2018 International Conference on ADHD recap

I was excited to attend the 2018 International Conference on ADHD with a group of ADHDKC board members. I’ll try to recap some of the best information learned.

We were all able to make connections with people from all over the world who research and treat symptoms associated with ADHD and with those who are in various learning stages about their own ADHD. It was not uncommon throughout the conference to hear that people found their tribe…

#ADHDcon2018 - Tribe talk

Too much information

There were many simultaneous talks during the 4 day conference. I went to many great talks but missed others. I tried to tweet #ADHDcon2018 during the conference, but couldn’t pay attention and tweet at the same time, so missed a lot of points to share.

International connections

I was very fortunate to meet Marylin, a woman from France who is passionate about learning and sharing information about ADHD. She shared with me that ADHD is not commonly recognized in France and she is working to change that. Learn more about her organization at TDAH.

Marilyn recorded several of the sessions and uploaded them to her Facebook page. I’ll share these along with other information below.

Marylin and speakers, Dr. Michelle Frank and Sari Solden.

Translation from Facebook:

If you thought ADHD was reserved for children….
If you thought that: in the same way as intellectual early, (fortunately less and less used) ADHD disappears over time….
If you thought ADHD was a bad education…. too permissive….
If you thought ADHD was a simple motor hyperactivity….
So…. it’s time to learn, to inform you to understand this neurobiological disorder that affects millions of people around the world: Children, adolescents, adults, men and women together.
The symptoms differ, however, the disorder remains the same.
ADHD is an invisible, ill-known, misunderstood handicap, particularly in France, where diagnosis and care have accumulated considerably harmful delays. 10, 15 (rather 20 years to be honest) compared to other countries of the world.
ADHD is not happy with associated disorders (called morbid), dyslexia, dyscaculie, ect… anxiety disorder, disorder disorder with provocation.
Non-diagnosed ADHD may also lead to adolescent-Risk Pipelines: Sexuality, driving, risk-taking, addictions,
(drugs, tobacco, alcohol) unwanted pregnancies, and
D after the latest research: a considerably reduced longevity. Are you ready to open your eyes and ears and change your states d spirits…

Dr. Russel Barkley

Dr. Russel Barkley is a world renowned expert on ADHD and was one of the keynote speakers. He spoke at the Midwest ADHD Conference sponsored by ADHDKC.org last spring, so you might recognize him and his message: untreated (and undertreated) ADHD has risks!

If you want to skip to Dr. Barkley, go to 8 min. To do this, hover over the bottom and click on the Facebook icon. It will bring you to the Facebook video, and you can scroll forward.

Hover over the bottom and click on the Facebook icon to be able to fast forward.

And yes, we were smitten with him being there… he’s that big of a deal!

Unique Challenges Facing Mothers & Daughters with ADHD

Our own Jeremy Didier and her daughter were among a panel of mother/daughter pairs who talked about living with ADHD.

Our own Jeremy Didier and her daughter were among a panel of mother/daughter pairs who talked about living with ADHD.

Self care

I was not in this session, but found a snippet on Twitter:

Importance of self care. Thoughts on shame. Eric Tivers from Susie Sahim. #selfcare

Importance of self care. Thoughts on shame#adhdcon2018 #adhd@EricTivers talk on adulting pic.twitter.com/SeyAFIVXl1— Susie Sahim ➡️ #ADHDCon2018 (@bogusred) November 11, 2018

Jessica McCabe from How to ADHD

I was excited to be able to see How to ADHD's Jessica McCabe as the final keynote speaker.
I was excited to be able to see How to ADHD‘s Jessica McCabe as the final keynote speaker.

For those who don’t know her, she has made a name for herself making videos about ADHD. I’ve been a fan of her videos for several years, so seeing her live was awesome! 

One of her first slides summarized the other three keynote speakers talks. 

LeDerick Horne spoke of growing up with dyslexia and ADHD in a time and place that was not supportive, yet developing into a renowned poet and public speaker. Eduardo Briceno talked about having a growth mindset. Dr. Russell Barkley shared his 40+ years of research data showing that untreated ADHD has too many risks to ignore – they all culminate in a significantly shortened lifespan. 

Marylin also caught this in full on Facebook live. Start at about 14 min in to skip all the conference acknowledgements if you’re not interested in those.

Coach Diane

Coach Diane from Odyssey Learning spoke about various ways to help kids and teens learn executive functioning.

I was really excited to see that Coach Diane, from Odyssey Learning, was speaking at this conference. Since I won’t be able to make her local talk next month, it was fantastic to hear how she uses creative ways to help kids and teens learn executive function skills.

If you can make it to her local talk, please RSVP on SignUpGenius. Her ADHDKC talk will be geared for tweens and teens, but her slides are more for professionals working with people with ADHD.

All of her slides are available from her website, Odyssey Learning.

What did she talk about?

She talked about how we’re wired to learn when we’re interested. Everyone, but especially those with ADHD, struggle to pay attention when they aren’t interested.

Fear, stress, boredom and anxiety of course make learning even harder, and these are common traits found in people with ADHD. When kids with ADHD are bored, they can suffer from agitation. This gets mislabeled as a behavior problem, but it’s a neurological problem!

Making new concepts and information interesting is one successful way to help people learn. She uses cooking, games, magic, and more to help kids learn.

Backwards planning is one strategy that helps kids complete tasks. Knowing where you want to end up, then coming up with all the steps that are required to get there, is backwards planning. She will use cooking to model backwards planning, then help kids learn to generalize the skill to real life examples.

So much more…

There was so much that I have not been able to share. There are API handouts as well as general session handouts available online.

If you are able to make it to the next conference, it should be great!

Learn to Learn

Studies consistently show that people who know how to learn and have grit are more successful than people who are smart but don’t have resilience. That means we all need to learn how to learn and how to be resilient!

Let’s start with the basics and then review a few learning techniques that can help.

People who know how to learn and have grit are more successful than people who are smart but don't have resilience. Learn how to learn to succeed!

Basics

Organize

If you take a few minutes each day to fill out a planner and review what needs to be done, you will save yourself a ton of time overall. And have fewer periods of last minute anxieties!

There are many organization systems out there. Online planners and paper planners each have their pros and cons. The most important thing is that you pick one that works for you. Just search for reviews of planners, and you’ll find many suggestions.

There’s also the Google calendar or iCal – both offer the ability to keep track of things wherever you are! There are also many online apps for organization, most of which offer free versions as well as premium plans.

The most important thing about calendars and planners: put everything in them and use them regularly.

Of course you should put all your assignments in your planner. Also add in your extracurriculars. If you’re making plans with friends, add that in too. Don’t forget to add in time for exercise and sleep. Everything that’s important should be in there!

