Unknown Speaker 0:04
Hello, I'm Sharon Collon and you are listening to the ADHD families podcast. I am a mom of three beautiful boys with ADHD. I love being a mum. But my home life was absolute chaos. And the stress of daily life had a terrible effect on my health. My husband had so many horror filled stories of growing up with ADHD that I decided I wanted to change the experience for my little boys. So I got to work. And I systematically changed and streamlined my family's lives to suit the ADHD brain. And now that I have my family on track, I want to help yours. Do you want to live with your beautiful kids that is more functional, fun and full of joy? Let's explore together the wonderful and sometimes wacky world of raising kids with ADHD.
Unknown Speaker 0:56
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the ADHD families Podcast. I'm so excited to have our wonderful guest here Marianne. Marianne is a theatre maker term psychologist whose Big Hairy Audacious Goal is to see the end of unnecessary human suffering in her lifetime. This mission has been the driving force behind her obsession with all things related to meaningful living and human potential, as can be seen in her research, private clinical practice and families and teens. She also does executive coaching and speaking work across a wide range of industries both here in Australia and overseas. For the past four years, Marianne and her sister Jenna have been building the positive fire group and award winning socially conscious education company equipping Gen Z with the future skills, mindset and purpose they'll need to thrive in the future world and workforce and supporting industry leaders to build more inclusive practices that enable them and their people to upgrade their own and their people's.
Unknown Speaker 2:02
Multi passionate entrepreneur Marianne loves finding creative ways to scale practical scientific strategies that make people's lives feel more purposeful and filled with joy. She is a proud she's proud to be twice exceptionally gifted with ADHD and raising two twice exceptionally gifted teens and is a fierce advocate for Neuro practices that help others to realize and develop their untapped potential. Welcome, Marianne.
Unknown Speaker 2:32
Thanks for having me sharing. That's so funny hearing that out loud. You can definitely hear the ADHD there catch you better. This has been a bit of everything.
Unknown Speaker 2:42
I tell you what, it's pretty impressive. I just wanted to jump in with one question first. Yeah, go for it. Some of our viewers might not be familiar with the twice exceptionally gifted. Can you explain a little bit about what that is? Sure can. And I think it's a really significant one. That's what I'm sort of moving few conversations on because there's a lot of talk around ADHD and neuro divergence. You know, obviously, we have autism, ticks and Tourette's and dyslexia dyspraxia, the twice exceptional is a specific profile where we see that neuro divergence, so brains wired a bit differently in that way, or what we would say in the clinical space of a neurodevelopmental disorder. Although I don't like that term, that's a difference. And then also giftedness, which in itself is, is also a form of neuro divergence. And so what you see with the twice exceptional profile is something and I'm going to do the psychobabble thing. And I know you don't like this, Sharon, so hold with me. But you might see what we call a spiky profile. And so it's where you've got extraordinary gifts. And when I say gifts, you know you're talking in that in that higher percentage. So we tend to say in the top 10%. But then you've got these sort of deficits. And so there's a real gap often between what we'd expect to happen and potential, and then what happens in performance. And so I think it's really a significant conversation, because there's a lot of the twice exceptionals I think as adults who have missed a diagnosis of then the the neuro developmental difference on your divergence. And on the flip side, you know, we know in schools, if you only catch the neuro divergence, sometimes you can miss the gifted. And so it's we've got we think in Australia, some research being done around 280,000 young people who are probably twice exceptional. And yet, we don't actually have any national guidelines to help identify and support these kids. And so a lot of them are just falling through through the gaps. And so, you know, my own experience of raising my own two kids and seeing, you know, how challenging it can be to find support and services that understand, you know, their unique strengths and struggles has really has really motivated my work and sort of drawing attention to this particular unique profile.
Unknown Speaker 4:52
Oh, thank you so much for that because I think that's something that hasn't been talked about a lot. Can you tell me a little bit about your ADHD journey?
