ADHD AWARENESS WEEK…OCTOBER 14th – 20th!

This year I decided to take a much more proactive role in participating in ADHD Awareness Week.

ADDvocacy ADHD AWARENESS WEEK POSTER

I made up this poster and sent it, along with a number of other caddac posters to every public library, NSCC campus library and CBU’s library throughout Nova Scotia.

 

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Here is just one of the many displays that are up around the province!

www.adhdawarenessweek.org  and www.caddac.ca are other great sources of canadian ADHD  information 🙂

I am often asked, “What made you decide to be an ADHD Coach?” Well here is my story :)

 

My story is as follows.  I had a lot of trouble in high school and barely graduated with a mid 60’s average.  I tried taking on a full course load at college and failed most of my courses.  My goal was to become a Social Worker so I pushed on with a part time course load. After taking 4 years to complete 2 years worth of courses and averaging 70%, I took that average to UVIC (I am originally from BC) and I was told that I was obviously not cut out for post secondary life.

I was encouraged by multiple sources to pursue the trades.  I worked in Hydraulics for 7 years and moved to getting my Red Seal in Plumbing and Gas fitting in 2007.  I filled my helping need by volunteering as a Big Brother over the years.

In 2008 / 2009, in the midst of the economic downturn that hit the BC construction industry hard, the plumbing company I was working for was reduced from 77 employees to 6 in a period of 6 months.  I was one of the last ones to be let go.

I was living in Kelowna BC and had a house, all the toys, a fiance, etc.  I was also miserable due to my misfortune. I sought help in the mental health system and was diagnosed in March 2009  with Depression and Anxiety (which made perfect sense) but also ADHD.  I was put on an anti-depressant and Ritalin and told that this would solve my mood swings and while it did “something,” I realized that it was nothing more than a band aid solution.

I started looking for help with understanding ADHD and how it had impacted my life thus far.  I realized that it would have had a significant impact at all levels of school, family and social life.  I found an ADHD support group 4 hours away in Vancouver BC and attended it in the spring of 2010.  I had found a group of individuals who thought outside the box like I did ,acted like I did and experienced life long challenges like I did.  I pulled the facilitator Pete Quily aside and asked him what he did for a living and he said he was an ADHD Coach.  I thought to myself that this could be the perfect fit for me!

I went back to work in plumbing but suffered a back injury in September of 2010.  It was at that point that I decided to make a significant change in my life and pursue my purpose and passion.

My fiance, had recently completed her Masters at UBC and was wanting to move home, closer to her family in Nova Scoita.  I was also looking into returning to school myself.  I felt that NSCC would offer the best opportunities to get back in the swing of things, mostly due to my negative experiences with post secondary studies in the past.  I also started looking into ADHD Coaching programs which are all located on the East Coast of the  USA.  I decided to attempt to pursue them both simultaneously in the interest of time.

In July 2011, I sold the house and packed everything into a 16′ shipping container and drove across the country with my new wife and dog.  On drive  way over, I had a disagreement with her  (based on some massive anxiety I was having with the transition that I was in) that would ultimately end the marriage.  The long and the short is that we arrived in NS and 3 weeks later, I stared my new journey, solo.  So here I was, 6000 km away from family, freinds, etc.  I decided that I would make the best of it and did I ever!

Anyways, I started my first group in October 2011 called the ADHD EMPOWERMENT HOUR at NSCC in Truro.  I ran that for 2 years with a lot of success.  In the second year, I added a MENTAL HEALTH & AWARENESS GROUP with the help / co-facilitation of Susan Henderson (Executive Director at CMHA in Truro). I also added a 3rd group that runs on the 1st Wednesday of every month from 6:30 – 8pm for Youth and Adults with ADHD.  I have recently added a duplicate group at the NSCC Akerley Campus in Dartmouth on the 3rd Wednesday of every month.

I took full time courses at NSCC during the day and completed coaching school at night.  In February 2012, a student from the Agricultural College  had exhausted the resources there and called up to the provincial disability services looking for an ADHD Coach.  They had never heard of such a thing but called around to some Disability Resource Facilitators in the province and eventually contacted Joy LaRusic (Disability Resource Facilitator at NSCC Truro) who told them about me.  I started off coaching the AC Student and one other at NSCC.  By September 2012 I indicated that I could increase my caseload to 10  which I achieved in January of 2013.  I also received the “ok” to coach at any post secondary institution in Nova Scotia on January 17th, 2012.  Currently, I am working at all 3 NSCC campuses in the HRM and  the Truro campus as well.  I will be working with 32 students this year and am looking to expand the service province wide.

I graduated (Honours) from Disability Support and Services  in April 2013 and am completing online courses at CBU for the Bachelors of Arts Community Studies.  I also completed coaching school at the ADD Coach Academy based out of New York and added “Coaching Teens and College Students” through JST Coaching this past April.