If you take a few minutes each day to fill out a planner and review what needs to be done, you will save yourself a ton of time overall. And have fewer periods of last minute anxieties! #organize

Don’t put it off!

It’s tempting to put off studying until the last minute, but don’t fall for the temptation.

Some people even say they do best at the last minute because of the adrenaline rush they get from the anxiety of the last minute. But chances are if you really look at it, you do a much better job and feel much better if you pace yourself and do a little each day.

If you finish parts of tasks on time at a healthy pace, you’ll have less time spent worrying about it. This leaves more time to enjoy life. You’ll probably sleep better and be healthier!

Finish parts of tasks on time at a healthy pace. You'll have less time spent worrying about it. This leaves more time to enjoy life. #organization

Sleep

Your brain needs sleep to process and store information. All nighters will keep you from performing at your best. 

Study in the evening, get a good night’s sleep, then review your notes a bit in the morning. This is a recipe for success!

Dogs get it. Your brain needs sleep to process and store information. Get enough sleep to be the best you can be. #sleepmatters

Exercise

There are studies showing that people who exercise right before a test do better than those who cram a little longer. 

Exercise is not only great for your body… it’s also good for your mind!

Exercise is not only great for your body... it's also good for your mind! #exercise

Think positive!

If you get stuck in negativity, you’ll waste a ton of time and energy just being mad or scared. 

It’s easy to fall into the trap. If you start to feel overwhelmed and frustrated that you won’t have enough time to finish a report, you will waste even more time not doing the report. It’s too easy to waste time worrying. 

How do you change your mindset from, “I’ll never finish this,” to “I might have waited a long time to start this, but I’ve always been able to push through and finish it in the past”? See the “Related Posts” section at the bottom of this blog.

Learn to be positive by changing your mindset. It makes a world of difference! #growthmindset #powerofpositivity

Learning techniques

Write it down

Take notes as you study. The process of writing helps people remember. 

Don’t simply re-write exactly what you hear in lecture or read in your textbook. Summarize the thought in your own words. This helps much more!

Writing has been shown to be more effective than typing to help with learning, so unless you can’t write, put the keyboard aside and use a simple pen and paper! (Maybe a pen on the appropriate screen would be okay… I don’t know if that’s been studied.)

Writing has been shown to be more effective than typing to help with learning. Summarize ideas during lectures or while reading and write them down! #studytip

Mnemonics

Memorizing dates, words in a foreign language, and more can be difficult, but associating them with something else can make a big difference. 

I still remember many of the mnemonics I used years ago…. 

Who else learned “Every Good Boy Does Fine” to learn to read music?

You can use images, songs, word associations and rhymes to help remember difficult information. This great video explains how to use several of the techniques.

Sing a tune – one type of mnemonic

Songs and rhymes help us learn. You know how you can remember all the words to your favorite song, right? Words in a song are grouped together more easily in our mind and are easier to remember than non-associated words. 

Songs and rhymes help us learn. Words in a song are grouped together more easily in our mind and are easier to remember than non-associated words. #singtolearn

Pick a familiar tune and put the information you need to learn in it. If you’re not that creative or short on time, search your topic with “music” or “song” and check out the results.

Pick a familiar tune and put the information you need to learn in it. If you're not that creative or short on time, search your topic with "music" or "song" and check out the results. #learntolearn More tips on www.adhdkcteen.com.

Singing is one type of mnemonic memorization. For more types and descriptors, see Try these 9 Types of Mnemonics to Improve Your Memory.

What’s your learning style?

You might have heard that everyone has their own learning style. It’s true. Some people learn from reading things best. Other people are more auditory learners – they learn from listening.

There are 7 basic learning styles. We’ll cover more of those in a future post.

See our related posts:

Change your perspective: Be Positive!

How often do you get stuck in negative thoughts? It can happen to any of us, but when it does, we stop being productive. Sometimes all it takes is a change in perspective.

Step back

If you are frustrated at how things are going, take a step back. Maybe several steps back. 

Try to look at the issue from another perspective, maybe several other perspectives. 

Changing your perspective can help problem solve. Step back and look at it from other angles. This is a great way to build resilience and be successful. #growthmindset #perspective

Things we can’t change

We can’t change what others say or do. The weather is beyond our control. What’s in the past is already done. 

We can change none of those things. But that doesn’t mean we need to stay stuck in the rut of accepting those things as they are.

Focus on things you can control to help solve problems. Find more positive tips in the post. #perspective #positivethinking

Things we can control

There are a lot of things we can learn to control.

Sometimes it’s as simple as learning to take a few breaths to allow our brain to sort through things before we say something we regret. Collect thoughts and then plan what to say. 

Choose your reaction

If you don’t like what someone’s saying, you can choose to react one way or another. That choice will help determine what that person says in response.

If you show anger, belittle them, or respond in any negative way, the situation will probably spiral downward.

When you take a few big breaths and carefully choose words that help show your perspective without putting theirs down, it can help.

Humor often helps, as long as you don’t belittle others in the joke.

Try it on

An even better response is one that you acknowledge their perspective, step back and try it on.

If their idea or angle might work, even though you initially didn’t like it, then stay open to it.

What can you both agree upon to make their idea work for you? Or to make your idea work for them?

Of course if you are not okay with something because it’s not safe or doesn’t align with your morals, you shouldn’t cower back and accept it.

Have an open dialog and come to an agreement.

Look for what you can control

We certainly can’t make a rainy day sunny, but we can dress for the weather appropriately and make alternative plans if the weather prevents our original plan from happening. 

Stop reliving the past

Changing your perspective can help problem solve. Step back and look at it from other angles. This is a great way to build resilience and be successful. #growthmindset

Too often we dwell in past mistakes.

We can’t change what’s already done, but we can learn from those mistakes.

Don’t miss the opportunity to use experiences to help you grow.

Regrets only cause insecurities and sadness.

Stop regretting things that have happened in your life.

It won’t change the fact that they happened.

What can you do to grow from the experience? How can you make that situation better in the future?

Blame is never productive.

Whether you blame yourself or someone else for something that happened, it doesn’t change what happened.

What can you do to make something good out of the situation? Is there something you can do to prevent something similar from happening again? What needs to be done to set things right?

Changing your perspective can help problem solve. Step back and look at it from other angles. This is a great way to build resilience and be successful. #learnfrommistakes #growthmindset

No regrets

Regretting and pointing fingers both keep us from learning about our mistakes.

Take ownership and accept consequences when appropriate. Then use this as a part of the learning experience, grow, and move on.