Unknown Speaker 5:00
Unknown Speaker 5:02
think the bio said a lot really didn't it? Yeah. So I was
Unknown Speaker 5:08
I was identified as gifted as a really young kid, which, you know, like, in Australia, in particular, it's something that up until recently, I shied away from it. It's only in doing this work of raising awareness, I'm leaning into it. But you know, went through all the accelerator programs was put into the specific gifted programs and all that jazz. So looking back, you know, I was that typical hyperactive ADHD kid who, you know, woke up at the crack of dawn and filled my day with co curricular activities. So I did everything under the sun, like really grabbed on to my toolkit, like when I say everything, there's literally not something I haven't tried, formally, informally, whatever. And I was lucky because I did really well, but I hadn't a family as well, who, who were really willing and able to make to make me happen in that way. So I just had such a beautiful childhood and experience in that way. I guess for me, the guest the What's that saying? It didn't think things didn't unravel. That's what I'm looking at, until more recently. And it took me by surprise, because you know, my background in psychology, I've been working with families for over 15 years now and trained in clinical psychology. And so it took a friend sort of noticing my, I was gonna say, workflow, I'm gonna step back of workflow.
Unknown Speaker 6:27
So, you've got these two neuro diverging cares. Have you ever kind of like wondered if maybe you might be ADHD. And at first, I was a little bit kind of taken aback, I wouldn't say offended because just that's not my style. But I was taken aback, and I thought, Oh, wow, I've never kind of thought of ADHD in that way. You know, I always saw kids that hadn't really worked with any Euro division adults. And so I thought, Well, it'd be silly not to go take a look. Did a little bit of the rabbit hole as you do when you got a lot of hyperfocus and started to recognize Oh, wow, yeah, that that takes a few boxes. So I was very diligent in my own process of diagnosis. I didn't want to slap happy, yes, you ticking off boxes, because I recognize that my diagnosis came in the middle of COVID. There's a lot going on. So yeah, it was three sessions of assessment with a psychiatrist in Australia, and politically, are pretty clear to that I'm the combined types of inattentive and hyperactive. And that diagnosis recognition has done a huge amount for me in terms of my identity piece, and helping me understand you know, the strengths, but also the struggles that I've been masking for a really long time. And having that sense of effort around the things that I did. Timeline, this was a huge one, or still is a huge one, I have to work a lot on understanding how time works, and beginning start to see it in my mind. And it sounds really strange, I'm sure to neurotypical people to go, what do you mean, but I literally couldn't see beyond the day in my mind. So learning strategies for myself that I share with kids for as an adult, to really undo a lot of, I guess the bad habits that I developed for coping has made a massive difference for me.
Unknown Speaker 8:14
I love this so much. And I love hearing. I always love hearing the stories of people that are successful as well, because I know that a lot, you've done so many incredible things. And I think one of the biggest fears that we have as parents when you can see kids struggling at school, you know, we have certain you know, especially someone like me, who's up at the school, every couple of
Unknown Speaker 8:41
you new travels new new things that are going on new levels, new devils.
Unknown Speaker 8:48
If you're Yeah, sometimes you can worry if your child is going to be okay. And I get that feedback from our beautiful community like, yeah, we so worried, but I love having beautiful examples. And there is no shortage of them of people that have been able to find their zone of genius or their thing that they're passionate about. And it has such incredible impact and be so successful. And the beautiful positive role model as well. So it's just lovely to have you here sharing a little bit of our story. Could you tell me a little bit about the pacifier group and what you guys do? And why you do that?
Unknown Speaker 9:27
Yeah, well, firstly, thank you. That's very kind. I have to be really honest. And you know, I'm a big fan of drawing back the curtains.
