Episode 21 Do I Have ADHD and Does it Impact EF - The Personal Brain Trainer Podcast

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Do I Have ADHD and Does it Impact Executive Functions?

Episode 21 of the Personal Brain Trainer Podcast



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Full Transcript for Episode 21 

Welcome to the Personal Brain Trainer Podcast.

I'm Dr. Erica Warren and I'm Darius Namdaran and we're your hosts.  Join us on an adventure to translate the scientific jargon and brain research into simple metaphors and stories for everyday life.  We explore executive functions and learning strategies that help turbocharge the mind. Come learn how to steer around the invisible barriers so that you can achieve your goals.  This podcast is ideal for parents, educators, and learners of all ages.

This podcast is brought to you by Bullet Map Academy. We have free dyslexia screener app called dyslexia quiz.  It's a fun, engaging and interactive app.  Try it now.  Just search for dyslexia quiz on the app store and see how your score differs from your friends and family.

This podcast is brought to you by www.goodsensorylearning.com where you can find educational and occupational therapy lessons and remedial materials that bring delight to learning.

Finally, you can find Dr Warren's many courses at www.learningspecialistcourses.com .  Come check out our newest course on developing executive functions and study strategies.

Hey, Erica, I'm excited about this podcast.

What we're talking about today? We're going to talk about whether you have ADHD and also whether it impacts executive functioning.

I'm excited because when you say whether you have ADHD or not, we're actually going to talk about whether I have ADHD or not and whether you as a listener, have ADHD or not.

And the reason we brought this one up, Erica and I were talking about it.

I'm having a little bit of Deja vu here?

Because I was identified with dyslexia when I was 35 the second time I went to university, and at that time I was kind of like, Yeah, I might be slightly dyslexic, you know?

Is it such a big deal?

No, not really.

And then I go to university, I get identified, and then I realized that the assessors, like actually this is getting in the way if you're learning and you need to find strategies to be aware of it, and then I was like, Oh, wow, I can learn from the likes of Richard Branson with dyslexia and other different techniques and so on, and it really woke me up to things that were getting in my way that were invisible.

And I'm having the same kind of thing going on with ADHD right now because I'm not formally identified with it.

But I'm seeing some of the traits my wife's telling me.

I say, I wonder if I've got ADHD and my wife is like nodding her head very intensively throughout.

Maybe my daughter has as well as well as dyslexia.

So, first of all, I think we need to clear one big myth up, which sometimes people think if you have dyslexia, you can't have ADHD.

And if you have ADHD, you can't have dyslexia, but you can have both at the same time.

And that's a biggie.

And actually, there's a lot of people with dyslexia who also have ADHD.

And I mean a lot.

I mean, we're probably talking somewhere between 25 40% of people with dyslexia probably have ADHD d as well, whether they know it or not, and I might be one of them.

I probably am.

So, let's talk, Erica How do I know if I've got ADHD or not? And what effect does ADHD have on executive functioning skills is also the core question here.

If I do have ADHD and does it affect and impact executive functions?

Yeah, why don't we start there?

Because I think that's a really interesting question.

And I think the important thing to understand is that attention is a piece of executive functioning.

And it's funny.

I initially thought, well, I guess it resides under inhibitory control because individuals with ADHD have a hard time inhibiting all the things that are going on around them, and their attention tends to switch from topic or subject or environmental thing that's going on around them.

So, I was like, oh, it's got to be inhibitory control.

However, I think we also have an issue going on, in many cases with people with ADHD And I think it does depend on the different individuals.

But many of them have a difficult time with cognitive flexibility, so they might hyper focus on something and have trouble moving from one task to the other.

Yeah, and then, of course, there are those that have ADHD that have some working memory issues.

Yeah, so this is an interesting aspect of this whole conversation, which is co-occurring issues, co-occurring differences, or co-occurring difficulties so often.

If you have dyslexia, for example, it's primarily around phonological processing and other processing difficulties numeric processing, etcetera.

But you can also have a smaller working memory, which isn't technically part of dyslexia.

But it often comes as part of the package of dyslexia, a difficulty, a smaller working memory and likewise with ADHD There are other things that come with the package as well, which aren't necessarily ADHD.

But associated like you could have a smaller working memory, plus ADHD doesn't mean you have a smaller working memory.

It's not part of the definition of becoming identified as ADHD, but it can compound your executive function.

So, it's just interesting to sort of realize that one category doesn't necessarily define a person’s thinking approach.

However, you could also think about it this way.

If you have a hard time sustaining attention, then you also have a hard time holding onto that information and manipulating it, which is what working memory is.

So, they are definitely related.

But you're right, they're not.

They're not mutually exclusive.

I mean, if we go through what we've been talking about, the three main themes in executive function throughout this podcast we keep touching them are working memory, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility or, in layman's term, working memory, capturing information, inhibitory control, focus and cognitive flexibility.

