Episode 3 – The science behind an ADHD podcast – how do ADHD brains learn?

Is there a perfect podcast for the ADHD brain? Journalist and mental health advocate Lindsay Guentzel tries to put together a formula by speaking to a handful of ADHD experts. 

Plus, get ready for summer with these great resources from ADHD Online.

Shaping the Parent’s Role in Managing ADHD with Elaine Taylor-Klaus & Diane Dempster

Does Nature Exposure Help Your Child with ADHD?

​​5 ADHD Summer Camp Ideas For Children

Survival summer break tips for families with ADHD KIDS

Social Media Profiles

Instagram: @lindsayguentzel @adhdonline @refocusedpod

Twitter: @lindsayguentzel @adhd_online @refocusedpod

For more information on ADHD Online and ADHD assessments, medical management and teletherapy. 

Email Lindsay: [email protected].

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Lindsay Guentzel (00:05):

This is Episode 3 of Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel. The science behind an ADHD podcast, how do ADHD brains learn? When the team at ADHD Online and I started brainstorming what a podcast collaboration would look like and what topics we discuss, there was this amazing idea thrown out there that we should build a podcast that worked specifically for ADHD brains, interview ADHD researchers and experts and dive into how the ADHD brain learns, and then take all of that information and build a podcast based on those specifications. In a perfect world, right? I procrastinated so hard on putting this episode together because there simply isn’t a way to build the perfect podcast that works with the ADHD brain, because I quickly realized that I would have to take into account all of the other variables that affect when a person listens to a podcast and all of the potential distractions that could affect the way they connect to the podcast, and even how they absorb information.

Lindsay Guentzel (01:10):

When I started researching this episode, I reached out to the National Institute of Mental Health to see if they could recommend an expert who could shed some light on how ADHD brains learn and digest information. The National Institute of Mental Health is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders and it’s one of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health, NIH, which is the largest biomedical research agency in the world. Two of the academic researchers they recommended, Dr. Anthony Dick and Dr. Paulo Graziano, work on NIMH funded research in this area at Florida International University in Miami. And you’ll hear parts of our conversation later in this episode. To get started though, I want to share some of my conversation with Dr. Roberto Olivardia. Dr. Olivardia is a Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He also has a private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts where he treats patients of all ages.

Lindsay Guentzel (02:08):

His specialties include ADHD, obsessive compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, as well as the treatment of eating disorders in both boys and men. My interview with Dr. Olivardia focused on the connection between ADHD and disordered eating, and you’ll hear that conversation on Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel soon. But I wanted to take advantage of his expertise and connection to the ADHD community. And so I started our conversation by going off script. So the purpose of our conversation is to focus on ADHD and eating disorders, but I’m hoping if we could start on the episode I’m working on right now, I’m looking at the science behind the ADHD brain. And I’m curious if there’s anything you could share about what we know about the ADHD brain in regards to behavior and learning and just anything that stands out from your time working and through your research that might be something that would be interesting to share with our listeners.

Dr. Roberto Olivardia (03:02):

So one of the things that’s so fascinating about research and the research we now know on the ADHD brain is that there are things that definitely are different than a neurotypical brain, but my hope is that people out there with ADHD, I have ADHD myself, so can find very validating. So couple things, one is we have a number of neurochemicals in the brain, one of them is dopamine. Dopamine is implicated in reward, it’s implicated in motivation. So when we are having a great time, our dopamine levels are rising. We’re in love, our dopamine levels are rising. When I’m in a concert, my dopamine levels are rising. So what we know about the ADHD brain is that there is a deficit in dopamine or a dysregulation of dopamine that basically leaves the ADHD brain at baseline an under stimulated brain, an under aroused brain. So an individual with ADHD in a sense has to do more and is always seeking more stimulation in order to feel grounded, in order to feel in the moment.

Dr. Roberto Olivardia (04:15):

Now, there’s another neurochemical called GABA. Now, GABA is implicated in inhibition. So when we have appropriate levels of GABA, we are appropriately inhibited or held back from doing something that may be in our best interest. So for example, a teacher might get a student upset. The student might say, “Oh, I want to give the middle finger to this teacher.” If they have appropriate GABA levels, their brain will say, “No, that has a consequence to it. That wouldn’t be in your best interest to do so let’s not do that.” Well an ADHD brain has lower levels of GABA which means it’s a more uninhibited brain. And we know that even with delays and activation, let’s say that in 30 seconds you can create a lot of damage, in 30 seconds of performing an action, saying something, so now you have an uninhibited, under aroused brain. Even just hearing that I think is really validating and really interesting to know okay, so maybe it’s not so willful per se, that there is this underlying biological neurological underpinning that belies the ADHD brain.

