PODCAST 9: Playing and Pausing with Dr. Kirsten Milliken, ADHD Parent and ADHD Expert

I had a blast talking to my friend Dr. Kirsten Milliken. We started off doing an episode for her show, Your ADHD Life, and wrapped up with this episode of ADHD Essentials. Kirsten is a psychologist, a mother (with ADHD) of two boys (one with ADHD, one without), and an ADHD coach! So there was a lot to talk about.

In today’s episode, we discuss about her journey to getting an ADHD diagnosis as an adult, her book PlayDHD, and the importance of learning how to pause when moments get heated. She also indulged me as I told her about a scavenger hunt I created for my boys that was inspired by her work.

There’s a lot in this one.  I hope you enjoy it!


Dr. Kirsten Milliken can be found at YourADHDLife.com.

Her book, PlayDHD, can be found here.

And you can contact her here.


Let me now what you think of today’s episode by emailing me at Brendan@ADHDessentials.com.



Show Notes:


2:06     How Dr. Kirsten became diagnosed with ADHD

4:07     Missing signs of ADHD because you’re too close to them

5:11     The “ah-ha” moment of diagnosis

6:18     Professionals who “get” ADHD tend to have ADHD

6:49     Not all clinicians understand ADHD at a deep enough level

7:45     ADHD is a matter of degree

8:30     Does our distracted culture make it harder to prove ADHD is valid?

8:58     Yes. Unless you have a good metaphor

9:31     ADHD, asthma, and our distracted culture

11:23   Going back to Dr. Kirsten as a parent

11:38   ADHD adds a lot of fun!

12:01   Folks with ADHD can be frustrating for nonADHDers

12:52   Oftentimes strong emotions spread from mm to son, and vice versa

13:15   Wanting things to be better for our kids

14:03   The emotional challenges of ADHD

14:31   The movie “Up” gets Oliver down

14:58   “As a parent, I wanna fix that!”

15:17   Uncomfortable emotions mean you care

15:49   The challenge of being less emotionally reactive

16:04   Naming our emotions helps us control them

16:27   They’re not trying to upset us

16:56   “This is” vs. “You are”

17:04   PlayDHD

17:45   Brendan and Kirsten’s first meeting

18:28   Usibng play to help kids manage ADHD

19:18   The link between ADHD and play

20:01   What the doc means by play

21:03   Using play to help kids clean their room

23:00   Kirsten inspires Brendan’s scavenger hunt

23:53   The clues built the skills

25:05   Addressing social emotional needs with the hunt

26:41   You can use play to teach lids things

27:02   There’s a reason kids with ADHD can be class clowns.

27:16   “Just a doctor”

28:01   Coaching is the best model for treating ADHD

28:15   Coaching vs. Therapy

28:44   Therapy is about “fixing” yourself

29:19   Coaching is about where you want to go

30:41   Your ADHD Life

32:36   If you understand, you can help

32:47   Ending Essential

34:13   Managing the pause

35:58   Finding the pause after the reaction

37:41   Modeling the pause