Repeating Mistakes

School and life help 1) People with ADHD generally repeat their mistakes. If you think about the school journey there are so many times where we are repeatedly reprimanded for making the same mistake over and over. Sometimes we don’t make the mistake and a well-meaning person will suggest we are finally learning from our mistakes. Time goes by and we make the same mistake again only to disappoint ourselves or the teacher, spouse, or friend.

In school one example might be remembering to write an assignment due date in to a calendar that is used. Two items there one is writing in the calendar and the second is looking at the calendar. The point is getting in trouble for not turning in homework on time because it was not entered in the calendar. After being yelled at a few times one remembers to write in the calendar for a week or two and homework is on time. After a month or two and an assignment or two is dropped, bam here comes the “haven’t you learned your lesson speech.”
Of course if you have ADHD you have experienced this scenario. Don’t beat yourself up, we don’t easily grasp the bigger picture so the idea of saving a penny today for a dollar tomorrow or saving oneself from future hardship by writing the assignment in a calendar just does not have any permanent resonance. Actually it’s even worse because we remember that we wanted to do better but we don’t have control over that part of our brain. When it’s on and firing we are great but when it’s not we don’t usually realize it until later. We end up living with the mantra of I should do this or should have done that.

An additional example is checkbook maintenance. Those pesky
fees from banks were made to get rich off of those with ADHD, I’m convinced of it. Each time the bank is paid up and I remind myself I’m going to enter every single item as it occurs I get along great for a while and then once again something overdraws the account. As an adult you may have experienced this scenario. Unfortunately coaching experience tells me the cost goes far beyond bank fees. The point is simply you are not alone and mostly remember if you have a particular weak spot understanding it allows you to ask for help when working on it. If you make a mistake that’s because of how your ADHD brain works you are likely to make it again.

ADHD Treatment

There is no one cure fits all for ADHD. Accurate diagnosis is the place to start. A doctor should be asking for full family input when diagnosing ADHD. An important factor is that the abnormal behavior is seen in more than one setting. Children may have behavior expectations at school that are unrealistic and the same is true of behavior at home therefore behavior needs to examined in both settings. Additionally there are generally some co-morbid issues like dyslexia, oppositional defiance disorder (ODD), or OCD. Even when a diagnosis is made and accurate the treatment regime is somewhat experimental in that it requires input to determine if the treatment is showing results without side effect. If diagnosed I recommend following your primary doctor’s treatment along with complimentary and alternative practices including coaching, prayer, and exercise.

Stim Chase warning

Moms and Dads please read my post on Stimulus chasing and now apply it to your adolescent children. If you can remember The A Team when it was first run then you are old enough to remember life without the cell phone, selfies, or the internet. All of the stim. issues I discuss apply even more when adding a dose of out of control hormone spikes to the mixture. Everyday there are new articles about phone abuse being carried out by our youth. I know when a child with ADHD hyper-focus’ that saying no is a battle and I know as parent we have to pick the important battles. Most 6th graders I know (I have an elementary aged child) already carry cell phones. As a parent it is nice to be able to reach our kids and it’s good for them to be able to reach us. What’s important to consider is if the child has ADHD they chase stimulus, lack self control filters, and can get so completely focused on one issue that reasoning no longer exists. That combination could be a recipe for disaster. Some states actively pursue criminal prosecution against minors that exchange inappropriate photos. As innocent as “my” child is one “it’s ok if I do it” can ruin a child’s life. Please monitor cell activity and remember if your child has ADHD he or she is more likely than not to experiment with this stimulating device.

Get Treatment

I read a blog today from a spouse of a person with ADHD.  She had the normal complaints regarding her husband and his lack of personal responsibility regarding his “tantrums” as well as his refusal to apologize for outbursts.  She says “he says apologizing is like apologizing for who he is.”  Her initial response was due to an article she read about not punishing behavior of children with ADHD.  As the Catholic ADHD Coach I tend to avoid the idea that we need to choose the right spouse.  Some ADHD books start with the idea that people with ADHD need to pick a spouse correctly because we are likely to choose a spouse for the wrong reason in the first place.  I prefer to accept that what God created can’t be undone by man.  It’s my belief and yet Catholic numbers for divorce are just slightly lower than society on a whole.

What I prefer to concentrate on is actual treatment of the person with ADHD.  Most of us know something about ADHD and we then dismiss or accept but rarely do we actively treat.  Less than 1% of people diagnosed seek treatment.  I don’t mean adjusting the diet and discovering that certain stars and business personalities have ADHD and so I’m fine.  I’m talking about treatment like the multi-modal approach I have talked about before.

