PODCAST 18: What’s The Skill Set That’s Missing?

Chandler Creedon is a veteran educator with over 40 years of experience, working as a school psychologist, counselor, and college professor. He’s also a former professor of mine, and one of my mentors.  It was an honor to have him on the show.

In today’s episode, we talk about skills, and how heavily a lack of skills plays into why kids struggle, both at school and at home.  We go deep on executive function, and school issues, but don’t be intimidated if that’s not your background.  I do my best to loop around and explain things when I think they’re unclear.

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 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 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