Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

Here we go again with Kate, an ADHD real-life mom who shares her amazing, funny, and true life stories with you.  Enjoy. 

Sigh…here we go again…

So yesterday was my big day. The principal asked me to present at a meeting training other teachers on a teaching method I use with my students.

It was my first time presenting at this school and I was looking to impress. Knowing how hard a time I have focusing, I over planned and practiced each word, each gesture until it was perfect.Kate_SM

The time came to speak. I was doing great – I looked the part, introduction went smooth…I was focused and determined – sure I was going to hit it out of the ballpark.

Then…two minutes into the presentation, a woman entered the room late. I glanced at her and noticed she closely resembled the lady from the movie “The Goonies”…you know…the one that makes “mouth” (Corey Feldman) drink the glass of dirty water? Pearls, beret…the whole works.

I lost my words and started to giggle. Train of thought left the track and was only on this woman from the movie. Presentation was now out of control. Words came out randomly. I couldn’t regain focus and stumbled my way through to the end.

From the confused look on everyone’s faces I knew that my impression had been made.



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Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

In this post Kate, an ADHD real-life mom, reminisces of times gone by. Share in her amazing, funny, and true life stories.  Enjoy.

I’ve been reminiscing, and I think my third grade teacher nailed it back in the late 70’s when she gave me the nickname “Fizzles”. She was so very frustrated with me because I had grand and fantastic ideas, but never followed through on any of them. I don’t know if she ever thought I had attention difficulties or if she spoke to my parents. If she did, they would have told her that I was just being lazy, or that I wasn’t very bright.Kate_SM

I sometimes imagine how different my life would be now, if someone back then had understood what I needed and reassured me that I was just as intelligent as my peers, but that my brain worked a bit differently…if someone had taught me how to focus and preplan way back then. I wonder how many of those grand and fantastic ideas I’ve had over the years could have become something big if I had learned to follow through on my intentions.

I am so jealous, yet happy for the kids these days who have people in their lives that understand the way their little brains work! May they all get the guidance they need and may their grand and fantastic ideas all come to fruition!



ADHD: Thanksgiving Travel

ADHD: Thanksgiving Travel
Tips and Tricks for the Adult ADHD Traveler

As we discussed in our previous blog: “This holiday period is one of the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year. Almost 90 percent of travelers will celebrate the holiday with a road trip” [1]

“Typically, ADHD adults love the excitement and adventure of travel. However, traveling requires planning and attention to details, which are challenging for adults with ADHD. Plus, if you are prone to overwhelm, anxiety and worry, then travel, can seem less of dream and more of nightmare.”[2]

Before even hitting the road, the ADHD adult has to endure the daunting task of packing. “Packing entails decisions, which come hard for ADHD adults, and packing a suitcase means decisions galore! ‘What outfit do I wear Saturday night?’ and ‘How much can I fit into my suitcase?’ are two of them. The typical approach for ADHD adults is to pack their entire wardrobe.”[3]

girl in the car on the passenger seatThe following tips were written by Dana Rayburn a Senior Certified ADHD Coach who helps high-functioning adults.[4] Here are four of her favorite packing tips:

1) MAKE A LIST. Type a standard list of necessary items for every kind of trip you take (I have a list for business trips, camping trips, ski trips, and family car trips.) Print out your lists and place each in a plastic paper protector in a small binder labeled Travel Lists, and put that binder some place conspicuous. I keep mine on the cookbook shelf in the kitchen.

Each time you pack for a trip, open the binder to the correct list. As you put each item in your suitcase, mark it off the list with a dry-erase marker.

2) PLAN YOUR OUTFITS BY THE DAY. If you’re going on a business trip, you’ll be traveling to your destination, going to your meeting, heading somewhere nice for dinner, and doing a little sightseeing before leaving Sunday morning. There’s no need to pack a full wardrobe for a three-day trip. Organize your outfit list like this:

> Friday (travel day): jeans, blue blouse, black sweater, sneakers.

> Saturday (business meeting): black slacks, green blouse, black flats, pearl necklace, and watch.

> Saturday evening (dinner): dress, paisley scarf, black pumps, teardrop earrings.

