About Me

Tacoma, WA, United States
I was the Executive Director of the national non-profit organization, Attention Deficit Disorder Resources, (addresources.org), for 15 years. I am well prepared to provide you with excellent coaching. I graduated from the International Coach Academy, a coaching school certified by the Inter-national Coach Federation and I have a Master's Degree in Social Work. Over the past 15 years, I have talked with numerous people about their ADHD concerns and have attended or presented at a number of ADHD workshops and conferences. I have lived, and eventually thrived, with ADHD which was diagnosed when I was 49. I am married and have three adult sons, two with ADHD. I live in Tacoma, WA although born and raised in a small New England town. I was in the Peace Corps, toured China in 1983 when it first opened to the outside world, and seen much of the United Staes, especially our beautiful national parks. My interests, beyond helping people with ADHD achieve their full potential, are playing brain games on the computer, reading, travel, bicycling, skiing and hiking.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Memory Issues and Social Relationships

An additional challenge for developing relationships for many with ADHD is our poor memories. What are the names of your best friend's three children? What schools are they going to? Where was it they last went on their vacation? Who is due to have a baby? And when? Being told these kinds of personal details and then not referring to them in future conversations presents a huge stumbling block to creating long-term relationships.

People want to feel they are important, that their activities and successes and failures are shared and valued by their friends. Friends who consistently say, "I don't remember that" or "I forgot you told me that." give the impression that they didn't care enough to remember.

In addition, people who avoid certain topics because they don't remember key information find it hard to build a long-term relationship. When you are unable to share memories and details of your times together, you give the impression that you are not truly interested in them and don't value their friendship.

Strategies for Poor Memory and Social Relationships
Unfortunately, a poor memory is not likely to go away—in fact, it will probably worsen as you age! Learn strategies to minimize the impact. Make notes on your friends--their likes and dislikes, their interests, their important relationships and activities--and review them before your next get-together. Subscribe to a service that will send birthday cards, etc. for you. You can set it up for the whole year at one time. When you learn the names of new neighbors, write them down and review occasionally. Prepare before meeting with someone you haven't seen for awhile. Ask about what you know is important to them and what is going on in their lives. Demonstrate that you remember important details of things they have told you.

ADHD Coaching can help you learn and practice the skills to compensate for a poor memory. Contact Cynthia now to set up a trial coaching session by calling her at 253-238-0729.

What Are Ways To Improve Social Relationships?

The first step to improved social interactions is to become aware of what you are doing that is harmful. Monitor yourself.

Are you truly listening or are you only waiting until you can put in your two cents worth? If so, make a commitment, that for the next month, you will focus completely on being a good listener--you will hyper-focus on this. If you say anything at all, it will be only to ask a simple, short question to clarify or expand what the speaker is saying. If you are listening to just one other person, occasionally ask her if you can say back what you heard her saying. And then just do it, simply and concisely. Don't add anything. Give her a chance to say if you have correctly understood what she said and then let her proceed while you return to your role as the good listener.

Are you interrupting others? Again, awareness is the key. Become aware of yourself in your interactions. If you are interrupting, take steps to stop it. When you feel the urge coming on, take a sip of water, make a note, take a deep breath and hold it for a second, think, "relax." Don't interrupt...and if you do, immediately recognize it, apologize for interrupting and encourage the speaker to go on.

What about changing the topic, going off on an unrelated tangent? Again, become aware if you have a tendency to do this and stop yourself. People don't appreciate it and will not view you kindly.

For the bigger problems--not paying enough attention and consistent attention to your friends--reflect on how much you want to improve your relationships. How much do you value having good friendships and what are you willing to do? Good friendships don't just happen. They take nurturing and care. Are you willing to do what is necessary? Will you make good friendships and relationships a priority? When you have the choice between learning about your new computer and going to a movie with a friend, will you put a higher value on going to the movie because of the long-term payoff? The choice is yours.

Put the pieces into place for nurturing your relationships. When you are talking with a friend, make your plans for the next time you will get together, make a firm commitment and get it on your calendar. Learn to use a computer-based program that will remind you of important dates--birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Get all the contact information for each of your friends recorded. Buy assorted cards and stamps to have on hand so you can easily remember birthdays and anniversaries. When shopping, pick up neat items you can use as unexpected gifts for friends. Buy tickets to some activity and ask them to go with you. Purposely tell them how much you appreciate their friendship, how much you enjoy the time you spend together, how much you look forward to some event you will be going to together in the future. Don't let too much time go by without being in touch with those whose friendship you value.

ADHD coaching can help you develop the friendships you desire. Contact Cynthia now to set up a trial coaching session by calling 253-238-0729 or emailing her at info@cynthiahammer.com

Maintaining Friendships Can be a Struggle for Those with ADD/ADHD

Maintaining friendships can be a struggle for those with ADD/ADHD, but positive relationships are important in our lives. Without them we can feel isolated and alone. With them we feel connected and valued.

In What Ways Can ADHD Negatively Impact Social Relationships?
Recently, the headline on a news site listed the five best ways to be happy in life. The first thing listed was to highly consider the needs of friends. It would seem that those with ADHD might consistently receive a low score in this area. We get caught up in our own lives, challenged with trying to manage all that is happening, so that we often fail to think about others and what we can do for them.

