PODCAST 5: Transitions, Testing and Deciding Not To Be A Geneticist with Cara Fleming, School Psychologist

Cara Fleming is a school psychologist at the high school level, as well as a transition consultant.

What’s a transition consultant? I’m glad you asked. Transition consultants help kids successfully make the leap from high school to college and/or the workforce.

Cara was great to interview. We laughed a fair amount, looked at things in new ways, and discovered some interesting things along the way. Cara talks transitions, testing, and shares why she isn’t a geneticist. Her knowledge and enthusiasm really shine through. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the show.

Cara can help with questions around transition from high school, and also performs independent testing for families looking into Special Education diagnosis in the New England area. She can be contacted at CaraFlemingTransitions@gmail.com.

As usual, I can be found at ADHDessentials.com.

Or email me at brendan@ADHDessentials.com.

P.S. This was the first episode I recorded for the podcast. I’ve learned some things since then, mostly on the technical end – editing & recording techniques.  Still, I’m pretty happy with it.



Show Notes:

2:27    The child HAS to be involved in the transition process

3:31     Kids need to have something they can succeed at

5:49     Disability Awareness

7:18     Disability documentation and the transition to college

8:08     Some colleges specialize in students with disabilities

10:13   Self-Advocacy and College

11:46   ADHD Supports in College

14:06   504 vs. IEP

16:42   Why Special Ed Teachers want to be useless

18:31   But, what if my kid isn’t going to college!?!

19:01   Licenses and 504s

19:56   How to ask for accommodations in the real world

22:28   Know your disability

23:15   “How can I do a better job for you?”

23:38   Sparkle! Sparkle! Sparkle!… Documentation

25:55   Empathy for testers and school staff

27:47   Credentials to look for in outside evaluators

29:05   The Historical Perspective

30:04   ADHD leaves a footprint in cognitive testing

31:55   Transition Plans for the Post-High School World

32:45   A Three-Legged Stool on a Really Nice Rug

32:59   The Academic Leg (which Cara turns into a prong)

33:12   Performance based tasks of attention

33:35   Cara changes the stool by adding a fourth leg/prong

34:32   Cara recaps the leg/prongs

34:48   The rug is for transition planning

35:35   ONET

38:14   You have to know what’s bad about the job you want

38:55   Cara talks about transitioning from a Geneticist to a poet (to a school psychologist)

40:37   What Cara loves about her job! (Besides the kids)

41:16   Why helping kids understand who they are matters

42:31   Self knowledge shifts the locus of control to the individual

43:43   Cara’s daughter turning 15 gave her a new empathy for parents

45:06   Ending Essentials

Speaking Dates for February and March 2018

I have several workshops coming up over the next two months.  I’d love to see you at one!  Please make a point say hello (and mention this post) if you can make it!


ADHD Essentials for Parents 

Sharon Public Library, Sharon, MA

Wednesday, January 31, 6pm – 7:30pm


ADHD and Executive Function in the Public Schools (Open to Massachusetts Educators)

Massachusetts Secondary Administrator’s Association, Franklin, MA

Wednesday, February 7, 8am – 3pm


ADHD Essentials  (FULL!)

Commonwealth Learning Center, Danvers, MA

Tuesday, February 13, 7pm – 9pm


Kids with ADHD in the Dentist Chair (Private Staff Development Workshop)

Children’s Dentistry of Northborough, Northborough, MA

Thursday, February 15, 11:30am – 12:30pm


Using Scavenger Hunts to Teach Kids Life Skills

Shrewsbury Public Library, Shrewsbury, MA

Tuesday, March 13, 7:00pm – 8:30pm


ADHD Essentials

Franklin SEPAC, Franklin, MA

Thursday, March 15, 7pm – 9pm


ADHD Essentials

Shrewsbury Public Library, Shrewsbury, MA

Monday, March 26, 7:00pm – 8:30pm


ADHD in High School (Private Staff Development Workshop)

Tantasqua Regoinal Vocational High School, Sturbridge, MA

Thursday, March 29, 12pm – 2pm

PODCAST 4: Routines, Giggles and Belonging with Dan and Stacy, ADHD Parents

As I spoke with Dan and Stacy, our guests for this episode, I was struck by how clearly their love for each other and their kids came across.  Dan’s thoughfulness about how ADHD affects their family of four, and Stacy’s understanding and acceptance of the struggles it presents were moving.  As was their clear support for one another, and their children.

I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed recording it.

Let me know at brendan@ADHDessentials.com.



