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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “ADHD speaker inspires, advises”

    Fine art studies senior Britt Smith puts strokes to her canvas to create contrast for her figure during her painting 380 course. I love the freedom to express yourself each day, said Smith.
    Fine art studies senior Britt Smith puts strokes to her canvas to create contrast for her figure during her painting 380 course. ‘I love the freedom to express yourself each day,’ said Smith.

    About 70 people of different ages and professions gathered last night to learn about one issue each of them share: managing their Attention Deficit Disorder.

    The UA SALT Center’s 25th Anniversary Speaker Series culminated with last night’s discussion on “”Journeys Through ADDulthood,”” featuring psychotherapist Sari Solden.

    Solden, who traveled to the UA from Ann Arbor, Mich., has spent the last 18 years of her life working with adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and has authored two books on the subject.

    Solden spent much of the evening discussing the emotional and self-esteem problems she has observed in her experience with ADHD adults. She said that often ADHD children who are raised without an explanation of their problems and learning differences grow into adults who question what’s wrong with them or whether they might be stupid.

    “”(At first) the people who come to see me just want to get over who they are,”” Solden said.

    Many adults are confused about the process of treating ADHD, which is a “”lifelong journey,”” and think medication alone can stop their learning differences, Solden said.

    However, Solden said medical treatments can’t help change the negative self-image many ADHD adults experience.

    “”Really, that missing piece of the puzzle is that view of themselves,”” Solden said.

    Solden encouraged ADHD adults to focus on their strengths, and actively participate in activities and jobs they’re good at, which will encourage their confidence and feelings of competency.

    Additionally, Solden encouraged ADHD parents to model acceptance of their own challenges so their children would learn to be comfortable with themselves too.

    “”So many parents are saying, ‘I want my children to be like me,’ yet the mother is calling herself a slob or stupid,”” Solden said.

    Solden also said ADHD adults who experience prejudice from their peers can choose to explain their differences by describing their symptoms, such as creativity and disorganization, rather than labeling themselves with a disorder.

    SALT Center Director Diane Quinn said the SALT community was excited to have the opportunity to hear someone with such progressive views speak in the Tucson Community, where few ADHD resources are available.

    “”We recognize there’s a gap with available support for people in Tucson,”” Quinn said.

    SALT Center Learning Specialist Ashley E. Klein said she was glad the UA had an opportunity to hear Solden speak about her own ADHD diagnosis at the age of 40, which is a perspective of the subject many experts don’t have.

    “”Sari addressed the really personal side of experiences, and it’s really important to address adults who have had that personal experience,”” Klein said.

    Kirsten Yaffe, a pharmaceutical sciences graduate student, said she was excited to hear Solden speak because of the dramatic impact the author’s books have made on her life.

    “”It was just amazing and it brought home to me what ADD was about and how it affected me,”” Yaffe said.

    Solden said college life can cause many ADHD students to “”hit a wall,”” and they should seek out professional support immediately if they need help with their learning differences. Solden said getting help soon can prevent many potential side effects of the disorder such as anxiety and depression.

    Solden encouraged ADHD adults to embrace their individuality and focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses.

    “”Eventually, you’ll value that part of you that’s unique and use it to connect to other people,”” Solden said.

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