> Sunday (sightseeing and returning home): jeans, pink T-shirt, gray sweatshirt, sneakers.

3) USE THE “SMASH IT” TRICK. For stuff that doesn’t wrinkle — socks, underwear, and sweaters — stuff items in large Ziploc bags and smash the bags to squeeze the air out. The clothes will take up less space in the suitcase.

4) USE DRY-CLEANING BAGS AND HANGERS. This idea, which came from, can save you time. When you pack, keep clothes on their hangers. Next, cover them with dry-cleaning bags and do a simple fold-over in your suitcase. Not only is it painless to unpack (just hang up the item), but you won’t have to worry about wrinkled tops and pants.”[5]

Take to the Highway…

As we discussed, traveling requires planning and attention to details, which are challenging for adults with ADHD. “What makes you tense about traveling during the holidays? Planning is essential for stress-free travel, so address your concerns early. With a few precautions you can get to your destination without losing your good will toward man!”[6]

  • Don’t just endure the drive, enjoy it. A long car trip in holiday traffic doesn’t seem like much to get excited about. Try to adjust your attitude toward holiday travel, and make the drive a little more festive with some holiday music or a seasonal book-on-tape. If children are in the car, plan some fun, distracting activities.
  • Be prepared. Have a professional mechanic thoroughly examine your car before hitting the highway. Stash blankets, flares and a first-aid kit in the trunk, and consider keeping a mobile phone in the car in case of a breakdown or lengthy delay. Check that your membership in an automotive club providing emergency roadside assistance is up to date. Knowing that you’re ready for an emergency will decrease your stress level.
  • Be kind to your body. Avoid caffeine, drink plenty of water and eat balanced meals, even on the road. You will feel far better when you reach your destination if you take care of yourself along the way. Stop the car every few hours and stretch or jog in place for a few minutes. If you’re traveling with children, play a quick game of ‘Simon Says’ so that everyone gets a little exercise.” [7]

Play Attention has been shown to improve planning and organizational skills. Just what you need this holiday season! Play Attention integrates feedback technology with cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. This provides you with one complete program to teach all of the necessary skills one needs in order to be successful at home, school, and work. Play Attention is also portable and easy to take on the road with you! Attend one of our FREE Speed Webinars to learn more:

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ADHD: Thanksgiving Travel

ADHD: Thanksgiving Travel

Holiday Travel with Your ADHD Child

This holiday period is one of the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year. “Almost 90 percent of travelers will celebrate the holiday with a road trip” [1]

“Hitting the road with your child who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)/attention deficit disorder (ADD) can be quite a challenge. Children with ADD/ADHD are very routine-driven, and airports, long car rides, and strange hotel rooms can rock their sense of order. That can lead to tantrums, tears, and turmoil, making the journey harder for every family member.”[2]

“ADHD is a neurobiological disorder marked by inattention, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. These qualities can be both good and bad when it comes to family travel. ‘The upside of the travel is the novelty and excitement and the rewarding nature of the activity, but the downsides are lack of routine, potential for over-stimulation and a feeling of less control over behaviors,’ explained Andrew Adesman, MD, the chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York. So try to plan activities that relate to your child’s skills and interests. ‘If they are doing something they really enjoy, they do very well’.”[3]Family_Travel_SM

Play Attention helps develop and strengthen networks that are necessary for good attention. Play Attention integrates feedback technology with cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. This provides you with one complete program to teach all of the necessary skills one needs in order to be successful at home, school, and work.[4]

Play Attention is also portable and easy to take on the road with you!

The Long and Winding Road…

The following tips for travel with your ADHD child are not just informational but can be used as an educational tool as well.

