of course if this is a religious and/or cultural holiday for you, be sure to consider and pray on the true meaning of the holiday. This can deepen your spritual connection, which can be beneficial to you in so many ways.

I wish you happy holidays, and I want you to know that I truly appreciate you for allowing me to participate in your journey with ADD/ADHD. I am honored, and I really appreciate you.
I hope you have happy, fulfilling, connected and loving holidays.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. And if you think this message can help someone else, please forward it to them.

Best,
Dr. Kenny

p.s. If you find this message helpful, you may also find my book: Attention Difference Disorder helpful. It is for parents of kids and teens with ADD/ADHD. You can find it on Amazon.com here. Depending on when you order, Amazon may be able to still get it to you by the holidays!

p.s.

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Practice Gratitude Regulary

This past week, it was US Thanksgiving. When it’s Thanksgiving, people (generally) have a great time with friends and family, and have a wonderful, satisfying meal together.

And… most people take some time to consider what they are thankful for.

I am thankful for so many things. Including:

  • My Family and Friends
  • My Health
  • My profession, and the ability I have to help people on a day to day basis
  • The fact that I was born at the time I was (we live in amazing times, with incredible opportunities)
  • The fact that I was born in Canada (it may get cold here, but it is one of the best countries in the world, in my opinion)

And I’m also thankful to you - my blog reader or subscriber – because you’ve chosen to share your journey with ADD/ADHD with me, and you allow me to come onto your computer screen, or into your email inbox to share my thoughts, perspective and advice. I also really appreciate your comments, feedback and participation in the dialogue.

Now – I love Thanksgiving, and I think it is a wonderful yearly ritual.

And I encourage you to practice gratitude more regularly than once a year.

When I say ‘practice gratitude’, I mean that I encourage you to take a few moments, and quiet yourself down. Get comfortable, slow your breathing, and even close your eyes. Think about who and what you are grateful and thankful for. And then feel the feelings of gratitude and love for what you are focusing on. This exercise can take just a moment, and it can be tremendously helpful for you.

When you achieve a state of gratitude (with true feeling and emotion), it changes how you feel, as well as how you interact with the world and others. This can help you in our stressed out, overly busy world – especially if you have ADD/ADHD yourself, or if it’s in your family.

I encourage you to practice gratitude regularly – ideally daily.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Best,

Dr. Kenny

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Long Term Stimulant Use Improves School Grades

When kids or teens are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, doctors generally recommend medication to help to control the symptoms.The most commonly used medications include the stimulant medications – namely medicines like: Concerta, Adderall, Adderall XR, Vyvanse, Metadate CD, Ritalin LA, Methylphenidate, Dextroamphetamine, and others.

While there are many studies showing that the ADHD symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity improve with the medicine, and cause short term academic improvements, there has been a lack of research to show long term academic benefits.

The studies summarized here clearly document that ADHD stimulant medication helps with long term academic success.

In this research, the research team followed 5700 children from birth until 18 years old. In that group, 277 boys and 93 girls were diagnosed with ADHD. Of those with the diagnosis, some decided to use medication, and some did not. When kids took ADHD medication, they generally started in elementary school, and took it for (on average) 30 months (i.e. just under 3 years).

Of the ADHD kids who were taking medication, by 13 years old, the medication children had improved reading scores compared to the kids with ADHD who had not taken medication. Children taking medication were more likely to attend school (i.e. less absenteeism), and they were 1.8 times less likely to be held back a year at school.

The lead researcher, Dr. Barbaresi was quoted as saying: “We can’t simply focus on the symptoms of ADHD,” Barbaresi said. “We really need to be focusing on the risk for poor outcomes in school and in other aspects of the child’s life,” he said. “That’s why we have to recognize these children and make sure they get appropriate treatment.”

To read more about these studies, click here.

What do you think? Has ADHD medication helped your child (or yourself) over the long term? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Best,

Dr. Kenny

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Action Signs For Children’s Mental Health

Despite progress that has been made in children’s mental health, research repeatedly shows that greater than 75% of children with diagnosable and treatable mental health conditions do not get the proper diagnosis or treatment. To address this, in 2001, the US Surgeon General called for the development of some “warning signs” or “action signs” to help to identify children at risk. It was a large task – which some of the top American scientists have been working on since the Surgeon General’s call to action. Today – on October 28, 2011, the scientific paper, as well as a toolkit are being released to the public.