Adapting and shifting.


Yeah, so capture, focus, shift are three core functions of executive function.

Or actually, I was thinking of them if I were to categorize them in three ways.

There is what's coming into your mind, which is capturing information, working memory.

Then there is the inhibitory control, which is focus what you do when you're processing information and thinking through stuff.

And then there's acting sort of responding and acting out in the world, which involves cognitive flexibility.

It's like how you dialogue with reality and adapting cognitively flexibly to the reality of what's in the world and the reality of what's within your mind and that cognitive flexibility.

So, it's really the in stuff coming in.

There's how you're processing in early and then how you're adapting to the world outside.

I like that.

It's an interesting metaphor, and it reminds me of a camera.

Uh, however, the thing is, you have to be a little careful because we can't keep them always in those categories because sometimes working memory is not always the input.

But it's also the output because it's also and it's also the processing because you're having to take the sensory information, you're processing it and then you're attaching long term memory.

You're also, uh, not only in code encoding, but you're retrieving.

So, I like that idea.

And I think in general you're right of that kind of input output, input, process output.

However there, so interwoven with each other, that's the thing is they're just they're woven the woven.

Which leads to another thing that we talked about, which was the higher-level executive functioning.

Yeah, they come together for the higher level, you know, getting stuff actually done and yeah, now let's get to the juicy bit, which is do I have ADHD or not.

And how do I How would I?

As a complete newbie, there might be people out there going.

I wonder if I've got ADHD.

And I wonder if I've got ADD and what's the difference and so forth.

But let's just get stuck into the difference between how will you find it out in the UK and how you find out in the US and anywhere else, really?

But you're in the UK I'm in the UK you're in the US.

So, the interesting thing you said something very interesting, which is ADHD or ADD.

And it's funny because we used to have that designation in the United States, and then they changed it and they said, everybody has an ADHD, but it's minus the H if you don't have the hyperactivity, which I think is strange.

And so, I'm still more comfortable using the old designation, which you still use in the UK, which is ADD or ADHD meaning attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

And there's a distinction because there are two types.

There are those that are just inattentive, but you can't really see it.

It's invisible, so it's kind of an internal inattentiveness.

They might give you every external indication that they're paying attention, but they're not.

And then there are those that have the hyperactivity, and anybody can diagnose them because they're bouncing off the wall and they're showing you that they're inattentive.

They're not looking at you.

They're blurting out answers is so obvious, and they tend to be very disruptive in a classroom.

So, give us a checklist of things to look out for inattentive dyslexia ADHD.

So, um, I think the inattentive pieces were saying it has a lot to do with that difficulty concentrating and focusing.

But again, it's invisible.

So, you know, it's really interesting.

What I did is I took the NHS, UK definition, and I put it right next to the DSM5, which is the diagnostic statistical manual that we use in the US so that we could see how they're similar and how they're different.

In fact, they're very, very similar.

So, they both agree that there is an issue with a short attention span.

One says short attention span.

The other one says, difficulty sustaining attention.

So, they're very, similar.

What's the short attention span?

Is that the UK The short attention span is the UK they can't see.

But for us, it's the black one.

The American red one.

Yeah, I got you so short Attention span UK, difficulty sustaining attention, us right and then easily distracted UK and then easily distracted, including unrelated thoughts for the US.

That's right.

And then they both agree that there are careless mistakes, which is so interesting because that's one of my pet peeves.

I don't like that phrase.

I understand what it means, but it has a really ugly connotation to it because careless, if you take it literally means that they don't care.

And these people do care.

So, I wish.

You know, it's interesting in the United States, they say makes careless mistakes.

Slash lacks attention to detail.

Can we just call?

It lacks attention to detail because that careless piece really it feels like a judgement to me, and I think I think a lot of people take it as a judgement.

Actually, my attention is wavering right now.

Can I make a suggestion?

Can we just rattle through the UK version and then the US version so listeners can get the big picture?

Can I just do that, please?

So, UK version short attention span easily distracted, careless mistakes, forgetful, loses things, difficulty staying on task, difficulty listening to and carrying out instructions, problems, organizing tasks and managing time.

I think I just got 10.  Then the American version is difficulty sustaining attention, easily distracted, including unrelated thoughts, makes careless mistakes/lacks attention to detail, and fails to follow through on tasks and instructions is forgetful and daily activities, avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort, does not seem to listen when spoken to directly exhibits poor organization and loses things necessary for tasks and activities.

Very, very similar.

I think the one thing that's different between these two and again this is only with inattentive type is the loses.

Things necessary for tasks and activities is in addition to the American definition.

Well, when I remember when I was young Oh gosh, I was so bad at losing things all the time keys, toys, favorite cars.