Another perspective on mistakes

If you never open yourself up for failure and play it too safe, you’ll never grow. Taking chances is the only way to stretch ourselves to aim higher than we ever felt possible. 

Taking chances is a way to stretch ourselves and grow. #growthmindset #healthyrisks

Take risks 

This does not mean I want you to take unsafe chances. It’s not okay to put your life or someone else’s life in danger.

Racing a motorcycle without a helmet in the rain is just stupid. Vaping is dangerous to your health. Getting drunk can have serious consequences. These are not the type of risks taking I’m talking about.

Take a risk by trying a new sport or audition for a play.

Step outside your comfort zone.

Start a conversation with someone new.

Challenge yourself to learn something you’ve never tried before, like a new language or about a different culture.

These are great opportunities to mess up or feel insecure initially. But they offer a chance to grow and learn.

Take some risk in life by stepping outside your comfort zone to grow! #growthmindset

Get help analyzing

Sometimes we’re so set in our way of thinking that it’s hard to change our perspective.

Ask friends and family for help.

Listen to other’s opinions with an open mind. How does their view of the issue differ from your own? Does this change your opinion at all?

Rewind

Take the time to rewind and rethink a situation that didn’t end well. 

What happened?

At what points (if any) could you have said or done something differently?

How could that have changed the outcome?

Although you can’t change the past, you certainly can use this experience to change how you approach similar situations in the future.

Move forward

After taking the time to reflect and learn, you must move on.

You cannot dwell on any one situation indefinitely.

Learn from your mistake and use that knowlege for life.

Your best teacher is your last mistake. #learnfrommistakes #growthmindset #adhd

SPIN Cycle

Dr. Ed Hallowell is a well known expert on ADHD. He often talks of the SPIN Cycle and how people must learn to harness energy from their ADHD to learn to thrive. It’s natural in all aspects of life though to have periods where we excel followed by times that seem stagnant or even time where things worsen. 

Positive aspects of ADHD

When ADHD is well managed, we can learn to improve upon our skills. We can work on our organizational skills. Our time management can improve. Sitting down and staying on task is possible. We feel more successes than failures.

I’ve written before about all the reasons we should appreciate ADHD, including creativity and extra energy. The problem is getting to the point where we can recognize the benefits of the ADHD mind – the negatives easily get in the way. 

Waterfalls and ADHD

Dr. Hallowell compares ADHD to a waterfall in his blog on the SPIN Cycle. 

Dr. Hallowell compares ADHD to waterfalls - both are powerful but must be managed.

He goes on to say,  “This waterfall is an insurmountable obstacle if your goal is to paddle.  But, if you will change your plan, I can show you how you can turn this waterfall into something wonderful.  This waterfall can generate enough energy to light up millions of homes.  People will pay you for all that electricity.  You just need to throw away your paddle and build a hydroelectric plant.”

What’s the SPIN Cycle?

During the spin cycle we get stuck in a period where we seem to stop progressing in our self improvement. Sometimes we even seem to slip back into old habits. The negativity weighs us down and can make us want to stop trying.

Dr. Halloway coined the SPIN Cycle. It's natural to have periods of excel followed by times that seem stagnant or even time where things worsen. Learn more.

Shame

It’s not uncommon for people with ADHD to feel ashamed due to their inabilities to sit still, stay quiet, turn in assignments on time, and the myriad consequences of the executive functioning struggles they have. This can lead to Rejection Sensitivity, anxiety, and depression.

Until we learn to love ourselves and look at ourselves in a positive light, it is impossible to function well. Negative self talk keeps us from being productive. It inhibits our sleep. We start to give up. 

We all tend to be our harshest critic. Learn to look at yourself as you would look at a close friend. You’re probably able to accept that a friend forgot to reply to a text or showed up late. Don’t beat yourself up over the same issues. While it’s not good to do those things, you can use failures to learn instead of to fall into the trap of negative self talk.

Focus on the positives in your life, not the negatives. Look at everything you have accomplished. Write accomplishments down as they happen so you can easily review the list to give yourself a boost when you’re feeling down! Don’t wait to solve the world hunger problem to consider something an accomplishment. It can be the little mundane things that we need to do every day but struggle to do.

Is it hard to remember to feed your pet without your mother reminding you? Today you remembered. Write that down!

A great way to block the shame is to focus on gratitude.

Each day take a moment to think about why you’re thankful. This can be things you’ve accomplished as well as people and things in your life you appreciate. It’s also a great time to set goals for the next day. Don’t forget to include doing things for others. There’s no better way to feel better about yourself than to help others!

Pessimism and Negativity

It’s easy to fall into pessimism and negativity, as discussed above. Sometimes we feel like nothing will work out, so why bother even trying. 

We can’t control what other people say or do. The weather is beyond our control. A classmate might say something really hurtful. Natural disasters happen. All of these things can bring us down. Or we can change the way we think about them.

We can learn from things that go on around us. If we don’t like the way we feel when people say certain things, we can learn to not say those types of things and hurt others. We can practice responses to say or how to leave the situation when people say things that cause us to hurt or feel angry.

Maya Angelou

You might know someone who simply gives up. They stop trying to do homework because they get so frustrated that they make silly mistakes or they don’t understand the assignment. Maybe they can do the work but they always forget to turn it in. Why even bother doing it in the first place if you don’t get full credit, right? 

That’s negative thinking. The glass is half empty. With this type of thinking, it’s less likely that you’ll get anything done. 

Focus on the positives and stop the negativity. Learn to control what you think. To learn more about this, read How to Get a Growth Mindset

Focus on things you can control to help solve problems. Find more positive tips in the post.

Isolation

Dr. Hallowell writes,  ” Isolation is often the by-product of shame, pessimism, and negativity.  It intensifies the shame and negativity, and can lead to depression, toxic anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and generally poor performance in all aspects of life.”

It can feel easier to simply avoid being around people if you worry about what people will think of you. While it might seem to decrease your stress if you avoid a stressful situation, it can lead to new worries that you have no friends. It also leads to a weak support system, so when you need a friend to lean upon, they aren’t around. 

It might take working with a friend to draw you out and into situations. Some people need to work with a therapist to learn how to socially interact.

Jessica from How to ADHD has some great social skills tips in this video:

No Creative, Productive Outlet

When we’re stuck in a negative mindset, we lose our creativity. Productivity goes out the window. That leads us to more frustration and dispair. 

We need to get out of the rut and do something productive to regain some self esteem and feel good. 

Try to make tasks fun. Think of Mary Poppins… she helped Jane and Michael clean the nursery by making it into a game. Granted, she used a little magic, but you can sing a tune or find another way to make chores fun.

