Your ADD Life: ADHD Support Groups
ADHD support groups connect you with other ADHD adults or parents of ADHD children. Learn how to locate or start an ADHD support group, and find out how you’ll benefit from joining one.
If you are an adult with ADHD, or a parent of an child with ADHD, you work hard to overcome the challenges ADHD brings to your life. You read books and this website, and you go online to stay abreast of research. Still, you can’t have too many ADHD resources.
One resource you might not have thought about is near at hand: you, and people like you. Lots of practical information about ADD is stored in the brains of those who have the condition. Tapping into this brain trust through an ADHD support group can be a godsend.
Meeting and talking with other ADHD adults or parents of older attention deficit children — those who have solved the problems you’re facing this moment — gives you hope. Participants learn — for the first time — that they are not alone.
With a little effort, you can find a support group that addresses your need — whether it’s your own loneliness or your ADHD child’s anxiety or learning disability. Two national ADD support and advocacy organizations, CHADD and Attention Deficit Disorder Association, sponsor regional networking and educational events. The Learning Disabilities Association of America also offers local meetings.
In addition, many schools offer support programs and networking opportunities for parents of children with special needs. Check with your school counseling office or PTA for information. Ask your child’s doctor or your therapist if she or a colleague runs a group.
[Read: Putting a Face on ADHD]
If you can’t find a group that meets your needs, start your own. Recruit members by putting up posters or flyers in schools, the library or church, and at local stores. Talk with ADHD organizations and pediatricians. Be specific about the group’s purpose — a support group for parents of ADHD children will attract a different membership than one for ADD spouses.
Although you don’t need a professional to run a group, you will need a committed person (or persons) to organize it. They will have to schedule meetings and speakers and, perhaps, moderate.
While face-to-face support groups are the most powerful way to connect, online groups may work better for you. As ADHD moms know, nothing is more precious in their lives than time. If you have downtime only in brief intervals, there are many avenues of support online. Join ADDitude’s facebook group to connect with readers around the country. There are virtual communities supporting every aspect of ADD. A quick search on Google will turn up several.
Joining a support group will probably increase your patience with your ADHD child, spouse, or yourself. Most of all, support groups provide you with a team of concerned people ready to give you a healthy dose of vitamin C — vitamin “Connect”!
Save chatter for the right time. Some ADHD support groups schedule casual social periods along with group sharing, while others provide opportunities to mingle only before and after the official meeting.
Balance personal disclosures. Observe one or two meetings before jumping in. Sharing too much may make other members uncomfortable — sharing too little can make you seem standoffish.
Be supportive. Aim for a three-to-one ratio — three responses to others’ comments for every personal comment you make.
[Up Next: No Judgement. No Guilt. Just ADHD Support and Understanding.]