I just I just got a train down to London and I put my special coffee mug down while I was waiting and I was like, Right, I need to remember to pick that up.

And then I went straight.

Someone distracted me, was talking to me, and I had to go straight for the train because they were kind of holding me back and I left it, and I left my precious coffee like I hardly ever lose things because I've created a rule.

Now whenever I'm travelling because I hitchhiked to Istanbul and then I travelled all around Turkey and Israel and so forth.

My rule was you only ever have one thing in your hand to things, Max.

So, you've got two hands.

You only have two things.

If I have more than two things like three things to carry, I will lose one of them because I've got two hands for two things.

And that was my rule two hands for two things, Max.

And so, if I have my third cup or whatever, I'm going to lose it.

So, let's go ahead and move on to the symptoms of ADHD are basically ADD with the hyperactivity.

So can I clarify you're going to add to another list here.

Do you have to have all the previous list?

Plus, this to have the hyperactivity on top?

Or is it one or the other?

I think I think you can have both.


I think you can have both, but I think that they tend to be You can be one or the other, or you can be both.

Oh, I see.

Okay, let me think about this.

I suppose so.

I suppose you could be both.

I mean, I think you tend to be diagnosed as one or the other, but technically, you could have both.

I think that you could at times be hyperactive and other times be inattentive.

Okay, So the hyperactive list, why don't you read that at this time?

The UK version and then do the US one.


Happy to problems?

Sitting still, constant fidgeting and excess physical movement.


Excessive talking.


Difficulty waiting turn.

Most certainly acting without thinking and interrupting conversations so you can see that they're really quite distinct.

The two lists they are They are quite distinct.

Now that was the that was the UK version and let me go ahead and give you the US version.

Leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected, fidgets with or taps hands or feet and squirms in the seat to talk successively has difficulty waiting their turn, blurts out, answers, interrupts or intrudes on others.

These are unique.

They are not similar to the UK and, well, they're additions to, shall we say, experiences.

Feelings of restlessness has difficulty engaging in quiet, leisurely activities is on the go or acts as if driven by a motor.

Interesting right.

But understand they don't have to have every single one of those criteria.

What if you do have every single one of both of those lists?

Then I would say you definitely have ADHD.

I have every single one of all of those.

Let's go through that list again, and I'm just going to do it for myself and listeners.

Why don't you do it for yourself?

I'm going to do the US version, which seems to be a bit more thorough.

Let's go through the US version right from the beginning.

Please all right, so let's see difficulty sustaining attention.

Well, actually, when I think of it, is it kind of age dependent?

You get better as you get older.  I've got better.

As I've got older, I would say I can sustain my attention.

It's because you're using strategies.

And yet, as you get older, it's quite likely.

I think some people might get a little bit better.

Some people might get a lot a little bit worse.

It depends on so many things for me.

As a child, I had really, bad ADHD.

But it turned out that I was allergic to preservatives, and once I got off of preservatives, it went away.

So, you know it can be diet related.

It can be environmental if you have an intolerance to something and you have an allergy in travelling through your system, allergies go through the bloodstream and can affect your attention.

So, you know, there are many, many different root causes.

So, if the route if the root causes environmental, are diet related, then yeah, I mean, you might not have had it when you were little, and you could have it now, or vice versa.

Oh, I think I had it when I was little.

You know, when people talk about Well, when I was young, I used to bite people on the leg.

That's interesting.

I was so hard to control for my mom.

I used to run around like this, devil, you know, And I was so high energy, so hard to control.

And my mom I didn't do all the time.

But my mom used to say, you used to sometimes by people on the legs when you were really young and you were so I could I found it so hard to take you out because you were just you know, so what was that all about?

Do you have any recollection of people?

I was like, I think I was, like, three years old or four years old or something.

Well, that's good to know.

Yeah, I wasn't I wasn't like an eight-year-old biting people on the leg or whatever.

I was like little kids and just totally What was that?

What do you think the energy behind that was?

I don't know.

Probably I probably did it once, and it became a myth.

It's probably like that I'll speak to my mom and find out.

But yes, so easily distracted, including unrelated thoughts.

Is that one for you?

Yes, easily distracted.

Okay, Next one makes careless mistakes.

Lacks attention to detail.

Mayor Karl, Pa.

Another one fails to follow through on tasks or instructions.

Well, maybe a couple, by the way, means I am guilty in in Latin.

Fails to follow through on tasks and instructions a lot of the time,


And are you forgetful and daily activities?


And do you avoid or dislike tasks that require sustained effort?

Often, yes, does not seem to listen when spoken to directly, probably when you were little.

Yes, and still.

Now, you know, like with my wife, for example.

Often, I need to be doing something while she's talking or doing like I may be listening like we'll have to be having a conversation in the room and I go just carry-on talking Joe.

