Throughout the month of December, I am honored and grateful to share posts by ADHD experts. In this series of Meet the ADHD Experts, our experts are sharing their thoughts about ADHD. Let me introduce guest blogger Ari Tuckman.
Ari Tuckman, PsyD, MBA is the author of three books: “Understand Your Brain, Get More Done: The ADHD Executive Functions Workbook”, “More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies for Adults with ADHD” and “Integrative Treatment for Adult ADHD: A Practical, Easy-to-Use Guide for Clinicians”. His “More Attention, Less Deficit” podcast has over one hundred episodes and is approaching one and a half million downloads. He is a psychologist in private practice in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
What was your first experience with ADHD
I fell into working with adults with ADHD when a psychiatrist asked me whether I wanted to help his patients with practical matters of daily life. He found the medication to be helpful with the basic symptoms, but these patients needed help with the skills of time management, organization, prioritization, procrastination, etc. At the time (1998), few clinicians specialized in ADHD in adults, so there was a great unmet need. My joke is that if you knew three things about adult ADHD, then you were the expert in town. Now you have to know four. So it is slowly getting better.
What was is one thing you want everyone to know about ADHD
ADHD can be very impairing before it is diagnosed and treated. But the good news is that there is a lot you can do to make someone’s life better once they know that it is ADHD that underlies a lot of their difficulties. ADHD tends to respond well to treatment and we know a lot about which strategies tend to be most effective for people with ADHD. So it can be a very optimistic diagnosis if you use that knowledge effectively and work hard at it.
What is your best tip for ADHD
Learn as much as you can about it, whether it’s you who has ADHD or your romantic partner, family member, etc. The more you know, the better off you will be. There is no need to re-invent the wheel when there is already so much that is already known. You obviously need to customize any strategies for your own situation, but there are a lot of good ideas already out there.
I sometimes hear that the romantic partner or family members of the person with ADHD are hesitant to invest the time to educate themselves about ADHD, saying that they already do enough so they shouldn’t have to put in the extra work. While I appreciate that they already feel overloaded, there is great power in understanding ADHD and how your partner operates. While it may not be their responsibility to ensure that the person with ADHD does what they need to, it is their responsibility to ensure their own happiness. If learning about ADHD helps you get your own needs met more effectively, then why wouldn’t you do it? Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own happiness.
What is your morning like
We wake up at 6:15, my son gets on the bus at 7:20 and my wife and I head out by 7:45. It sounds like a lot of time when I say it, but it goes pretty quickly, especially if we get behind schedule. At this point in the school year, I have a good sense of what needs to be accomplished by when in order for us to get out on time. I make breakfast and know that we have to start eating by 7:00, so that helps keep us on schedule. It’s easier to break the morning in half—before and after 7:00.
Anything else you want to share
There is a lot of good information out there about ADHD. I’m a big fan of getting good ideas wherever I can. So keep educating yourself. The best part is that the strategies that work best for people with ADHD tend to just be plain old good strategies that work well for most people.
For more information about Ari:
Podcast: More Attention, Less Deficit—listed in iTunes