Gamifying ADHD

Family life can be chaotic at the best of times. Add ADHD or other learning disabilities to the mix and it can be tough for families to get through a regular day. Brili is an app that empowers parents and children through its real-time daily activity guide, monitoring and fun reward system. Kids stay motivated and on track while parents see positive improvements, less negativity and lower stress, both at home and at school.


Five facts you might not know about ADHD

Laura MacNiven
ADHD into adulthood

In founding a clinic that specializes in ADHD, I guess I always knew that supporting children with focusing issues would be a rewarding experience. When we opened Springboard Clinic in 2009, ADHD in children was well-known and although we were set up to see all ages, it was our expectation that we would see a much higher percentage of young people than adults. Within weeks of opening, however, we began to understand both the need for adult services as well as the fascinating and deep journey of seeing and counselling adults.

I remember the first time I experienced my “aha moment” for an adult client with ADHD.

My colleague and I had just finished a feedback appointment with an 8-year old girl. She fit the criteria for ADHD and she was brave, articulate and expressed a readiness to be coached and learn more about how her symptoms were affecting her. She was motivated to feel better at home and at school. She was a vibrant person and I felt excited for her journey ahead.

She left the room so we could chat alone with her mother for a few minutes. The second her daughter walked out of the room, her mother – an encouraging, compassionate, put together, successful and polished woman in her 30s – burst into tears. She put her head in her hands and she sobbed. We waited a few moments and when she looked up at us through her tears, I expected her to share how hard it is for her to have a child diagnosed with ADHD. Instead, all she could muster was, “me, too”. And I knew what she meant.

She finally found her words. “I am…I have always been just like her. I never knew quite why I felt the way I always have felt. Always almost pulling it off. I’ve been on anti-depressants for years but I’m not depressed. I just never saw it before. I have every symptom you describe. I know exactly how she feels. Please help me, too.”

She wasn’t crying because she was sad or worried, or even angry about her child’s diagnosis. She was crying with relief, with hope, and she was flooded by a realization that in that moment she had found the answer she had been looking for. She, like her daughter, would be successfully diagnosed and treated for ADHD.

Over the past seven years, I have been honoured to join in the journey of hundreds of adults who are diagnosed with ADHD later in life; who bravely go through the process of re-defining themselves, exploring their impact on their relationships and finding new ways to cope with their symptoms. Understanding ADHD is not about finding an excuse for who you are, or being labelled for what you can’t do. It’s about starting a journey of hope and learning to impact positively those around you all the more. Most importantly to me, it is about moving forward, despite mental health symptoms, to a place of peace and self-worth.

More than one million Canadian families are affected by ADHD.

Laura MacNiven is the co-founder of Springboard Clinic, a mental health resource that provides innovative curriculum and strategies for people living with ADHD, learning challenges, and related mental health issues.

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