ADHD · Organization

5 Ways to Contain the Chaos

Confession time…I meant to get this post done right after the first of the year.  My house was under attack by Mono and just last week I finally got both my kiddos back to school.  This combined with the launch of our ebook …. well I hope you can understand why I fell a bit behind.

Have the holidays left you with more toys and stuff than you know what do with?  I interviewed professional organizer Dawn Cannon from Finely Organized and here is our list of ADHD friendly ways to help kids clean up their space.

  1. Create Boundaries
    • Clutter is unmade decisions.  If you give your child a folder for all of their Pokemon cards and the # of cards exceeds the slots in the folder….time to purge!
  2. Donate, Donate, Donate
    • It is very important to involve your kiddo in this step!  You don’t want them to come home and all of the sudden half their American Girl Doll wardrobe is MIA!  For best results, purge with your kiddo right after dosing their medication.  Take it in small chunks.  For example, if your child is 5 years old purge for 10 minutes.
  3. Have Different Rooms for Different Activities
    • Or at least dedicated areas…if your ADHDer must study in their room, give them a desk to organize their stuff and their thoughts.
  4. Soften the Blow of Letting Things Go
    • Does your kiddo struggle with the act of giving things away?  Do their eyes well up with tears when that mountain of stuffed animals start looking for new homes?  Try using a video like this to paint the picture of a child that truly needs their donation.
  5. Use Timers and Warnings
    • After you’ve done the hard work of organizing, help your kiddo keep it clean!  Give warnings before playtime is over and set a timer when it’s time to start cleaning up!

It’s ok to admit when you are in over your head…or just don’t have the time to get it all done.  Reach out to a professional organizer like Finely Organized.


daze-- (1)

Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for keeping your kiddo organized?  Please share in the comments below.


ADHD · Parenting · school

How to Request a School Evaluation for your ADHDer

There are times in everyone’s lives when you have to make the hard decision.  A choice that you know is not going to win you any friends but in the end, it is the right decision to make.

I think this is the third blog I’ve done about my negotiations with the school.  Read more about it here and here.  Today I’m telling all of you I have made the decision to request a school evaluation for my ADHDer.  I know this isn’t going to win me any friends at the school…and this is a hard thing for me to do because I am a people pleaser.  But you know when you just have this feeling deep down inside that this is the right (although unpopular) path to take…that’s where I am.  It helps that I got validation from a few other experts that this is worth the fight.

So all my fellow ADHD warriors…here is my research on the best way to request a school evaluation:

There’s no Reason to Reinvent the Wheel

If you too have made the decision to pursue a formal evaluation from your kiddos school, Understood has assembled this fabulous collection of templates to walk you through the process.  Don’t forget to document, document, document!!

Someone just Point me in the Right Direction

Another quick read from Understood with a numbered list to get you through the requesting process.  I LOVE me a good check list!  I like their suggestions on follow through…too often I go through all the steps but fall short of following up.

One More Template for Ya…

This request for assessment is sort of a catch-all that combines a few of the one above.  Warmline is an organization I just found…seems like a gem:)


daze-- (1)

Have you navigated through the school evaluation process?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


ADHD · Holiday · Parenting

A Survival Guide for the ADHD Household & the Holidaze

A quick show of hands…who has seen the new Bad Moms movie?  If you are not raising your hand right now, stop reading this and get yourself to the theater.  As a parent to an ADHDer this movie speaks your language.  While Christmas is most definitely the Superbowl for moms, a family touched by ADHD is playing with the odds stacked against them.

How do you survive?  And if you are really good even ENJOY the holidays?  Here a few of my tricks…

  1. Cue the Frozen soundtrack….”Let it Go, Let it Go!!”  I know you want the picture perfect holiday but let’s get real…what does that look like?  Your kids are already overstimulated this time of year so dragging them to a million holiday events and errands is only going to make the situation go from bad to worse.  If you just can’t seem to get the holiday cards out this year, skip it…or make it a Valentine’s Day card.
  2. What are your priorities?  Ask yourself, ask your kids and ask your significant other and then make a list.  Keep the list short and put those things on the calendar.  Then you know what you can say yes to when the evites start rolling in.
  3. I have waxed poetic about my love for my holiday binder before…but I have to give it another shout-out here.  Although I would love to say I have it all together but it’s not perfect.  But it is a place where I can go to find all my decorating ideas, favorite holiday recipes, and shopping lists.  Check out this article for a detailed breakdown of how to put one together.
  4. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.  My hubby is way more proficient at wrapping gifts than I am.  I’m very lucky that he jumps in to help with this task and it takes just one more thing off my plate.

