Teacher Workshop Hits The Highpoint

MMTeachI had the great pleasure at the end of August conducting a workshop with 55 special needs teachers. I travelled to a rural area of South Africa called Taung in the Northwest Province.

I have done hundreds of productive workshops over the last 2 decades, and this one ranks right up there as one of the most enjoyable.

The MM Sebitloane School is a beacon of bright hope in South Africa’s troubled education system. The buildings are new face brick, the facilities top notch, and the entire property is spotlessly clean.

There are 164 special needs children in the hostel, and then there are the teachers. I have always said that teachers are the most important people in a child’s life because they teach our future.

The teachers at this unique school are incredibly special in the way these children are cared for and loved. I had time to observe the children outside of the classrooms, and not once did I see an unhappy student.

On the second day the teachers broke away into groups and discussed how they were going to implement what they had learnt in the workshop.

Each group had top present back to the rest of the teachers. Here are four of the main points from the groups:

Stop saying Don’t. The revelation of being positive in discipline was massive for all. Say; do this, rather than stop doing that, makes a significant difference. It was acknowledged that it would take time to implement this fully.

Make sure you the everyone’s attention before issuing an instruction or saying something. I had noticed this many times previously while sitting in the back of classrooms observing ADHD children.

Simply be patient to get what is you require. Shouting doesn’t work, neither does consistent anger. The old cliche that patience is a virtue is absolutely true.

The 4’s of discipline, Short, Sharp, Suitable, and Steadfast. So often teachers and parents punish their children like the criminal justice system does. Very few children are criminals!

More on this wonderful time soon.

Moving House And Decluttering

HouseKeysSizedWe have just moved house.

Hopefully for the last time. We have moved into a home for “senior citizens.”

We had to get rid a lot of stuff; the place we now call home is little bigger than a double garage. The size is perfect we have found.

Packing this time round was dictated by by what he had space for, and that was minute. We sold stuff, couches, chairs, tools, curtains, kitchenware, desks, paintings, and other stuff.

Yet still there was stuff.

We hired a trailer and 2 short trips moved most of our stuff. A few more car trips and we were done. And still there was stuff.

We have donated a lot of stuff to the “white elephant shop” run by some industrious residents. The proceeds go towards electricity and water bills for the complex - lights and water are included in the rent.

Finally the stuff pile is diminishing.

This post has relevance for ADDers everywhere. We tend to be hoarders, having lots of stuff. And so much of it is just that - stuff. As I understand more about getting rid of stuff I am collating those learnings into a module to add to the other 30-plus coaching modules.

Personal stuff must fall!

Learning & Study Skills Taster

WorkingSizedPutting together a training course is a lot of work!

With our Parenting Course going well, my focus has now turned to the Learning and Study Skills course. The content has been almost 2 years in the making. With technology continuing to arrive on our screen at an ultra-quick rate, the last 6 months have been more about updating to accommodate technology.

Perhaps more than technology, the biggest influence has been my own knowledge growth. Every time I work with new clients my knowledge increases. Despite having close to 2 decades of experience, I frequently find myself questioning that knowledge. I regard this as a good thing.

Having ADHD myself, creating these courses and developing the coaching modules are more a labour of love than a commercial venture.

You see, it's one thing having the knowledge, but how do I impart it so that my clients get the full benefit? Each ADDer is different, each ADDer has different weaknesses and strengths, and lives in different environments.

By way of illustration, years ago Pat and I went to train 55 remedial teachers in the North West Province. By lunchtime on the first day I realised that some of my illustrations had absolutely no relevance to my audience.

F1VizSizedI have a wonderful video clip that shows clearly how visualising yourself driving around a Formula 1 track sitting on a chair, cut 2 seconds off the lap-time - around 150m in distance terms !
This was met with blank stares, and then the whispering started. Thankfully I was able to haul out another illustration while I sent them to an early tea break!

In producing my courses I write, photograph, and draw the content. The longest part of this process is the research. Then I record the voice-over while operating the slides on screen. That can sometimes takes 3 or 4 takes, before I have one I’m happy with.

The final stage is the editing. This is where I enhance the voice-over, choose the back-ground music, cut out any fluffs and pops, and put in all the effects and parts I want to emphasise.

I usually only have half-a-day to edit as there other things like writing articles, replying to queries and coaching. It takes about 2 weeks to complete 3 modules.

In The Beginning

The title of this blog was born sometime in the early noughties, when blogs were the newest and shiniest kid on the Internet block.

NightWritingLiving ADDventure® was only a couple of years old when I decided late one evening to start the blog. (It had to be late at night to avoid the distractions of the day!)

The birth of Conversations in My Head must have been around the end of 2003, as WordPress - the software I used for the blog - only issued it’s first release in May 2003.

Conversations in My Head will contain stories of mine, my personal experiences, my views, and the arguments I have with myself in my head about all things ADHD. Of course, your comments will form an integral part of this digital dialogue.

These are not necessarily topics that belong on the website or on the training site. They might well provide a different perspective of something on the website.

I was diagnosed in my mid-forties, so only count my ADHD-life from then although I was born with the condition - like all of us. One thing I learnt over the first 2 decades of my ADHD life, is that when we read/hear/watch something that we identify with, is that those moments are special.

Its nice to know there are others out there who are “like” me!

So in one way, this blog is for all of us who have ADHD or live alongside it; it’s to create those special moments.

Hopefully, we will all learn a bit more about our respective worlds, and deepen our knowledge of this condition.

Most of all I guess, is for us to find a proper foundation to support and balance us as we try and thrive contentedly in a world that is distinctly non-ADHD.