Celebrating 20 Years of Women with ADHD
The Better Together Conference was a day filled with joy and hope, bringing together women from the United States and Europe. Keynote speakers Sari Solden, author of Women with Attention Deficit Disorder, and Ellen Littman, co author of the book,Understanding Girls with ADHD, shared with us their stories of advocacy on behalf of women with ADHD.
Sari Solden talked about the need for women to “put ourselves out there” and to “not hide our brilliance.” She stated, “great fears can accompany the journey, so take small naked steps.” Solden says that to feel vulnerable is profound, and that it often means that we are on the edge of something new!
Ellen Littman, a psychologist who specializes in girls and women with high IQ's, took up the cause for women with ADHD 25 years ago, when she heard a keynote speaker say that girls with ADHD were “ADHD boy wannabees". That, together with the fact that Littman had a daughter with ADHD, fueled her passion to support girls and women. Littman states, “Women with ADHD need to create permanent stretch marks in our society’s view of feminity!”
In addition to Solden & Littman, several women shared from the heart, specifically the turning points in their lives. One of the recurring themes of the day was that “You must do that thing that you are afraid to do!” “Let this be the moment to begin anew!” We were challenged to create a “year of saying yes"!
As people with ADHD it is vastly important to hold a disability perspective. In other words, we are people who “have ADHD” verses people who, “are ADHD”. While seemingly a small distinction, it is enormous in its’ implications. Are we objectified and defined by ADHD? We would not say that a person, “is diabetes” or any other disorder, because obviously an individual is so much more than the disabilities or disorders they may have. We are persons with skills, talents, abilities, aptitudes, experience, and unique strengths who happen to have a brain based, neuro-developmental disorder.
What would you like to be able to say about your life one year from today? The act of stepping into the new task is often the first step in being qualified to do it. In the words of George Eliot, “It’s never too late be what you might have been.”