Pat is a mother of two awesome young men in their 20’s (both with alphabet soup diagnoses including ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder) and is a cat person. With Masters of Counseling Psychology and Social Work, she works in an agency that supports (in-home) parents who have a developmental or cognitive disability/impairment in building and maintaining parenting skills. She is also an adjunct facilitator in the Human Services program at Columbia College in an accelerated learning program. Hobbies include reading, writing poetry, and she hopes to one day publish strategy based ‘picture books’ for adults, using photos taken by her family. Click here to learn more about Patricia.
Here is one of Pat’s parenting strategies to help when your little one is a mover:
A) “Stay Still Place.” A hands-on visual strategy where a special pad is used as a “stay still place”. Praise the child often during a change time in order to reinforce staying still and give meaning to the word “still”. Praise the child even if he or she is able to stay still for a short time and state when child has stayed still enough for a longer period than before. If more than one pad is available, a toddler or older infant may be given the choice of which one will be the ‘stay still’ place this time.
B) Portable “special spot.” Staying in one spot is a major achievement and is not easy to master. A visual cue such as a towel, pad, small blanket that can easily be transported in a purse or “special spot bag” serves as a marker for the child (toddler, preschooler, etc.) to stay. Use positive phrasing such as “stand on your spot” rather than “don’t move” to inform the child ‘what to do’ rather than ‘what not to do’. Child can help make the ‘spot’ his or her own by decorating it before it is used. Suggestion: Use an identifying symbol such as an animal or a color rather than the child’s name on the item used as spot. As a parent with characteristics of ADD, I can become distracted and a ‘special spot’ could be a routine part of a shopping trip or other activity. I can also function better with less stimulation so focusing on the special spot could help screen out colors and items around me and decrease anxiety about my child’s safety and whereabouts.
The following Guest Blog was written by Carlene Bauwens, a contributor to the ADHD Awareness Book Project: Wacky Ways to Succeed with ADHD.
You have the best of intentions. You try. You don’t know what keeps getting in your way. You just can’t do it. You feel like a failure. So you tell yourself you are a failure.
Negative self-talk sabotages your thoughts and your day. When you have ADHD your mind churns with fatigue, useless chatter, sending you into a tailspin.
Tuning in to your own inner chatter is the first step towards changing your mindset. Shifting to the positive has surprising benefits.
Quite interesting for ADDer’s, positivity sends out more dopamine – the neurotransmitter that is either sluggish or sparse in the ADHD brain.
Positivity is literally, a natural dopamine booster!
According to a study conducted by scientist, Thomas Joiner who studies mood disorders, people who enjoy more positivity in their lives are more able to cope with adversity in an open-minded way.
Letting go of the negative allows more solutions and possibilities to bubble up.
The thoughts you think actually affect the action you take. Holy Moly!
You’ve heard this before, “Just be more positive.”
“The Emoji Technique” gives you 3 simple steps to start shifting your mindset to the positive.
Here’s why “The Emoji Technique” works so well.
Specifically, the “face emoticon” emoji’s have the same positive effects on our emotions as when we look at a real human smiley face.
Emoji’s are cartoons. They are not well designed to convey meanness.
According to New York Magazine, 74% of people in the U.S. use emoji in messages.
They allow us to communicate without saying anything, saving us from spelling out any actual sentiments.
Emoji’s default is sincerity, a sincerity that is self-aware. When we send an emoji we are telling someone what we are feeling – naming an emotion, one that is generated by our thoughts.
We choose our emoji’s based on our awareness of our emotions and thoughts.
If we picture the emoji we would send in any given moment, then we are consciously choosing our thoughts and emotions.
Connecting with others even through emoji builds positivity.
The first step of “The Emoji Technique” is to
Notice Your Thoughts.
Your Action Item:
Every time you notice your thoughts, text yourself the emoji (or emotion) the thought resulted in. If you can remember the thought add that to your text too.
Sample Text: (Thought) I’ll never get this done. (Emoji)
At the end of the day, look at your emoji’s.
Were most of your emoji’s or emotions negative or positive?
You can do this exercise for several days. The more you do it, the more you’ll notice when your thoughts are dragging you down.
For instance, you hear your negative chatter of things like,
- “I got nothing done today.”
- “I’m not smart enough to get that promotion.”
- “I didn’t deserve to win that award.”
