View Full Version : Going to Conference as Couple?

01-15-15, 08:55 PM
I am a non-ADD wife to a man with ADD.

Recently I have become aware of a couple of ADD conferences, and I was wondering if y'all recommend any to go to as husband and wife together.

There's the CHADD conference, and the ADDA conference.
Are there more?

Any input as to the value? What's to be gained by going?

01-17-15, 06:57 PM
It's totally up to you ... If you want to go, if you're curious and think learning something from the conference would help you relate to your husband, then go. I'm not sure what quite you are asking. Does your husband want or not want you to go?

I've attended CHADD sessions before ... and sometimes there were multiple speakers in different rooms ... so if you go, you may decide to sit in on different talks than the one he sits in on ...

CHADD usually finds good speakers, from my experience. I've gotten great tips from CHADD events ... but I'm not a partner. I myself have ADHD.

Ok, I'll take a stand: go ... unless you resent the possibility, I think you can learn a lot that might help you in the future ... and you are likely to run into other partners ... and you'll get a sense of the range of problems ADHD presents and the latest scientific and psychological research and coaching recommendations for mitigating the effect of ADHD.

You're likely to learn about resources that even if you don't use them now, you may want to use in the future.


01-22-15, 02:59 PM
Thanks. I guess I was asking because I don't get if it's for mostly professionals or people with ADD. How user-friendly- ie. mostly technical and research talk? Also, will it be weird for DH?

I see you have experience with CHADD. Good to know.

01-24-15, 05:26 PM
I've read articles from ADDA, but I've not attended any of their conferences. I have attended CHADD conferences and a CHADD adult support group.

CHADD conferences are for people with ADHD and family members of people with ADHD ... There were professors and researchers speaking at the CHADD gatherings, but they don't deliver technical reports as much as reports/updates on research that would be helpful to people with ADHD ... and are understandable to people with ADHD. The researchers know they're talking to non-researchers, if that is your question.

There were also therapists and coaches who spoke at the CHADD gatherings. They cover everything from the latest in medication research ... to social issues ... to associated conditions that also affect people with ADHD, like anxiety and depression.

The cool thing about going to a conference is that you are likely (and hubby is likely) to stumble upon a discussion that is really helpful but which you could not have possibly anticipated. You will also get a sense of the range of problems, social and otherwise, that ADHD presents. And you'll probably see some ways ADHD has affected your husband and/or you that you hadn't quite identified yet.

I hate to rely on this term, but the conferences are pretty "normal." People come seeking information that would help them ... or help their family members. And they come from all walks of life, all races, ethnic groups and all income levels. I can't imagine that you would attend a conference and not come away with something really helpful--same for your husband. And I imagine the ADDA conferences are similar to the CHADD conferences.

I remember going to a CHADD support group meeting where a local therapist and ADHD coach spoke. She also spoke at their conferences, but I don't recall hearing her there, but she spoke in the same way she would speak at a conference. This woman mentioned this odd pattern of ADHDers "disappearing into space" or "falling off the face of the earth." What she meant is that ADHDers have days in which they might leave the house and come back 12 hours later and yet cannot tell you what they did during that time.

We all, the support group members, cracked up upon hearing that. We had all done this, but had never heard it identified as a pattern. And the speaker spoke of this pattern in a very nonjudgmental way. Very funny to us.

These gatherings are the kind of places where you can hear a speaker say something that speaks powerfully to you and then you can run up to them afterwards to ask further questions or get some tips. Also these gatherings have a lot of positive emphasis on steps people can take to minimize the condition.

I remember hearing another prominent local ADHD therapist speak ... and I was expecting tips on getting places on time, etc ... and instead, he went in an entirely different direction. He basically said ADHD is such a pain in the rear for people, that a good strategy for putting up with the frustrations of it is to make sure you are living a "big life" with "big goals." Set really juicy goals that mean a lot to you ... and if you do that, he said, it's much easier to put up with the frustrations of the condition than if you are pursuing goals that don't fire you up. My late mother definitely had ADHD, but she lived before it was recognized and the funny thing is that she used this "big life" strategy to very good effect. I had never noticed that before until that therapist pointed it out that day. Very helpful to me.

Good luck.


02-01-15, 01:05 PM

Thanks for your post, it was so helpful in a a few ways. My hesitation about the conference was about making the ADD too big of a deal instead of leaving it in the background (not ignoring it either obviously). Going to a conference is putting intense focus on it. I think I'd be more interested in going than DH is, as he is currently in group CBT and I just have my own therapist but no other people who know about this. Also although he is the one struggling with the condition, I seem to be having a harder time with it.

To go off topic for a moment, that last piece you posted about living a life with big goals makes sense in theory, but it seems that this would be even harder for someone with ADD because of the difficulties of the minutiae every day. I find that my husband's struggles with ADD make it much harder for him to practically get closer to his creative dreams because he is dealing with stuff at work, time management, focusing, finances, etc.

About the conference- it sounds amazing to be with so many people dealing with the same thing- sort of like a huge support group.

Gotta figure out if I can justify the costs... :p

02-01-15, 09:33 PM
Yes, I can see why the "big life" idea might seem overwhelming ...

I have had a goal of writing books--that has always been a dream--and it's slowly dawned on me that I needed to narrow my goal ... I'm working on a book now, and it's nearly killed me. The burden on working memory in writing a book of several hundred is extraordinary and may just be too much for me. Thankfully, it's a project that truly fires me up, and so I want to see it to completion. But mid-way through it, I realized I would probably had been wiser to focus on short stories or plays or other "shorter" formats ...So yes, I think you're totally right about making sure the goals are reasonable for us. GREAT POINT!!!!!

It's very important for ADHDers to try to minimize the minutiae ... we have to leverage our strengths ... I'm a teacher, and there are all sorts of little matters that I could do, but I decide I need to ignore in order to focus on the most important points ... Repeatedly there are opportunities that come up where people ask me to do some administrative stuff ... and I hate administrative stuff and am easily overwhelmed and exhausted by it ... So I constantly beg off ... I don't mention ADHD. I simply say, "I don't have administrative skills."

It's very important that I not try to do everything ... One ADHD coach, for example, gave the example of having yard sales. She said ADHDers should not do it. Too taxing ... too overwhelming ... I can help someone who wants to set up a yard sale ... Occasionally, I throw parties, and I get overwhelmed each time, but the parties have been great ... When picking furniture, clothes, food--everything!--I go for simplicity.

I think attending a conference could be really constructive for you. I'm sure you'll meet some other partners there, and you might end up sharing stories and struggles ... You will likely hear some story or some piece of research that resonates with your experience with your husband. And this can help you feel less isolated and also just give you more insight into what you're facing.

ADHD unfortunately IS a big deal and many of us adult ADHDers got in trouble for underestimating its effect and not making it big enough. Just as I mentioned with the book, my problem was underestimating its effect.

I wouldn't see you as making a big deal by going to a conference. You're informing yourself. I'm actually a hard-liner on this, but I encourage spouses of people with any condition to go learn as much as they can ... and to not back off even if the spouse with the condition urges them to do so. You're the one who has to live with the person with the condition. You have a duty to yourself to get all the help and support you can. And ultimately such support to you will end up helping him.

You sound like a wonderful spouse. I hope you and your hubby are doing reasonably well! ... I'd be interested, if you want to do so, to hear what issues and problems come up in your relationship. We here on the board might be of some help.

Good luck.


02-05-15, 01:07 PM
Thank you for your insightful answers. There's a lot to think about, I will definitely post on the boards as I sort through this.