Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pre-Order "Succeeding wtih Adult ADHD" NOW!

"Succeeding With Adult ADHD: Daily Strategies to Help You Achieve Your Goals and Manage Your Life" is now available for Pre-Order!

www.apa.org/pubs/books ISBN 978-1-4338-1125-8 Item # 4441017

In easy-to-master lessons, ADHD specialists Abigail Levrini and Frances Prevatt offer realistic, proven, and unique daily strategies to help you succeed with adult ADHD. Each chapter contains checklists, worksheets, and Start Reading/Stop Reading reminders to help you break down large jobs, such as organizing your space, studying effectively, or listening to your partner, into manageable tasks. You'll learn how to identify the right treatments and support for your lifestyle and find strategies for handling emotional roadblocks such as stress, anxiety, depression, and fear of failure. This dynamic and interactive text will become an indispensable aid in helping you translate your goals into realities to succeed with adult ADHD.

If you've been diagnosed with adult ADHD, you are well-acquainted with the pitfalls that can thwart your best efforts to achieve your goals. You may find yourself constantly distracted, or fear you're about to forget something important. Or you may firmly set a goal for yourself, only to abandon it later in frustration. This book will help you overcome the challenges of adult ADHD and find fulfillment in taking the practical steps needed to achieve your goals. 2012. 272 pages. Paperback

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Having ADHD Doesn't Mean you Aren't SMART!

Often, students with ADHD are often seen as a problem to be fixed, rather than the problem lying within the learning environment. However, despite problems in academia for some students with ADHD, it does not appear that individuals with ADHD lack the intellectual ability to learn. Studies show that students with ADHD to be of average to above average intelligence. These students are smart, but in ways not typically demonstrated in schools. They often demonstrate cognitive abilities that are noticeably different from the academic profile generally valued in schools.

For example, as an adult with ADHD, you may possess what’s called “naturalist intelligence” or sensitivity to the natural world and living things, an ability that was of great value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers and farmers and in today’s society as scientists, chefs, or artists. Or, you might display “spatial intelligence”, which relates to the ability to visualize or imagine, a trait that comes in handy in professions like architecture, design or art. Some other types of intelligence common to those with ADHD but not as valued in our schools includes musical, bodily kinesthetic (or the capacity to handle and manipulate objects), intrapersonal (self-reflection), and interpersonal (interaction with others). Unfortunately, without ongoing positive reinforcement for these skills, students with ADHD may gradually disengage from traditional classroom learning. Individuals with ADHD learn well when they are highly interested in the material being taught and have shown improved behavior or performance when tasks are made salient, novel, or interesting.

While coaching Amanda, a 35-year-old working mother with ADHD, we decided to address the monotony of her home and work life using this idea. Amanda was a talented artist who had ended up with a career in public relations where she rarely got to use her spatial intelligence. As part of her job she was responsible for the design and management of several big projects per month. For several months she had diligently used a planner to structure her assignments but was beginning to lose focus as the excitement wore off and the job became repetitive. After an in-depth discussion about what activities Amanda had found appealing throughout her life, we discovered that visual art had always provided her with motivation and enjoyment. As a result we decided to create a sort of storybook or comic book timeline with spaces for her to sketch drawings for each step in a project. Amanda embraced the new method and discovered a renewed energy for her work environment. She also used the same method in meetings where she was then able to retain much more information and enjoyed learning more than ever. At home Amanda began to use her art with her children, where she found that they too seemed to learn well this way.

Friday, September 30, 2011

First look at my new book!

Here is a first look at the cover art for the new book! It will hit the shelves February 15, 2012. Copyright APA 2012.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Introducing my new book on managing Adult ADHD - Coming soon!

Growing up, I decided that I wanted to be a counseling psychologist at an early age. What I didn’t know, even after I accepted an offer with FSU’s doctoral program in psychology, was that I would become impassioned about counseling (and coaching) individuals with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in particular, and even more specifically, adults with ADHD. Through my early experiences as a budding professional I, like many people, thought of ADHD as a childhood issue. This idea was initially reinforced when even my esteemed professors quoted examples such as Dennis ‘the Menace’ and Tom Sawyer as classic, trademark sufferers – children, usually male, unable to stay in their seats, causing trouble wherever they went. Becoming a glorified babysitter with an office full of toys was not the career I had envisioned for myself. I dreamed of being a modern day (female) Aaron Beck, the father of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a nuts and bolts approach to the way people deal with their thoughts, actions, and emotions, and an idea that certainly clashed with my view of the proper way to treat a rambunctious child with ADHD.

Fortunately, the professor who handpicked me as her doctoral protégé in 2003 was Dr. Frances Prevatt. Dr. Prevatt was already knee deep in the world of ADHD by this time. She had also recently helped to launch the Adult Learning Evaluation Center (ALEC) on FSU’s campus in Tallahassee, Florida, where master’s and doctoral students conducted low cost psycho-educational evaluations for adults looking to be assessed for Learning Disabilities or ADHD. Another more unique part of ALEC was the creation of a practicum in ADHD coaching, a treatment I had never even heard of let alone looked forward to conducting. However, during my first year of doctoral work, as a research assistant for Dr. Prevatt, I had slowly come to understand that most everything I thought I knew about ADHD was wrong: ADHD is not just a childhood (or male) disorder. Hyperactivity sometimes can but often does not play a role. Individuals with ADHD are not lazy or undisciplined and are frequently highly intelligent. ADHD does not exist in a bubble – disorders like depression and anxiety often play a role. And most of all, ADHD coaching shares a lot in common with CBT (more on ADHD coaching in Chapter 9: Non-medication based treatment options). Needless to say, my interest had been piqued.