I sometimes listen to an audiobook while I clean. It makes the task more fun while I listen to a book I enjoy. You could get more creative and pretend you’re in a movie and act out what the character would be doing. If nothing else, focus on a positive aspect of whatever chore you must do as you do it.

How to stop the SPIN Cycle

When you get stuck in the SPIN Cycle, you can find a way out by simply playing. Have fun. Clear your mind of the negative thoughts. Be around positive people. Do something nice for someone else. Think positive thoughts. 

Learn a few tips from Mary Poppins…

10 Secrets of Productivity

What can you do to be the most productive? Our top 10 secrets of productivity are found here! Make the most out of your time with these tips.

1. Choose the best time

There’s a time and a place for everything. We all know that. But choosing when you will do certain things is as important as choosing what you will do.

This is especially important for those with ADHD who have a limited time on medication.

If you plan to do your homework in the evening when your meds are out of your system, guess what? It will take longer. There will be more frustration. You’re more likely to make silly mistakes. Your handwriting may be less readable. You’re more likely to be tired and unable to recall things as easily.

It just isn’t the right time.

If you have a little extra time during class or between classes to get a few things done, use that time. Don’t waste it.

What can you do to be the most productive? Our top 10 secrets of productivity are found here! Make the most out of your time with these tips, such as choosing the right time.

2. Choose a good location

Many people presume the best place to study is a quiet, secluded place, but that isn’t always the case. If you’re more likely to daydream when you’re secluded, choose an area with others around.

If you’re the type of person that gets distracted by every little sound or movement, you might do better secluded. Or if there are others around, use earplugs to help drown out the sound.

Don’t use your bed for studying. You’re more likely to fall asleep before finishing. And more likely to end up with neck and back problems. 

If you like a tidy area and you have a cluttered desk, the clutter might be distracting. Take a few minutes to clear your space before you get to work.

What can you do to be the most productive? Our top 10 secrets of productivity are found here! Make the most out of your time with these tips, such as choosing the right location.

3. Grab a study buddy

If you have a study buddy or are in a public location, these can help you stay on task. Keep each other accountable.

Of course the buddy can get you off track if they start joking around, so make a pact to keep each other on task. If you see your buddy checking their phone, tell them to put it down. If they see you staring off into space, they can bring you back to the books.

What can you do to be the most productive? Our top 10 secrets of productivity are found here! Make the most out of your time with these tips. Would a study buddy help?

3. Sound control

Noises can be distracting.

Whether it’s a bird chirping outside that makes you look or if it’s a conversation at the next table in the library, there are distractions.

Use instrumental music to drown out these distractions. I don’t advise your favorite songs that will make you want to sing along… nothing that distracts you from whatever you’re doing.

Use earplugs if sounds in general drive you to distraction.

What can you do to be the most productive? Our top 10 secrets of productivity are found here! Make the most out of your time with these tips, such as sound control.

4. Find an aspect to like

We all have to do things we don’t like to do, but there can be at least one thing about it that you enjoy.

It might be hard to find, but look for it.

If you have to write a report on a book you hate, think of one aspect of the process that you like. Even if it’s the finished paper, there’s something good to focus on.

What can you do to be the most productive? Our top 10 secrets of productivity are found here! Make the most out of your time with these tips, such as finding something to look forward to.


5. Break up big tasks

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with big projects, so break them up into tasks that are more manageable.

The secret to this is that you need to schedule time to do each task. Don’t just do one task and forget the rest of the project – people with ADHD are famous for starting many things but finishing nothing!

This technique doesn’t work for everyone. If it’s hard for you to get motivated to start, it might be better to do everything in one big block. Once you get started, if you’re in the zone, stay in the zone. As long as you still have time to do the other things that need to get done that day. If you need to move on, move on. 

What can you do to be the most productive? Our top 10 secrets of productivity are found here! Make the most out of your time with these tips, such as breaking things up.


6. Fuel your body

Don’t forget to eat! Those with ADHD often don’t feel hungry due to medications, but it’s still important to eat at least small portions of nutritious foods.

There is a growing body of research that suggests a link between ADHD and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Magnesium, B-Vitamins (this links to B12, but there are links to other B vitamin pages at the bottom), Iron, Zinc and Copper are all implicated in how our brains work. Not enough of them can lead to symptoms found in ADHD. Read about where you can get these vitamins and minerals naturally. Try to eat a variety of foods with these vitamins and minerals.

What can you do to be the most productive? Our top 10 secrets of productivity are found here! Make the most out of your time with these tips, such as fueling your body.

When your stimulant leaves your system and you start to feel hungry, don’t grab chips or cookies. Eat real food. More and more evidence is showing that what we eat affects not just our physical health, but also our mood, attention, and overall mental health.

What can you do to be the most productive? Our top 10 secrets of productivity are found here! One important one is to make healthy choices.

7. If anxiety’s got you stuck…

For many of us, if we’re worried about an overwhelming project, it’s even harder to get started.

Just jump in.

You have to start somewhere. If you have to write a paper but are worrying about the final paper’s readability, content, and punctuation, you won’t be able to just start writing. Start by jotting down ideas. They don’t even have to be complete sentences. You can always go back and add to your comments to put them into coherent thoughts and make them grammatically correct.

For example, for this blog I first looked at my list of topics that I want to cover over time. After choosing productivity, I started by listing the headings/topics that I thought would help with productivity. I then added the explanations under each heading ~ many additions and changes were made along the way. I decided to make photos to go along with each section to make it easy for people who don’t like to read as a last minute thought. Along the way I changed things that needed to be improved. I finally proofread for what seems like the millionth time before posting. 

If you’re stuck getting started because you’re worried about the final product, take time to break big tasks into smaller ones. It’s daunting to do big projects, regardless of the project. Even things you want to do can be overwhelming. Find small things that you can do to work toward a final goal. Plus, it’s fun to check off things as they’re done!

What can you do to be the most productive? Our top 10 secrets of productivity are found here! Make the most out of your time with these tips, such as jumping in.

8. Sleep

We all need sleep.

Many people erroneously think that if they extend their day to 18 hours, they will get more done. The problem is that your body and brain need more than 6 hours of sleep.

If you only sleep 6 hours, everything you do will take a bit longer. You’ll make more mistakes. Things will be forgotten. There are many risks to sleep deprivation.

Make it a priority.

If you need tips on how to get better sleep, see How to get better sleep

What can you do to be the most productive? Our top 10 secrets of productivity are found here! Make the most out of your time with these tips, such as getting sleep.

9. Don’t aim for perfection

So often we get stuck because we want the finished product to be perfect. 

