Dr. Heather Gelhorn PhD in Behavioral Genetics (and also my sister) releases study on The Co-occurrence of Reading Disorder and ADHD


The co-occurrence of reading disorder (RD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has received increasing attention. This review summarizes the epidemiology, treatment strategies, psychosocial impact, and economic burden associated with the co-occurrence of these conditions. Common genetic and neuropsychological deficits may partially explain the high degree of overlap between RD and ADHD. Children who face the additive problems of both disorders are at greater risk for academic failure, psychosocial consequences, and poor long-term outcomes that persist into adulthood. However, few studies have evaluated interventions targeted to this patient population, underscoring the importance of identifying effective multimodal treatments that address the neuropsychological deficits of RD and ADHD through carefully planned clinical research.

Busy, but incredible momentum building week…

In the last week, I put on 2 workshops and attended a promotional event through the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network www.ednns.ca.   I was also invited to present multiple workshops for a conference in April and fully funded to attend a conference and Gala dinner in December.

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to present to 10 faculty at NSCC (Pictou Campus) for their Professional Development Day.  I brought along one of my clients to bring a first persons perspective and both of us were very well received.  My goal is to reach all 13 campuses in January during my first work placement which fittingly, is at ADDvocacy ADHD & Life Skills Coaching Ltd.

On Tuesday, I was invited to an event for Global Entrepreneurial Week put on by the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network at Staples in Halifax.  I had the opportunity to meet with about a dozen entrepreneurs from all walks of life.  While the foot traffic was a little light, the people I connected with were amazing.  I guess I made an impression on them as well because I received a phone call from them this morning and got an invite to attend the 5th Annual Symposium on Inclusive Education and Employment  conference in Halifax on December 3rd and 4th( www.abilitystartshere.ca).  Not only do I get to attend, but they are funding the entire thing for me to the tune of $300.  This will be a perfect fit for what I do!

On Wednesday, I switched gears just a bit out of the post secondary gig.  I put on a workshop for Correction Services Canada which was made up of parole and probation officers.  I had this idea after reading some staggering studies regarding ADHD in the prison population.  Up to 42 % of adult criminals and 72 % of young offenders show signs of having ADHD.  While they are piloting a program in BC to screen for this, the rest of Canada and most of the USA doesn’t think of this as a serious enough issue to test and treat.  Hopefully, this was just the first of many interactions with CSC!

Finally, I was invited to present at a conference for Nova Scotia  Teachers, Tutors and Support staff at a conference in Truro in April 2013.  I will be doing multiple workshops as well as promoting ADDvocacy ADHD & Life Skills Coaching Ltd.  It feels great to be booking into the new year and I’m sure there are many more opportunities like this in my future!

Oh, I almost forgot, I doubled my client base as well in the last 2 weeks and  needed to extend my work hours.  I now have space booked at NSCC on Thursday nights and take clients from 3:30-7:30 (currently full).  I can definitely see adding another night in the near future.  Due to my newspaper article, I also have a 1/2 dozen + new clients and more are calling week to week.

I am highly encouraged with the direction the business in going! Most of you know that I am also in school full time taking Disabilty Support and Services and I am managing to maintain a 90%+ average in addition to everything else that is going on!

With a little hard work and a whole lot of passion, anything is possible.  I am living proof!

ADHD Self Diagnostic Tools

I have had a number of questions lately surrounding self diagnostic tools.  This is primarily due to the fact that finding a doctor or ideally a psychologist who focuses on ADHD is not only rare but if you do find one there can be lengthy waiting lists to get in.

A Psycho-educational (aka a Psych-ED) is the best ADHD diagnosis you can get.  This is an 8-10 hour process which costs upwards of $1200-$1500 and  includes:

  • Psycho-educational testing
  • DSM-IV-TR Criteria
  • Childhood Symptoms
  • Family History
  • Psychiatric / Neurological Assessment
  • Screening Questionnaires  & Rating Scales
  • Response to Pharmicological Intervention

However, there are some  FREE self screening tools that you can use as well if you suspect that you or someone you know has ADHD:

  1. Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) **most commonly used by healthcare professionals**
  2. Wender-Utah Rating Scale
  3. Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scale
  4. Brown ADD Rating Scale for Adults
  5. ADHD Rating Scale IV (Children)
  6. Current Symptoms Scale ADHD (Children)

Most are available online or you can print off a PDF copy.

I hope these help!




This is a fantastic post by Dr. Kenny Handelman called “What do you know about ADHD”


I have read countless articles like this but they never get old.  Because the symptoms are so diverse, the way others describe it often is too.  What I really like about this article, beyond the list of symptoms, is the slide show at the bottom, so be sure to check that out!

