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Posts Tagged 'Laura MacNiven'

Toronto ADHD Workshops – Fall 2018

This fall the Springboard Clinic are offering two group resources, with a focus on supporting partners and parents of individuals diagnosed with ADHD.

1) Finding Joy in your ADHD Relationship:  
A Workshop for Partners of Individuals with Focusing Challenges/ADHD

Relationships where one partner has ADHD can be deeply challenging. Join the Springboard Clinic for a supportive evening of discussion to learn about how ADHD symptoms can affect both individuals within a relationship, identify typical relational patterns, and explore effective communication strategies with the goal of decreasing conflict and strengthening connection in your relationship. The workshop offers a space to express and be heard with other individuals who are partners with someone with ADHD, psychoeducation on ADHD and relationships, and an opportunity to consider your own relationship through a new lens.

DATE & TIME: October 16th, 2018  6:30pm – 8:30pm
VENUE: Springboard Clinic, 1055 Yonge Street, Suite 304
FACILITATORS: Patricia Thompson, CPCC, and Emily Kedar, M.Ed, from Springboard Clinic

2) Springboard Online Parent Workshop:
A Two Evening Mini-Series with Laura MacNiven

Springboard Clinic’s Laura MacNiven is hosting a two session online mini-series for parents of ADHD children. In two 60 minute sessions, she will walk you through strategies like “being an ADHD detective, 5 steps to mindful parenting and picking battles before you need to”.

Offering an opportunity to take stock of where you are, and think about where you are going, these two sessions are designed to help you find new energy and a clearer headspace to take back to your everyday parenting. Multiple family members are encouraged to participate, and this content is suitable for parents with children of all ages.

Note: Please set aside 60 minutes to do some reflective work in between the two sessions.

DATE & TIME: Session #1: November 15, 2018  8:00pm; Session #2 : November 22, 2018  8:00pm
VENUE: Online through Ontario Telemedicine Network (www.otn.ca)
FACILITATOR: Springboard’s Director, Laura MacNiven, M. Ed

To learn more about the events, click here

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Springboard’s Top 5 tips for Focusing on Exams – When Focusing is not Your Forte

When you struggle with focusing challenges, exam writing can be seriously frustrating. We often hear stories of students feeling like they studied hard, knew their stuff, but when it came to getting it all down- they didn’t perform their best. Having a strategy for exam writing can help you take control, reduce stress, and be set up to “show all that you know!”

At Springboard, we work with individuals with focusing issues of all ages. We know how stressful it can be heading into those big exams. As this season is upon us, we are sharing our top 5 tips. And remember, you don’t have to be formally diagnosed with an attention issue to take advantage of these great ideas!:

  1. Study strategically: When studying, try to “practice for your exam”. Don’t just read and take notes, or highlight. Prepare by simulating exam questions as much as possible. Ask for past exams or sample practice questions from your teacher.
  2. Show up in the zone: Come up with a pre-test taking ritual that helps you get in the zone – listen to music to block out the stress chatter of other students, have the right type of snacks that make you feel at your best, or even try doing a little exercise to wake up your prefrontal cortex and increase your alertness
  3. Don’t arrive without BRAIN food!: Eat breakfast or lunch before writing your exam, but make sure the meal isn’t too heavy – you need some blood to go to your brain too and you don’t want to be fighting fatigue while writing. (And remember a water bottle too)
  4. Arrive and dump your thoughts! If there’s anything that had to be memorized, and you are worried you’ll forget it- write it down anywhere on the exam paper as soon as the exam starts. This will help free your brain to concentrate on the questions in front of you. Also, if a question comes up later where you need that information, it will be ready and at your fingertips.
  5. Chunk it up: Exams can feel overwhelming, and stress can make it hard for you to do your best work. Start by bringing in a watch, and planning out your time per section. That way you can keep an eye on your pace and try to relax in each section. Cover up other questions, so you can give your full attention to what is in front of you. And try re-reading each question before moving on to the next one, so you don’t feel daunted about checking over the whole exam at the end!

