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The ADDA Conference: Making Connections

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I just returned from the 13th ADDA Conference (http://www.add.org) called Adult ADHD: People, Purpose and Passion, and what a blast!

For adults with ADHD, this conference provides access to resource people (experts in numerous fields) and resources such as books, programs, and tools. Access to information through the numerous breakout sessions and motivation from the keynote speakers is unequalled anywhere, and it’s also a chance to see many different models for how to live with ADHD successfully.

At the same time, while the keynote speeches by Drs. Ned Hallowell, John Ratey and Sari Solden were definitely worth the investment and travel, they aren’t the most valuable treasures you get from attending such an event. As an adult with ADHD, you likely spend a lot of energy trying to meet “neuro-typicals” expectations. Trying not to ruffle feathers and dodging the proverbial bullet is stressful, exhausting and fraught with pitfalls.

Now imagine yourself with in a room 400 other ADHDers (hopefully more next year). They accept as you are, providing the opportunity to connect with others who deal with many of the same issues as you… most of them caused by trying to make the 90% of the population who don’t have ADHD happy! Even people who came to the conference alone left having forged connections with other ADHDers who accept and understand them. This is perhaps the most rewarding part of the ADDA conference experience: connecting with others who “get you.” Perfect strangers came together and shared their experiences as ADHDers without fear of ridicule or making a “faux pas.”

So often ADHDers avoid connecting with others fearing judgment (often with good reason). It’s simply too stressful to worry about doing something socially unacceptable. However, Dr. Hallowell (author of Driven to Distraction and Delivered from Distraction among others) emphasized the importance of connecting with others who know you and love and accept you despite your “flaws.” It’s important for everyone, but absolutely for ADHDers to find someone in your life who can say:

“I know you and I love you anyway.”

If you haven’t found someone like that in your life, don’t give up! And I’ll see you next year at the ADDA conference!

5 Comments
  1. The ADDA conference (my first) was fantastic! It was great to mingle in an ADD-friendly environment for once and to connect with great professionals. I enjoyed meeting you and Duane at the Reception Thursday night! He was hard to track down after that day as he was moving around so much with the microphone (and not because of his ADHD)!

    I went to both your Succeed in a FLASH and Procrastination sessions. They were practical, informative and helpful. For the first time several of us got a good answer to what we ADDers should work on first: the most important project (Covey), the hardest project (Tracey), [the easiest/dessert project] , or whatever is next (Allen)!

    Fortunately, the answer is “None of the Above.” As I understood it, the ADHD trade secret is to work effectively (not perfectly) on manageable task bites (not idealized projects) in a way that mixes interests, fun and breaks with our unique energy patterns and strengths. Doing that will require informed balancing, mental reprogramming, new routines, teamwork and encouragement.

    I guess I’m up to the challenge, and thank you for your inspiration!

  2. Hi H-Man,

    Thanks for that excellent input. I love your summary.

    Good luck in putting in practice!

    Coach Linda

  3. Thanks again.

    I’m going to need more than luck to prioritize and put into practice all I learned (not in a layered way yet) at the ADDA conference!

    H-Man

  4. I enjoyed the conferences I enjoyed being around other who were also ADD and looking for way to be successful via working with their ADD instead of fighting against or blaming their ADD.

    I had some problem sitting the length of time but that is me. The fidget balls in the exhibit area were perfect to aide me using secondary sensory stimulation to help me focus.

    There seemed to be a lot of coaches speaking some were very interesting while others were not my cup of tea therefore I liked the ability to “class hop”.

    I enjoyed the FLASH success, Linda Walker which was good. I attended Dr.Marin Wetzel’s Over 45 the final frontier which was most directed at professionals I was glad to see that age group being acknowledge. Time management from the inside out Daniel Pruitt were the most memorable and helpful break out sessions.

    Oh and the processing styles inventory Vockativ . I enjoyed the interactive style of the session and the speaker was enjoyable and informative I do have questions as to the accuracy of the test I consider that an individual matter with in my self and in no way doesn’t diminish the speakers effectiveness

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