Dr. Roberto Olivardia (05:33):

Now, because of that, we also know that the frontal lobe, which is where all of our executive functions are housed, so that’s all cognitive processes that we need to get things done, to execute things, time management, prioritizing, working memory, all of those things we know, there’s a maturity lag in people with ADHD. Russell Barkley, who’s the world’s leading researcher on ADHD, said you almost have to think of particularly a younger person with ADHD as having a third less their chronological age and executive functions. So 21-year-old might have not the intellectual capacity, but the executive functions of 14-year-old, which can be very puzzling to people themselves who have ADHD, to parents, to teachers, because we equate intelligence with good executive function culturally and they’re two completely different topics. So you can have someone who has a super high IQ but has very poor executive function and everyone thinking, “Oh, they’re smart enough to get that done. How can they not get that done?”

Dr. Roberto Olivardia (06:35):

Well we know that the ADHD brain, it is more difficult executively. Now, with all of that, although we know that there are those differences, that doesn’t mean that people with ADHD are brain damaged or are cursed in that way, it just means that there’s a different wiring that we have to contend with. And for people with ADHD, with that understanding comes now a responsibility of, “Oh, okay, so I might have to do things differently than somebody else does,” as opposed to, “Well I have ADHD, so don’t expect me to ever be on time,” that’s not going to fly.

Lindsay Guentzel (07:11):

That’s one of the things I’m actually working on myself right now is being on time. So if I were to say to you what should a podcast for the ADHD brain look and sound like, and I understand there’s likely no right answer because what works for me is going to be different than what works for you, but does anything stand out and make you think this might work?

Dr. Roberto Olivardia (07:33):

I think just bullet points of information that people can walk away with and really see that relationship of, when I just explained about dopamine, “Oh, that makes sense why I get bored so easily,” or, “That makes sense why my son who has ADHD tends to take it a little bit further in the stimulation category than my child who doesn’t have ADHD.” I think also just lived experiences of people who have ADHD who can speak to and give anecdotes that people can relate to, because although you can have 10 people with ADHD in a room and there could be a lot of differences amongst those people, I do feel there is this shared sensibility.

Dr. Roberto Olivardia (08:18):

The first time I went to an international ADHD conference, the first time I went in 2008, I’ve been speaking ever since at that conference, it really felt like you were with your posse. There’s this awesome feeling of here’s this community of people and it’s educators, it’s parents, it’s young adults, it’s people with ADHD, a lot of therapists who treat people with ADHD, many of whom, like myself, have ADHD themselves. There is this sense of understanding that goes a long way for a lot of people unfortunately whose self-esteem sometimes can really take a hit by having ADHD.

Lindsay Guentzel (09:01):

That was Dr. Roberto Olivardia, a Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He also has a private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts where he specializes in ADHD, obsessive compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, as well as the treatment of eating disorders in both boys and men.

Keith Boswell (09:26):

As much as we all love summer, it can be a difficult time for people with ADHD. School’s out, offices tend to change up their hours and throw in those long holiday weekends and any semblance of routine is out the window. There’s so much great stuff on the horizon over at adhdonline.com. But today, I wanted to focus on giving you parents as many resources as possible to set you and your children up for success over the next three months. In a way, it feels like new years when summer starts, a chance to rededicate yourself to a goal or reorganize your priorities in your to-do list. All of these will be linked in the show notes so you can find them easily. The first couple of articles from our blog I want to pass along focus on the parents. Whether you have children with ADHD or you yourself have it, these all have great ideas to add to your routine.

Keith Boswell (10:19):

Does nature exposure help your child with ADHD? Walk through the ways getting outdoors can benefit the ADHD brain, including improving a person’s attention span through attention restoration therapy. And it connects right back to playing in greener spaces. There’s also an article on our blog that offers up summer camp ideas for children with ADHD, which is a great way to add structure to the day while helping avoid this summer slide. Finally, there’s a great webinar called Shaping the Parents’ Role in Managing ADHD that was hosted by Elaine Taylor-Klaus and Diane Dempster, the Co-Founders of impactparents.com. They’re an online training, coaching and support resource for parents of complex children, teens and young adults. Often, the school year means less time with your kids during the day. So it’s never a bad idea to do a little brush up before diving into summer. It can definitely help add some ease to the adjustment period.