My other passion is Peer Support and I am working with NSCC to bring that to the 13 campuses throughout the province.  I am one of the first 28 people in the  process of being trained as a Certified Peer Support Specialist in Nova Scotia.  Healthy Minds Cooperative has the contract for this project with Roy Muise heading the training.  This past summer, I was on contract with the Self Help Connection as a Peer Support Consultant and will continue ties with them in the years to come.  They are on board to to pursue ties and are in full support of Peer Support in the college / universities alike.  Dalhousie is rolling out the first  Peer Support Program at the post secondary level with Laura Burke (an amazingly passionate and talented individual)  heading that project.

In addition, I also facilitate numerous ADHD workshops. I was recently contracted by NSCC to design a new workshop aimed at faculty and will address  “invisible disabilities” such as ADHD, Mental Health, Learning disabilities and Chronic pain and strategies on how to address these in a learning environment.  I will present this course using the principles of Universal Design and hope to that additional   faculty  will request it in the future!

I absolutely love this life that I have created with the support of so many amazing friends, colleagues and family.  I recently relocated from Brookfield to Eastern Passage, NS  with my incredibly supportive partner and her 6 year old son.

This journey has not been an easy one by any means!  It has shown me that when you find something to really care about, to jump in feet first and give it your all but not to be afraid to seek out supports along the way!

The power of “Lived Experience” goes a long way in your ability to empathize with others in similar situations…share those experiences, share the hope!

**I would love to hear your stories on how you have overcome your life struggles, so don’t hesitate to send them along!  I would love to post them on my blog so you can help others with your own stories on how you have overcome adversity!  Don’t include your name in the story if you don’t want it published**

 

Problems with my CONTACT page as of August 22nd, 2013

It has be brought to my attention that some people are having trouble connecting to me on the contact page of my website.

I will be addressing this in the upcoming week with a web developer!  In the meantime, please send all inquiries to:

KEITHGELHORN@GMAIL.COM

or

https://www.facebook.com/pages/ADDvocacy-ADHD-Life-Skills-Coaching-Ltd/395483620466012  “Like”  my facebook page and message me on there.

I will update my blog as soon as I get this straightened out!  I apologize for any inconvenience.

Keith

NEW ADHD EMPOWERMENT GROUP IN DARTMOUTH!

ADHD EMPOWERMENT HOUR…AND A HALF 🙂

WHERE: NSCC (AKERLEY CAMPUS) in room B210

WHEN: 3RD WEDNESDAY OF EVERY MONTH (First one is August 19th)

TIME: 6:30-8:00PM

FOR: Youth (parents) & Adults (spouses)

 

Join us as we talk about challenges and coping skills including, but not limited to:

  • Time Management
  • Disorganization
  • Transition challenges
  • Overwhelm / Stress / Anxiety
  • Frustration and Flash Anger
  • Procrastination
  • Perfectionism
  • Scheduling
  • Study Skills
  • Self awareness
  • Self esteem
  • Self ADDvocacy

We will also look at

  • Accommodations at both school and work
  • Assistive Technology
  • Local, Canadian and Worldwide Resources

Everyone is encouraged to participate in the group.  I am always looking for people who would like to help facilitate the groups / share their own unique perspectives / area’s of interest!

Please contact me for more information at 902-305-8464 or Keith@ADDvocacyCoach.ca

I am now located in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia!   I am really excited about the opportunities this move will bring to my business and the fantastic network that has already started to form in in the City.  Having high-speed internet and a consistent Cell signal doesn’t hurt either 🙂

My cell number will remain at 902-305-8464  (Truro number) until I get the bulk of my clients in the next few months.  At that point, I will switch it to a HRM number.

My home / work number as changed.  The new number is 902-405-5926 (HRM number)

Everything else remains the same!

 

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I have officially graduated from NSCC with a Diploma in Disability Supports and Services (Honors)

After 2 great years, I was able to walk across the stage and collect collect my Diploma in Disability Supports and Services (Honors).   It was an amazing experience that transformed my life and I will never forget the this positive time in my life or the people that supported me in the process.  I am off to Cape Breton University in the Fall to pursue a Bachelors of Arts Community Studies!   I have also been afforded the opportunity to give back to NSCC in terms of working with future grads in their pursuit of purpose and passion!

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Tonight, I was officially voted onto the Board of Directors for the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network :)

My first encounter with the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network was in December of 2012 where I first met Brian Aird (ED) and  Archie Gillis. From the first day we met, I felt this organization was special!  I had the opportunity to present my business idea at their Christmas party where I was also able to network with a number of their members and learn more about the EDN.  A few months later, I was hired to conduct an ADHD Workshop for the members and Archie which was a lot of fun!

One of the highlights of my life came in April 2013 where I was presented  the 2013 EDN Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  And now, 2 months later, I have been voted onto the Board of Directors and have the amazing opportunity to give back / collaborate with such a fantastic group individuals and contribute ideas to their future success!

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10 TIPS FOR A BETTER SLEEP

By Dennis Thompson Jr. Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

Most kids with ADHD have problems sleeping. As a parent, you can create an environment in which sleep may come more easily.