Dr. Peter Jensen, lead researcher and author on the paper, and President and CEO of The Reach Institute writes:

“I am pleased to let you know that today (Friday, Oct 28th) an embargoed paper in (the medical Journal) Pediatrics will be made available to the press entitled “Overlooked and Underserved: ‘Action Signs’ for Identifying Children With Unmet Mental Health Needs,” authored by a national team of investigators. This paper reports on an analysis of many of the best available US epidemiologic data sets that yielded 11 easy describable symptom profiles, based on child and parent reports. The presence of any one of these symptom profiles, called “action signs,” indicates that any child with the action sign has a high probability of having a bona-fide, severe mental health disorder. Accompanying the paper is also a free toolkit that includes posters for parents or youth freely available to you, perhaps for can posting in your office, so that families/parents/youth will be more likely to bring these problems to your
or others’ attention, if the child is having any of the 11.”

This toolkit of “Action Signs” can be very helpful to parents, teachers, primary care doctors and many others to help to identify children who may have an undiagnosed or untreated mental health disorder. Most importantly, it can be helpful to teenagers – who may feel that they are alone, and don’t know if the symptoms they are feeling are real or merit help. When a teenager recognizes that they are feeling one (or more) of the action signs, then they can ask for help from a parent, guidance counselor, religious leader, or their doctor. This can open the door to get them the help that they need.

What Are The 11 Action Signs?

On page 6 of the Action Signs Toolkit, the following 11 signs are documented:

  • Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than 2 weeks
  • Seriously trying to harm or kill yourself, or making
    plans to do so
  • Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes
    with a racing heart or fast breathing
  • Involvement in many fights, using a weapon, or wanting
    to badly hurt others
  • Severe out-of-control behavior that can hurt yourself
    or others
  • Not eating, throwing up, or using laxatives to make
    yourself lose weight
  • Intense worries or fears that get in the way of your daily activities
  • Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still that puts you in physical danger
    or causes school failure
  • Repeated use of drugs or alcohol
  • Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Drastic changes in your behavior or personality

Pass This Message On!

These Action Signs are so important to raise awareness about children’s mental health, and to help parents, kids and teens to recognize the signs of psychiatric disorders that would require them to get help. They will also help educators, physicians, and other health professionals. These signs are based on years of outstanding, well designed scientific research.

And they will only be helpful if people know about them, and use them.

My request of you? Please pass this message on!

There are children and teens right now, suffering in silence. They don’t know that they need help, or an adult that they told doesn’t know that they need help. These suffering kids may be contemplating suicide, and feeling that there is no hope. These Action Signs have the ability to change all of that by raising awareness about mental health conditions so that people can get help.

When you pass this message on – it can really make a difference to someone who needs it. These Action Signs have the p0tential to literally save thousands of children from suffering. (I will personally be pleased if this blog post can help at least one – and I hope it helps a lot more than that.)

So – use your email contacts, your facebook friends, or twitter followers, and pass this message along. Please. You’ll be helping a child at risk somewhere.

LINKS:
You can view the Abstract of the “Action Signs” scientific paper here.
You can view the Action Signs Toolkit here.

Best,

Dr. Kenny

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Procrastination in ADHD Kids and Teens

Does your ADD or ADHD child procrastinate a lot? If you’re like most parents, the answer is yes. And it likely leads to frustration, hassles, and maybe even battles.

And most parents are thinking: ” This whole thing could have been avoided, if my son (or daughter) didn’t leave this till the last minute!”

Procrastination is a complicated issue. There isn’t a one size fits all answer to it. To fully understand what’s going on with procrastination, and to help you to find solutions for it, I’ve interviewed Diane O’Reilly, from Indigo Tree Coaching below. She’ll help you to understand what’s going on with clutter, and also how to develop strategies to improve it.

To Join The Attention Difference Disorders Insiders Membership and

Participate in the Coaching Call for Parents

of Kids and Teens with ADD/ADHD:

“Overcome Procrastination”

>> CLICK HERE NOW <<

.