By managing your head space and ritualizing the exam writing experience, you can feel more in control (no matter what gets thrown at you!). Wishing you a successful exam season from our team!

Laura MacNiven is the Director of Clinical Services at Springboard Clinic- a multidisciplinary resource that assesses and treats ADHD across the lifespan. Anne Bailey is a Clinical Psychologist and Manager of Treatment Services at Springboard Clinic. Their treatment team collaborated to put together this great set of tips.

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School Support For Students With ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a very popular term to use when describing children but it’s often misunderstood and misused. After all, how many of us put things off and sometimes have trouble focusing?

The Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada (CADDAC) describes the disorder as “One of the most common disorders in Canada, and it doesn’t discriminate. It impacts people from all walks of life and backgrounds. It affects more than a million Canadian men, women, boys and girls of all ages.”

Once an ADHD diagnosis has been made, families and students with ADHD need support. Joanne, our Director, reached out to Laura MacNiven, Director of Health Education at Springboard Clinic for her recommendations on how to build an action plan that encourages home-school communication.

Here are three of Laura’s tips to help parents to effectively communicate with their child’s teacher and school team:

1. Be a step ahead: Set up an appointment with your child’s school team at the beginning of the school year. Bring examples that have worked in the past, and take the time to connect as early as possible.

2. Bring your knowledge: It can feel like a tough decision to share personal information with the school. While it’s not a straight-forward answer, open dialogue between home and school can help families feel engaged and empowered. The more information you can provide the school, the better they can support your child. If appropriate, have a psycho-educational assessment, meet with your child’s doctor, or spend time asking their tutor what works best for your child.

3. Create a sustainable plan to check back in: With experimentation and change, there are often steps forward, and often steps backward. Getting the right strategies takes time, so try to meet regularly for shorter periods of time. It sets everyone up for more success.

A version of this post first appeared on Dr. Dina.

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Springboard Clinic’s “TED-STYLE” Talk

Springboard Clinic

The Springboard Clinic hosted a jam-packed evening on February 5th. After opening remarks by Dr. Ainslie Gray, the event showcased 10 minute- “TED-style” talks, where the speakers shared stories of hope, debunked myths, and most uniquely, some innovative brain research that we found both empowering and helpful in understanding “why we all do what we do!” We have shared two of the talks which we think you will find uplifting and innovative!

Dr. Anne Bailey takes brain science and simplifies it in a way that is both inspiring and thought provoking:

Laura MacNiven explains ADHD, learning differences, with a focus on how to move forward and find hope and help:


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ADHD: We are starting to talk the same talk

We all know a lot more about ADHD now than we did when we opened Springboard Clinic 5 years ago. It is safe to say that we are on the right track of dispelling the harmful myths that have clouded successful treatment for decades.

The science is there to explain it through neuro-imaging, the case studies are there to demonstrate the pervasiveness of the diagnosis, and most importantly, the successful treatment data is there to help individuals thrive and move forward.

I am starting to hear comments like “you know ADHD isn’t just about not being able to focus, it’s about an inability to regulate focus” in water cooler and school yard conversations. We are all starting to get it. ADHD isn’t just about meeting DSM-criteria with certain symptoms of hyperactivity or inattention. It’s about having a neurotransmitter difference in your pre-frontal cortex and the more an individual understands their brain, the more they are able to use healthy coping mechanisms and maximize on their strengths/gifts.

As everyone knows, there is a huge push to reduce stigmatization of mental health. 15 years ago, If you were clinically depressed, you were likely to hear “what’s your problem, just get out of bed”. We all understand that better now, and I’m so grateful for websites like totallyadd.com and campaigns such as Bell: Let’s Talk (January 28).

ADHD is real. It’s not a choice. And it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. A lot of times, it is just the opposite: an opportunity to do something impactful, outside of the box and big. With the right help, and the right lens, it’s all about moving forward.

Want to join this dialogue? Springboard clinic is hosting a TED-style talk on February 5th, come join a community that believes in evidenced based research, and matches it with a set of hopeful and innovative messages.