If we look at the wife above, she is right.  And it gets really difficult, no matter how patient, for the spouse to continually accept behavior.  As adults with ADHD we have adapted and created management tools to get us to where we need to be.  Sometimes those tools only help us and don’t present a huge amount of care for others.  If her husband were coached he could bring this issue to the table.  Having ADHD is not a hall pass.  With proper treatment we can learn new ways to cope using medication, exercise, coaching and psychological support, when needed, to identify when we are just wrong and then accept that.  Easter is approaching and forgiveness should be on our hearts.  We are forgiven by our Savior and we are expected to forgive ourselves so we can then forgive the ones who love us.

If you have survived a life of untreated ADHD, you know what I mean so take the time to apologize.  We often are not aware of our actions or there affect on others so accept it if they say they are hurt or disappointed.  Then accept that ADHD is a mental disorder which requires specific treatment which will allow you to identify abnormal behavior and change it.

Lent and ADHD today

As Lent starts I wax Catholic for a moment. ADHD and Catholicism don’t always work for me. By nature I am not great at redundant schedules and external stimulation is important as a motivator. If the homilist is not reaching me I can’t focus on the message. I am sure I’m not alone and yet sometimes the journey seems lonely. Sometimes my trusted advisors, clergy, are not empathetic to my condition and yet I am compelled to continue as a Christian in the Catholic Church. Simply put, I continue because I believe. I am not alone, the Holy Spirit dwells within me and brings the peace he promises. I am not alone because my Church is alive not dead. I can choose to ask for the intercession of all the Church in communion with the Church past, Church present and Church future. I can engage my active mind by heeding God’s calling to learn about ADHD, as a coach help others, and as a follower help to educate my trusted advisors in faith about how God made my brain. Thank you Lord for your abundant blessings and encouragement as I prepare to celebrate your resurrection.

Is your child gifted?

What We Have Learned About Gifted Children
30th Anniversary
1979 – 2009

Linda Silverman, Ph.D., Director
Gifted Development Center

The Gifted Development Center has been in operation since June, 1979, and we have assessed over
5,600 children in the last 30 years. By concentrating totally on the gifted population, we have acquired a
considerable amount of knowledge about the development of giftedness. In 1994-1995, three noted
researchers spent post-doctoral internships assisting us in coding our clinical data to enable statistical
analysis: Drs. Frank Falk and Nancy Miller of the University of Akron, and Dr. Karen Rogers of the
University of St. Thomas. Here are some of the highlights of what we have learned so far:

1. Parents are excellent identifiers of giftedness in their children: 84% of 1,000 children whose parents
felt that they exhibited 3/4 of the traits in our Characteristics of Giftedness Scale tested in the superior
or gifted range. Over 95% demonstrated giftedness in at least one area, but were asynchronous in
their development, and their weaknesses depressed their composite IQ scores.

2. Giftedness can be observed in the first three years by rapid progression through the developmental
milestones. These milestones should be documented and taken seriously as evidence of giftedness.
Early identification of advanced development is as essential as early identification of any other
exceptionality. Early intervention promotes optimal development in all children.

3. When parents fail to recognize a child’s gifts, teachers may overlook them as well. Rita Dickinson
(1970) found that half of the children she tested with IQs of 132 or above were referred for behavior
problems and not seen as gifted by their teachers or parents. Parent advocacy is critical for gifted
children’s emotional and academic growth. Associate Director, Bobbie Gilman’s (2008a) awardwinning
book, Academic Advocacy for Gifted Children: A Parent’s Complete Guide, can guide parents
in effectively advocating for their children. Challenging Highly Gifted Learners (Gilman, 2008b) is an
excellent book for teachers and parents.

4. Children and adults can be assessed at any age. However, the ideal age for testing is between 5 and
8 _ years. By the age of 9, highly gifted children may hit the ceiling of the tests, and gifted girls may
be socialized to hide their abilities. Unless they are absolutely certain they are right, gifted girls are
often unwilling to guess, which lowers their IQ scores.

5. Brothers and sisters are usually within five or ten points in measured ability. Parents’ IQ scores are
often within 10 points of their children’s; even grandparents’ IQ scores may be within 10 points of their
grandchildren’s. We studied 148 sets of siblings and found that over 1/3 were within five points of
each other, over 3/5 were within 10 points, and nearly 3/4 were within 13 points. When one child in
the family is identified as gifted, the chances are great that all members of the family are gifted.