  1. “Use a calendar to mark the day you will be leaving, the day you will be returning and where you will be in between. This can help your child keep track of the trip and create more structure around your travel.
  2. Provide a map with the route you will be taking. If traveling by car or train, mark the route you plan to take, circle things of interest along the way and approximate times you expect to be there.  If traveling by air, mark the beginning and end points and the times your flight is leaving and arriving. Let your child see what areas you will be flying over.
  3. Use your itinerary as a learning tool. Your child can do math to see how many miles you will be traveling and learn interesting facts about your destination.
  4. Talk to your child about the travel plans, let him or her feel involved, maybe by researching and suggesting one interesting place for you to visit along the way or near your final destination.
  5. Have your child help plan and gather items to help keep him or her entertained. Choose books, coloring books, puzzles, and hand-held games. Your child can help to pack a “travel entertainment” bag. Your child may be more interested knowing he or she helped to choose the items.
  6. If traveling by car, bring a ball, a Frisbee or another sports item that can provide a few minutes of activity and exercise during rest stops.
  7. Have a cassette recorder for your child to talk into to record the events of the ride or the trip. This can help if your child is one that talks non-stop. Instead of talking to you the entire trip, he or she can record a “diary” of their trip.
  8. Bring along cassettes of books or music for your child to listen to.
  9. If staying with relatives, ask for pictures of your relatives before you go. Talk to your child about who your relatives are and share some stories of each person with him or her. Your child may feel more comfortable if he or she has seen faces and knows something about the people he or she may be meeting.
  10. Explain your plans ahead of time. Will you be spending the night? Where will you sleep? Where will your child sleep? How long will you be staying? The more information you can provide, the more secure your child will feel during the trip.
  11. Create a memory book of the trip. Provide a scrapbook and allow your child to save mementos or write stories about your trip. Have your child (depending on the age) take pictures you can put into the scrapbook once you have returned home.”[5]

“Children with ADHD often times will become stressed and frustrated when they feel misunderstood or a lack of control over their lives. The parents should be there to answer any questions the child may have regarding the upcoming trip as well as give the child small responsibilities so he or she feels a sense of control and therefore comfort.”[6]

“With a little planning, strategic preparation and making sure your child feels included in the plans, traveling with a child who has ADD/ADHD can be a joy. Travel may become so much easier that you may schedule more family excursions — and make more lasting family memories.”[7]








Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

In this second post, we find out more about Kate, an ADHD real-life mom who shares her amazing,  funny, and true life stories with you.  Enjoy.

So in reflecting upon some of my more, shall we say… spectacular moments…

How about the time in my twenties when I showed up for teaching and realized I forgot shoes?

An hour commute… beautiful day… listening to the radio, singing along… I step out of my car thinking I look pretty darn good in my almost matching, rumpled sweater and skirt… then I look down and… yup, you guessed it… no shoes.

Yikes! It’s 7:45 a.m and work begins at 8… no time to run home, no stores open, no time to spare… no shoes! What do you do? You shrug your shoulders and go to work with no shoes on and hope no one will notice. Which of course, they do.Kate_SM

Should I have learned my lesson from this embarrassing moment? Absolutely. Should I have filed away the memory and used it to always remember shoes in the morning? Yes.
Did I? Of course not.
I’m 44 now and a mother of three. The other day I got home from work, kicked off my heels, gave my daughter a snack and drove her to indoor lacrosse practice. Again, no shoes upon arrival. Sigh…Indoor lacrosse is played at a dirty,gum-stuck-to-the-floor kind of arena. Parents have to sign in their kids,so I took a deep breath, walked across the parking lot barefoot in my suit jacket and skirt, and hoped no one would notice. Well…it’s not really barefoot weather, so when I ran in to a group of mothers whom I had hoped to strike up a friendship with, of course they noticed right away. I laughed and tried to make light of my forgotten shoes. From their weak,embarrassed half-smiles, I could tell they all thought I was a complete wreck. Embarrassed myself AND my daughter.
All I could think was, “What’s wrong with me?” and “How do other people make it look so easy?”
Is there no one else who forgets their shoes from time to time?
Now I have learned that I should keep an extra pair of the shoes in the car. Do I do it? No… but I think about doing it sometimes.Then I get thinking about something else important like if baked beans are healthy or not, or why McDonald’s doesn’t serve hot dogs, and I totally forget about the shoe idea.


ADHD: Thanksgiving Break

ADHD: Thanksgiving Break

How to Keep Routines on Track during the Holidays

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, where did time fly? During this holiday families spend time traveling, spend time away from home, and subject their ADHD child to new social and household environments. The change of regular schedules will many times aggravate ADHD symptoms in your child.

