Using Your Mind, Body and Spirit (and sometimes medication) to Manage Your ADHD
“Kids cannot play to win all the time. There are times when you play to win, times when you play not to lose, times when you just play for fun, and times when you choose not to play.”
— Dr. Sarah Cheyette, Pediatric Neurologist
Sarah Cheyette is a pediatric neurologist—a doctor who specializes in brains. She loves treating ADHD patients because it is so rewarding to make interventions that can change a trajectory toward success.
She brings a powerful professional perspective on the benefits and limitations of ADHD medication, and the many behavioral adaptations people with ADHD must embrace to thrive with their condition. She developed techniques for changing mind-set and behavior in ADHD involving the simple, powerful concepts based on the athletic mind-set and training. Just as athletes improve their athletic skills through proper coaching and training, parents can learn similar techniques to help “coach” their children through challenges. Both ADHDers and athletes need to identify challenges, set goals, learn to deal with setbacks, and work hard. A person with ADHD who does this can break away from a cycle of underachievement or outright failure to become a world-class success story! Anybody with ADHD can improve their ability to focus, reduce their tendency to procrastinate, and cultivate their planning skills by developing this mindset regardless of their level of interest in sports or prior experiences in athletics.
Sarah Cheyette graduated cum laude in Cognitive Neuroscience from Princeton University and received her medical degree from the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Following specialty training in pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and in pediatric neurology at Seattle Children’s Hospital she now practices at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation where she focuses on treating ADHD in both children and adults. For the last 5 years, she has been a “Top Doctor” in San Francisco magazine.
She has written three books on ADHD which explain its common behavioral symptoms, the biology behind it, and what research has revealed about it – as well as issues faced by parents when considering prescription medications and other approaches to treatment. Dr. Cheyette treats people with ADHD with medication and non-medication strategies such as those outlined in her three books, ADHD and the Focused Mind (co-written with a karate master Peter Johnson and her husband, a psychiatrist Ben Cheyette, MD/PhD), Winning with ADHD aimed at preteens, teens and young adults (co-written with Grace Friedman, is a young woman who deals successfully with ADHD herself), and ADHD & Me for children learning about ADHD.
She and her husband Benjamin have four kids and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Download her free copy of Move From Unfocused to Focused Thinking and follow her @SarahCheyetteMD
Co-Author of Winning with ADHD
Grace Friedman was diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at twelve years old and has experienced all the life-challenging effects it presents. Grace is an advocate for young people with ADHD, author, speaker, and blogger and founder of the ADDYTeen.com community, which is visited by people around the world daily. She is a blogger at The Huffington Post, and at fifteen wrote Embracing Your ADHD, a guide for teens which has been downloaded by thousands from her website.
After recently graduating with a BA in Psychology, she works with teens for the State of Washington, mentors others with ADHD, and has plans to become a clinical psychologist. Grace, now thriving with her ADHD, brings a spirit of generosity and purposefulness to everything she does.
Peter Johnson & Dr. Benjamin Cheyette, MD – Co-Authors of ADHD & the Focused Mind
Karate master, Peter Johnson, is a seventh-degree black belt in Karate and also a master of Tae Bo®. He has been teaching students in the martial arts since 1993. He sees Karate as a way to help kids with ADHD build “mental discipline muscles.” Indeed, martial arts have had a dramatic effect on the lives of many people with ADHD (based on statistics from the National Association of Professional Martial Artists on the positive scholastic benefits of karate in children’s lives).
Peter’s philosophy is that martial arts is not simply about acquiring physical skill, but more importantly is about acquiring a drive for excellence in all areas of life.
Sarah met Peter while training in a form of kickboxing called Tae Bo® at his dojo, and additionally watched him train her kids in Karate, and was very impressed by how he has motivated all kinds of people to work hard to meet their full potential. She realized that the ideas that a coach routinely instills in his athletes can also apply to the treatment of ADHD, and she would like her ADHD patients and others to be able to internalize these strategies to be the most successful they can be.
Sarah’s husband, Dr. Benjamin Cheyette, is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco, where he sees patients, teaches medical students and psychiatric residents, and runs a scientific laboratory exploring the molecular origins of psychiatric illness.
In his clinical practice he has treated patients with ADHD, including professionals who qualify for this diagnosis. He is also a black belt student of Peter Johnson, and has witnessed the transformative power of successful coaching strategies on goal-setting, focus, and achievement in the dojo—as well as the generalization of such strategies beyond athleticism to other spheres of life.