Many children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, have problems getting good quality sleep. The disorder makes it difficult for children to fall asleep and then sleep deeply, especially if they are affected by other sleep conditions, such as snoring and sleep apnea.

Studies estimate that between half and three-quarters of children with ADHD experience sleep problems.

These problems can include:

Snoring and Sleep Apnea – Habitual snoring is three times more common in people with ADHD than in those with other psychiatric disorders.Snoring can also be a sign of sleep apnea, which is when a person stops breathing for very short periods of time while asleep. Sleep apnea disturbs restful sleep, often without the person being aware of it.

Restless Leg Syndrome – As many as one in four children with ADHD will experience this condition, in which their legs move and jerk to relieve perceived discomfort.

Periodic Limb Movement Syndrome – This is a condition similar to restless leg syndrome, but it involves the arms as well as the legs.

Difficulty Falling Asleep – In one study, between 71 and 84 percent of children with ADHD had a hard time falling asleep.

Difficulty Staying Asleep – In the same study, between 27 and 49 percent of children with ADHD tossed and turned in bed, and between 25 and 36 percent woke frequently during the night.

10 Tips for Better Sleep Parents can do a lot to help a child with ADHD get a better night’s rest:

1. Create a Bedtime Ritual – Ritualized behavior can send a strong signal to the brain that it is time to go to sleep. Create a simple ritual for your child’s bedtime, so it can be followed even if you’re not around.

2. Make Calming Down Part of that Ritual – Have your child do a relaxing activity prior to bedtime. “Spend about 20 minutes or half an hour in bed with them, reading to them or listening to music — doing something to soothe the child and help him sleep,” says Constance Wood, PhD, a practicing psychologist in Houston. That old standby, a glass of warm milk, may help.

3. Unplug Before Bedtime – Television and video games can rev up a kid who should be calming down. Turn off all the electronics well before bedtime.

4. Create an Environment Conducive to Sleep – Make sure the bedroom is cool, dark, quiet, and free of any distractions that might impede or disturb sleep. Put away toys and dim the lights.

5. Reserve the Bedroom and the Bed Mainly for Sleeping – Remove most toys, games, and other distractions from your child’s bedroom, and make sure playtime occurs in common areas of your home. Don’t let your child play in bed or spend a lot of time in the bedroom — this reinforces that both are reserved for sleeping.

6. Encourage Self-Soothing – Providing a special blanket or stuffed toy for your child to hold while going to sleep can be soothing. The less a child needs your presence, the more easily she will be able to get back to sleep on her own if she wakes up in the middle of the night.

7. Enforce a Consistent Sleeping and Waking Schedule – Make sure your child stays awake during the day, so he’ll be sleepy at bedtime. Regular bedtimes and waking times can help a young body establish a rhythm.

8. Cut Out Caffeine and Sugar – Caffeine and sugar are in a lot of foods, and both are stimulating and can keep your child up late. Read labels and make sure foods and drinks your child has in the evening are caffeine-free and contain very little sugar.

9. Treat Medical Issues – Consult your doctor regarding medical problems like allergies or asthma that could be contributing to snoring, sleep apnea, or other sleep disorders.

10. Praise Successful Sleep – Give your child praise when she makes it through the night with few or no sleep disturbances. This will help reinforce the importance of sleeping quietly through the night. Sleeplessness is a common problem for children with ADHD, but not an insurmountable one. Parents involved in their children’s lives should be able to help teach how to successfully nod off night after night.

I have a new role with the Self Help Connection as a “Peer Support Consultant.”

www.selfhelpconnection.ca

I have expanded my services into the Halifax Regional Municipality working within the Self Help Connection as a Peer Support Consultant.  I will be contracting with them from Monday to Wednesday from 8am -4pm  at their office at 63 King Street in Dartmouth, NS.  You can reach me there at 902-466-2011.

My job description is as follows:

Peer Support

This stream offers one-on-one peer support to all participants as they begin to use their new skills in addition to the following:

Recovery: Works with all participants as they progress through the five stages of recovery.

Consultations: Provides one-on-one consultations designed to help persons living with a mental illness connect with the appropriate supports in the community.

Education: Assists participants in learning more about their illness, medications, side-effects and other available treatment options.

Individual and Self Advocacy: Offers advocacy services to participants while teaching advocacy skills so that the individual feels comfortable advocating on their own behalf.

I will also be facilitating / co-facilitating the following programs:

  1. ANGER CONTROL TRAINING (ACT)
  2. LEADERSHIP TRAINING
  3. MENTAL HEALTH PROMOTION
The Self Help Connection serves the entire province in terms of providing support and training for those involved with Support Groups  and equips them with the tools to get the groups off the ground as well as keeping a directory of every self help group in Nova Scotia.
Some of the other services they offer include, but are not limited to:
  1. Entrepreneurship & Employability Enhancement
  2. Informatics Education (WRAP program, communication technologies…starting a website, blogs, logos, etc)
  3. Self Help Group Development
  4. Etc
I am really excited to have this opportunity to work with this organization, feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions!