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

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Resources for Teachers with ADHD Students

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Edge Coach Training

The Edge Foundation will train selected members of your staff to be Edge Coaches to provide one-on-one coaching for students in the school setting. The training is a comprehensive, 3 day intensive training program, based on our many years of coaching at-risk students with learning challenges stemming from ADHD, dyslexia or adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

 

Teacher & Staff Training

We will train your entire teaching and support staff in Edge Coaching techniques so they can be even more effective in their role and so they can communicate with all students in a supportive non-judgmental way.

 

Leadership Training

We offer leadership training to administrators, principals and other executive staff. This training demonstrates how   Edge Coaching techniques can be used to develop and enhance executive leadership skills in the school administration context.

 

Get Started

Contact us today to see how Edge Training can make a difference at your school.

 

Tim Kniffin
Program Director
WA Edge Schools Project
206.234.2597
tkniffin@edgefoundation.org

Derreck Torres
Program Director
CA Edge Schools Project
310.795.5333
dtorres@edgefoundation.org

Neil Peterson
Founder, Chairman, and CEO
206.910.7515
npeterson@edgefoundation.org

ADHD students who participated in Edge coaching sessions demonstrated statistically significant, higher executive functioning than ADHD students who did not receive coaching.

research

Read more about our research at https://edgefoundation.org/research/

Achieving Academic Success With ADHD & Executive Function Challenges

Apps for Students with Learning & Attention Issues

kids-using-tablet-computersIn today’s world, apps are indispensable. They give us directions to keep us from getting lost, allow us to manage our money, and a hundred other daily tasks. So it is no surprise that apps have been created for helping students, especially those with learning and attention challenges such as ADHD, to organize and perform tasks more effectively. Apps, in combination with treatment modalities and coaching support, are empowering these students to perform at a higher level than they might otherwise.

Distributed Cognition

Brock Eide, M.D., and Fernette Eide, M.D. discuss an interesting idea called “distributed cognition.” It has emerged as educational researchers rethink the concept of intelligence. Traditionally, intelligence has been measured by our ability to remember and regurgitate something we have studied. The Eides define distributed cognition in their article “A New View of ‘Smart’ for Kids With Learning and Attention Issues.”

One helpful idea is called distributed cognition. That term is a mouthful, but the concept is simple.

Cognition means how your brain knows and understands thingsDistributed means shared. So distributed cognition is what you can know and understand if your brain cooperates with outside helpers—whether they’re tools, printed information or other people.

It also means that your intelligence isn’t fixed by the information you carry around in your head. Intelligence can be increased by the way you interact with your environment.

In other words, how “smart” you are is really the sum of two things: The first is what you know on your own. The second is what you can easily learn by interacting with the things you have easy access to.

Apps, search engines and other software tools assist students with learning and attention issues by freeing them of the necessity for memorization which is difficult. Apps can be especially useful in memory intensive areas such as:

  • Procedures, especially multi-step instructions for how to do things
  • Rote facts, like times tables, state capitals or the lists of chemical elements in the periodic table

Apps Aplenty

There are dozens of apps to help students and adults with learning and attention issues, and more coming to market each year.  Understood.org provides an excellent survey of apps for students of all ages.  For example, the Voice Dream Reader helps students with reading issues: it is a customizable app that lets kids highlight text and have it read aloud to them. Healthline also publishes a regular survey of apps for people with ADHD.  Below are demonstrations of some apps for users with ADHD.

Traxion is a mobile app aimed at helping those with ADHD organize your time and time tasks more effectively.

The Social Navigator helps children and teens with social and behavior issues learn to cope more effectively in various social situations.

Time to Rethink Our Educational Model?

As software becomes more deeply embedded into our world, it brings greater urgency to the work of updating our traditional educational model to match what we encounter in life. Distributed cognition is a way of life now outside of the classroom. Most adults would find it hard to navigate the complexities of modern life without Google and smartphone apps. In school, these technologies can be a great leveler for kids struggling with learning and attention issues.

Learning challenges make us stronger

Accommodations for Executive Functions and Other Learning Challenges

Typically accommodations address learning problems in three main areas:

  1. Instructional methods and materials
  2. Assignments and Assessments
  3. Learning environment

This week we are offering some suggestions of accommodations you may want to consider thinking about with your teacher, special education teacher, or guidance counselor.

If you click on the image below, it will take you to a pdf you can print out and take into school with you.