I'm going out the room to get something.

I'm going to go and do this.

I'm still listening, and then I come back in the room.

Carry on the conversation.

I know it's a bit strange, but it's just normal in our life.

Now that you know, it's like, just keep talking.

Keep I'm still here.

I'm still listening, but maybe not looking at you and maybe not even in the same room.

You know, I'm jealous because my boyfriend has a hearing impairment and I'll often do that.

And I forget that if I if I'm not right in front of him and he's looking at me sometimes he just doesn't even hear me.

So, I'm jealous of me.

I don't have that luxury with but okay.

Exhibits poor organization.


Is that one of one for you?


You know, you know what your hyper organized?

Because it's hard.


Well, I'm not hyper organized.

I'm semi organized, but, you know, like I would be a homeless bomb right now if it wasn't for my wife.

Very intelligent, very capable, but homeless bomb.

You know, I'd probably be living in a caravan coding on a computer with a whole pile of messy stuff in the sink and same clothes and so on.

You know, it's like because if it wasn't for my wife filling in the tax returns and the paying the bills and doing all the paperwork and paying whatever speeding fines we've got and whatever else that's happened.

If I didn't have someone doing the paperwork, you know, get to the point where there'd be a red letter, someone would cut the electricity bill, foreclose on the house or whatever, you know, because I hadn't done the paperwork.

Now that's partly to do with the dyslexia because I just hate paperwork and could be ADHD.

I know we've talked about that in the previous podcast, but I have a theory that some of the traits of dyslexia and some of the traits associated with ADHD are the same, but for different reasons.

So, for example, exhibits poor organization is often common with dyslexia because of the processing difficulties rather than the attention.

Different difficulties, whereas with ADHD exhibits, poor organization is not because of the processing difficulties, but because of the attention aspects, because organization involves attention and processes, and it's really interesting because I have dyslexia but I'm really good with organization.

So, it just goes to show you that every individual is so unique, and we have to be so careful not to make generalization so that somebody does have a diagnosis.

We can't assume that they're like other people with the same diagnosis.

I know, and that's a that's a hard one.

I hear that said a lot, and it's true and it's untrue.

Okay, there are a lot of common themes, and as a result of them, we can learn a lot because we've got a lot of common lot of things in common that have common solutions that can commonly help.

So, it's not a case of, Oh well, everyone's different.

You just have to figure out your own thing.

No, there are common solutions to common problems people with dyslexia have, and the people with ADHD have.

So, I'm a little bit wary of everyone's different sort of thing.

There's a reason why we identify these things because there's a common solution to some of these things.

Do you know what I mean?

Yes, but then there are significant differences as well, and that's where that nuance needs to be found.

You can't go too far one way and too far the other.

You have to find that middle ground to decide what are the common things that we can do in common and what are the unique aspects, right?

And then sometimes you have to tweak the program.

But it's really more of just a tweak.

Yes, and I think that's a lot that I've learned from you.

Erica is that you know this journey over the last couple of years being friends with you, talking with you nearly every week and just discussing these sorts of things as professionals with one another as a sort of support group to one another, which has turned into this podcast.

And it's the only reason I do.

This podcast is so I can get to speak to you.

Each week is first of all, I realized I'm all about executive function within Bullet Map Academy, and all the bullet map process has developed for dyslexia isn't actually for dyslexia.

It's for executive function.

And then this whole realization of ADHD.

And it's like you said to me a year and a half ago.

Maybe you're ADHD Darius, you know, and I'm like, Yeah, maybe I am.

But I'm also in that place where I feel a little bit neglectful here of myself.

Actually, if I know that, I might have a bit of ADHD.

I also know better now working in this field that having a bit of dyslexia or having a bit of ADHD.

If you're saying it like that, you're probably saying, Oh, well, it's not such a big deal.

It's just a little bit.

It's not a big deal.

But when you look back over 50 years of life or over the last year or 10 years and you ask yourself, how often have you been distracted from what you really want?

How often has dyslexia undermined you in ways that you didn't notice?

And how much are you paying the consequence of not paying attention to these invisible trip wires in your mind?

And I realize, gosh, I am paying the price.

I'm seeing others the same age stage going ahead of me in certain areas, and I'm like, why is that?

And I realize, gosh, it's because I keep not learning certain lessons, and I'm often not learning those lessons.

Not that it's because of lack of efforts, because I'm not noticing particular traits to do with dyslexia and probably also to do with ADHD and addressing them.

And I'm paying the price.

What I see in you is you're really, really good at pulling people around you that have strengths that balance you out because I think you know, you have so many people that help you in different areas with your different businesses, and you're so good at organizing those people and delegating different tasks to them.

And you're really, really good at collaborating with people and you're really kind and you create this beautiful community around yourself, which I'm really jealous of, because I work solo most of the time and it's harder for me to collaborate with people.