The opening scene of Bad Moms where Amy is sitting in the aftermath of a holiday gone catastrophic can be avoided.  Let’s face it our households have enough crazy…and then there are the holidays where the crazy is turned up a notch!

daze-- (1)

What tips or tricks do you have to keep your holidays on track?  Comment below to share your ideas.

ADHD · school

IEPs, 504s and ADHD…OH MY! (Part 2)

I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving and enjoyed time with their friends and family.  I’ve got to be honest with the holiday and one kid coming down with mono I’ve been a bit behind on doing my research for our upcoming IEP meeting.

And the big day was supposed to be today!  YIKES!!

I’ve just requested an extension but in the meantime here’s where I’m at:

Last week I described what was going on with our IEP process.  My biggest concern at the moment is Pickles’ executive functioning skills and how this will play out into junior high and beyond.  This week I’ve dove deeper into Wrightslaw.  An amazing resource that you need to check out if you haven’t done so already. (I purchased their Second Edition Law ebook and I’ve only made it to the 4th of 12 chapters)

Here are a few things that have stood out for me:

  1. The mission statement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is, “. . . to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living . . . [and] to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected . . .”
    • Preparing them for further education should include transitioning into upper grades.
  2. After reviewing 2 court notable cases for special education in the 1970s Congress wrote, “Parents of handicapped children all too frequently are not able to advocate the rights of their children because they have been erroneously led to believe that their children will not be able to lead meaningful lives . . . . It should not . . . be necessary for parents throughout the country to continue utilizing the courts to assure themselves a remedy ”
    • It’s interesting and disheartening to note that generations of parents before me have had to take their fight up to the highest level of our judicial system.
  3. Under IDEA a child with a disability is defined as “not automatically eligible for special education and related services under IDEA. The key phrase is “who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.” Does the child’s disability adversely affect educational performance? To be eligible for a free, appropriate public education under the IDEA, the child must meet both criteria.  If a child has a disability but does not need “special education and related services,” the child will not be eligible under IDEA but may be eligible for protections under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
    • I need to find a special education related service to meet the needs of my daughter in order to justify her IEP.
  4. I’ve spoken with friends that are both general education and special education teachers.  While they understand my concern for lagging executive function skills moving forward, nobody has the secret sauce for securing her IEP.
    • Do I just sign and agree to move to a 504?  I haven’t given up hope but I’m definitely feeling frustrated.


daze-- (1)

Anyone else out there have advice on how to keep an IEP?

ADHD · school

IEPs and 504s and ADHD….OH MY!!!

I’m feeling a bit like Dorthy right now.  Lost and scared about the journey I am on.  Which path should I choose?

I am at a crossroad with the education plan for my daughter.  As many of you know Pickles is diagnosed with ADHD but speech articulation delays qualified her for an IEP at her elementary school.  About a month ago I received a call from her speech teacher informing me that Pickles had met all of her speech goals.  Seems like a reason for celebration right?

Wrong!  Of course, I’m thrilled that her language skills have improved (she no longer sounds like she comes from the East Coast).  Her speech IEP created a legal document with the school district to provide services to improve her speech and accommodations for her ADHD.  Unfortunately, now that her speech services are ending this agreement will terminate.

“What about a 504?”  This is the question I hear over and over.  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 focuses on accommodations, modifications, services, and improved building accessibility to provide access to education.  Section 504 does not require public schools to provide an educational program that is individualized to meet the needs of a disabled child with the goal of enabling the child to become independent and self-sufficient. A Section 504 Plan does not have the protections that are available to the child who has an IEP.

In other words, a 504 will provide the accommodations we currently have in place with her IEP.   It doesn’t set up a system of checks and balances that will ensure these accommodations lead to a successful future for my daughter.

Two years ago when I was faced with the same decision (speech services ending and the school wanting to move to a 504) I signed the paperwork without a second thought.  Now that I know more I’m questioning this decision.  I don’t want to make the wrong one!

The problem is she is having a great school year.  She has friends, her grades are good and she was just nominated the student of the month by her teacher.  I know this is a good problem to have….but I can’t help but see the irony that she has to be failing before special education law/reform identify the need to keep services in place.

I’m in the early phases of educating myself on the nuances of all of this.  I’ve already spent several hours reading up on special education law.  It is my hope that I can break this down in a way that is easy (or a little less intimidating) for all of us to understand.  “Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore.”

daze-- (1)

What are your experiences with IEPs and 504s?  Please share in the comments below.


Social Media

Just the Best! 2017 Health Blog Nomination

EEEEEEEEEEEK!!!  I’m so excited to share with everyone that ADHDaze has been nominated by Healthline for the Most Loved Health Blogs Contest for 2017.  My mission to advocate for families touched by ADHD is gaining speed.

