States of Mind: ADHD Therapies, Mindfulness and Adults with ADHD

By Therese Picasso-Edwards

Following the success of the first States of Mind series, community members requested we host another series with the focus on ADHD. Currently the CDC reported 5.4 million children and teens currently are diagnosed, there are no state statistics available. What does this mean? It means parents and schools are having to find ways to help children cope, learn and thrive when they are diagnosed.

In rural communities’ treatment plans and choices available to parents can be different than in urban areas. Access to therapists and mindfulness practitioners can make behavioral treatment challenging. Fortunately, in our community we have access to therapists and mindfulness practitioners who can help children from a behavioral standpoint.

On April 24, Rosalind Rose MS, LCPC, LAC, LMFT and Rebekah Easter, Mindfulness Coach presented the advantages of behavioral therapy and mindfulness coaching. Rosalind said many people she sees in a therapeutic setting with ADHD show signs of ‘depression, anxiety, OCD and/or PTSD.’  This is one of the reasons behavioral therapy is an important component of treatment. Rosalind uses many methods, but finds art therapy especially helpful in her work with children. Rebekah, Somatic Coach and Mindfulness educator, discussed research- based brain studies which show clear differences in a brain with ADHD. Research shows how evidence-based mindfulness practices can strengthen the structure of the brain, quite like how going to the gym strengthens muscle tissue. Mindfulness is a practice for all ages. Children’s brains are still developing and can have measurable positive change from mindfulness practice. The combination of both behavioral therapy and mindfulness can lead to a calmer brain and positive behavioral choices for both children and adults.

The series concluded on May 1st with a discussion of adults with ADHD moderated by Kate Stout, a co-organizer of this series.  She shared an eye-opening article written by William Dodson, MD entitled, ‘Three Defining Features of ADHD That Everyone Overlooks’.  “When we step back and ask, ‘What does everyone with ADHD have in common, that people without ADHD don’t experience?’ a different set of symptoms take shape.’ Dodson argues that those with ADHD have an interest-based nervous system where there is an inability to stay focused on disinterested topics or hyper focused on topics of interest. In addition, there is a hyper arousal component where an inability to relax is present. Finally, persons effected are more sensitive to rejection, teasing and criticism. Some will become people pleasers or simply opt out of many social situations due to anxiety.

Kate recommended work by Russell A. Barkley, PhD, who is dedicated to education and research on ADHD. 

The Red Lodge Area Community Foundation would like to thank our partner, Red Lodge Schools as well as the presenters and attendees of the States of Mind series.  Stay tuned for another series in the fall.  Please contact Therese Picasso-Edwards at 446-2820 or  with topic suggestions, questions or comments.