6. Second children are recognized as gifted much less frequently than first-borns or only children. They
often go in the opposite direction of their older siblings and are less likely to be achievement oriented.
Even the first-born identical twin has a greater chance of being accepted in a gifted program than the

7. IQ testing in childhood clearly demonstrates the equality of intelligence between males and females.
Until the IQ test was developed, most of society believed in the “natural superiority of males.” Even
now, the fact that most of the eminent are men leads some to believe that males are innately more
intelligent than females. On the contrary, we have found more than 100 girls with IQ scores above
180. The highest IQ score on record at our Center was attained by a girl, and four of the five highest
scores were earned by girls. However, parents are more likely to bring their sons for assessment and
overlook their daughters, and this inequity appears to be getting worse. From 1979 to 1989, 57% of
the children brought for testing were male, and 43% were female, whereas 51% above 160 IQ were
male and 49% female (see chart). In 2008, 68% of the children brought for testing were male and
only 32% female, while the distribution in the highest IQ ranges is 60% male and 40% female.

Males above 160 IQ Females above 160 IQ Total
1979 –1989 94 89 183
1990 – 2009 507 298 805
1979 – 2009 601 387 988

8. Gifted girls and gifted boys have different coping mechanisms and are likely to face different
problems. Gifted girls hide their abilities and learn to blend in with other children. In elementary
school they direct their mental energies into developing social relationships; in junior high school they
are valued for their appearance and sociability rather than for their intelligence. Gifted boys are easier
to spot, but they are often considered “immature” and may be held back in school if they cannot
socialize with children their own age with whom they have no common interests.

9. Gifted children are asynchronous. Their development tends to be uneven, and they often feel out-ofsync
with age peers and with age-based school expectations. They are emotionally intense and have
greater awareness of the perils of the world. They may not have the emotional resources to match
their cognitive awareness. They are at risk for abuse in environments that do not respect their

10. This asynchrony is often seen in large discrepancies between index scores on the fourth edition of
the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV). In these cases, the Full Scale IQ score
should not be used to select gifted students for programs. Instead, the General Ability Index (GAI),
which omits Working Memory and Processing Speed, provides a better estimate of the child’s
reasoning ability. The GAI has been endorsed by the National Association for Gifted Children: Extended norms are now available for the WISC-IV:

11. The fifth edition of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (SB5) measures mathematical and visualspatial
abilities better than abstract verbal reasoning abilities. When the SB5 is used for selection of
gifted students for programs, the cut-off score for admission should be lowered to 120 IQ. Different
scoring options are available for gifted children, including Rasch-ratio scores. The publisher permits
the administration of the older version of the Stanford-Binet (Form L-M) to assess abstract verbal
abilities, especially in exceptionally gifted children, and recommends that it be administered in
conjunction with the SB5 so that various scores can be compared (Carson & Roid, 2004).

12. Creative children, culturally diverse children, mathematically talented children, children with attention
deficits, highly gifted children, learning disabled children, and underachievers often are visual-spatial
learners who require different teaching methods. Visual-spatial learners usually think in pictures or
rely on “sensing” or feeling, whereas auditory-sequential learners usually think in words. Typical
educational strategies are a better match for auditory-sequential learners than for visual-spatial
learners. We have developed methods of identifying this learning pattern and effective strategies for
teaching visual-spatial learners (Silverman, 2002). Our Visual-Spatial Identifier can be used with
entire school districts or classes, as well as individually. Please visit for free
information about strategies for teaching visual-spatial learners.

13. Gifted children have better social adjustment in classes with children like themselves. The brighter
the child, the lower his or her social self-concept is likely to be in the regular classroom. Social selfconcept
improves when children are placed with true peers in special classes.

14. Perfectionism, sensitivity and intensity are three personality traits associated with giftedness. They
are derived from the complexity of the child’s cognitive and emotional development. According to
Dabrowski’s theory, these traits—related to overexcitabilities—are indicative of potential for high
moral values in adult life. The brighter the child, the earlier and more profound may be his or her
concern with moral issues. But this potential usually does not develop in a vacuum. It requires
nurturing in a supportive environment.