You know what? It can’t be perfect if it’s not done.

You just need to start. You can always fine-tune as you go, but the trick is to just start. 

Our top 10 secrets of productivity are found here! Make the most out of your time with these tips, such as not aiming for perfection.

10. Schedule everything

Taking a few minutes each day to plan ahead can save hours overall in mindless wandering. 

Each morning review everything on your calendar for the day. 

As you get new assignments or projects, add them into your planner. If it’s a big project that will need to be done over several days, schedule an appropriate amount of time between now and its due date. Waiting until the last minute increases anxiety, which can lead to problems focusing and getting started. 

Don’t forget to schedule the little things and the things you want to do. Add in your activities and exercise time so you know what time’s not available for other things. Set your bedtime as a priority so you get the sleep you need.

What can you do to be the most productive? Our top 10 secrets of productivity are found here! Start with a schedule!

Related blogs

Finish Tasks

“Yet” A little word with big potential

Why don’t teens get enough sleep?

Watch Out for Rejection Sensitivity

5 Self Confidence Boosters Part 5: Helping Others

How to Get at Growth Mindset

“Yet” A little word with big potential

Yet is such a little word, but it has huge potential. Learn how it can change your mindset and help you to be more reslilent.

We’ve all been frustrated when things get tough, but why do some people seem to trek on and succeed while others give up? They’re resilient. Many of them have learned the power of “yet.” Yet is a simple, but very powerful word. It gives people hope and a knowlege that they can. Even if they can’t do it now, they can one day. Understanding that you can will help you stay resilient. 

Resilience and grit to succeed

Resilience and grit are traits some seem to come by naturally. These traits help people succeed when things don’t go their way.

In fact, resilience and grit are linked to success more than intelligence.

Think about that for a minute. Sticking to things is more important than intelligence when it comes to success.

I’m sure you know some really smart people who haven’t made it very far in life because they just don’t keep trying.

And you probably know some average intelligence people who have really gone far in life. They succeed beyond expectation. These people have grit. They keep going when things get tough and don’t quit. 

The truth is, we can all learn to be more resilient. It can be hard, but possible. 

“I can’t…”

We hear people say, “I can’t do this,” all the time. Maybe it sounds more like, “I’m not good at driving,” or “I don’t understand this math.” Whatever the actual words, the outcome is the same.

These people are stuck in a fixed mindset. They won’t ever be able to do whatever it is if they have that mindset. 

Learn the power of “yet”

If you simply learn to say “yet” after you have the negative thinking above, it can help.

I can’t do this… yet.

I’m not good at driving… yet.

I don’t understand this math… yet.

Change "I can't" into "I can't yet" to see a big change in outcomes!
Change “I can’t” into “I can’t yet” to see a big change in outcomes!

A simple word changes it all, doesn’t it?

Learn to use “yet” in your daily life.

When you feel frustrated, try it.

If you feel overwhelmed, give it a shot.

When you’re challenged with new or difficult material, just say it.

Repeat it as necessary. Use it to give yourself momentum and an extra push.

See if it helps! What have you got to lose?

Related blogs

Resilience: What is it and how can I get it?

How To Get A Growth Mindset

5 Self Confidence Boosters Part 5: Helping Others

Watch Out for Rejection Sensitivity

5 Self Confidence Boosters Part 1: Stop the negativity

Why don’t teens get enough sleep?

Teens often do not get enough sleep. Most teens need 8.5-10 hours of sleep each night. Not 6 hours. Not even 8 hours. Most don’t get even close to meeting their needs and that’s a bigger deal than many realize. You don’t just “get used to” too little sleep. Sleep is very undervalued, but we need to prioritize it. Sleep deprived teens suffer from many physical and emotional problems. Add ADHD or anxiety into the mix, and it’s even worse!

This is part 1 of a 3 part sleep series. It will focus on what makes it hard to get enough sleep. Next up will be why it’s so important to get sleep, then the big topic of how to get more.

So… why don’t teens get enough sleep?

Body clock.

One of the most common reasons is that their biological clock (AKA circadian rhythm) makes it hard to fall asleep before 11 pm and school starts too early to allow them to sleep until 8 am, which would allow for a reasonable 9 hours. Nine hours are on the low end of sleep need for many adolescents. If teens are still growing, they will need even more!

Research shows that tween and teen sleep patterns are hormonally influenced. Your parents probably get frustrated with your late nights, thinking you’re in control of your bedtime, but you’re not. This isn’t an act of rebellion.

Research shows that the hormonal response to the 24-hour daily light/dark exposure that influences circadian rhythm is altered in the adolescent years. Adolescents physiologically stay awake later at night and therefore need to remain asleep later in the day.

It’s not your fault!

But sadly, it is your problem because you suffer the consequences.

Screens.

Melatonin is a hormone that is released from our pineal gland. We need it to feel tired. During the day the pineal is inactive. When the sun goes down and it gets dark, the pineal gland starts to produce melatonin. It’s released into the blood and helps us feel tired and sleep. Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated through the night until the light of a new day helps to lower the levels again.

The light from smart phones, tablets, and computers interferes with our natural melatonin rising. This keeps us from feeling tired and falling to sleep.

It’s best to limit screen use for at least an hour before bedtime. I know that for many teens this is difficult because they have to finish their homework at that time. Today’s teens need their computer or tablet to do homework.

If you have any time during the day to work on homework, do it. This is even more important for kids who take stimulant medicines for their ADHD. This medicine is out of your system close to bedtime, so it will be harder to sustain attention, making homework more frustrating and less efficient. Homework will take longer to do after medicine wears off, which decreases the time for sleep and fun activities.

If you can’t turn off the screen, at least use a program that limits the blue light that prevents the rise of melatonin. I personally use f.lux. It’s free and works on PC, Mac, ipad, android, and Linux. I find that it really helps. Try it!

Phones.

On a similar note, phones distract us all from what we’re doing, including getting to sleep. They also can wake us if we forget to put it on silent when we sleep.

Playing that one last game or checking Instagram one last time gives our brain a dopamine hit. Dopamine is a neurochemical known as the “reward molecule” that’s released after certain behaviors, such as eating, exercising or reaching a goal. While physical activity is most commonly linked to dopamine’s release, social media and online gaming are now shown to give a dopamine rush. This is why these behaviors are so addictive. It’s hard to stop the habit. One of the easiest ways is to just not use it except specific times of the day.

Take charge of your phone use ~

If you don’t want your parents restricting phone use, set your own reasonable limits.

Maybe check for messages before you leave for school after you’ve gotten ready. This can let you know of any needs or changes for the day.