Use the power to choose your thoughts for good or bad. You hold the key to turning positivity on and off for yourself. You can choose to choose your thoughts or you can let your thoughts choose you.
Positivity doesn’t happen overnight. Use the 3 simple steps in “The Emoji Technique” to help you build your positivity muscle. The more you work it, the stronger it gets.
Enjoy your free copy of “The Emoji Technique” by clicking here.
Carlene Bauwens, ADHD Coach and parent, partners with those living with ADD/ADHD who want to make changes to start living confidently on their own terms.
I think my dentist is on to me. Over the past year I have noticed an increase in their efforts to remind me of my appointments.
In the good old days I would get a postcard two weeks before the appointment reminding me of the day and time. I really appreciated this as most of my dentist appointments were made six months out when I actually had no idea of what I would be doing at that time. Next came the reminder phone calls about two days before. More recently this has progressed to also include several email messages and a text that asks me to hit reply to confirm I will be there.
All good as far as I am concerned and having a business myself that struggles to find ways to remind clients of appointments, I have to appreciate their persistence. Which got me thinking about all the other polite, conscientious people out there who would never purposefully miss an appointment (in other words most people I know with ADHD)…only to read a text or pick up a ringing phone to hear that they are an hour late to their 2 o’clock dental cleaning.
So if you, like other people with ADHD, find you are nervous to show your face at your dentist or doctor’s office, in case you might have been put on their “naughty list” and charged “missed” fees for all those forgotten appointments, here are a few hints to help you make, remember and actually get to your appointments.
Why is it so hard to keep appointments?
The thing is, making and actually getting to appointments tops the list of challenges for many people with ADHD. In fact, it ranks right up there with such ADHD challenges as procrastination, staying organized and handling paperwork.
Hallmark challenges of ADHD are forgetfulness, lack of time awareness, trouble planning and distractibility. Therefore, making appointments and then forgetting to keep them just comes somewhat naturally to someone with ADHD.
More than putting it on the calendar
It would seem that keeping an appointment simply involves making it. The truth is far from that. Making and keeping appointments involves a multi-step system that has the potential of breaking down at any point. Think about it. The first step is only scheduling the appointment.
Make the appointment and record it in your planning system
Are you still with me? For many, the appointment is made, but not recorded which lowers the chances of actually getting to the appointment to about 25%. It is really this missed second step that undermines most people’s chances of ever getting to the appointment. Despite our sincere intent to remember to write it in our planner later by telling ourselves we won’t forget it, innate challenges with memory and ADHD don’t make it easy.
Do this to remember to make them
Get in the habit of recording your appointments when you schedule them. This could be writing it in your planner or typing it into your smart phone. Or, create a text or take a picture of the appointment card that the receptionist gives you and send it to yourself. Also, you might also ask if they can give you a reminder call. Most places are happy to do that, especially if you have missed one or more appointments in the past. Do not leave the office without doing at least one of these!
If you made and recorded the appointment, congratulations, you now have about a 50/50 chance of showing up at the right day and time. But because of natural challenges, we may not remember to check our calendar for that appointment. So the next important step is to also set a reminder on the day of the appointment.
Do this to remember to keep them
Set a reminder (preferably several) for the day of the appointment right then. Try using the numerous alarms and timers on your iPhone or watch. To make this even more effective, try using a unique alarm to remind you of appointments and set it to remind you a week before, day before, day of and one hour before the appointment to go off. If you want to increase your chances of making that appointment to 75% make use of the vibration alarm as well!
You’re almost there…you have made the appointment, recorded it, set alarms to remind you, but there’s still another step – getting there on time.
Do this to make the appointment in a timely manner
Estimate before hand how long it will take you to get to that appointment. Factor in such things as getting out of the house, traffic, parking and even slow elevators. When you have estimated how long it will take, multiply that times two. Yes, times two. It is more common to underestimate how long it will take to get somewhere and this way takes out the guesswork. If you are worried about being bored if you arrive too early, take a book or something else to keep yourself busy. Or, like I do, sit back and enjoy catching up on all those gossip magazines that you never have time to read!
The idea of making and keeping appointments may seem to be a trivial matter to most people, but for someone with ADHD, it can be a real problem. Missing an appointment can also be the beginning of a downward spiral that eventually leads to chaos, overwhelm and not taking care of ourselves. It is a solvable problem, however, as long as you put a few habits and systems into place.
What are some of your experiences or best ways to make and keep appointments? I’d love to hear them.