PODCAST 8: Slow Mornings, Smashed Tasks, and Kindness Clipboards with Stephanie Letourneau, 3rd Grade Teacher

On one of the recent snow days, I sent a message to my friend Stephanie Letourneau and asked if she’d let me interview her for the podcast. She agreed, and I’m glad she did. What followed was an excellent discussion about helping our kids break down tasks, manage their emotions, and feel included.

Another topic we discuss is the challenging shift that occurs between 2nd and 3rd grade. This type of shift also happens between 3rd and 4th grade, and during the transitions from elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, and from high school to college. So, although the strategies Stephanie shares come from the perspective of a third grade classroom, they can be adapted across grade and age levels, and used both in school, and at home.

If you need any help adapting the ideas in this episode, feel free to contact me at Brendan@ADHDessentials.com.

And, as usual, I can be found at www.ADHDessentials.com.



Show Notes: 

2:05     Why the transition from 2nd to 3rd grade is hard for students and for Stephanie

4:06     How the transition affects ADHD students

4:44     Learning to read vs. Reading to learn

6:43     Summer regression

7:06     Smash the Task!

7:13     The value of starting slow

8:08     Smash the Task Part II

9:57     One task at a time with clear instructions

10:16   Two kids with ADHD: One’s done, the other hasn’t started.

11:04   Brendan tries to translate the tips hiding in the story

13:10   Writing is thinking

13:45   Choice helps with engagement

14:44   But too much choice can be overwhelming

15:55   Know your kid’s learning styles

16:20   Things that work for ADHD kids are just good teaching strategies

16:32   School is not an office!

16:51   It’s not in the curriculum, but teaching kids to recognize their emotions matters

17:30   Slowing down the morning is about getting the emotions in line

17:56   10 minute guided meditations help with transition

18:40   Spaghetti toes

19:36   NOTE: An OT is an occupational therapist

20:13   Putting work into helping kids transition

21:05   Teaching strategies, development gaps, and the nature of ADHD

22:57   Grade-to-grade transitions, ADHD, and regression

24:25   Making sure their brains are ready

25:07   Allow time for transition. Even at home.

25:39   Alternative Seating

27:45   Systems and discussions help navigate seating (and other) conflicts.

28:11   ADHD kids like the rockers. (Tired kids do too!)

28:50   Go Noodle

29:38   Sometimes you have to stop and take a break

30:25   A lesson from Stephanie’s grandma

31:02   Meditation and “A Stitch in Time Save Nine”.

32:03   YouTube advocates lying to children

33:37   ADHD kids are more likely to be bullied

33:52   Making the classroom safe for everyone.

34:58   Creating an inclusive environment

35:29   Kindness Clipboards

37:36   We’re all in this together

38:45   Positive Attitude

39:13   Ending Essential

PODCAST 7: Curious Accountability with Cameron Gott

It was an honor to talk about ADHD with Cameron Gott. He’s been coaching people affected by ADHD for over 15 years, and is one of the people I most wanted to get on the pod. So, when he told me he liked the show, I jumped at the chance to get him on. I’m glad I did.

We talk about his new book, Curious Accountability (co written with Casey Moore), as well as the trials of bringing unmedicated kids to Walmart, the importance and challenge of reflection, and what it was like for both of us growing up with ADHD. The conversation was excellent. I learned a great deal from it.

Cameron’s book is phenomenal. I highly recommend it.

Without geeking out about the whole thing, I really enjoyed the concept of presence in relation to Curious Accountability, and the way the three conversations discussed in the book help provide out an effective communication frame that can be used to talk to our kids about the challenges they face. Done right, it can limit the amount of intense confrontation and emotionality that so often derail those conversations.


Cameron Gott can be found at www.CameronGott.com.

The first chapter of Curious Accountability can be found at:


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

Please let me know what you thought of today’s episode by emailing me at Brendan@ADHDessentials.com.




3:10     Cameron’s first experience working with kids with ADHD.