“The most important thing to do is to keep routine and structure in your child’s life, despite the excitement of Thanksgiving festivities. A large survey found that 98% of parents of ADHD children found having a structure in their child’s life (at emotional, behavioral and social levels) to be beneficial, yet only 13% said they kept a routine all year.

Family get togethers, shopping in crowded places, and trips to new places are all common during Thanksgiving, and these changes can affect a child with ADHD, who already has troubles adapting to new situations and socializing.

Multi Generation Family Celebrating Thanksgiving

There will be inevitable changes in the environment during Thanksgiving, but you can make them easier on your child.”[1]

Here are some very helpful tips for parents to keep the bird from flying the coup!

Interrupted Routines

‘Stick to your child’s routines as much as possible. Try to arrange travel or guest schedules so that he eats and sleeps when he usually does. And prepare your child in advance for any disruptions you foresee. Give him an overview of what will be happening beforehand, and then remind him at each stage what’s coming next.

The Waiting Game

When the whole holiday is centered on a single meal, the hours beforehand can feel like eternity for children with attention issues. Before Thanksgiving, enlist relatives’ help to line up some morning activities. Could a grandparent or uncle take your child to the park? Might some older cousins set up a family game for the younger kids? Let the kids know in advance what’ll be happening when. This way dinner won’t be the only thing for them to look forward to.

Company Commotion

Whether you’re home or away, find your child an “out” spot. Agree on a place where he can go for a set period of time to be alone and listen to headphones, play a game on his phone, or read.”

Let Play Attention help you teach your child to be attentive, focused and less distracted by the hustle bustle of the holiday season. To learn more, peruse our website and check out our cognitive games:[2]

Preoccupied Parents

“First, try to get as much as possible done before Thanksgiving Day. Make what you can in advance, buy the pies, go potluck for side dishes. That way, you can set aside time to check in periodically with your child. And delegate. Is there a relative who’d be happy to oversee your child for the morning? Give him coloring books, art supplies, puzzles or a new DVD so he can keep your child occupied while you’re busy.

Taking Turns Talking

Before Thanksgiving, role-play appropriate ways your child might start, join and end conversations with guests. Consider coming up with a code phrase or signal you can use to clue him in if he starts taking over the conversation.

Sitting Still Through the Long Dinner

Relax your expectations. Thanksgiving isn’t the day to expect perfect behavior, so seat him at the kids’ table. He’ll do best with some parameters, such as not interrupting the adults. But let him wander between courses. If he’s a teen, see if he wants to be “in charge” of keeping dinner fun for the younger guests.”[3]

In conclusion, “make it a real thanksgiving – start small and go slowly. The holiday season is a whole season, not just one or two big days that call for huge efforts and loads of people. The point is to think small and meaningful – not big and traditional and overwhelming. Think about how to teach your child the meaning of giving and getting pleasure and enjoyment. Find little ways to connect them with others and to show they care – that’s the true meaning of the holidays.”[4]







ADHD: Daylight Savings Time and Your Child

ADHD: Daylight Savings Time and Your Child

The Effect on Our Child’s ‘Circadian Rhythm’

As with many ADHD adults, many of our ADHD children also experience a disruption in their ‘circadian rhythm’ or ‘sleep’, due to the change in daylight savings time.

“It should be noted that children and adults behave differently as a result of sleepiness. Adults usually become sluggish when tired while children tend to overcompensate and speed up. For this reason, sleep deprivation is sometimes confused with ADHD in children. Children may also be moody, emotionally explosive, and/or aggressive as a result of sleepiness. In a study[1] involving 2,463 children aged 6-15, children with sleep problems were more likely to be inattentive, hyperactive, impulsive, and display oppositional behaviors.”[2]

Play Attention integrates feedback technology with cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. You may learn more about Play Attention at one of our upcoming Speed Webinars. At the webinar you will learn how Play Attention can help you and your child develop focus, attention and coping skills that will last a lifetime.

