I am on the flight home from the CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder) Conference held in San Francisco November 7th – 10th, 2012. As I think about the conference the word that comes PERSISTENCE comes to mind… persistence in seeking the roots of ADHD, persistence in seeking the history of ADHD, persistence in managing with ADHD and persistence in treating ADHD.

Although I couldn’t attend all of the many presentations of scientific papers and research by world renowned experts, I often heard people commenting after those sessions, “ADHD is a real thing; there is scientific proof; I feel validated.”

Gina Pera, one of the keynote speakers, spoke of the history of ADHD in medical literature. She demonstrated that ADHD existed hundreds of years ago. Her presentation was followed by a partial screening of the film “Gigante” (Spanish for Giant) which follows the life of Andress Torres. Torres is a baseball player who was with the San Francisco Giants when they won the world series in 2010. Torres spent eleven years in the minors until his ADHD was treated. He became a major component of the Giants winning the series.

“Gigante” is going to be shown at the Sundance Festival and then will have a wider release. Look for it in a movie theatre near you. The director, producer and, of course, Torres, all have ADHD, but they got it done. Persistence.

Much of the conversation during the CHADD Conference focused on Executive Function Skills. As I have mentioned before in my blog, Executive Function Skills are skills such as planning, time management, organizing, focus, working memory and metacognition.

What struck me the most was that no expert could say that if you do X for Y amount of time you will overcome the weaknesses in your Executive Function Skills. Instead the message was that you can work on your skills and implement systems to offset and manage your Executive Functions.

But it all comes down to persistence; persistence in implementing systems, supports, habits and skills. As often said in the ADHD world “pills don’t make skills.” Don’t get me wrong, medication can make a huge difference. But you still have to build skills, and building skills when you have ADHD involves an incredible amount of persistence.

That is why coaching is so helpful. Coaching gives you a buddy for the process. Ultimately though, the persistence must come from you. You have it within you. It takes so much energy to manage your life when you have ADHD that you have built your strength and willpower. I say “willpower” and “ADHD” in the same sentence, because I believe you can overcome the odds.

Executive Function Skills – If you are interested in learning more about Executive Function Skills and how you can work on them, check my website for information about my upcoming webinar series in January and February, 2013. This six week , Tuesday night webinar series covers Executive Functions Skills and how they work together. Save $40 if you sign up by December 15th, 2013.