Check messages again after school for the same reasons. Allow a 30 minute period to play a game or look at social media after homework is done. Then put it away and do something else.

It’s important to do things other than online games and social media. Find things to do that you enjoy. This article’s about sleep, but there are many negatives to spending too much time on screens. If you can’t limit yourself, talk to your parents or your doctor.

Indirect effects of phone use ~

It’s not just the direct issue of using our phone when it’s bedtime that interferes with sleep. There are indirect things as well.

It takes longer to finish homework when there are distractions from the phone. Putting your phone in another room when doing homework will help you finish more quickly, allowing you to get to other things more quickly.

Think of the extra time you can have to hang out with friends, getting exercise and getting to bed on time if you limit your screen time!

School starts too early.

Most school districts around the country start school well before the recommended 8:30 earliest start time.

School districts that have started later start times have shown improved test scores, fewer absences and tardies, less depression, improved athletic performance, and better graduation rates.

Unfortunately, those schools are still in the minority.

Activities are too late.

It’s not uncommon to have regularly scheduled activities too late in the evening. Many activities in my area are scheduled to run until 9:30 or 10 on school nights for middle and high school aged kids.

When kids finally get home, they’re hungry, need a shower, and are ramped up so not ready for sleep. It can be well past 11 pm when they finally hit the pillow, so they need be able to sleep until at least 8 am to sleep 9 hours, but school’s already started by that time. It’s impossible for them to get sufficient sleep. After school naps might help, but not if there’s not enough time to fit it in between homework and the activity.

There’s no easy solution for this other than reviewing what’s really important and cutting back on whatever can be cut back. This might mean one less activity. Or maybe not taking every AP class or working fewer hours. All of these are important, but sleep is more important to your health and well being.

It will also take the adults in the community to recognize the benefits of sleep. Studies support later school start times, but there are many reasons schools haven’t adopted these. If you’re a real go-getter, get active in later start times movements.

Activities start too early.

I know many kids who must be at school before school actually starts. Whether it’s band practice, church study groups, sports, or taking a missed test before school, they all interfere with sleeping in, which is what teens need.

Again, this will take the adults in the community to recognize the importance of adolescents getting enough sleep. And for most teens, this means sleeping in because that’s when they’re physiologically able to sleep.

Medical causes of sleep deprivation.

If you suspect any of the following conditions are affecting your sleep, you should work with your doctor. Even if you aren’t sure why you’re always tired, talk to your doctor.

  1. Anxiety – recurrent thoughts keep popping up
  2. Restless leg syndrome – if your legs just need to move when you lay down
  3. Sleep apnea – pausing of breath, often associated with snoring
  4. Medications that affect sleep cycles – stimulants are commonly used for ADHD and can affect sleep
  5. Heartburn or acid reflux
  6. Hormone imbalances, such as thyroid problems – you might sleep a lot but still feel tired and have other symptoms
  7. Anemia, or low red blood cell counts
  8. Depression – every teen should have a depression screen yearly, but if you think you might be depressed, talk to your doctor now!
  9. Nutrition – if you’re not eating enough, or eating foods that are not nutritious, you could feel more tired. If you eat foods that cause spikes in your blood sugar, as those sugars drop you feel fatigued.
  10. Infections – we all need more sleep when sick!
  11. Celiac disease – talk to your doctor if you have chronic abdominal issues, such as diarrhea, vomiting, pain, or weight loss
  12. Chronic pain conditions – if it hurts, you can’t get comfortable enough to sleep
  13. Chronic sleep deprivation – I know this is counter-intuitive, but being tired can make it harder to sleep.
  14. ADHD – that race car brain just won’t wind down!

What difference does it make?

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably not surprised that so many teens (and adults) don’t get enough sleep.

What difference does it make if we’re sleep deprived? It turns out, there are a lot of consequences. Some you may know, some you may be unaware are related to sleep deprivation. Tune in next week to learn why we care so much about sleep deprivation!

How To Get A Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is correlated with success more than intelligence is predictive of success. So how do you get this growth mindset?

Did you know your brain can learn to change the way it works? It doesn’t just learn the new information you study at school. Our brains are able to change and adapt. You can learn to use your brain to your benefit through developing a growth mindset.

What’s a growth mindset?

You're in charge of your mind. Carol Dweck

The concept of fixed and growth mindsets was introduced by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in 2007. Her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, discussed this new way of thinking about how we think.

Of course, Yoda knew this long ago…

Fixed Mindset

Per Dr. Dweck, people with a fixed mindset believe that people’s intelligence and abilities are static and outside their control. In contrast, those with a growth mindset know that intelligence is dynamic. We know that the brain is able to change based on experiences and efforts.

Some kids worry that they don’t have enough.

Not enough intelligence.

Or enough skill.

This is the fixed mindset.

Young Luke Skywalker was suffering from a fixed mindset. Yoda, the wise master, told him there is no try. He was pushing Luke to have a growth mindset.

Growth Mindset

Some kids grow up thinking that they can do anything if they just work hard at it.

They don’t worry if they’re smart enough or skilled enough.

These kids know that if they work hard, they have a chance. This is a growth mindset.

Who succeeds in life?

You know what? Studies show that intelligence doesn’t matter as much as grit.

People with a growth mindset have grit and resilience. They are more successful in life.

Even people who are very gifted intellectually can fail to succeed if they stop trying. They often start off in school finding that it’s easy, so they don’t need to learn study skills early on. When academics become challenging, they don’t know how to learn. They can easily get frustrated and give up if they’ve relied on being smart and lived with a fixed mindset.

Many people with ADHD develop a fixed mindset because they so often struggle with everything. They focus on getting a good outcome, but they fail to see the benefit to the process of trying. The good news is that they can learn to succeed if they change their mindset!

How can you get a growth mindset?

Okay, so it’s obvious that a growth mindset is better than a fixed mindset, but how do you get one?

Look at your way of thinking

When you face a challenge in daily life and you want to quit (or just not start), ask yourself what’s going on.

Really stop and think.

  • Is there a voice telling you that you can’t do it?
  • Does it say you’re not good enough?
  • Is the little voice telling you that it’s someone else’s fault?

This little voice is your fixed mindset.

A fixed mindset is when we believe our intelligence, attributes and abilities are fixed and unable to change.

If you listen to this little voice, you will stop before even trying.

This voice holds you back. It keeps you from achieving your goals and dreams. You’ll never know your full potential if you listen to it and quit.

Quitters never win. Winners never quit.

When we have a fixed mindset, we constantly feel the need to prove ourselves. It leaves us vulnerable and highly sensitive to being wrong or making a mistake. When we have this mindset, any failure or mistake destroys our self confidence. This leads to being anxious and keeps us from learning from constructive criticisms and mistakes.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

Choose to ignore that little voice

Once you recognize that the little nagging voice is your fixed mindset, you can learn to ignore it.