Unknown Speaker 9:37
The success doesn't come without struggle, and everyone's definition of success is very different. And so, you know, I certainly don't want to leave listeners with an impression that it's been an easy street, because I don't know that that's necessarily the way for anybody, let alone with your neuro divergent or neurotypical. But yeah, it's it's certainly fun and it's wild. We found that the posit fi group back into
Unknown Speaker 10:00
2018 I think for its current iteration, my sister and I got together and I was getting really frustrated one to one clinical practice recognizing that a lot of what we share from the sciences around what works to move kids from kind of languishing or not doing so well into doing well, but then into flourishing, it was working really well one to one. And yet we were facing this massive mental illness crisis. And kids were just more and more languishing. And I thought, well, we've got to learn to scale this, like how can we take it to the masses and have a greater impact. And my sister at the same time was noticing a lot of struggle happening in the classroom with disengagement. And kids really starting to feel like what they were learning at school was irrelevant, and not setting them up to deal with what they were kind of describing as a wicked problems of the world. So together, we were noticing this really purpose driven generation that were feeling a little bit lost, and at the same time, had access to so much information. So we got together and kind of started getting curious about what would it look like to put together a platform and a program that combined wellbeing education. So you know, what I knew across from psychology, with career development and professional development, to really prepare kids to navigate their world today, which is changing so rapidly, but also prepare for, you know, what they were quite worried about, which was that after school, I guess, options and, and journeys. So yeah, that was a positive. I grew up. We used to do that. Well, we still do. But we were doing face to face we started with face to face programs and lots of research and diving into, you know, what was working what wasn't working along the way as we tested and curated a lot of the content, and COVID struck, which I gave us the opportunity to pivot Jenna, who is also neurodivergent. And other twice exceptional taught herself software development skills literally overnight, and we bootstrapped now, the positive Academy Yeah, I just have the oh my gosh, so much for for that woman. And she was the first one to say I'm going amazing, rarer, but she is amazing. So we took our content, our curriculum, and we put it online, and we tested it and piloted it with over 100 schools across Australia. And as a result when the the world class, oh, gosh, world class education, top innovation challenge they go. But it's a big one is that Deloitte and the World Economic Forum. Yeah, so that was that was really fun. It gave us a real kickstart, and helped us to see you know, like, the journey behind the scenes of going from startup and what you can do when you really put purpose into motion. So we have a lot of fun over at pacifier, we work with kids sort of from 10, right up to the ages of 25, across a trilogy series of programs. And yeah, a lot of what we do is now available digital online with that mission to try and get these important evidence backed skills and strategies into the hands of, of kids and families and schools who might not otherwise afford access.
Unknown Speaker 13:04
And so you're encouraging, you know, that beautiful, inclusive environment, and, you know, encouraging, encouraging kids to think about what they want to do with their futures, as well as encouraging employers to perhaps be a little bit more inclusive or open minded. How would is that what the example is happening? And I would say the average mom and dad that might be listening and might be thinking, Oh, my God, like, I just have no idea what
Unknown Speaker 13:35
it's going to do when he grows up. Yeah, lacking lacking direction. He's kind of good at lots of things. But, you know, I want to make sure that he finds something great to do when he gets out of school that can hold his interests. When would you how would the average mom and dad access something like the positive positive group? Yeah, great question. Well, this is exactly why we built the academy and why it's currently free for families to jump into. So we like to flip the question instead of what is it that you want to do? We ask the kids and take them through a series of activities that help them to explore this, we ask them or what is it that you want to stand for? And what's the impact you want to create in the world?