And it's harder for me to delegate.

And I've learned a lot from you in that way that you don't have to do everything yourself, and sometimes it's better to delegate to somebody else that has perhaps a strength that you don't have, and then you can work really well together.

Oh, I wish that was true I wish that was true.

I'd like to be like that, and I think I am more like that.

But I just I am not delegating enough.

I'm not learned to trust enough in in certain ways.

In certain times, I would like to be let that person you just described and maybe I am a bit, but I definitely need to be more like that.

And that was one of my I think, 15 years ago when I switched on to Oh my goodness, I'm dyslexic because I had a formal identification.

This question rose in my mind, which was, I wonder what I could learn from other people with dyslexia.

And so when I went off and my first person was Richard Branson and Richard Branson, his two bits of advice where one take notes of everything because he has a notebook with him all the time and he takes notes of absolutely everything because he knows he'll forget things because of his dyslexia and his absent mindedness, that is to do with processing differences difficulties and secondly, delegate and I realized that I was getting stuck in this prison of I have to do everything well myself, which I think you pick up at school.

And I think if you've got a learning difficulty, a learning difference, you pick it up even worse at school.

If you're not lucky, I really think that sometimes it's like, you know, you need to be good at everything you know you need to be good at biology, chemistry, maths.

You need to get English.

You need to be good at sports.

You need to be good at whatever you know.

You need to be good at everything.

It's expected that you should have a decent standard of everything, except there are certain people who have highly specialized mine.

There are terrible at 10 things at school, but really good at two things outside of school.

And those two things might be their whole career.

Like Jackie Stewart, a famous Formula One racing driver of my age whose dyslexic Scottish Formula One world champion, really good at driving really good at business, terrible at school and couldn't read.

Yeah, I think that's a really good point.

I think we are trying to make people super well rounded when in fact when we do that, we're not enabling them to really realize their gifts.

So, you know, when I work with students, I often tell families that it's just as important for me to strengthen the strength as it is to remediate the weaknesses.

Yes, and a big thing that I like to do with Bullet Map Academy and the bullet map process is to use your strengths to address.

This weakness is so if you have.

And we've talked about that in this podcast, a lot like just taking working memory is as an example, you've got the phonological loop, and then you've got the visual spatial loop or visual spatial sketch back in the sketch pad and the phonological sketch pad.

And there are two separate channels, but they both can overlap and connect and create jewel coding.

So, if you hear a word, you can then have a picture of the word and they reinforce and Joe code and connect with one another, and it reinforces that.

And if you have a strengthen the visual and a weakness in the phonological, then you can use the visual to strengthen the phonological etcetera.

You know, I think that's just one example of it right?

You know what I want to say to anybody that's listening to this podcast?

Please note that when you go and you get a formal assessment, it's not a quantitative assessment.

It's really a qualitative assessment.

So, if you hear these symptoms, you hear the list that we've gone through and you're just checking them off and you're checking off at least five of them.

Then you can almost self-diagnose yourself because that's basically what they're doing in these assessments, as they're giving you just a checklist and you're checking off things and other people that know you well, perhaps, if you're younger, a teacher or a parent.

But it's really just a checklist.

And then all of those boiled down to whether you are checking off enough symptoms to be warranted a diagnosis.

So, I think it's really nice to know that if you're really listening to this and you are checking off in either one of those categories, at least five symptoms, then, yeah, you probably have a PhD.


So, can you go?

I know you've done a little bit of work here as well, and you're educational.

You do these assessments to behind the scenes.

What what's the American rules?

You've got some of the criterion rules given to professionals when they're making an ADHD identification.

Give us a breakdown of that.

Well, there are specific tests that you can take, and they are checklist kind of based.

But typically, they need to have as an adult if you want to be diagnosed as an adult with ADHD.

Since I think a lot of the individuals that are listening to the podcasts are adults, so I'm going to focus on that for a moment.

You have to have five or more symptoms of inattention and or five or more symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsive impulsivity, and they have to persist for at least six months.

And that's one key feature.

Another key feature is that you have to have several symptoms and that they have to be.

They had to be present before the age of 12 years old.

Now you can also have a late onset, as we were talking about, perhaps due to allergy, allergy, or food or environmental, and you also have to have several symptoms that must be present and that impact things like home school, your work, your relationships and in other activities.

And then there has to be some clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with or reduce the quality of your social interactions or your academics or even your occupation functioning.

So that's a big deal for adults that has to have some kind of impact on your work.

And, um, symptoms do not occur excessively during the course of things like schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders.

So, some again, some other disorders mood disorders, anxiety disorders can look a little bit like that.

But you have to rule out that it's not that.

Okay, you said excessively, but you meant exclusively.

So, symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of other disorders.