“ADHD is linked with a variety of sleep problems. For example, one recent study[3] found that children with ADHD had higher rates of daytime sleepiness than children without ADHD. Another study[4] found that 50% of children with ADHD had signs of sleep disordered breathing, compared to only 22% of children without ADHD. Research also suggests[5] that ’restless legs syndrome’[6]and periodic leg movement syndrome are also common in children with ADHD.”[7]

Parent Tips for Daylight Savings Time (DST)

“Many people are affected when the clock springs forward or falls back every year. However, kids with ADHD, learning differences or behavioral disorders, particularly those just about to enter or who are already in the puberty years, often suffer more than others. These daylight saving tips for parents may help when your child is struggling to sleep.

Keep to Regular Routines

When you’re coping with your child with ADHD and time change at the same time, it’s even more important that you keep to regular bedtime and morning routines. If your child eats, has a shower and reads before going to sleep, make sure that pattern is strictly followed during the days before and after DST. The same applies in the morning. Showering, getting dressed and eating breakfast should happen in the same order as it normally does.

Avoid Mental Stimulation Before Bedtime

For many children with ADHD and related conditions, the evening is the time when they are most mentally alert. This is usually fine during weekends, when kids can stay up later if their parents agree, but during the two weeks before and after the daylight saving time change when time springs forward, it’s not advisable to let kids be too busy before bedtime. One way to make sure this happens is to avoid rowdy games, exciting TV programs, electronic devices and any other activities that may energize your child.

Block the Light

Whether it’s spring forward or fall back time, light either at bedtime or on waking can be a problem for kids with learning differences. Blackout shades may help to encourage sleep in the evening and prevent too early waking in the morning.

Communication is key when you’re managing time change and behavior in kids with ADHD and processing disorder. Explain to them as simply as possible why you’re putting them to bed a little earlier or later each night, and be patient with cranky, tired behavior for the week or so after DST.”[8]












Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

Play Attention welcomes Kate, an ADHD mother, teacher, wife, and friend who’s willing to share her life with us. You’ll find she’s funny, insightful, warm, amazing, and doesn’t want to feel alone on this journey. Enjoy her true tales of life and know that we’re all in this together.

People talk about “living in the moment”…Well, I have very literally done that ALL of my life. No preplanning, little to no thinking about consequences, no thought given to anything but was what happening RIGHT NOW. People say this is a good thing…”Live in the moment! Stop and smell the roses!” Well, I have and I did. I stopped and smelled every single rose along the way.

Sometimes this was a good thing…I’ve had a lot of fun without much worry.  I’ve jumped from rooftop to rooftop, (yes…I really have) I’ve gone on grand adventures on a whim without thought to cost or time off work and I’ve been places most people wouldn’t think of going (when you see a random ladder…do you climb up it to see where it leads? I do! Every darn time!)  I have stood in hurricanes, jumped off cliffs and taken every dare ever given to me.

But I’ve also been fired from jobs, gotten lost in the middle of the ocean in a dinghy whose motor died, eaten dry pasta out of the box for a month straight and have been arrested for shoplifting because I forgot to pay (really… I did just forget).  I’ve gotten multiple speeding tickets because of daydreaming, come home from vacations barefoot because I had lost my shoes, missed important meetings for my kids at school, and alienated all of my family at one point or another with my “thoughtlessness” and my constant interrupting. (They don’t understand…my thoughts won’t wait, and I will lose them if I can’t get them out!)

I turned 44 in October and just recently realized that I could use the restroom BEFORE I felt the need to go. Really. This blew my mind. You don’t even know how much this has little bit of preplanning that others take for granted has changed my life!

I’ve been conditioned to believe everything I’ve done has been out of stupidity. I’m the running joke among family and friends. But recently I’ve started to allow myself to think that maybe there is something more. Maybe I have an attention difficulty. Maybe I’m not dumb. Maybe I just have to work a little harder to focus and preplan.

Sometimes I wonder if there are people like me.  People that struggle every day with minor things that others make look easy. Things like… getting dressed in the morning.  Does anyone else just put on the first thing they see, regardless of the weather forecast, the cleanliness of the item, or if it matches?  Does anyone else get home after work at 5:00 and have to go the grocery store EVERY night for dinner because they don’t think ahead to go once on Sunday and preplan dinners for the week? I hope so. And I hope they are able to share some tips with me on how to improve my current lifestyle. Carefree is not always care free.