Boundaries and Kids

Children feel supported and secure when there is follow through and healthy boundaries established.  We can all probably agree on this; however it is with some frequency that some choose to take the road they hope will circumvent confrontation…either ignoring the problem or threatening without follow through.  This causes the child all sorts of confusion and leads to disrespect, lying and possibly out of control behaviors.  

Exhausted-MomWith the disintegration of the family, single parents are exhausted.  Add to that some guilt and dashes of regret and depression, and you have a parent operating from a less-than position giving in to requests they have little to no energy to address.  This behavior can snowball and parents find themselves enabling behaviors they disdain.  As well, some find themselves saying things to their children they don’t mean but that have permanent emotional consequences. 

Some things to consider that will increase your child’s feelings of security:

*Take time to care for yourself, replenishing your emotional/physical needs

*If you are married, make your marriage a priority for your child’s sake

*Allow your child to take responsibility/endure natural consequences for his/her mistakes

*Don’t be afraid to say “no” for their sake.  It’s more important that they know you love them vs. having them like you at that moment.

*Ask for help.  The journey is sometimes difficult.  We are here to walk it with you.

Young Couple Walking

Author:  Kristina Polley LCSW, RN


ADD Coaching

As an adult are you constantly overwhelmed or always playing catch-up? Is lack of focus impacting your work and relationships? As a person with  ADD, or a parent of someone with ADD, you know the chaos and struggles that this disorder brings. ADD coaching has now been identified as a must for those struggling with this debilitating disorder.

Seven years ago my son was diagnosed with ADD. We tried numerous medications, none of which worked for him. At the time, I didn’t know any other parents who had children with ADD, so I began doing my own online research, and reading stacks of books on the subject. I soon realized that I was going to need to develop strategies and goal setting in order to help my son, which is actually what coaching is all about.

As an ADD Coach, I can help you create effective strategies for managing the challenges of ADD. My approach is hands on, bringing practical solutions that you can walk out the door with today. One of those solutions is to work with you to develop a Strategy Portfolio. This portfolio allows you to “connect the dots” of your life, so that you will have a plan for tomorrow.

If your child has ADD, I can help you differentiate the ADHD struggles from normal childhood growing pains and offer help with development of parenting strategies that will stop the chaos and empower you and your child.

Some of the additional benefits that an ADD Coach brings are:

  • Life Management – helping with issues relating to time and relationships
  • Strategies for home and school issues
  • Practical tips and tools for daily organization
  • Understanding of the affects of ADD on marriages
  • Information and resources for a better understanding of ADD

Whether you are newly diagnosed with ADHD/ADD or have been struggling for years, a coach can help you understand how to create effective strategies for managing your challenges and enjoying lasting change.

Author:  Judy Fitzpatrick, ADD Coach

Coming in January: Opening Minds Conference (Is It Really ADD?)

Dr. Neal and Judy Fitzpatrick will be presenting “Is it Really ADD?…Tips and Tools for Treatment,” at the Opening Minds Conference in Chicago on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 11 am.

Dr. Neal will address the complexity of diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  A person with ADD often has other neurological conditions which necessitate a multi-treatment approach.

The Opening Minds Conference is presented by the AEYC (Chicago Metropolitan Association for the Education of Young Children). They are a membership organization dedicated to leading and strengthening the efforts of professionals who work to achieve healthy development and quality education of children from birth to age 8.

For more information, go to

The ADHD Zig-Zag

“Zig-zagging your way through life to the top!”
I heard this phrase from one of the speakers at the San Francisco CHADD conference. I thought it perfectly describes some of the people I know with Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder (ADHD).  I liked how it sounded, since the person’s trajectory of goals was still pointing North for success.  It took into account the zig-zagging that a person’s points of performance can take during the day, week, month or year in the life of ADHD.  I thought it was very descriptive and “un”shaming.  It gives hope that in spite of zig-zagging, you can still be moving forward in a positive direction!
I am still chewing on the informative and  inspiring talks at the conference.  I left for the conference tired from many hours at work, wondering how I was going to rise to the energy needed to sit for that  many hours. Yet, I  found that I was energized by the speaker’s words of hope and help.  I think anyone who has anything to do with ADHD should attend this conference if possible. You can go here to get  information on CHADD conferences and workshops. Revisit their site often to check for updated information!
Author:  Douglas N. Neal, Psy.D

Reporting in from CHADD in San Francisco

Here is the latest from the CHADD conference I am attending in San Francisco.

I sat in a lecture given by a psychiatrist who has had a lot of success using combination therapy with medications. Combination therapy is when two or more meds are used to effectively treat ADHD (Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder).

