Ty Pennington’s Extreme ADHD Makeover

While many celebrities are reticent to talk about their learning challenges, Ty Pennington has been vocal about his ADHD diagnosis. Pennington is the former host of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and today the co-host of “American Diner Revival.” He says he is proof that a person with ADHD can focus on one thing long enough to make it happen.

Ty Pennington’s Childhood Struggles with ADHD

For all of his childhood, he wasn’t aware that he had ADHD. In grade school, his hyperactivity seemed in the way of everything he tried to accomplish. As a result, he spent a lot of his time in the hallway or in detention. School was difficult. By his own account, Ty says he swung on the blinds, ran around the classroom, and playfully slapped other students on the back of the head. He would read a book but not remember a word, cause chaos in the classroom daily, and spend most of his time being disciplined instead of learning. He was finally officially diagnosed with ADHD while in college.

He spoke with Nicki Gostin of the Huffington Post about his childhood experiences with ADHD.

“My mom was studying to be a child psychologist and she went to my elementary school to test the worst kid they had. They were like, “Mrs. Pennington, you really don’t want to know who that is.” They let her observe me through a window and within 20 minutes I stripped naked, wore my desk around and swung on the blinds. I was just a complete distraction to all the other students.

Back then, they didn’t even know what to call it. They put me on antihistamines to try and make me drowsy. They tried everything. It certainly affected my confidence and my belief in myself. When everyone’s afraid you’re going to hurt yourself from just mowing the lawn, you start to believe them. Once I figured out I was pretty decent at art and people were interested in hiring me, I realized I had a skill besides injuring myself.

What’s kind of funny is that I ended up working with power tools to pay my way through art school and still have all my digits.”

Finding Creativity Amid the Chaos

Pennington admits that ADHD hurt his confidence and his belief in his own abilities, but he found success by pursuing art, design, and carpentry. Later a modeling scout approached him and he began a career in print advertising, TV, and endorsements. Pennington was able to leverage his photogenic appearance, charismatic sense of humor, and love for carpentry into his own empire of television shows, magazine publications, home fashion designs, and personal appearances. He also won an Emmy award for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

Today he manufactures his own line of furniture and writes a regular column for Enjoy magazine in addition to his work in television. Ty Pennington is proof that no matter how strong the symptoms of ADHD might be, they can be harnessed into a creative and fulfilling career.

Celebrities with ADHD: Ty Pennington

Advice for the Job Searcher with ADHD

At Edge we talk a lot about how an ADHD coach can help you learn the skills you need to succeed in school.   But what about after you get out of school? We like to say that coaching helps you hone your edge to climb higher in life.  School is just the starting place for that journey. Working with an ADHD coach can be a highly effective method to help you bridge the journey from school to the workplace. When you work with an ADHD coach to help you be successful in school, you build skills that will help you be successful in life. … READ MORE

No matter where you are you can get the Edge!

Our Independent Coaching Program provides Edge Coaches via Skype or phone for students and other individuals no matter which school you are in or where you are located.

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Are your sports making your ADHD worse?

Concussions May Cause More Brain Damage in Kids With ADHD

Children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may experience more disability after mild brain injuries than those without the condition, according to the latest study.

With more studies documenting the potentially long-lasting effects that concussions and mild brain injuries can have on intellectual skills, researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh decided to investigate how youngsters with ADHD may be affected by falls or trauma to the brain that often occur during high-contact sports such as football and soccer. Previous work suggested that ADHD can make children more prone to traumatic brain injuries, and that severe enough injuries can also contribute to a form of ADHD. So they focused on all children who were admitted to their hospital for mild head injuries from 2003 to 2010.

Mild traumatic brain injuries include any blows to the head that do not require brain surgery — which is the case for the majority of concussions.

(MORE: More Concussions Prolong Kids’ Recovery Time)

The researchers investigated 48 children with ADHD who had head injuries patients and 45 similar children who did not experience trauma to the head. A team of brain experts then gave all of the participants a detailed test to assess their cognitive abilities and track any new disabilities during follow-up visits up to seven weeks later. The measures recorded whether the children were able to function normally on their own, or whether they had behavioral problems or required supervision to get dressed or navigate stairs.

About 25% of the patients with ADHD suffered what the scientists defined as moderate disability in which the children were basically independent but still required some assistance with behavioral or physical problems, and 56% showed good recovery, or no residual headaches or abnormal findings on brain scans following the injury. By comparison, 98% of the children without ADHD reverted to their initial cognitive function scores after brief drops following the trauma and 84% had recovered completely.

MORE: NFL Players May Be More Vulnerable to Alzheimer’s Disease

The researchers say there may be several reasons why children with ADHD experienced more significant disabilities from their head injuries; for one, these kids may have already had some deficits in certain functions that progressed over time, and the testing may have simply picked up this deterioration, independent of the effects of the brain injury. It’s also possible that ADHD interfered with the healing process or made rehabilitation efforts less successful.

(MORE: High School Athletes Continue to Play Despite Concussion Symptoms)

That doesn’t mean that falling off a bicycle and hitting his head will leave a child with ADHD disabled. But the findings do suggest that the relationship deserves more study, especially given recent data among adults that connects concussions with cognitive problems and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s. The results also highlight the need to be even more vigilant in protecting children with ADHD from head trauma, by ensuring that they wear helmets when riding bicycles or playing sports in which they’re likely to fall or get hit in the head. Doctors, too, may need to monitor ADHD children more closely after any head injury and consider more intensive treatment and rehabilitation strategies to help them recover.

The study is published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

The power of positive thinking: Focus on the present

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The power of positive thinking

Focusing on our problems is normal:  Everyone tends to focus on problems. It’s probably evolutionary in nature-we evolved in a dangerous world where being able to notice threats was key to survival. Therefore,  negative, troublesome, threatening things tend to capture our attention like nothing else. Yet narrow and negative thinking can lead to stress and depression, which can lower performance and reduce connectedness, both in relationships and in thoughts.

The power of positive thinking: A broad and positive focus helps you identify more resources and make more connections. Positivity-feeling good-helps creativity, perseverance, confidence, competence, and even longevity. It is tempting to feel that health, wellness, and financial success are what contribute to happiness, but it turns out that happiness predicts these things, not the other way around.

In further studies of positivity and negativity, it turns out there is an ideal ratio between the two. The ideal ratio of positivity to negativity is between 3:1 and 11:1. In other words at least 3 positive thoughts to each negative one.  In this range, people have the resources to change, grow, and bounce back from adversity. They feel both supported and challenged, which develops resourcefulness and creativity. Business teams operating in this ideal zone have the highest profitability, customer satisfaction, and performance reviews.

Too much of a bad thing:  People who live in an environment where the positivity to negativity ratio is below 3:1 languish. They don’t have enough resources and inspiration to pick themselves up out of the muck and see all the things that are available to them. Unlike the more positive folks, they are on a downward spiral. Sadly, it is estimated that 80% of people fall into this category.

Turn up the positive volume!

Notice, remember, articulate and savor what is already there. Practice noticing the good stuff, because there is plenty of it around. From the aroma of that first cup of coffee in the morning (even if we made a mess making it), to the parting “Bye! I love you. Have a nice day!” (even if we had to say it several times because we kept forgetting things as we tried to get out the door), to the great coaching session where both feel pumped by the end, there’s a lot to notice and feel positive about. Notice, too, how we contributed to the good stuff, notice how we are actively creating the positive experiences. Then allow yourself to feel empowered to improve your life and develop your resourcefulness and creativity!