Welcome to the

Thriving with ADHD Newsletter


APRIL 2, 2018

Dear Friends,

The 2018 Thriving with ADHD Symposium is shaping up to be bigger and better than last year’s. We now have over a dozen speakers lined up–so many, in fact, that we are featuring not one, but four of them in this issue’s newsletter!

This month, we are celebrating warmer Spring weather and longer days with the help of professional organizer and Thriving presenter, Deborah Smith. She has tips and tricks specially designed to help those of us with ADHD to conquer the beast of clutter in our homes.

We are also proud to introduce our 2018 Keynote Speaker, Laurie Dupar, who offered break-out sessions at the 2017 Symposium. This year, she’ll be exploring the many strengths of ADHD.

Fitness expert Doug Barsanti, who will be leading Symposium sessions on Exercise as ADHD Medication, explores the connection between physical fitness and mental fitness.

And AddyTeen Blogger and Coach Grace Friedman shares what motivated her to write a book and build a website at the age of 15, and what continues to motivate her today.

Enjoy! And, as always, please let us know if you have any ideas you’d like us to explore, either in the newsletter or at the Symposium in October.


Judy Brenis and Hannah Jones

Conquering Clutter with Deborah Smith

Deborah Smith, owner  of BeDeCluttered, which serves clients in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara counties, reports a surge of interest in her professional organizing services in the Spring. “It’s warmer and sunnier, and people are motivated to create clean, fresh, new looks for their homes.” But having ADHD can make the decluttering process challenging to initiate and to sustain. Here are some tips and tricks, tailored to clients with ADHD, to stay ahead of the mess.

  1. Martha Stewart strategies don’t work for those of us with ADHD! Books or magazines that sell the fantasy of a perfect home can keep us from even getting started. 
  2. Set small goals with real deadlines. Instead of promising, “I’m going to declutter the whole house,” say, “By 5:00 next Tuesday, I will organize my bedroom.” 
  3. Break big projects into small chunks. For example, cover the laundry pile with a sheet. Then lift one corner and take care of the laundry you see. Little by little, uncover the rest of the pile and deal with it as you are able. 
  4. Set timers to stay motivated. Start with just fifteen minutes, and focus on one small area–the sock drawer or a nightstand, for example. If you feel like continuing after fifteen minutes, set the timer for another ten.
  5. If clutter tends to collect on a surface, such as the dining room table or a night stand, clear that surface and decorate it. You can set the table with your best china, or place a vase of flowers and a lamp on the nightstand. 
  6. Keep a clutter drawer in every room. Every day, take a few minutes to put all clutter from a room into its drawer. If you don’t have a drawer, use a basket. When the drawer is full, go through just that one drawer and toss what you don’t need. Return items that don’t belong in that room to their rightful place.
  7. Put a cabinet or bin next to the door. Drop items there that you need to take with you when you leave the house–keys, grocery bags, jackets, etc. 
  8. Put like with like. For example, place everything you need to wrap gifts–paper, tape, scissors, a selection of cards, etc–into a bin. When you’re done wrapping, put everything back into the bin. 
  9. Find an accountability partner–a coach, family member, or friend, who will help you to stay motivated and hold you accountable. A weekly fifteen-minute check in can make a huge difference. It’s also great if your partner can sit with you while you work and be a “body double.”
  10. Create a points system for your top priority tasks–emptying the dishwasher as soon as it’s done, going through the mail, etc. When you’ve earned ten points, treat yourself to a manicure or a special coffee drink. Choose self-care experiences, rather than things, which can just add to the clutter.  

Introducing Keynote Speaker Laurie Dupar

Laurie Dupar, psychiatric nurse practitioner, Senior Certified ADHD Life Coach, Mentor, and Trainer, will be this year’s 2018 Thriving With ADHD Symposium’s keynote speaker. Laurie has spent a lifetime living with ADHD . . . professionally and personally, and is an expert in the neurobiology and treatment of ADHD. She offers a specialized perspective rooted in an understanding of how the unique ADHD brain works and a deep appreciation for the gifts that come along with it. She is the founder and director of the International ADHD Coach Training Center (IACT Center), as well as co-author and editor of The ADHD Awareness Book Project: 365 ways to succeed with ADHD.Keynote Speech: The Positive Qualities of ADHD

Learning about the negative impact of ADHD is easy! But what about the positive qualities of ADHD, such as creative problem solving, hyperfocus and sense of humor! If you’re tired of hearing only the symptoms and instead want to know secrets to success, this is the conversation for you. Learn about the other side of ADHD and discover the strengths and gifts that come with having this particular brain style.

 What Is The Best Thing About My Job:

I love the fact that I get to spend my day with people who have ADHD. They are intelligent, creative, fun. I also love helping those with ADHD begin to see themselves as I do. Sometimes they have spent their whole lives never seeing themselves in that way, never understanding themselves, or feeling good about themselves.

