On Tuesday, March 29th, Dr. Ned Hallowell spoke to an auditorium full of parents, educators, and medical professionals.  He spoke personally and professionally and shared his years of accumulated research and clinical wisdom.  Perhaps most importantly, he inspired those in attendance to understand that learning differences:  ADD, Dyslexia, Processing Speed, among others need not be a curse if managed correctly.

To quote Dr. Hallowell, “Consider ADD as that of a Ferrari brain with bicycle brakes.”  Learning how to manage a sophisticated machine, and all its creativity and energy, can allow curiosity to thrive rather than be diminished.   By turning the attention away from the negative to the positive we can nurture development and fuel hope.

Understanding that no two brains are alike permits us to move away from narrow definitions and humiliation.  This ultimately prevents  individuals from experiencing low self esteem.  Dr. Hallowell described “stigma as the jailor” and enemy.  The real disabilities are fear, shame and embarrassment.  By building connection, which is free and in infinite supply, we can promote engagement.  Engagement leads us to be innovative, to wonder, to be curious.   This then works to strengthen confidence, mastery and motivation.   He described the power of the cycle:  Connect, Play, Work, Make Progress, and Experience Recognition as a way to get people hooked on possibility.  Through this they learn to prove to themselves that they can succeed and achieve.

It is important to instill attitudes of confidence, openness to ask for help, resilience and the ability to bounce back from adversity, positive self esteem, happiness, hope, love and the drive to put out ones best.   By defeating “ignorance” of Learning Differences, we open access to knowledge and expand opportunities for success.  It is critical to never lose faith in our youth.  Their spark is the element that will take them forward into adulthood and help them embrace relationships, work and life.

For more information on Dr. Hallowell turn to his website:  www.drhallowell.com