When we are overwhelmed, even thinking about doing one more thing is one thing too many. If this "one more thing" is for someone else, it can easily never make it onto our radar screens. We tell ourselves, "It is not that important." "They won't notice that I don't send a thank you note...send a birthday card...get them a small gift of appreciation...call them to congratulate them on a recent success...whatever. The opportunity to show a friend that we care about them and that they are important to us comes...and goes....and we have done it again--or should I say "not done it again." Friends that don't feel acknowledged and appreciated on a regular basis can often fall to the wayside as they ask themselves, "What is there in this relationship for me?"

A recent client told me he enjoys having friends, but often gets bored with them, feeling the need for a break. He finds it hard to be consistent in regularly enjoying their company, regularly paying them attention and providing them with goodwill. On other occasions, something else takes precedence for how he spends his time. He chooses learning to use his new computer, as this interests him more than going to a movie with his friend.

His erratic behavior--"I want to be with you today but then might not want to see you for several months"--is not the way to handle friendships. The person on the receiving end of this kind of friendship might feel used--"He only contacts me when he has nothing better to do."

Other Issues Regarding Relationships
Then there are the common complaints: People with ADHD don't listen. They interrupt. They introduce totally unrelated topics. In other words, they miss the beats of social interactions.

ADHD Coaching can help you develop healthy and satisfying relationships. Contact Cynthia fto set up a trial session at 253-238-0729 or info@cynthiahammer.com

What Does This Mean: "It's an Explanation; Not an Excuse."?

Have you ever heard the expression ,"It's an explanation, not an excuse" when people talk about ADHD behaviors?

The wording of this slogan is confusing. What does it mean? What is the difference between an explanation and an excuse? The dictionary definition for "explain" is , "making clear or intelligible something that is not known or understood" while the definition for "excuse" (there were several but these meant the most to me) is "to try to free a person from blame; to serve as an explanation or justification for: to justify, exculpate, absolve." People who have given up on themselves, and feel their ADHD will never allow them to be successful, might be tempted to use ADHD as an excuse--a reason they give themselves about why they aren't more successful; why they might not even want to try.

To manage your ADHD in a healthy manner, this paradigm needs to shift. Yes, ADHD causes challenges in your life, but in trying to be your best, you need to be willing to work to overcome or manage your challenges. You focus on your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

If you are motivated to make ADHD an explanation for how you function, and not an excuse for why you fail, then coaching could be the tool that will bring you to the next level in your life's satisfactions. Call Cynthia now at 253-238-0729 to discuss whether coaching is appropriate for you.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Is It You or Your ADHD?

Have you ever wondered which of your behaviors can be attributed to ADHD and which are just you?

I use to ponder this conundrum frequently after I got diagnosed. But with time, this dicotomy has lost interest and relevance for me.

Certainly, it is helpful to do all you can with medications and/or other interventions to make your brain function the best it can be, but after that "you are on your own--sink or swim."

It is believed that those who became adults with undiagnosed ADHD lack many skills. But whether I lack skills because of my ADHD or for other reasons, my goal is to be as successful in life as I can be and to help others with ADHD do the same.

Do you have goals you have been unable to meet on your own? Do you lack skills so that your life is a continual challenge? Learn the value of partnering with an ADHD coach to increase your success quotient. Call Cynthia now at 253-238-0729 to discuss whether coaching is appropriate for you.

Monday, February 11, 2008

One Bad Week Doesn't Make a Whole Life

Have you ever had a day, or a week, or even a month, when nothing seemed to go right? You go from getting up late, to not finding anything clean to wear in your closet, to driving too fast to work and getting a speeding ticket, to forgetting your lunch in the refrigerator, and on it goes.

How do you get things to improve? For most, our tendency would be to try harder, to make up for the lost time, to hustle about so we don't get even further behind. But if you understand the ADHD brain, you would realized this is the wrong reaction.

As we get overwhelmed and discouraged, we get scattered and even less able to function well. When things aren't going well, take a break. Reduce your stress. Look about and take a slow, deep breath. Think of positive things. Put a smile on your face.

Coaching helps you apply the skills to make your days go smoothly, more enjoyably. Make a free call to Cynthia now at 253-238-0729 to discuss whether coaching is appropriate for you.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Too Many Irons in the First

How do you prevent overload in your life? Can you see it coming? Do you have a good idea of how many tasks you can be successfully juggling without coming apart at the seams? Do you realistically plan your time, and have a realistic idea how long planned tasks will take? Have you learned to be assertive in saying, "I'd love to, but I'll need to check my calendar first." What steps have you been taking to prevent ADHD overload?

One trick I have for getting things done is to tell someone else what I am planning to do. But , last month, I got in over my head, giving myself too much to do. I managed, but I was irritable, forgetful, and more disorganized. It took me several weeks to recover my good spirits and enthusiasm for life. Too many irons in the fire is not the way to live a good life. Let coaching help you learn to prevent burn out by not putting too many irons in the fire.

Make a free call to Cynthia now at 253-238-0729 to discuss whether coaching is appropriate for you.