4:31     Certain environments invite certain behaviors

5:50     Teaching trip plans

6:14     Mine the learning and apply forward

7:15     Putting accountability in a positive light

8:11     What accountability means to most people… And what gets lost in it

9:08     What Curious Accountability is about.

9:29     Pausing, Pivoting, and ADHD

9:47     Light the Rocket and Go!

11:14   Fitting reflections into the day

11:59   Don’t get us started on recess!

13:15   Just enough structure to be successful

14:17   Using structure outside of the plan/schedule

15:43   ¾ of the battle of ADHD

16:06   Presence and Curious Accountability

17:30   Curiosity and assuming good

19:13   How Cameron’s ADHD shows up

19:35   Trading Volume and Speed for Mastery

20:05   The student side of the pressure to get 100% right away

21:28   Bringing accountability out in the open in our relationships

21:57   Keep an eye on the bigger picture

22:19   The 3 Conversations of Curious Accountability

23:56   The Big Carrot in the Sky

24:21   Conversation 1

24:37   Conversation 2

24:27   Conversation 3

24:57   Where the failure in the system happens

25:14   The ADHD Experience (Not being able to do what’s on the plan)

25:25   Sometimes the plan has to fail so you know what to address

25:45   How curiosity plays in

26:13   Mirror Neurons and Modeling

27:33   The Value of pairing accountability with curiosity

28:29   You need a safe place to share what’s going on…

29:20   …but it has to come from the top down

29:42   Radical transparency: Apply it at home!
30:11   The power of assumption

30:33   Curiosity is a muscle to build

31:11   Tone of voice matters

31:42   What would have helped when Cameron was in high school

32:43   Timing matters when asking questions

33:17   Prefrontal Cortex shutdown (is a good name for a band)

34:29   Ending Essential

34:59   The book is Phenomenal

35:51   Extra Bonus Ending Essential

PODCAST 6: Love Languages, Twin Gaps, and Being Married to ADHD with Sandy, Wife and Mom to ADHD

Sandy and I had a great conversation about her husband, her kids, and the way ADHD affects their family.  One aspect of this episode that I love is the symmetry of it –  the topics we discuss early on in our conversation return again at the end, allowing us to go into more depth in them the second time through.

I was impressed with Sandy’s honesty and willingess to be vulerable, as well as the clear love she has for her husband.  Being married to ADHD can be hard at times, and I appreciated her willingness to go there during her time on the show.

And she seemed to find some meaning in the thoughts and ideas that I shared.  Which is nice, since helping people is my main goal in doing this.

I hope you find meaning in this episode as well.

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

Or email me at brendan@ADHDessentials.com.




1:46     Always 15 minutes early or 30 minutes late

2:55     Chris’s diagnosis leads to Dad’s tears

4:06     ADHD, litigation, and the need for excitement

5:18     Last minute struggles and working in bursts

7:13     Travelling in the car together

8:32     Struggles with consistency

8:54     Feeling like she has to overcompensate for Chris’s ADHD

11:26   Three kids, and one might have ADHD

13:40   Two years old and counting in three languages

14:12   How Sandy met Chris

15:06   Married to ADHD is a mixed bag

15:47   ADHD and the gap between the twins

17:00   The kid who walks into walls

18:34   Swimming lessons and mercurial moods

20:36   W’s Everywhere

22:44   What ADHD adds

24:24   Self Medicating with Surfing

24:59   Overcompensating after hurting feelings

26:51   Empathy beats fixing

27:06   Prepping the ADHD person in advance

28:44   The biggest challenge is carrying the mental load

31:58   But it depends on the day

34:15   “Is there anything you need me to do?”

35:31   Chris addressing Sandy’s needs makes a world of difference

36:17   A strong base of love and understanding helps a lot

38:35   The 5 Love Languages

40:57   Dopamine and small vs. large efforts

43:09   ADHD is just one aspect of the relationship

44:19   Communication and problem-solving

46:10   The moralization of ADHD

46:40   Sandy reflects again on Chris’s dad’s reaction to Chris’s ADHD diagnosis