It was a thoughtful and compelling presentation of the pros and cons, with the goal of 24 hour symptom relief for ADHD. One of the issues he addressed questioned why a person with ADHD should only expect several hours of symptom relief, while most other physiological disorders seek 24 hour relief.
I have many clients who use combination therapy. The twist I heard this year at CHADD was the concept of 24 hour symptom relief.  The lecturer stated that maintaining resident memory throughout the night for carry over to the next day is vital to following through on our intentions over the next days and weeks. Combination therapy seeks to optimize memory.
Coming to these conferences yearly always challenges my current thinking, and I’ve continued to be a student since graduating in 1989.
I have so much to share about what I learned this year!
Author:  Douglas N. Neal, Psy.D

From San Francisco

I’m at the CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) conference in San Francisco!!

We know most people can’t grab a flight and come to this conference. That’s why Judy Fitzpatrick, our ADD Coach, and myself are here for you. We are spending all morning, afternoon and night for 3 days listening to cutting edge lectures from  researchers, fellow parents and ADD Coaches. The level of energy and excitement is captivating as hundreds of us are here hungry for the latest information to bring to you and your family.

Go here and you can listen to cutting edge ADHD  lectures presented by researchers AND parents!

Author:  Douglas N. Neal, Psy.D

Our New Website – A Labor of Love

It’s always exciting to complete a project, especially when I believe it is going to be a great resource for those people seeking information about Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  We recently launched our new NPS website,  a joint effort of talented people who are passionate about bringing help and hope to those struggling with ADD.

Whether you are an adult in the workplace, a student in college or a parent who needs helpful resources, we trust that this new site will help broaden your understanding that ADD is about more than not being able to focus enough to complete a task, or a kid who can’t sit still.

The NPS website is the compilation of over 2 decades as a psychologist and parent of an adult child with ADD, of going to seminars, conferences, and reading countless research articles and books. And it comes from hours upon hours of being in the trenches with people and families who are impacted by ADD.

I strive for an accurate diagnosis for those who struggle with executive functioning and self regulation issues. I also try to be the best Sherlock Holmes when there are other accompanying complicating issues such as sensory integration issues, bipolar, auditory/visual processing issues, hyper-focusing, anxiety or depression.  I have said for a long time that ADD does not travel alone.  So often there are other issues of marital distress, oppositional and conduct disorders, alcohol/drug use, financial distress or employment issues.  The waters can get very murky in an attempt to tease apart what is what.  But, thanks to dedicated researchers and clinicians in the field, differential diagnosis with ADD has become easier to diagnose and thus successfully treat.

Our site also speaks of the absolute vitality of having an ADD coach in the process after diagnosis, and introducing a medication or non medication approach.  It is such a set up for failure for a person to only use medication, but have no tools or strategies.  These can be introduced by a good ADD coach.

We are very proud of what our site looks like now, but we plan to continue supplementing it with even more rich information and resources for you, so come back often to check us out!

Click here to go to our website!

Author:  Douglas Neal, Psy.D

New Web Site!

Check out our new website! A special thanks to Myriad Creative Services and the amazing Jon Wenzel for his creative talents!


Current Events – Getting Through the Holidays


Holidays can be difficult for a person dealing with a mental illness, as well as for family and friends. On December 20, 2012, the National Alliance on Mental Illness – McHenry County, will hold a General Education and Support Group Meeting, at the Community Resource Center, 620 Dakota St., Crystal Lake, IL 60012.

7 pm – Presentation

8 pm – Support Groups

They will end the evening with some fun!

Do you know of someone who would benefit from this presentation? Invite them to join you! It is free to the community, and no registration is required.

(Be sure to check their website for any schedule changes.   NAMI McHenry County.)


If you have an urgent need to meet with someone for support instead of attending the presentation, please let someone at the sign-in desk know and one of the support facilitators will meet with you immediately.

For more information, contact:  NAMI McHenry County at 815-308-0851

Does your child need a booster medication after school?

For many of us that have children with mental health issues, part of settling into the new school year is getting back on track with the school and our child’s need to take meds.

Here is is a great article to help jump start our school year, written by Dr. Larry Silver.

If you find that your child’s medication does not last long enough for the school day or to do activities after school and finish homework right after school, then consider talking with your prescribing doctor about adding a “booster” medication for your child to take.  It will extend the time in which your child can focus, concentrate and have optimal self-regulation so that they are less impulsive and more in control of their emotions.

After school sports, clubs, friendship time and home life will be greatly enhanced and greater rewards are waiting for your child when using medication during these times.

It is too short sighted to think that a child only needs medication during school for their academics.  Life for a child is more than just getting good grades.  It is also about having friendships that flourish and being involved in activities where they connect well with those around them.  Being in control and having a clearer thinking process will help your child play better in sports, be more flexible when with other kids and they can listen better to the adults around them.  Coaches, friend’s parents and you need the medication benefits with your child too.

Author:  Douglas Neal, Psy.D