Keith Boswell (11:17):

Again, all these resources are free for you to read and watch over at adhdonline.com. And if you have a topic you want us to cover, we would love it if you would pass it along. You can send an email to [email protected], or follow us on social media and connect with our team that way. After the last couple of years, I think we all deserve a really great summer, whatever that looks like for you.

Lindsay Guentzel (11:50):

Connection and community have been really important parts of my own ADHD journey, some days simply because I know I’m not alone, that there’s someone out there who gets me. And I’m really excited to connect with more of you over the summer. Lots of you have sent emails or notes on social media and that means so much to me, the stories you’ve shared and to know that you feel safe telling them to me, that vulnerability and trust, I don’t quite know how to articulate how it makes me feel. But it is a responsibility that I don’t take lightly. So thank you for opening up your hearts to me. One thing I would like to start doing is sharing your stories, your ADHD journey. So if you’re interested in putting yourself out there, please shoot me a note. Emailing me at [email protected] is the best way to contact me, then everything’s in one spot and I’m less likely to misplace it. That’s something I’m sure a lot of you can relate to.

Lindsay Guentzel (12:46):

And please, if you’re enjoying what you’re hearing, subscribe, rate and leave a review. They might seem unimportant, but those little things work into this much bigger algorithm that people have figured out or created. And that helps other people with ADHD find us. And it also increases our reach with ADHD experts so we can continue to bring you informative conversations like the ones you’re hearing today. As I mentioned earlier, I reached out to the National Institute of Mental Health in hopes of finding an expert who could help me understand how the ADHD brain absorbs information. This episode is called the science behind an ADHD podcast, how do ADHD brains learn? And the whole goal of exploring this topic was to see if there was a right way to develop and produce a podcast for people with ADHD. From day one, the team at ADHD Online and I have wanted to create a podcast that is engaging and fun and easy to listen to. But the biggest thing we’ve wanted to accomplish is providing you with information that actually matters.

Lindsay Guentzel (13:51):

And here’s where I have to admit defeat, I didn’t find the magical elusive blueprint for this podcast. I tried, I really did. But what I did stumble upon is a team of researchers at Florida International University who are studying the brains of very young children with ADHD, preschoolers who have been diagnosed at a time that can be really hard to pinpoint the problem. A lot of behavioral issues that are seen at that young age are things that all children tend to display. So last week, I spoke to Dr. Anthony Dick and Dr. Paulo Graziano. It was their research on biosignatures of executive function and emotion regulation in young children with ADHD that prompted the National Institute of Mental Health to share their expertise with me. I spoke to them separately so you’ll hear parts of my conversation with Dr. Dick first, and then I’ll share some of my conversation with Dr. Graziano. This is very heavy science talk.

Lindsay Guentzel (14:45):

In fact, I joked with both of them that I tried to read their research and then I tried to have Siri read their research to me, and I was lost. So I appreciate that both of them came into the interviews sharing the goal of being able to explain their research to all of us who aren’t scientists. So I start by asking all of my guests to introduce themselves to the audience.

Dr. Anthony Dick (15:13):

So I’m Dr. Anthony Dick. I’m a Cognitive Neuroscientist and Developmental Scientist and Professor at Florida International University. And I mainly do neuroimaging research on young children diagnosed with ADHD or kids who have language impairments.

Lindsay Guentzel (15:32):

So what have you been able to see when you’re looking at neuroimaging? What are these brain scans showing you?

Dr. Anthony Dick (15:39):

Yes, this is a really good question. So we do MRI scans on children and we do them on typically developing children and on children with ADHD. In diagnosing ADHD, you have to check a number of boxes off and one of the main things, you need to see these issues appearing in multiple contexts and more than one usually adult is saying there’s an issue. So it’s usually a teacher rating and a parent rating saying there’s issues in more than one context. So that’s how we understand that children with ADHD look different behaviorally. And that’s actually much easier to identify than when we look at the brains. And we did a paper a couple of years ago showing that the brain scans actually don’t show us very much in terms of dissociating a typical child or one that might be diagnosed with ADHD. We don’t find that it’s any better above and beyond doing the more rigorous behavioral profile that you would typically do in a clinical situation. When you ask what do we see? We actually don’t see anything obvious. Now, there are exceptions.

