A Little Fun Goes a Long Way with ADHD
ACO Global ADHD Awareness Week, October 16-22, 2011
- other ADHD coaches,
- professional organizers,
- nutritionists and
- college Disability Deans to name a few?
These are the people who provide services to children and adults with ADHD in your networking group. What would it look like to put an event together? Follow some of my simple and easy suggestions and have a good time. Start now!
The Story of How It’s Done
I facilitate a Rhode Island (RI) Support Group for ADHD adults (the second oldest in the country) and create and manage a list of local (RI and some Maryland) ADHD professionals which is given to group members and is also available on our website.
In honor of the first ADHD Awareness Day, I invited all the ADHD professionals on our list to a two-hour evening gathering at Brown University (where I used to work). It was co-sponsored by the Brown Disability Services Office and they provided free space and water, nuts, cookies and Brownies (that are very special and yummy!!). Everyone loved the evening so much and wanted it to be an annual event. It’s been happening for several years now and is scheduled for Monday, October 17 this year.
Many professionals had known each others names or spoken by phone or referred to each other, but as is common in the professional community, they had never actually met. This event was a great opportunity to connect with and meet new people, a time to really learn about others’ specialties. Many more referrals especially to ADHD coaches, have been generated out of this event. You, as the host and the link to all the attendees, will become much more valuable to and integrated into the ADHD professional community.
Suggestions to Build On
- Gather as quickly as possible all the interested people(within a one-hour driving radius to your venue) who want to be on the ADHD Professionals Referral List and their contact information (name, title, address, phone, e-mail, website).
- Prepare a handout to distribute at the event and also send to everyone who can’t attend.
- Determine the potential size of the group and find a free venue for hosting. Think about a large meeting space through a college Disability Services, a hospital or medical school, a large medical practice, a public library, etc. Find an easily accessible spot with good parking.
- Schedule the event from 7-9PM on Monday-Thursday, Oct. 17-20.
- Get there at 6:30PM to organize and set up.
- Have simple refreshments (everyone’s being very healthy these days and not eating a lot!)
- Set up three tables—one for sign-in and name tags, one for refreshments, and one for any materials that people brought. Set up chairs in a circle in same room or another larger room for actual meeting.
- Mail, e-mail, call with invitation and directions, set an RSVP deadline and include a request to bring any materials they want and for them to be prepared to speak for three minutes about their practice or services.
- People arrive, check in with you (or helper), get name tag, get Referral List, have extra copies if they want some for their offices or to give to clients/patients, put their materials on Resource Table, look at other materials, have some refreshments. Wait for about 20 minutes and then start the formal part of the evening.
- Attendees gather in the circle of chairs. You, as host, welcome everyone, talk about ADHD Awareness Week, maybe ACO, other announcements or events happening locally or nationally.
- Then each person shares for about 5 minutes. (You get to be the timekeeper to keep things moving along.) Depending on the size of the group, this could take 30-60 minutes or longer. You then wrap up at the end with your 5-minutes and then invite people to mix and mingle. You have finished the formal part by 9PM at the latest.
Practitioners really seem to appreciate your time and effort in putting this event together and if you decide to do it again next year, you have a reason to contact them to update any Referral List data and invite them to the party!
You’ll learn about new practitioners in the area and become the expert “go to” person for providing ADHD information to a variety of people in your area–both practitioners and potential clients.
It’s a great way to benefit practitioners, children and adults with ADHD and their families, teachers, employers, you and other ADHD coaches, and the general public. And isn’t that what global ADHD Awareness Week is all about!!!