SLP Self-Care Tip: Incorporate Your Interests

October is ADHD awareness month and while I talked about incorporating your patients’ interests in my other post, in this post I wanted to include a related self-care tip: “incorporate your interest.”

Individuals with ADHD experience hyperfocus with their interests and “hypo-focus” with many things outside their interests. For this reason, incorporating interests can be extremely effective when working with kids who have ADHD, but this technique can also be helpful for us providers.

I collected dragons in my youth. I thought I’d stopped collecting them a couple decades ago, but then I pulled together all the dragons in my office and realized: I’ve inadvertently begun collecting them “for work”!

When I find a child who shares my interests, such as dragons, Mad Libs, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Stranger Things, dragons, mystery novels, pets, or Halloween I try to incorporate these shared interests as much as possible for both our sakes. Another example: I spend the week before every Halloween doing “practice trick-or-treat” where the kids wear their costume to their appointment then knock on my office door and we go through the steps they’ll need for Halloween. On top of this being very fun for my patients and me, it’s also functional for the kids and it gives the parents an idea of how the actual holiday will go.

I always think of “follow your bliss” with this self-care tool. In my case, I get a lot of energy from seeing parents use the SLP treatment strategies I teach them and their children make progress as a result. I love empowering parents to help their children – especially since they can implement these tools more frequently than I can and the progress happens so much faster than if I was the only one implementing them. Because of this, I’ve been trying to get programs from The Hanen Centre® running since I was first trained in them in 2012. I’m very excited that the programs started getting offered via telepractice in 2016 and I became so familiar with telepractice in 2020. I’ll start offering these programs for parents to learn how to help their children who are beginning to use communication skills in January and I’m so glad I’ll be able to offer these programs to parents in the far-corners of our rural state as well as California and Maryland (where I’m also licensed). Being able to provide these classes again has been a lot of work, but I’m feeling progressively energized by incorporating them into my practice.