FEATURE ARTICLE ON ADDvocacy Coaching in today’s paper :D


ADDvocacy Coaching is featured today in the Truro Daily News!  By sharing my story from a personal I hope to help others who live with this on a daily basis!  The lady I am wit (Margie)  is a huge inpspiration to me with all the work she has done in the past few years.  Given the right network of support and a positive attitude, anything is possible!


Hi everyone,

I just want to check in and revel in this last year!  I started the ADHD EMPOWERMENT HOUR  right around this time last year and am amazed at how far ADDvocacy ADHD & Life Skills Coaching Ltd.  has come since then!

Today is the kick off to ADHD AWARENESS WEEK .  This has been recognized in the USA since 2004 but only one city in Canada, Vancouver BC, fully endorses it. http://adultaddstrengths.com/2011/10/20/first-city-in-canada-to-proclaim-adhd-awareness-week-is-vancouver-thanks-vancouver-city-council/

There is a lot going on this week…check the links below:

In addition, I will be putting on a workshop for support staff at Dalhousie University and the former Agricultural College this Tuesday.   We will discuss the positives attributes of ADHD  at the ADHD EMPOWERMENT HOUR this Thursday October 18th, 2012 in Room 325 at NSCC Turo.  I am also working on a number of other workshops and upcoming presentations around ADHD which I am very excited about.

There is still a lot of stigma around ADHD however, we will make our mark slowly but surely.

Have a great week!


Found this on www.caddac.ca today….This is a must read if you are a student with ADHD!

What ADHD Students Wish Their Teachers Knew

Written by Lisa Gridley
Although each child should be treated as an individual with their own strengths, challenges and needs, here is a list of the most commonly experienced issues for students with ADHD.

  1. I have a condition called Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder. It is a real medical condition which doctors define as impairment to my executive functions (cognitive management system) in my brain. That means that learning is hard for me because executive functions include:
    • Organization, prioritizing, estimating time and starting work
    • Focusing, sustaining and shifting attention to tasks
    • Regulating alertness, sustaining effort and processing speed
    • Managing frustration and modulating emotions (worry, disappointment, anger)
    • Utilizing working memory and accessing recall
    • Monitoring and self-regulating action (behaviours such as impulsiveness, hyperactivity and social skills)

    The part of my brain that manages these skills is like an orchestra conductor who tells all the musicians how to play together and on time to make beautiful music. My conductor is having trouble communicating with the musicians and so I need your help.