Show Notes:

2:44     Child Evaluation leads to Parental Diagnosis

4:42     ADHD has always been there

8:22     Counting Down for Compliance, not Completion

8:51     Routine, Practice and Habit

12:37   Kids as “Little Recorders of Us”

14:19   Giggles in the Walls

16:25   The Value of Routines

17:07   Disrupted Routines

18:32   Relationships and Belonging

24:44   Overcoming Fear at Disneyland

35:19   Evening Routines

36:06   Love and Humility

38:36   Catching Lessons

39:04   Empathy and Marginalization

41:25   Ending Essentials


PODCAST 3: Separating Attitude from Performance with Michele Monteiro, Special Education Teacher

Episode 3 finds me talking to Michele Monteiro.  She’s a special education teacher at a school for kids with social, emotional, and other disabilities.  Many of her students have ADHD.

We talk aobut how students taking, or not taking, their prescribed medication affects both themselves, and their classmates, the importance of letting kids earn back your opinion of them when they mess up, and the transformative power of chef Boyardee and ramen.

Side Note:

During our conversation, Michele and I express frustration with the the fact that not all educators are able to understand/respect the social and emotional challenges of their students. No offense is intended. I’ve worked with a great many teachers and administrators who deeply value social emotional learning. And, given that you’re here, I’m sure you do too.

Thanks for listening!  I hope you enjoy it.

As usual, I can be reached at brendan@ADHDessentials.com.



Show Notes:

2:10      Bit by ADHD

3:40      Time Blindness

6:31      How not taking Prescribed Meds affects classroom

10:16      Shame and ADHD

16:18      Effort Grades

17:26      Separating attitude from performance

18:08      Earning point back by doing well afterward

19:15      Teaching Self-Care

21:06      Why Projects don’t work for Michele’s population

22:08      Emotions Beat Academics

22:31      ADHD & Comorbidities

23:12      Why Michele Loves Her Job

24:38      The Value of Kids Putting Their Heads on Their Desks

27:31      Managing the Emotional Drain

27:47      The Value of Shared Experience

29:23      The Transformative Power of Chef Boyardee and Ramen

30:23      On Self-Care

31:55      Self Care Outside of School

32:31      Being Goofy in Class

34:22      Ending Essential

PODCAST 2: What Parents Have to Learn with Sam Gardner, Parent of a child with ADHD

Episode 2!

In this episode, I’m talking with Sam Gardner.  Sam is the mother of a daughter with ADHD.  (Even better, her daughter is in middle school!)  Sam shares the frustration, joy and adventure of being part of a family affected by ADHD.  We talk about selfcare, the importance of learning how best to manage your kid with ADHD, and the importance of recognizing growth in yourself and your child.

Thanks for listening!  I hope you enjoy it.

Let me know what you think – brendan@ADHDessentials.com.



Show Notes:


2:00                 How School reveals ADHD

2:40                 Why you might not be a Helicopter Parent

3:30                 Managing Teachers when you have a kid with ADHD

4:27                 School Struggles

5:17                 Letting Go and Letting the Kid Take the Lead

7:45                 The Importance of Breaking Parental habits to Help the Kid

9:21                 ADHD Outside of School

9:34                 Fearlessness and Getting Lost at Target

11:07               Disney’s “The Circle”

12:31               Social Media & Technology Challenges

17:23               Good Things ADHD Adds

20:27               The Value of Having Friends Who also have kids with ADHD

20:50               The Ripple Effect of Joining the School Play

22:05              What Parents Have to Learn

25:40               Self Care

30:05               How an Outside Perspective Helps you See Growth

34:24               On Medication

36:57               Judgment from Other Parents

39:10               Ending Essential




PODCAST 1: Overview of ADHD with Dr. David Nowell, ADHD Expert

It’s the very first episode of the ADHD Essentials podcast!

In this episode, I’m joined by Dr. David Nowell.  He’s a clinical neuropsychologist, international speaker, and renowned expert on ADHD.

This episode is an overview of ADHD.  We talk about it all!  How ADHD works in the brain, the role of dopamine, behavior management, reframing perspectives, even mindfulness.  It’s a wide ranging discussion filled with science, stories and strategies.

Dr. Nowell can be found at DrNowell.com.

Thanks for listening!



Show Notes:

1:30                 10 Second Grocery Store Description of ADHD

3:52                 ADHD/Asthma Metaphor

4:37                 Diagnosis Based on Severity / Functional Impairment

6:12                 ADHD Genes, and heritability

8:32                 ADHD Brain Basis

11:16               ADHD Look-a-likes

12:20               Major Life Changes and ADHD

13:12               Major Life Changes from the Kid’s Perspective

18:52              Systems for Kids to Manage ADHD Now and in the future.

19:39               Raising a Healthy, Well Adjusted 26 Year Old

22:44               Managing ADHD with Bright Line Rules

35:33               On Attention

38:51               Reframing the Point of Homework

40:44               Stories about ADHD Testing

42:32               How to get paid $800/hr… Sort of.

44:08               Brief Recap

44:35               Mindfulness as an ADHD Treatment