A growth mindset allows us to understand that our talents and abilities can be improved and developed.

Dreams don't work unless you do. John C Maxwell

If your fixed mindset voice is telling you that you can’t do it, think of how you can.

Is a big task overwhelming? Break it into several smaller task and get started on the first one. Small tasks seem manageable. And after doing one, you can move on to the next. Before you know it, the whole thing is done!

Instead of saying…

“I’m not very good at this.” or “This is too hard.”

Say…

“This is really hard for me. I need to keep practicing.”

Celebrate the hard work

Remember all the times you weren’t sure if you could do something, but you did it?

Even if it wasn’t perfect, you did it!

If you don’t even try, you can’t succeed.

How can you start whatever needs to be done? What tools do you need? Are there resources you can use? Is the size of the task intimidating? Can you break it down into smaller parts?

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. ~ Maya Angelou

Instead of thinking you’re not good enough, think about what you can do to be good enough.

Know that you are able to solve problems. You can grow from doing anything you set your mind to doing!

If you can dream it, you can do it. Walt Disney

Keep track of progress

Keep a notebook or electronic file of all the things your fixed mindset said were not possible to do but you were able to get them done.

Include your successes as well as the times you tried but didn’t quite meet your goal. They can be celebrated for the process of doing, even if the outcome wasn’t what you wanted.

“What can I learn from this? What will I do next time I’m in this situation?”~ Carol Dweck

You can learn a lot even when you don’t quite meet your goal. Think about what happened when you didn’t quite get what you wanted – usually it’s not that bad.

Be sure to not get lost in the goal itself, but the process of how you got there. There’s a lot of good learning that comes from the process.

Mistakes are always forgivable, if you have the courage to admit them. Bruce Lee

Maybe you didn’t get an A on that really hard project, but you learned something about the topic. Maybe you didn’t see it at the time, but you learned organizational skills or research tips from the process.

Sometimes the best teacher is a mistake – as long as you evaluate what happened and use it as a learning experience. You can take all the things you learned with you when you work on your next project.

Your best teacher is your last mistake. Ralph Nader

It’s the effort you put in to a project that helps you learn. The outcome if things work well or not really is less important. Focus on how you problem solve and your determination to continue, even when things are hard. That’s what helps you to strengthen your growth mindset.

Exercise your brain

Your brain is like a muscle: the more you use it, the better it gets. Each time you’re faced with the negative little voice of a fixed mindset, you need to challenge it with positive thinking.

The more you practice this, the easier it gets. It might never be your first line of thinking, but you can always choose to think with a growth mindset.

Want more?

I found this gem on Twitter. The artist has many more great images at @kwiens62 and Northstarpaths

Growth Mindset Self-talk. The artist, Kristin Wiens, has many more great images at @kwiens62 and Northstarpaths.

  

Growth versus fixed mindsets are explained in this short video from TedEd.

  

This is a FANTASTIC inspirational video.

Take the time to watch The Wisdom of a 3rd Grade Dropout.

  

The Power  of Grit

Resilience: What is it and how can I get it?

Resilience is the ability to handle hardships in life. People who are resilient are more capable of handling adversity than people who are not resilient. Life can throw us challenges at any given time, but have you wondered why some people seem to handle them easily while others seem to fall apart?

Resilience?

Resilient people are able to use their skills and strengths to handle whatever challenges come their way.

Bad grades. Death of a pet. Relationship break up. Late assignments.

All of these can make some teens get too frustrated to continue and just give up. Others might make excuses and blame others for the problems.

But not those with resilience. They are able to tackle these problems and find a way to turn things around.

That doesn’t mean they don’t get affected by the problems. They still feel angry, sad, anxious, or frustrated just like everyone else. But they can pick up the pieces and move forward.

They often use these as growing experiences and come out stronger than they were before.

What happens without resilience?

If people are not resilient, they might become overwhelmed and use poor coping mechanisms to face problems. These can be simply ineffective or they can be outright dangerous.

Examples of unhealthy or self destructive behaviors

Self-medicating with alcohol or other drugs to “feel better” is one such dangerous coping mechanism.

Cutting and other self harm methods are also serious risks when a person is not able to find appropriate coping skills.

Some teens just stop studying and give up on trying to get good grades.

Others might try to “get even” after a break up by spreading rumors.

Many are unable to accept responsibility for actions, so might blame the teacher for not teaching well enough instead of finding ways to learn the material.

You get the picture and can imagine how destructive some of these choices can be, right?

Don’t they worry?

People who are resilient are normal people.

They still have typical worries and stress. Problems still get them down and make them sad or angry. They get frustrated just like everyone else.

It’s how they handle the stress and challenges that sets them apart.

People with resilience look at the situation and problem solve. Instead of avoiding the problem (which may make it grow) they look for solutions. They don’t look for excuses, they look for ways to self improve or fix whatever is wrong. They pick up the pieces and move on.

Being resilient doesn’t mean they don’t get upset, it simply means they keep going.

How do you build resilience?
How do you build resilience?

How can we become resilient?

(Edited after our meeting to include things you can do.)

How to Get a Growth Mindset

Learn the power of “Yet”

Self Confidence Booster series (see the other posts linked within)

Celebrate ADHD

Watch out for Rejection Sensitivity

From the original version:

Some people seem to just naturally have the traits that make them resilient, but we can all learn resiliency. The first ADHDKCTeen event will be all about building resilience.

See the ADHDKCTeen Event Page for more information about the ADHDKCTeen event and RSVP here.

If you’re interested but can’t make it, go to the RSVP page – there’s a spot for you!

Both RSVPs will get you signed up for ADHDKCTeen member’s only benefits!

After each of our events we’ll post a summary and sometimes even a video of the night for our members to view. You must RSVP to have access to this members-only benefit!

Learn to build resilience at the September 2018 ADHDKCTeen meeting.
Learn how to build resilience at our first meeting. See you September 4th!

What You Need To Know Before Starting College

Moving out and starting your college career is exciting, scary, fantastic and intimidating all rolled into one. This is true for all teens, but especially those with learning differences or mental health issues. Many who have never had those issues can suddenly develop them during college. Leaving the comforts and safety net of home to be on your own and starting college can be very challenging. But not insurmountable.

The Risks

Based on surveys from the JED Foundation, it’s unlikely that you’ll make it through college without at least knowing one student who has a mental health disorder, has attempted suicide, abuses drugs or has experienced an unwanted sexual contact.

Scary statistics.