  2. I am not crazy, lazy, bad or stupid. In fact, my IQ score is most likely above average to average and many people with ADHD are also gifted. But because my brain is wired differently than regular students, I sometimes feel stupid or bad. Sometimes it’s hard for me to admit that I need help. Sometimes it’s easier and less humiliating to act like I understand or to act angry to distract you from finding out that I am having trouble and so that the other kids in the class don’t know that I’m struggling. I need to know that you won’t make fun of me and shame me when I ask for help. Another challenging thing about having ADHD is that one day I can do something really well but the next day, I can’t. Please don’t make me feel bad by saying, “I know you can do this if you really try – you did it yesterday.” Instead, show me how to get started just as if I was learning it for the very first time. You can also help me by letting me try some of the work but checking it quickly to make sure that I’ve got the right idea. Don’t let me do a bunch of the work wrong because I’ll have trouble getting the wrong way out of my mind and I’ll be very annoyed that I have to do the work all over again.
  3. Because you cannot see my ADHD, you might have trouble remembering that I need your help. When you look at me, pretend that I am a blind student and think about how you would feel about helping.
  4. I have a lot of trouble controlling my behaviour sometimes. Being inside my head is like having several radio stations all playing at the same time so it’s hard to just listen to one. It’s very stressful and frustrating and so sometimes when you ask me to do something and I respond in a negative way, it’s because I simply can’t handle any more stress.
  5. You can really help me by pretending that you’re my coach. Good coaches get the best performance from their players by encouraging them, rewarding them and praising them immediately, especially in front of others. Punishment for things that I’m not very good at only makes me feel worse about myself. And please don’t embarrass
    me in front of the class – please talk to me privately about issues. I sometimes have trouble making and keeping friends and responding appropriately to social interactions. Please coach me on how I can do things better. Show me in detail, model it for me – I don’t tend to learn well if I’m just told how to do something. And give me praise and encouragement when I try.
  6. To help me remember the rules, please post them somewhere where I can constantly see them. I’ll need your help to know when I’m breaking a rule and reminders and warnings to follow the rules – basically, I need practice to follow the rules. Let me know right away if I’m breaking a rule and let me know what I should be doing instead.
  7. I’ll need your help to learn and practice: organization skills (things like writing assignments in my agenda, planning them out, completing them, and getting them back to you when they’re due), note taking, study skills and test taking strategies. When you mark my work, please look for areas that I am struggling with and show me how I can do better.
  8. It’s really hard for me to remember lots of instructions when you give them all at once. Please give me one instruction at a time. For assignments, it really helps if I have written instructions so I don’t have to try and remember everything.
  9. The medication that I am taking helps me to focus and calms my hyperactivity. But as I grow, my medication may need to be adjusted. You can really help by letting my parents know if you notice that my medication is not working as well as it did.
  10. Even with the help of medication, I still feel the need to move. Movement helps me to learn. Sometimes it helps if I can stand while you’re teaching. Sometimes I really need to work off the energy because it feels like I’ve got high voltage electrical currents running up and down my arms and legs. Let’s develop a private signal that lets you know that I’m really needing a break from sitting still – I could run something to the office for you, hand out or collect papers or wipe off the board. Or you could involve the whole class in a stretch break and no one would know that it’s really just to help me.
  11. Do not take away recess or gym as punishments. I desperately need physical activity several times a day to work off the excess energy that I have and relieve the stress of having to sit still for so long. Without this time to ‘blow off steam’, I am more likely to have increased hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour.
  12. The other thing that helps is if I have something to do with my hands. Clay, a stress ball or even an elastic helps my body to get rid of the extra energy.
  13. Finding a good seat in your classroom is important. I may need to sit at the front of the room so that I’m not distracted by what all the other students are doing and so that I’m closer to you when I need help. Or I may do better at the back of the room so that I’m not always turning around to see what’s going on behind me. Being at the back also takes away my ‘audience’ and allows me to stand up if I need to without distracting the other students. I also need to sit somewhere away from other distractions like windows and pencil sharpeners and other students who are struggling. And it helps if I can sit beside a student who can help me when you’re too busy because when I need help, it’s hard for me to wait.
  14. If you see that I’ve lost my focus, please give me a private signal to get me back or walk by my desk and touch my shoulder. Or say something like, ‘Now this is very important, so please pay attention.’ Please don’t ever humiliate me by using sarcasm or sayings like ‘Earth to _______’.
  15. I can be very sensitive to small noises and sensations like the hum of fluorescent lights, the temperature of the room, the tags inside my clothes or the sound of the kid behind me as he writes. Sometimes, I just can’t concentrate because these small things are so distracting. It helps if I have a quiet place to go to if I feel the need or if you see that I’m having trouble concentrating but please give me the choice to go there. Do not force me to go there because it will only humiliate me in front of my friends. If you offer this ‘quiet place’ to the whole class, it helps me to accept the option without feeling centered out.
  16. I have trouble making transitions from one task to another especially if I’m doing something that I enjoy. Sometimes I can hyper focus and it’s hard for me to stop and change tasks. You can help me by giving me advance notice that we will be starting something new in a few minutes. It gives me the time that I need to work on putting the brakes on in my mind. Changing from doing something active to doing seatwork (coming in from recess or gym) is especially hard for me. Help me by slowing me down gradually and rewarding me when I settle quickly.
  17. Handwriting is difficult for me. Please let me print if I want to. Using a computer is even better because I can think faster than I can write and a computer will help me to get my thoughts down without having to worry about mistakes and organization which can be corrected later.

Great day in Halifax learning about Mental Health in the Workplace as part of Mental Illness Awareness Week Sept. 30 – Oct 6th

Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Expert Insight into Mental Health in the Workplace
Did you know? Mental illness is the leading cause of disability and lost time in the workplace. Join us, with leaders from the Halifax business community, at a Capital Health event. When you are aware of mental illness, knowing what resources are available will help to better support your employees to be at work – and be healthy. …
Dr. Michael Leiter will share information and insights on Civility Respect and Engagement at Work (CREW).  Susan Kilbride Roper, Recovery Consultant, The Empowerment Connection, will discuss mental illness in the workplace and resources available. You will also hear about Capital Health’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy for staff and physicians, currently in development. There will be some time after the presentations to network with the speakers and others in attendance.
When? 12 – 3:30 p.m. – Bring your lunch. Coffee, tea and water provided.
Where? Royal Bank Theatre, Halifax Infirmary Site, QEII 1796 Summer Street, Halifax.
I  just got back from this workshop and learned a lot about Mental health in the workplace….although it could easily have been applied to a college / university setting as well.  I was also able to network with a number of community resources in the HRM as well as learn about numerous mental health initiatives that are in the works.  It’s a great time to be involved with Mental Health and the fight against Stigma!