Dr. Anthony Dick (16:44):

So there are certain situations where if you see maybe a brain tumor that’s impacting a particular area, or if you’re an older child who’s had a traumatic brain injury, that would maybe lead to an ADHD behavioral profile. But in general, we don’t see any obvious deficits. So we can’t look at a scan and say, “That child has ADHD.” What we do is we look at it as a group, are there any indicators that might on average indicate that the child would be more likely to have ADHD or not? And we do see some indicators like that. One of them that’s interesting is looking at a measure called neuron density where we’re looking at the level of density of neurons in particular brain regions and seeing if that differs across children with ADHD versus typically developing children. But in general, the brain scans are not showing us a lot, which is surprising. But this is why we study it. What this means though is that you should not be spending a lot of money as a parent to try and go get a brain scan to diagnose some issue like ADHD.

Lindsay Guentzel (17:59):

So I’m curious, where do things stand now that you’ve done these scans? And okay, well there’s nothing obvious we can look for when it comes to indicators, what is the next path for you?

Dr. Anthony Dick (18:13):

So the brain is complicated. So we’re trying to figure out how these systems function for different behaviors. So ADHD is not a singular disorder, it’s basically heterogeneous, meaning that if you take a child with ADHD, child A, and you take another child with ADHD, child B, the way that they manifest their attention deficit disorder will be very different or could be very different. So some kids tend to be more hyperactive, some kids may be inattention, some kids are diagnosed as combined type. Some of them have impulse control problems, they’re highly emotional, they have poor emotion regulation. They also come along with difficulties with anxiety. So kids look very different in the way that they manifest the disorder. So we are interested in seeing how these different brain systems that are involved in these functions like impulse control, like emotion regulation, like executive function, we want to see how the disorder gets manifested differently in children within these different systems. So we’re interested in how the systems work.

Dr. Anthony Dick (19:22):

It would be ideal if we could get a brain scan that says, “You have ADHD,” or, “You have schizophrenia,” but the reality is these disorders are very complicated. And in some cases, you can show from a brain scan that you have a particular disorder. So for example, Parkinson’s disease has a very specific cause. It’s a degeneration of the substantia nigra. So if you can show that in some brain scan, then you could more likely diagnose Parkinson’s from that. We’ve been looking for the holy grail from brain scans and we still aren’t finding it. So for example, Alzheimer’s is still very difficult to diagnose even if you have a brain scan. And the same thing is true for these difficult to diagnose developmental disorders. So ideally ,we would be able to look at brain scans and point to a disorder, but we’re not finding that. And that’s important to know as well. So the NIH gives us money to try to find things out and also to show what doesn’t work.

Lindsay Guentzel (20:23):


Dr. Anthony Dick (20:26):

So that’s what we go and report. And we were disappointed to find this, but it’s good to know. It may be the case that in the future as we learn more, getting a brain scan might allow you to tailor a treatment better if you can show from the brain scan that their brain responds in a particular way to certain stimuli, like if in an emotionally taxing situation. If a child’s brain responds in a particular way, we might say focus on the emotion regulation aspect of this. But you can also show that with behavioral measures, so you may not need the brain scan.

Lindsay Guentzel (21:00):

I’m hoping you can walk me through the scans you are doing.

Dr. Anthony Dick (21:04):

So one type of scan we get is called a structural scan. And that is the MRI that is the same MRI you would get on your knee or something like that if you wanted to see damage in the knee, and that will show big issues like a lesion or a tumor or a cyst or something like that. We can use that to look at structural differences. So there’s an area of the brain for example called the corpus callosum. And that is a part of the brain that is a bunch of axons connecting the two hemispheres of the brain. Now, what are axons? Axons, the best way to think about them is the wiring of the brain, the connections between neurons. So that part of the brain is connecting the two hemispheres of the brain. And if you have a good connection between the two hemispheres, the brain works more efficiently. And you can see structural differences in the corpus callosum at the group level.