My first client in my ADHD coaching practicum was Joey, an eighteen year-old freshmen at Florida State. Joey was quiet, with a sweet disposition, very unlike the typical college freshmen frat boy stereotype. He had graduated high school with a 3.0 but reported to me that he felt he always had to work “twice as hard” as his peers to keep up. Joey’s parents had been very supportive, spending hours after school helping him to keep track of and plan out his assignments. While this certainly made high school easier, Joey was shocked at his inability to manage his different courses once he entered college and in figuring out why, was eventually tested and diagnosed with ADHD. My sessions with Joey flew by. He always came ready to work and often impressed me with his insightfulness and creative approach to problem solving. He also challenged me as a new therapist and now “coach”, forcing me to think about things in a way my mood or personality disordered clients did not.

Joey caused me to fall in love with adult ADHD clients and ADHD coaching, but it was my continued work in academia with Dr. Prevatt, that kept that love growing. Together we published several studies on ADHD and the learning and study strategies of college students with the disorder, including articles for The ADHD Report and Psychology in the Schools. In my final years as a doctoral student I launched one of the first empirical studies on ADHD coaching in the field of psychology. Findings from that study can be seen throughout this text. By the time I became Dr. Levrini in 2008 my affection for ADHD coaching had become a full grown love affair. After years away I moved back to my home state of Virginia and immediately launched Psych Ed Coaches, PLLC (www.psychedcoaches.com), my one-of-a-kind therapy practice, specializing in ADHD coaching for individuals of all ages, but also addressing the issues that so often accompany ADHD such as anxiety and depression. Today Psych Ed Coaches has four offices in the northern Virginia/DC area and employs six licensed mental health practitioners/coaches. I also began speaking nationwide at conferences, city events, and schools, joined the Board of Directors for the DC/Northern VA Chapter of CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD), and started a local support group for parents of children with ADHD.

In my now eight years as a therapist and ADHD coach and Dr. Prevatt’s over thirty years of experience in the field of psychology, we have built a wealth of what we believe to be helpful and unique approaches to treating adults with ADHD. We also know that there are many sufferers out there who either don’t want or cannot afford professional help, however, that shouldn’t stop them from being able to utilize many of the same tools and strategies we use with our clients.

Our goal in writing this book was to create a “user-friendly” self-help manuscript for adults struggling with the symptoms associated with ADHD. Many individuals with ADHD complain that they cannot handle the intensity of most self-help books. Since lack of attention is a cornerstone of the disorder, the majority of these lengthy books are too overwhelming to even begin. Whether you are new to the diagnosis, or have been struggling for years, this book offers new and unique strategies for overcoming ADHD related difficulties, in a simple, straightforward manner. “Tools for Managing Adult ADHD” enables you to easily peruse its pages in short 5-15 minute segments, so as not to overwhelm you. Visual aids have been inserted showing where to “Start” and “Stop” reading. Also, each chapter is broken down into short, distinctive sections that offer many perspectives on utilizing each tool. Specifically, chapters may contain one or more of the following categories:

 Quiz Yourself – Does this sound like you?: Five ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions at the beginning of each chapter that will allow you to gage if that chapter is for you

 What the Experts Say: A short, non-technical interpretation of the latest research in support of each strategy

 Can You Relate to This?: Case examples of adults with ADHD

 Help Yourself!: Fill-in exercises to help you apply what you have read

 Chapter Summaries: Bulleted lists of the most important ideas, found at the end of each chapter

For those of you interested in learning more about the research used in the development of this book, we provide an end-of-the book section full of suggested reading materials.

We hope that you will find the strategies in this book both useful and easy to apply. While any time you attempt to integrate new techniques into your schedule it takes some effort, before long you will find that these ideas will become routine, leading to a simpler, more streamlined lifestyle. So go ahead and turn on some background music, find a comfortable spot, and begin to simplify your life – 10 minutes at a time.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tools for Managing Adult ADHD: 10 Strategies for Simple Living

Presentation at Commonwealth Academy -

Tools for Managing Adult AD/HD:
10 Strategies for Simple Living
Sponsored by CHADD, Northern Virginia Chapter
Abigail Levrini, PhD, Psych Ed Coaches
Wednesday, March 16, 7:30–9:00 p.m.

For more information visit: http://www.commonwealthacademy.org/speakers/

Overview: Dr. Abigail Levrini, founder of the washington area's leading ADHD coaching practice Psych Ed Coaches, PLLC, will outline 10 proven strategies for adults with ADHD. These tools, including techniques for time management, organization, relationships, employment and more, will help adults to increase self-confidence and decrease stress in their busy lives. Dr. Levrini's presentation comes directly from her upcoming book with the same name, published by the American Psychological Association, and co-authored by Frances Prevatt, Ph.D., professor at Florida State University and co-founder of the Adult Learning and Evaluation Center (ALEC). More information about Dr. Levrini and Psych Ed Coaches, PLLC, can be found on their website www.psychedcoaches.com.