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Great ADHD Resources

As you know, it is really important to develop supports around you and your family. Whenever you are dealing with any challenge – like ADD/ADHD challenges, or working toward a goal, it is very helpful to have a support network. The saying “it takes a village” comes to mind. I’m writing this post today to share the people who are part of my support network online – particularly when I had a major event – the launch of my book.

Recently, when I launched my book: Attention Difference Disorder, many people were kind enough to let their subscribers and readers know about my new book. I’d like to thank each of these people, and let you know about them, because they provide great resources online which can help you out. Most of them are directly in the ADHD niche, and some provide other resources, and they were kind enough to let people know about my ADD book.
They are written here in alphabetical order. I encourage you to click on the links to visit their sites:

  1. Jeff Copper: Jeff’s an ADD Coach and he interviewed me on Attention Talk Radio. Visit his page to listen to old archives and catch new shows about ADD/ADHD.
  2. Frank Deardurff: Frank is “that one web guy”. He was willing to share with his subscribers about my new book. If you need to learn about graphics, web design, wordpress, or much more – visit Frank’s site.
  3. Lynne Edris: Lynne is an ADD coach, a woman with adult ADD, and the mother of a teen with ADD. She is a coach in Dr. Kenny’s ADD Insiders program. She runs Coaching ADDvantages.com
  4. Ray Edwards: Ray is a great sales copy writer and marketing strategist. He is the author of Writing Riches, and teaches many business owners how to build their business. You can learn more about Ray here.
  5. Jacqueline Green – Jacqueline is a parenting expert, and she runs the Great Parenting Show – an online seminar teaching people about great parenting strategies. You can participate in The Great Parenting Show here.
  6. Dr. Anthony Kane: Dr. Kane is a medical doctor and expert in ADHD. He has many products and resources to help parents of kids and teens to help their kids. You can learn more about Dr. Kane and his resources at ADD ADHD Advances.
  7. Jennifer Koretsky: Jennifer is an ADD Coach,  as well as a woman with ADD. She provides great training and resources for ADD – including the well attended ‘ADHD Virtual Conference’. You can learn more at ADD Management.
  8. Tara McGillicuddy – Tara is an ADD coach and a woman with ADD herself. She provides a tremendous number of resources and support for people online. You can learn all about her resources here: ADD Classes.com You can also hear the replay of the interview she did with me here on ADHD Support Talk Radio.
  9. Bonnie Mincu: Bonnie is a Senior Certified ADHD Coach and a woman with ADD herself. She has created a Thrive with ADD line of products online. You can learn about Bonnie at Thrive with ADD.
  10. Diane O’Reilly: Diane is an ADD coach who is a woman with ADD and also has sons with ADD. She is the coach in Dr. Kenny’s ADD Insiders program, and she runs Indigo Tree Coaching.com
  11. Dr. Yannick Pauli: Dr. Pauli is an expert in ADHD, and he publishes The Unritalin Solution. He shares natural approaches to treat ADD/ADHD.
  12. Rhea Perry: Rhea is an outstanding woman who has taught people all about home-schooling, as well as entrepreneurial education. You can learn more about here here.
  13. Dr. Rory Stern: Rory is an ADHD expert, and he’s a writer, therapist, coach, consultant and speaker. He publishes The Truth Behind ADHD, and provides many resources to help you out.
  14. Greg Writer: Greg is an entrepreneur who is committed to keeping kids safe on the internet. His unique browsers can help to protect your kids online. You can get parenting resources and learn more at: Kid Safe.

Thank you to these people who helped to launch my book when it came out on June 7th. Please visit their sites, as I know that they provide great content and resources to help you out. And – the lesson in this is – when you are trying to accomplish a goal, build a network of support, and then really appreciate them afterwards. I know I appreciate all of the people listed above icon smile Great ADHD Resources

Best,

Dr. Kenny

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ADHD on Breakfast Television

I had the great fortune of being invited onto Breakfast Television – one of Canada’s biggest morning shows. Here’s a copy of my interview. Enjoy!

You can pick up a copy of Attention Difference Disorder here: Canadians – click here, Americans (and international) – click here.