Dr. Anthony Dick (22:03):

So on average, you can see that maybe there’s a part of the corpus callosum that looks thinner in kids with ADHD as opposed to typical kids. And another part, it maybe even looks thicker than the typical kids. So you can see those on average structural differences. So that’s a structural scan. Then we have another type of scan called a diffusion weighted imaging scan, and that scan measures water movement in the brain. And those axons I mentioned, they’re little hollow tubes and water moves through those hollow tubes in the same way that water moves through a pipe. And we can actually measure the diffusion of the water through those little axonal pipes. And then we can construct a wiring diagram of the brain. And so we look at differences in the wiring diagram of kids with ADHD versus typical kids using this diffusion weighted imaging scan. The diffusion weighted imaging scan also gives us that neuron density measure.

Dr. Anthony Dick (23:06):

So it can show if you have more or less neurons or connections in a particular brain region. And then the last scan that we use is called a functional imaging scan, and that scan measures blood flow in the brain. And blood flow measurement is important because when you use a particular region of your brain, blood flows to that region because it has what’s called a metabolic demand. So when your neurons are firing, they need oxygen and then blood flows to that region to give them oxygen. And the functional imaging scan can measure the change in blood flow. So as you’re listening to me speak, there’s a part of your brain called the auditory cortex. And because those neurons are firing, if I gave you a functional imaging scan, I would see blood flow to the auditory cortex when you’re hearing me speak. And then when you don’t hear me speak, I would see less blood flow and we could look at the difference between those things.

Lindsay Guentzel (24:05):

I’d love to ask if you’ve seen anything or can share anything on what happens with the executive function, that’s different in the ADHD brain with blood flow compared to a non-ADHD brain.

Dr. Anthony Dick (24:18):

Yeah. So another task we give them, and these are results we’ve only been looking at in the last couple of months, so they’re very preliminary, these are four to seven-year-old children. There’s a task we give them called the continuous performance task and it’s a really simple task. They’re shown pictures, they’re little cartoon pictures. One of them pops up, they’re in the fMRI magnet. They have a button box where they’re supposed to press a button when they see a picture. So if a picture of a pair of scissors pops up or a car, every time the picture pops up, they press a button. The only time we tell them don’t press the button is when a soccer ball pops up. So press the button when the scissors pops up, press the button when the car pops up, soccer ball pops up, don’t press the button. It’s a really boring task. So you can imagine a typical child would be super bored by it. But a child with ADHD is going to be extra bored by that because it taxes the maintaining attention.

Dr. Anthony Dick (25:17):

You have to really pay attention and watch for that soccer ball and then you have to control your behavior. You have to stop responding when you really want to respond, because the only situation where you’re not supposed to press a button is when the soccer ball pops up. And there’s a network in the brain that is called an inhibitory control network, that’s what scientists call it. And it’s five or six really important regions in that network. And we see differences in the brain network in children with ADHD on average versus typical children. What we actually see is the kids with ADHD activate the network more so than the typical children, meaning that they’re being taxed by it, that’s our assumption at least, that they need to bring on more resources to complete the same task that the typical children do. And it’s really great to see it in the regions that we were expecting. So we’ll probably be publishing that paper in the next year or so.

Lindsay Guentzel (26:17):

That was Dr. Anthony Dick, a Cognitive Neuroscientist and Developmental Scientist and Professor at Florida International University. And now, I’ll share parts of my conversation with Dr. Paulo Graziano.

Dr. Paulo Graziano (26:28):

I’m Dr. Paulo Graziano. I’m a Professor of Psychology at FIU, Florida International University. I work at the center for children and families, and my main research over the last 15 years has been on early intervention as it relates to ADHD as well as how to understand some of the mechanisms behind ADHD in terms of their self-regulation skills, most notably emotion dysregulation. And then I do a lot of intervention work with parents, so I do a lot of parent training, different models of parent training. And then we also run a summer camp to help preschoolers transition to kindergarten more effectively. So that’s what I’ve been doing the last 15 years. And currently, you mentioned you already interviewed my colleague, Dr. Dick.

Dr. Paulo Graziano (27:12):

So Anthony and I have been collaborating for the last, I don’t know, six, seven years on this project, which is trying to understand the heterogeneity involved in ADHD because all kids with ADHD present differently. So we’re trying to understand that from multiple perspectives which includes not just the behavioral neuropsychological pathophysiological, but also in terms of some of the brain biomarkers potentially out there. And then we track these kids once a year to try to follow them up and see if we could start helping them and predict which ones are doing better and why, and that kind of thing.