15. About 60% of gifted children are introverted compared with 30% of the general population.
Approximately 75% of highly gifted children are introverted. Introversion correlates with introspection,
reflection, the ability to inhibit aggression, deep sensitivity, moral development, high academic
achievement, scholarly contributions, leadership in academic and aesthetic fields in adult life, and
smoother passage through midlife; however, it is very likely to be misunderstood and “corrected” in
children by well-meaning adults.

16. Mildly, moderately, highly, exceptionally and profoundly advanced children are as different from each
other as mildly, moderately, severely and profoundly delayed children are from each other, but the
differences among levels of giftedness are rarely recognized.

17. There are far more exceptionally gifted children in the population than anyone realizes. Approximately
18% of the 5,600+ children we have assessed in the last 30 years are exceptionally gifted, with IQ
scores above 160 IQ. As of January 1, 2009, we found at least 988 children above 160 IQ, including
281 above 180 IQ and 87 above 200 IQ. We have entered massive data on 241 of these
children—the largest sample in this IQ range ever to be studied (Rogers & Silverman, 1997). Only
two comprehensive studies have been published to date on children in these ranges. Leta
Hollingworth (1942) found 12 children above 180 IQ between 1916 and 1939 and Miraca Gross (1993;
2004) studied 60 Australian children with IQ scores above 160.

18. Many cases of underachievement are linked to chronic early ear infections (9 or more in the first three
years), with residual effects of auditory sequential processing deficits and attentional problems.
Spelling, arithmetic, handwriting, rote memorization, attention, and motivation to do written work are
all typically affected.

19. Gifted children may have hidden learning disabilities. Approximately one-sixth of the gifted children
who come to the Center for testing have some type of learning disability—often undetected before the
assessment—such as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), difficulties with visual processing,
sensory processing disorder, spatial disorientation, dyslexia, and attention deficits. Giftedness masks
disabilities and disabilities depress IQ scores. Higher abstract reasoning enables children to
compensate to some extent for these weaknesses, making them harder to detect. However,
compensation requires more energy, affects motivation, and breaks down under stress or when the
child is fatigued.

20. Gifted/learning-disabled children and visual-spatial learners usually have at least one parent with the
same learning pattern. Visual-spatial learners and children with dual exceptionalities tend to get
smarter as they get older and often become successful adults.

21. Difficult birth histories, such as long labor, heads too large for the birth canal, four or more hours of
Pitocin to induce labor, emergency C-sections, cords wrapped around any part of the infant’s body,
and oxygen at birth, can lead to sensory processing disorder (SPD). Parents, teachers, and
pediatricians should be alerted that the critical period for ameliorating sensory-motor deficits is from
birth to age seven. When gross or fine motor weaknesses are seen, pediatric occupational therapy
should be sought immediately, rather than waiting for the child to “outgrow” the problem.

22. Giftedness is not elitist. It cuts across all socio-economic, ethnic and national groups (Dickinson,
1970). In every culture, there are developmentally advanced children who have greater abstract
reasoning and develop at a faster rate than their age peers. Though the percentage of gifted
students among the upper classes may be higher, a much greater number of gifted children come
from the lower classes, because the poor far outnumber the rich (Zigler & Farber, 1985). Therefore,
when provisions are denied to the gifted on the basis that they are “elitist,” it is the poor who suffer
the most. The rich have other options.

23. The more egalitarian gifted programs attempt to be, the less defensible they are. Children in the top
and bottom three percent of the population have atypical developmental patterns and require
differentiated instruction. Children in the top and bottom 10 percent of the population are not
statistically or developmentally different from children in the top and bottom 15 percent, and it is not
justifiable to single them out for special treatment. More and more school districts are realizing this in
this new millennium, and are providing in-depth services for those who need them the most. Selfcontained,
multi-age programs for the gifted and radical acceleration are gaining in popularity.

Carson, D. & Roid, G. (2004). Acceptable use of the Stanford-Binet Form L-M: Guidelines for the
professional use of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, Third Edition (Form L-M). Itasca, IL:
Riverside Publishing.
Dickinson, R. M. (1970). Caring for the gifted. North Quincy, MA: Christopher.
Gilman, B. J. (2008a). Academic advocacy for gifted children: A parent’s complete guide. (Formerly
Empowering gifted minds: Educational advocacy that works.). Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential
Gilman, B. J. (2008b). Challenging highly gifted learners. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.
Gross, U.M. (2004). Exceptionally gifted children. (2nd Ed.). London: Routledge Falmer. [First edition,
Hollingworth, L. S. (1942). Children above 180 IQ Stanford-Binet: Origin and development. Yonkerson-
Hudson, NY: World Book.
Rogers, K. B., & Silverman, L. K. (1997, November 7). Personal, medical, social and psychological
factors in 160+ IQ children. National Association for Gifted Children 44th Annual Convention,
Little Rock, AK. [Summary of data available on-line at]
Silverman, L. K. (2002). Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual-Spatial Learner. Denver: DeLeon.
Zigler, E., & Farber, E. A. (1985). Commonalities between the intellectual extremes: Giftedness and
mental retardation. In F. D. Horowitz & M. O’Brien (Eds.), The gifted and the talented:
Developmental perspectives (pp. 387-408). Washington, DC: American Psychological

