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10 Things I Learned at the ADDA Conference

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the ADDA (Attention Deficit Disorders Association) Annual Conference in Houston. This conference is geared for parents, educators, individuals with ADHD and their families in addition to professionals that serve clients with ADHD. There were many outstanding speakers on a variety of topics related to ADHD and co-occurring conditions. I also had the chance to visit the exhibitor tables to learn about local schools and camps especially for kids with learning differences. I gained so much valuable information that I would like to share some of the highlights with you.

1. Martial arts is beneficial for people with ADHD because self-discipline and learning how to focus are key components of martial arts. Students are very likely to apply the techniques learned in the studio to other areas of their lives improving focus and self-discipline across the board.

2. Genetic testing for medication determines how your body responds to prescription medications. This can eliminate the trial and error process. After test results are read, physicians can prescribe medications that better align to the patient with fewer side effects.

3. Some people are rapid metabolizers of medication. Therefore, even long lasting extended release meds will not last as long. Genetic testing can help determine this as well.

4. Generic and name brand medications can not be identical. Although both must contain the active ingredient, packaging, preservatives and fillers will likely be different so meds metabolize differently. Generic medications can contain up to 25% less active ingredient. Scary, huh?

5. Supplements such as Omega-3 and melatonin are not required to obtain approval from the FDA. Supplements may be contaminated with pesticides, germs and toxic heavy metals. Additionally, many supplements have been found to contain an inconsistent amount of the active ingredients listed on the label.

6. Research is showing mindfulness is a highly effective treatment to manage ADHD symptoms. In fact, one study reports that 78% of participants who practiced mindfulness, reported a reduction in their ADHD symptoms.

7. Power postures can make you feel more powerful! Simply standing like Superwoman can increase confidence and reduce stress. Watch the TED talk with Amy Cuddy for more on this topic.

8. It is much more difficult to get 504 accommodations in college if an IEP or 504 plan is not in place during high school.

9. There are schools in the Houston area that start the day with cardio exercise and positive affirmations which is perfect for students with ADHD.

10. Short list of ADHD friendly jobs - sales, law enforcement, EMT, photographer, geologist, optometrist, farmer, electrician, lawn service and the military.

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