Lindsay Guentzel (27:46):

So I would be curious to know what stands out when you’re working with some of your younger patients. What are you seeing? Because when I spoke with Dr. Dick earlier this week, he explained what you’re seeing on the brain scans you can’t really pinpoint anything on them that goes, “Ah, that’s ADHD.” So are you seeing any markers or indicators that are standing out?

Dr. Paulo Graziano (28:07):

Right. I think you bring out a good point and in terms of brain differences, there aren’t something major that you can pinpoint. You can’t really use any of that for diagnostic purposes. We’re trying to understand these subtle, very subtle differences that you find here or there. I think one thing that we’re finding in our project that is interesting at least is that in the past, people used to think of ADHD a more of an executive dysfunction, those organizational intentional issues and so forth. But what we’re finding and part of my research that I’m interested in is that you’re also finding a lot of emotion dysregulation in kids with ADHD. There is that overlap with some disruptive behavior issues like oppositional defiant disorder, some mood issues. So we’re finding that kids with ADHD are also more dysregulated emotionally in terms of the connectivity from the limbic area to the prefrontal cortex area where you have the circuitry to try to regulate emotions. So it’s not just the circuitry of regulating and maintaining your attention that impaired, that’s what was 30 years ago that most things people were focused on.

Dr. Paulo Graziano (29:11):

But I think in the last 10 years or so people were focusing on. It’s not just that, it’s also the emotional component and a lot of kids with ADHD have that. And the way that translates to the real world is that I get to see preschoolers with temper tantrums and have different emotion outbursts. And part of it is part of the ADHD, part of it is the comorbidity that you see sometimes. So I tend to think of it more what is impairing the child? Because they’re all going to look a little different. What is impairing the child? Is it the school functioning, peer functioning, at home doing homework, right? You have to really see an impairment. Without an impairment, you can’t really diagnose and you wouldn’t be very certain about it. You have to be pretty sure how it’s impacting their impairment. It could be different ways for different kids, which is part of why a diagnosis of it takes a very comprehensive exam and it can’t just be a quick blood test or a quick brain scan.

Lindsay Guentzel (30:03):

And what are you seeing when it comes to the emotional symptoms connected to ADHD? I’ll be honest, I don’t know that I had any idea there were so many emotional connections to ADHD until after I was diagnosed and I was trying to learn as much about my diagnosis as possible. And then once I saw it all there, it was like, “Oh, yes, that makes complete and total sense.”

Dr. Paulo Graziano (30:25):

Right. I think one thing that you find is that kids with ADHD are more exuberant. So they’re more reactive to both positive and negative emotions in terms of their activation, their excitement. So we’re finding that not just in the brain scan, I don’t know if Anthony talked about it, but we collect also pathophysiology, they use the little heart rate stickers and we get to see how well they’re regulating at a physiological level in terms of their heart rate variability is what we’re focused on. And we find very concrete patterns of kids with ADHD compared to typically developing kids that they tend not to be able to down-regulate. If you’re thinking about a stressful situation, usually you use your parasympathetic nervous system to calm yourselves down and stay nice, cool and collected. And kids with ADHD have a harder time with that.

Dr. Paulo Graziano (31:15):

And we’re finding that across frustration tasks, cognitive task. And so we’re seeing a little bit of that at the physiological level. And then at the brain scan level, Anthony might have pointed out some difference that we’re finding with the amygdala activation and we’re still analyzing that data. So we’re not quite at that point yet, but we’re getting close to yeah, it’s definitely there from our pilot.

Lindsay Guentzel (31:38):

In my introduction email, I shared the topic for this episode, the science behind an ADHD podcast, how do ADHD brains learn? What recommendations would you have for me moving forward about how I approach the content I’m creating and how I’m putting it out there in hopes that I can connect with more people with ADHD in a way that works for them?

Dr. Paulo Graziano (31:57):

I guess it depends what is your ultimate goal I guess?

Lindsay Guentzel (32:00):

Well my goal personally is I sought a diagnosis from someone else sharing their story, and I want to create something that actually works for people with ADHD. It makes no sense to put out stuff about ADHD if people with ADHD don’t want to listen to it, or can’t listen to it, or it’s not working for them in that sense. And I understand that’s a very broad way to look at it because what works for me and what works for the person next to me, it’s going to be very, very different. But there are ways to take one big thing and break it down in different ways to make it more accessible for people, if that makes sense.

Dr. Paulo Graziano (32:36):

I mean I guess the way I would think about it is there’s two ways to think about this is one, practical tidbits that are evidence-based in science that we know can help, whether it’s for you as a parent or you as the individual. And then the myths of don’t do this because it’s a waste of your money and time type of things. So the myth buster angle. So that’s two categories that I would think you’d want to expand on, trying to warn people of some things that you shouldn’t do that right now, it’s not based on science and it’s just very speculative. And so one of the things I always try to get parents to think about is don’t just believe things you see on TV or you hear. There was a video game on ADHD that was getting all this publicity because it was FDA approved. The most ridiculous thing. Anything can be FDA approved, it just means it didn’t harm anybody. It doesn’t mean it actually helped. So you’ve got to be careful.

Dr. Paulo Graziano (33:37):

The marketing people are just smarter than sometimes a scientist because we just don’t have time to do all this. So there’s a lot of things that I think you could do as a podcaster maybe to reach out people to think about helpful things that are based on science, the parent training, daily report card. There is a place for stimulant medication for sure. You can’t just discount that either, there are some people that are going to benefit from that and need that. But talking to maybe a child psychiatrist that specialize in ADHD would be another cool thing to add to your podcast that I would recommend. And then yeah, just avoiding some of these things that are out there that are just not helpful. And I see that a lot and it’s just like, “Oh my God.” And I’m not the most politically correct individual so I tell parents, “You’re just wasting your money. Do not do this.”

Lindsay Guentzel (34:24):

That was Dr. Paulo Graziano, Professor of Psychology at Florida International University. There is so much more for my conversations with both of them that I want to share, especially about the summer camp that works to get children with ADHD ready for kindergarten. It’s some really fascinating stuff happening at FIU right now. And that bonus episode will be out this Thursday. So one thing I knew I would need to do is adjust the length of the episodes, that’s just something you won’t be able to fine tune until you put a couple of episodes out. And it’s likely something I’ll need to continue to look at as we release more episodes and add in other elements for Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel. So with the help of my friend, the person I turn to whenever I need help with a math question or with formatting spreadsheet, I learned the average Refocused listener right now sticks around for about 26 minutes. Obviously, there are so many variables that go into our listening habits including when we listen, how we listen, then you throw in interruptions and individual hyper-focus. And that list is very specific per person.

Lindsay Guentzel (35:31):

So I’m hoping to start uploading portions of the show separately. I think shorter, more compact tiny episodes to listen to when you have just a few minutes. I’m hopeful this will add another way for you all to connect with the podcast in a way that might work better for you. And my goal is to be more active on social media, to not only share the great stuff I’m learning from our experts, but to connect with listeners as well. Truthfully, and I know I’m not alone with this, I’ve struggled with social media being a massive distraction in my life and I am working to find a healthy balance. And I hope what you’ve seen and you’ve heard so far over the last three episodes, I hope you’re enjoying what we’re bringing you with this show. And I hope you know that there is an open line of communication. So share with us what you’re loving or if you have recommendations or you have a guest you want us to speak to, [email protected] is the email address to connect with the entire team behind Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel.

Lindsay Guentzel (36:29):

And finally, one more time, a reminder to subscribe, rate and review Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel wherever you’re listening today. Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel is a collaboration between me, Lindsay Guentzel, and ADHD Online, a telemedicine healthcare leader offering affordable and accessible ADHD assessments, medication management and teletherapy. You can find out more about ADHD Online by visiting adhdonline.com. A huge thanks to Dr. Anthony Dick and Dr. Paulo Graziano for joining me today and a special thanks to Dr. Roberto Olivardia who let me throw him a curve ball. You’ll hear more on the connection between ADHD and eating disorders with Dr. Olivardia on an upcoming episode. The show’s music was created by Louis Inglis, a songwriter and composer based out of Perth, Australia who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2020 at the age of 39. Sarah Platanitis and Camilla Eden contributed to the research for today’s show and a special thanks goes out to Rachel Coleman. Thank you so much for listening to Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel and be sure to check out the show description for more information and all of the links discussed in today’s show.

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