Thank you for correcting that yet and are not better explained by another mental disorder.

Mood disorder, Anxiety, dissociative personality substance.

Okay, yes.

So, a lot of these traits can happen if you may be coming off drugs or you're really anxious about things and so forth.

But you know what?

That anxiety things an interesting one.

Because I see this with dyslexia lot.

There's a Catch 22.

You can have dyslexia, and then it creates anxiety, and then a lot of the traits are associated to anxiety and not dyslexia or ADHD.

And you're like, Am I looking here at just the fruit of anxiety?

Or is there deeper root that is dislikes your ADHD, and often it is caused by a route that is causing the anxiety that then shows up those traits.

You know, it's interesting, because anxiety, if anybody with a learning difficulty of any kind has anxiety, it feeds the learning difficulty, which feeds the anxiety, and they can get into this really vicious cycle.

A little bit of anxiety is motivating, but too much anxiety blocks, learning blocks, memory in particular.

So, when these kids get in a testing situation, which really tends to trigger their anxiety, and if it over triggers the anxiety, then they really can't access the information that they already know.

Okay, so I'm going to pick it up a little bit here.

And just as I'm asking, you know, what do I do next?

I follow a guy called Dan Sullivan.

I really like him who runs strategic coach, which is a coaching program for entrepreneurs, and he's ADHD.

And I hear him occasionally mentioning it in his podcast.

Also, very occasionally hear him mention remembering to take his pills.

And so, I don't know if Dan Sullivan is taking ADHD meds or not.

But you know you don't get medicine for dyslexia, but you do get medicine for ADHD.

And does it work is my question.

I think it works absolutely brilliantly for some people and for other people.

It doesn't work so well.

Some people have side effects that are really unpleasant.

There are different types of medications.

There's some that are stimulants.

There are others that actually change the chemical makeup of the brain.

So, what's important is that you work with somebody that really understands your particular.

You want to rule out things like food, environmental toxins because sometimes it's as simple as it was for me is just getting off of preservatives.

And then even later on in life, when I gave up starch and sugar and any kind of processed food, my cognition then took another leap forward.

So having for me having an organic, hyper clean diet has been extraordinarily helpful for my cognition, so you can deal with it naturally.

A lot of people don't want to.

They would rather just take a pill.

But again, it's very much of an individual approach, and everybody has to really explore that for themselves.

Okay, so let's talk about the difference between UK and the USA right now.


So, I've been doing a little bit of research via my daughter.


My daughter is wondering whether she's ADHD as well as dyslexic, and I think she is.

I think I am.

And so, in the UK, it's your general GP - general practitioner who identifies ADHD and then starts to give you particular drugs.

But my understanding is that it's quite a long, convoluted process to go through the general practice process in the NHS.

And so, what I've heard is, and I don't know if this is true or not.

So, listeners, if you know better, email us, and tell me, but and this is not official, you know, this is me as a punter exploring it for myself.

But what some people do is they go to a private GP who identifies it as ADHD.

And then starts giving you drugs to and finds the right levels for it.

If it works, and then if the G P finds the right level, then what they do is they refer you to your normal NHS g p, and says, This is the drug level we've identified and I've identified as a D H D, and they're responding to this particular level of drug can they continue on in your care and then the NHS doctor just takes on and continues to prescribe those drugs and keeps you on that level.

So, it's a shortcut to just getting stuff done, and I'm thinking about going down that route myself.

What's your take on that, Erica?

Obviously, you don't know the UK scenario.

Maybe you can talk a bit about the American scenario with because in the UK, we don't have insurance providers in the same way as you do in the US, we just go to the National Health Service, and we get free healthcare at the point of need.

Although there's often quite a few waiting lists, USA is different.

What what's the situation in the USA and getting some treatment.

I think that it's similar in the sense that there are many options. You can follow the whole path of having a full, comprehensive neuropsychological assessment, which warrants a diagnosis.

Then you would go to probably a psychiatrist that would give you, uh, the appropriate medications, and you always start on a very low level until you work your way up to a therapeutic level.

You may have to try numerous different drugs, depending on the individual and because of certain side effects or how it makes you feel or how it impacts your appetite, for example.

But I think there are other people that go directly to a pediatrician.

Some pediatricians.

We'll, uh, we'll offer medications.

And then there are other types of MDs that medical doctors that you can work with.

So there is kind of a wide range of individuals that you can go to, and even those doctors might give you some of these assessments, which, as I said, tend to be more qualitative in the sense that their checklists and if there's enough symptomology or they'll interview you and decide whether you know they're willing to try you down a path of medications.

And then there's some people that I absolutely love that really look at the individual.

They do all sorts of other genetic testing to see if medications are appropriate.

They try different supplementation, such as fish oils and other types of supplements that have research behind them that can help with attention.