Unknown Speaker 14:16
Oh, good. Yeah, we find a lot of people do. And the reason we do that is because the research around purpose, and so really getting clear on you know what your unique set of skills, strengths, values and interests? Are you thinking about that kind of as your North guiding star, then we know that it doesn't really matter what industry you're in, you can take that sense of purpose and sense of strong self identity across any project. And I guess the reason we decided to hone in on meaning and purpose is one because we know from the research and the stats that we all want meaningful work and living and that's the trend that I don't think is going to go anytime soon. It's actually a human drive. And then second in terms of purpose. You
Unknown Speaker 15:00
We talk about transferable skills in the workforce and needing to be able to prepare to, you know, across different industries across different jobs. You know, back when we started the pacify group, the steps were you know, most kids are going across five different industries and 17 different jobs. So I can tell you moving forward, it's a lot more than that. It's such a changing world and workforce. And there's a need for ongoing learning, right. So in the academy, all of the different exercises that we do are all about helping the kids develop what we call their positive portfolio. So we're taking the pressure out of kind of getting your grades and your marks, and instead asking kids to really get to know themselves and asking families to get to know each other. So that they can spot opportunities to apply their unique potential, and to practice putting their strengths in action and get feedback around that. And because we know that the more positive feedback a young person can get about what happens and what the impact they create, when they put their strengths in action, then they're more motivated to move towards those professional personal development opportunities to strengthen that. So you know, purpose grows over time, and it's always shifting and shaping and reshaping. So what we found was when we were doing this with the kids, going to your point of why organizations were like, okay, great, well, we're preparing these kids with a really strong sense of self identity, but then they go into the workforce. And we're hearing from those people that like, well, how come we didn't do that? When we went to school, we want to know what our purpose is.
Unknown Speaker 16:26
It became this beautiful, you know, systems, thinking lens, if Okay, well, let's, let's go into workplaces and help them figure out how they can sort their suit their people in a way that that looks at their own impact as well. So that's why we work across the both, to your point about inclusive, probably by the nature of the fact that Jenna and I are both neuro divergent, we seem to have designed these programs that particularly attract down neurodivergent families. And so we're working into 2023, around where we started on inclusion of breaking down geographical and financial barriers to access, high quality personal professional development programs. In 2023, we're looking at over through a program called bestie magic, how we can do that specifically around your division families, and also in the workplace as well to build more inclusive practices.
Unknown Speaker 17:16
Oh, my goodness, I love it so much. And I mean, gone are the days where you would get a job out of school, you know, like our parents generation, you'd get one job, and you'd work your way up in that job. And you'd be doing that job till like you retired. You know, as you said, the workplace, the workplace has changed. Now we go into different roles, you know, we chop and change all the time. And so our kids are likely to have lots of careers. And in a way, it's kind of great that we can you can, you know, help the children identify what they're passionate about what the what means something to them, so they can stay engaged and, and go through their work and through knowing what, what things light them up, and not knowing what the interest, you know, so that they can be successful. And we know, particularly with the ADHD brain that it does quite well with things that it's interested in. And especially if they're able to ask questions to keep their brain engaged, and how wonderful that you can help teach them that early on in the piece, so that they can know that they can, it's okay to change careers and chop and change till they find that thing to because they're following what they're passionate about, or what, what, what lights them up. It's important. Yeah, that's a big paradigm shift as well. Yeah, yeah, I was just gonna say it's a big paradigm shift or something for our parents to get their head around, you know, because I think there's still that we're letting go of it. But that idea that our careers need to be linear. And so one other thing to keep in mind is that, you know, obviously, we're we're focused on helping kids to move forward into the future actually, in, in participating in a lot of these self development activities, that kids are learning those really critical 21st century skills that we know they're going to need, you know, as technology starts to ramp up, kids are really going to need more than ever, skills like that creativity, knowing how to collaborate that can be really challenging, especially for on your divergent kids. So we work a lot on that, you know, communication skills, how they can articulate what's really important to them, and what matters in a way that's respectful to the people that they're collaborating with. And so, you know, all of these 21st century skills are just how to be a good human really breaking it down, up and being good human is just a really important part of learning.