It’s not college that’s the problem. The risk is the age of developing independence. Believe it or not, these statistics are higher for young adults not enrolled in college.

Talk about these statistics with your parents, therapist, and/or physician. Plan what you’ll do if you or someone you know starts to struggle. Thankfully, colleges offer a lot of support for their students.

It’s a great idea to keep the suicide hotline in your phone to use in case of emergency. Whether you or a friend needs it, you don’t want to be out of a service area and unable to search for it. Put it in your contacts now.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Know your personal and family history – and share it.

Ask your parents about any family history of mental health, psychological problems, and learning differences. Many mental health issues tend to emerge in young adults, so if there is a family history, you will want to be aware of it.

Beware: your parents might not really know the history. Historically we have hidden these. People felt mental health problems weren’t real. Learning differences were simply not recognized. Or they were a sign of weakness. A source of embarrassment.

We now know that these are real issues. Sometimes life events lead to mental health problems. Often there is a genetic component to mental health and learning challenges. Sometimes there seems to be no rhyme nor reason to mental health issues, they just happen.

What we do know is that they’re real.

And they’re treatable.

They are not the fault of the person. Mental health issues are health issues and can and should be handled medically.

Learning differences do not make people stupid. They do make it harder to learn in a traditional classroom, but people with them can benefit from accommodations.

What if no one talks about it?

Sometimes we don’t know that a person struggled with a mental health issue, but we know they drank a lot of alcohol or became addicted to drugs.

Because mental health is not always properly treated, many people suffering will self medicate with drugs or alcohol. Being addicted to these is a strong indicator of some mental health issue.

Many very smart people do poorly in school. If people in your family seem to not achieve what they should based on their intelligence because they failed at school, think about learning challenges they might have faced.

Personal history matters too.

If you have a personal history of ADHD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, autism, or anything else, make sure you inform the university’s health center.

Your parents might be hesitant to provide this information because they worry that it will look “bad” — but colleges use this to help, not hinder you. It’s important that they are aware so they can help make sure you’re safe while you’re away from home and your parents can’t see you regularly.

Plan ahead.

If you have a history of anxiety or depression, touch base with the student mental health center to learn how to schedule with them when needed.

It is just too overwhelming to figure it out when you’re struggling, so do it when you get to campus – or sooner!

Continuing medicines.

If you are on medications for anxiety, depression, ADHD, or any other chronic issue, talk to your current prescriber to see how you can continue the medicine at school.

If you go to a school close to home, it might be possible to continue to schedule regular appointments with the same prescriber. Be sure to schedule in advance so you can coordinate appointments with your schedule.

If you go further away, you will have to really think about what will work best. If you are able to plan times to come home regularly, be sure to schedule appointments well in advance so you don’t miss the opportunity to go to your doctor.

If you aren’t coming home often or if your condition isn’t well managed and you need more frequent visits with your physician or therapist, finding a local provider is probably the best choice. This can often be done at the student health center, but may require a provider off campus.

You can also see if your therapist or physician can do telehealth visits. This can be difficult across state lines, but technology can help maintain the relationship you’ve built over the years!

Learning Differences

Learning differences, such as dyslexia, difficulty with working memory, challenges with processing speed, ADHD and autism spectrum disorder, can all benefit from official academic accommodations in college.

To be in compliance with Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), colleges must provide students with reasonable accommodations. These accommodations are not meant to make college easier, they are meant to level the playing field so that a student’s disability doesn’t impact their ability to learn and be successful.

Accommodations can help with college success!Common college accommodations are:
  • extended time on exams
  • being provided with written notes in class
  • separate testing locations
  • audiobooks
  • recorded lectures

How many kids have learning differences?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 11% of undergraduate students self-reported having a learning disability. Enrollment statistics show that 20.4 million students attended an American college or university in the fall of 2017. This means more than 200,000 students entering college have some type of learning disability.

200 THOUSAND students have some type of learning difference.

You’re not alone!

Studies show that only 17% of college students with learning differences take advantage of learning assistance resources at their school. This of course leads to academic struggles and a much higher dropout rate than for students without learning differences.

What can you do if you have a learning difference?

When researching prospective schools, students with learning differences should pay attention to how they offer support.

What do they offer in assistive technology? Do they allow the use of a scribe or note taker? What seating options are available? Do they allow students to go to a separate classroom for taking examinations with less distraction? Could you be eligible to receive extra time for exams? Some schools even offer oral exams if the student responds better to this type of testing.

You won’t know what’s available if you don’t ask!

Ask for help when you need it!

And you won’t get the help you need if you don’t apply for it.

These accommodations can be accessed through most college’s disability service offices for students with documented disabilities. Check out your prospective school’s website to see what they offer.

Fresh start!

There’s often a temptation to view starting college as a fresh start, which it is. But that doesn’t erase the past.

Some students want to quit their current treatment plans before starting college. This can really backfire.

Any big change, such as starting a new school (or job), moving, or living with new people, is stressful. With the start of college you have many of these big changes happening all at once.

It’s a really bad time to stop medicines or therapy.

Please continue with your current treatments until you’ve settled into things at school.

Once you’ve gotten used to the new routine, if you still think you’re ready to stop your treatment plan, talk to your providers. You can work with your physician or therapist to come up with a plan to stop treatments if you all agree that it is safe to do so.

If your doctor or therapist doesn’t think it’s a good idea: listen to them. They have seen this before. Use their experience to help you. Please.

Know your resources

Ask for help when needed!Colleges offer a lot to help support you, but they need to know your challenges and you need to know how to access services.

Most colleges offer mental health counseling at their health center. Don’t be afraid to use it. Learn what’s available and how to access it before you need it. Before you even move onto campus.

It’s too hard when you’re struggling to do the research.

As mentioned above, learning difference accommodations can be accessed through most college’s disability service offices for students with documented disabilities.

Start accepting responsibility before college

As you approach the end of your high school career, talk to your parents about how you can develop healthcare independence. You’ll need to learn how to make your own appointments, take your medicine (and get refills on time), and so much more!

It can take at least year of practice before starting college, so work with your parents and physician on a plan.

Recognizing is hard…

Many college students only go for help when someone else tells them to. If your friends and classmates recognize you struggling and tell you to get help — get help.

Really.

If you recognize that you’re struggling before anyone says something, even better! Get help.

I know that calling to make the appointment is hard. The first step always is. Once you make the appointment, it all gets easier.

It’s Life!

College is such an exciting time. You’ll learn a lot about your academic studies, sure. But you’ll learn even more about yourself and other people.

Learn to live happily and healthily.

That includes taking care of yourself!

What to know before starting college.