So, yeah, there are many different pathways I usually suggest to all of my families to try the natural things first, largely because I had such success with that.

However, a lot of people like to go right to the medication, and for some I've seen it to be a complete and total game changer, like where it took a child or an even adult that was barely functioning.

And then all of a sudden, they were doing incredibly well.

They would have an enormous amount of success, but it's a huge continuum, and it's just it's a personal exploration.

Yes, yeah, this is a great conversation, Eric and I think we need to carry on having some more conversations about a D h d.

In further podcast, shall we?


Yeah, we'll see what we'll see.

What comes up Yeah, absolutely.

I think going to an ADHD charity, an organization in your locality would be a good idea.

I mean, I may be stating the obvious, but especially with dyslexia, ADHD.

It's always useful to go to the an international body for it and hear what the sort of straightforward, mainline advices on that is a good starting point, which is exactly what we've done here by going to the NHS guidelines and the D S M five diagnostic criteria for ADHD So, you know, starting off with that and then working out as a helpful next step and one really good organization in the United States so people can check out, is Chad.

It's I don't know what the acronym stands for, but it's CHADD.

And that's a really great organization to get started with.

If you want to find some more information about ADHD Erica, it's been fantastic.

I think that might take away.

And I hope your takeaway as listeners is that you can have both dyslexia and ADHD. And I have to say I think I have attributed a number of traits to dyslexia when, actually, it's been ADHD.

And again, like I said before, you can have similar traits, but they're occurring for different reasons, like attention.

You can be inattentive at school not because you've got ADHD, but because you can't see the board and read the board.

And so, you need to go and get glasses and immediately become attentive.

Now that's an absurdly simple example.

But it's a real one, and likewise with dyslexia, you could be inattentive because you can't physically read what's on the board because it's all jumbling up.

Or you're getting confused with your working memory, reading a word on the board, and then writing it down.

And it's super slow.

And then it seems like you're not being attentive, etcetera or your it's you're overwhelmed by it, so you can have similar traits that are caused by different routes.

That's right.

And also remember that you know, ADHD can be viewed under the umbrella of executive functioning.

Or if you think of it like a Venn diagram, they overlap a lot, and but I do have students that have both ADHD and significant executive functioning problems.

Or we're going to be considered to have an executive functioning disorder.

Yes, and that's an interesting distinction.

And I think some people might be wondering what often when people talk about ADHD, they immediately go to executive function issues.

And the I think the reason is executive function helps everything you know.

It's like if you have strategies to help improve your working memory, any individual improving the working memory strategies will find their whole executive functioning process goes up a level and executive functioning his core in our busy lives because it helps you get new stuff done.

If you've got just normal habits and you're on autopilot and you never need to do new stuff, then executive function isn't that important.

You don't need to take in that much important information.

You don't need to maintain your focus on different new things.

You don't need to adjust your cognitive flexibility because you've just got your thing and you do that and that's it.

But life's not like that anymore, especially in the modern age.

And so, everybody gets benefits from dealing with executive function and including ADHD, dyslexia and someone with executive function difficulties and any other typical person.

So executive function is often that go to place where you get a lot of bang for your buck because it helps you to process to make sense.

And ultimately, when you get to the higher level executive functioning, doing these higher level processes like reasoning, which is really reasoning and problem solving and everything else, I want to share one last thing here to do with the UK If you're in the UK, there's a grant that people with ADHD can get if they're in the workplace, and it's called the access to work grant Okay and their access to work.

Grant is a government grant.

It's £145 million a year.

That's given out to people who are in the workplace who have workplace disabilities and ADHD.

Traits and dyslexia traits are classed under this, and so what they will do is they will give you a grant of somewhere between £4000 a year to get training on workplace strategy coaching.

They'll also give you apps that help with a D, h, D and organization and Focus.

And they'll also give you specialist training on how to use those apps.

So, it's really easy to get you just call them up.

And actually, I run a company called Dyslexia at Work, and it works for ADHD as well.

Maybe I'm going to need to change it to dyslexia and ADHD at work.

But dyslexia work where we help people stay organized with an iPad.

And if you're interested in applying for this, just call me up or send me an email, and what I'll do is I'll call you and we'll spend 20 minutes filling in the online form so that you've got it in, and you can get response within normally within about 3 to 4 weeks.

But within six weeks, you get told whether you've got a grant of somewhere between one and £3000 and if you've got a d h.

D, even if you're not formally identified, but just showing the traits or dyslexia or just showing the traits, they will give you this training because they realize how important it is to have strategies in place and it means that you'll make more money, pay more taxes, or not become unemployed and claim benefits.

That's why they do it.

It's they've done the maths.

So, if you're interested in that, I'll put the link in the description below.

You don't have to go through me.

Just go and check out access to work.