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ADHD or just Normal

I had the conversation with my 9 year old that we all dread for the entirety of our ADHD lives. It goes something like this. “I understand that you have ADHD and I understand the behavior that goes along with the symptoms, however…..” That’s where even I had to catch myself. The never ending battle is to determine normal behavior, that needs to be corrected, and what behavior is disorder oriented and can’t be controlled. Remember if it could be controlled then it would not be a disorder. This is challenging to every parent out there. When do I discipline and when do I recognize that those smart sarcastic off the cuff remarks are literally stated due to a lack of ability to filter them out. In my case I recognized the behavior and explained that this would be lifelong challenge that would occasionally cause him grief. I suggested that he always take a deep breath before saying anything and that perhaps that would be enough to grab it before it comes out.

ADHD Gadgets/Technology

How do you use technology to help with ADHD symptoms? I have read many articles on the subject and have listened to clients as well as my own experience with gadgets and apps. I have always wished there was a fix it all app that was easy to use and would jump up and remind me when I needed. Like everything else with ADHD, once it’s mastered it becomes boring to continually enter the information in to any system. The good news is in all of successful cases of gadget use that I know, there is a common thread. It seems that the most successful people have a combination of technology and old school that work together. This was once again apparent for me this week. I have had an ongoing project that should have taken about an hour. So far it’s been a month. I was trying to digitize my monthly bill calendar on to an app that would cover reminders as well as allow me to budget. Every app was great but lacked one thing or the other. As I discovered each app that would cover the flaw of the other, I had to set up again as well as decide which categories were carryovers and which I had to recreate. In the end I decided to take my own advice. I use to analyze my habits and trends and use an old fashioned calendar and pencil to forecast my needs. This is what works for me and would not have lost a month if I would just trust in it. I love gadgets that help and it’s part of my job to experiment with tools that assist those with ADHD. One day a little robot personal assistant will follow me around making note of the important things and reminding me of all that is needed or where my keys are. Until then I have a pen. Where is that pen, I thought I left it right here on the desk…..

ADHD Coach (Catholic)

Motivation can be defined as an individual’s inner state that causes them to behave in a way that ensures the accomplishment of some goal. It’s a set of psychological processes that energize voluntary behavior. It’s the reason for which people exert and expend effort on activities that reward them. (Gualco, 2013).  Notice line 2 and understand that ADHD is a biological disorder that interferes with psychological processes. Treatment allows you an opportunity to overcome some of the issues associated with the symptoms of the disorder. Medication, for some, opens the door and allows you to focus on some things.  Coaching helps to keep you focused on your motivation and a coach that specializes in ADHD does that while educating you about the disorder, understanding your personal way of managing, and developing a way to get there using your management style of the disorder.  The Catholic ADHD coach does that with understanding about your personal values system.  I work with everybody but I especially understand life from a Christian, Catholic perspective.

Gualco, D., (2013) Instructor’s guidance week 1, University of the Rockies

More ADHD?

The Catholic ADHD Coach asks are there more cases of ADHD now than before?  The answer is that ADHD should only be diagnosed by a competent provider after a comprehensive evaluation.  When diagnosed in that fashion the normal outcome is estimated at 7% of the population.  Some areas are in at around 10%.  These tend to be suburban, middle class neighborhoods. One assumption is over diagnosis using methods that are less than comprehensive resulting in diagnosis of persons that do well with a small amount of counseling and behavioral or parent behavioral modification.  Rural and less affluent populations are still under served.  I have always stated that everyone has adhd symptoms from time to time.  For those of us with the disorder, our lives are truly affected.  One reason so many have a hard time believing us is because they may have had an ADHD moment or day for us it never goes away. The point here is if you are one of the 7% then get educated and get treatment.  If not then thank God, do some exercise, get started on that project and realize that some of us live with this every single moment of our lives.