What Happens at an ADDA Conference
What Happens at an ADDA Conference?
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the ADDA Conference in Minneapolis, MN. I am sure some of you wonder exactly what happens during a conference like this. You might have questions as to whether this is something you should attend, as someone living with ADHD, or if it is mostly for professionals, dealing with patients and clients with ADHD?
Quite honestly, a conference like this is meant to help all people impacted by ADHD. This might be an adult living with ADHD and looking for strategies to help them cope with daily symptoms and succeed. It may be a parent, or a spouse, trying to help and to understand someone they love. Or it may be a medical professional, wanting to learn more about ADHD in order to better help their patients. Or an ADHD coach, interested in gaining more understanding and more knowledge about living with ADHD to better serve their clients.
Imagine a room full of people without ADHD. You may feel self-conscious, believing you are being judged for the mistakes you are making. Maybe you forget someone's name, even though you were introduced just a few minutes ago. Or you are embarrassed when you are running late or your papers fall all over the floor due to your disorganization.
Now imagine again, the room is full of people with ADHD. No one judges you because you forgot their name, chances are, they forgot yours too. And meetings, well, are mostly on time, but then again, may begin a little later than planned, and straggler, rather than being judged, is simply welcomed into the meeting. And disorganization, that is more common than you believe. Here, you can feel at home. Here, you do not need to pretend to be "normal." Here, you can be yourself and be accepted.
The medical professionals attending, for the most part, also have ADHD. Those that do not are not here to judge, but to learn and understand.
Conferences are inspirational as well. Speakers will focus on what you can accomplish, not what you cannot. ADHD is not looked at as a handicap, but a blessing. Doctors, psychologists and coaches will talk about strengths, inspiring those attending to push themselves to reach their goals.
During the conference there were many different seminars to attend. During each session, attendees could choose which seminar would best fit their situation and provide them with information to help them succeed. Although the topics covered in the seminars are too vast to cover, some examples include;
- Medical Management of ADHD
Dads with ADHD
College Life and Success with ADHD
ADHD and the Criminal Justice System
ADHD Over 45
Toolkit for Creating Desired Change
ADHD Online Support
Why am I Always Angry?
Breaking Free from the Pursuit of Perfection
Living and Thriving with ADHD
Sleeping and ADHD
Meditation and ADHD
The above list is only a sample of the different seminars that could be attended. No matter what you struggle with, what barriers you need to overcome, more than likely there was information to help you in your life.
- Medical Management of ADHD
Besides learning, however, are the many social interactions. During break times, attendees get a chance to meet people from around the country living with ADHD. People shared stories, experiences and successes. They shared strategies that worked in their life.
A number of people I spoke with at the conference talked with me about their experience. One of the themes I heard over and over was how people no longer felt alone in their struggles. They were heading back home, not only with knowledge, but, with email addresses and phone numbers of people they had met. Connection with other people, I heard over and over, was more rewarding than any other aspect of the conference.