It is such a valuable, unused tool.

And unfortunately, there isn't such a thing in America yet, is there?


But Darius now, what if there was an American listening to this and they're like, wow, well, can I at least get trained with Darius?

Yes, you can.

And yeah, we've got people in America who phoned me up and say, Yeah, Darius, I will pay you directly.

And, you know, instead of being paid via Grant, they pay me directly.

Yes, and we've got, uh it's just brilliant what we've got here.

To be honest, it's just the iPad is so useful tool for people with different learning styles and cognitive processing abilities and ADHD and dyslexia.

Because you've got that combination of keyboard, pen, touch all in one place, and you can create an organization system that isn't like what they do on YouTube. Where it's all notion and all words and all tons of complicated lists and so on and do it more visually, more intuitively.

That's what we're all about.

So, yeah, if you want to get in touch with me and pay me direct, no problem.

We've got loads of people do that too.


This is really, really great.

And I'm so glad that you shared all that information with the audience that your project is very, very exciting.

And you're also creating an app, aren't you?

Oh, yeah.

I'm very, very excited.

Actually, I spoke to an APP developer yesterday.

This is not public yet, but I spoke to an APP developer yesterday who is really, really good at developer.

And I spoke to him two years ago and he says, Yeah, I really like it, But no, I'm too busy.

I'm not going to do it.

But I spoke to him yesterday.

He was like, actually, Darius, I'm really interested in this app.

I'm really interested.

So, I'm hoping on Friday he can become part of dyslexia at work and start developing this iPad app because he's already created a different iPad app.

That's very good.

And this one, he's got all the experience to do it.

So, I'm very excited to because what happens is in the world of dyslexia and ADHD.

There are all these assistive technologies, but what drives me nuts is they don't play well with one another.

You've got, like a voice to text program where you dictate things and then you've got a text to voice program that reads things out to you and then you've got mind mapping program.

But that doesn't read things out to you.

But you see all visually and then you've got like a planner over here, whether it's a paper one or a digital planner and they just don't communicate with one another.

And you're like, oh, these are all great tools for dyslexia and you're like, That's really great.

I've got processing difficulties.

You, you know, immediately you've created these.

They don't talk to each other, so I need to create manual processes between them, and I dropped the ball.

And so, a lot of people just give up on these good ideas which on their own are great.

But when you put them together, they just fall to bits because you just need some proper connected thinking so long.

And the short is, I want to create an app that has I can talk out my thoughts and it turns it into text.

I can turn that text into maps.

I can have a handwriting notes and type written notes all in the one place, and then I can turn my notes into a task manager that puts it into my calendar.

And then, once it's in my calendar, will verbally tell me, what do I have to do next and so right all the way through?

I want an app that just does all of that, and that's what we're going to do.

I'm fed up waiting for someone else to do it, and I'm excited because I'm very interested in getting involved in the design of this app to because I have just so many students, that same thing, they're trying to juggle too many apps.

They like features of this app.

They like features of this happened features of this app, and I want to help you to combine them all so that it cannot only be supportive of those that are working but students as well, perhaps in in higher education, even in high school, so that they can just keep themselves organized.

So, it's very exciting project, and I'm sure you guys will hear more about it in the podcast.

Yeah, well, it might be the news of it just trickles out week by week, month by month, year by year, because it's time that apps were created for dyslexia and or a d.

H d first rather than it being a byproduct.

So instead of saying, oh, this is quite good for dyslexia, it's like, no, this is designed for dyslexia.

We've put the right button front and center for you to press straight away rather than three clicks due down on a hierarchy menu where you get lost and you forget where it is and all that kind of assistive technology and so on instead of having assistive technology, second or third is right at the beginning.

It's like, where is the detect button?

Let me just make it red, so I can just press it.


Yeah, very exciting.

Well, thank you so much, Darius.

This is a wonderful discussion.

We went all over the place, but it was all such valuable information.

Yeah, I'm loving this, Erica.

Thanks for spending the time each week, and I was chatting, and it's great that people are listening in on our conversations each week.

It's fantastic to see how many of you starting to listen in.

So please connect with us.


We haven't figured out how you can connect with us, but emails or messages or whatever.

We got to figure that out.

Erica, we both have our own websites, and you can find both of us.

You just type in.

Our names were all over all over the Internet.

That's right.

Go on.

YouTube were on websites.

So, look, we have all sorts of links to in in the show notes where you can find us.

We'll put some links in the show notes to our websites where there's a contact us page.

Sounds good, Erica.

Until next time.


Thank you for joining our conversation here at the personal brain trainer Podcast.

This is Dr Erica Warren, and this is Darius Namdaran. You can check out our show notes for links to resources, mentioning the podcast and please leave us a review and share us on social media. Just take a screenshot and post it up on your social and until next time, see you.