Unknown Speaker 19:32
And if you could, if, you know, speaking to, you know, the mums and dads, the mums and dads listening to this podcast today, and they might have, you know, multiple kids that are neurodivergent and things going on, if you could provide some practical a few practical steps that you think they could do, you know, as a psychologist, as someone who's guiding children with the pacifier group
Unknown Speaker 20:00
holds a couple of practical things that you leave them with, that they could do over the next couple of days or weeks to make. Oh, wow. So many. Yeah. Okay, so if we're gonna go for the easy is easy is our outcome, and I'm not sure if they ever can be, but let's aim for it, I like to aim high, very short. So definitely put your mask on first. And I know that's such a boring old saying, but, you know, I just have a very important, it's so important. I mean, yes, I'm a psychologist, but I'm also a mom to neurodivergent kids. And I know that if I'm running my own engine a little bit dry, then you know, the whole house falls apart, I fall apart, the kids fall apart, everything falls apart. And while some days, I'm gonna throw my hands up in the air and say, well, that's just me having my inner child tantrum. So looking after yourself care isn't, it's just not negotiable, it's a necessity. So if you haven't already got a really, really good, you know, a big variety of self care strategies to put in the mix. I personally love the work of Kristin Neff, the self compassion work that she does. And so she's written a great book more recently called fierce compassion as well, that looks at the idea of self compassion is not just about, you know, the kind, the nurturing sort of side of self compassion that many of us know, which is you know, how to how to look after yourself and be kind to yourself, but it's also about how to say no, and how to have really firm boundaries. And I think for our neurodivergent families, that's something to keep in mind. So so self care, first and foremost, then secondly, how to love strengths based practices, and helping families to understand what their own strengths are, and how to spot strengths in others. We know from the research that when it comes to behavior change, we want to be opting in, you know, the yield characteristic approach looks somewhat argued still that it works. But from a neuro psychology perspective, we're so much better off when we can help spot what works well, and do more of that. So helping families gain the language around really recognizing each other's genius stones, I know is a phrase that many of your families are familiar with. And leaning into those and celebrating when that works well, and doing more of what works well. And helping to compensate each other within the family with each other's strengths. Because often you'll find one family, you've got complementary strengths, where one person maybe falls down has a growth string, something they want to work on, somebody else can step in and be the coach or the mentor, as really great way to build trusting and loving relationships that go self care, strength, and fun. You know, making time for fun and joy. I think in the hustle and the bustle of families and particularly neurodivergent families and all the stuff we get told we need to ensure do I think sometimes we can forget that fun is really important the power of play. So that'd be my three, my three go twos for, I'd like to say easy living, let's say more joy filled living.
Unknown Speaker 23:02
I love photos. And it's so true. Like sometimes we can get caught up in all the seriousness of our to do this than lions and everything. And we forget that we're only here for such a short time, like we should be laughing. And not all the time. Sometimes they're crying too, but like we should have more joy, you know? Yeah, we need to be able to hear our kids giggle and slow down enough to actually recognize recognize those joyful moments when they when they appear to I love all of those steps. That's really, really beautiful advice. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. I've loved having an interest in hearing what you have to say and what the beauty and the amazing work that you're doing. Well, thanks for sharing.
Unknown Speaker 23:46
It sure can. It's been a pleasure to be here. And likewise I'm you know being introduced to the work you're doing. Thank you so much for creating space for families like mine to come up with procedures and systems and automating a bit of life to take the hassle out because there is a lot of mud and you help us all move through it with a bit more magic so thank you look, you can check out the posit by group like I said the positive eye Academy is free to jump in and check out so that's the positive group.com.au We can go straight to the academy Academy dot the positive group.com Or you can sign up
Unknown Speaker 24:19
on LinkedIn Maryam power and moving into 2023 Where we're setting up my Maryam power with Missy magic as well so come and check out what we're doing there I'll share across the link because it's literally going to be going live I think is his episode does it's really exciting. So yeah.
Unknown Speaker 24:37
I was looking for some self care practices and yeah, come apply with us over DAB
Unknown Speaker 24:49
Thank you for listening to this episode of the ADHD families podcast. If you loved it, please share it on your socials. I want this to start a conversation
Unknown Speaker 25:00
about ADHD. If you want to make this mom do a little happy dance, please leave a review on iTunes. If you would like to know more about what we do, check out the functional family.com I truly hope that you enjoyed this podcast and you use it to create a wonderful, effective, joyful life with your beautiful children.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai