For those who are new to the ADHD scene, Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) is a nationwide nonprofit group serving people with ADHD. According to its website, CHADD has over 16,000 members in 200 local groups across the U.S.
Here in the Bay Area, we are lucky to have a very active chapter called CHADD of Northern California. An important benefit this group offers is the ability to attend an ADHD support group in your area. Readers may not know that support groups exist in San Francisco, Greenbrae, Sacramento, Walnut Creek, Tiburon, Santa Rosa, Berkeley/Oakland, Corte Madera, Petaluma, and Palo Alto!
Most of the groups are geared towards adult issues, offering support in areas like: performance in jobs, stress, relationship problems, and financial worries. Some groups can offer excellent feedback on the best medications for a particular type of ADHD, or referrals to local psychiatrists who work well with ADHD patients.
Anecdotal impressions of the groups
A friend with ADHD who attended several of these groups found that each had a different flavor. She found the San Francisco group to be a mixture of men and women, with more men in attendance; the group had a rather serious, linear focus. A group in Berkeley/Oakland had many more women attending, including lesbians. My friend’s perception was that people in both the Berkeley group and the S.F. group were “struggling,” but she enjoyed the San Francisco group more since it was less about “feelings.” However, she brought home helpful organizational materials from the Berkeley group.
She also tried the Palo Alto group and found it to be a good experience, with a slightly more friendly and upbeat quality than the other groups. The Palo Alto group is lead by Gina Pera, author of Is It You, Me, or ADD?, a popular ADHD book that stresses how diagnosis and medication can improve the lives of couples with an ADHD partner. Two separate groups meet each month, one for ADHD folks and one just for people who are partnered with them.
The point is that each group has a different flavor, and you will probably find one to best suit you if you try several of them. If you just want to attend a lecture without sharing your story, there’s usually a good variety to choose from, though at this point no speakers are listed on the calendar.
Which group should YOU attend?
A couple of suggestions: Want a coaching flavor to your group? This month, the Berkeley adult group is meeting at a new location, the Temescal Branch Library at 5205 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, on Tuesday, Sept. 13. at 6pm. Billing the meeting as an “action group,” April Ancel will help you plan, organize, and get things done!
Or, if your partner has ADHD and you want community support from a variety of people in the same situation, the Partners of Adults with ADHD meets in Palo Alto on the same evening, Sept. 13. Gina Pera and Amy Blanchard, Ph.D. alternate as facilitators. See calendar for details and find out how to join Gina Pera’s online Yahoo group for partners.
Got a kid with ADHD? There’s a Berkeley/Oakland parent group, a San Francisco parent group that meets from 9:30-11am at UCSF on the third Friday of each month, and groups in Tiburon and Fremont.
Please see the calendar for further details. http://chaddnorcal.org/calendar/