For more information, call Laura MacNiven or Dr. Ainslie Gray  at 416- 901-3077 or register online at http://www.springboardclinic.com/events.html

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A Conversation About ADHD – New Date

Due to the success of the October and November events, Springboard Clinic has scheduled another date for ‘An Evening Conversation about ADHD: FAQs and Discussion’.

Parents, adults, teachers, doctors, and anyone else interested in learning more about ADHD assessment and treatment are invited.

Members of Springboard Clinic’s team – Dr. Ainslie Gray MD, Dr. Diana Mandeleew CPsych, and Laura MacNiven MEd – will be there to answer your toughest questions.

Monday, January 27th at 7:00pm-8:30pm

** ‘An Evening Conversation about ADHD” specifically for teachers and educators will be held on

Monday, January 20th at 7:00pm-8:30pm

Find out more here.

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A Conversation about ADHD

A Springboard Clinic Workshop for Adults, Parents, Doctors and Teachers

It’s no wonder parents are confused and apprehensive about their child’s ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), with the media coverage…

“Students reaching for ADHD drugs to deal with academic stress.”  – The Globe and Mail

“ADHD on the rise: 1 in 5 high school-age boys diagnosed with hyperactivity” – Fox News

“A.D.H.D. Diagnoses Worry Doctors” – The New York Times


….And these are just from the last 6 months.


ADD/ADHD is one of the most researched psychiatric diagnoses in the world and yet it remains completely misunderstood by many doctors, teachers, and parents.

In an attempt to debunk some of the misinformation about ADHD, and to help the Toronto community see the potential of those with ADHD, Springboard Clinic is hosting two evening workshops titled, “An Evening Conversation about ADHD: FAQs and Discussion”.


Hosted by Springboard Clinic’s Dr. Ainslie Gray, Dr. Diana Mandeleew, and Laura MacNiven, the workshops are open to adults, parents, doctors, and teachers who wish to ask questions or join the dialogue about ADHD.

To learn more about the event click here

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Be in the Moment this Summer: At Least Once a Day

I had my first parent-tears of joy today. I looked into my 3-month-old son’s eyes and the overwhelming love I feel for him came out in tears. His little legs working hard to hold himself up and his eyes engaged with mine, we were in the moment. We danced together and we just were.

As an ADHD coach to kids, adults and parents for the last 4 years, I have always started working with my parent clients with the disclaimer, “I am not yet a parent, and you are the expert of your children, I am here to walk alongside you, to help you with tips and tricks, and to be a sounding board for your world”. In essence, I work to help parents take a pause and to work on their own, or with a partner, to find solutions and build family goals that resonate with them.

As June hits, you may be feeling pretty exhausted, you may feel on different pages with your partner and/or your children, and you may feel like you are “just holding on for dear life”. I urge you to use your child’s ability to be in the present to help find some moments of peace this summer. By focusing on their needs, joys, gazes, and emotions, by standing “in their boots”, you may discover you, too, will find solace.

Set aside 10 minutes a day to get on the floor with your youngster and have a tickle war or crawl under the dinner table with them. Take a few minutes to look through baby pictures with your older teen and tell them about some of your favourite moments when they were little. Run off the dock, or arrive home wearing a funny costume. Spend a few minutes being silly, or playful, and try to use their ability to be in the present to connect.

The moment I shared with my son today was soon taken away by his cries for hunger and his need for a nap, but propels me through the challenges of being a parent with newfound energy nonetheless.

Short moments of connection are enough, and summer is the perfect time to remind yourself about the importance of just “hanging out”.  Ten minutes a day is all it takes: in fact for me, it was probably only two.


Laura MacNiven is the Director of Health Education at Springboard Clinic. Springboard specializes in ADHD and offers family coaching, ADHD testing, psycho-educational assessments, and a variety of mental health assessments. If you or your child needs support, please don’t wait. There is no time like the present. www.springboardclinic.com

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