What Advice Would you give an adult newly diagnosed with ADHD:

For the adult that has just been diagnosed with ADHD and never knew what they struggled with, never knew why they felt broken, I would tell them to go find out as much as they can about ADHD. I would tell them to find some really great professionals to work with that can help them put the pieces of their life back together in a way that works for them.

What would you tell young people who are afraid that an ADHD diagnosis will prevent them from accomplishing their dreams:

ADHD is never a reason to NOT do what you want in your life. In fact, it is probably the reason you CAN do what you are most passionate about and do it really, really well. You will find you do things differently, but that’s okay and you can reach and achieve any goal you want in your life!

Exercise Is ADHD Medication:

An Interview with Doug Barsanti

Doug Barsanti, of Reinvention Fitness, has a Masters of Kinesiology and has worked in the fitness industry for more than 10 years. Currently he is a personal trainer at Toadal Fitness and leads core training and running/walking mechanics at Fleet Feet Sports in Aptos.During his fitness career, Doug has designed Cross Training and Fit For Life programs at Precision Wellness Center in Santa Cruz, worked in Cardiac/Pulmonary Rehab at Dominican Hospital and CHOMP, developed a fitness and injury prevention program for Santa Cruz City Fire Dept., served as an adjunct Kinesiology instructor at Cabrillo College, and is a contributor to Women’s Health, Shape and Men’s Journal magazines.

Best Thing About My Job: Helping people who are tired of their aches and pains get stronger, feel younger, and achieve a level of fitness they didn’t know was still possible. My mantra is Train Smarter, Not Harder. I work with people with a wide range of abilities to develop better strength, control, and endurance without pain. My clients want to get more fit so they can enjoy their favorite activities or sports without limitations for years to come. Teaching them how to do that brings me great joy.

Overview of My Thriving With ADHD Session:

Exercise is ADHD Medication

Physical movement improves mental focus, memory, and cognitive flexibility. New research shows just how critical it is to academic performance as well. We will also discuss how focusing on one exercise and/or skill at a time helps cultivate mindfulness that a person with ADHD can apply to every moment of their lives. Research is finding that getting regular fitness can improve thinking ability, and it may improve symptoms of adult ADHD as well. Exercise can help keep the brain in better shape as well as the body. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called neurotransmitters, including dopamine, which help with attention and clear thinking. People with ADHD often have less dopamine than usual in their brain, and therefore it makes sense that a workout that increases dopamine will improve their focus!


An AddyTeen Grows Up: What’s Next for Thriving With ADHD Presenter Grace Friedman

Author, public speaker and blogger Grace Friedman is the leading youth advocate for young people with ADHD and learning disabilities. Her first e-book, Embracing Your ADHD was published when Grace was just 15 years old and has been read by tens of thousands of people worldwide. Her website www.addyteen.com, also used worldwide, reflects Grace’s mission is to spark a conversation among young people with ADHD and LDs who often feel shame and stigma about their condition.

Grace recently graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a BA in Psychology and Communications. Her academic research centers on reducing the prevalent stigma around ADHD and learning differences in academic and social settings, self- advocacy and learning strategies for students at school and at home, as well as family communication and support for children with learning challenges.

In addition to her academic pursuits, Grace blogs on the Huffington Post and has also been featured on television and in the press. She conducts workshops designed for parents raising children with ADHD, and coaches young people with ADHD. Grace is currently writing her second book, Winning with ADHD, with pediatric neurologist Sarah Cheyette.

Learning about her own learning challenges at a young age, Grace has spent years identifying her strengths and weaknesses in the classroom, household, and in friendships. Seeking peer-based help and guidance, but finding none, Grace drew on her personal experiences and those of many others with similar challenges to develop coping and management strategies to improve her performance at school and work.

These strategies and process-tools promote and encourage self-advocacy, self-reliance, self-management and self-care. Grace’ strategies and methods, derived from research and personal experience, help kids and young adults find pragmatic approaches to common challenges often found in the classroom, household, and in friendships.

Grace has spent over two years conducting a peer mentoring program – both independently and at her university – for young people with ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning related challenges. Individually and in groups, Grace works through “Plays” that provide clients practical approaches for tackling challenging issues that emphasis practice, diligence, organization and self advocacy.

What inspired you to create the ADDYTeen website?

I thought it was important to create an identity for young people with ADHD. I created the moniker AddyTeen to connect those two ideas: ADD and Teens Using the Latin “y” which means ”and” and to make the moniker playful and not shameful.

It’s been my hope that the site can be used by young people with learning issues and ADHD from all around the world to find assistance and share ideas. The site is going to undergo an upgrade as we plan to add additional video materials released in conjunction with my new book, Winning with ADHD,  which will be released late 2018 or 2019.

Copyright © 2018 Thriving With ADHD Symposium, All rights reserved.

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