First place in the contest will take home $1,000.  If I am lucky enough to take home the grand prize I will donate these funds to CHADD.  The National Resource Center on ADHD.

I need your help.  Please take a minute to vote for me.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1.     Click on the badge above.
  2. should appear. Enter your email and click “VOTE”
  3.    A box asking you to confirm you are not a robot will appear.  Check the box.
  4.     You will be returned to the voting page.  SUCCESS!!!
  • Then do it once again EVERY 24-hours!

Thank you!

ADHD · Ebook

How to Talk about ADHD with Courage (lessons from my little girl)

Plato wrote, “Courage is knowing what not to fear.” I thought of these words as I sat in the multipurpose room packed with parents and educators from our community.

My 11-year-old daughter was sitting with a panel of experts facilitating a discussion on ADHD.  I could barely hold back the tears as she read a passage from our soon to be released book on our life with ADHD.  

“I went back to school after I was diagnosed.  One of my great friends, Davis, asked me if I had autism.  I said, “no, but I do have ADHD.”  Davis replied, oh good, I don’t know what that is, but I’m sure I will learn about it.”  That reassured me that no one would tease me about my ADHD, and no one ever has.”  Simple and honest logic from a girl who has chosen to see the gifts in her diagnosis.

When she finished reading, thunderous applause filled the room.  It has taken me years of research and soul-searching to openly discuss the subject of her ADHD diagnosis.  I was awestruck with her poise and courage as she shared her deepest struggles with the audience.

I began blogging about my journey parenting a family touched by ADHD last year.  My hope was to educate myself about this disorder and help others in my position along the way.  This led to the decision to work on a book about ADHD with my daughter.

Pickles may struggle to get out the door on time every morning.  She needs extra help organizing her school work every week. But next time I need to find the courage to advocate for ADHD awareness, I don’t have to look far for a shining example of how to be strong.  

daze-- (1)

What obstacle has your child overcome that has made you step back and take notice?  Please share your triumph in the comments.



ADHD Awarness Bracelet Update

How can a little bracelet remove barriers to learning for kiddos struggling with ADHD?  I announced at the beginning of the month that I had teamed up with Happiesbetter and Eureka Union School District to raise funds to purchase accommodations for the district’s library.

I wanted to give you an update on how we are doing at meeting our goal of 60 bracelets sold.  We are currently at 25. sold 41% of goal.

Don’t miss your opportunity to buy one today.  In addition, if you live in the Greater Sacramento Area you can attend our Exploring ADHD workshop and purchase a bracelet.

ADHD · school

What is an Accommodation and Why do I Need One?

Eye exams are pretty routine throughout childhood.  If you fail an eye exam, you get glasses.  Nobody really thinks twice about it.  You might suffer a few “four eyes” comments but I think kids with glasses are adorable.  Glasses are a tool to improve vision.

Now imagine if your child has a learning disability or struggles to stay focused in class.  You would want to provide the tools to access learning along with their peers.  These are called accommodations.  According to accommodations remove barriers to learning.  They don’t change what your child is learning but how they are learning it.

For example, if your child has trouble sitting still and focusing while the teacher is talking a stretchy band around the legs of their chair is an accommodation.  They can kick the band to get the wiggles out in an unobtrusive way and the movement will help them maintain focus.  This accommodation is a win for the entire class.  It helps the student stay focused and reduces the disruptions for both the teacher and the classroom.

Before Pickles was diagnosed with ADHD I didn’t understand accommodations.  I felt sorry for those kids who were asked to sit outside the group at carpet time in Kindergarten.  I had no idea that their special cushion was giving them the sensory feedback their body needed.  Now I know how to seek out the tools my kids need to excel.  Here are a few things that have worked for us:

  • gum (the old school bubble gum that makes them work really hard to chew)
  • noise canceling headphones for testing
  • preferential seating in the classroom
  • squeezy balls
  • a separate area for testing
  • teacher redirects

In honor of ADHD awareness month, I’m participating in a fundraiser to purchase accommodations for Eureka School District.  Please click here for more info.



ADHD Awareness Event & Fundraiser

Do you want to be part of the conversation that is tearing down walls around the stigma of ADHD?  Join me at a workshop Celebrating Neurodiversity: Exploring ADHD on Thursday, October 26th at Maidu Elementary School.  This parent and educator workshop is presented by Eureka Union School District in support of ADHD Awareness month.  Here are a peek at the evening’s itinerary with a focus on the theme “Knowing is Better.”

Register Now


IMG_6706.JPG 2
ADHD awareness bracelets in 2 kid sizes and an adult version.

Don’t miss your chance to be part of this important conversation!  Register now by clicking the button below.

Register Now

I huge thank you to our sponsors:

hb green and blue