Are you a Brain Expert?

Are you a brain expert?  If you’ve made it to this blog, you’re certainly on a quest for more brain knowledge.  As ADHDers, we have to be brain experts, but not in the way you might think.  Being a brain expert as an ADHDer means you’re an expert on YOUR OWN BRAIN.  You must learn how it works so you can accomplish things and become a “productive member of society.”


Brain Coaching

Photo by Marco Ceschi on Unsplash

“Coaching” sessions

As a Mom of an ADHDer, I have to help my son accomplish things, but I also need to support and grow his personal brain expertise.  In other words, I’m not just trying to see what works for him, although that’s half of the game.  I am also keeping track of what works and then teaching him to use those strategies on a daily basis.  On most days I am his “brain coach.”  I start with the basics (correct nutrition, 9-11 hours of sleep, ordered and structured environment, exercise, and time with nature–i.e. how a brain functions at a high level).  I then must take note of what works when the basics are covered and there is still a meltdown.

Here are 3 no fail strategies to use when the brain game should be strong (ie–high functioning brain activities have occurred), but there is still unrest. 

1. Fill the relationship bucket.  There is a WHOLE MENU devoted to this topic on my blog because it is the meat and potatoes of winning the ADHD war with your children (not against, WITH THEM).  When you’re at your wit’s end and about to explode, fill the bucket.  Take him to feed the birds, nearby.  Plan a play date with a good friend who he hasn’t seen in a while.  Better still, savor 2 all natural fruit popsicles over a deep, or completely meaningless  outdoor porch conversation.


 2. Rough-housing. This may seem to fall under the exercise category, but it’s not.  Rough housing is ESSENTIAL frontal lobe stimulation for children, ESPECIALLY children with ADHD.  My husband and I have a king bed which takes up MOST of the space in our small, 1950’s master bedroom.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  If you don’t have a king bed to throw children on when the going gets tough, look for a used trampoline (trust me, people ALWAYS want to unload them).  For my 10-year-old, I entice him to rough house with his little brother, by tossing the 4 year old on the bed (under my supervision).  Break it up if it gets nasty or bloody. 😉


3. Keep a FIND YOUR FOCUS CRAFT BOX.  This is another way to calm the heightened emotions of the ADHD brain.  In our special craft box I have:  unopened pokemon cards, scratch off art papers in which you remove the outer layer to reveal beautiful shiny colors using a stencil and a wooden stick, new play doh that has never been touched or mixed, and a mini zen garden (for Mami and Papi), as well.  When we’ve all had it in my household, the magic box comes to the rescue.  All the negative energy goes out while the focus and calm comes in.

I hope you can use some of these tips.  Don’t ever under-estimate the power of the 20 second hug if all else fails and nothing else is available!  Get your child off  the emotional side-lines and into the game! Stay tuned for my next post where I explain how I’m actively teaching my son to use these tricks and how he’s already starting to internalize them!  Score for Mami!

So, are you your child’s brain expert?  What do you do when your ADHD child is “done” and you are, too?



Published by Family ADDventures

Nicole Santiago is a learning specialist, student advocate, and founder of Family ADDventures. As a specialist, she assesses and teaches clients (adults and adolescents) to manage and grow their executive functioning skills which include emotional regulation, task initiation, and time management. As an advocate (IEP coach), she is a member of COPAA and ensures inclusive (special) education students receive the most appropriate educational services possible. She often collaborates with OT's, SLP's and neuropsychologists all in the name of student improvement and success. Her practice is located in San Antonio, TX, and everywhere (virtually). The author grew up an army brat and spends time with her three ND children and husband in Puerto Rico whenever possible. She writes about mental health, parenting, education, and entrepreneurship on her blog:

2 thoughts on “Are you a Brain Expert?

  1. Such great tips! I need to apply these with all my kiddos. =) Plus as my kids get older, it seems my role as their “brain coach” increases as well. I’m a little scared of the teenage years, but hopefully am laying a good foundation now. =)


    1. I’m scared, too, although I’ve been teaching 13 year-olds for 10 years! You’re completely correct that laying a good foundation sets the tone. That way, if the teenage years bring the house crashing down, it’s easier to build it back up!


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